GCL Mafia 249: Writer's Block
Philip Newman
United States
Plano
Texas
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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 August 3 - August 9, 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 (usually, but not always, game-related) is posed by the previous poster and answered by the current poster.

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1. Board Game: Writer's Block [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked]
From gallery of AngbandKing
Philip Newman
United States
Plano
Texas
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It's National Novel Writing Month... Are you participating this year? Any aspirations as a writer?
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2. Board Game: Roll & Write Word Game [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Roll & Write Word Game
Philip Newman
United States
Plano
Texas
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How important is good writing to you in games? Have you made any purchases because of good writing? Avoided games because of poorly written rulebooks or poorly edited card text?
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3. Board Game: Dudley Do-Right's Find Snidely Game [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Dudley Do-Right's Find Snidely Game
Philip Newman
United States
Plano
Texas
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Favorite Writers?
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4. Board Game: The Price Is Right [Average Rating:4.71 Overall Rank:18854]
Board Game: The Price Is Right
Philip Newman
United States
Plano
Texas
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In lieu of a game of the week:

Essen has come and gone, and BGG.con is a couple weeks away. What board game are you most likely to purchase this month?
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5. Board Game: Food Chain Magnate [Average Rating:8.15 Overall Rank:28]
Board Game: Food Chain Magnate
Dave K
United States
Austin
Texas
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Board Game: Time's Up! Title Recall!
Board Game: Arkham Horror: The Black Goat of the Woods Expansion
Board Game: Arkham Horror
Board Game: 42
Board Game: Saint Petersburg
Board Game: Brass: Lancashire
Board Game: Food Chain Magnate


A great week for gaming. Yay!

thumbsup  Robin's Time's Up! Horror Title Recall! NEW!
 9.5   Food Chain Magnate NEW!
 6   42 NEW!

 7   Arkham Horror: The Black Goat of the Woods Expansion
 7.5   Arkham Horror
 9   Saint Petersburg
 10   Brass

Starting off with the new heavy-hitter: Food Chain Magnate. It's Splotter's first game in about 3 years and I was wondering if they could keep up their tradition of high-quality heavy games... and the answer based on my first play is a resounding yes. It's a lighter rules set than many (most?) Splotter titles, but the game itself is packed with hard decisions, multiple valid paths to victory. As the manual even warns you, a single big mistake can cost you very dearly, so it does invite a bit of AP at critical junctions, but it's still shorter overall than most of their titles.

I went with the "Sonic" approach - I specialized in selling drinks, and I was able to get a cluster of houses desperate for my products with some tactical marketing placements, and I cleaned up since the nearest person to me was focused on high-end burgers (and was thus not in a good position to mess with me without totally messing up his own sales). The third person was generalizing, and while he was consistently selling stuff, it just wasn't bringing him quite enough money to push him into the lead.

Great game - I highly recommend giving it a try. It's more thematic than most Splotter titles, with the cutesy 50s restaurant graphics giving it a more friendly character than usual. It also can realistically play in 2-3 hours, which is an easier time investment too.

Robin made a custom version of Time's Up for Halloween, which was a good time. I still don't like the first round of that game much (not being able to skip always costs you a turn if you just don't know one of the titles) but it's still a relatively good party game if you have an outgoing crowd.

Arkham Horror (with the Black Goat expansion) was a good time and astoundingly fast. We had a group of 4 that all knew how to play, and the game ended in just under 90 minutes. FOR REALS. We were really fortunate and were able to close every gate and had exactly enough gate tokens to win. It was against Yig, who is probably the easiest big baddie in AH, but I still feel pretty darn good about this victory. laugh

I think the Black Goat expansion is fun but it's one of the least "noticeable" of all of them. If you don't get anyone membership in the cult, it doesn't affect the game all that much, as the new monsters don't do all that much differently and the new encounters are largely in line with the old ones. So it's definitely not bad, but nor does it really change the game significantly.

