GCL Phoenix 264: What a Good Boy (2016-01-24)
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Welcome to the Phoenix Game Chat League!

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The Hair Shirts
archivists
darker
Dormammu
familygaming
hawk-x-
indigopotter
karlfast
Lowengrin
Morganza
ravenskana*
rynelf
Smintie
Taibi
tjshields
woodnoggin

*next week's conductor.


The Wool Shirts
BennyD, Bruzza, chally, Eeeville, enzo622, Hawkeye77, JohnRayJr, judoka, leroy43, Mr_Nuts, topherr, Yokiboy


Introduction

What a Good Boy is one of my favourite Barenaked Ladies' songs. It might even be my favourite. It also happens to be a song that Marc referenced and applied to board gaming for it's use of a metaphorical hairshirt.



This name is the hairshirt I wear,
And this hairshirt is woven from your brown hair.
This song is the cross that I bear,
Bear it with me, bear with me, bear with me,
Be with me tonight,
I know that it isn't right, but be with me tonight.
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1. Board Game: The Shirt Tales Game [Average Rating:4.33 Unranked]
Board Game: The Shirt Tales Game
Lo
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Hairshirts. Marc has them. Martin has them. Jimmy has them (sort of). Maybe we all have them. Unplayed or under-played games sitting in our collections.

What are your unplayed or underplayed games? For argument's sake (and to keep lists a reasonable length), let's say "underplayed" is three or less complete games of any single game.

How long have they been sitting in your collection and why haven't they seen more plays? Any plays!?!
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2. Board Game: De Vulgari Eloquentia [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:1057]
Board Game: De Vulgari Eloquentia
Lo
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De Vulgari Eloquentia has been hanging round my neck and making me itchy for a couple years now. Anyone able to give me something, anything, to get it played?

And can you do anything about the games posted by others above? N
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3. Board Game: Shopping List [Average Rating:5.57 Overall Rank:15875]
Board Game: Shopping List
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Some of us refer to these compilations of unplayed/underplayed games much more bluntly: see Dave's List of shame: owned and played only once.

Should we be ashamed of having a long list of unplayed/underplayed games? Of having bought them and ignored them?

Or should we celebrate their purchase in the spirit of 21st Century Consumerism? Or for some other, more spiritual, reason?

Or maybe we really shouldn't get too hung up on having them at all.

Discuss.
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4. Board Game: Machi Koro: Deluxe Edition [Average Rating:7.07 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.07 Unranked]
Board Game: Machi Koro: Deluxe Edition
R. Eric Reuss
United States
Massachusetts
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 8   Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 x2
 7   Machi Koro: Deluxe Edition NEW!
    Unpublished Prototype

At Wednesday games:

I finally got to try Machi Koro. Despite the luck of the die being incredibly infuriating, the prospect of playing again appeals. ("Why?" is a question I'm genuinely asking myself. All I can I think is that the occasional payoffs were more fun than the constant irritation was irritating.) We were using some but not all expansion cards, so what buildings were available shifted turn-to-turn, so one couldn't necessarily hedge risk by acquiring uses for all numbers.

After that we playtested a coalition/negotiation game of Rob's. At the moment, it's themed around a monster nation attempting to figure out what their national anthem should be like. :-) While the scoring needed changes, the faction/coalition-building was fun, and worked way better than I'd thought it would from the rules.

After our double-defeat of two weeks ago, we came back for a double-win at Pandemic Legacy, defeating September and October. The latter game was a doozy, with extremely concentrated starting infection draws (almost as ludicrous as what Max described). We handled the early-game due to various special stuff, but shortly before Epidemic #2 something like 6 of the 8 cards in the infection discard would cause Outbreaks the next time they were drawn. And then Epidemic #3 came early! San Francisco blew up once, Los Angeles twice, and we avoided a catastrophic LA-Chicago chain reaction loss by just a turn or two. It was totally a "let any problem slide which won't end us (possibly by creating too many new problems)" game, but we pulled it out, as well as unleashing a flood of plot stuff. Really satisfying.

