GCL Phoenix 274: The games were arranged on the mantle with care, knowing that soon, game day would be here (April 3, 2016)
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Wurtsboro
NY
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Welcome to the Phoenix Game Chat League!

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In the meadow we can build a snowman or woman:
archivists
darker
Dormammu
familygaming
hawk-x-
indigopotter
karlfast - next week
Lowengrin
Morganza
ravenskana
rynelf
Smintie
Taibi
tjshields
woodnoggin

Pretending that they are Parson Brown:
BennyD, Bruzza, chally, Eeeville, enzo622, Hawkeye77, JohnRayJr, judoka, leroy43, Mr_Nuts, topherr, Yokiboy

* Yes, this is an odd intro, but it is in honor of the snow outside. I wanted to call the list, "Walking in a Winter Wonderland".
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1. Board Game: My Mother sent me to the Grocery Store [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: My Mother sent me to the Grocery Store
United States
Wurtsboro
NY
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I've mentioned in previous lists about our Decide Shelf and our Trade/Auction shelf. The main game shelves are in the living room, the Decide Shelf (actually 3 or 4 shelves) is in Sam's office, and the Trade/Auction shelves are a couple of shelves on the bookshelf in my closet (which is actually the walk-in closet in Sam's office because the master bedroom has a gbig bathroom but is a little short on closet space, so I just claimed a different one).

Rather than just having games languish at the bottom of a stack, always to be glossed over, it has helped us a lot to physically put games on the Decide Shelf. Some games really do need another play, it could go either way. And if we stand in front of the Decide shelf and repeatedly don't want to play anything on it, that's a sign that the games on it need to be moved to the Trade/Auction shelf. When I am ready to have an auction, I have the games marked as For Trade in my collection, but I also have them already sorted, ready to grab and photograph/inventory. I don't have to find them on the shelves, and I don't have to find a place to store them during the auction. Already done.

Do you have a method, digital or physical, for tracking your unplayed games or games that aren't a good fit and should move on? Do you trade and/or sell your games, here or somewhere else? Do you like to ship to reach a broader audience, or do you rely on physical exchanges, at game nights or cons? I'd like to have a place that had a local auction or trade, though the only time I was at something like that was when we were at Scott Nicholson's game day which also had a game sale, you could browse the shelves of games for sale and take some home with you. That was neat. We don't have a large, active FLGS or a con nearby that would run local auctions or trades.

While I sometimes note the dustiness of a game, I don't actively track my unplayed or unplayed in X amount of time games. I know that some people are better at tracking these things. Generally, with a few notable exceptions, games get to the table in a matter of days, so I wouldn't really need to track games in shrink, though I might be surprised if I tracked Last Played dates.

I don't have a collection limit, but we are actively trying to prune the collection down a bit, and I would like it to all fit on the shelves in the living room (Splotters are an exception). My collection is at 250ish at the moment (273, 24 expansions), I could see it getting down to the 125ish range, I think that would cover the games we really like and play.

The title of the geeklist: the other day I was vacuuming the living room and in general doing some tidying up, and I wanted to change up the mantle a bit. I had taken down the Christmas stuff a while ago, and not really done something for Spring. So I decided to get some of the small game boxes from the game shelves, and arrange them in a row on the mantle. Besides providing a mixture of decoration and storage, moving the games also made it so some weren't hiding behind others on the shelf, making it easier for us to see what's there, and to grab what we want to play. But it also made it so that my eye doesn't just recognize the pattern/place of things, and it makes my eye really look at what's there.

Do you like to rearrange things? Books, DVDs, games, furniture? I'm the type that will rearrange the living room on a sunny Saturday. It means I can really get behind and under things to clean, and it just changes things up. Sometimes those home magazines will have an article about moving an under-used thing to a different room for a different purpose, and giving it new life. I have done this over time in an organic way. Just because something may be designed/sold as something, doesn't mean it can't serve as a different thing.

