GCL Mafia 245: Homecoming
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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GameChat League: Mafia Division Subscription Thread (links to past lists, subscribe for weekly notifications).
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Welcome to GCL Mafia Division's weekly geeklist!

GCL Mafia Members:
• Please add an item to represent your gaming life for the week of September 28 - October 4, 2015.
• List any games played along with your thoughts/opinions.
• Also, feel free to share gaming news, life updates, random thoughts, or anything else you deem appropriate.

GCL Mafia Geeklist Format:
• A weekly game is spotlighted and discussed. The poster will pose questions about it to encourage conversation.
• Themed questions are optional. They can be gaming-related topics or non-gaming-related topics.
• A top five question is posed for the next poster by anyone. These top fives are usually game-related, but can include other topics as well.

Current Roster:
Timotheous
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touchstonethefool
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1. Board Game: Homecoming Audition [Average Rating:3.80 Unranked]
Board Game: Homecoming Audition
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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This past weekend was homecoming at Duke, and while I didn't go (nor have I ever been to homecoming) it inspired this list.

What do you consider your hometown? Do you live there now? Would you ever go back and settle there, if settling is your thing?
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2. Board Game: Home Sweet Home [Average Rating:6.08 Overall Rank:10859]
Board Game: Home Sweet Home
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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We all game at home some of the time. What does your home set up look like? Do you have a dedicated room with a fancy Geek Chic table and geeky art on the walls or do you just clear the plates off the kitchen table and set up there?
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3. Board Game: Your Hometown Tycoon Game [Average Rating:1.50 Unranked]
Board Game: Your Hometown Tycoon Game
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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A college professor had everyone break into groups and describe their dream home, given unlimited money. Where is it, what does it look like, what's in it, and so on. He felt it could tell a lot about someone. I don't know about that, but I found it to be a fun exercise.

Ready, set, go.
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4. Board Game: Terror in Meeple City [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:813]
Board Game: Terror in Meeple City
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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Game of the week!

Have you played it? Do you want to. How do you feel about dexterity games in general?
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5. Board Game: Animal Upon Animal [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:883] [Average Rating:6.82 Unranked]
Board Game: Animal Upon Animal
Benjamin H
United States
Missouri
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Board Game: Animal Upon Animal


 N/A   Animal Upon Animal x3 NEW!

Daddy has lots of board games in a giant shelf against one wall in the dining room. He keeps saying how fun they are, but whenever I get any of them down to play with them, he leaps up and takes them away from me!

Well this week was different. He got out a game with animals in it and told me that we would play together, and we did, with Mommy.

I don't think he understood the rules though. The best part of this game was rolling the die. I really liked doing that. But whenever Mommy or Daddy rolled it they wanted it to stop rolling. Where's the fun in that? You're supposed to pick the die up and roll it again as soon as it stops moving!

Then they tried to convince me to put the sheep and monkey on top of the crocodile. Don't they know that crocodiles are mean and will eat the sheep and monkey up? I decided to humour them a little, and put some animals on top, but then they kept saying that the animals had to stay there. No fun in animals just staying in place! Animals are meant to move! And the noise of them all falling over is so much more fun anyway.

I did enjoy playing, though, and all through dinner on Saturday I kept telling them it was time for games. We played again after dinner, but today it was bath night.

Maybe when we play next, mommy and daddy will have learnt the proper rules.

On my mind

Trains, trucks, cars, and jokes about Humpty Dumpty.
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6. Board Game: SHH [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:4098]
Board Game: SHH
Timothy Hunt
United States
St Louis
Missouri
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Board Game: Mhing
Board Game: SHH
Board Game: Animal Upon Animal


6  Mhing x2
N/A  SHH NEW!
N/A  Animal Upon Animal x3

This week, I continue making my way through the Pack O' Game. SHH is a co-operative word game, where you're not allowed to talk at all. It is incredibly difficult but in a good way. I think we scored 6 or 7 in a two player game with a friend. I want to try it again soon.

Mhing is a game that Karyn really likes, and she chose it to play a couple of times this week. It's based on Mahjongg, and quite a lot of fun. There's a nice little push your luck aspect; Only the player who goes out scores anything, but scoring is based on a doubling mechanism, so you're using to get a high scoring hand at the risk of an opponent going out before you.

