GCL Mafia 304: Reunion
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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Welcome to GCL Mafia Division's weekly geeklist!

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)
Thesp's GCL Games Played Tool (an easy-to-use tool for collating your plays for the week)

GCL Mafia Members:
• Please add an item to represent your gaming life for the week of November 14-20, 2016.
• List any games played along with your thoughts/opinions.
• Also, feel free to share gaming news, life updates, random thoughts, or anything else you deem appropriate.

GCL Mafia Geeklist Format:
• A weekly spotlight is gamed and discussed. The poster will pose questions about it to encourage conversation.
• Themed questions are over the top. They can be gaming-related topics or non-gaming-related topics.
• A top six list will be mentioned and forgotten, perhaps never posted.

Current Roster:
Dolus
ecargo
Epsilon_Balls
captainraffi
touchstonethefool
jshufelt
fdubois
bobcatpoet
charlest
Happymrdave
tallgrant
Annowme
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1. Board Game: Video Game High School [Average Rating:6.43 Overall Rank:8764]
Board Game: Video Game High School
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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This coming weekend will be my high school reunion.

Do you have or will you have reunions for high school and/or college? Have/will you you attend? Do you have old friends that you miss from these days?

What is the value you get from class reunions?
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2. Board Game: BoardGameGeek: The Card Game [Average Rating:5.45 Overall Rank:17527]
Board Game: BoardGameGeek: The Card Game
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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BGG.Con was last weekend. For some GCL Mafia members, it is a reunion to see each other again, or to meet for the first time.

Do you have any gaming conventions that you treat as a reunion? Who do you look forward to seeing?
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3. Board Game: The Addams Family Family Reunion Game [Average Rating:5.12 Overall Rank:17664]
Board Game: The Addams Family Family Reunion Game
Travis Dean
United States
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Do you like reunions? Would you enjoy attending a GCL Reunion?
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4. Board Game: The BoardGameGeek Game [Average Rating:6.02 Overall Rank:5486]
Board Game: The BoardGameGeek Game
Dave K
United States
Austin
Texas
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Board Game: A Feast for Odin
Board Game: Terraforming Mars
Board Game: Cthulhu Wars
Board Game: Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization
Board Game: Arkham Horror: The Card Game
Board Game: Snowdonia
Board Game: Fury of Dracula (Third/Fourth Edition)
Board Game: Great Western Trail
Board Game: Lancaster
Board Game: Ra
Board Game: Sleuth
Board Game: The Colonists
Board Game: 13 Clues
Board Game: Fuji Flush
Board Game: Rolling Japan
Board Game: The Networks
 
Board Game: Deep Sea Adventure
Board Game: Fabled Fruit
Board Game: Karuba
Board Game: Medici
Board Game: Ponzi Scheme
Board Game: Project: ELITE
Board Game: Chariot Race
Board Game: Epic PVP: Fantasy
Board Game: Riff Raff
Board Game: La Granja: No Siesta
Board Game: Warrior Knights


Went to BGG.CON. Had a wonderful time and played many a thing with friends, including many games with the GCL crew. #WINNING

New!

 8.5   Arkham Horror: The Card Game NEW!
 8   Great Western Trail NEW!
 8   The Colonists NEW!
 8   La Granja: The Dice Game – No Siesta! x2 NEW!
 7.5   13 Clues x2 NEW!
 7   Fuji Flush x3 NEW!
 7.5   Rolling Japan x2 NEW!
 7.5   The Networks NEW!
 7   Codenames: Pictures NEW!
 7   Fabled Fruit x2 NEW!
 7   Project: ELITE NEW!
 6.5   Chariot Race NEW!
 5   Epic PVP: Fantasy NEW!
 4.5   Riff Raff NEW!
 N/A   Warrior Knights NEW!

Not new!

 9.5   A Feast for Odin x2
 9.5   Terraforming Mars
 9   Cthulhu Wars
 9   Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization
 8.5   Snowdonia
 8   Fury of Dracula (third edition)
 8   Lancaster
 8   Ra
 8   Sleuth
 7   Deep Sea Adventure
 7   Karuba
 7   Medici
 7   Ponzi Scheme

I'll write in thoughts about the games over the course of the week. The best new games to me were Arkham Horror: LCG and Great Western Trail, although neither quite comes up to the level of my other 2016 favorites (Feast, Terraforming, and MoM2E). Obviously playing games with GCL buds makes them 10X the AMAZE though!


Edit: impressions batch 1:

AH: LCG was lot of fun and feels like a mix of Time Stories, Mansions of Madness, and the LotR LCG. Love the narrative story elements, has excellent artwork, and the game seems to be relatively solid as well. Minuses are the lack of a bag in the box for the tokens (couldn't they have tossed one in angry) and very swingy outcomes for actions sometimes. The difficulty level on 'standard' was higher than I expected, we _barely_ won the first scenario (although we could have taken an alternate route that was easier).

Great Western Trail is a very good game. I need more plays before I decide if it makes it all the way to "great" or stays at just "very good" for me. It's a bucket-o'-mechanics setup but it feels pretty cohesive still. I like how the different options interconnect and it seems like there are multiple valid routes to a winning score.

The Colonists is a very dense resource management / production chain game that was very enjoyable to me (and Phil) but I think it's going to be a niche title at best. The length plus huge amount of actions is going to be a turnoff for many. It's also quite dry, as you're doing the euro standards of resource chit shuffling in the quest for VPs. I felt like each player got too many actions, as at the end of our first game everyone had very similar boards. It's too early for me to push for a variant but I felt like reducing the year count per-era from 5 to 4 would have made us take different approaches.

La Granja: The Dice Game: No Siesta! was much better than expected. It's another roll-dice-and-mark-off-spots-on-a-sheet game but it offers more choices than most. It also has a nice drafting mechanism for the dice, which resulted in more interaction than most games of this type too. I think I'm going to buy this and sell my Roll Through The Ages games. They scratch a similar itch, but this is better.