Do you arrange your games in a certain way (title, publisher, color, etc.), and have you ever changed that system or otherwise moved them around in a big way? Was it because of space, organization, or to see them in a new way?

The odd game choice for my entry: when I was moving games around the other day, I saw Catan and Ticket to Ride on the bottom shelf. They don't get played often, but it makes sense for us to have them. I thought of them a bit like the food in the supermarket: the nicely packaged flashy items go at eye level, while the generic brands, or the chicken noodle soup that everyone buys anyway, goes on the bottom shelf. Ticket to Ride is the chicken noodle soup of my collection. I know where it is when I need it.

Do you have a bottom shelf, or a high top shelf, with lesser-played games? Are these games that you want to keep on hand for specific reasons (Ticket to Ride, Catan), are they the games that might be on the trade/auction chopping block? Or is your collection lean and mean, Chally-style?
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2. Board Game: Zoo Pals [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Zoo Pals
United States
Wurtsboro
NY
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For anyone that uses PayPal, especially for geeklist auctions/marketplace listings, I wanted to share this thread I made the other day:

PayPal.me - could make getting paid after geeklist auctions easier, you can even set it for the correct amount

Quote:
I was logged into my PayPal account, and noticed a new feature, paypal.me. It lets you choose a username (I'm at paypal.me/indigopotter). If you send someone the link, they click on it and go right to a page that's set up to send you money, rather than going to paypal, going to the send money page, entering your info, etc.

That's cool enough, but, if you add a /25 at the end (paypal.me/indigopotter/25) when someone clicks on the link, it's set up to send you $25. That could be very handy when wrapping up geeklist auctions.
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3. Board Game: Caverna: The Cave Farmers [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:27]
Board Game: Caverna: The Cave Farmers
United States
Wurtsboro
NY
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So, not counting expansions, which I don't get often, and which I don't always play, I think Caverna has the distinction of Game in Shrink the Longest. I never regretted getting it, I got a good deal at the time, and I knew we'd want to try it. It was just a timing thing. I gave it to Sam for Christmas 2014, when we were straddling two places, packing and starting to move. Then we were getting settled into the new place, and the semester is always busy. We were never quite ready to tackle this big, heavy box. Once in a while we would say, "Some day we'll play Caverna".

Today was the day! This afternoon we punched the tiles (they punched very nicely). When the instructions said 30 mins per person, I didn't know that was just for reading the instructions.*

*I'm pretty I've said this same thing about another game semi-recently, but I'm using it again, as it applies. I glanced at the clock when we sat down, curious if it really was 30 mins per person. After the rules read-through, it had been just over an hour. We took breaks at various points for meals and various things.

We played the intro game with the limited buildings. Next time we plan to play with all of the buildings. I was a little skeptical about the no-cards things, but there is enough to do, and there are enough buildings to bookend a strategy, that I don't think it will be an issue, at least for many plays. I have the expansion from GTM, and the Christmas Chamber, that I can look at next time, now that we understand the game.

I went for a farming strategy, clearing fields and making pastures. Sam leveled up with weapons and went on lots of quests. I was a little late to the questing game, but I did manage to get one guy to mid-level. We both had 3 people. We both struggled with food a bit, I think next time we'll have a better idea of how to streamline that. Sam had the tile that let you use one grain and one pumpkin for 5 food; I should have had that, instead of eating my sheep with grain. I had tons of sheep (1 point each) plus a tile for a point for ever 3 animals, plus one for every 2 sheep. So my 8 sheep were 8VP + 2VP + 4VP, almost 2 VP each, and would have been more if I wasn't eating them along the way. I would have been better off to make my grain/pumpkins more efficient as a food source.