And Animal Upon Animal, courtesy of Santa Grace. Benjamin really enjoyed playing games with his family instead of being told, once again, to put the game down. I suspect we have a gamer on our hands. Looking forward to many more games with him.

On my mind

Holidays are coming, and that means planning and planning for all kinds of different things. Benjamin continues to surprise us with the things he says and does that he picks up so quickly. I'm honoured to have been blessed to bring this little man up.
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7. Board Game: Bruges [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:245]
Board Game: Bruges
Dave K
United States
Austin
Texas
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Board Game: ひとひら (Hitohira)
Board Game: Tajemnicze Domostwo
Board Game: Favor of the Pharaoh
Board Game: Euchre
Board Game: Cities
Board Game: Pandemic: The Cure
Board Game: Champions of Midgard
Board Game: Bruges
Board Game: Epic Card Game


A pretty good week of gaming for me overall. Several new things too, all of which I enjoyed.

 7.5   ひとひら (Hitohira) NEW!
 7.5   Favor of the Pharaoh NEW!
 7   Epic NEW!

 8   Tajemnicze Domostwo / Mysterium
 7.5   Euchre
 6   Cities
 7.5   Pandemic: The Cure
 8   Champions of Midgard
 9   Bruges

New stuff first, because that's what I think people will likely find the most interesting.

Favor of the Pharaoh is the somewhat long-awaited reworking To Court the King from Tom Leahmann. It's an interesting mix of push-your-luck and engine building - your turns are spent rolling, locking, and re-rolling dice, but the thing you do with those dice is buy tiles to make it so you get more dice or ways to affect those dice in future rounds. When you get to the point where you can get seven (or more) of a kind you trigger a grand roll-off finale where the most-of-a-kind wins.

It's an interesting game because it mixes push-your-luck with meatier game elements, although overall it's still pretty light. I enjoyed it and look forward to exploring it more, as there are a large amount of tiles. I do worry that a single really poor round somewhat early on could leave you behind an opponent who snags something really powerful early. Need more plays to see if that's really an issue.

Hitohira is a very nice Japanese import that also features push-your-luck, but in a refreshing change from the norm, it has no dice at all. Instead, you're pushing yourself to draw flowers from a bag in different combinations, and the more you can get, the more points you can earn, and enough will let you trigger a special ability as well - but if you get too many colors or too many of a single color, your turn is a bust and you keep just a pittance.

It played really quickly and had a great take on push-your-luck which felt nice and fresh. I can foresee more plays of this for sure. Lovely aesthetics too.

Epic is the latest from the team behind Star Realms and it sticks really close to Magic: The Gathering for inspiration. It seems to have been made to try and replicate the feeling of "old-school MtG," where you want to get a big creature or two out and just pound on someone with it rather than combo the game away. It works fairly well and I think it hits the feel there pretty well. The lack of a mana curve in it works better than I expected as well - I do kind of miss there being an arc to a game (in MtG, there's distinct early/mid/late game, but here there's not), but the game captures the creatures-and-spells feel quite well.

I think the "deal 30 random cards and just play" version of the game will turn out to be the worst. I want to give it some tries with either the constructed decks or 'deal 40 and build with them' or something, at least. Score is just a 7 for now but I see upward potential.

Mysterium was fun but I think I'm tiring of it. I've just played it too much recently. Still a great game but you can get fatigued on it.

Euchre remains a nice trick-taking filler. I managed to go alone and take all five one time, which I have never done before - it made me feel pretty awesome (even if it was more or less just a great deal... ).

Champions of Midgard has held up pretty well over several plays. The balancing of risk and reward in it is about right and it has a viking flavor without the game just being about bashing the other players dudes-on-a-map style. Pretty light but definitely fun. Worked just fine with 3, and the character who has what I believe is the worst ability - "you can use the merchant ship without paying a gold" - is much better than in a 4 player game.