Spoilers for (May? June?):
Spoiler (click to reveal)
The ridiculously concentrated starting area for October was, of course, the CoDA region. We had only four actual disease cubes on the board at game start, everything else was Faded figures - and we hadn't lost that much territory to the Faded! Very high concentration. But we learned our lesson from last time, and while we made sure our starting loadout could handle Faded, it also could handle regular disease - good thing, too.

We ended up making use of the "if a city is 100% roadblocked in, it doesn't advance the Outbreaks counter", to buy time - one of the cities in SE South America blew up twice, but was fully contained.


Spoilers for fall:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
We have now opened all envelopes + boxes [except #8: "open if you lose 4 in a row"], though there's still mystery in the form of the plot deck. Spoilers for all game content except Nov/Dec plot deck:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
The core nature of the Big Twist wasn't a surprise - back when we started getting free military bases, a couple of us had speculated that CoDA might just be a big power grab by the military, and that we hoped building more bases wouldn't come back to bite us on the ass. We were unprepared for the strength of the twist, though: both the turncoat, and that we'd be able to actually destroy the military bases that now got in our way.

(The in-game rationale for the out-of-game "funding as game balance" mechanic generated much outrage - "keep them on the edge of success", indeed. )

Just before winning October, we just barely managed to build two of the new orange structures - partly because we were holding off until we could put them somewhere good. We got them both on the edge of CoDA territory, one of them in the same place as a research station. Needless to say, we made them permanent as our game-end upgrades, and feel like we're reasonably well situated to start cleaning up CoDA in November.

Oh, we also made use of the "heroic sacrifice" (spend action + take Scar to skip the infection step) for the first time this past game.


We're set to play again this coming Wednesday - if we can win two straight we'll finish the year, but if we drop one we probably won't have time to play three.

Outside of gaming: Sickness runs through our household. I visit Boda Borg for a 4th time. (The 3rd time, my sister and I brought my parents!) I see a stage magician act for the first time in decades. Life is good, but very chilly.
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5. Board Game: Maria [Average Rating:7.97 Overall Rank:312]
Board Game: Maria
Marc Hawkins
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
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Speaking of hairshirts, here is a minor shift from unplayed to underplayed for me.

On Friday, I was invited to a BGGeek's place whom I had contacted in the fall using the "find local gamers" function on BGG. He had contacted me back (not everyone does), but told me that he was tremendously busy for the next stretch. So cue early month, I get a lovely geekmail stating that he had not forgotten but that his life was "opening back up" in the near future and that he would soon be in touch -- something which he confirmed earlier this week. So Thursday, I get an e-mail stating that this weekend would be a great time to connect. So when I suggest Friday night, he agreed, but let me know that a friend of his would already be there, and said, almost in passing, why don't we play Maria?

It was a (re)learning game for all three of us. They had not played for years. So we collectively worked through the rules, then it was off to the races! (with me in the role of Louis XV).

The first year saw: Friedrich almost re-claim all of Silesia and make a few unsuccessful pokes at France as the Pragmatic Army; Maria bleed fortresses as the Austrian troops, but make a few successful hussar pins to bleed cards out of both Friedrich and Louis XV; and Louis XV overexert himself into Austria, claiming multiple fortresses while hoping that Friedrich would not realized just how much of a sham his armies back in France were! At the end of the year, Louis XV had overtaken Maria, but you could tell that Friedrich (despite his higher score) was picking up steam.

Year 2 saw: Maria eat terrible losses in her homeland as both Friedrich and Louis XIV pressed hard - the worse part is that Maria lost two generals at once at one point, while she was attacking a French and Bavarian unit (with 14 troups total)!; Friedrich continuing to press in the East with great success (taking Silesia and breaking into Austria) while breaking through my thinly veiled wall of armies and ravaging the countryside in France; and Louis XV continuing his strong push through Austrian fortresses and doubling back with a French general. I took the game but if I hadn't, Friedrich would have that turn on behalf of the Pragmatic Army; we took down the leader too hard in the first round at the expense of keeping each other in check!