Other gaming this week:

Friday April 1st
Take It or Leave It (last played July 31, 2014)
Patchwork x2

Saturday April 2nd
Bandits - new to us (thrifted when I took some things to the local thrift store)
Patchwork x2

Sunday April 3rd

Patchwork
Caverna - new to us


Board Game: Bandits


Bandits is cute in its light and take-that way, it might work for the friends with which we play King of Tokyo. You want to get points by stashing gold/coins cards in your hideout. You can attack the other player with outlaw cards, but they can defend themselves with lawmen, or it might Backfire. You can try for the cards in their hand, or scout their hideout and try to raid it. Cards go back and forth, and each time the draw pile is exhausted, you count up the cards you stashed in your hideout, shuffle your hideout cards and the discard cards, and go again (2-4 rounds in a typical game, about 30 mins).

It has an eBay listing for $103.13, and an Amazon listing for $74.99 (!) For 108 cards, the eBay listing is almost a dollar per card. I dunno about that, but it's worth the fifty cents I paid for it.
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4. Board Game: Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:186]
Board Game: Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King
R. Eric Reuss
United States
Massachusetts
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 9   Evolution NEW!
 8   Codenames
 8   Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King x2 NEW!
 7   Eight-Minute Empire
 6   Snowdonia NEW!

Wednesday, at a local pub
Instead of the normal gamenight, I met up with ~20 strangers (and, in a pleasant surprise, a BGG.CON friend) at a local pub/restaurant for games. The trend was overwhelmingly towards social games - Codenames, Spyfall, Resistance/Avalon, Coup - which is *not* my wheelhouse, but nonetheless I got some really satisfying gaming in.

I'd not played Eight-Minute Empire two-player before, but it worked really well - better than 4-5p, I'd say, as the competition over City cards wasn't so ridiculous.

I was then Blue spymaster for a single round of Codenames, which was wonderfully tense - after 1.5 rounds it looked like Red had it in the bag, but we nearly came back to win with a 4-clue on round 4.

Someone brought Evolution, which I've wanted to try for a while; it sounded interesting but likely light for my tastes. I was pleasantly surprised! My high rating is a fragile one, but I'm *very* keen to try the game a few more times and either solidify or shatter it. More details in comments if I have time.

I broke in my copy of Isle of Skye (3p) - it went well, though we were all fumbling in the dark for good play. The tile-laying portion of this is pleasing and straightforward; the price-setting is much trickier than I'd anticipated, but in a good way. Very close game; 3-point delta between first and last.

First-Saturday games
I opened with a playtest of this game I threw together as a test-harness for a mechanic, because the mechanic would not stop banging on the inside of my head. It went *astonishingly* smoothly for a first-iteration draft - I might actually develop it further as a game, though I'd want to find a theme other than "generic goods trading".

I'd been looking forward to Snowdonia, but it fell a bit flat for me - nothing wrong with it, and some clever mechanics, but the gestalt didn't grab me. It was a first play, though, and it looks like the type of game which has a rhythm to it, and that it might engage me more once I'm familiar with that rhythm.

Isle of Skye (4p) was again a really close game, with a 4 or 5 point delta between first and last. I can't imagine that this is inevitable, though. There were some lovely pricing shenanigans in this play, including a final-round tile priced at 20 (!) which I bought (!!)... which gave the owner the capital to buy a tile I'd hoped to keep, thus turning my 20-cost purchase from a major coup to a 1- or 2-point gain.

For me, Isle of Skye scratches the tiling itch as well as Carcassonne, and the price-setting itch waaaay better than Castles of Mad King Ludwig. The only reason I haven't put Castles on my Trade list at this point is that I really love the look of the castles; I have a fondness for mazes and mazelike buildings. (I wonder how hard it would be to hack Castles to use Isle of Skye's price-setting/purchasing rules...)

