What We're Playing - October 2017!
Brian M
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Thornton
Colorado
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The idea behind these lists is to post what you're currently playing, or just played. It's interesting to see who's playing what, to see if people are playing the same things, and to ask questions that might otherwise be relegated to a forum about a game with the benefit of the responses coming from someone who has it fresh on their mind.

While there are several regular posters to this geeklist series, anyone is welcome to join in and post and discuss your games!

Here's last month's list: What We're Playing - September 2017!

!!! Challenge !!!

With Halloween coming up, I'm issuing a challenge; play and post at least 3 "spooky" or otherwise Halloween appropriate games this month! For a small prize, 5 to anyone who succeeds!

Progress so far:

CrazyCatman - zombie zombie zombie
Hms_indefatigable - zombie
marble911 - zombie zombie zombie
Spirit of 70 - zombie zombie zombie
StormKnight - zombie zombie zombie

======================================================

This Geeklist idea was created by:

jes m
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The list was taken over for a long time by:

Sarah Reed
United States
Rancho Cordova
California
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But she's busy with her podcast, so I'm taking over the time being.

A subscription Geeklist has been created for those who want to be notified of when a new list is posted: The What We're Playing Subscription List
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1. Board Game: Terraforming Mars [Average Rating:8.43 Overall Rank:4]
Board Game: Terraforming Mars
Brian M
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Thornton
Colorado
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Been playing a LOT of Terraforming Mars lately! Except, since most of it has been 2 player and Lisa and I are nuts; we've been playing a 2 player co-op variant.

* Try to completely Terraform Mars and get as high a score as possible in 12 generations.

* "Attack" cards add the appropriate resource/production to the other player instead of removing it.

Works pretty well, though we don't really get the true variety of the new boards without using the Milestones and Awards.

I feel like our scores aren't as high now as when we started playing this way. I don't know why...except maybe that early on we forgot to move the turn marker up sometimes.
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2. Board Game: Codenames: Duet [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:153] [Average Rating:7.60 Unranked]
Board Game: Codenames: Duet
Brian M
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Thornton
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Been playing a lot of this as well! Often we grab it for a quick easy game to play over a meal...and then keep going until we beat the current challenge! Or until we decide to give up for the time being.

We've been playing all of the different "campaign" challenges. Today we tried Tokyo (8-1) and...lost four times in a row! Ack! Though, do we get some kind of consolation points for using the clue 'Japan' while trying to beat Tokyo?

I think we were both being too aggressive with clue this morning; with an 8-1 we only needed to give '2' clues to get them all, so we should have been more careful.
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3. Board Game: Whitehall Mystery [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:682]
Board Game: Whitehall Mystery
Russell Miller
United States
Fairmont
West Virginia
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October 1st, seemed like a logical choice with Halloween and all.
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4. Board Game: Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends – Etherweave [Average Rating:8.24 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.24 Unranked]
Board Game: Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends – Etherweave
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Playtesting the new expansion! Not sure how much I can say...its really cool.

Tash-Kalar is a game that I didn't expect to like (too abstract), but tried because Chvatil's stuff is so consistently good. Loved it, and love it more with each play!

I'm currently in the midst of a 4p game against Chvatil and Lisa. I've never yet beaten Chvatil...but I will eventually!
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5. Board Game: Spirit Island [Average Rating:8.32 Overall Rank:13]
Board Game: Spirit Island
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Yet another game I've been playing constantly!

Playing a custom scenario. We had Sharp Fangs behind the Leaves and A Spread of Rampant Green; wound up with an incredibly solid victory with no invaders on the island and no blight at the end! Everything just seemed to come up perfectly; we even got incredibly lucky with draws for the usually super-annoying Missionary event and had both of them come up positive for us.
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6. Board Game: Massive Darkness [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:811]
Board Game: Massive Darkness
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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New from KS. Our opinions keep going back and forth; we just tried a game just playing 1 hero each instead of 2...it was pretty absurd...we were killing even the roaming monsters in one or two attacks. None of them even stood a chance.

There's a sweet spot in balance at which this game is pretty cool...but it doesn't seem to hit that spot very often.
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7. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm [Average Rating:8.09 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.09 Unranked]
Board Game: Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm
United States
New York
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Been playing this a lot recently and just tried to get in a game at lunch. I never game at lunch, even though sometimes I do take a lunch. Somehow, it just doesn't feel right....

