GCL Mafia 353: The Essen-tial Hallowmation Edition
Jim Parkin
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Welcome to GCL Mafia Division's weekly geeklist!

GCL Mafia Members:
• Please add an item to represent your gaming life for the week of October 23rd through October 29th, 2017.
• 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 game can be spotlighted and discussed. The poster will pose questions about it to encourage conversation.
• Themed questions are optional. They can be gaming-related topics or non-gaming-related topics.
• A top five question can be asked for by this week's current-list writer, with members offering suggestions.

Current Roster:
fdubois
timotheous
charlest
Happymrdave
tallgrant
annowme
Dolus
ecargo
Epsilon_Balls
captainraffi
touchstonethefool
cferejohn
jshufelt
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1. Board Game: ESSEN The Game: SPIEL'13 [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:3899]
Board Game: ESSEN The Game: SPIEL'13
Jim Parkin
United States
Stow
Ohio
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This post landing at the close of Essen Spiel 2017, I consider from my Northeast Ohio couch what it would be like to go the the premiere European/International board game convention, and sigh. Not gonna happen, at least for a very long time. Anastasia and I would both love to go, but it's too difficult to pull the trigger at this point in our life.

Board Game: John Company

*Another shameless plug for John Company, formally released at Essen 2017, and easily my game of the year.



Now that the convention is coming to its end, have your anticipations or interests changed given what information and products have been released?

Has Stefan Feld managed to make a dice game of a board game of a card game?

Just how many things DID Fabrice Dubois purchase in Essen?
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2. Video Game: The Rocky Horror Show [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Video Game: The Rocky Horror Show
Jim Parkin
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Stow
Ohio
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Our family is pretty ill this weekend, so we had to skip my family's annual Halloween party. That said, we still had an opportunity to trick-or-treat with the kiddos earlier this week, and will have another chance on Tuesday. Ted is a train engineer and Penny is a fluffy lamb. Anastasia and I were going to go as Professor Plum and Mrs. Peacock, but then the nefarious aims of microscopic organisms did us in.

Of greatest annual Halloween importance to me is the justification I have to play Tim Curry's "Anything Can Happen on Halloween" video over, and over, and over again.





Do you care much about Halloween?

What's your favorite costume you've worn?

How much do you like Tim Curry?
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3. Board Game: Here I Stand [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:246]
Board Game: Here I Stand
Jim Parkin
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Stow
Ohio
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October 31st is not only Halloween, but also Reformation Day, or the commemoration of the historic date of Martin' Luther's unwitting advent of Protestantism. October 31st, 2017, specifically, is the 500th anniversary of this moment in time, which insofar as any memorial goes, is a pretty big deal. For the 300th anniversary in 1817, Felix Mendelssohn, a renowned composer and Messianic Jew, composed his fifth symphony and modeled the finale after Luther's own "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" hymn (and man, is it good). I'd mentioned it before, but my church hosted a Reformation conference in June to deep-dive into the theology and existential paradigm shift of this moment in history, and we brewed a convention beer in homage to Katherina von Bora, Luther's formerly-a-Catholic-nun wife and master brewer:

From gallery of Annowme

I know that the convictions of Jesus Christ and Christianity do not matter much to many of you, but my faith remains central to who I am, and the Reformation was, perhaps, the single-most important historical event in the history of the Church short of watershed appearance of Christ on earth two millennia ago. Beyond that, the Reformation contributed in many ways overall to the shift from the Renaissance to the Modern period.



Did you have any idea that Reformation Day is also commemorated on the same day as Halloween?

Is there a historical threshold you can think of which contributed greatly to your beliefs and motivations today?

What calendar date has the most (overall, or most interesting) significance to you each year?
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4. RPG Item: There's a Santa Situation [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
RPG Item: There's a Santa Situation
Jim Parkin
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Stow
Ohio
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PIMP MY WISHLIST

Alright, so for the third year running, I'm excited to take part in the International BGG Secret Santa! Like Raf has mentioned before in his own experience, this is a big point in the year for me to groom my wishlist and collection info, as well as reevaluate my ratings. Before I do anything to these various sets of data this year, I wanted to defer to the expertise and community knowledge of GCL Mafia to call on each of you to recommend the ONE game that you think I should put on my wishlist, based on both your taste and what you know of my taste.

This doesn't have to be isolated to the BGG Secret Santa (though obviously that helps!), but in general. Which single game do you recommend I put on my BGG wishlist, and WHY?

> My Collection (current)
> My Wishlist (current)




Fabrice: Forbidden Stars
Timothy:
Charlie: Inis
Dave: Pax Pamir
Grant: Space Empires: 4X
Travis:
Grace: Junk Art
Matt: Hansa Teutonica
Mith:
Raf: Moonbase Alpha
James: Archaeology: The New Expedition
Chris: Dominant Species
Joseph: Dungeon Petz



No duplicates!
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5. RPG: The Rule of 5 [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
RPG: The Rule of 5
Jim Parkin
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Ohio
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blah blah blah Top 5 blah blah blah
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6. Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 [Average Rating:8.18 Overall Rank:34]
Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 2
Chris Ferejohn
United States
Mountain View
California
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Board Game: Race for the Galaxy
Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 2
Board Game: Get Bit!
Board Game: Libertalia
Board Game: Ca$h 'n Gun$



 10   Race for the Galaxy

Pulled out this 2 player with my wife for the first time in a long time. Played with 1st expansion, no goals. She managed to get a great pull of military cards, but I just managed to get my consume engine going soon enough to edge her out.

