GCL Phoenix 354: Café Culture (15th October 2017)
Rich P
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Sheffield
United Kingdom
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Welcome to the 354th instalment of GCL Phoenix discussion lists. More information about the group can be found here and info on GCLs in general is here.

Members are encouraged to add an item to the list and we love comments and discussion from visitors too. Please thumb the list so we know you stopped by.

Our current roster of active members is as follows:

familygaming
grasa_total
hawk-x-
indigopotter
John Rogers
karlfast
Lowengrin
rynelf
Taibi
Tigrillo Next!
woodnoggin

Previous Phoenix members who are always welcome back:
archivists, BennyD, Bruzza, chally, darker, Dormammu, Eeeville, enzo622, Hawkeye77, JohnRayJr, judoka, leroy43, Morganza, Mr_Nuts, ravenskana, Smintie, TheRocketSurgeon, tjshields, topherr, Yokiboy.
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1. Board Game: Cuba: Spielecafé [Average Rating:7.28 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.28 Unranked]
Board Game: Cuba: Spielecafé
Rich P
United Kingdom
Sheffield
United Kingdom
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A boardgame cafe has recently opened ten minutes from my house, the first in the city. You can go along just for the food and drink, or you can pay a cover charge for up to 4 hours of gaming. They have a fairly extensive game library, and it looks like a good mix of lighter games and mid-weight euros.

I'm in two minds about the value of such a place for me. I can play games at home for free, and for the price four or five people pay to play at the cafe, it would almost cover the cost of buying a new game. On the other hand, it offers a central, neutral venue to meet players we might not necessarily invite to our house and they have several games in their collection I'd be interested in trying, but not necessarily buying untested.

Have you visited boardgame cafes? Would you think about it if there was one near you?

What makes a good venue for playing games? What would a cafe have to offer to tempt you away from your familiar gaming table?
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2. Board Game: Say Cheese Cafe [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Say Cheese Cafe
Rich P
United Kingdom
Sheffield
United Kingdom
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After Jeremy's comments on Near and Far over the past couple of weeks, I was keen to try it and I noticed the cafe had it in their BGG collection. I read the rules in advance: no point wasting time on reading rules in the cafe when that's time you're paying for! But when I got there I couldn't find it on the shelves. Asking, it turned out the owners had left it at home because i) they're playing through the campaign, and ii) they didn't think a campaign game was very suited to playing in the cafe so they didn't expect anyone to want it there. (I thought there was a non-campaign version of the game you could play.)

Imagine you're about to visit a boardgame cafe whose collection includes any game you can think of. Which game would you be most looking forward to playing there and why?
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3. Board Game: Café Melange [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:5518]
Board Game: Café Melange
Rich P
United Kingdom
Sheffield
United Kingdom
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Boardgame cafes seem to be spreading rapidly across the UK at the moment. I spotted a Kickstarter campaign for another one yesterday (with the pledge reward of being able to always play a particular colour when you visit!). Are you seeing a boom in boardgaming cafes where you are? Any thoughts on what this could mean for the hobby or for your own gaming opportunities? Is it valuable evangelism or unwelcome popularisation? Are they a passing fad?
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4. Board Game: Cat & Chocolate [Average Rating:6.01 Overall Rank:8162]
Board Game: Cat & Chocolate
Rich P
United Kingdom
Sheffield
United Kingdom
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Sheffield also now has a cat cafe. I discovered it's for humans, though, not cats. Do you have any other unusually-themed cafes in your area? Which is your favourite local cafe and what would you recommend I order when I visit it?
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5. Board Game: Rotation [Average Rating:5.60 Unranked]
Board Game: Rotation
Rich P
United Kingdom
Sheffield
United Kingdom
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Upcoming rotation:
Morten - 22nd October (Wombat Day (Australia))

Jeremy - 29th October (due date +2)
Alison - 5th November (Bonfire Night)
Carol - 12th November (World Pneumonia Day)
John - 19th November (International Men's Day)
Karl - 26th November (Mongolian Republic Day)
Michael - 3rd December (Ozzy Osbourne's birthday)
Dave - 10th December (Dewey Decimal System Day)
Nicolai - 17th December (Kurdish flag day)
Morten - 24th December (Christmas Eve)
Rich - 31st December (New Year's Eve)
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6. Board Game: Zilch [Average Rating:5.81 Overall Rank:15066]
Board Game: Zilch
Marc Hawkins
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
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No Games for me this week!
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7. Board Game: Great Western Trail [Average Rating:8.29 Overall Rank:10]
Board Game: Great Western Trail
Dave Peters
United States
Belmont
California
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Scorecard for the Week/Month/Year as of 14Oct2017:

6/10/378 plays of 6/10/177 total games, with 9/13/30 expansions employed.
Plays with 6/8/113 distinct opponents.