~ ~ ~

Outside of gaming: This week was lovely, but the last 24 hours have been trying: snow in April, and my one-year-old threw up all over both of us (and much of his nursery). But he is now sleeping happily and I have hot chocolate, so things are better.
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5. Board Game: Food Chain Magnate [Average Rating:8.15 Overall Rank:28]
Board Game: Food Chain Magnate
Marc Hawkins
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
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Wednesday night monthly meetup
 5   Tiny Epic Galaxies NEW!
 8   A Study in Emerald (second edition) NEW!
 8   Pueblo
 7   Loot NEW!
 7   BraveRats x5

Having missed the previous month's meetup (and potentially missing the upcoming one), I made sure to make it to this one! Things started off with a small little moment that left a sour taste in my mouth -- a player who was less flexible with what our small group might play jettisoned during the rules explanation of a game he *would* play. Being halfway through the rules explanation (from the host, who would not be playing), we all stayed the course but the game we played was *not* the best fit: Tiny Epic Galaxies was neither incredibly friendly to new players, fast moving for five, or choice-light for the computational player (nor worth putting that level of analysis in considering how player dependent and dice dependent the game is). It took almost two hours (for what should have taken at most one, considering the depth of the choices, as well as the stakes of the game). Thoughts (inevitably shaped by how poor the experience was):
Quote:
Tiny Epic Galaxies is, in my opinion, nothing terribly innovative. Nonetheless things are generally pretty slick in this package -- I simply think that the game doesn't encourage multiple players very well as there are far too many actions to be taken by each and every player. This can mean that turns can draw out indefinitely if playing with a table that doesn't play fast and loose. While the option to follow is also present, having to go around the table to verify if folks are following or not (for each action, 4-7 of them) can drag the game out. I know that the game is meant to be at once tiny and epic -- but I'm not sure who the target audience is accordingly.
Things picked up from there with a match of A Study in Emerald (second edition). New-to-me thoughts:
Quote:
Incredibly cool game that takes its inspiration in an interesting direction. Now I know that the second edition loses a lot of its quirks and charms (e.g., fighting off zombies and vampires?), but I've also heard that it is also a glorious hot mess (the question being if it is a brillian hot mess or just a hot mess). I haven't played it so I can't say much on the subject.

However, the second edition creates this great paranoia as restorationists and loyalists dance around each other on the board attempting to claim points for both themselves *and* their team without disclosing who they are (as to invite getting murdered by opposing agents!) -- this double(d) winning criteria is important as you want to get the most points but if you win and your teammate is in last, the whole team loses five points (often enough to be the difference between winning and losing). The deck building creates interesting and emerging choices as your deck evolves (but you need to have majority in an area to get new cards!) -- and the neutral points become a hot commodity that every fights over (points for you, as an individual, that don't reveal your team). However, one must eventually make actions that reveal your leaning: whether fending of Ancient Ones (as restorationists) or Restorationists (as loyalists). Like with the mythos, there are also sanity checks to make if you play with fire.

Incredibly playable take on deck-building, deduction, and hidden roles. I can't think of anything quite like it.
I couldn't quite figure out who was who until it was way too late in the game. I ended the game but didn't consider the rule that a potential partner could drag the whole team down! I went from a tied first to third! Also, players brought an appropriate level of analysis to the game (i.e., "good enough" decisions knowing that you don't know what you wish you did).
Three of us from ASiE and one of the hosts played a rousing game of Pueblo, in which the quietest player took the win partially by doling out less points to others than those around him! (i.e., playing the social-psychological game!). This was followed by a round of Loot. I must have learned my lesson from the other game, taking the win through quiet subversive play! Also, new to me thoughts:
Quote:
While there is nothing earth-shattering about this game, like with other Knizia games it has really effective bare-bones to create an exciting pirate-themed tug-of-war. In short, players take turns drawing cards, playing loot on the table, or fighting over loot (won when they have the largest total at the beginning of their turn - or yours if you played the loot and no one else played on it!). Because everything is face up and delayed (minus your hand) means that you know who you're messing with and who is messing with you. The small constraints (such as first-come-first-serve on the four suits) means that the game does not simply come down to the accumulation of power (through lucky draws), as there is a lot of room for small but devious plays (e.g., dropping a low loot ship when everyone else is fighting over one worth twice as much). Fast and fun.
I finished the night off teaching Allyson (one of the hosts) R which she promptly proceeded to beating me in a first to 3 hands. Crowning moments included: Princessing my prince, and turning a 3-0 lead one hand into a quagmire of held off rounds, into a big win.