Bruges is possibly my favorite short Stefan Feld game and I was glad to play again. I felt like my cards weren't especially well-linked to one another this game, but I was able to get a reasonably good score with them regardless, so I think careful play will often overcome blase characters. Still really enjoyed it. I haven't tried the expansion yet - I have heard meh things about it, but I still want to give it a go.
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8. Board Game: Suburbia 5★ [Average Rating:6.97 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.97 Unranked]
Board Game: Suburbia 5★
Jeffrey Drozek-Fitzwater
United States
Houston
Texas
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Suburbia 5★: Well, I tried it. And I didn't hate it! I also didn't like it. Two of the four of us in the game (including Abbie) really didn't like it, so I was a bit kinder to it. I like the new synergies (especially stuff for being next to lakes), though airports got nerfed super hard and that makes me sad. I very much do not like the star track. It's way too important and way too powerful; the game turned into acquiring stars first and foremost. Don't like that at all. And I especially dislike the punishment for having the fewest starts. That can bugger straight off. I like that there are a lot of possible synergies, but it kind of feels like a guessing game as to which ones are going to pay off later on. That's not good. As I suspected, the variable turn order felt like a negative to me; it makes it a lot harder to plan long term and just adds unnecessary complication to a game I felt hit the sweet spot in that category. I won't buy this and would be unlikely to play with the star track again, though I do like some of the tiles for non-star reasons. One more thing: I don't like the cutesy names for some of the new tiles.

Roll for the Galaxy: This was another new play for me... and I didn't care for this, either. I dunno. It just didn't do anything I wouldn't rather do in Race. It probably help I never got anything other than blue dice, but why would I bother digging more into this when I can just play Race instead?

One Night Werewolfx4: Normally, the Tanner often gets paired with the Minion; that is, people will think you're either the Tanner or the Minion, so they won't vote for you either way. I drew the Tanner, and I decided on a different tactic: Say nothing. And with about 10 seconds left, somebody realized I hadn't claimed a role yet and asked me what I was. My response: "Oh, I don't think I should say. Oop, 5 seconds left." And it worked! Tanner Victory. Interestingly, I never lied at any point in any of the games.

But Wait, There's More!: Solid party game. I like getting to flex my improv muscles, and this does it pretty well- and who doesn't like to pretend they're Billy Mays? Oh, most people? Fine.
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9. Board Game: Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island [Average Rating:7.85 Overall Rank:48]
Board Game: Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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Forbidden Stars
Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island New!

Forbidden Stars
Sunday morning Breakfast Club game of 2 players. First 2p game. It was definitely faster than with 3, though I didn't necessarily feel it was tighter or anything. I like the way you add systems and objectives as you expand up which helps it scale well mechanically. I'm not sure if the additional time is worth it for more players. I'd like to try a 4p game though that might be madness.

This was an excellent play. My buddy is the one who introduced me to StarCraft so he was familiar with the basic mechanics. I was the Space Marines (who can easily upgrade their units and play defensively) and he was the Chaos Marines (who can easily shift their cultists around and are more sneaky/subversive). His ability lets him move a cultist from 1 planet to one in an adjacent planet. It didn't occur to me that he could claim objectives this way and I left both of his undefended because I incorrectly believed he wouldn't be able to get to them both without a ship. On the last round, I was ready to invade his home and take my last objective and he sneaked his way on to one of his and I thought for sure it was lost. Fortunately for me, I won the invasion battle and he didn't sneak onto both planets because he was too focused on trying to keep me from invading. It was a great game though, and I'm putting that play into my back pocket.

Robinson Crusoe
Secret Santa gift! I set the game up on our table, thinking we'd learn it and play a few rounds at a time as Raffi napped. Fortunately (or unfortunately) he's sick and took a 2+ hour nap and we were able to play through the whole game. We won the first scenario, though we did miss a couple rules. We missed them both in our favor and against so they canceled out enough for us to claim victory in a learning game. However, we were dead on the next play. The event would have killed us. We also got lucky that no adventure card shuffled into the event deck ever appeared. The post shuffle always came back to an event which was super lucky. All in all we enjoyed it and both want to play again. Katie initially blanched at the idea of dice determining resolution but it wasn't that bad once we got into it. Looking forward to playing again, hopefully sooner rather than later.

On my Mind
We have a sick meeple. He's been a bit out of it and started running a fever. It was just over 101 this morning, so he's going in to the doctor first thing. Tylenol is managing it, and the on-call pediatrician wasn't worried enough to send us to the ER. Hopefully it's just something small working it's way through his system. I'm supposed to go on a business trip tomorrow but that may be on the chopping block.

