GCL Mafia 294: Repeat Stuff
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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Important Links:
GameChat League: Mafia Division Subscription Thread (links to past lists, subscribe for weekly notifications).
GameChat League Wiki (for general information about the GameChat League concept)
GCL Mafia Wiki (for specific information about this division)
Robin's BGG Game Logger Tool (an easy-to-use tool for collating your plays for the week)

Welcome to GCL Mafia Division's weekly geeklist!

GCL Mafia Members:
• Please add an item to represent your gaming life for the past week. Or don't, Grace won't notice.
• List only the games you played by torchlight.
• Most importantly, share gaming news, life updates, random thoughts, or math problems.

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" item is added. Suggestions for such lists are posed by anyone, and 50% of the time they're even answered!. These top fives are theoretically game-related, but can include other topics as well.

Current Roster:
Still Not A Moderator
Cat Elixir
Recruiters' Nightmare
Jean Lannes
Arrested for Touching
Baby Rapper
The Giants won in 2012
So, how was War of the Ring this week?
Geekgold for rants.
Too new to warrant mention
Midas' Camel
Secretary
Asshole
You can review, but you'll never get to post.
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1. Board Game: Palastgeflüster [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:1503]
Board Game: Palastgeflüster
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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This list is fueled by the last minute realization that it's my week, and listening to too much Bo Burnham.

Here is the specific song from the title. NB! May not be safe for work if they care about crude/sexual langauge.


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2. Board Game: Soldiers with Repeating Cannon Game [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Soldiers with Repeating Cannon Game
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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How good are you at replaying games? Specifically, what is your H-index? What is your absolutely most replayed [modern] game? What GCL member would enjoy that game who does not already play it?
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3. Board Game: My Little Pony: Dream Castle [Average Rating:3.53 Unranked]
Board Game: My Little Pony: Dream Castle
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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Last week, Grace illustrated how our tastes/preferences can change over time (6 months, 2 years, or even longer). So, my question is: of the first 10 games you bought when you 'got into the hobby' would you still play them? For any games you still would, please recommend 1 other person in the GCL to play it.
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4. Board Game: Panda Monium [Average Rating:5.43 Overall Rank:16889]
Board Game: Panda Monium
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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What was the last game you replayed consistently? I'll define that for "dimed" That is, a game you newly dimed, rather than played for the 200th time. What other GCL member would enjoy that game?
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5. Board Game: Stab A Panda [Average Rating:8.43 Unranked]
Board Game: Stab A Panda
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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What was the last game someone coerced you into replaying? i.e. your best friend Tom insisted you play Cards Against Humanity... Did you end up enjoying the game, despite your reservations? Even if you didn't, please recommend the game to someone else in the GCL.
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6. Board Game: Repeat or You're Obsolete [Average Rating:5.50 Unranked]
Board Game: Repeat or You're Obsolete
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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What game are you most excited to play again? Are you likely to get a chance to do so soon? You should probably recommend someone else in the GCL check out this game.
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7. Board Game: Give Me Five [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:9974]
Board Game: Give Me Five
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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This Top 5 list is reserved for the person who gains the most Thumbs on their recommendation. Answers will be provided on Wednesday, or Thursday, or some other day, maybe.

Epsilon_Balls' Definitive Top 5 Games he would never have played were it not for the people of the Mafia GCL.

5 -- Amyitis -- I sought out this game because it came highly recommended from Fabrice. I snagged a copy in a math trade, and gleefully introduced it to my gaming group. Unfortunately, it completely bombed, and nobody had fun. My group started calling it Amyitis (inflammation of the Amy) because of it caused general irritation. We tried a second time, but decided that it was unremarkable. I don't remember what its fate was, but I no longer have it.

4 -- Personally Incorrect -- Before joining the GCL, Raf decided to host a reddit meetup at GenCon. At someone's recommendation, he posted about it in /r/GenCon and not just /r/boardgames. Thus, most of the people who showed up were awkward types who just wanted to play Cards Against Humanity, and managed to find this dog of a game that makes CAH look clever and witty. Thanks, Raf.

3 -- PitchCar -- Grace has talked about PitchCar in passing enough times that I realized it was worth looking at and not just ignoring. Fantastic lazy-Saturday-with-the-cousins game.

2 -- Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery -- It only took a 1-2 years after Charlie recommended it. When I finally did play it, I immediately saw what Charlie would suggest it, and it absolutely lived up to my expectations. It's one of the games I look forward to playing during any long game day.