Saturday night at Patrick's
 8   Food Chain Magnate
Patrick's partner J joined us on this. Patrick started his own little cola empire in another neighbourhood while J and I were in an attrition war over two pizza-guzzling households. J locked up a key card for Patrick at the expense of staying competitive with me. I don't remember what exactly how the rest of the game went, but that was the big early turning point. I was safely playing the long game at which point my engine exploded (especially since I was doing the bare minimum to keep up with key milestones for me).
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6. Board Game: Mombasa [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:76]
Board Game: Mombasa
Lo
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Games Played

_8_ Mombasa x4 New!
_6_ Cacao x2

The Week in Review
Board Game: Cacao

When I dusted it off on Monday, my expectations for Cacao were low. So, naturally, it easily exceeded them. If in the mood for a game where every coin can decide the difference between winning or losing, so calculating the best placement of the tile is critical...but not that hard to figure out...except for the randomness of how the tiles come out. Anyway, if in the mood for that, Cacao might be worth a try.

I'm having a bit of a love/hate thing with Mombasa. Make no mistake, it's a solid Euro. Except that the two-player game seems to come down to who has the most diamonds.

I like that it's an economic Euro. Except it's not. It's an action selection game with some deck-building. Or a deck-building game with some action selection. With special powers. Sure you buy shares in companies and the companies divide up Africa for exploitation, but as valuable as those companies and their shares may get, they also give players special powers. Which is cool, but thematically not thematic at all. When I'm playing, it doesn't bother me that, for example, the Mombasa Company allows me to trash a card for a profit. But when I think about it (like now), it makes no thematic sense at all. And it bugs me.

Yesterday morning, an email from Boardgame Bliss informed me that they had restocked IKI. Although it was nearly $100 Canadian, I immediately threw it into a shopping card. Along with it, I added Normandy '44. I'm determined to give it a shot solo gaming and maybe see if I can get P or SH interested.


The Week Ahead

No plans beyond watching Canada Post and tracking the journey of IKI and Normandy '44 from Ontario to my door.

Unplayed games of note in shrink: German Railways, Pax Pamir, De Vulgari Eloquentia 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.
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7. Board Game: Roads & Boats [Average Rating:7.74 Overall Rank:376]
Board Game: Roads & Boats
Dave Peters
United States
Belmont
California
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Scorecard for the Week/Month/Year as of 2Apr2016:

4/0/155 plays of 3/0/84 total games, with 0/0/13 expansions employed.
Plays with 7/0/77 distinct opponents.

0/0/11 games acquired (plus 0/0/10 expansions.)
0/0/1 games sold/traded (plus 0/0/0 expansions.)
0/0/1 games ordered (plus 0/0/0 expansions.)
Orders for 0 games and 0 expansions still outstanding.

With the Monday lunch group:
1x _7_ Hare & Tortoise - A play with 6 - using our customary house rule of making the hare spaces unusable (that is, one may not under any circumstances land on one.) It's cool with the full complement: there are often limited choices as a result of the others' play. One tends to want to draft the behavior of the player to your right - but when that player is aiming for last place, it makes things difficult (or so we had demonstrated in this one!) It looked like the best player still won; so no complaints.
2x _6⅔_ Parade [New!] - This was fluffy and cute. It didn't look like there was much control possible (though it's also quite possible that there was some Good Play that I didn't see demonstrated in this game); but it was still pretty entertaining.

With the Wednesday night gang:
1x _7⅔_ Roads & Boats - Now this was nice: while I had played before, it was always with son #1 - and we played a relatively harmless multiplayer solitaire version of the game. With this one, we managed to interfere with one another; and it was distinctly more interesting. The logistics were always interesting: but the game is better than I'd thought! A few more plays like this, and I think my rating will improve.