 N/A   Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 x2 NEW!

Talked about it in the previous GL, but won our prologue, but lost the first "real" game.

 6   Get Bit! x2

Played this once 2 player with Alistair and just like an hour ago with Hilary's parents and Alistair. Not a lot of meaningful decisions in this game, but it works great for Alistair.

 8   Ca$h 'n Gun$
 8   Libertalia

Played both of these 5-handed at Friday night game night. Libertalia was particularly close (1-point game), though not for me as I was dead last after both days 2 and 3.
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7. Board Game: Sick Puppy [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Sick Puppy
Joseph
United States
Portland
Oregon
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No games for me this week. Spent a lot of the first half of the week fighting off a cold. Spent the next half taking care of my wife who somehow caught a cold from some jerk.

OMM

Finished season 3 of Prison Break. Not a good season. Season 1 was fun, if a bit dumb. Season 2 was, at moments, great, but very drawn out. Season 3 was just tacked on, slow and boring.

Finally got to Star Wars: Aftermath: Life Debt. After finding the first book challenging to get through. Holy cow, this book was so much better. I'm diving right into the last book of the trilogy.
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8. Board Game: Snowdonia [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:471]
Board Game: Snowdonia
Dave K
United States
Austin
Texas
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Board Game: The 7th Continent
Board Game: Snowdonia
Board Game: Photosynthesis


Not a ton of boardgaming this week, but some still. One new game.

7-ish maybe sorta  Photosynthesis NEW!

10  The 7th Continent
8.5  Snowdonia

Photosynthesis shows some strong potential, but we played it 2p (just my wife and I) and it definitely does not show what I believe will be its good side at that count. For several rounds we didn't interact at all, and in others we only barely did so. However, I feel like with 3 or 4 this could be really, really interesting. The "available" vs "board" inventories of stuff was a little strange to get used to, but once you cease mixing them up, the game is quite intuitive, and woooow is it lovely appearance-wise.

I'm giving it a 7 for now but I'll revisit that for sure once I play with more people. If it feels like this even with more the rating is going to go way down, but if it goes well, I could definitely see it moving upward.

Snowdonia was a nice slice of euro comfort food while some friends were visiting from out of town. This is a smooth and pleasant game - even if someone takes the spaces you want, there's generally good stuff to do (except maybe really late game), and the flow of the whole thing is just nice.

Sometimes the pace of the game gets thrown off by way too many event cubes being drawn (we played a game at BGG.CON a couple years ago where it felt like every round we pulled at least 2, and sometimes more), but when that doesn't happen the event cubes as a timer idea works quite well.

Sometime I'm going to start playing the variants of this. I own like 5 or 6 of them and I have yet to play any since we almost always have at least one new player.

7th Continent might be tilting back down towards a 9 or a 9.5 for me. That's still a great score - and I still think this is a great game - but we had the chance to trek around the inside of something for a little while and had some terrible event draws that were leeching like 7 cards each from us. UGH. Nothing says "screw you" like random events that just kill your action deck.

Those crappy events aside exploring the interior area was fun and I kinda-sorta feel like we're actually on the trail of something relevant. I hope so at least? It's still really fun to explore but I'm also feeling like our wanderings are somewhat aimless. A smidge more direction would be nice.

OMM

MAAAAAAAARIO ODYSEEEEEEEYYYYYYYYY

It's soooooo good. So, so good. Well, except for the jump rope mini game, that thing can go screw itself in a corner and/or DIAF, but the vast majority of the game is just amazing. There's so much to do - so many moons (the new equivalent of stars, go figure) to get, so many places to explore, and so many nooks and crannies that have something in them. The plotline is once again another bore of a "Bowser kidnaps Peach" snoozefest, but I can't say I ever play Mario for the great plotline. It's all about the gameplay and the levels, and those things deliver big-time here. Absolutely loving it.

Also, if you like horror games, The Evil Within 2 is surprisingly great too. The original was very uneven and had a lot of meh moments to go with the good ones, but this time around it's been a much better experience overall. The game has a lot of action still, but instead of very linear sequences, the game has an open-world sandbox sort of thing going on and it actually works. A sandbox horror game? Seriously? I don't know how they did it but I'm enjoying it, even if the writing for the main character is still pretty lacking. Don't play a drinking game with how often he says "What the hell?!?" because your liver will explode within half an hour.

Anime this season has turned out to be better than expected. The main show we figured we'd like - Magus' Bride - is really damn good. At first we thought that would be the only show, but Blend S, a comedy about a rather unconventional cafe, has turned out to actually be pretty good as well. Another show I immediately wrote off based on the premise, Net-juu no Susume, has also been quite good. And one of the stars from the previous season, Altair, is continuing, and it's a really well-done fantasy-political type thing. Kind of a nice surprise that there's more than one show I actually care to see.