13 Clues was recommended by Rishi (and his friend whose name I forget... Becca?) very highly. It's a mixture of Hanabi and Mystery of the Abbey. You are trying to guess the person/place/weapon in front of you, but you can see everyone else's cards plus a couple hidden ones that nobody else can. To do this you ask questions in specific ways. It's a nice deduction game, and if it gets a USA release I'll pick it up. The action management with passing magnifying glasses felt kind of pointless, it seems like "you get one action per turn" would have been just as good.

Fuji Flush is a decent little filler card game. It seems to suffer from the usual curse of games like this where it says it plays up to a lot of people but it's really only good with fewer. I played it three times, two with 4 and 5 (where it was pretty good) and once with like seven (where it was so random that what you played had little effect on the outcome).

Rolling Japan is one I have meant to try for a while. It's a mark-things-off-on-your-sheet game along the lines of Qwixx, but all dice are shared. It's fun and fairly quick. Lots of hemming and hawing when lots of 1s or 6s are rolled, as those can mess you up very quickly. Would definitely use this as a nice little filler game.

The Networks has genuinely funny humor and a fairly good set of mechanics largely centered on drafting. It played well with 5 and the theme works well too. It seemed like sometimes you could be shut out of a lot of points due to random card flips (we had almost no shows in one time slot in one round, and in another we had only one of a given type), but was fun overall. Would play again but not going to buy it.

Update the number of 2:

Codenames: Pictures is Codenames but with less clever wordplay. It's not bad but I would never pick this over the original.

Fabled Fruit was interesting. It's so straightfoward, yet the "fable system" (meh @ name) gives it just enough new stuff happening to make the incredibly basic core game stay interesting. It also really does play in under 25 min per game like the box says, which is a feat. I picked this up because I feel like it would be a good weeknight game. Also gets props for the cute artwork (of which there is quite a bit).

I would like to see the fable thing done with a beefier game, but this one is fine for what it is.

Project: ELITE should have been named E.L.I.T.E and it would have sold a ton of copies. *trollface* It's a very fun, very frantic realtime game with lots of dice chucking and massive confusion. It's hard to keep track of everything and the naming of things is weird. The character named "ROBCART" is just... hilarious. Robocop lookalike == ROBCART.

Fun game, would play again, not buying. Too big and seems like it get old with frequent play, but enjoyable periodically I think.

Chariot Race was fun because I was playing with Charlie & James. The game design is very... messy. It's highly driven by the dice, and a couple bad turns in a row will smack you down really hard. The value of things is almost entirely dependent on where you are located. I would never have guessed this is a Matt Leacock design since his other games tend to be clean and tight. Still, it was chaotic fun with a group, and I could see a 6-player game of this being a blast when everyone was in the right mood and able to not take the swings personally.

The production values of this were terrible. Like, Betrayal at the House on the Hill terrible. It has thin boards with plastic clips even. Ugh. Pegasus Spiele, what the hell happened?

Epic PvP: Fantasy is a better-than-I-expected-but-I-was-not-expecting-much 2P card game. You pick a fantasy race and a D&D character class and shuffle the decks together and ROUND 1: FIGHT. It was fun enough. It has the same problem as Smash Up where the cards do not really mix right. I don't feel like, say, a Dwarf Samurai. I have some Dwarf cards and some Samurai cards. They do not interact. They just are spatially adjacent. Meh.

There's too many 2p games for me to ever request this but it wasn't horrible.

Riff Raff was disappointing. It's a very cool mechanical construct in terms of the wooden boat and the stand and the pendulum that makes it rock back and forth. The game was bland and forgettable, and the pieces fell off so often that the boat never felt loaded up.

Glad I tried this first. Pass.

Warrior Knights is a game that gets a lot of love here on the GCL, and I don't know if I can really rate it on one play. On one hand, it has a lot of constituent pieces that are interesting - area control on the board, card-driven combat, votes and diplomacy, event cards, randomized resolution ordering, etc. On the other, several of these I feel didn't live up to their potential since the game is so short round-count-wise. The stuff we voted on was not completely irrelevant but it didn't matter a huge amount. Plus the you-pay-even-if-you-lose blind bidding kind of killed the council. Nobody wanted to vote unless it seemed like they couldn't lose.

The troops move pretty slowly and the game seemed to incentivize attacking neutral cities over attacking each other. Why go out of your way to fight someone when there are free points in your backyard? Robin won by getting more neutral cities faster than us, and nobody wanted to run across the board to try and mess with him as it basically would have meant they were giving up their own points to do so.

I really enjoyed playing with the GCL crowd but I'm not that impressed with the game. I would try it again and see if it went differently but for now I'm kind of underwhelmed compared to the reputation the game has here.

Update #3 - onto repeat games now, so keeping these really short and will comment on gaming with GCL buds later:

A Feast For Odin is still terrific. Not tired of it at all yet. Nipping at being upgraded to a 10 for me.

Terraforming Mars was another teaching game but still very enjoyable. Charlie was able to utilize adjusting requirements to hit my plant production like three times early game. Next time I will use the red dot cards for reals.

Cthulhu Wars was a blast. I foresee this being upgraded score-wise soon. I really want to see what the expansions offer too.

Through the Ages: The Nice Edition was a tense game early on but I banked too hard on age 3 culture coming out early, and it let me down. Whoops! Great game.

Snowdonia was a very quick game since the event cubes came out fast and furiously. Love this game. Bumped my score up half a point. Want to try a couple expansions sometime.

Fury of Dracula was a tense and interesting cat and mouse game, but the cats that were near the mouse didn't have any firearms and got beaten down. I think this metaphor is failing me so I'll move on. Great game though. James is a tough Dracula!