42 is a trick-taker using dominoes, which I was interested in trying, and while I'm glad I got to play it... I was kind of let down. In most trick takers there's not a huge amount to do when you get a bad deal, but in this I felt like there was almost nothing to do when you got a bad one. The rounds where I did have at least a decent hand were considerably better. I'd play again, but my expectations are pretty tempered compared to before.

Brass was my first play with 3, and I'm going to keep my score for the game at a solid 10, but I think it's much better with the full suite of 4. In a 3-player game it feels like you have to generalize too much, and the game loses some of the sharp focus it has in a 4p match. I won't refuse to play with 3 again, but I will actively push for 4 over it.

Saint Petersburg, however, works fine with 3. We had a strange game where almost everything sold in equal amounts, and so almost all the decks were fully played through. We had 9-8-6 for the noble counts, which was rather outrageous, and the scores were extremely high overall. I'm interested in trying the new edition with the market sometime soon too.


On My Mind:

BGG.CON is the big fun thing. I'm excited about it and it's hard to believe it has come up so quickly.

We had some crazy rain here in Austin this last weekend, and unfortunately our roof didn't take it so well. I'm going through the process of talking with insurance and repair places about it... bleh. The not-so-fun part of adulthood.

My friend ran a little Halloween event where we played a couple small adventures using the old Ghostbusters tabletop RPG rules & scenarios (which Sandy Petersen of Call of Cthulhu renown wrote) and had a good time. We might push for a movie night for that sometime soon, as many of us haven't seen it in several years. (For me it has been more than a decade.)
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6. Board Game: Splendor [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:158]
Board Game: Splendor
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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Short week for me. For various reasons, people in my group could not meet to play games. So, instead I played 2-player games with a friend yesterday.

Roll for the Galaxy -- I always forget that you're supposed to roll an extra phase in the 2-player variant of the game. We did not, and I only remembered it's a thing as I was writing up my summary of the game. I tried to go Aliens, but after a few explores I only found a 6-cost Alien world. Ouch. Luckily I also found a +Explore development for 5 (+Explorer and +YellowExplorer). I built that as quick as possible, and then spammed explore to get the tiles I wanted. Once I had that direction, I focused on Developing and Settling, and managed to score a solid 60 points, winning by about 20.

Splendor -- I suck at Splendor. Thankfully, I suck slightly less than my opponent does. I ended up winning by a single point, and the next turn he could have pushed out a couple more points than me (he also botched a move that could have given him the win).

-------

On my mind:
Scythe is a thing. I decided to see if Jamey Stegmaier was interested in doing a Q&A session on Reddit, and he agreed. So, if you like those types of things, drop by on Tuesday afternoon. As an aside, much like what Raffi and Charlie said, Jamey's a great guy to work with. Prompt and clear communication, and a general pleasant attitude.

I don't imagine I'll have much gaming to report this next week either. My older brother is getting married, so Marion and I will be flying out on Thursday (when I usually game). We're very excited. I'll report in more detail next week on the very off chance that my brother reads this.

Not much else happening here. I'm avoiding homework, as all good graduate students do. I started The Name of the Wind on Friday. So far it's an excellent story, and it deserves all the accolades I've heard about it.
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7. Board Game: The Gallerist [Average Rating:8.04 Overall Rank:55]
Board Game: The Gallerist
Jeffrey Drozek-Fitzwater
United States
Houston
Texas
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Mage Knight Board Game: I... just don't know anymore. I'm not having fun with this game like I was, and it's 100% due to the fact I feel like I'm playing crappy. We did a cooperative scenario and got beat to an embarrassing degree (Volkare just walked into the city because we couldn't conquer it). It didn't help Abbie was kind of a bad teammate, but... I felt like I used to be kind of decent at this, now I just think I suck. And that's not fun.