I think that Maria is an absolutely splendid game. I knew that I would like it before I played it, but I did not or could not know just how much. This game blends a whole slew of elements that I generally appreciate to create a game that is at once (mostly) intuitive while also being deep. Between the hand management, the explicit negotiations made between powers and the subtle communication of where one's strength lies, the military logistics, the bluff and counter-bluffing all come together to create a memorable Machiavellian experience for three (in roughly 3-4 hours!)... and I'm only scratching the surface!
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6. Board Game: Bus [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:881]
Board Game: Bus
Dave Peters
United States
Belmont
California
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Powers:Coleridge:Milton: Faith...must be, if anything, a clear-eyed recognition of the patterns and tendencies, to be found in every piece of the world's fabric, which are the lineaments of God.
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Scorecard for the Week/Month/Year as of 23Jan2016:

15/35/35 plays of 11/25/25 total games, with 4/4/4 expansions employed.
Plays with 19/33/33 distinct opponents.

2/8/8 games acquired (plus 3/3/3 expansions.) - Race for the Galaxy: Xeno Invasion, Melee, Codenames, Concordia: Salsa and Russian Railroads: German Railroads.
0/0/0 games sold/traded (plus 0/0/0 expansions.)
1/1/1 games ordered (plus 0/0/0 expansions.) - Scharfe Schoten. I blame DJ & Hanibal.
Orders for 2 games and 0 expansions still outstanding.

With family and friends in Chico:
2x _7⅓_ Melee [New!] - Like I'd reported last week: these were two of six-or-seven plays that occurred with the copy in succession. Most were played by a gang of teens&twenties. And I managed to wrangle an invite for a couple of those. These folk got it, I think: there was taunting; silliness; and not a lot of dithering. The games played quickly and decisively. And other than a one-turn victory accomplished by the youngest player at the table, there wasn't any whining or complaining. (Fortunately, the whining was accompanied by a lot of "oh, we'll never do that again" learning, so it didn't bother me as much as it would if the pattern reprised itself.)

1x _8_ Codenames - Not a long play; but still very entertaining. This is my first chance with my wife on my team: and that was definitely an advantage for me. She managed to catch all the dorky allusions that escaped my better judgment (and that everyone else tended to miss) as I tried to think like my team.

1x _7_ Railways of the World (5 years dusty) - Weirdly, this was with the fan-made "California" board - something that my host of the evening had just had printed at the local Kinko's. I was happy to play - even if I find RotW/RRT easily the weakest of its siblings: I'd play Steam in preference to this, and Age of Steam in preference to either. I was happy to see that my (somewhat rudimentary, in truth) AoS instincts (perhaps mutated a bit by the momentary incentives on display) worked well even in this strongly-neutered context.

2x _7_ Blue Moon (one with The Flit and The Mimix) - (all 6 years dusty) - Fun to have this back in play. I'd forgotten most of the rules, but was quickly brought up to speed by my esteemed opponent. In the end, the game was quite delightful - and a reminder (to me, at least; I'm sure others were already clear on such things) that Dr. Knizia was still doing cool work in 2004.

2x _7_ ヴィレッジオブファミリア Vu~irejjiobufamiria 'Village of Familiar' [New!] - One play with four and one with three players. I think four was a bit better - since with three it's possible/likely that cards one wants will not be in circulation (whereas with 4, we managed to get the vast majority of the cards into the realtime draft.)

It's a funky thing: one is graduating student at a magical academy, trying to (competitively: against the other graduates) build the most glorious grove of interlinked treehouses as a final project. There's plates of biscuits; potion-plumbing; five dorkly interchangeable raw materials - and treehouses in five related colors. Taller treehouses score more points, and each level (from one to five, at least: the sixth level is just a VP play) of a treehouse comes with some special power.

The teenagers enjoyed it. And some of the adults struggled to make sense of the narrative. Perhaps experience with C-grade teen supernatural fiction helps.

1x _7⅓_ はんか通骨董市 Han ka Tsū kottō-shi 'Curio Collectors' - This play was a couple of teenagers, some youngsters in their early 20s and me. I was privileged to be included. And to try this with 6: it's pretty cool at that count.

With family and friends at home:
1x _6⅔_ パンパカパン Panpakapan 'Let's Make Bread!!' - I was tremendously dubious about this after reading the rules. But both my younger children found it entertaining - so my rating is likely irrationally boosted by the reflection of their enjoyment. It's a very simple die-rolling risk management thing. But there still are real choices: so also likely better than I believe.