I am seriously considering paying someone to assemble me the monsters from Kingdom Death: Monster and a couple parties worth of characters. I want to play the game (and got my upgrade pack) but putting the thing together seems like such a hassle...

BGG.CON is surging upon us soon, and I AM EXCITE. I need some time off to clear some pent-up stress and it's just in time. Yay.
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9. Board Game: Twilight Imperium (Fourth Edition) [Average Rating:8.69 Overall Rank:5]
Board Game: Twilight Imperium (Fourth Edition)
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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AFFLICTION: Salem 1692 x2 (new!)
The 7th Continent x1
Battle Line x1
Cyclades: Titans x1
Star Trek: Ascendancy x1
Twilight Imperium (Fourth Edition) x1 (new!)
The Walking Dead: All Out War x1

Reviews
Ars Technica finally published my review of This War of Mine.


Affliction: Salem
This is a worker placement that manages not to be boring. What drew me to it was the historical nature and how it portrays the Salem with trials. It's not a social deduction or traitor game and there's actually no witches. Instead, you're growing your circle by adding prominent family members of Salem to your group, as well as imprisoning other members of the town by layering accusation and doubt upon them.

It's a thematically rich experience even if the setting isn't only as deep as the key players. I dug it for sure, although it doesn't quite have enough oomph to be something that's going to stick around a long while.

7th Continent
Almost finished with the first curse. We got back on track and recovered well enough. We realized we mistook something we found for something else, which basically derailed an entire multi-hour session. It's all good now and we're trucking along. Excited to wrap up the Voracious Goddess with hopefully our next play.

TI4
This and Ascendancy in the same week is pretty swell. I really dig this new version as it's more streamlined and efficient resulting in a shorter playtime (4.5 hours for 6 players). We also had a ridiculous finish where 5 out of 6 players all hit 10 VP in the same round so it came down to the tie breaker.

I was the Jol-Nar and all about researching technology, which was very enjoyable. I was the only player to hit War Suns but it was too late and I never had a chance to build them.

I think I only rolled three dice all game (for a planetary bombardment) and participated in two battles. Had a decent sized fleet though with all of my Dreadnaughts (upgraded at that).


On My Mind
We didn't have enough people to play Dark Moon on Wednesday, so hoping to get in a game or two this week. May crack open Cutthroat Kingdoms as well depending on time.

After going for awhile with nothing particularly exciting to watch, I'm now mid-season with several shows. I'm watching Mr. Robot season 3, Star Trek: Discovery, Law & Order True Crime, and Stranger Things Season 2 (only finished the first episode thus far). Watching a lot of hockey as well.

Home renovations are finally closing out. We can walk on the new hardwood in our now larger living room space. I need to get my Uncle who's an electrician to come out and re-wire the room though.

Hoping to start playing First Martians soon solo. I read the entire 60 page almanac, but still feel fuzzy on a few things. I don't understand, for instance, when a module can get a red cube (which means it's broken, right Grace?). Perhaps events do this.

Just reading over the rules I can tell the game is incredibly obtuse. Do we really need broken components, shut down facilities, and malfunction tracks? Can't we roll all of these different sub-systems of breakage into a single mechanism?


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10. Board Game: Space Empires: 4X [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:485] [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked]
Board Game: Space Empires: 4X
Grant Johnson
United States
Cedar Park
Texas
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Board Game: Space Empires: 4X


 9   Space Empires: 4X x2

Space Empires 4x: The first game I had a great strategy and implemented right away. I was really proud of myself...until I realized I'd made a mistake about shipyard technology and made an illegal build. I still think I would have won the game, but I felt incredible guilt as soon as the mistake was found. It doesn't count- I noted the game in my play log and did not assign a winner.

Game 2 we played with the sectors in a much broader style. This meant we were 6 moves away from the opponent's area (as opposed to 8 in our other game), and put danger into exploring our own sector as it draws forces from the front. I was hoping to found a forward base as quickly as possible, get my secondary shipyards going and push in before the other player was ready. But due to the random setup, my secondary planets were much more spread out, took longer to find and ultimately put me behind economically. My first probe into his territory was delayed due to being lost in space. I had a secondary force that was in position to wreck a colony and even the game up, but they were destroyed by a random tile crossing central space. My cluster of colonies in the far reaches of space then got attacked, and my hail-mary attempt to save it failed. At that point I resigned- my opponent had "average" luck finding his planets, but his side of the neutral zone was resource heavy and contributed significantly to his economic advantage.

Really like the system, decided I'm not a fan of the setup we used for that scenario (which is identified in the rulebook as the short game). While I think the general idea was a good one, this swung the pendulum a bit too far toward the game ending quickly. Both of us agreed that my luck in finding my planets and our relative fortunes in neutral space played out about as badly as it possibly could.

On my mind:
BGG.CON prep: Time to start reading rule books so I can be sure I'm ready. I need to refresh myself completely on Sword of Rome, go over entrenchment in Grant Takes Command, and probably do a full overview for Gunslinger. But I'm excited.