We recorded Episode 3 of Ding & Dent this week, and interviewed Jamey Stegmaier which was really cool. He was a very nice guy and had some fun stories from the Scythe playtest. It's getting easier and easier to record, which meant we had almost 1:45 minutes worth of audio this week and I had to cut a lot to get it to a reasonable time. I suppose it's a good thing that we're comfortable, just need to watch the clock. Reception has been pretty positive, and so far our listener numbers are better than I originally expected.

The podcast is also opening a few small doors into the industry. My sister's friend from college has some buddies in Germany who are self publishing €uro Crisis and releasing at Essen this year. They're going to send me a review copy after the fest, which I'm excited about. The game seems like a pretty funny satirical look at the Euro Crisis and it's a euro game (natch) with some tactical elements. Also, the guys from Fireteam Zero are going to send me their advance review copy to check out so long as I send it back to them (so they can have it make the rounds to reviewers).

I'm finally going to start receiving some games I backed on KS. Fireteam Zero will load on containers in a week or two, and Airborne Commander should get to my house by the end of the month.

And finally, I got my tickets to the Star Wars premiere in December. My FLGS has, in the past, been able to reserve out a full theater at one of the local fancy movie theaters that has a bar and full service food. They weren't sure they were going to be able to for TFA but they managed to work it out. Showtime is 7:00 pm on the Thursday it comes out, and now I won't have to wait in line or deal with getting a midnight release ticket. Wooooo
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10. Board Game: Agricola: France Deck [Average Rating:7.55 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.55 Unranked]
Board Game: Agricola: France Deck
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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Board Game: Concordia
Board Game: Agricola



 10   Agricola
 8   Concordia

A seemingly light week of gaming for me. My goal was to learn CO2 and play that on Thursday, but I was not comfortable enough with the rules by then, so I put it off a week. I've since sat down with the book and some guides so I feel much more prepared.

Agricola was excellent, as always. We played using the French Deck for the first time. I was dealt a nasty combination of cards: occupation that let me take a loan for Wheat and vegetables, occupation that let me plow 3 instead of 1 once in the game, minor improvement (I think) that let me turn vegetables into 4 food if I had any oven, and another that let me do Family Growth Without Room if I have at least 3 planted fields. Those all combined beautifully, and made it so that when Family Growth became an option (it was the last card of Harvest 2), I was quickly able to jump to 4 workers. From there it was simple action advantage that eked me over the edge to victory.

Concordia I made the mistake of taking too many cards. I focused on getting a focus too much, and got left out of the expansions, which then made me lose resources relative to their prefects, and cost more to join them. In the end, this was the closest, and lowest scoring, game of Concordia I've ever seen, with all 4 of us finishing within 10 points of each other. I managed 2nd, somehow.


On my mind: This weekend I didn't have any Partial Differential Equations homework to do, which was a great breath of fresh air. So, Marion and I went apple picking instead. In a few weeks we plan on visiting my cousins in Michigan and pressing it into cider. For now, the lower part of our refrigerator is stacked with apples.

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11. Board Game: Space Cadets: Away Missions [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:1890]
Board Game: Space Cadets: Away Missions
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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Space Cadets: Away Missions x4
Ultimate Warriorz x2
WWE Superstar Showdown x2
Apocalypse Chaos x2 (new!)
Don't Turn Your Back x1 (new!)
Love Letter x1
Samurai Spirit x1 (new!)


Reviews
WWE Superstar Showdown - OHHH YEAHHHH!

Lost Valley - Matt knows me pretty well.



SC:AM
This continues to impress as a light dungeon crawler with a unique theme and a really clever main mechanic. Two of these plays were solo and it works well in that regard. I'm also surprised at how different the missions can feel.

Ultimate Warriorz
I'm digging this still. There is an imperfection in that the bigger guys get ganged up on and have a hard time winning, but the rules account for this somewhat and it's less of a problem with more players at the table (due to the incentive mechanisms).

For me it's about on par with King of Tokyo. I'll be keeping both in my collection as they feel similar but different. I can't remember if I said this last week when talking about it but this would have been a better follow up to KoT than King of New York was.

Apocalypse Chaos
I just don't know about this one. Like the main dice resolution system and the coop nature is pretty good. I also like the 3D board. I'm just not a huge fan of the type of strategy space this occupies which reminds me of Neuroshima Hex's timing element where certain attacks fire off at different initiatives.