Owned-and-unplayed: 0 (+0/-0)
Owned-and-played-once: 91 (+0/-0)

Outlook for the week: Son #2 pretends to feel bad that we didn't play anything last week. He thinks we'll do better in the coming one. Probably a game Monday and Wednesday, but I'm still pretty slammed with work, so there's not much else likely.
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8. Board Game: Age of Industry [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:653]
Board Game: Age of Industry
Jon
United States
Urbana
Illinois
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Games Played:

_6_ Patchwork x1
A quick game with Will, showing that I still am not very good at this, with him winning 11 to 7.

_7_ Parade x1
Two players is quite a different feeling from the higher player counts. I mistimed things and lost with Will at 40 and myself at 54.

_6_ The Gallerist x1
It was nice to return to this quickly after our play a couple weeks ago. This was new to Mindy though. This time I felt I had decent ideas of what I was doing but I needed more rounds than we got and lost mostly due to not having enough end game scoring tokens. I think at this point I don't need to explore this more but would still be willing to play if asked.
Jerome 175
Jon 144
James 140
Mindy 90

_7_ Keltis x1
A return to Keltis for my wife and I, and this time was the first we did the "new paths" variant rather than the normal board or the Oracle board. It was more of a challenge and I would not teach the game with this board! I ended up winning 74 to my wife's 53.

_9_ Age of Industry x1
First time for everyone else, althugh David played Brass with me a few weeks ago. We used to New England map. Jack concentrated my coal and some iron, I had a big packaging industry, David was heavy on cotton, and the others dabbled in a bit of everything except packaging.
Jack 32
Jon 26
David 25
Rachel 24
Erika 20
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9. Board Game: Andean Abyss [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:899]
Board Game: Andean Abyss
It has been a long, strange week.

You might notice that my added item is Andean Abyss, which I talked about at some length two weeks ago in my Phoenix list "No COINs Please". There's a story to this though...

At the end of the week I posted, I came across a Canadian seller who posted Fire in the Lake for an incredibly affordable $80 CAD. He was located in New Westminster, no less, which meant I could pick up the game on a trip down to the Vancouver area, saving the $20+ in shipping it would have cost. I know it is the heaviest and hardest to learn of all COIN (maybe A Distant Plain is harder?), but it was in my price range, and I couldn't say no.

So the next Saturday, my wife and I leave for Vancouver, and I make arrangements to pick up the game. Perfect condition, and the seller even threw in a copy of the hardcover Fire in the Lake! How cool is that!

Bonus score: I got to meet
David P
Canada
Vancouver
BC
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...who sold me his copy of Kingdom Builder + Crossroads. (Thank you, D! It has already seen 6 plays, and has gone to a good home!)

My wife and I then went to Vancouver Island for a small, delayed pseudo-honeymoon (with a real honeymoon to follow in August, we hope) on beautiful Vancouver Island. One afternoon at Butchart Gardens, followed by dinner at the wharf where I had the best fish & chips I've ever tasted! The next morning The Blue Fox cafe for Moroccan eggs benedict (an interesting twist on a favourite breakfast), then drove to Nanaimo to visit friends where I had the best nanaimo bar of my life, and ended the day in Comox where we stayed with friends for a few days.

Ucluelet, Tofino, Elk Falls near Campbell River, Seal Bay, Wacky Woods - great times!

We boarded the ferry, a bit sad to leave the Island. A gentle transit, then off the ferry and puttering around Vancouver. I walk into a game store and the employee there - super-friendly and unusually knowledgeable, a veritable friendly bearded giant of a gamer - offers to help. I mention - wistfully! - how I was really fascinated by the GMT games presentation of history in a box, and he responded that he was interested in the COIN games. ME TOO! says I. He mentions they don't have any. I sigh. I wander over to some particular wall of games, and moments later a tap on the shoulder. I turn around and I am looking at my bearded giant holding a shrinkwrapped copy of Andean Abyss! The one I wanted to try the most! (I have been watching a lot of Narcos...) Price check...$70 CAD.