Lancaster was a title I really needed to revisit. An excellent worker-placement game with a nice twist. It can be really mean in the later rounds if your squires get eaten up too quickly. Which of course, happened to me. Drat. Good game.

Ra hasn't seen a play for me in a long time. It was fun to revisit it, and we had a great group for it. George played well and made out like a bandit in the final round. I pushed my luck a bit too hard and fell out of the running in the end. The new edition of this is good but the old one felt more... classy?

Sleuth is terrific but intense fun with the full player set. I actually was able to win! BEST GAME EVAR

A very pure, very good deduction game. We should make this an annual tradition too.

Deep Sea Adventure is beginning to lose its luster. I still think it's a fun filler but I'm enjoying it less than before. Darn.

Karuba was a strangely difficult one. As in, the tile order made this one of the lowest-scoring Karuba games I have seen. Nobody got all the temples. This is a nice filler with a good game-to-time ratio.

Medici with James and Charlie as SPEED MEDICI was amazing. I would be interested in playing a full game of this with 6 people with the speed rules. You have 15 seconds max to decide. We did a full game with teaching in under 30 minutes! Many fast. Wow.

Ponzi Scheme was full of laughs and Robin and I pushed ourselves way too far and went bankrupt at the same time. I like the game, and I think it's a nice variation on the usual business theme. It does seem like it's possible to get kicked out of the running with just one or two bad rounds, but it's a very short game, so whatevs.
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5. Board Game: Great Western Trail [Average Rating:8.29 Overall Rank:10]
Board Game: Great Western Trail
Fabrice Dubois
France
La Garenne Colombes
Hauts de Seine
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 9  Great Western Trail x1 New!
 7  Yunnan x1 (2 plays so far)

On Great Western Trail :
My friend went at home this evening to play GWT for 2 players.

This was my first play and it was his 3rd plays.

The game took about 2 hours.

He follow a cowboys strategy : buying and improving his herd, going quickly along the journey from Texas to Kansas City. At the start of the game, he was in trouble with moving his train so he had to pay extra dollars to put discs on cities.

As a result, he was almost always short of cash. But as he managed to discard through his deck, he was pretty safe on money although he had to pay for the cities beyond Albuquerque.

He manage to deliver all the cities from Colorado Spring to San Francisco, built 3 buildings but scored 38 VP for herd.

I follow a engineers strategy : moving my train the faster i can in order to place discs on stations after the bend. My trip from Texas to Kansas City was decently slow. I never bought some cow and built 4 buildings because of my objectives.

I think i fall short because i wasn't able to fill of the stations after the bend : it is hard around money and since you don't have a valuable herd, you must earn your money elsewhere. Teepees are a great source of money. Ribbon track too.

Mistakes i made :
- to grab a San Francisco objective
- to upgrade twice on stations (once with an engineer) but that said, the bonus tiles with permanent ribbons are great too

Final score : 130-81 (my friend won)

From gallery of fdubois


His player board :
From gallery of fdubois


My player board :
From gallery of fdubois


Thoughts
The gameplay is smooth, very straightforward.
Turns are quick and the pace increase the race effect of the game.

The game delivers a great amount of fun through combos, herd culling/discarding, journeying from Texas to Kansas City.

I felt the tension when my opponent started to speed up the game : it is dying to see the turn marker sliding down inexorably while you know your are short on timing.

Once you are in one way, it seems to be hard to fight against the other players : for example, i should have slow him down by laying down buildings but i wasn't developed on workers and i have spend my money to put discs on stations. Sure, i built some cheap buildings along the way but he manage to develop his extanded movement ability.

It was the same for him : he couldn't manage to catch up on the rail.

The game certainely entice you to specialize yourself and i enjoy that (it is rewarding when you manage to achieve your goal and it makes you want to play again if you fail).

I don't know yet if a balanced/middle/diversified strategy could win or be competitive but it should be very risky to follow.

I didn't find the game especially tight with two. Again, we were very specialized and as a result, focused on maximizing our strategy. We were never annoyed by each other buildings.

That said, perhaps you should grab objectives aimed by your opponent. After all, you can keep them in your deck until the end without any malus.

On the other hand, i really felt the increasing tension as my opponent speed up the game. It was agonizing and delightful.

This game is really great and i am looking forward to dig it in the future (i have ordered the game right after my play...).
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6. Board Game: 1001 [Average Rating:6.17 Overall Rank:13885]
Board Game: 1001
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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Board Game: Arkham Horror: The Card Game
 
Board Game: 1001


Arkham Horror: The Card Game x3
The Grizzled
1001 NEW!

Arkham
Don't let that little x3 fool you. Remember, I only log once a day no matter how many games I played. I actually played a total of 7 scenarios this week. I'm still having fun repeating scenarios and am eager for more. I played with the dads; we kicked off our 4p campaign of the core set scenario and it went pretty well. We got the max XP possible out of the first one. The 2nd was really tense and really close. There are lots of necessary actions and it's a big change in the structure from the first one which is great. There's a lot of flexibility in a system built on nothing but cards. Tom almost had to resign from the scenario, but decided to risk it and ended up surviving out. I'm not sure how much he enjoyed it, but his deck was the only deck to be a starter. He isn't interested in the deckbuilding as much as we are, and doesn't own his own starter. Matt and Chris loved it as much as they expected and both went out and got a second core.

1001
I don't even know how to categorize this game. It's a team game of up to 4 on 4. Teams take turns controlling Aladdin trying to collect gems for the princess or someshit like that. A deck of randomized cards determines 4 potential routes and the active team chooses by all playing voting cards face down after a brief discussion. If they're all the same, the team gets 3 bonus points. Meanwhile the other team is also playing voting cards to try to guess what route the other team will take. As long as you voted for a route that any one of the other team's players voted for, you get some bonus points. The non-active team also plays the Vizier (not-Jafar) to one of the 4 routes blocking it. That's the danger of everyone on the active team voting for the same route. There are ways to get team points and individual points, and at the end there is only one winner.