Acquire: It had been a very long time since I got to play a full six-person game of Acquire, so I was excited. Most of the players were new, making me a little nervous someone would get left out in the cold, which can happen in six players. Well, I was the one left out in the cold. Two early mergers that went against me left me out of cash before anyone else. I had a small interest in a small chain nobody else seemed to care about; when it was finally acquired, I collected the minority bonus and decided to keep the stock, knowing I could revive it again. That ended up being key, as the second iteration of the chain ended up being bigger than the first. That money allowed me to buy into minority status of one of the safe corporations, and the first merger, the one where my chain acquired someone else's when they were equal, helped make my chain grow all the way to 41 through very little of my own effort. I ended up winning big, much to my surprise.

The Gallerist: Ah, Vital. First of all, the components are wonderful and the game is a joy just to look at. It really is. And the gameplay? It's there. It's funny how Lacerda can take generally the same concept (try to anticipate what your opponent is going to do, take advantage of their work before they can) and spin it into different, fresh games. Like any other Lacerda game, I'm sure we got 20% of the rules wrong, but I'm happy to play it again. However, I get the feeling it's much better with four than three.

Julius Caesar: Caesar, Pompey, and the Roman Civil War: Abbie and I switched roles from our first game, with me taking Pompey and her Caesar. The first time, Pompey scored a Pyrrhic (get it? Because Rome) victory in taking Rome, an error I did not want to repeat. Both of us had an eye toward Asia Minor; I had the advantage with troops in Antioch and Alexandria. She got to Byzantium first, but I took Athens and Ephesus. I set up a defensive front on Sicily and feinted a march on Massilia to distract from my real prize, Byzantium. It worked, but Caesar's soldiers launched a fierce defense and repelled me. Incidentally, the force feinting on Massilia had much more success and now stood at their door. Abbie launched a counter-offensive on Utica, and this is where the game was decided: She was unable to conquer the single defensive block, surrendering a leader and giving me the 10th point I needed to win. A final desperate attempt to capture Ephesus was turned back and I was victorious.

Star Wars: The Card Game: Abbie took the Jedi to my Sith. I had a stranglehold on the Force struggle, quickly increasing the Death Star dial. But she was doing a lot of damage on my objectives. She needed to do a single point of objective damage to win and my DS dial was only at 7. I was in dire straits. I go full defensive and deploy a number of units with tactical damage. I Force choke Obi-Wan to death. I use every trick up my sleeve to run out the clock. And it worked! Until Abbie played a card that allowed her to win the Force struggle with the DS dial was at 10. I had to hold off one more turn. I could not.
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8. Board Game: Fast Car [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Fast Car
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Campaign Manager 2008 2
The Grizzled 2
Pandemic Legacy 2
Biblios 1
Blood Rage 1 NEW!
Dimension 1
Dungeon Petz 1
Evolution + Flight 1
Ginkgopolis 1
Grand Cru 1 NEW!
King of Tokyo + Power Up! + Halloween 1
Wizard 1

Blood Rage: As I mentioned in last week's list, I enjoyed this. It really is more Euro-y than Ameritrash-y as, at its core, it's an area majority game that includes some drafting, goals to score points, and upgrade (tech?) trees. It's confrontational, but not in the arbitrary way that annoys me. Combat isn't entirely random and the cards help you choose a directoin to go (à la Agricola). Admittedly, the miniatures add some nice flavor to the game and you can't help but to be excited when you throw down those big, chunky monsters. I likely won't buy the game, but I'd be happy to play it again.

Grand Cru: And, in the games totally not like Blood Rage in mechanics or spirit category, this was a pretty thinky economic game. It went on a little long, but once we got the hang of it, it had some cool aspects of buying vineyards, harvesting then aging the grapes, and trying to decide when was best to optimize sales. Things can get vicious too as you screw over others by forcing the round to end or out-selling them in a particular varietal. I realize this does not sound nearly as compelling as "SLAP DOWN YOUR FIRE GIANT AND SEND SOME VIKINGS TO VALHALLA - OH GLORIOUS DEATH!!!" but it was fun in its own way. I'd be willing to play it again, but I am not sure I'd ask for it.