In any case, I played 1/2 a game at lunch and packed it up to finish later.
This is a go to solo play for me. Involving yet quick once you know the rules. I do agree that the theme is pasted on (as many before me have said) but I don't mind. Sci fi is easy for me to get involved in so I do my best. After many years, this game still holds up and offers a great deal of depth for a quick play time and easy set up (once you know the rules).
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8. Board Game: Clank! In! Space!: A Deck-Building Adventure [Average Rating:7.87 Overall Rank:105] [Average Rating:7.87 Unranked]
Board Game: Clank! In! Space!: A Deck-Building Adventure
Adria D
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Oct 1

So I wasn't planning to attend SHUX2017 because it's rather expensive and ferry travel on Thanksgiving weekend is a pain*, but I was asked to help demo some games for Renegade Games. So with my badge and hotel covered, I'm heading to Vancouver this weekend.

Clank! In! Space! was the first demo game to arrive. I played a solo, 2P game against myself on Saturday night. Then on Sunday I played it with Darin. He kicked my butt (not surprising - he often wins the first play of a game, then never again ).

I quite enjoyed it. We'll see how I feel about it after the weekend, when I assume I'll have played it a whole bunch (3 days of demoing 10-6, with 5 game options for demoing: Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure, Clank! In! Space!: A Deck-Building Adventure, Ex Libris, Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Card Game, Raiders of the North Sea).



*I've only done it once, and I told myself never again... I think it's the only time I've seen a sailing-wait for walk-on passengers on the ferries. 3-4 sailing waits for cars is normal. Any sort of wait for walk-ons is unusual, and I think really only happens at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
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9. Board Game: Blokus Duo [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:964]
Board Game: Blokus Duo
Daniel Rodriguez
United States
Rochester
New York
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I've been reading this list since I came across Brian's Epic40k reports and I figured I might as well add onto the list.

Had non-gamer friends stay the weekend from Buffalo. Saturday we introduced them to King of Tokyo and a good time was had by all. The dice were shining on Day (my wife) and she ran away with it.

After I played a series of Blokus Duo with my friend who had never seen the game before. He took to it very quickly and although I won the set 2-1 the games were pretty tense.

I love introducing games to the uninitiated, the look on their face when it starts to click and they realize that this is unlike games they might have played before...priceless!
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10. Board Game: Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:254]
Board Game: Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small
Daniel Rodriguez
United States
Rochester
New York
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Got in a play of this after work last night with Day. The tense feeling in your gut that this and the original bring on is makes this for some very pleasant gaming. Knowing that you will never have time or resources to do what you want is the funnest part for me. I've gotten a few plays of this but I'm asking myself, owning both Agricola and Caverna, if ACBS isn't redundant.

Afterwards we got in a play of Star Realms. Day got her Blob engine up and running quickly while I floundered and I was easily dispatched and then sent to bed.
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11. Board Game: The Game [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:997]
Board Game: The Game
Jørgen K
Denmark
Copenhagen S
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Played the game The Game again last night - and I did surprisingly well! I had only three cards left when the game was over.

Last time I played The Game was almost a year ago! Since then I have only been thinking abot playing it, but never did... well, until last night that is... mostly inspired by Brian actually. But it is a good game I should get some more playing on soon as well, as I am kinda behind in my 100x1 Challenge I think. Kinda hoping for the Christmas (or Jul as the Vikings celebrated pre-christianity) spirit to help me at the Christmas challenge to get the challenge completed
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12. Board Game: Alchemists [Average Rating:7.68 Overall Rank:107]
Board Game: Alchemists
Simona Rex
Czech Republic
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I played 2 games of Alchemists in the past 5 days, both times with some stuff from my brand new Alchemists: The King's Golem expansion. I really enjoy the expansion and think that it adds some great options to the game without making it harder (I haven't played with the actual golem, though).
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13. Board Game: Aeon's End: War Eternal [Average Rating:8.44 Overall Rank:159] [Average Rating:8.44 Unranked]
Board Game: Aeon's End: War Eternal
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Played Aeon's End against the Magus of Cloaks. Yikes, is that thing nasty! You need a constant steam of attacks to even stand a chance. Took us three plays to get a win. In the game we won, we'd run the Magus' deck out, but it had a power out that makes it win the game when it resolves, so we had to defeat it before the power triggered!
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14. Board Game: Give It To The King! [Average Rating:5.08 Overall Rank:18059]
Board Game: Give It To The King!
Jørgen K
Denmark
Copenhagen S
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Spending Friday evening in good company on a café, giving it to the King!

It's a pretty nice game - quick and easy to learn. Component quality is a bit mixed however, but I would not say bad. Far from it, just a few things that could have been better

Game itself - pretty fun, and it does require a bit of strategy even if itt is a rather light game.