0/0/32 games acquired (plus 0/2/16 expansions.)
0/0/16 games sold/traded (plus 0/0/3 expansions.)
0/0/26 games ordered (plus 2/2/13 expansions.) - Terraforming Mars: Snow Algae Promo Card and Terraforming Mars: Self Replicating Robots Promo Card.
Orders for 5 games and 2 expansions still outstanding.

With family:

1x _7⅔_ Super Big Boggle - With the family (or at least, the three of us that are at home. As everyone probably expected, my wife won. And, in fact, she had the largest score each round, and managed to exceed the combined score of son #2 and I in several rounds (though not quite overall.)

1x _10_ Race for the Galaxy (with the first arc) - Son #2 keeps getting better (and more adventurous: in the early days he went with a strict military strategy, regardless of whether those were the cards he drew.) This was one he might well have won had the game gone another turn. Unfortunately for him (though I can't claim it was a random event), the VP chips ran out.

With the Lunch@work group:
1x _6⅔_ Carcassonne (40 months dusty) (with a few expansions) - This was a silliness: none of us brought a game. So we looked around the café - and found something with a random set of expansions (but no rules.) There were a few more things present in the box (P&D for example); but I only included things in the play listing for which we could remember rules.

We began with just a couple of us: and then I was paged in mid-game - so Jeff took over for me. And, again unsurprisingly, he played what had been my position better than I had (or likely would have.) It's was more than a bit silly: the large collection of extra tiles made it a good deal slower than I'd prefer; but as "found games" go, we could have done a good deal worse.

With the Wednesday night gang:

1x _7_ JamSumo - Player Summoning game 1. And fairly unsuccessful: I'm afraid I have (a good deal) more die-flicking practice than my esteemed opponent: so neither the Jam nor Sumo game was particularly close.

I think that might be one of the reasona I enjoyed the 4p game: the others were free to (successfully) gang up on me. It may have been chaotic; but it was (subjectively) a bit better game. (And it makes me wonder: is there a natural handicap scheme for JamSumo?)

1x _7⅔_ Roll for the Galaxy (with Ambition and Terraforming Colony/Diversified Economy Promo Tile) - Player Summoning 2. And reasonably successful on both fronts: it was enjoyed, and our third arrived.

1x _8_ Great Western Trail (with Promo Station Master Tiles [New!]) - This was delightful - even if Paul nearly scored more than the other two of us combined. each of my games so far have played out quite differently (I expect the ordering of the Standard Buildings is a bit more significant than I'd originally expected.) And none of our scores were particularly poor this time round: Paul's was just very much better than the rest.

Owned-and-unplayed: 0 (+0/-0)
Owned-and-played-once: 94 (+0/-0)

Outlook for the week: I'll hope to play something with family; something with the lunch gang. But that might be it for the week: I'm going to my wife's book club on Wednesday instead of the game gang. But at least I'm not oncall: I might be able to participate a bit more in the discussion this week!
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8. Board Game: American Rails [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:1456]
Board Game: American Rails
Finally a quiet week – which also means a week with time to play games after a 10 day hiatus. We even had a full weekend with absolutely nothing planned. On a whim Saturday afternoon, we decided to go to the theatre to see a play. I’m not a big theatre lover but this was a play by Robert Wilson and music by Coco Rosie that had already won some awards and was brought to Aarhus in connection with the city being the European Capital of Culture this year. The play was called Edda so we definitely had an interest in it based on that. I also knew it would be rather avant-garde. I learnt that I am not rather avant-garde… Without knowing too much about theatre I could appreaciate the visual side but the rest was so pretentious that both of us thought about leaving quite early on (we stayed) and both thought someone should have told the emperor he wasn’t wearing any clothes. I feel sorry for the people who had driven up from Germany to see something by the great Wilson but they are probably going to tell themselves and everyone else it was fantastic to make it seem they didn’t waste a lot of time and money. Or I’m just a huge theatre ignoramus who knows absolutely nothing about it. The latter seems more likely.