On My Mind:
I am also going to a wedding this week, which may hinder my gaming time. It's also going to hinder my grading time, but who cares about that?
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9. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:167] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Board Game: Ticket to Ride
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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Light week.

Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride
Just two iOS games on the flight to Florida. I lost one, which is embarrassing. It's kind of neat how the different NPCs play different common strategies. The app worked really well. It was the first time I actually played it despite buying it long ago when it was on sale. The San Juan app seems to have broken in the last iOS update which was annoying since I had a captive wife willing to learn it.

On my Mind
I've been picked up as a paid writer for BoardGamePrices.com. They don't do reviews yet, as their site is primarily a price aggregator. It's sort of neat how this whole thing has happened. Ben, the guy who owns the site, reached out to me forever ago asking if I'd read an article and share it on reddit if I enjoyed it, reaching out to me only because I'm super active and he recognized my user name.modest At the time he didn't know how reddit worked and didn't have an account. We've kept in touch back and forth since then, with him approaching me various times asking if I knew writers, graphic artists, etc which I have connected him with a few times. One of the times he was looking for writers I mentioned I couldn't commit to what he was asking at the time but would be willing to do a one-off here and there if the opportunity came up. That opportunity came up in the form of a review of BattleBin, one of those monthly mystery box-of-the-month clubs. He liked it, and now I'm in as an independent contractor and can kind of write at my leisure. The format he wants things posted in is a little different than the way I naturally write, but it's an awesome opportunity and I'm super excited about it.

The first week of No Work November begins now. Raffi and I are hanging out in Florida at my parent's while Katie has a two week business trip to start her return to work. She's not happy, but it's definiteyl rip the bandaid off type situation which is good I guess. Unlikely to get much gaming in, though I did bring some stuff to see if I could get the family to bite.
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10. Board Game: Clockwork Wars [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:2033]
Board Game: Clockwork Wars
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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Clockwork Wars x1
The Grizzled x1
Firefly: The Game – Kalidasa x1
Warfighter: The Tactical Special Forces Card Game x1


Reviews
Warfighter Wave 2 - The Footlocker review. The best box/storage solution expansion I've ever seen.

Mafia de Cuba Revolucion Expansion - Strong expansion with increased variety.


Light week for me. Clockwork Wars continues to rock my socks. The Grizzled is brilliant.

The Kalidasa expansion for Firefly is pretty interesting. I can definitely see my enjoyment rising with more going on in the game and new ship types. Doesn't drastically alter my opinion but it's nice.


On My Mind
T.I.M.E Stories this week. I'm kind of hoping we can finish it in a single session even though that's kind of shitty from a replayability/cost perspective. I think we're also playing the latest version of Beta Clink on Wednesday, which I'm woefully behind on.

I had a huge week on the review front. First off I scored a copy of Cthulhu Wars for review, which will be the most expensive game I've snagged thus far. I owe some of this to Raf for setting up the interview. I contacted a PR person of theirs and was given "We don't normally send out review copies, but because we have a Kickstarter going on and we like your writing.." So that was awesome. Have to review it by November 17th though so I'm going to be busy.

Also talked to Buonocore after sending him the link to my SC:AM review and he said let him know if I want anything else. Another reviewer mentioned he wasn't sending out review copies of 504 due to the cost, so I mentioned that in my email along with a request for Survive: Space Attack! He said he'd get me a copy of 504 as "other reviewers aren't Charlie Theel".

It's totally not my thing, but my interest lies in it from a meta/design perspective. If it works (which from all accounts it does) I think my review will be a positive one in appreciation for the design accomplishment. Totally no expectations of theme/setting/narrative from it though. My group, who do dig Euros occasionally, will appreciate me actually bringing one to the table for once.