GCL Mafia recipes still in effect: Made chicken and vegetable soup on Saturday, topped it off with Dumplings I learned to make from Raf. Well, the dumplings I had to wing making- the recipe Raf linked for them has since been pulled off the web. But dumplings aren't too complicated, what I did turned out great, and I poured a crapton of Cayenne pepper on it because that's what Raf would do. Which may have been a little too much- it was hot. But it was tasty on a day when it was in the 40s.

It's too much, my body: Weight loss going. The next goal is in sight, but it iffy whether I will hit it this week or next. I can live with either. I was good in several ways this weekend- got my workouts in despite busy-ness and cold weather, avoided temptation to each junk. I'm foreseeing two very good weeks coming up, followed by a much more difficult time at BGG.CON afterward. I'm working on strategies to maximize healthy living at the Con.

Life before Death, Strength before Weakness, Journey before Destination: Plowed through Words of Radiance an awful lot faster than expected, saw a lot of things I missed the first time and corrected a few other things I remembered wrong. Still unhappy I have to wait for Oathbringer, but it'll be here soon.
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11. Board Game: The Quest for El Dorado [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:180] [Average Rating:7.59 Unranked]
Board Game: The Quest for El Dorado
George Dziuk
United States
Cedar Park
Texas
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Board Game: At the Gates of Loyang
Board Game: Witch's Brew
Board Game: Hansa Teutonica
Board Game: Deception: Murder in Hong Kong
Board Game: The Quest for El Dorado
Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 1


 7   At the Gates of Loyang x3
 N/A   Witch's Brew NEW!
 8   Hansa Teutonica
 N/A   Deception: Murder in Hong Kong x2 NEW!
 N/A   The Quest for El Dorado x5 NEW!
 9   Pandemic Legacy: Season 1

Pretty eventful week for me with the boardgames.

The Quest for El Dorado x5
Been looking forward to this one for awhile after all the SdJ buzz. Decided to pick it up because I don't have a race game in my collection and this one seemed like a good go-to for when we need something that only plays in 30 minutes to an hour.

It fits the bill! I played a 4 player, a 3 player, and 3 two players. Each player adds about 15 minutes to the game so our 2 player games went pretty quick.

It's a nice blend of deck building and tactical play with maps that are very different. I was glad to see that the maps do impact your deck building in very real ways and the tactical nature of the game really shines through.

I'll say that I think we'll stick with the 3 or 4 player version going forward. The game gets very cut throat with 2 players and is borderline mean. The reason is because the 2 player game requires you to play with 2 adventurers and you have to be the first to get both to the end. This means a lot of intentional cutting off which can be very off putting.

Hansa Teutonica x1
Played this at Robin's weekly meetup. Didn't do that well because I was playing the long game in what turned out to be a short game, but that's ok. Turned out that Robin and another regular at his meet up had been playing the game wrong for years so I got to teach a new rule! Turns out they had been playing where your endgame key bonus was multiplied by the number of connected cities in your network where you had at least one office rather than the rule which is you multiply the key bonus by all offices in your network. Quickly becoming a favorite.

Deception: Murder at Hong Kong x2
Not sure how I feel about this one. This was my second and third play. It has a Mysterium feel, but I think I prefer Mysterium to this. It's just really hard for the criminal to actually win and that hidden agent role seems very tacked on. Good thing is it plays quickly, bad thing is it just doesn't seem like the criminal can do very much to turn the odds in their favor.

Witch's Brew x1
The final game of the evening for me at Robin's meet up and one played to celebrate Halloween! I've played Broom Service a bunch, but this was the first time I have ever played Witch's Brew. Robin prefers this, but I actually think I prefer the more tactical nature of Broom Service. I do like how this one plays a lot faster.

At the Gates of Loyang x3
My wife and I are quickly falling in love with this one. It is such a great two player game that has the right mix of strategic and tactical decisions. I'm really beginning to learn how and when to use the helpers and finally reached 17 points and my first win. Our games are regularly decided by less than $5 as a tie breaker so it's always close.

Pandemic: Legacy x1 MARCH
Had this game for over a year now, but the group that we typically play with hasn't been able to meet much. We're hoping that changes soon with our collective schedules opening up. One of my friends just loves this game and we had a good run in March. Only had two outbreaks and our panic levels seem under control at the moment. Hopefully that continues.

In Other News:
Texas finally had a decisive win against a Big 12 opponent. I know that it's Baylor and that team isn't exactly having a stellar year, but I'll take it. A pretty wild weekend for College Football with a buncha upsets and very good games... Ohio State v. Penn State in particular.

Kinda wish I was a baseball fan because it sounds like this World Series is approaching legendary status. Houston needs this after the tragedy of Hurricane Harvey. It's good to see something positive that the city can rally around.

Been playing a ton of Stardew Valley and reading Book 3 of the Dresden Files (Grave Peril). I did not enjoy Fool Moon at all and only picked up #3 after reading reviews from several people saying that Book 2 is universally considered the worst. Also about halfway through Richard Rhodes monumental The Making of the Atomic Bomb. It's an absolutely incredible book with a full detailed history of atomic physics from the late 1890s through Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There's a reason this man won the Pulitzer for this work.
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12. Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 [Average Rating:8.18 Overall Rank:34]
Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 2
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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Board Game: Arcane Academy
Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 2


Arcane Academy
Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 NEW!