1 -- Hansa Teutonica -- Wait, what?? Yes, really.
Mc Jarvis
United States
Arlington
Virginia
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had it rated as a 10 when I first joined BGG and had the comment "Future Classic" on it. This piqued my bright-eyed-boardgamer interest and I decided I must have it. The rest, as they said, is history.

Honorable Mentions: Myrmes, Northern Pacific, City Tycoon, Secret Hitler (future).
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8. Board Game: Merchants & Marauders [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:250]
Board Game: Merchants & Marauders
Jim Parkin
United States
Stow
Ohio
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Board Game: Carcassonne
Board Game: Puerto Rico
Board Game: Ascension: Deckbuilding Game
Board Game: Tigris & Euphrates
Board Game: Patchwork
Board Game: Elder Sign
Board Game: Dead Man's Draw
Board Game: Agricola
Board Game: Merchants & Marauders
Board Game: Lords of Waterdeep
Board Game: Le Havre
Board Game: Maquis


 9   Carcassonne
 9   Puerto Rico x2
 9   Ascension: Deckbuilding Game x11
 9   Tigris & Euphrates x3
 N/A   Patchwork x2
 8   Elder Sign x2
 9   Dead Man's Draw x14
 10   Agricola x3
 10   Merchants & Marauders
 9   Lords of Waterdeep
 N/A   Le Havre
 N/A   Maquis x2 NEW!

Anastasia and I were on vacation all week, so all of these plays were on our iPad, with the exception of Merchants & Marauders. "Techmology, is it good, or is it wack?"



Highlights include:

Le Havre -- This was Anastasia's first play. We were mostly exploring the decision space more than trying to win at all costs. After having played Ora et Labora several times, we were able to grasp the system well enough to perform admirably, if in a shallow way. We both agree that while this is a long-term game, there is so much (good) variance over the course of a few turns that we have to keep our planning focused more on tactical success than game-reaching strategy.

Tigris & Euphrates -- We played the most knock-down/drag-out game of this to date. I think we had something like six monuments out at a single time and the game played out like a frenetic knife fight. Wars isolated leaders with a single temple which were then hit with catastrophes or followed immediately by revolts. It was nuts. The game took a long time (it was delicious) because there was so much jockeying for position. I lost 24-26.

Lords of Waterdeep -- I became hubris incarnate and ended the game with fourteen corruption and sixty-seven gold. I was a rich, malefic crime boss and I loved every minute of it. I brute-forced almost 300 points, then lost so many that I dipped under 200 to lose to Anastasia by a wide margin. Worth it, though. I've never managed so much cash in a single game before this session. I had "Impersonate Tax Collector" and a lot of free buildings which I spammed without pause.

Maquis -- This is Jake Staines' baby from a few years back which swept the Solitaire Print & Play Contest. It's brilliant and outlandishly difficult in a satisfying way. I played two games on the app adaptation and lost both times without much progress. The puzzle of this one is awesome and the theme is so strong in the gameplay. The physical PnP is on my to-build list, and this confirms that I would love to make it sooner than later.

Merchants & Marauders -- Our son stayed with my in-laws while we were in California. When we returned, my father-in-law all but demanded we play this one again. He said he was thinking about it all week after we played back-to-back the weekend prior. I was Pepijn van Azevaath, and began the game as a merchant. I made a lot of cash and eventually bought a Frigate and pivoted to piracy. I crippled and boarded a French frigate in St. Maarten for a huge heap of gold and glory, but my father-in-law took the opportunity to flee to his home port and stash enough gold to win. Hindsight being what it is, I should have attacked him, instead. He was a pretty successful marauder for most of the game, while my wife and sister-in-law were very adept merchants. My father-in-law had the Spanish Letter of Marque which is SO good when you can get it early in the game. He cleaned non-Spanish house and then popped the mission for his last glory point at the end of the game. I really enjoy these subtle buffs in the game.

VACATION:
San Francisco was a great time. I learned first-hand that it is supposedly the second most densely-populated city in the United States outside of New York, New York. Wow, it was crammed. For two little country mice, we fared pretty well. I did manage to turn against traffic into a one-way street in the heart of the city, but we lived to tell the tale (following my wife's near-hyper ventilation). We did plenty of touristy stuff like troll around Fisherman's Wharf and get Irish Coffee at Buena Vista Cafe, but we dodged the trolley and bus tours and spent most of our time just walking around the city (all over!) and seeing what we could see. We didn't have much of a pre-planned itinerary. We mostly just followed our stomachs to great restaurants (Hog Island Oyster Co, 21st Amendment Brewing Company [Mic Drop was tremendous] and Uno Dos Tacos being highlights).