It works pretty well and is more fun than I was expecting. This arrived on my step from MM without warning, I hadn't requested it. Pleasantly surprised and it's a good light experience. With a family of non-gamers coming in, I can see opting for this one. Add it to the "Why does anyone still play 7 Wonders?" pile.

On my Mind

Pokemon Sun is gooooood. I really like a lot of the changes, most notably the move away from "This is a Water gym" doo doo doo "This is a Rock gym". The whole adventure structure is different which is nice. Meet my starter "Robin Hoodie":
External image

Other notable team members right now include Roggo, the rock doggo, and "Puppet" the Trump Pokemon. No puppet. No puppet. You're a puppet.


I picked up some Star Wars destiny stuff at the prerelease. Legendary cards are supposed to be 1/6 boosters; after opening 12 I got 2 so I don't hate the game yet. Hoping to actually play the game tomorrow night with my brother when he comes in for Thanksgiving. The whole Cordero family descends this week. I'm a little nervous, we've been having some family issues going on so we'll see how this goes, but mostly excited. My brother has a list of board games he wants to try.

On Saturday, Katie and I celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary. It was really nice; we went out to breakfast with Raffi and then got a babysitter for the evening. Two of the Glinks got married Saturday night so it was a really cool way for us to celebrate our anniversary. Also, all the tables were named after Dominion cards, the cake had meeples on it, and the officiants speech included lines from the Lord of the Rings. This weekend we're going to a spa for 1 night while my family watches the kid.

Secret Santa is in full swing. I got an international target and I've already started fighting Amazon.uk. I'm really getting frustrated with Amazon when it comes to items not fulfilled by them. This will be the 7th time this year I've had significant issues ordering things that they list but aren't fulfilled by them. Last year (the year before?) I had similar problems with the GCL secret santa. Such a pain. Of course, 3 different customer service agents have "assured" me that it will dispatch "today", with one going so far to say "my associates were incorrect". OKAY.
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7. Board Game: The Golden Ages [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:929]
Board Game: The Golden Ages
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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Only one game this week. 1.5 years after buying my copy off of Grace, I finally sat down and played The Golden Ages.

This game screams "James would love it" to me. It's got simplistic mechanics combined with a large tech tree and varying conditions of victory. I like the system it has managed to build, and once my group got familiar with the mechanics, it flowed nicely. The game could have used more/better player guides though, as the cards were not intuitive, and we kept passing the rulebook around the table to clarify things.

It was a decent first experience, and I think it will only improve when playing more.
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8. Board Game: Not Alone [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:668]
Board Game: Not Alone
Joseph
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Board Game: Onirim (Second Edition)


 8   Onirim (second edition) - Small footprint. You don't really need a table to play this. I destroyed this one, getting four doors down with laying down only 9 cards.

App Play:

Pandemic 2x - Lost both games. I am liking Pandemic more than I use to.

Cthulhu Realms 2x - It's Star Realms with awful iconography. I figured as much, but I hate Star Realms. The app is so slow, it's pretty painful to play. Glad I never dropped a dime on this game.

On my mind:
- My house was listed on Friday, and had an open house on Saturday and Sunday. I keep checking the view stats on Redfin, and I'm incredibly anxious to hear about an offer on my house. I know it just listed, but until my house sells, I'll feel like I'm in a state of limbo. I'm really excited about moving on to the next step of my life.

- Aside from some vacations, for the first time in over 10 years, I've woken up and not been alone. I haven't had any roommates or anything for a long time, and living life *with* other people is taking some adjustments. Kim and her mom have done SO MUCH to help me feel welcomed and incorporated. It's just taking a little bit of time for me.
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9. Board Game: Fury of Dracula (Third/Fourth Edition) [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:210]
Board Game: Fury of Dracula (Third/Fourth Edition)
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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Happy Salmon x6 (new!)
Captain Sonar x5
Adrenaline x3 (new!)
Fury of Dracula (Third/Fourth Edition) x2 (new!)
Unpublished Prototype x2
13 Clues x1 (new!)
Area 51: Top Secret x1 (new!)
Arkham Horror: The Card Game x1 (new!)
BANG! The Dice Game x1 (new!)
Broom Service: The Card Game x1 (new!)
Chariot Race x1 (new!)
Concept x1 (new!)
Cthulhu Wars x1
Deep Sea Adventure x1 (new!)
Diamonds x1
Dream Home x1 (new!)
Karuba x1
Lancaster x1
Project: ELITE x1
Ra x1 (new!)
San Juan x1 (new!)
Terraforming Mars x1 (new!)
Time's Up! Title Recall! x1 (new!)



Happy Salmon
Maybe the most sheer fun I had at the con. A total riot. I kind of want to buy this but it's the type of game that would wear itself out. Totally hilarious though.

Captain Sonar
Playing with newbies sucks. Particularly when someone else at the table wants to take charge and force everyone to play in turn based mode for 45 minutes. The realtime games I played in were fun though.

Adrenaline
This is a good game that does feel like an arena shooter. It's bland without the weapons though and pretty simple. It's about efficiently dealing out the most damage (in the smartest way) during your turn. The weapons all feel very different which adds to the fun. I don't absolutely love it though and I can see myself getting rid of this until an expansion hits.

Fury of Dracula (Third/Fourth Edition)
This was awesome and I'm glad James taught me. The first game I won as the hunters before the first week ended. I cornered Dracula due to a luckily find with the hired hands event and quickly trapped him.

We played again and Dave joined in for much of this one (he missed the beginning). This time James/Drac went out to sea which caused me to split up. We struggled to pinpoint him all game and he utilized wolf form well. Couldn't catch him in this one.