From gallery of Tigrillo

Your average Thor...


Board Game: American Rails

 8   American Rails NEW!
Back to games. The last two weekends we had spent celebrating my upcoming 40th birthday but the day itself (Wednesday) was very quiet. Not much to do at work apart from a bit of celebrations and home alone afterwards since Lærke was in Copenhagen for a course. So instead, I had asked my train games group if they wanted to celebrate with me by playing American Rails. As you may have read in connection with my question about Winsome Games last week, Dave wasn’t too fond of Am. Rails so I bought his 1st edition copy from him. It had been on my shelf unplayed for a couple of months so this was the time to try it. 5 players all new to the game and we all loved it. I liked how you’re trying to make your investments pay off and hoping you can make some money on your shares before others from the company are auctioned off. Definitely a keeper for us.


Board Game: Trick of the Rails

 7   Trick of the Rails NEW!
After the game we had time to try out Trick of the Rails which I had just bought from someone else in the group. He hadn’t played it either so it was new to all of us. How do you come with a game like this?? Trick-taking and set collection together makes sense but stocks and trains as well?? We had fun but one play certainly is not enough for me to judge it. The rating could go either way with more plays. Or stay where it is. Since everyone is going to end up with the same amount of shares the differences in points at the end of the game won’t see a big spread I suppose. It didn’t here so it was very hard for us to figure out what was the right thing to do when – and how to play next time.


Board Game: Glory to Rome

 9   Glory to Rome
Lærke had come down with a cold so she went to bed after work Thursday. She still wanted to play Glory to Rome so we set it up on the bed and played a game of it. We’ve played it 24 times now and I’m still not sure I have all the rules correct in my mind. When you do not follow are you then allowed to both think and have your clients follow? I’ve read that conflicting views on this. It was a glorius game anyway that ended in our first ever tie. I went ahead early on in the game but Lærke had built an engine that would soon bring her the victory so I had to act quickly and try and end the game before that would happen. Fortunately for me I had the cards to do it but not before she had caught up with me.

Board Game: Splendor

 7   Splendor x3
Still a bit crook the next day, we repeated the success of playing in bed but this time with three rounds of Splendor which we hadn’t played for quite a while. I used to win something like 75% of my games of this but this time Lærke won 2-1. Twice by getting nobles which normally never happens in my plays.




Board Game: Carcassonne

 8   Carcassonne
Saturday morning and we celebrated our free weekend with a late breakfast with soft-boiled eggs, good bread and cheese – and our usual game of Carcassonne with the first two expansions. This was a particularly enjoyable play of it. I managed to lock several of Lærke’s meeples down so she couldn’t remove them, incl. her Trader or Builder or whatever the meeple that allows you to place another tile, severely hurting her scoring flexibility. That meant I was in the lead by 50 points or so till she pulled out her very last tile that she had been hoping to get for half the game. It scored her a whopping 40 points and meant she almost caught up with me after the final scoring.


Board Game: Terraforming Mars

 7   Terraforming Mars
This really isn’t that good a game and yet I’ve played it 13 times, 10 of which are this year with Lærke. And there’s the reason why I play it so much: she loves it. She even requests to play it. And I like playing it with her. I guess that makes it my guilty pleasure? She won the first 7 times we played but with this included I’ve now won the last three. We’re beginning to see a pattern to who wins too: whoever gets a good mining production up quickly stand a good chance of winning. Usually, I score many points on the cards but this time I only had two that would grant me points – plus of course all the ones that award you points by building them. And still I got 167 points to Lærke’s 139. My highest score but still 20 points lower than her record. Let’s see if this year’s Essen will bring us something that will supplant TM for her. She’s coming along but hasn’t looked at any games yet and I doubt she will before we’re there.