From gallery of Annowme


We went north to Sausalito and Fort Baker (Starfleet HQ represent!), then wound our way to Muir Woods, which was easily a favorite part of our trip. The coastal redwoods were so amazing to see. I've been to the Pacific Northwest and seen Old Growth Douglas Firs, and those suckers are huge, but there was something eerie and beautiful about the redwoods and their little canyon north of the Golden Gate Bridge. We took the Canopy Trail hike and were really high up for most of the trek, and it was really, really quiet--almost totally silent--when we were near the redwoods. It was almost unsettling. Perhaps I'm used to the droning cicadas and birds everywhere in the east?

From gallery of Annowme


Napa was great--far more rugged than I imagined. We got to go to Russian River Brewing Co while near Santa Rosa, which was a little pilgrimage for me, seeing as they make Pliny the Elder (#1 IIPA on Beer Advocate) and three very lauded sour ales. Anastasia asked for "the biggest sampler you offer," so we ended up with THIS:

From gallery of Annowme


Wow. Interestingly enough, Pliny the Elder was "meh" on my palate. WAY too bitter for my taste, though I expected as much. I adore hoppy beer, but not bitterness. Give me Burton Baton or Resin any day, but I'll pass on the so-called "best" double IPA on the planet. The sours, however, were mind-bendingly good. We wanted to buy some bottles to take home, but they were mega expensive, so we relished the opportunity to have tasted them and then left with full bellies and empty hands.

We then spent two days in Yosemite. I've seen the Grand Tetons, Olympic Peninsula, Yellowstone, Badlands, and Puget Sound... but they don[t hold a candle to the Yosemite Valley. Anastasia says that I just walked around for two days with my jaw dragging on the ground. It was literally breath-taking, as we drove around the corner of the road and Half-Dome came into view between El Capitan and the eastern valley wall, I very truly gasped aloud in wonder. We spent several hours just driving from place to place, and every moment was precious. Glacier Point was arguably the best view of anything I've ever seen in my entire life. We made sure to get some good pictures.

From gallery of Annowme


 

We agreed that we would like to return to Yosemite for a week and camp. If we play our cards right, we could likely hit Seqoia Nation Park and Death Valley, too. That's for another day, though.

My only amused criticism: California has a love affair with the word "vista." I counted forty-eight instances of seeing that word on a sign while we were on the West Coast. Forty-eight.
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9. Board Game: Xia: Legends of a Drift System [Average Rating:7.86 Overall Rank:149]
Board Game: Xia: Legends of a Drift System
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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Guild Ball
Xia: Legends of a Drift System
Morocco
Secret Hitler
Captain Sonar
Ca$h 'n Guns (Second Edition)

Guild Ball
Hunters vs Engineers against someone I hadn't played before. I took a 4-0 lead on the first turn and thought I was set up pretty well, but didn't use my captain well. On the second turn I did a few good things and was focused on setting up for turn 3 when my opponent popped his captain's Legendary play. I had a chance to neutralize it, in what would have been a massive momentum shift. Rolled 3 dice and needed at least one 3. Rolled triple ones. Sigh.

Opponent scored very early on Turn 3 making it 4-4 but I was set up to score on my very next activation with just a little luck. I felt like I had the advantage and expect I would have won, however the game store closed at 9 and we didn't finish. That's 2 weeks in a row. I love that store but in the past year or so they've gotten very strict about closing at 9. That's fair and legit; they have lives. However, it gets in the way of many games. The Glinks don't play there anymore because of that.

Xia
My first play. I'd heard a lot about how the game hinges on rolls and I experienced it fully. I died 7 times. One of them was me choosing to fly into the sun because I was hoping to respawn on the other side of the map and there is little penalty to dying, especially when you're behind. Early in the game I played conservatively, spending my money on big engines and completing missions. Then, on a lark, I decided to try to Salvage. Need to roll anything higher than a 3 to not die...died. Lost all my cargo and missions and had no money, so at that point I targeted the Salvaging title...need to roll greater than 3 7 times in a row. That's hard, but I did it on my third attempt (died the other 2) and finally thought that I might have an engine going because I now got a +1 to salvaging rolls: anything but a 1 or a 2 would be fine. I died 3 more times salvaging. Sigh. Meanwhile, Chris and Tom had solid point engines going but Matt shot ahead because he rolled 20 twice and scored points for that.

I didn't hate it; I had a lot of fun actually. The game draws a narrative and a story out but boy...there are people I won't play this with and there will be days I won't play this even with the right people. The easy answer is "Don't salvage and risk it" but the problem is that there is only so much you can do. I could have drawn a mission and hoped to attempt that, but that still involves luck on where you can go/not go, the route you have to take, and who you may run up against who kills you. Damage is dealt in swings of 1-10, etc. Variance is the name of the game here.