You. have. got. to. be. kidding. me.
Sold.

So two COIN games in 8 days isn't bad, right?

And then the thing that tempered everything and brought it into perspective. I ran into an old friend I had no expectation of seeing. How is your family, I asked. The twins are good, said my friend. (No mention of the wife...means...divorce? I thought.) He shows me a picture of his beautiful twin toddlers. My wife died of cancer in December, he said, and he unsuccessfully fought back tears.

And, you know, if I could trade every game I owned, and all that I had, so that he could have his wife alive, and family intact, I would have done it. But there is so little I can do for a friend in that situation. Life is hard. And, as a newlywed, I haven't been able yet to shake this deep sense of sorrow since that moment, knowing how much it would grieve me to suffer loss in this way.

I know this is all a bit personal, but I do like that this group is more than just discussion of games. It's games in life. And, frankly, I'm thankful to have had that moment to put it all into perspective. I know I'll enjoy the games, and I'm thankful (in the small way I can appropriately be) that I found them. But it was good to realize just how much of my life brings me joy, and knowing well that "This too shall pass", I'll be exponentially more thankful for all the good things I have in my life.
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10. Board Game: Cockroach Poker [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:1019]
Board Game: Cockroach Poker
Karl Fast
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
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Not much gaming for me over the last month since the last marathon (that will be corrected this weekend: yeah!).

But we've been playing games as a family. Simple family games right after dinner with me, my wife, and our 7 year old son.

This week it's Cockroach Poker, a simple bluffing game.

There are 8 suits, each with 8 cards.

On your turn you give a card to another player, face down, and tell them what's on the card. "This is rat" you might say. And they need to decide if you're telling the truth or not. If they get it wrong, they take the card and put it face up in front of them. If they get it right, then you failed not them, so the card goes face up in front of you.

There is one more option. Instead of taking the card and calling true or false, you can look at the card and pass it off to someone else who hasn't seen it. When you do that you can say whatever you want. "Yup, it's a rat." Or "This is really a cockroach." And now they need to decide what's the truth, or they can pass it off as well.

The game ends when someone gets 4 creatures of the same kind face up in front of them, or they run out of cards. When that happens they lose and everyone else at the table wins.

Fun bluffing game. Very simple, like Skull.

I really liked it.

My son was really good at bluffing my wife. Really, really good.
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11. Board Game: Carcassonne: South Seas [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:929]
Board Game: Carcassonne: South Seas
So, while on vacation, I didn't do a ton of gaming. My wife has recently re-entered the cult of knitting, and wanted to do some of that on her downtime. Of course, that gave me time to browse the rulebook for Fire in the Lake - which, in turn, got me fairly excited about COIN games in general. I tried to explain to my wife (as she knit) just how good I was anticipating the COIN games to be (asymmetry! history!), but she wasn't exactly the audience best to share that info with. (I believe she shook her head, laughed, and softly said, "Nerd!" as she continues knitting...)

While staying with friends, I did teach Sean Kingdom Builder (see, David! It didn't take long to hit the table, even on vacation!), figuring that a low-duration game would be a better fit for a short visit. He thought it was decent, but was surprised it won SdJ. I still think KB is a great tactical game, and one of very few near-abstracts I enjoy. Still a solid for me.

As a thank-you for a place to stay while on the Island, I bought his children Carcassonne: South Seas, which I hadn't played yet. Great bits and art, but a bit of a strange jump in the Carcassonne series, since scoring is done so differently. I sort of like it, I'm just not used to it. I bought it for them because I thought it would be a good springboard into family euros down the road. Not bad! .

I ran my gamer genotype and found this:
From gallery of familygaming


It surprised me greatly. Social games? Like Pictionary? Then I found out it's based more on bluffing and negotiation/trading, and then it made complete sense. I *do* like social games, I'm just not wild about party games.
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12. Board Game: Shakespeare [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:493]
Board Game: Shakespeare
Max Maloney
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Games Played

_9_ Magic: The Gathering 4
_9_ Codenames 1
_9_ Fire in the Lake 1
_7_ Burgle Bros. 1
_7_ Fauna 1
_4_ Shakespeare New!