1x _7⅔_ Russian Railroads (with German Railroads [New!] and Mini-Expansion) - Fun to try the German board (and the coal subsystem - just like the rules suggest one doesn't for the first play: we're not so good with prohibitions, I guess.) I liked both things: the coal is perhaps a distraction - but was quite entertaining. But the German board (with its overlays and variability) is pretty nice. I'd guess it'll see more use.

With cool GCL folk online:
1x _9_ Bus - I really enjoyed this, but was sad to misread the interface in the last turn. No complaints about the result: I'm not going there. But we all made errors that we wouldn't with a "real" board. I'll hope to get better with the interface with more practice.

1x __ Brass: Lancashire - This one felt like it had such potential in the canal age. Then I made a set of rather poor choices in the rail age and finished well back. It was cool; but I again demonstrated that I'm not clear on the dynamics of the full game - except insofar as the cards break in my favour. My understanding of the game is still weak!

With the Wednesday Night gang (but on Thursday):
1x _8_ Mombasa - Delighted to find this worked well with 3 - even as I'd also enjoyed it with 4. Our scores were again likely indicative of being too kind to one another (185-175-156); but I think all of us would do better - at least mechanically - with the game if we played again.

1x _7⅓_ Melee - Not quite as much of a hit as with the youngsters up in Chico. These guys played it more deliberately; slower; less in the crazy way it deserves. It was still cool; but I don't know whether it's something they'll want to reprise.

Owned-and-unplayed: 0 (+1/-2) - Melee arrived and was played; ヴィレッジオブファミリア was played.
Owned-and-played-once: 94 (+2/-4) - Melee and ヴィレッジオブファミリア were played twice; Mombasa and パンパカパン were played again.

Outlook for the week: Monday and Wednesday gaming (I hope.) Some play with my children. BAP on Saturday. I might even get my car back (after 11 weeks in the shop) this week. On the sad-for-me side (though it isn't for him!) son #1 is back (flights permitting: he was originally scheduled for last Friday morning, but was cancelled) to school in New York tomorrow.
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7. Board Game: Greenland [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:1930] [Average Rating:7.02 Unranked]
Board Game: Greenland
Lo
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Victoria
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Games Played

_7_ Greenland x1 Out of the Dust

The Week in Review

S was on the mainland for a good part of the week, but I wasn't on the ball about getting a "Boy's Game Night" so opportunity missed.

It wasn't until tonight that we finally sat down for a game. I suggested Greenland as we've been watching a documentary on Neolithic Britain. The first episode actually went back to the last ice age and made me think of Neanderthal, which I don't own, so that left Greenland and all it's ice.

S played the Tunit (as she always does) and I played the Thule. She got off to a lousy start with very bad die rolls. The only place she had any success was the New World which gave her the energy she needed to keep her elders warm and fed as well as the ponies she'd bought from the Viking traders.

While I got off to a good start, I didn't build up any energy and, by the mid-game, got decimated by cold and disease. At one point, all I had remaining was my alpha-male, which (if S had been ruthless) could have been ambushed and sent the Thule to extinction. With no elders, my Thule began worshipping a single god and hording iron. Not that it mattered because there really wasn't much hope I could catch up to S.

I want to like Greenland more than I do, but it's just too random (with the cards and the dice). If I liked it more, I'd pick up Neanderthal without hesitation....


The Week Ahead

With Mombasa and Haspelknecht due to arrive this week, I'm hoping S and I will have some time to play one or both; and not to keep my hairshirt down, but because I'm really looking forward to these two.

Unplayed games of note in shrink: Pax Pamir, De Vulgari Eloquentia, Marvel Dice Masters: Uncanny X-Men and Revolution: The Dutch Revolt 1568-1648. Also The Hobbit saga expansions for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game: Over Hill and Under Hill and On the Doorstep. And finally the Shadows of Brimstone: Other Worlds – Caverns of Cynder.