Great game though and I'm glad I have it on my shelf. Looking forward to introducing it to my group in the future.

13 Clues
This was an interesting deduction game that Dave wanted to play. I enjoyed it but it was very direct and streamlined and not a lot of extra fluff. I think I'd prefer Mystery of the Abbey with the setting elements and flavor over this game.

Area 51: Top Secret
This was my first game with the GCL crew and it was interesting but not spectacular. It had a cool area majority thing going on but you also determined what the area was worth kind of. It reminded me vaguely of Hocus but it's a much bigger game. I think overall it was too fiddly to be actually good and I'd rather play Hocus which is more exciting and quicker.

Arkham Horror the Card game
We played Dave's copy around midnight one of the nights (I can't remember which). We beat the first scenario and I enjoyed it. It reminds me of Mansions but I think I prefer the app handling the fiddliness. Very weird that a card game feels more fiddly than a big box game with tons of tiles.

However, the campaign elements here seem awesome. It gives you permanent story choices at the end of the scenario and I really like that. I also really like the unique decks but building them and trying to do customized deckbuilding would be a chore.

Cool game though.

BANG! The Dice game
Barely better than bang.

Broom Service: The Card Game
Barely better than banging a bed of rusty nails.

Chariot Race
This was kind of silly as it was a 3 player game with James, Dave, and I. I did like it and had fun as it's a simple race game with a bit of theme. I think it would be more enjoyable with five or six with a more crowded field.

Cthulhu Wars
I don't have much to say about this other than it was awesome.

Dream Home
This was barely better than Broom Service: The Card Game. Just so bland and nothing exciting. Little strategy. It's game you forget as soon as you finish final scoring.

Terraforming Mars
This was fun and I get why it's so hot. My only issue is that I'd rather play Race for the Galaxy for a shorter experience with combo/tableau building, and Scythe if I want a slightly longer game because it has a similar engine building thing going with much more interaction.

Those aren't great direct comparisons but they get my brain working the same way and are slightly more fun for me. Glad I played it though.

Time's Up: Title Recall
This was a blast! I need this game.



On My Mind
I felt like I didn't play many games at BGG Con due to much time spent wandering around and not having a dedicated group I was attached to. In retrospect, I still played many games.

I passed around between GCL folks, Chaz Wright's people (who I roomed with), and some nightly gaming with the Grey Fox crew. I'm hoping to get a person or two from my group to come next year so we can just camp a table and play awesome Ameritrash.

BGG Con was pretty good to me as a designer. I met with Daryl Andrews who was repping IDW games and he liked both games (Beta Clink/Alley Brawler) I showed him. He's going to talk it over with them and me mailing prototypes is the next step. He said they'd get back to me pretty quickly.

Quick Simple Fun Games (published Celestia) has some interest in Beta Clink, although if they went forward with it they'd want to retheme it. I showed it to them in publisher speed dating and they met back up with me later to play a full game. It went well and they took the prototype. He said he'd let me know in December.

Normally, I wouldn't be cool with a retheme (most of my games are theme first) but Beta Clink is such a weird game that's been down a weird path that I'd love to just get it published and be done with it.

We finished watching Goliath late last night, great show.

In the 9.5 hour drive I made solo to BGG Con I binge listened to the podcast "Someone Knows Something" which is highly recommended if you enjoyed Serial season 1.

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10. Board Game: Clash of Cultures [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:284]
Board Game: Clash of Cultures
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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I was really hoping to list Titan as well. My game isn't quite over yet, but I'll talk about it anyways. P.S. if anybody wants to play Titan on the tablet app, let's plan it!

In my struggle to figure out how to invite people to a game, I apparently created an open 3-player game which two others joined. I was really surprised when I picked up my tablet and it said it was my turn for a game I never knew I created...

Anyways, game was going on, I mostly focused on the lion path of recruitment and eventually got a griffon as well. The game was slow enough and it wasn't what I wanted to start anyways, so I went for a very risky move and attacked my opponent's Titan 7-stack with my Titan 7-stack. To this point, there hadn't been any real fights other than 2-stacks surrendering, so little damage had been done anywhere. I don't remember specifics of the battle, but through good tactics, I was able to defeat his Titan, and while I lost my angel, I gained another from killing him. My stack is now... 4-tall? yes, that's right. Everything died except for I think my troll and titan, both with 1 hp left (all of his stuff was killed), and I recruited a troll and gained an angel from battle. And my Titan is now a 9-4. Sweet. It was very lucky and close, however, as my Titan was 1 damage from losing as well.

I had also parked my good 7-stack next to my opponent's 7-stack, and within striking range of his 6-stack. I wasn't sure which had his Titan in it. On his turn, he left his 7-stack still and moved his 6-stack, recruiting a Ranger. I opted to attack the stack he moved, and it was his Titan stack I fortuitously chose to fight.

We were comparable in strength. He had a Titan (6-4), 2 rangers, 3 trolls, and a wyvern. I had a griffon, 3 lions, and 3 rangers. We were fighting in the marsh. It would be a tough fight, but I felt confident given trolls' skill sucks and I had attacker's advantage. This morning, I just took my turn in the second round, so I'm waiting for him to strikeback before we go to round 3, and here's where we're at:
He has alive his Titan, Troll with 3 damage, and Wyvern with 4 damage. He also has a troll and wyvern that will get to strikeback before they die. I have a ranger at 3 damage, so I expect it to die. And untouched I have 3 lions, 1 angel, 1 ranger.

I've decided that I'm going to spend round 3 slaughtering his wyvern and troll so he can't get any reinforcements in the fourth round (cause he'll only have a Titan left), and then I'll throw everything I've got at his Titan to finish him off. I should have enough rounds to do so. Worse case scenario, we get to the end of the round and I lose by default, he gets an angel, and has a measly 2-stack Titan legion that is crippled as far as recruitment goes.