I also got Waste Knights in the mail from the Polish Publisher and this game looks extremely interesting. It's like a Post Apocalypse Mad Max/Fallout adventure game. Bits/pieces/presentation reminds me of the weight of Arkham Horror. Some really neat stuff going on though including a crazy travel system by vehicle where an opponent plays as the bad guys, playing take that style event cards on you reminiscent of the dark cards in Android or the Crossroads cards in Dead of Winter. The combat system also reminds me of Forbidden Stars which is neat.
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11. Board Game: Castles of Mad King Ludwig: Secrets [Average Rating:7.33 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.33 Unranked]
Board Game: Castles of Mad King Ludwig: Secrets
Robin Levins
United States
Round Rock
TX
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Board Game: 42
Board Game: Castles of Mad King Ludwig: Secrets
Board Game: Ghost Blitz
Board Game: Arkham Horror
Board Game: Time's Up! Title Recall!


 9   42
 9   Castles of Mad King Ludwig: Secrets x3 NEW!
 9   Ghost Blitz
 8   Arkham Horror
 8   Time's Up! Title Recall!

Our weekly game night this week was fantastic - it really feels like it's come into its own. We did Halloween themed games, including a custom-made Halloween themed Time's Up: Title Recall! deck. Everyone seemed to have a great time, with the lone exception of one new person who had been here twice and made others a bit uncomfortable. Fortunately, I think this gentleman had decided board games are just not for him and he left early, sparing me the uncomfortable conversation of disinviting him in future events. Beyond that, though, people had a good time, and even hung out to chat afterwards. It really feels like it's become the event I want it to be, and that's awesome.

As Dave noted in his entry, Arkham Horror was a mixture of good luck and skillful execution, and we defeated Yig in lightning-fast time - under an hour, sealing four locations with no gates on the board and 4 gate trophies in hand with 4 players.

Kristen and I carved out some time to play Castles of Mad King Ludwig: Secrets, and it did not disappoint. The moats add some difficult decisions, and really constrain building choices in meaningful ways. The swans add some valuation considerations that are a nice addition to the game. The secret passages are neat as well. It definitely makes the game harder, but I can't imagine playing without these additions when playing with experienced players. It's well worth a look.

On My Person, On Halloween
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12. Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 [Average Rating:8.62 Overall Rank:2]
Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
Philip Newman
United States
Plano
Texas
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Plays since October 26, 2015

 10.   Dominion x8 (MF)
 8.5   Pandemic Legacy x2 NEW!
 10.   Brass (OOTH)

mith 4-1 Lekkit - Already linked it in last week's list, but now includes links to the logs.

Pandemic Legacy

Game 1 Spoilers:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
We started out with a lot of black cubes on the board, but Casey (Scientist) and Aerial (Medic) took care of that - in fact, we eradicated it. Yellow had the most cubes when our second epidemic hit, and Adam (Dispatcher) and I (Generalist) had to spend several turns just taking one cube from Los Angeles or Lima to avoid a chain reaction over there. Having to spend two actions on a single treat is a pain, but only having to cure three balances out the difficulty nicely. Anyway, we managed a pretty comfortable win with only one or two outbreaks. (I'm taking pictures at the end of each game, I'll check later.) We forgot to name black, we'll have to do that next session.

Upgrades: Positive Mutation for Black, Permanent Research Station in Delhi.

Game 2 contains February Spoilers.


Game 2 Spoilers:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Casey took the Quarantine Specialist, so she added a relationship with the Medic (family). She also took the first turn again. Setup had put some cubes in yellow - which is of course scary since we can't cure or treat now. But we also had a mess in Red (Ho Chi Minh City and Manila both had 3, and Jakarta had 2). We used our win bonus to remove one from HCMC, so Casey took off to quarantine a couple places in yellow... and then drew the first Epidemic, which hit in Hong Kong. Yikes. Pretty good chance of a three-outbreak chain reaction, which we did indeed hit, along with another outbreak in San Francisco. Yikes.