Morocco
Way way better with 4, but still didn't love it. No one really did except Matt but it's exactly his kind of game. Theme is truly tacked on, and stretched so thin it pokes through. Why am I sending tourists to go work my stalls? Why do they then turn into normal assistants? Bodyguards only show up for the players who come in second or third on a stall not the ones making the most money? What does the juice even represent. For a game the designer said was "dripping with theme" on twitter...

Secret Hitler
My good friend Scott had his college buddies in town. One of them is a pretty big gamer and the others are game-curious. We had planned on playing Captain Sonar but I threw a couple others in the bag to see if there was any interest. They loooooved Secret Hitler. We played at least 10 times over the course of the day with play count ranging from 5-9. I continue my streak of almost always being Hitler, and we had a really good couple of rounds.

I posted a review on BGG, and the conversation is mostly about Avalon in the comments because of course it is.

Cash & Guns
Fell a little flat after all the hours of Secret Hitler which was surprising. Not a lot of conversation when I play this game...I wonder if I'm not setting the stage right.

Captain Sonar
Two games of this to round out the party, and everyone thought it was awesome. Radar operator is still my favorite. Few things in gaming feel as amazing as 2 direct hits in a row.

On my mind
Katie came back late Saturday from Guatemala. Everyone had a blast and she brought me a pile of goodies. Her mom is going to stay with us another week, which will mean we can tailgate longer for the Duke-Northwestern football game. Some friends are coming in for that so I'm pumped.

Not pumped about Duke Football, who looked terrible against Wake. This might be a rough season in a return to classic form. I'm not pessimistic though, the past few years have been outstanding for us and have led to some great recruiting. Part of why it's going to be rough is we're playing lots of freshman at key positions because our recruiting class is [i]that[i] much better than previous ones and playing young green players is better than playing many of our Juniors/Seniors.

Raffi has taken up to 3 consecutive steps. Walking is coming soon.

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10. Board Game: Inis [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:108]
Board Game: Inis
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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Inis x2 (kinda/not really new!)
Rhino Hero x3
Animal Upon Animal x2
Unpublished Prototype x3
Dreamblade x1
Forbidden Stars x1
Star Trek: Ascendancy x1
Agamemnon x1

Articles/Reviews
Star Trek: Ascendancy rocks

Rise of the Kage is pretty good too


Inis
My two full plays came through on the promise I felt from my half play at Gen Con. This game is great. It's dudes on a map with really vindictive attrition-based combat with a negotiation element. The map expands as you play in interesting directions. It's drafting like Blood Rage but your cards determine the entirety of what you can do. You get new cards tied to each area you control. The end game conditions are great. Just really cool.

It does have that Cyclades/Kemet thing where people need to stop others from winning. Some people hate that, I certainly don't.

I talked about this on the upcoming episode of Ding & Dent but I'd rank these games like this:

Cyclades with Titans
Inis
Cyclades (with or without Hades)
Kemet

So, I like Inis quite a bit considering Titans is my single favorite board game expansion ever made.

I'm not sure Inis has the strength to overcome Ascendancy, Captain Sonar, or Rebellion as my game of the year but we'll see.

Dreamblade
I was rolled in this game. I went up with an early lead but didn't manage my spawns and was outplayed. It snowballed as I kept adjusting poorly and got creamed. Very fun though.

Forbidden Stars
Appropriate with the recent GW/FFG news, but this wasn't planned. My brother came over and he chose this one as he's a fan. I was Orks and he was Space Marines and I killed him due to him having a very poor first turn where he misunderstood something. He had fun though but we didn't have time to restart.

On My Mind
I'm waiting to hear back on Red Meridian from a prospective publisher. Meanwhile I'm working on my real-time Street Fighter/2D fighting dice game (Alley Brawler). Finally got my physical prototype to the table messing around with it solo and made one improvement. It works and I think it will be fun against a live opponent, we'll see.

I'm eager to get to work on the game after that in my queue - an asymmetrical dudes on a map game with a dexterity element. It's called Dropship Children.

I'm a couple episodes into the new run of Fear the Walking Dead and it's still alright. Mr. Robot completely overshadows it.

Mansions of Madness 2e finally arrives today. Going to be soloing that a bit, hopefully tonight/tomorrow before game night. Hoping to get Inis back to the table Wednesday and going to push hard for Dragon & Flagon. Need to whittle away at the review queue.