Oooh ooh ooh. I also got an early birthday present. Titan! Avalon Hill edition. My wife is the best!




Clash of Cultures
This was our latest Themed game night, 4X. It was 2-player, but we've got another one planned not this week but next week. There's definitely more people interested, it's just about who can make it.

We both went more for development than fighting, which I was greatful for in order to learn the game better. I definitely forgot a lot less this time around! I went hard in the "free tech advances" option and it showed with me having 8 or so more tech advances than my opponent at the end of the game, including all the science advances which were all free. I mostly built Academies and Temples in my cities, only starting to build Fortresses at the end when we became neighbors.

We both definitely enjoyed it and look forward to another play. Others have also been expressing interest, so hopefully we get more players in our next game two weeks later.
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11. Board Game: Great Western Trail [Average Rating:8.29 Overall Rank:10]
Board Game: Great Western Trail
George Dziuk
United States
Cedar Park
Texas
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Hey guys,

I'm friends with Dave and we spent a fair amount of time together at BGG con. I had an opportunity to play quite a few boardgames with some of you and I just wanted to say that it was a blast. I'm really glad that I got a chance to finally meet a portion of a group of people whose forums I lurk on a weekly basis. I don't often post because I just don't get that many boardgames to the table each week.

Anyways, short review:

Great Western Trail is awesome. I played 3 times during the convention and loved each one. It's a nice blend of various mechanics, feels fresh, and has a great theme. I can't recommend it enough.

George Dziuk
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12. Board Game: Churchill [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:569]
Board Game: Churchill
Grant Johnson
United States
Cedar Park
Texas
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Board Game: The Battle of Five Armies
Board Game: Welcome to the Dungeon
Board Game: War of the Ring: Second Edition
Board Game: Tichu
Board Game: Junta
Board Game: Colossal Arena
Board Game: Twilight Struggle
Board Game: Poker
Board Game: Kremlin (Third Edition)
Board Game: Churchill


 9   The Battle of Five Armies
 N/A   Welcome to the Dungeon
 10   War of the Ring (second edition) x2
 9   Tichu x2
 9   Junta
 N/A   Colossal Arena x2
 10   Twilight Struggle
 N/A   Poker
 9   Kremlin
 N/A   Churchill

Really nice week at BGG.Con. Saw a ton of old friends (which is really my favorite part of the whole business) and got to play a bunch of games. Unfortunately I missed the GCL get-together- one of my first events at BGG.CON was a Kremlin game that's become an annual tradition, and it ran during the late afternoon Mafia meetup lunch.

Battle of Five Armies: Alan stymied me at the Ford crossing into the Valley with an army of 4 Dwarf Veterans led by Dain. I was broke 2 armies trying to cross, then took the Eastern Spur. I generally had good luck with fate tile draws (I pulled all the 1s on the first 5 turns and pulled 2s thereafter) but had terrible luck with most of the battles. My action dice also didn't produce eyes and kept the Goblins out. Because of the fierce resistance at the Ford I couldn't get Bolg into the game. Alan destroyed my last offensive with a devastating Eagle attack on turn 7, and Beorn ended the game the following turn.

War of the Ring #1: Teaching game against our very own mith! I pushed the Fellowship hard early, which may have looked kinda funny at first to Philip. He captured Minas Tirith early and cut Strider off from being crowned. When I went into Mordor he had also taken Pelargir, Helms Deep and Lorien. Unfortunately Strider had built a pretty sizable army at Edoras, and the Southron attempt on Dol Amroth failed. I moved the Fellowship along moderately and dropped the Ring into Mount Doom for the win. Pretty solid game for a first time teaching.

Tichu x 2: Notable in that I made my first Tichu call and was successful. Hooray! I think I created 4 new fans during the Con.

Junta: I was made the initial Minister of Internal Security, which coupled with my assassin drawing ability (I average drawing more than one per turn over the game) led to a lot of blood. I made 2 kills on turn 3 but was also killed myself, and was not in contention the rest of the game. I did ultimately have 5 others assassinated (I died twice to take money I looted and a third time penniless because it was suspected I'd have money) and did get a bit of a stash to be respectable by the late game. But we had a crew of old farts who had played this back in the day and had the right spirit. Plus we had hats for everyone in office- will try to post a picture later!

Kremlin: Game was usual fun with goofy accents. I got to use my new line ("strong like Ox, Smart like tractor"). I generally wasn't in power much- bet on later people who never rose far in the Politburo.

Twilight Struggle: Took the US, got dumped out of Italy on the first action round. I played decently enough in Asia and the ME, but low Ops hands sabotaged me. I didn't see a 4 Ops card until turn 4, and was generally Ops poor compared to my opponent. He also pulled the most important events in the Early deck (Decolonization and Destalinization) so I didn't have much shot. I lost via score on turn 5, as he made big scores in Europe twice to go with SE Asia. I think the only major oops I made was leading out turn 3 with Grain Sales- was trying to catch him with CIA created, and in hindsight if I'd left it alone there were better odds that he'd not use it in AR1 and I could catch him napping. But as I headlined Grain Sales he neatly stepped out of trouble by playing CIA on AR1, while DefCon was at 3. I had held Grain Sales and the China card to set it up and feel bad that I got trigger happy and set it off too early. But I was a bit terrified that I'd accidentally draw Duck and Cover (which I'd had on turn 2 and was at large due to the reshuffle- it wasn't in his hand) and self destruct.

Poker: Got farther than I did last year, but still finished 5 places from the next commemorative chip award. Will try harder next year.