Board Game: Goa

 8   Goa
I like to have a game that’s set in a place we travel to and since we’re heading to Kerala for three weeks in 20 days, I thought about buying Kerala. But it looks a bit dull to be honest. Instead I realised that three of the four colonies you can build in Goa are in Kerala: Calicut, Cochin and Quilon – or Kozhikode, Kochi and Kollam as they’re called today. So we’re sorted! I just had to play it with Lærke. Sunday we did. I hadn’t played it with 2 before but I’ve read several places that it’s actually quite good at that number. And it’s entirely correct. I liked the more constrained economy and its zero sum nature with two. Despite the auctions, Lærke also liked the game so it looks like we’ll get to play it more in the future.


Board Game: Koi-Koi

 7   Koi-Koi
Back from the theatre and dinner at a restaurant, we played Koi-Koi and watched an episode of Foyle’s War. I bought a Hanafuda deck at Essen two years ago without knowing anything about it or the games it could be used for. It just looked nice. It still does and now we’ve played Koi-Koi 10 times. We’ve settled on a mix of variants that we enjoy and have gotten better at it as we’ve learnt the 12 suits and how you score points if not by heart then at least almost. This time we played a 6 months game of it and I won as usual. Luckily Lærke doesn’t care that she keeps losing when it comes to this game. I’m beginning to learn a bit about pacing my trick-taking according to when I’d prefer to fulfill the different scoring options so that I more often hit the important 7 points that will double your score for the round – and hopefully after a koi-koi so that score will again be doubled.



Games that left my collection this month: Trick of the Rails.

Games that entered my collection this month: Endeavour.

Unplayed games in my collection: Tahuantinsuyu, 1860: Railways on the Isle of Wight, Automobile, Falling Sky: The Gallic Revolt Against Caesar, Splatter SHOOT, Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001 – ?, Kogge, Sword of Rome and Colonial Twilight: The French-Algerian War, 1954-62.
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9. Board Game: Los Banditos [Average Rating:6.35 Overall Rank:5122]
Board Game: Los Banditos
United States
Wurtsboro
NY
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Not our first time playing, but our first time playing with an official set. I had made a set pulled together from some bits, but without a box, it was easy to overlook it when it came time to choose a game to play. A copy came up for $5 in an auction, so I got it. The dice are nice enough that they're worth $5 even on their own. I went from having no box to an oversized box, but I'm happy I picked it up. We played 3 games last night.

This week I did some more holiday shopping, before the stores get busy and the weather turns bad. Little, practical things (slippers, fancy teas and jams).

We have a board game day scheduled on Sunday (with Sam's RPG group). Looking forward to that. Sounds like it will be 5 people, which is a hard number. I'd rather have 4, or be able to split 2/3 for some games, but at least for this first time, sounds like everything will need to be 5p, which I have mixed feelings about. But we won't bring anything too heavy. I don't want a game that drags too much with 3 new players, turn them off from something that would be fun with 3 or 4.
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10. Board Game: Mombasa [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:75]
Board Game: Mombasa
Rich P
United Kingdom
Sheffield
United Kingdom
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Last week's plays:

|9| A Feast for Odin
-8- Puerto Rico
-8- Terraforming Mars (+Hellas & Elysium New!; Snow Algae; Small Asteroid New!)
-7- Deus (+Egypt)
-7- Royal Goods (+Longsdale in Revolt)
-6- Mombasa New!
-6- Okey Dokey New! (x3)

Deus ended up being a little frustrating. I was trying to end the game while I was ahead on VPs but whichever option I chose out of building the last temple or surrounding the last barbarian village, both involved placing one last ship. But could I find a ship card...? I ditched my hand and redrew for three consecutive turns looking for a ship without any joy. Meanwhile, Kate was running her VP engine and overtaking me. By the time I found that ship, it was too late. This was partly my own fault for not anticipating the need for a ship in the endgame – I should have kept hold of one I had seen earlier – but at the time it felt like the luck of the draw was going against me.

Thanks to Karl for bringing Okey Dokey to my attention in last week's list. I lost my two solo attempts, even on the easiest difficulty level. My third game was 2-player and we won easily, without needing to play any Equals cards. In fact, it went so smoothly, Kate couldn't believe that I'd lost the first two times. Maybe the cards came out in a beneficial order that time. It reminds me of The Game and fits into a similar niche for me, a co-operative card ordering game that's interesting enough for a few plays with components we already own (a Sticheln deck for Okey Dokey, 6 Nimmt! for The Game) but not something I'd play often enough to push me to order a copy.