Paint Party

Katie was out of town for part of last week, so in lieu of game night Tim came over. He picked up Shadespire and I offered to help him build the minis and loan paints for him to get them painted. He wasn't going to paint them until the Warhammer store guy showed him what you can do with a drybrush. 1 night of assembly + Arcane Academy, then a late night of painting.

From gallery of captainraffi

From gallery of captainraffi


This guy is almost complete, have some details to finish. The other 2 Stormcast are also at the detail stage. The Blood Reivers will probably also be another full night of painting.

Tim is enjoying it more than he expected, but has also said "this is fun but it's been two full nights we could have played games".

Arcane Academy

The dads like this one a lot and Tim had heard good things, so we played a quick 2p game. I was running away with it until he developed a good combo to grab a 10 point card. I managed to win but it was very close, and only because AA has a curious mechanic where the player that triggers game-end gets one additional turn.

Pandemic Legacy S2

Spoiler policy: If it's stuff you could see or read from opening the box but no sealed packets, I'm chatting about it.

Katie and I began our campaign. The base game is Pandemic-familiar, but not the same. You begin on some floating islans (Havens) connected to a few cities. Most of the board is blank. Your goal is to keep the cities populated with supplies so they don't succumb to disease. The infection deck works differently: rather than 1x of every city, there are multiple. Each time a card is drawn from the infection deck you remove a supply cube from the city. If there are no supply cubes, you place a plague cube and increase the outbreak track. If your player begins their turn in a city with a plague cube, they are Exposed and you have to scratch off a box on their health track.

This is pretty cool because there are a bunch of blank player cards in the box and what is underneath the health tracks on each one is different. You make your own characters at the beginning by adding a player portrait and a skill. So in my game the Laborer may have a lot of health and in yours he could die the first time he's exposed (maybe, no idea how punishing or not they are).

There's also no fixed way to win the game. The prologue has an objective of building 3 supply centers (done by discarding 5x cards of the same color) but this could be different in future games. These supply centers make it easier to populate the board with supply cubes. We won the prologue rather handily, making the new system feel a bit blase but at the same time we can see how it will ramp up.

We've chosen to name our Havens after major civilization cradles or historical locations. Giza is near Egypt, Plymouth is in the North Atlantic, and Machu Pichu is off the cost of SA.

Spoiler (click to reveal)

We went straight in to January following the prologue. The new objective is to build 3 supply centers and "Recon" North America. Reconning means exploring inland, hoping to find more cities and survivors.

Pretty easy game again, and now we've connected Chicago to the grid.


On my Mind

Desperate to keep painting those Shadespire minis, hesitant to paint w/o Tim.

BGG Secret Santa BLATANT THEFT EDITION. It's actually been pretty tough to fill my wishlist this year, because reviewing. I'm also doing the RPG Geek Secret Santa, a Greatway Games one, and will set up the GCL Mafia one as well.


> My Collection (current)
> My Wishlist (current)


Fabrice: Through the Ages
Timothy:
Charlie: MoM 2e
Dave: Merchants & Marauders
Grant: Blood Bowl
Travis:
Grace: Wiz-War
Matt: TI4
Jim: Lunarchitects
James:
Chris: Claustrophobia
Joseph: Dragonfire


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13. Video Game: Destiny 2 [Average Rating:6.36 Overall Rank:3537]
From gallery of BoardGameGeek
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Amun-Re
Gateway: Uprising

Review: Potion Explosion is great, but The Fifth Ingredient doesn't add much.

---

Apparently I didn't play games outside of my normal Wednesday night. How sad.

Amun-Re: Having played once (with James and Matt), I was willing to give this another try. We had five, which is supposed to be the best count, right? It did nothing to change my opinion of the game. I generally find the whole game annoying: digging through the pile for scoring cards that will work, resetting the board halfway through and losing the work you put in, the blind bidding, etc.

Gateway: Uprising: This shit still sucks (TSSS). No one enjoyed it. We ended after round 10 instead of 12. Get ready for the scathing review. [flame emoji]

Bohnanza: The Duel: I picked this up on iOS and was really surprised by it. I figured for $3, it'd satiate my curiosity, but I ended up liking and playing it so much that I nearly wrote an entire review already and picked up the physical version. Who knew Bohnanza could work with two? Uwe, you so great.

---

On My Mind:

Destiny 2 did not disappoint. It's the prettiest shooting gallery with a seizure-inducing amount of lights and sounds. My stepbrother and I finished the main campaign last night, hitting the level cap of 20. I was shocked at how short that was and appreciate that the leveling was not anywhere close to the grind of normal MMO's. We may do a raid this week with some of my old WoW guild.

I had a weird headcold thing this weekend, so Matt and I binged season 2 of Stranger Things. I know others are still working on it, so I'll refrain from any commentary.
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14. Video Game: Artemis: Spaceship Bridge Simulator [Average Rating:8.02 Overall Rank:793]
Video Game: Artemis: Spaceship Bridge Simulator
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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No games. Surprised? I'm not.