Week in Review

I forced my mid-week, euro-centric group to play a partial learning game of Fire in the Lake. I knew there wouldn't truly be enough time to finish on a weeknight, but I also knew it is a tough game to teach and play all the way through in one session anyway. So I taught and we played through to the first Coup card, which was just about perfect on time. Opinions were positive overall, so this may lead to scheduling a full game. Or at least a session of Falling Sky: The Gallic Revolt Against Caesar, which is due soon and should have a substantially shorter play time.

My second play of Burgle Bros confirmed my suspicion that difficulty varies wildly based on the deal of the room tiles. Because this game is more of a thematic, fun experience, this didn't bother me.

Shakespeare is probably a reasonably decent eurogame, but I have no interest in such things any more. It also had the thing that made me particularly dislike The Voyages of Marco Polo: a light overall feel but the potential to be seriously punished if you don't do very careful planning. I find that disconnect unpleasant as I don't want to take slow thinky turns in a medium-weight eurogame. Especially because it drags out the play time in spite of the few number of turns. Pass.
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13. Board Game: Magic: The Gathering [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:155] [Average Rating:7.51 Unranked]
Board Game: Magic: The Gathering
Rich P
United Kingdom
Sheffield
United Kingdom
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Last week's plays:

-10- Magic: the Gathering (x6)
|9| Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization (x2)
-8- Codenames (x3)
-8- Fauna
-7- The Voyages of Marco Polo
-5- King of New York New!

I've been really enjoying the new Through the Ages recently and this revised edition has rekindled interest in the game from a few friends. The first play was a 3-player game where I used Shakespeare to great effect, one of the rare times I tried a heavy culture strategy. The second was a close 2-player game of military one-upmanship where a timely Infiltration destroyed the Internet before it could be created!

You know those Codenames boards where there's a clump of related words and you wish they were in your colour so you could give an easy clue like "Animals: 4" with no risk of picking a bystander? Well, that happened twice on the same board last week and I have to say it made for a boring game. At least it was over quickly, with the starting team getting an easy 4, another easy 4 and a 1 to finish.

Saturday was the pre-release tournament for the new Magic set, Shadows over Innistrad. This set reintroduces werewolves, cards that can change form depending on how many spells were played that turn. I wasn't keen on the idea of playing them, they didn't really appeal to me, so of course I was fated to open a strong selection of green werewolf cards and a foil red/green planeswalker to support them (apparently worth more than the price of entry). Deck-building was challenging and I struggled to construct a coherent deck that could make use of my best cards, being light on removal and 3-cost creatures. It was the trickiest sealed pool I've had for a long time and disappointingly, my deck ended up being a little too slow. Aside from a couple of interesting games, the biggest decision points came in the choice of whether to mulligan opening hands.

Fittingly for the set's horror theme, I am haunted by the memory of one game in particular. I was presented with the opportunity for an all-in attack for 14 with a single boosted creature, which would have left my opponent on 1 life. I figured this was my best chance for a while to do some serious damage but I knew I only had one card left in my deck that could guarantee taking that final life point and I'd be open to retaliation in the meantime. Rather than risk it, I stayed on defence. That turned out to be the wrong choice as he killed my only creature the next turn and pressed his advantage. My next draw was the very card I could have used as my 1-point finisher. Gah!

King of New York makes a couple of nice tweaks to King of Tokyo (incentives for staying in Manhattan and the option to destroy buildings for bonuses) but is still essentially the same game. The Voyages of Marco Polo saw another outing. I wonder if it'll remain popular once everyone's tried the different character powers. Will the variable board actions be enough to make the game feel fresh each time? In this game, Kate built a nice money engine to fund huge expeditions across the board, placing all 11 of her trading posts.
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