Churchill: Probably my favorite game of the Con. I'd got this last year and did the training scenario twice in December, but never the full game. We did put an entire game through the paces at a pretty fast pace and won the war. The gameplay is straightforward and the counterbalance among the three players is wonderfully done- I'm not sure I've seen anything like it.The game is interesting in that the first place player may lose if he's ahead of 2nd by too much. It assumes that after the war ends if one power is overly dominant that the other two will ally against them, thus a potential loss. I actually had too large of a lead the turn before the game ended- I nudged both other players forward and won by a safe margin.

War of the Ring #2: Last game of the Con and an annual tradition. This is one of the more beautiful setups as one of my friends brings the awesome Sick Dave strongholds for use on the map. I also got to teach the new expansion. We had an incredible moment where Strider brought the Army of the Dead and cleared a captured Dol Amroth, and Boromir used a card to bring Gondor back from complete capture. But we'd had a big stall in rolling Will of the West (none from Turn 2 to Turn 7), and some low character turns and suboptimal play had stalled the Fellowship. We lost the game on Turn 14 2 steps from the crack of doom. I could have prolonged the game 1 more turn, but it was pushing 2:30 am and I was getting up at 6:45 the next day. For fun we pulled 2 tiles- we had one minimal corruption and a Shadow special (Shelob) that may not have ended the game but would have been chancy at best to get out.

New acquisitions
Board Game: Stonewall Jackson's Way
Board Game: Here Come the Rebels

Several of the friends I've made at BGG.CON are in the wargaming crowd, and they're helping me drift in a more hex and counter direction. I picked up these games from the Great Campaigns of the American Civil War series because they came highly recommended, and I do geek out for the civil war. I'm hoping to get a couple plays so I can get a feel for it in the next year.

Christmas is coming: Looking very curiously at Star Wars: Rebellion. I see several reviews comparing it to War of the Ring, but I also see several complaints about FFG throwing an overly complicated combat system on top of it. That and a general unhappiness with overproduced and undertested games from FFG scared me off previously, but I have friends who said the combat isn't terrible and the game is terrific. I'm reconsidering it now. If anyone here has played it and wants to chime in I'd be very appreciative!
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13. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.00 Overall Rank:25]
Board Game: Puerto Rico
Jim Parkin
United States
Stow
Ohio
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Board Game: Patchwork
Board Game: Sushi Go!
Board Game: Ascension: Deckbuilding Game
Board Game: Puerto Rico
Board Game: Summoner Wars: Master Set
Board Game: Roll for the Galaxy
Board Game: Eclipse
Board Game: Arboretum


 9   Patchwork x2
 9   Sushi Go! x2
 9   Ascension: Deckbuilding Game x9
 8   Puerto Rico x3
 8   Summoner Wars
 9   Roll for the Galaxy
 10   Eclipse
 8   Arboretum x2

This week, Anastasia asked to play Puerto Rico. Three times. It was awesome. The game is still as tense and dramatic in 2016 as it was in 2002. Tremendous. I won the first game by going into Office, Small Market, and Large Market and drowning in cash. Anastasia got salty and perma-blocked me at every following pass, crushing me both games--one by fourteen points.

Ascension with Realms Unraveled and Dawn of Champions mixed in continues to be exciting and absurdly combo-rific. In one hot-seat game on the app, I played so many cards that the app crashed... and would not successfully reload the game without crashing for two days. I scored 544 points.

Roll for the Galaxy using the simple solitaire rules on BGG was a lot of fun. Like, way more fun that I expected. I went all-in for production, lined up with the "hold two goods on a world" development. I lost 44-49.

Eclipse was a hilarious good time game of kingmaking, so to speak. For context, I've won the last three big Eclipse games with my friends. They've held quite a grudge. I opted to let everyone pick their races first and I'd take what's left. I got Planta in a 6p game. No worries, I've played and won with Planta before. They're quite fun to play keep-away, in fact. Well, the game played like this: Orion was clearly in the lead. Instead of attack Orion, Eridani, Mechanema, and Hydran attacked me. Even at a loss. Even with their homeworlds being captured by Orion... they attacked me. They reduced my territory to a single hex. Orion swept the entire board. No one cared, even Orion. To my credit, the Orion player didn't really count it as a win for himself, he was just happy that everyone salted my proverbial fields. Ouch, folks, ouch.

We got to Annapolis on Saturday for a long Thanksgiving week. I introduced Arboretum to Anastasia's sister and parents. We all enjoyed it, though her mom was a little lost on the difference between holding cards to allow for scoring, versus actually scoring your tableau. I think this game drags with too much AP at four players. It's a better two- or three-player game.
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14. RPG Item: Turkey Shoot [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
RPG Item: Turkey Shoot
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis 1
A Feast for Odin 1
Everyone is John 1 NEW!
Grifters 1
Happy Pigs 1
Rolling America 1
Vanuatu (second edition) 1NEW!


13 Days: I beat Matt for the second time of our seven games (seven Sundays in a row!). Suck it, America. The USSR is making a comeback.

Everyone is John: We have a PBF going on with the BGG.Cant members of the GCL, but I also convinced my parents to give this a try too. (Have I mentioned what good sports they are about me throwing things at them?) Given they're RPG noobs, they did fairly well with it and there were some hilarious moments. My stepdad decided to give John the obsession of pulling weeds, so every time he had control, he'd describe seeing a blade of grass or dandelion that John just had to grab.

Vanuatu: After 4+ years, I finally got to play this in person (which means I understand my ongoing BAJ game much better now!). This was really good. The vying for majority for taking actions is really mean and makes for some interesting strategic decisions. The game does cause some significant AP for those prone toward it, but luckily it was enjoyable enough to override those moments. Everyone should try this, including you theme-hounds since I think it's got some good interaction going on to make it interesting.

---

On My Mind:

Shortened week made extra short by me canceling three of my four classes tomorrow and Wednesday. Amazing how no students complained about that. (Let's be honest: they weren't going to show up and no one wants to be here anyway.) I'll be helping my mom prep Thanksgiving dinner on Wednesday. This is our first Thanksgiving living in the same town, so that's pretty cool. (Edit: living in the same town as adults; not counting childhood!)