Our future King will soon become 50 years old - and is planning to celebrate it by running...
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15. Board Game: The Oracle of Delphi [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:564]
Board Game: The Oracle of Delphi
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Had some friends over Saturday, which shook up our gameplaying. First, we taught them Oracle of Delphi. Fun Feld pick-up-and-deliver game. A close race between Lisa and I for first, but I had some very uncooperative dice.
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16. Board Game: Galaxy Trucker [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:178]
Board Game: Galaxy Trucker
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Then they requested Galaxy Trucker. We had some remarkably safe flights (lots of Open Space and Planets) and never suffered major damage, but building the ships was fun anyway. Lisa and I tied, with Nikki only 1 point behind - impressive for a new player against veterans! Poor Billy was quite a bit behind though.

Sunday Lisa and I played a two player game using Rough Road Ahead; I did well on the first two flights, then had my ship completely destroyed in the third flight, leaving her 1 credit ahead at the end!
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17. Board Game: Raiders of the North Sea [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:85] [Average Rating:7.80 Unranked]
Board Game: Raiders of the North Sea
Adria D
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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SHUX

It's going to take a while to go through everything from the weekend, so I might as well do one or two before bed tonight.

Susie and I were given 5 Renegade Game Studio games to demo for SHUX: Raiders of the North Sea, Clank, Clank! In! Space!, Ex Libris, and Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Card Game.

Our first play of this was on the ferry ride on the way to Vancouver (the second was on the ferry ride home). This is a great, lightweight euro with a little bit of meanness to it. We were able to play the game in an hour, having read the rules prior to the game.

I quite like the worker placement mechanic in this one, having a communal set of workers instead of each player having their own. If you're working in the village, you place a worker, resolve the action (if you want/are able), then pick up a different worker and resolve the action of the spot you picked it up from. If you're raiding, you send a worker out with your ship and leave it at the raid site, and bring a new worker home.

There are 3 different colors of workers: black (young vikings with dark beards), grey (middle aged vikings with a grey beard), and white (old vikings with white beards).* Several spaces on the board can be visited by any worker. Some can only be visited by one or two colors of workers. Some give different effects for different colored workers. You start the game with only young workers. You have to raid to get the more experienced workers (I guess you're aging/leveling up your young guys).

In town you can hire crew, gain provisions, and make offerings (trade resources for point cards). The provisions and crew (and occasionally plunder) are used to send your ship out raiding. Raiding requires a worker, provisions, minimum crew size, and occasionally gold as indicated by the site. Harbors just give 1 point while Outposts, Monasteries, and Fortresses give varying points depending on how much strength you have. Strength comes from crew, armor, and the combat dice (you can roll 1 or 2, depending on what the site indicates). You only lose crew if you attack Valkyrie, and you lose 1 crew per Valkyrie. Killing these gives you points though, on a non-linear scale (the more you kill, the better it gets).

The little bit of meanness comes from the crew cards. They all give an ongoing effect while they are hired crew. They also have a Town Hall effect, which you can get if you play the card from your hand at the Town Hall instead of hiring them as crew. Some of these let you steal from other players.

I've only played it with 2 players, and it was great both times. Susie won the first game, getting more of the big fortresses. In the second game, I had a Recruiter (discount on hiring crew) and some cheap crew so I focused on the Valkyrie track and other raiding. Susie then tried to keep up with me on the Valkyrie track, but wasn't prepared for it and lacked the crew for big raids later on. I won this match.

Susie started SHUX off with this on her table. She couldn't get it off the table. So many people wanted to play it that she had a hard time fitting in a different game. She did get Scott Pilgrim out for a bit on Saturday, but taught this most of the 3 day convention.



* We got this description from a gentleman who had spoken to the game designer about it. There had been some flak given over the seemingly racist tones to the game, with white and black workers. It is perhaps unfortunate that color was used to differentiate the age of the workers rather than meeple shape as it's not immediately clear what message is being sent...
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18. Board Game: Ingenious [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:414]
Board Game: Ingenious
Adria D
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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I have a few game apps on my phone, and Susie and I played some Ingenious and Patchwork via pass-and-play while traveling. It was a great way to pass the long bus rides.

We also played a round of Ingenious when we went to Pizzeria Ludica for dinner. This place has excellent pizza and a huge wall of board games for customers to play. We picked a shorter game that we both knew how to play because we didn't want to stay too long. We had other stops to make that night.
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19. Board Game: Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Card Game [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:5829]
Board Game: Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Card Game
Adria D
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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SHUX

After dinner Thursday, we stopped in to visit some friends. Last month, they took possession of game store in downtown Vancouver. We stopped by the store to see what they had and play a game.