We recovered nicely despite that horrific start - Aerial (Medic again) fortunately had the next turn and was able to clean up some of that mess. We got a lot of quarantine markers down in Red, and then started putting out fires in blue. Despite me (Scientist) not drawing the right colors at all (I contributed two cards to other people curing, and that was it), we held on to get cures to Adam (Dispatcher again) and Casey, and just needed to survive to Casey's turn. Adam's draw was the first two from the bottom fifth of the deck, so we had a 2/9 chance of hitting the last epidemic (which would have killed us), but we survived that for another win.

After two months, we only have one rioting city (New York) and no scars. We also have no funding for next month, so that's a little scary, but the upgrades will help.

Upgrades: Pilot on Dispatcher, Local Connections on Medic.

Game 3 will contain March spoilers.


Loving it so far. I'm already thinking of ways to apply the legacy twists in a non-legacy way to the base game.
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13. Board Game: PitchCar [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:374]
Board Game: PitchCar
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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Fürstenfeld
PitchCar
Planet Steam
Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age

No picky players this week, so it was really easy to get games to the table.

I had PitchCar setup right away, because I was anxious to try out a couple runs of it, see how long it took, see how a few different rules options would work, all in preparation for the PitchCar tournament at NazCon. I'm very happy my game group obliged, and they definitely had fun. After the second race (3 laps followed by 2 laps for each race), they were done with it, so I think the length I've designated for the tournament will be good. I also had them only testing the base game, no expansions. I think I'll stick to that for the preliminaries tournament, but add in some extra track for a slightly more interesting finalist track, but still leave out the jump and tunnel this year.

I got home late, so I was eating supper through the first game, but jumped in on the second game. I had last starting position, and stalled out for 3 rounds cause I couldn't stay on the board. But somehow I still managed to catch up and I think take 3rd overall out of 5. Most of them were flicking too hard, and I read a thread on 'flicking strategy', which while amusing, is very accurate. I should probably print that out to have available at the con.

Fürstenfeld
Next, we played something shortish, but new and fun. One of our gamers remembers this as the one that I advertise as "I still can't beat my wife at Furstenfeld." This is a very light economic game themed around producing resources to sell at breweries with a volatile market. The trick is you need to build your palace to win the game, but the earlier you build your palace, the weaker your economy. The later you build your palace, the more expensive it is. I started relatively early, but also had a very slow start with poor card draw, so I had to get ahead somewhere. I was doing decent, but not great, until I overbuilt the wrong building and my economy tanked. On the second to last turn, I groaned as I drew two palace cards, and was $2 short of building one. That meant the other would go to the bottom of my deck (as I can only keep one in hand), essentially guaranteeing my loss. But it was fun. I'm realizing through plays of games like Furstenfeld, 1817, and Planet Steam, that one of my favorite mechanics are games where I can buy and sell goods at a market controlled by the players and their buying and selling. I just love manipulating markets.

Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age
We had a player showing up late, so we pulled this game out to fill the time. I don't get this to the table often, and have very few plays of it, but I forget how much I do enjoy this die rolling game. It's a really good one. This was also slightly unusual in how this game played out...

I kept starving my people, never being able to roll enough food. But I was doing really well with rolling goods. Two or three times I got the disaster result that makes all of my opponents lose 3 points, which definitely helped my score, and I went for an economy strategy, buying the developments that make coins worth 12 instead of 7, and not having to discard goods. Then I eventually bought the two most expensive developments for their points (8 each, plus a bonus point for each city/monument). The only monument built the entire game, though, was a single early pyramid. I normally see a lot more workers. The end-game scores I think were -2, 0, 11, and 19. I had 19, and the player who had 11 ended it, knowing he wasn't winning, but not wanting to fall further behind. I had one turn after he ended it, which gave me... I think 9 points, so it was actually closer than it looked (and cost me all of my goods).