Ordered: Mombasa, Haspelknecht, and Shadows of Brimstone: Hell Vermin Enemy Pack.
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8. Board Game: Blizzard of '77 Travel Game [Average Rating:5.75 Overall Rank:15580]
Board Game: Blizzard of '77 Travel Game
United States
Wurtsboro
NY
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We always have time for the things we put first.
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We were lucky, and missed the storm that came up the coast. NC and DC got it worse than here. Even a half hour away had it worse, but somehow, it didn't find out house. We had only a dusting on Saturday, and by yesterday it had melted again in the sun to green grass and dry roads. However, we didn't accomplish much, including getting any games played, because we're both coming down with a bit of a cold, and it was a weekend of rest.
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9. Board Game: Art of War: The Card Game [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:6769]
Board Game: Art of War: the card game
Karl Fast
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
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My copy arrived. I read the rules more closely.

And I have a question for those who have played the game (I haven't played it yet).

It says that once you learn how it works you can build your own deck. You need 1 king, and can have whatever distribution you want for the other cards. However you need to pick 20 cards, and there are 10 copies of each of the five card types, and there are two players. That means you each get 25 cards to work with (five of each type) and build a deck of 20. Which doesn't leave you a lot of wiggle room.

The solution is to get a second copy of the game, something I didn't realize upon reading the rules. I just didn't do the math.

My question: is it worth getting a second deck? Is the game good enough to warrant this, and will the deckbuilding element make that big of a difference?

I'd also be interested in any thoughts people have on the game.
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10. Board Game: Triumvirate [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:2748]
Board Game: Triumvirate
Tom Shields
United States
Tacoma
Washington
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Triumvirate x3
It just gets better. Played late after late night gin, then over morning coffee. Then we had a rare sunny winter day that pop up now & again between rain storms on Sunday, & drove up to a little shore town on a leg of the Puget Sound called the Hood Canal for a hike and played on the beach.

It has a set of lovely realizations as you learn the game. Lot's of sensitivity to play style, and it's hand management layer in the way it cycles cards in & out of the tableaus & the game is a unique & very pleasurable thing. Much more sophisticated thinking to the only other 2-player trick taker I know, Potato Man, or something like 2-player Abluxxen, without getting into the stresses of bidding trick takers, so it's a lovely date game too. A small, 36-card deck makes card tracking easy & the game builds a great patter & rhythm.

With two different players it has produced great interplayer empathy, nods & grins & narrative as the two sculpt the deck & enjoy setting up the probabilities in the card cycling. It relies on strategic bluff rather than just the tactics of driving a hand & pointing, on deducing the other & when picking a moment to drive the game home it has that feeling of risk & then sudden resolve.

I know a few of you trick lovers have tried it. I did when it first came out, one game and it was too opaque and thus we didn't pull a good game & I set it aside for the next thing. Man, was I wrong. It continues to grow since I played with Marc. It joins Haggis as an incredible 2-player card game, and may have more creative energy than Haggis.
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11. Board Game: Concordia: Salsa [Average Rating:8.33 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.33 Unranked]
Board Game: Concordia: Salsa
Jon
United States
Urbana
Illinois
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Games Played:

_9_ Concordia x2
First play with the salsa expansion, using the Hispania side of the board.
I won with 129, my youngest son had 120, and my wife 117

Second play with the salsa expansion, using the Byzantinum side of the board.
This time I edged out the win with 119 to my wife's 118, while my daughter scored 105 and my oldest son 102.

_10_ Carson City x1
Taught this to Will and James. I messed up and came in last with 29, while Will scored 32, and James won with 45.

_5_ Attika x1
Will wanted to play this which was his second play I believe. I won by getting out all my buildings.
Jon 30
James 26
Will 20

_7_ Parade x2
Taught this to Paul and my youngest son relearned it too. I managed two wins.
Jon 12, youngest son 27, Paul 47
Jon 7, youngest son 23, Paul 32

_7_ Fairy Tale x3
Taught this to Paul, played a second time, then taught Jeff who joined in for a third play.
My youngest son won the first game 51 to my 43 and Paul 42.
I won the second game 46, while Paul scored 37 and my son 36
I also won the third game with a score of 48, Paul close behind with 47, my son 39 and Jeff 36

_9_ Codenames x4
Taught this to several people at a gathering of people for food and games. Went over pretty well although I was feeling great as spymaster. My wife took over and did a much better job!