We played Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Card game - it was the only one of the demo games I hadn't yet played and we wanted to get a round in.

This took a bit to wrap my head around it. It's a deckbuilder with double-sided cards. There are plot cards (challenges on one side, power ups on the other), and action cards (combat on one side, story on the other). The bottom left of each card gives an indication of what's on the back. The plotline is an ever changing selection of cards to acquire or defeat (like Ascension). You can never look at the back of a card in the plotline unless a card effect lets you flip one.

The game has you using story cards to improve your deck by spending romance, work, or music to acquire new combat, story, and power up cards. Power up cards are placed face-up in front of you for the rest of the game. Combat cards are used to defeat challenges; defeated challenges are flipped over to the power up side and you get to keep it in play. This side also lists the point value of the card.

The goal of the game is to get the most points. You get points by acquiring power ups, either by buying them directly or defeating challenges. The point goal is set by the Evil Ex, put out at the start. The Evil Ex gives the point goal and global effects in play for the game. They are also a challenge, which can be defeated for a good chunk of points.

So how do double-sided cards work? Well, on your turn, you start with a story phase. Adjust cards in hand until they all show the story cards. Play them for their effects and acquire new cards (or acquire a card to eliminate it from the game - this is an interesting twist). Once your story turn is done, you have the option of doing a combat turn. You discard your first hand of cards, and draw a new 5 card hand and flip all cards to the combat side. These cards can be played singly (button-mashing) for single points of damage, or in combinations (shown on each character card) to generate bigger chunks of damage.

There was some interesting stuff going on. The card art was all from the graphic novels, and leads to some entertaining story telling with the cards. The button combos for combat were neat. The Drama cards were interesting - dead cards that mostly caused clutter in your deck but also paired up with some cards for bonuses, and can cause challenge levels to increase for neighboring players.

I didn't like some of the iconography. The cost of a card was in one top corner, and the resource it generated was in the other top corner. They were the exact same size and colors. I was constantly confusing the two.


In terms of how this demo'd at SHUX, Susie got it on the table once. Largely because the demand for Raiders of the North Sea was so high. But this one is a lot harder to explain quickly to people walking by and looking in on a game.

I think I need to play this some more before I can figure out how I feel about it. But I'm not thinking "OMG I have to play this again!" so I suspect this won't be a game for me. But a lot of straight deck-builders aren't for me, so it's not too surprising.
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20. Board Game: Clank! In! Space!: A Deck-Building Adventure [Average Rating:7.87 Overall Rank:105] [Average Rating:7.87 Unranked]
Board Game: Clank! In! Space!: A Deck-Building Adventure
Adria D
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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SHUX

So I figured I'd start the convention out with this game on the table. And I barely got it off the table. Everyone wanted to try it. Lots of people who had the original Clank! and wanted to see what was different, and lots of people who had never played a Clank game. This game was on the table 10-6 Friday, 8-2 Saturday, and 8-6 Sunday. I should have timed my last rules explanation - I think I had players playing in under 5 minutes. It helped that this was a gamer's event, so everyone knew deckbuilding already.

People seemed to have a lot of fun with this. The increased pressure at the end of the game was great. It kept players engaged. That's one of the things I really like about this game: a lot of deckbuilders just don't have a lot of direct engagement. Sure you might need to pay attention to what they're putting in their decks, but it's still a lot of everyone doing their own thing. With this one, everyone seemed quite interested in what others were doing, especially toward the end of the game as the tension skyrocketed.

There were some VIP times set aside (8-10am Sat/Sun) for those with VIP badges (guests and the 10 people who paid for VIP packages). Those time slots were also used for filming in the expo hall, before it got too busy. Filming of CIS happened when the BoardsAlive podcast guys were playing (not technically VIPs, but were brought in during the VIP time slot). They were a lot of fun, so I hope I catch the video when it's done (apparently content might be trickled out over the next 6 months). The camera people came by after the rules, so the rules bit was filmed later when I was teaching another group.

How do I feel about this game? Well, I still want to play it. I played a few games over the weekend when there weren't full tables (often giving up my seat to someone joining partway through), and watched it played all weekend. I could teach it in my sleep. I still want to play it.
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21. Board Game: Anachrony [Average Rating:8.08 Overall Rank:46]
Board Game: Anachrony
Adria D
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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SHUX

I joined the SHUX forums on the SU&SD website to join the convention chat. There was some pre-arranging of games, and I made plans for a game of Anachrony. We started around 9:30 on Friday night. We didn't quite make it through the game before we had to vacate the room so they could prep it for the next day's megagame. We could have moved it to another room, but it would have been quite a hassle. We ended up calling it on the turn the asteroid would have hit.