Here though it's a coop and everyone's discussing stuff like, "That enemy will move first then attack that space, where will your guy be then?" It's like playing Space Alert if it was turn based and the decision process was a bit more meaty. Unfortunately that strikes me as slightly dull. The game also has no drama unless you overlook an alien's ability and don't realize it's going to hit someone.

Don't Turn Your Back
Cool and pretty good. It's streamlined and feels very smooth yet still has some personality. One thing I kept mumbling to myself during the game though was that it would be 100x more interesting if each player had an asymmetrical deck. That effort likely would have been enormous but I think this could have been a top 20ish game for me they did it. Right now it is still pretty good and I'll have to see where it shakes out long term. Like it though.

Samurai Spirit
This was a bit of a let down. It rides on the coattails of Kurosawa but only does the bare minimum to evoke the excellent film. I'm missing the spatial back and forth of the movie where the different waves of enemies crashed against different boundaries of the town.

The central black jack-like mechanism is solid and interesting but that's about it. Just not a lot here to stick in the brain or be memorable.


On My Mind
I received Clockwork Wars in the mail and it looks pretty interesting. I also was given an advanced copy of Champions of Midgard from MM, a game I really enjoyed at Gen Con. Looking forward to breaking that out.

My MM order held up by Mottainai is finally here and...yeah. I don't know. It seems like Chudyk said "Lets take Glory to Rome and make it super quick. But, that's not enough. We have to make it more obtuse because, well, I'm Carl Chudyk." Excited to try it but I'm skeptical whether the strategy can even be broken down in an insightful way unless you play it a couple dozen times. I'm scheduled to review this at the RC and I'm already kind of annoyed. Hopefully I like the game, especially considering I sold Glory to Rome a couple months ago.

I'm going to be reviewing Tides of Time at some point as well. Haven't read the rules yet but it looks interesting.

I've been doing a lot of solo gaming (SC:AM and Samurai Spirit) lately as well as building back up Beta Clink and working on Ding & Dent so very little TV time. Still need to finish Narcos.
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12. Board Game: Rivals for Catan [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:797]
Board Game: Rivals for Catan
Philip Newman
United States
Plano
Texas
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Plays since September 28, 2015

 10.   Dominion x20 (MF)
 7.0   Scrabble x2
 10.   Brass (OOTH)
 9.0   YINSH (BAJ)
 8.0   Ginkgopolis (BAJ)
 8.0   The Castles of Burgundy (BAJ)
 7.5   Eminent Domain NEW! to Aerial
 6.5   The Rivals for Catan NEW!

Dominion

The 2015 DominionStrategy Championships started this past week, and I got in my first two rounds:

mafiascum 4-1 bramroop
mafiascum 4-3 markusin

First set was all base, but second set had some interesting games (especially game 4).

The Rivals for Catan

I had this listed for sale in the VFM, but we tried it out and Aerial enjoyed it well enough to remove it. This was just the intro game, we'll see how we feel about it after the full experience.

Eminent Domain

Got this to the table finally as well, and she enjoyed it too. We were both Colonizing mostly, and I got the jump on technology which snowballed a bit. Looking forward to trying the scenario cards from Microcosm.

On My Mind In My Recycling Bin

I cleared everything out of the nursery yesterday, which meant finally tossing a bunch of empty game boxes. That was more difficult than it should have been. The Dominion boxes have not been tossed yet... but only because the recycling is completely full.

Hopefully this will motivate me to work on my foam-core storage solutions, there's no going back to expansion boxes!
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13. Board Game: StarCraft: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:430]
Board Game: StarCraft: The Board Game
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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Chronicle
1889
504
Mage Wars Arena
StarCraft: The Board Game

Only 2 games at game night this week, and yet, 5 games played. Woohoo!

I tried out my surprise Secret Santa present to kick off game night. The host was busy eating and socializing with people who apparently came over early to eat and socialize, or something. So I just started playing games. So Chronicle was first. It was only 3 player, and a bit rushed because I wanted to have time for our game of StarCraft later. One player immediately went for the 4 evil cards for 2 points in the first hand, so I tried to stick him with the Angel to remove some of his evil cards. I waited too long, though, and the last half of the game he wasn't winning any tricks. So he took 2 points. The second hand, we got the king to draw 3 more cards, which resulted in a point for any evil cards, or a point for no evil cards, as well as a point for fewest tricks. The player who collected all the evil cards won handily after this (and I lost horribly. I begrudgingly won almost every trick that hand!). This is a pretty neat game, very different from, most trick takers. It's not something I'd seek out as a trick taking game, but it's a game I'd seek out to play more. I think it's fun.