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11. Board Game: Florenza [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:1471]
Board Game: Florenza
Dave K
United States
Austin
Texas
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Board Game: High Frontier
Board Game: Florenza
Board Game: Mansions of Madness: Second Edition
Board Game: Magic Realm


I actually played games this week! Yay! And several big ones! #WINNING

8.5  Florenza NEW!

8  High Frontier
8.5  Mansions of Madness: Second Edition
9  Magic Realm

So in roughly chronological order...

On Labor Day we had a nice little game of High Frontier where we used some of the advanced rules and a tiny bit of the stuff from Colonization. It actually was a little game as it only took like 3.5 hours for a 5p game of this. I think the fact that most of us had played before (maybe all of us?) really helped.

My feelings about this game haven't changed much. As an experience and puzzle I think it's just great. Trying to figure out how you can get a functional rocket as fast as you can and then blasting off to the great unknown and hoping that you've crunched the weight/fuel numbers right still feels intriguing and fresh. When you look at the technical details on the cards you have, you can almost feel like you've done something scientific and not just jumbled some auctioned cards together. Love it.

But as a game, I think it still has some big shortcomings. The stakes in the game for almost everything early game feel awfully high - did you make a gamble on radiation and fail? Did you race to the same location as an opponent but they beat you there? Did you lose out on the bidding for a decent thruster and have no real feasible way of getting anywhere? A single big failure like this will generally take you entirely out of contention. It's still fun to play, as I mentioned above, but there's no real prospect of recovery from this. That said, I don't know if it really _needs_ one, as leveling things out too much might drain the personality from the game, but it still feels kind of lopsided. But it's a lopsided beauty, and there's nothing like it.

I have heard the Colonization expansion new end conditions really change things up and make it a bit more viable as a "game" but I haven't played that yet.

Oh, other random thought. 5p for HF is probably too many. Seems best with 3-4.

Florenza is a game I have known about for many years but hadn't played it. Robin had it set up on Thursday night so I hopped in, and it was really good. It's a deep and crunchy euro with a great mix of worker placement, tableau buliding, and resource management. The theme feels a little tired today - there's a lot of "sponsor renaissance artists in Italy" games - but the theme works (even if it's a tad dry) and there are historical artists to hire, so that's a nice little plus.

Resources in the game are scarce, but they are also clearly meant to be used and not hoarded. Everything is in short supply - both buildings and works of art to complete - so while you can't ignore gathering resources, you also can't affort to not use them, as the high-point targets get snapped up really quickly. We played the 1st edition, in which excess workers can't do anything. In the 2nd edition they let them go to an extra spot to earn some money - I actually prefer the original here, as it's incentive to not just crank out your full set of workers every round like most WP games encourage.

The other really neat thing it that comes immediately to mind is the turn order system. (Turn order is _really_ important in this game, so this was highly visible.) There are two "positions" you can earn at the end of each round, the captain and the bishop. If you have the most points at the end of the round, you become the captain, slide to the front of the turn order, and "cash in" your victory points. The cashing in entails taking some permanent point certificates and resetting your score on the board to zero. This means the next round you're unlikely to be the captain again (as you now have zero on the point board), and someone else will be closer to being captain. If you have enough pope favor points, you become the bishop, which gets you second place in order (and you reset to zero on the favor track). Note that there are no points cashed out for this.

If you manage to become both captain and bishop, you get to go both first *and* second, which is crrrrrazy strong, but it practically guarantees you'll lose both titles and get knocked to 3rd in order on the next round. Still worth it as it's so strong for that one round.

This game really impressed me. The turn order thing is probably the only highly unique thing present, but everything else is handled very well and the variety of actions available all worked well. The only minus I'd probably give it balance-wise is the "recommended" set of buildings seems a little weird, but when you have expeirenced players you draft them, so that at least is taken care of for experienced players.

Overall, I really enjoyed it. I wasn't sure what to expect since there was a glut of euros back when this game out, but it packs a nice punch now. Good stuff. (Aside: it's a tad long, figure 3-4 hours for a 5p game, so people looking for a shorter game might want to go towards Fresco or Princes of Florence if they want to inspire artists more quickly.)

Mansions of Madness 2E was our Friday night entertainment. My score for this has gone down a tiny bit after the game showed a few more rough edges, but overall I still think it's great (and I doubt my score will go below 8.5). We played the second scenario and had a grand old time in Innsmouth. The game was atmospheric and flavorful, as expected, although the story was a little weak in a couple places. I can't really say the big thing that annoyed us without spoilers, but let's just say there's something which is rather counterintuitive in how it pans out late in the scenario and we were all kind of miffed at it. It didn't spoil the evening, but it was kind of obnoxious.