_10_ Le Havre x1
James had played several times before but this was new to Jose.
Jon 250
James 200
Jose 172

_7_ Mijnlieff x2
Two plays on same day in different locations, First was teaching to James and Jose at game event, second was showing to my oldest son's friend J. at home.

_10_ The Great Zimbabwe x1
New to James. This is ok at two but think it needs at least three and looking forward to more plays.
Jon 35 of 33
James 19 of 31

_8_ Mottainai x1
Taught this to oldest son's friend J who scored 19, while my daughter and oldest son teamed up on a position for 12, but I won with 26
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12. Board Game: König von Siam [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:1293]
Board Game: König von Siam
Max Maloney
United States
Portland
Oregon
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"If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason." -Jack Handey
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Games Played

.10! Hanabi 2
_9_ Codenames 4
_9_ Mottainai 3
_8_ Pax Pamir 1
_8_ Space Cadets: Away Missions 1
_7_ King of Siam 1
_6_ Container 1
_6_ MarraCash 1

Week in Review

I already covered most of this week's plays last time, because they fell during CabinCon. They are shown here so my week doesn't look like only one game.



I had some old friends over on Friday and one of them loves Space Cadets: Away Missions, so we taught it to the other three. This was my first 5P session and it was probably longer than ideal at this player count but we still had lots of fun. We were moments from enacting our plan to smash the Spawning Vats, but the aliens overwhelmed Chief De Soto before we could complete our mission. The Rocket Patrol leaves no man behind, so our mission is considered a loss.

I picked up a copy of Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization and it's quite lovely to behold. I am looking forward to trying out the changes for myself. I realized as I was going through the components, sorting cards and stickering the wooden markers, that this game joins the elite company of Splotter games in my heart. Like them, this is a rare exception to my dislike of intense planning in games. I love the difficult puzzle of navigating Through the Ages! I can't wait to get it to the table again soon.
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13. Board Game: Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:254]
Board Game: Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small
 10   Bridge
we played a new variant of bridge called DRUNK BRIDGE! laugh it is an extremely difficult variant and i don't recommend it shake

 9   Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small
Sean and i engaged in some animal husbandry. i specialized in horses, Sean in cows. i won. it is very hard for me to play this game because i want to fill my board with pigs and sheep because they are so cute! but cows and horses yield more points. you can't see it in this picture but my horses are extremely miserable in their over-packed pen in the corner.

From gallery of Smintie


also - i ran into this amazing young man on the train. i asked him about the game and his face completely lit up. we talked the whole train ride about games. he explained that his class sometimes plays games at school. he liked them so much he asked the teacher if he could borrow one to play with his family. he and his brother had an epic real estate battle while their mother trailed behind. they played the whole weekend non-stop!! this photo is Monday morning - he is bringing it back to school. they also play Life and Chess at school. his enthusiasm was so uplifting. i wanted to offer to get some games for his school or his family (like TtR or Catan) but i was afraid he would think i was a creeper.
ps i asked his permission to post this here and he thought that was super cool.
From gallery of Smintie


in other news, we got 26.8 inches (68 cm for our metric friends) of snow on Saturday. wow
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14. Board Game: Ponzi Scheme [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:982]
Board Game: Ponzi Scheme
Games Played:
1/22-1/23

An AMSP weekend. It's been too long since I've had the chance to get together with most of these guys. We spent a lot of time talking, drinking far too much alcohol and playing a few games. Hard to screw up a weekend like that.