So after that, we played 5-player StarCraft: The Board Game. Unfortunately, the night before I had spent time putting the expansion in, thinking we would play with it. Nope, I spent the setup and part of the rules explanation, and even some parts of gameplay, slowly removing expansion components from the game until everything had been mostly reset. Now my box is a horrid mess and I need to clean it up when I next have a chance. Anyways, aside from that, we actually didn't take too long, about the expected play length, and with 2 new players.

We're trying to get a few plays of StarCraft in, because I have Forbidden Stars coming in December with 504, and we'd like to have both fresh in our minds for comparison. Hopefully this means more StarCraft in the future. Oh, and I lost my rulebook, so last week we had to borrow the rules from a friends' copy. Not sure what I did with that.

At any rate, we did do one thing wrong, which we recognized from the beginning, but decided to go with in order to make the game go as fast as it did (ended in 4 rounds instead of 6-8 rounds), and that was we gave out an event card to each player during the start of play an event card phase.

I played the Zerg, and the missing faction was the second Terran. The only research I ever acquired was Metamorpohosis, where essentially when I'm the attacker and my front-line zerg kills the opponent, I get bonus health (and usually live). This worked surprisingly well and my Zerg/Scourge combination got me far, far enough to win by special victory condition of holding 3 areas with conquest points. We all loved it, even the new players, which is a great sign for future plays. I am excited to play this again.


Last Monday, our pastor's wife celebrated her birthday. I got volunteered to hang out with the pastor while he watched kids, which was a mixed blessing. The help was definitely worthwhile, as there was a fair amount of chaos (not too much, but a lot), and dinner time was chaotic. But we also got to play Mage Wars Arena. I played as Beastmaster and he was the Priestess (one of my favorite mages). I rushed the game a bit, running in with my Mage and early creatures. But he dispeled my staff, leaving me weak, and he had so much armor and Aegis going on, that even with buffing, I had a hard time hitting him. And he pacified my best creatures, so I was quickly running myself up a creek. Still, I at least dealt him significant damage before he finished me off. He loved it, so hopefully that means we can play more, and maybe I'll get to try out the expansion mages sometime soon.

I also finished another 504 PBF. This time it was world 618. I claimed my capital without reading the rules for this one, and it was a bad idea (but I just didn't have the time). This world was really difficult to balance your goals. In many of the other worlds, your goals go hand in hand (VP goal, income goal, and... let's call it engine building goal), but this one, they were 3 distinct goals. You wanted to build your roads out to score points, and while it made your game more efficient, building roads hurt your income too much. So you wanted to use your residents to build plants and spread out, to build up the cash flow, as well as your engine to build more residents so you could actually expand more each turn. But now your at odds with where you build roads or plants or move your trolley based on what gives the best income, or best points, or just expanding for the sake of faster expansion. The balance of these three for this world was fascinating, and I won't recommend this for a first 504 world, but I would definitely recommend it as one of the more challenging worlds to play well.

I am now playing on wolrd 375.


Finally, we ended the week with a 4-player 1889 on my PnP copy. 2 people were new to the game, and I know enough about 1889 that my usual recommendations (don't overspend on privates to afford to solo float a company, don't own more than 20% of another player's company) don't work so well in the beginning for this game, given how light on money everybody is.

One person ended up with both the $80 and $150 privates, so he was so cash poor he couldn't float anything on his own. He ended up not being president until the latter half of the game. Another player only got the cheapest private, so he was rich enough to get 60% in his own company, and then buy 10% in mine and the other player's company. Had he not done so, our companies wouldn't have floated in the first SR, and he would've been well ahead, but he wanted to make the game interesting, especially as a learning game for us.

One rule I had forgotten (I tried all day to reread the rules and was quashed at every attempt) was the ability to trade in trains for credit for a Diesel, and this definitely affected things, but we still had fun nonetheless.

At the end of the game, I was doing really well, but I had two companies that had 3 3-trains and a 4-train between them. Somebody was about to buy a 6-train, which would rust all my 3's. I prepped myself to buy the second 6-train and then force purchase the Diesel. One of my companies was in the only blocked city for an entire island run with a Diesel, so it would've been running for about $730 or so per run, well worth it. Unfortunately, the person who bought a 6 train bought both of them! So now I'm going to have to force buy 2 Diesel trains!