NazCon is this weekend. Friday and Saturday. I've been loading my games. I get Maddy all day Friday, so I'll be working double duty. I'll get to play some games this weekend and get in some Artemis. And OSCP. Always OSCP. I'll probably try to OSCP between games and what free time I absolutely will not have.
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15. Board Game: Rolling America [Average Rating:6.41 Overall Rank:2652]
Board Game: Rolling America
Philip Newman
United States
Plano
Texas
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Plays since October 16, 2017

 10.   Dominion x33
 7.5   Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords – Base Set x4
 8.5   Codenames Duet x3
 7.5   Rolling America x3 NEW!
 6.5   Kodama: The Tree Spirits x2
 10.   Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
 10.   Race for the Galaxy: The Brink of War
 8.5   Pandemic Iberia
 7.5   BUS NEW!
 7.5   Jump Drive NEW!
 7.5   Mystic Vale
 7.5   RUM NEW!


Dominion

Won my first Losers' Bracket match, 4-0. The first two were close endgames which could have gone either way, the the latter two I won more because of early shuffle luck than anything smart I did (for example, opening Nomad Camp with $4 and hitting $5 for Witch turn 2, while opponent missed doing the same thing).

The one thing I did which was interesting (in one of the first two games, don't remember which), was building up a bit and then going for Masterpiece/Gardens on a mostly boring board. That was easy enough for opponent to copy on his turn, though.

Lost my second 4-3; first player won every game, and the final game was by 1 point (the rule for the tiebreaker game is that second player wins in case of a tie, so I didn’t even need to win outright), definitely could have gone either way.

Since then, my Dominion efforts have been focused on puzzle solving, as the Nocturne previews finally provided the last piece of the Empty the Supply in 1 Turn puzzle that we all knew would fall eventually:

2013 (post-Dark Ages): Empty the Supply in 4 Turns
2015 (post-Adventures): Empty the Supply in 3 Turns
2016 (post-Empires): Empty the Supply in 2 Turns, 1.5 Turn Win

Nocturne adds Heirlooms, which replace Coppers in your starting deck if their corresponding Kingdom card is available (which includes being in the Black Market deck, not just the Supply). In particular, Cursed Gold gives a much needed boost of buying power, while Goat allows you to trash Overgrown Estate and draw a card (or remove the -1 Card Token from Borrow).

Anyway, here it is, in all its cwazy glory:

Empty the Supply in 1 Turn

Pathfinder

Game 2 (B.2) went smoothly. I got a Shock Longbow +1, which is a slight improvement over the starting Light Crossbows (and a bigger improvement over the Shortbows). I think we made some other minor improvements to our decks in this game, but I'm having trouble remembering which were in which game.

Game 3 (B.3) was incredibly close, thanks in large part to Harsk being terrible at closing locations in this set and me forgetting that I needed to do that to win after fighting Black Fang. So I beat him once, then we failed the check and he got shuffled back.

We didn't have time to permanently close the other location, so instead we swapped places, healed up, and on the final turn Aerial found Black Fang. We had three Blessings between us, and four checks to make in total: my check to temporarily close (which pretty much required a blessing, and wasn't guaranteed even then; I think it was a 6 on 2d6?), her check to avoid Acid damage (which had the potential to wreck her chances on the combat and closing, so we used a blessing there too, needed 7 on 2d8?), Black Fang (here she was able to roll something like 2d10 + 5d4, no blessing needed), and then closing her location (which the blessing made almost a sure thing, but would have been 50-50 without).

Skill rewards: Harsk - Dexterity +1; Lini - Wisdom +1

Before Game 4, I decided to print off the promo cards from the Iconic Heroes miniatures sets, just for an extra bit of flavor; I sleeved them with the defeated B villains as backing, and told Aerial that when we acquire them we will draw in terrible artwork for them.

Game 4 (1.1) we won pretty easily, but did have to defeat the villain three times in the process (winning all three, despite the double combat checks each time). My Shock Longbow +1 did a lot of work in this one, as it was now at 2d8+5.

The one location we closed without encountering the villain pair was unfortunately where Droogami (Lini's snow leopard companion) was hiding out, so she missed out on a chance to improve her allies. I added Ilsoari Gandethus, daring the Sandpoint Devil to come wreck me.

At some point (Game 3?), Aerial picked up Augury (name a card type, look at top three of location, put the matches on top or bottom), which is my favorite of her spells. Other than Cure, I guess.

Skill rewards: Harsk - Dexterity +2; Lini - Strength +1

Game 5 (1.2) was (much like Game 2) a nice, relaxing build-up-before-all-the-bad-stuff-comes-for-you game; no Villain or Henchmen, just gaining allies to close the locations. We actually passed on several opportunities to close in order to gain more stuff. Aerial got her Bag of Sticks promo as well as Holy Light, while I let Ilsoari go at the end of the game in favor of the Mayor (a one-shot examine-the-location ability). If I see Ilsoari again in the next game, then I know I am fated to die horribly to the Sandpoint Devil.
Pandemic Legacy

Our two-year campaign continues!

Since the last play was discussed way back on GCL Mafia 340, here's a quick summary for Game 13, with spoilers through

Spoiler (click to reveal)
October


Spoiler (click to reveal)
We started off our campaign 8-1, with COdA contained entirely in Yellow. After that, the reveal of the Quarantine Specialist as a traitor wrecked a promising start in Early September, and we lost Late September as well. We then made bad setup choices in Early October, and find ourselves one loss away from the box of shame.