My last trip down to London On Board for a while gave me the opportunity to try a game which has been on my Interested list for years: Mombasa. It's clever, but there's a bit too much look-ahead for my tastes. Deciding where to play your cards so they end up in the right discard pile and you can pick up a particular group later is quite brain-burning. Selecting the right books probably is too, but I ignored that part of the game for my first run-through, to little detriment. The worker placement part of the game felt like a strange addition. But the overall package is quite interactive: you have to pay attention to other players to get best use out of your cards and I enjoyed the opportunity to leech off others' efforts in expanding the companies. It stops just short of being a true stocks and shares game because the cost to buy shares isn't based on the fortunes of the company and there are always enough shares to go around. Since I'm not keen on shareholding games, this was just enough for me.

It appeared that taking the last Expansion action of the game was powerful, giving you the ability to influence endgame scoring without comeback. The one player who had played before planned for this by ensuring he had lots of actions available to him in the final round, so Expansion could be performed late. Of course, he didn't warn the rest of us that this was a good idea.

We followed up with Puerto Rico, another game which brushes history under the rug. (Five Tribes next to complete the slavery-ignoring trifecta?) One player was being rather cocky, with talks of his tournament victories, so I switched to high gear and won with the faithful Factory/builder strategy.

Also new this week was the Elysium map for Terraforming Mars. Rather than the map itself, it was the new milestones and awards which had the most noticeable effect on the game. I chose my starting corporation based on it having two production increases, which I thought would give me a headstart towards the Generalist milestone (requiring +1 production in all six categories). Kate immediately stole my titanium production, hampering my Generalist chances and really slowing down my game. The targeted offensive cards seemed to be particularly devastating in this game.

My Maths Trade attempts to free up space in the house were scuppered when, in a moment of weakness, I added Die Dolmengötter to my wishlist. Of course, I ended up getting it. I don't know how big the box is but I'm pretty sure it'll take up more space than the items leaving the house (Modern Art and 7 Wonders: Manneken Pis). There was an amusing rerun of the trade which resulted in me getting £1 more than the previous run.

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11. Board Game: Okanagan: Valley of the Lakes [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:3625]
Board Game: Okanagan: Valley of the Lakes
Lo
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Games Played

_7_ Concordia w/Corsica x1
_7_ Kraftwagen: V6 Edition x1 New!


The Week in Review

On a bit of a whim, S and I drove up to the (South) Okanagan for the last half of the week. Hung out at a resort in Osoyoos, did some light hikes, and did "tastings" at a number of wineries in the area (and ate at a couple very good restaurants).
Board Game: Concordia: Gallia / Corsica

Before we left, we got in one game of Concordia. Though I lost horribly, the game did grow on me a bit. I'm curious to play the Gallia map, but I can see it requiring at least one more player.

Board Game: Kraftwagen

Our suite's dining room table was just big enough to fit Kraftwagen. I don't think S fully understood the scoring during our play. Not that it mattered because she still cleaned up.

Even with just one play, I can see this game being much better with more players. With two, there isn't much incentive to chase a player if they go heavy into car body design or engine design; better to cut your losses and take another path. Four players would definitely force more competition in each area.

Still, I enjoyed it with two...though I will try tabling it with three or four if the opportunity arises.


The Week Ahead

Another week off and no plans. I'm fantasizing about pulling out The U.S. Civil War and playing it solo....

Unplayed games of note in shrink: The U.S. Civil War, Francis Drake, German Railways and Revolution: The Dutch Revolt 1568-1648.

Unplayed games not in shrink: Massive Darkness, Normandy '44 and Mottainai.

On order: Lorenzo il Magnifico.
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12. Board Game: Pax Renaissance [Average Rating:8.07 Overall Rank:502]
Board Game: Pax Renaissance
John Rogers
United States
Yakima
WA
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So I've been sick for about 8 days now. It sucks. Working from home has been nice. Glad that's an option for me. But still I'd like to swallow and it not hurt and I miss my voice. Anyways, working from home means no distractions so I get a lot more work done way faster, which means I had the liberty to read through some rulebooks. And it just happens to be the 500th anniversary of the Reformation this month and lo and behold there sat an unplayed Eklund game covering that period on my shelf in...