Planet Steam
We wrapped up the night with Planet Steam. This was a 5-player game, my second 5 player game. All I remembered from my first was, much like this, most players were new, and the game was so... crazy... that I don't know what advice I could've given before the game started. This play was much the same. So what I've come to learn is 5-player games are very crazy, I wouldn't say chaotic, cause it's not so, even if it might seem so, but it is definitely crazy with wide swings in resource value and quantity round to round.

The first round was huge, most of the tanks sold, and we still wanted more. All of the quartz sold, as people wanted to appreciate its price and sell it back for profit. And surprisingly, people bought all of the energy too! The price of energy went from something like 7 or 8, down to 2, back up to where it started by the end of the round! And because the energy was depleted, we had no new tanks, and I was counting on several new tanks entering the market. Also, 4 of the 5 of us bought a luxury quarters

So the second round, I made sure I got early in turn order to ensure one of the last luxury quarter. One player made the mistake of bidding big for 1st player, but then didn't have the water to buy what he needed, and was further screwed by the market having no supply when he wanted to buy something, or being worth too little to sell what he had. That effectively ruined his second and third turns, which is half the game for 5 players.

I managed to afford my second luxury quarters, but so did everybody who could've afforded them in the last round, and they sold out.

The game continued to progress, and money was often tight, but I found in the 2nd or 3rd round an influx of cash, something like $90 for selling an abundance of water, which allowed me to manipulate markets through the end of the game for victory. But people were close. I think second was within $25 of me. I had over $500 I think for my final score.

I really love Planet Steam, and I enjoy it immensely at any player count from 3-5, and they are all very different experiences. I still want to try adding in some of the small expansion/variant components, and the starting rules other than using the diagram on the back of the rules booklet.

On My Mind:
NazCon
NazCon is this coming weekend, Friday and Saturday, so I've been scrambling to get everything in order for it. Our house is turning into a mess as I have games and computers and such strewn about. I've finished most of the work I need to do for tournaments and preparations. Mid-week I'll start hauling my games to the church to setup for Artemis and the Games Library. I still need to assemble each Dominion tableau for the Dominion tournament. I'm hoping we get good turnouts for the tournaments. We have a few dozen people involved in a math trade on Saturday, so I'm hoping that's a good sign for numbers on attendance. We had 40+ and 60+ in years 1 and 2. This year I'm hoping for 80+. We'll see what we do in the future if we need to start capping space, or other means of fundraising (since so far we haven't charged for admission, asking for donations only). I'll probably miss game night this week, mostly for church leadership meetings, but also because I'll be focused on final preparations for the convention.

I'm also looking forward to re-arranging my games on the shelves when the con is over.

Tough Mudder
I ran my second tough mudder (5th overall mud run I think?) on Halloween morning. It was with work, and they were a great team. This was our strategy to finish together:
1. Meet at the obstacle
2. Send Travis over fist
3. Travis continues on
4. Catch up to Travis
5. Wait for Travis at the next obstacle
6. Repeat until done.
But I inspired one guy to "stop running or training for these events" and had lots of comments on how well I do on the obstacles. I was proud of myself this time, not failing on any obstacle. On a scale of 1-5, I'd say I'm a 4 on overcoming obstacles, 2 on running (just barely a 2, I was able to finish the race, otherwise I'd be a 1). Halfway through, I started cramping up (10.3 miles this year), so I stopped running and just did walking/power walking throughout. Though that didn't stop the cramps on hills... It hurt, but I finished. I still have a goal to actually get in shape and better at running between events so maybe I can actually be more competitive or even feel like finishing the race is no longer a challenge. But I had fun for sure.
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14. Board Game: Food Chain Magnate [Average Rating:8.15 Overall Rank:28]
Board Game: Food Chain Magnate
Fabrice Dubois
France
La Garenne Colombes
Hauts de Seine
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 10  6 nimmt x2 (21 plays so far)
 9  Shakespeare x1 (11 plays so far)
 8  The Castles of Burgundy x1 (19 plays so far)
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15. Board Game: One Night Revolution [Average Rating:6.15 Overall Rank:3414]
Board Game: One Night Revolution
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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Board Game: Witch's Brew
Board Game: One Night Revolution
Board Game: Fearsome Floors
Board Game: Dead Drop