Codenames x5
This one was new to everyone else and proved to be popular. Shocking.
Space Alert x4
We were rather surprised to discover that tequila does not in fact help the performance of our crew.
King Chocolate x2
Continues to impress. I did poorly but learned a valuable lesson or two.
Ponzi Scheme x2
Proved to be so popular that we played it twice in a row. I even managed to win my first ever game of it!
Samurai Spirit x2
Blah. Biggest dud of the weekend for me. I just found the decisions to be made were minimal and lacked anything real interesting.
Die Dolmengötter x1
Fantastic to dust this one off. Even better was that it was a table of experience players and somehow they allowed me to win.
The Grizzled x1
Not bad but I don't need to play it again. Again I just didn't find myself real engaged and interested in the decisions presented. At least this game has the decency of coming in a small package and playing quickly which makes it much more acceptable.
Mysterium x1
This one had been on my radar for a while now and I was happy to have the chance to try it. A very unique gaming experience. I liked it but didn't love it. Something I'd be happy to play every once in a while. A perfect example of a 6 rating.
Parade x1
I dominated the parade line.
Pax Porfiriana x1
A brutal affair with 2 other experienced players. The bastards swore an oath to both take me down and they accomplished it! We went the distance with the winner being determined on money. My only chance was on Command and despite my best efforts I just couldn't pull it off as the last point I needed never flopped in the market. An absolute fantastic time despite being punched in the face multiple times.\
Tigris & Euphrates x1
I hadn't played this since my poor performance well over a year ago. I played a lot more aggressively but sadly one of my opponents had a bit better luck and a tad softer opponent he beat up on. I finished 2nd but was just so happy to get a play in.
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15. Board Game: Pax Porfiriana [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:454]
Board Game: Pax Porfiriana
W M
United Kingdom
Rugby
Warwickshire
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So it took a while, but finally got around to playing Pax, the special edition no less.

4 player with just myself who hadn't played before.

It was pretty good. Looking forward to trying it again.
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16. Board Game: The Voyages of Marco Polo [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:47]
Board Game: The Voyages of Marco Polo
Rich P
United Kingdom
Sheffield
United Kingdom
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Last week’s plays:

-10- Agricola (+France; Bielefeld decks)
-10- Magic: the Gathering (x8)
-8- Puerto Rico (+Expansion)
-7- Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective
-7- The Voyages of Marco Polo (x2) New!
-6- T.I.M.E Stories (+A Prophecy of Dragons New!) (x3)
-5- Splendor (+Special Noble Patron New!)
-?- Unpublished Prototype New!

I played a strange Magic draft where unexpected windfalls came back round the table. A 13th pick Jwar Isle Avenger – is nobody else drafting blue? It was my first Oath of the Gatewatch draft and I found the draft itself more interesting than the games that followed. The first two match-ups were too easy, against inexperienced players. The third was completely the opposite, against a good player who seemed to be the only person playing green in the pod, and he had all the best cards in the format from that colour, despite it being supposedly underpowered overall. I added my prize packs to those I’d won at the pre-release the weekend before and had enough for some sealed deck games with Diarmuid.

The latest T.I.M.E Stories scenario was light on puzzles, heavy on resource management and offered a fair bit of variety in terms of characters to play and routes to take. There are still loads of rules omissions – it needs an FAQ – but we’ve more or less accepted that’s how it goes with this game. Now we just make a decision and get on with it. The text at the end of this scenario suggests an original plan of including all three currently-available missions in the base game. Hopefully that means Space Cowboys will pay attention to the many requests for greater playtesting with future scenarios, because they hadn’t been finalised at the time the base game was released.

The Voyages of Marco Polo does nothing hugely inventive but worked well enough for us that we all agreed to play a second game afterwards. The special player powers are just the sort of thing to prompt repeat plays, suggesting slightly different approaches to the game each time. I say slightly because I don’t think there’s a massive amount of variety but it plays smoothly and quicker than the rulebook suggested. I liked it.

We tested out a game Becky had designed as a teaching aid, themed around protein separation, tentatively titled Separation Anxiety(!). This is a topic I knew nothing about, so although the rules were simple, learning the concepts behind the game took longer. I imagine this wouldn’t be an issue for her students. It’s a set-collection game about filtering out proteins you don’t want to leave you with the one you do want and although I wouldn’t choose to play it for entertainment it’s a fun way to learn about the subject.

I first tried Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective at BGG.Con back in 2012. This second case was a lot easier than that one. Maybe we stumbled across the right line of enquiry accidentally, but we felt like we had all the answers pretty quickly. Of course, Holmes’ questions threw a curve-ball at us, and although we were correct about the hard facts of the case, the parts that involved more supposition and stretches of logic lost us points. Just as we found with the first case, Holmes is an irritating so and so, jumping to conclusions which couldn’t be substantiated without further investigation outside the scope of the scenario. There are many inferences you could draw from subtleties within the text, you just have to hope you thought of the right one. Still, it was a good co-operative puzzle to relax with on a Sunday night.
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