Then we got to the stock round, and it got worse. There was one other company that was going to be in trouble when I had to force buy a Diesel, cause he had only 2 4-trains. He dumped the company on me, which meant I would be forced to buy in to 3 diesels. Oh no! Now, he did forget the specifics of the force buy and president contributions, specifically missing the part where I could buy a train from another company as long as I wasn't using president funds to do so. So thinking I'd be going bankrupt in the first set of OR's, he sold virtually all of his stocks, tanking the stock market. What actually happened was I split the 3 4-trains amongst my 3 companies, and ran for as much profit as I could until the end of the 2nd of 3 ORs when a Diesel was purchased. So I force paid for one Diesel, and then shuffled it. Only losing stock value in the last OR before the game ended. I ended with a close 2nd, by about $150 behind the player who wasn't president of anything until the last half of the game.
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14. Board Game: Vault Wars [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:2246]
Board Game: Vault Wars
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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Board Game: Vault Wars
Board Game: Tiny Epic Galaxies
Board Game: Pairs
Board Game: Mü and Lots More
Board Game: Roll for the Galaxy
Board Game: Android: Netrunner


Vault Wars NEW!
Tiny Epic Galaxies x3
Pairs x2
Mü & Lots More (Nyet!)
Roll for the Galaxy x3
Android: Netrunner x7

Only one new game this past week. I was certainly interested in Vault Wars when I first heard about it, but not enough to want my own copy, especially since another in my game group was KSing it. They brought their copy to game night and we got a chance to try it.

In short, there's a lot about it I like. I'm a fan of the mixed known/unknown information in each vault, I like the fact that each player gets a chance to be auctioneer with each vault, and I like the balance of spending coin on storing goods vs. selling them vs. equipping them. Outside of the minor gripe of it perhaps running a little long, I enjoyed quite a bit of our play.

But I also had some qualified complaints with the game as-is as well. I was not a fan of the vault cards that had radically different auction rules from the regular X item cards, Y visible and Z peeked at (stuff like a Blind Bid, some odd timing re-jiggering for the auctioneer, and the like). What it felt like was an artifact of too much play testing by only one or two groups, who played enough to get bored of the base idea and who wanted more variety in the game: If they weren't already baked in to the base design, I would have easily called them an expansion. While they weren't a negative add to the game, I felt like they added an additional layer of complexity to the game that would be welcome if it was our 5th or 6th play of the game, but that just slowed us down on our first.

I also had the most paralyzing case of AP that I've ever had figuring out the mechanics of my final turn (not helped by the addition of a KS special item that changed things up a bit) where I had a hell of a time figuring out what I should keep vs. what I could lose vs. what I was able to keep with my remaining money vs. what I could lose based on that information and so on and so forth. I spent a good minute or two completely deadlocked until I finally threw up my hands went with my gut. I NEVER get AP, so it was a very strange surprise that I got so hung up on it, and thus what makes it so notable.

In the end, though, I won by a pretty good margin, so I must have been doing something right. I'll definitely try this one again, but my first play gave me some reservations about the design and I'll be curious to see if they hold up over additional plays.
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15. Board Game: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Battling Warriors Game [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Battling Warriors Game
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Tides of Time 3
Risk: Star Wars Edition 2
Trieste 2 NEW!
Catacombs (incomplete play) NEW!
Dead Drop 1
Magic: The Gathering – Arena of the Planeswalkers NEW! 1
Summoner Wars: Master Set 1
Thunderstone Advance: Caverns of Bane 1
Thunderstone Advance: Into the Abyss 1
Thunderstone Advance: Root of Corruption 1
Thunderstone Advance: Towers of Ruin 1
Thunderstone Advance: Worlds Collide 1
Tiny Epic Galaxies NEW! 1
Vault Wars 1

All those Thunderstone plays were just one game. I forget that there's an intelligent randomizer for Thunderstone. After this game, I won't forget. It was rough.

Trieste: This was a pleasant surprise. I'd been curious about it for awhile and was glad to try it out. The cards are a bit same-y, but the 3-player asymmetrical play is definitely interesting. I do wonder how random the game is and think it could really be an excellent game with some more development. Still, I would play this again, especially since I only got to try out one of the three roles.