Spoiler (click to reveal)
I grabbed the Operations Expert immediately for this one, after what happened last time; I even started the game, building military bases in both Atlanta and Santiago (City Zero). Adam was the Dispatcher again, Casey was the Soldier again, and Aerial was the Medic again.

We didn't draw many yellow cards early, so not much progress was made on the search early on - but we were set up with the military base and got a yellow card with equipment in the discard so that Casey could start spamming the search when we were ready.

There were a lot of Faded on the board, including three in Madrid all game and three in Mexico City, Bogota, and Lagos much of it.

At some point, Casey finally drew Santiago, and we were all set to search, but an epidemic had us worried about COdA spreading and I came up with an elaborate plan involving moving to Santiago as Operations Expert, swapping to Virologist, taking the card from her, and using it to remove a faded from Mexico City. That made our search slower, but Casey was able to get it close and Adam finished it off on his turn.

After that, it was just a matter of getting the last cure and sabotage done. But we hit the fourth epidemic early in the stack, and unfortunately hit Madrid (which turned four cities faded). We did draw One Quiet Night to avoid any further damage before winning. At least we won, but avoiding that Madrid outbreak would have been wonderful.

Upgrades: Research Center in Ho Chi Minh, Aerosol x3

Next game will contain November spoilers.


(More to come)
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16. Board Game: Hoax (Second Edition) [Average Rating:5.99 Overall Rank:5934]
Board Game: Hoax (Second Edition)
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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Board Game: Santo Domingo
Board Game: Hoax (Second Edition)
Board Game: Fearsome Floors
Board Game: Broom Service
Board Game: Herbaceous
Board Game: Modern Art
Board Game: City of Horror
Board Game: BANG! The Dice Game: Old Saloon
Board Game: BANG! The Dice Game


Santo Domingo
Hoax (second edition)
Fearsome Floors
Broom Service
Herbaceous x3
Modern Art
City of Horror
BANG! The Dice Game: Old Saloon x4
BANG! The Dice Game x4

Nothing new this week, but plenty of old. Quick hits...

- Santo Domingo is shaping up to be a really solid filler. I ended up trading away a few things to get some of the original expansion packs for Visby so I could pimp out the rest of my copy of SD. Coincidentally, if anyone wants a fully loaded copy of Visby, I have two available

- Hoax (Second Edition) is still awesome, really want to get some regular plays in with my group.

- Fearsome Floors is a Halloween tradition in my game group, but I'm starting to tire of it. Playing with a full set of 7p is random chaos, but there are smaller and shorter that we could play as a diversion.

- Broom Service, on the other hand, I could stand to play more often. *Still* haven't tried the other side of the board or any of the in-box expansions (or mini-expansion/Advent Calendar promo).

- Played some 2p Herbaceous and confirmed my feelings: Very solid but also pretty tame. Not bad for a time-waster.

- Finally played Modern Art with the correct rules and thankfully still had a blast. It's one of those rare strategic games where you can be vocal and silly and it adds to the experience, definitely going to upgrade this one to a 10.

- City of Horror was one a friend of mine bought a number of years ago and I remember it being a bit more harsh than I usually like in games. It's kinda got that The Grizzled thing of being pitch-perfect thematically, but unlike The Grizzled is actually a decent puzzle as well (though still with lots of death). I appreciate the arc of the game, which fits comfortably in 90 minutes. I think Charlie might really dig this if he hasn't tried it already.

- Also introduced BANG! The Dice Game and the expansion to the same friend and group of friends, who had middling experiences with BANG! but who enjoyed TDG. The expansion was once again a must-play, and I eagerly look forward to the next one, as well.
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17. Board Game: Innovation Deluxe [Average Rating:8.38 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.38 Unranked]
Board Game: Innovation Deluxe
Jim Parkin
United States
Stow
Ohio
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MIND. BLOWN.
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Board Game: Puerto Rico
Board Game: Patchwork
Board Game: Innovation Deluxe
Board Game: Gloomhaven
Board Game: Carcassonne


Puerto Rico
Patchwork
Innovation Deluxe
Gloomhaven
Carcassonne



Two highlights this week:

1. Anastasia's [redacted] retired, and she unlocked [redacted]. Eee is only one mission away from retiring her [redacted] and unlocking [redacted]. Due to [redacted], I was able to buy two [redacted] and use a new level-7 [redacted] to [redacted]. We're only one box away from unlocking [redacted], fight the [redacted], and then ride off into the [redacted]. After thirty-two plays, we're making great progress, opened [redacted], explored [redacted] and [redacted], and start barreling towards [redacted]!

2. After requesting to play Innovation, Anastasia went on to nearly wallop me with a very potent draw-then-score engine, and I had less than ten points in my score pile all game with zero achievments. She was four achievements out of six, and likely about to achieve two more of them (one standard and one special) by the time I was able to meld Empiricism and run it to its conclusion, wherein I WON INSTANTLY because I had twenty or more lightbulbs in my tableau. In fact, I had thirty-one. Needless to say, there was a lot of salt involved during tear-down. I was, at least, smart enough not to suggest a second game. Then we played Patchwork and I lost on a tie, so that helped...