The Week That Was


Board Game: Pax Renaissance

Rating: 8
Plays: 7


It started like all Eklund readings do, by going nowhere. I would meander down to the footnotes and enjoy the bits of history and be amused at that very Eklundian worldview. Then I would struggle through the rulebook again. Gah! I give up. I watched a 2ply play-through courtesy of the heavy cardboard folks and then soloed my first play: a win via Holy Victory. Hmm. Not to bad methinks.

Later that night I taught 4 games in a row, at 2,3,3, and 4 players respectively. We had three Imperial victories and one republic victory. The first three games were with more casual gamers (seriously). They couldn't tell what was going on but found the application of the topic amusing. The group of 4 was the last of the night and most critical. They were the serious gamers. Coming off a game of Patchistory (which they all LOVE) they didn't have a lot of good things to say about Pax Ren. That's not too surprising as they didn't like Pax Por either. But they promised to give it another go next week. Biggest gripes were too complex (icon crazy), too many caveats, steep learning curve, and most of all too chaotic; they tend to like strategy over tactics.

The next day I taught two sessions of it at a friend's private monthly game night. The first was a 3ply game with a young couple and a regular who I have a lot of experience with. The session took about 2hrs and Luke won an Imperial victory after his wife and Bill decided to flip their kingdoms to republics. They felt it was very dense but had a big payoff and would be willing to try again. Directly after I taught a second session this time playing alongside Bill (again) and Jack. Bill had a better handle on things and began working cards in concert. By this time I was able to see synergies between the board state and possible card combos. Jack felt it was overwhelming (his first Eklund affair) but would like to give it another go. I won an Imperial victory in about 50mins.

Overall I'm really enjoying it so far. I've added the expansion deck but haven't seen any of those cards come up just yet. I think I still prefer Porfiriana for the setting and the special powers/VR bonuses on haciendas. But time will tell.

Board Game: Modern Art

Rating: 8
Plays: 1


I ended the night at Jack's place with a session of Modern Art (Bill's request). I haven't lost a game of that in over 5yrs but tonight I was off. Maybe it was the cough, the distraction of bronchitis, or the texting with my wife but Jack (who had never played and has anxiety about auction games) won 456-453-420. Very tight game. Bill, who teaches college math but doesn't care for it in games (reminds him of work), loves the bluffing and tanking of other players acquired art. Jack felt the game was fine but preferred Pax. I am still quite fond of it for its simplicity (which stood out especially compared to Pax), and player-dependent market.

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13. Board Game: The Great Zimbabwe [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:347]
Board Game: The Great Zimbabwe
Board Game: Kingdom Builder
Board Game: Stone Age
Board Game: Race for the Galaxy: Alien Artifacts
Board Game: Race for the Galaxy
Board Game: Food Chain Magnate
Board Game: The Great Zimbabwe
Board Game: Agricola


 8   Kingdom Builder
One play of this doesn't sound right because the last play I can remember is the two with my mother? Huh. Anyways, I love this game.

 6   Stone Age x4
My mom and I have started doing game-dates on BGA. I'm counting the plays guilt-free because we put voicecall on and talk during our play. My mom LOVES playing, and our last game was 160-160! Nice! It's not my favourite game of all time, but it is - as I am sure you all know - a gorgeous, solid exemplar of light-middleweight euro game design. I like it enough. And the BGA implementation halves the play time, which was my main complaint with the analog play.


 N/A   Race for the Galaxy: Alien Artifacts
 10   Race for the Galaxy
Natalie hadn't played anything with me in about a month, and out of nowhere suggested we play this Saturday morning. And then she beat me good. Can't complain: this is a top 3 game for me.

 10   Food Chain Magnate
Incomplete play, but Natalie was up for learning this, despite bing up against E, L, and myself who had all played before. It was fun, but tons of baby interruption made us realize that this isn't a game you play with divided attention.

 8   The Great Zimbabwe
Taught this to Cornel and Jonathan, and they seemed to like it even more than I do. Cornel grabbed every craftsman, AND a god, AND a helper, and Johnny did something similar, posting 35 and 34 point VRs. And, of course, their wealth was astronomical compared to mine. I kept to 22 VR, but got my ivory worker inhibited by Cornel's nearly impossible placement of the thronemaker, denying my my only real revenue stream as I played a pauper strategy. I eked my way forward, getting two monuments to 3rd level, and laying down two more. Then, on one turn, I went all in on the bid against Johnny's rich cattle hoard. He let me take first, so I adopted Xango as my god, and then brought my two 1's to 2's, crossing my victory threshold! They thought that was great!