We have a game day on Saturday planned with our friends in Stockton who we get together with every few months, so I'm excited about that. Boring Euros and maybe even a train game or two!
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15. Board Game: Dice Stars [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:2353]
Board Game: Dice Stars
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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Board Game: Quartz
Board Game: Mi Tierra
Board Game: Kanagawa
Board Game: Haggle
Board Game: Grifters
Board Game: Gooseberry
Board Game: Fuji Flush
Board Game: First Class: All Aboard the Orient Express!
Board Game: Deep Sea Adventure
Board Game: The Arrival
Board Game: Area 51: Top Secret
Board Game: They Who Were 8
Board Game: Sushi Go Party!
Board Game: Roll Player
Board Game: Nations: The Dice Game
Board Game: Medici
Board Game: Istanbul: Letters & Seals
Board Game: Istanbul
 
Board Game: Cthulhu Wars
Board Game: Scoville
Board Game: Ra
Board Game: Project: ELITE
Board Game: Power Grid: The Card Game
Board Game: Karuba
Board Game: A Game of Thrones: Hand of the King
 
Board Game: 13 Clues
Board Game: Warrior Knights
Board Game: Sleuth
Board Game: San Juan (Second Edition)
Board Game: Lancaster
Board Game: Fury of Dracula (Third/Fourth Edition)
Board Game: Chariot Race
Board Game: Santiago de Cuba
Board Game: Pairs
Board Game: Kamozza (貨モッツァ)
Board Game: The Duke
Board Game: Dice Stars
Board Game: Coin Quest
Board Game: 3 Wishes


Quartz NEW!
Mi Tierra NEW!
Kanagawa NEW!
Haggle NEW!
Grifters
Gooseberry x2 NEW!
Fuji Flush x3
First Class: Unterwegs im Orient Express NEW!
Deep Sea Adventure x3
The Arrival NEW!
Area 51: Top Secret NEW!
They Who Were 8 NEW!
Sushi Go Party!
Roll Player NEW!
Nations: The Dice Game
Medici x2
Istanbul: Letters & Seals NEW!
Istanbul
The Grizzled
Cthulhu Wars
Scoville NEW!
Ra NEW!
Project: ELITE NEW!
Power Grid: The Card Game NEW!
Karuba NEW!
A Game of Thrones: Hand of the King NEW!
Color Wheel NEW!
13 Clues x2 NEW!
Warrior Knights
Sleuth
San Juan (second edition)
Lancaster
Fury of Dracula (third edition) x2
Chariot Race NEW!
Santiago de Cuba
Pairs
Kamozza (貨モッツァ) NEW!
The Duke
Dice Stars NEW!
Coin Quest NEW!
3 Wishes NEW!

Will be creating my usual "What I Played" GL over the next day or two and will post/update as I go.

EDIT: Fully Updated and Posted!

Touchstonethefool's BGG.CON 2016 Games Played
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16. Board Game: Lisboa [Average Rating:8.17 Overall Rank:65]
Board Game: Lisboa
Fabrice Dubois
France
La Garenne Colombes
Hauts de Seine
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I can't make up my mind about this one.
I have read the rules, watched all the videos.....

The board is astonishing but i am afraid that the game is convoluted.

Sure, the gameplay is straightforward (play a card ala Zhanguo, do an action and draw a card) but there is a lot going on. Don't get me wrong, i am used to but in Lisboa there is :

- influence track : the purpose is to be able to visit the nobles...and gain money
- church track : the purpose is to gain benefit/end game scoring
- treasury track : a dual effect gauge (gain money/reduce the influence cost for visiting nobles)
- market prices for all goods : the price never increase (???!!!!!)
- decree card display (end game scoring)
- public buildings offer

It is mechanism over mechanism, all is very intricated : you need money to build buildings ; buildlings allow you to produce goods ; goods can be used to build ships ; ships can be used to sell goods for......money ! zombierobot

Plus the "Sponsor an event" that seems completely out of context.

Thoughts on this one ?
Anybody pledged it yet ?
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17. Board Game: War of the Ring: Second Edition [Average Rating:8.47 Overall Rank:12]
Board Game: War of the Ring: Second Edition
Philip Newman
United States
Plano
Texas
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Plays since August 9, 2016

BGG.con
 9.5   Race for the Galaxy: Xeno Invasion x2 NEW!
 7.5   Mystic Vale x2 NEW!
 7.5   Ponzi Scheme x2 NEW!
 6.5   Codenames: Pictures x2 NEW!
 5.5   Fuji Flush x2 NEW!
 8.5   War of the Ring (second edition) NEW!
 7.5   FUSE NEW!
 7.5   Medici NEW!
 7.5   Ra
 7.5   Saint Petersburg (second edition)
 7.5   The Colonists NEW!
 6.5   Einstein: His Amazing Life and Incomparable Science NEW!
 6.5   Kodama: The Tree Spirits

Other
 10.   Dominion x41 (MF)
 9.0   Hanabi x5 (Robin's)
 9.0   Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization x2 (BGO)
 6.5   Temporum x2
 8.5   Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
 7.5   Dungeon Fighter

And I still haven't managed to pull the official Grace-taunting picture off of my camera. Maybe tonight.
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18. Board Game: Rock, Paper, Stick, Scissors, Glue [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Rock, Paper, Stick, Scissors, Glue
Dave K
United States
Austin
Texas
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Love 'em even if a few games get scuttled from time to time.
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I'm looking at doing some print-and-play expansions. I have the print part done. What's a good type of glue for getting regular printed paper onto thicker cardboard without it warping?

I'm not concerned about it perfectly matching anything, I just want to avoid the "wavy" look that regular glue seems to give as it bends the paper as it dries.
 
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