On My Mind:

Our Halloweekend was delightful, despite some lingering illness. The kiddos are super happy these days, and it's been a wonderful month of seeing Ted's personality bloom and Penny's chubby smiles getting chubbier.

Saturday morning was a great brewday with my friends, Mark and Sam. We decided to make a trio of dark beers as Winter looms over Northeast Ohio. Mark made a standard robust porter, Sam made an imperial stout with hot peppers, and I forgot all of my hops so I had to improvise with what Mark had on hand, and created something like a giant Black IPA.

From gallery of Annowme
From gallery of Annowme


Our OG clocked in at 1.055, 1.098, and 1.101, respectively. The latter two being some big ol' beers, supposing everything ferments as expected. Sam was bitter that my "oops" beer ended up being more efficient than his deliberate imperial stout. That's satisfying in its own way. We'll end up splitting the final bottles in thirds, so that will be a nice variety in a few months.
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18. Board Game: Ethnos [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:235]
Board Game: Ethnos
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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Board Game: Spyfall 2
Board Game: Imperial Settlers
Board Game: Hansa Teutonica
Board Game: Ethnos
Board Game: Werewords
Board Game: Kodama: The Tree Spirits


 7   Spyfall 2 x2
 9   Imperial Settlers
 10   Hansa Teutonica
 N/A   Ethnos NEW!
 N/A   Werewords x11
 7   Kodama: The Tree Spirits x2


Imperial Settlers -- I suck at being the romans, apparently. I lost to the new guy player Barbarians but not a small margin. Ooph. I didn't draw into my administrations and other powerful roman cards until late game, and I don't know this empire well enough to play around it otherwise.

Ethnos -- I don't know how to feel about this game yet. We played with 6 people, and I didn't hate it, so it has that going for it. On the other hand, I wasn't blown away with the game either. I'd be interested in trying this with someone's cultivated list of races. Some, like the Trolls, were hugely powerful, while others (Skeletons) were simply neat.

Hansa Teutonica -- I played with someone who took several minutes on each turn. What should have been an <2 hour game turned into almost 3. It was bad. I decided to build the office in Gottingen (action city) and grab points from that. I followed up building that office with claiming the Office-Swap bonus token, so I was able to hold on to that the entire game and grab something like 10 points from it. Otherwise, I just poked around and got in peoples' way and upgrading skills.

On My Mind:
I went to Grand Rapids this weekend for a "beercation" with a cousin. Lots of great beer, and I was able to introduce them to Werewords too.

As I mentioned on Jim's listing, I kegged my cider from a few weeks ago. Now I just have to wait a few days and it will be nice and carbonated. The o.g. was 1.057 and the fg .998, so using an online calculator that puts it about 7.5%. I expected the abv to be that high, since tasting the cider it was almost undrinkably sweet before fermenting. I bought the tubes and manifolds for 2 kegs eventually, so I'll just have to decide what to brew next.
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19. Board Game: Hello, Dolly! [Average Rating:7.62 Unranked]
Board Game: Hello, Dolly!
Jeffrey Drozek-Fitzwater
United States
Houston
Texas
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Hi.

In a few ways, I fell off the world last year. I was both increasingly uphappy with and working more at my job. I consider myself to be a fairly resilient person, but that can mean others will see that an take advantage. I gradually stopped enjoying pretty much everything about my job and what was outside of it. I sold off my con tickets as a result. I planned a vacation that was 75% disaster (nothing says fun like your rental car failing in the middle of the Chihuahua Desert and Alamo refusing to send you a replacement). I took more and more crap until I was finally finally fired in July, the day before my wedding anniversary. I can't say much because I accepted hush money, but I don't think my firing was deserved. Then Hurricane Harvey hit, which meant nobody in Houston is hiring, and... well, I've just been pretty miserable for a while now. I wanted to surprise my wife with a trip to Mexico City for Thanksgiving but an earthquake damaged the Airbnb I reserved and it was canceled as a result.

So, yeah, it hasn't been great. We have tickets for BGG.CON, and my wife wants to go because she thinks it will be good for me to do something. We still have to find a hotel and games to play (I didn't get to the planning geeklists and missed out on a lot). So... if you're going and have games open, we'd probably fill a couple slots.

Anyway. Sorry to fly in like this and dump. Point is, I think we'll be in Dallas and it would be good to have games to play.
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20. Board Game: Santa Claus is Comin' to Town [Average Rating:6.11 Unranked]
Board Game: Santa Claus is Comin' to Town
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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GCL Secret Santa!

Who is in? How do you want to do it? Board Games? Something else? Chit chat here, and I'll get it running soon.
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Series: DDAL06 - Tales From the Yawning Portal
Jim Parkin
United States
Stow
Ohio
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Push Cubes. Blow Stuff Up.
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Head's up if anyone is interested--I'm running a new D&D 5e Play-by-Forum campaign using the old-school throw-back book, Tales from the Yawning Portal. There is plenty of room open, should you want to jump in.

https://boardgamegeek.com/article/27337390#27337390

I'll probably close the recruiting thread on Sunday.
 
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