 10/b]   Agricola
After TGZ, a fun 3er of this. Close (low) scores in a fun denial-blocking game...
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14. Board Game: Micropul [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:2777]
Board Game: Micropul
Alison Mandible
United States
Somerville
Massachusetts
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Board Game: Blokus Trigon
Board Game: Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends
Board Game: Kashgar: Merchants of the Silk Road
Board Game: Sluff Off!
Board Game: Isaac
Board Game: Boggle
Board Game: Micropul


 3   Blokus Trigon x2

I wrote a whole long thing about Bears Vs. Babies (the other game on offer at the party where I ended up playing Blokus Trigon) but it was lost when a network blip ate the first version of this post. Trigon is okay.

 10   Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends x3
 9   Kashgar: Merchants of the Silk Road
 7   Sluff Off! NEW!

A little fiddly for how much it brings to the table vs, say, Hearts.

 3   Isaac
 9   Boggle x2
 N/A   Micropul NEW!

I've had a copy of Micropul for a while (I think thanks to our indigopotter) but only just tried it this weekend. What seemed like "Carcassonne with extra 'you can't do that' rules" resolved into kind of an intriguing game; both S and I were eager to play again sometime.
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15. Board Game: Spirit Island [Average Rating:8.32 Overall Rank:13]
Board Game: Spirit Island
Max Maloney
United States
Portland
Oregon
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"If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason." -Jack Handey
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Just a quick note that I’ve hit forty plays of Spirit Island, putting me in the top ten of BGG users for logged plays.

I also raised my rating to 10 and have it ranked as my #6 game of all time currently.

Well played, Eric. Well played.

Other notes:

Have beaten all adversaries at maximum difficulty (all but France more than once); England seems most difficult.

Have played virtually none of the scenarios (only Second Wave, which doesn’t alter the game rules) and haven’t tried the thematic map. Planning to try lvl 6 Sweden on thematic map soon (level “11”). Just noticed the thematic map has more areas per board!!

At this point in my journey with the game, my favorite spirits are probably Sharp Fangs and Ocean. I’m still terrible at Shadows and find Wildfire to be the most mentally taxing to play well.

I’m looking forward to finding out what Eric has in store for the next expansion.
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16. Board Game: SeaFall [Average Rating:6.35 Overall Rank:2323]
Board Game: SeaFall
R. Eric Reuss
United States
Massachusetts
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Rich, you were brilliant to ask how you'd know how our SeaFall game ended. I means I post here every few months, which seems to be about my speed these days.

New (or effectively-new) to me with reactions:

* Innovation Deluxe - Played with Cities twice. I like it! Even if I have to continuously mutter "endorse, endorse, endorse" to myself to remember that Endorse exists as an option on my turn. Whether I like it as much as Figures remains to be seen, but I think I'll enjoy finding out.

* Sidereal Confluence: Trading and Negotiation in the Elysian Quadrant - The final version is neat. I can see the faint outlines of some forms of good play - perceiving larger flows of supply and demand - which are not yet accessible to my brain. I want to play with with high player count sometime (probably not all 9, but 6-7) just to see it get larger-scale and kinda crazy.

Terraforming Mars: Hellas & Elysium - the new map is mildly interesting variety. The new goals/milestones moreso; I liked how they shifted emphasis.

Too Many Cinderellas - Ha! Nice filler, if played promptly.

Unearth - Pretty, and some neat concepts, but not for me. The dice randomness was mitigated (good), but neither the deck nor bag randomness were, and with 4p it seemed like shooting for special (?monument?) powers over the ones which just gave points was a fool's game, which saddened me.

My every-so-often Seafall update will be in a comment below.

~ ~ ~

Outside of gaming: I'm enjoying the lovely fall weather, while my cold toes preach warnings of the Coming Days of Ice and Snow. Our younger has just started preschool 3 mornings/week (he is SO ready for it); this will in theory give me a little more time for Things, but in practice both kids have had on-again, off-again fevers for the past week.

Took a mild throat injury in jiujitsu, but otherwise that's been a lot of (hard work and) fun.
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