This is a game I looked at on KS, but didn't back because I didn't think it would get played much. I really enjoyed playing it, but it looks like something that would definitely benefit from multiple plays. It's also definitely not something my husband would be too keen on, despite the time travel and exosuits (mechs). The time travel was cool - borrowing from the future and then sending those resources back in time on a later turn (kind of like paying back a loan, except you needed to build and use a time machine to do it). I'd definitely be up for playing this again.
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22. Board Game: Ex Libris [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:611]
Board Game: Ex Libris
Adria D
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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SHUX

I played this Friday night, after finishing in the Expo Hall and before Anachrony. I had played a 2P game by myself to learn it, but this was the first game with other players. I also managed to get it on the table in the expo hall for a couple plays on Saturday.

This game has you competing for the position of head librarian at the new library in town. You send your assistants out to various locations to collect books for your collection. The books also need to be shelved, and be shelved well - an unstable, poorly organized library is of little use.

There's a lot going on in this game. There's the worker placement side of things, where you start off with one location per player, plus everyone's home board (with 3 basic action spaces). Each round the number of available locations increases by one as some locations stay out permanently. So you're frequently looking at new locations and and seeing how they work. You need to shelve your books - play them down in front of you - and try to keep them all in alphabetical order from left to right, top to bottom (like reading a book). And you want to have as few holes in your shelf as possible, to keep it stable. Now, shelving isn't easy. You can only place cards orthogonally adjacent to each other. Once placed, you can't move books around unless an ability explicitly says you can. You score points for the biggest solid rectangle of cards that includes your bottom row. It sounds easy, but it isn't really.

On top of all this, there are 6 book categories. There's one prominent book category, one banned book category, and up to four library focuses (one per player). You get bonus points for having lots of prominent books. You get penalized for banned books (1 point per book, and you will almost certainly have some banned books in your library). You get bonuses for your library's focus (these are hidden during the game). You also get points for variety - you score points per book for each book in the category for which you have the fewest books, excluding banned books.

So, lots going on. This was a bit harder to teach than CIS. It was also harder for people stopping by to look as it wasn't as easy to see how people were faring. And the table tended to be a lot quieter, though there was lots of chuckling at book titles on the cards.

I quite enjoy this game. I like puzzling out how to make things work. I like that you have the option of using special assistants, which give one of your 3 workers a special ability that triggers when they are placed.
Game component-wise, I like that they provide a dry-erase board score sheet and dry-erase pen instead of a paper score pad. The only thing I think they should have added is location reference sheets; the text descriptions on each location is quite small and difficult to see around the table.

I'll definitely be keeping this one around for a while.
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23. Board Game: 10 Days in Africa [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:2056]
Board Game: 10 Days in Africa
Jørgen K
Denmark
Copenhagen S
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Yesterday it was Twosday, and I didn't get to play what I planned for - but I did get to play some other games.

First game I played was two sessions of a 10 Days game, and I understand why they are so popular; they are simple and fun - but still a little challenging.
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24. Board Game: Timeline: Inventions [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:1039] [Average Rating:6.71 Unranked]
Board Game: Timeline: Inventions
Jørgen K
Denmark
Copenhagen S
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After going to Africa, we looked at the inventions of the world - including Mount Rushmore, which apparently was completed in 1789 (mistake on the card).

I am getting kinda fed up with this game - and the occasional times I want to play this, I guess I can that I can borrow my friend's copy.

But still got three sessions played of this.
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25. Board Game: Fluxx [Average Rating:5.68 Overall Rank:8414] [Average Rating:5.68 Unranked]
Board Game: Fluxx
Jørgen K
Denmark
Copenhagen S
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Well... even lower on my scale of the games I played yesterday is Fluxx... I still prefer Monty Python Fluxx and Pirate Fluxx over this, but this time I actually had a good game going on! One card I would LOVE to have in the Monty Python box is the "New Rule: Inflation" which adds +1 to all numeral cards (Draw 3... +1, hand size limit 0... +1, Play All... +1 - oh wait...) - yes Monty Python Fluxx have the "Five... no three" card based on The Holy Grail's Holy Hand Grenade scene, but that is a more rare happening than just having all numerals add one (so.. should I then treat a four as six instead of three as five?!)...

We ended up with a quite long game, and better than my usual standard Fluxx sessions.
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