Catacombs: This might be fun once I get the rules down. We played knowing it was a learning game. I am still unclear about some stuff and need to reread the rules. I'm sure it's fairly simple once you know what the hell you're looking at symbol-wise.

Magic: The Gathering – Arena of the Planeswalkers: This was boring and not just because I am not an Ameritrasher. You just mindlessly move around the board and then roll dice. Even my Ameritrash friend was bored by it.

Him while setting up: "I forget why I never play this."

Him while we were playing: "Now I remember why I never play this."


Tiny Epic Galaxies: I complained about this last week. In sum, I really wanted to like it and think it's a great in concept, but the gameplay was slow.

On My Mind:
Matt and I watched Masters of the Universe. He had seen it before; unsurprisingly, I had not. It was hilariously awful. Also, it had Courteney Cox in it. Who knew?

As some of you may have seen on Facebook, Matt built the dog a ramp since her previous stairs broke. She simply uses the middle part as a launching pad since she is too much of a chickenshit to go up/down it properly.

Edit: I downloaded the Camel Up app for my iPad. I hadn't played it before and figured $5 was worth it to try it out. Overall, not a bad game. I think it's pretty random, but I can see why this would be good for families though I'm not sure it deserved the SdJ over Splendor. I would consider picking it up to play with my parents if I found it for a cheap enough price.
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16. Board Game: Shakespeare [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:492]
Board Game: Shakespeare
Fabrice Dubois
France
La Garenne Colombes
Hauts de Seine
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10 Android:Netrunner x3
9 Shakespeare x6 (8 plays so far)

On Android:Netrunner: we are back into business after a few months of break. Why ? Because the sealed format is available (anrsealed.com) and it is pure fun. We are experiencing the true netrunner again, when we were looking for good and meaningful opportunities to run. Less runs mean that each player have the time to develop his game and the traps are valuable again.

On Shakespeare: my wife played her first game yesterday evening and she was hooked. Today, i had the pleasure to receive at work a SMS from her saying "i would like to play this game again".

On my mind :
Narcos : i have watched the #7 episode and it is still stunning.

Halt and Catch Fire season 2 : we will have to watch at the final episode at some point .
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17. Board Game: Who's Having This Baby Anyway? [Average Rating:3.90 Unranked]
Board Game: Who's Having This Baby Anyway?
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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Top 5 Games I'm Looking Forward to Playing With Raffi

Note, I'm going with the games I'm looking forward to playing the soonest. I hope he grows into a gamer and plays StarCraft and stuff with me, but these are the ones I'm most looking forward to playing soonish.

5. Candy Land
Probably unexpected, but it's a touchstone game culturally and I played it a lot as a kid. It's also his first game, as my mom was super excited to give it to me as a gift when he was born. It'll teach colors and taking turns, winning and losing, etc so I'm looking forward to a few games.

4. Labyrinth
First game that I bought for him, and I've played with a friend's young kids so I know it'll be a sooner rather than later game. I actually enjoyed this, and would probably be willing to play as a filler with grown ups.

3. Ticket to Ride
A family favorite, and another one I know will be age appropriate pretty soon. Again, my friend's kid has been playing since she was about 4 (with some rules tweaks) and Katie and I both like this one.

2. Rory's Story Cubes
I hope to encourage creativity in him, as it's something I always wish I had more of. These look like lots of fun.

1. Dungeons & Dragons
Can't wait. I hope he has in interest in trying this with friends one day. I was either in late high school or early college when my younger brother asked to play this. I ran a small adventure for him and his friends and it was so much fun.
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18. Board Game: Mega Civilization [Average Rating:8.26 Overall Rank:988]
Board Game: Mega Civilization
Dave K
United States
Austin
Texas
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Apparently Pegasus Spiele is bringing copies of this to BGG.CON and they'll be somewhere in the range of 200 euros, so maybe around $230 USD.

On one hand, that's a lot of money for a game that won't see much play. On the other hand, that's less than it will go for in the US unless it somehow manages to get distribution here, which seems unlikely.

I'm torn as I probably could afford it based on what I have sold on the virtual flea market there, but I really have no idea how much I'd enjoy the whole calamity-card driven trade setup. I like the idea of the regular Civilization more than Advanced Civilization, I guess. And this one is clearly based on Advanced.
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