The rules for this, despite being seemingly simple and straightforward, have a lot of cases that aren't really thoroughly covered. There's an unofficial FAQ here on BGG, but no official one yet, which is unfortunate. The rules issues plus the above mentioned scenario flaw are what cost this game 1/2 a point.

Those blips aside we had a grand old time. The game is still a tad combat heavy for a Cthulhu-based outing, but I've made my peace with that. Instead of focusing on brave librarians, we have brave and foolish souls who like gut-punching deep ones and beating hunting horrors with 2x4s. Okay, sure, why not.

I've heard they will be making two more full scenarios available that use/require the upcoming sorta-expansions. Since I have the 1E of MoM we'll be able to get the new scenarios without any purchases, which I highly approve of.

This game is still something I'd readily recommend to co-op game fans. The app-as-gamemaster thing just works.

Magic Realm capped off the week. We have five players and the game took approximately seven hours, which seems about right for MR. There's really nothing like it today, even all these years later. Mage Knight and Runebound have a similar explore-a-fantasy-world feel, but the way they both play is totally different. They also feel more like a modern "high fantasy" setting rather than the 70s pulp fantasy that MR evokes. It's hard to place my finger on it exactly, but there's something really charming about the pluply swords-and-sorcery that MR offers.

I was the Elf (back when fantasy races were generally 'classes' of their own a la D&D 1E), which made me fleet of foot, handy with a bow, and good at hiding. I snuck around quite a bit with another player who was The Woods Girl (what a silly name...) and our skills overlapped quite a bit. Although we had a hard time finding foes we could deal with at first (our bows were potentially powerful, but very unreliable), we were able to make our way through the early caverns and out to the branching mountain forest. Up there we were able to dig up quite a bit of treasure rooting around in the sites there, and then trapsed off to fight a demon and loot his shrine. I charmed a bat and flew off into the sunset with a net score of 0, which is considered a win (any non-negative score is a victory, especially with the characters who don't start off with the ability to easily kill large monsters).

MR is a strange beast. It's fun, it's flavorful, and it's complex. The rules are bulky and intimidating, and the game undeniably comes from the 80s roll-on-tables school of thought. But despite that, it's still entertaining and intriguing. The characters are on the whole very different (although some are more similar than others). The balance between characters is kind of off - I would never expect a Pilgrim to get a score anywhere near that of a White Knight or Berzerker. It's still just so weird and fun that I don't envision myself selling it, even if we only get to play once a year or so.

On My Mind

I have a scheduled 1854 game this Saturday, so hooooopefully I'll get an 18XX in soon too. YAY!

Persona 5 is coming out soon, which greatly interests me.

Shin Godzilla is coming through Austin, so we're going to try to see it in the theater. I've heard mixed things, but I still have exceedingly fond memories of some of the Godzilla movies (especially 1985), so I'm trying to be optimistic.
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12. Board Game: Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:243]
Board Game: Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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Just one play this week. Maddy was fussy, so we stayed home, and we played 2-player Civ to figure out the game some more.

I got a nice boost to my city development and getting many great people in my outskirts. I also got better draw on my military cards giving me an edge there. I started to explore the money path to victory with much success, and it also makes researching technology easier since you retain that much additional trade.
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13. Board Game: Laser Attack [Average Rating:5.97 Overall Rank:14038]
Board Game: Laser Attack
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Imagine 4 NEW!
Captain Sonar 3
The Manhattan Project: Chain Reaction 2
For Sale 1
Grifters 1
Hab & Gut 1
Hocus 1
Junk Art 1 NEW!
Tyrants of the Underdark 1 NEW!
Via Nebula 1

Imagine: This was exactly what I expected it would be. It shares similarities to concept in the abstraction of clues, but plays a bit quicker. Very enjoyable and lead to so many great, "That was the clue? What the hell were you doing with that card?" type yelling. One of the most notable was my stepdad trying to get us to guess "tag". So he grabs the pound sign one and the speech bubble as an attempt to get us to think "hashtag". Also, it's great that you can "animate" the cards in the game. I had a whole scenario with the ventriloquist coming on stage, to an audience, and pulling out the dummy, which everyone thought was a baby in a box.

Junk Art: This was a surprise. I was a bit leery of this as I wonder how much fun another balancing dexterity game would be. However, the little bit of game-y-ness they put in it really make it way more fun than expected. The pieces are great and the sames of them are far easier to balance than other games like it. I intend to get this played several times more this week, with some of the different variants too. As an aside, my friend borrowed it and he said they played it for five hours, making it through all except the Flick 'Em Up scenario. He said all were equally good.