Witch's Brew
One Night Revolution x6
Fearsome Floors
Dead Drop

No new games this past week, but we did finish out October with some spooky games in old favorites Witch's Brew and Fearsome Floors. Also got a chance to get One Night Revolution back to the table for a good handful of plays; it's starting show how inflexible in can be in comparison to the other One Night games.

In ONUW, it's not terribly difficult to come up with an alibi or strategy if you find you're a werewolf. For example, "Bluff Troublemaker" is pretty tried-and-true, and though it is susceptible to the actual troublemaker calling you out, it does usually create enough confusion to give you cover to sneak under. But since the specialists are always out in ONR, it's never a question of "if" when it comes to stuff happening at night, but "who" (and by extension, "when").

This tends to make a game-state where things feel a lot more solvable as long as the Resistance members put their heads together (which happens with some frequency in my groups). The counter to this is usually that some resistance member is most likely no longer a resistance member after the night phase if you're playing with Re-assignor and/or Thief, but it hasn't really sunk in to my meta yet to keep quiet on the off chance you were switched, which leads to most people speaking up (truthfully) about their nighttime activities, which makes it really easy to determine who was lying and calling them out.

We've thus far only switched up the Specialist selection for one or two games (swapping Signaller for Revealer), but I think for our group we're going to need to tilt it back towards a "helps informants" configuration by getting rid of Signallers and adding more Thieves/Re-assignors and/or potentially Confirmers.

In conclusion, I'm still liking the game but am having trouble adjusting for the steeper learning curve for Informants in comparison to ONUW.
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16. Board Game: Pick 'N' Choose [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:8863]
Board Game: Pick 'N' Choose
Robin Levins
United States
Round Rock
TX
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Rolling dice and taking grains!
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Poll: What should I call my board game group?
I need help in determining a better name than "Thursday Night Game Group". What's your favorite of these choices? Or do you have any other ideas?
What should I call my regular Thursday night game group?
      6 answers
Poll created by Thesp
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17. Board Game: Mai-Star [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:2799]
Board Game: Mai-Star
Timothy Hunt
United States
St Louis
Missouri
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Board Game: TAJ
Board Game: Mai-Star


N/A  TAJ
N/A  Mai-Star NEW!

Went to a venue for our board game group that I don't normally visit, in order to meet some of the regulars there. That venue, an independent coffee shop, is wanting to cut their hours some, so we're trying to find out if people are OK with the reduced hours or would prefer an alternate venue.

Mai-Star is an interesting little game, but I think needs more plays to really get it, because I need to understand what the cards can do more effectively.

TAJ was this time played with 3, which was an improvement over 2. I know people have asked me my opinions on the whole set - I think I'd like to play each game at least twice before making a pronouncement.

On my mind.

Finally finished being a mod at /r/boardgames. I'm still in some private mod-related discussions to help with the transition, but it's generally a good feeling to no longer need to care

And sickness. Oh, so much sickness. The whole household has been sick this week to varying degrees with coughs/colds/ear infections and the like. I was pretty much out for the count for two whole days. Bleagh. I'm on the tail end of it now, but have a cough I just can't shift.

Trick or treating was fun. Benjamin was an elephant. And in St Louis, it's apparently a thing that kids have to tell a joke when trick-or-treating. Benjamin had a joke that he will repeat if he's in the mood, but he's still shy with strangers. He did say it twice, but he's so quiet he could hardly be heard. So we told it for him: "Humpty Dumpty had a lousy summer, but he was determined to have a great fall"

From gallery of Timotheous
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