Tyrants of the Underdark: Another game that was exactly what I expected it to be. I bought it because it's deckbuilding and area majority/control and it succeeded at both. To point out some of the game's flaws, it's a big ol' points salad, which makes it a bit fiddly to score. Still, you just go player-by-player and it's not awful. The production of the bits is fine, but the card quality is as equally craptastic as the elementary graphic design. I consider myself an amateur Photoshop user and I am certain I could've done a better job. Luckily, I enjoy the game enough to overlook these flaws and I hope to get this played again this week.

On My Mind:

Matt bought the new WoW expansion and I am being tempted.

Edit: I forgot I put up another auction yesterday. Most of it is the same stuff that didn't get sold before. I took an idea from Dave to make shipping via flat rate, so people don't bitch about pricing and try to penny pinch me on every damn thing.
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14. Board Game: Scythe [Average Rating:8.25 Overall Rank:11] [Average Rating:8.25 Unranked]
Board Game: Scythe
Fabrice Dubois
France
La Garenne Colombes
Hauts de Seine
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 10  Tigris & Euphrates x1 (5 plays so far)
 9  Scythe x1 NEW!
 9  Troyes x1 (13 plays so far)

On Scythe :
The factions that were involved: Polania, Saxony, Nordic and Crimea (me).

The scores:
Crimea: 93
Polania: 56
Nordic: 48
Saxony: 37

Beyond the numbers (and the fact that I won), here's what I liked about Scythe:

1) players board : the action selection mechanism is brillant and it make the rythm of the game (there are even times when we were surprised to have to play again so quickly ... it's impressive!). It offers beautiful dilemmas between priority and order of actions, efficiency, development, setup and improvement of our engine. All with a super clear and sounding iconography.

Example: I would like to move my units and at the same time make an upgrade. But I needed 2 barrels of oil. Damn! I do not have access to oil. Well, never mind, I have decided to wait a little bit and trade because after the movement of my workers to this mountain, I would be able to produce metal and then construct my Mechs thanks to the reduced cost that just gave me this upgrade.

It offers a great freedom of choice despite the only 3 possible actions to choose over 4. It is working wondefully.

Example: Because of it starting position, Polonia have no access to metal in the early game. So we thought it was complicated to build his first Mech (required to cross rivers). Well, no, thanks to trade: in our game, Polonia was the first to built his Mech, which allowed him to expand more rapidly than others.

This is in my opinion the greatest achievement of Scythe.

2) the universe : without being hyper-themed, the historical dieselpunk background is awesome and great. It is a matter of taste for sure, but all the players were eager to play. This retro-modern blend is conveyed by the great miniatures and artwork. We played with the king size board, resin resources and metal coins : they increase the experience, no doubt.

3) permanent tension at all levels and yet there were only 2 fights in our game. Tension not only brought due to the movements of other factions but also by the infernal race for optimization, boost of popularity, boost of power and laying of stars to end the game.

Example: the deployment of Polonia towards the Nordic took place very quickly in the game. This was surprising because the metal was not accessible to him. So, thanks to its faction's ability, we immediately felt the threat: his hero would certainly not only move to make encounters but also to attack. We were not ready to defend our fields at that time. The Nordic player had to take this into account in its development.

Another example: as soon as i enabled my ability to deploy my units on not occupied and inactives factions's base camps, this put a Damocles sword over the head of everyone! I was a constant threat and other players had to play with this in their head.

I managed to put 3 stars in one turn. This put enormous pressure on Saxony who was far behind, which suddenly cause a violent reaction from him.

The interaction is more kind of cold war than anything else but I love this kind of interaction which eliminates nobody (the combat system hugely pleases me : at worst, they slowed our development down but we are never exterminated). I like games that are not about "fighting for fighting" : here, it is all about subtlety rather than permanent aggression.

I have not followed the Kickstarter campaing of the game.
I saw some illustrations on BGG but nothing more.
I did not really want to discover yet another new-hyped game (our backlog for "enduring-replayability" is well fed).

But the game is well-crafted, rather short for this kind of game, rather simple in its gameplay and it makes you want to play it thanks to the components and artwork.

My french copy is already preordered.
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15. Board Game: Guilds of London [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:1423]
Board Game: Guilds of London
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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Board Game: One Night Ultimate Werewolf
Board Game: Little Devils
Board Game: Guilds of London
Board Game: Wizard
Board Game: Tiny Epic Galaxies
Board Game: Aggravation


One Night Ultimate Werewolf
Little Devils
Guilds of London NEW!
Wizard
Tiny Epic Galaxies
Aggravation

I got Guilds of London based on it's pedegree (I'm a huge Snowdonia fan), and it was...OK. It's a card-based area majority/hand management game with a real nasty interactive element (neutral pieces that players can use to boot out other players pieces before a scoring). It's a very competent design that doesn't do anything particularly new. I can't really put my finger on why it didn't do much for me, but it manages to fall short of the "good for what it is" by some je ne sais quois.

Also, some of our local group got all up on Tabletop Simulator, and we played both Tiny Epic Galaxies and Wizard. It's mildy clunky but not a bad option for playing games virtually.
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16. Board Game: Planet Steam [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:919]
Board Game: Planet Steam
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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Planet Steam -- Just two games this past week. Pursuant to our previous game of Planet Steam, another group member bought a copy. So, we played another 5 player game, which took only 2 hours this time, rather than the full 3. Last game I pushed hard on Energy, and but it turned out that everyone else did as well. This game, I kept it simple and upgraded water. Unfortunately, in retrospect, I never utilized that. The first round I pushed and got into the Quartz business. Rather than sell to the market, I used that to create superchargers and continue my quartz dominance. This meant I was always strapped for cash, but was pulling in good supplies. I had a particularly bad round where I failed to generate any supplies though, as i got shut out of Energy in the previous round. Despite that, I managed victory with a clean-but-not-amazing margin of points. Definitely one of my favorite newer games I've played.

Ticket to Ride -- the only other game I played was the classic map w/ my cousins. As such, I didn't block when I thought about it, and we let one of them build 6 of the 6-length routes. He also managed to pull 2 East-West routes in the opening hand. Marion was within 5 points, but nobody else was even close.

On my mind:
* I joined a gym. Marion finally convinced me that joining a gym is a good idea if I'm going to work at home. The local community college has a notoriously nice gym, so we both joined that (bonus: one of my cousins is also a member). As part of the joining process, they took a physical assessment of me; I completely lack any upper body strength whatsoever.

* Projects. I'm feeling really settled in to the house finally, and into a routine. As such, I've been feeling the urge to begin a new programming project. I picked up GameMaker from the latest Humble Bundle, so I'm considering trying to build a board game using that software. It will likely not be Hansa Teutonica .

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17. Board Game: Mystic Vale: Vale of Magic [Average Rating:7.64 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.64 Unranked]
Board Game: Mystic Vale: Vale of Magic
Dave K
United States
Austin
Texas
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The title for the expansion to Mystic Vale is seriously "Mystic Vale: Vale of Magic."

I'm sad the original title "Mystic Vale: Vale of Mystics" didn't get approved.
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18. Board Game: High Frontier [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:1087] [Average Rating:7.41 Unranked]
Board Game: High Frontier
Grant Johnson
United States
Cedar Park
Texas
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Board Game: High Frontier


 9   High Frontier

Another slow week of gaming that's likely to carry over into next week due to travel. I think the gaming is really going to pick up a bit after that as a lot of my (and my gaming group's) travel is going to tick downward.

High Frontier: Dave noted this play. Overall this was quite a bit of fun- we have enough experience with the game that it went somewhat quickly. I was happy because I took a solar sail and really made it work. I still spend a bit too much time bargain hunting the auctions at the beginning (I need to get into LEO and out into space faster) but I put together a wonderful rocket. The rest of the table was shocked when I cruised out to Mercury in next to no time.

I think Dave is right- there is a fun experience playing the game and exploring the solar system, but a lot of times you wonder if the competitive game is there. I've played enough games of this where circumstances have really messed things up (looking at you glitch) and ruined otherwise fantastic, high odds plans. Dave had an opportunity to play kingmaker near the end of the game. I'm grateful he left it alone as I got a narrow victory thanks to a political bonus.

On my mind: The planning geeklists for BGG.CON are starting to go up, and I'm putting my schedule together. I'm getting excited for it. I am curious to know who is going this year.

Also, get your planning for Talk Like a Pirate Day going. It's nearly here!!!!
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19. Board Game: Sushi Go Party! [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:185]
Board Game: Sushi Go Party!
Jim Parkin
United States
Stow
Ohio
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Heiko Günther, my BGG crush, just finished expanding the original PnP art from the pre-release of Sushi Go! to encompass everything in Sushi Go Party!

https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/181980/item/4884619#item4...

Hopefully the files will be released with permission from Gamewright/Phil Walker-Harding/however this process works.

Of specific note, Heiko summed up amusing and perennial GCL commentary here:

lee elektrik wrote:
It's Seven Wonders, only without all the annoying shit.
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