GCL Mafia 355: Mafia Con
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Important Links:
GameChat League: Mafia Division Subscription Thread (links to past lists, subscribe for weekly notifications).
GameChat League Wiki (for general information about the GameChat League concept)
GCL Mafia Wiki (for specific information about this division)
Thesp's GCL Games Played Tool (an easy-to-use tool for collating your plays for the week)

Welcome to GCL Mafia Division's weekly geeklist!

GCL Mafia Members:
• Please add an item to represent your gaming life for the week of November 6-12, 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.

Current Roster:
Epsilon_Balls
captainraffi
touchstonethefool
cferejohn
jshufelt
fdubois
timotheous
charlest
Happymrdave
tallgrant
annowme
mith
Dolus
ecargo
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1. Board Game: Geeks: The Convention [Average Rating:4.66 Overall Rank:17850]
Board Game: Geeks: The Convention
Grace P.
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This week's list is in honor of BGG.Con, both those attending and those of us missing out.

Let's pretend we really did make Mafia Con happen. What are your must-plays with each of us? It can be any game - played or unplayed, owned or unowned. At Mafia Con, any game you want will magically appear.

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(Yes, I know I've made a similar list before, but it's been a while and our roster has switched up a bit since then and new games have come out and I DO WHAT I WANT.)
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2. Board Game: Bottle Matt! [Average Rating:7.17 Unranked]
Board Game: Bottle Matt!
Grace P.
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What game would you play with Matt?
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3. Board Game: RAF [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:2237]
Board Game: RAF
Grace P.
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What game would you play with Raf?
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4. Video Game: Jamestown [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:1208]
Video Game: Jamestown
Grace P.
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What game would you play with James?
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5. Board Game: Christopher's Crossing [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Christopher's Crossing
Grace P.
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What game would you play with Chris?
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6. Board Game: Joseph And His Coat Of Many Colors [Average Rating:2.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Joseph And His Coat Of Many Colors
Grace P.
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What game would you play with Joseph?
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7. Board Game: FAB: Sicily [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:4087]
Board Game: FAB: Sicily
Grace P.
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What game would you play with Fabrice?

(Sorry, Fabrice. No board, video, or role playing game entries for your name. And Sicily is as close to France as I could get.)
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8. RPG Item: Timothy Bradstreet: Vampire [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
RPG Item: Timothy Bradstreet: Vampire
Grace P.
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What game would you play with Timothy?
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9. Board Game: Checkpoint Charlie [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:4887]
Board Game: Checkpoint Charlie
Grace P.
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What game would you play with Charlie?
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10. Board Game: Zombicide Survivor: Dave [Average Rating:7.26 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.26 Unranked]
Board Game: Zombicide Survivor: Dave
Grace P.
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What game would you play with Dave?
 
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11. Board Game: Grant Takes Command [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:3159]
Board Game: Grant Takes Command
Grace P.
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What game would you play with Grant?
 
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12. Board Game: Jim'll Fix It [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Jim'll Fix It
Grace P.
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What game would you play with Jim?
 
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13. Board Game: Philip the Great [Average Rating:6.67 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.67 Unranked]
Board Game: Hornet Leader: Falcon Leader Module
Grace P.
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What game would you play with Philip?
 
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14. Video Game: No More Heroes: Travis Strikes Again [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
From gallery of BoardGameGeek
Grace P.
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15. Board Game: Grace A Dice Play 21 [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Grace A Dice Play 21
Grace P.
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What game would you play with me?
 
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16. Board Game: Winner's Circle [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:802]
Board Game: Winner's Circle
Dave K
United States
Austin
Texas
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Board Game: Arkham Noir: Collector Case #1 – The Real Leeds
Board Game: The Quest for El Dorado
Board Game: Traders of Osaka
Board Game: Winner's Circle
Board Game: Hansa Teutonica


More gaming than I expected this week, yay!

New

8  Arkham Noir: Collector Case #1 – The Real Leeds x3 NEW!
8  The Quest for El Dorado NEW!
8  Winner's Circle NEW!

Repeat

8  Traders of Carthage
9  Hansa Teutonica


So for my most obscure game of the week, I got in a few solo plays (well, it's a solo-only game) of Arkham Noir: The Real Leeds. I heard about this game because a different one in the series came out at Essen (The Witch Cult Murders) and the artwork and concept intrigued me. It's a nice little card game in which you have to solve cases by lining up evidence from a constantly sliding row of cards, with the game ending in victory if you can collect enough "puzzle" marked cards of different suits. If you go mad first or you run out of victims to create cases out of, you lose.

The theme simultaneously is reinforced yet somewhat ignorable - the artwork is great, and the "evidence chaining" symbol matching works fine, but you could very easily theme this about any number of things and the game would still work. Regardless, the really moody and gloomy artwork is, as mentioned, really evocative, and the whole thing has a great feeling of pressure and tension as the cards keep barreling down on you.

I don't know how well-received the "main game" (Witch Cult Murders) was, but I've enjoyed this one quite a bit. Would definitely recommend to solo game fans.

The Quest for El Dorado was really enjoyable. I think this might be my vote for the SdJ out of the candidates (wtf did Kingdomino win? That's the worst one!) - it's definitely family weight, yet there's still some substance there. The 2p rules seem kind of meh - but it worked fine with 3, and I think it would be slightly better still with 4. It moves at a great clip since you only do two things per turn and your choices are important, but also very constrained per-turn.

Good stuff. I've heard Knizia is working on an expansion - which is unusual for him - and I do like the idea of this game but not having the whole card pool available every time.

Winner's Circle is another Knizia game, but this time an older one that is a classic in certain circles. The game is very well-regarded, but it can be rather difficult to find. I was able to find a copy of the Korean release (which is multilingual) and as a bonus it has better components than the original release.

It's a horse racing game with streamlined yet fun rules - there are 7 horses, and after placing bets, players roll a 6-sided die that has one icon on three sides, and the other three sides have one different icon each. The player then assigns their role to one of the horses that has not yet moved that round and the symbol determines how far it goes. When every horse has moved once, the round ends and they all become available again - repeat until the race ends.

The nice thing is you have a definite choice on your turn - do you use a symbol to help a horse you want to win, or to tank a horse you don't want to win? But the dynamics of everyone having different bets makes it a lot of fun, and there's a lot of egging people on and taunting.

Perhaps the biggest flaw is that people wanted to make exact counts on the board on every turn, which kind of slowed things down, but it still moved at a reasonable pace.

The whole group of 5 agreed they'd play again, which makes this a winner in my book thus far.

Traders of Carthage has a boring theme (trading in the Mediterranean - seriously) but it's a super thinky and interesting game. If it had a train theme instead this would totally be a Winsome game. You buy goods or take cards to be used as things in your hand from a marketplace, and then later merchant ships will buy stuff - but they will also sometimes be raided by pirates. The timing the ships move by (and get raided by) is very much controllable by the players, but it's difficult to be the sole person controlling the timing for everything.

This game is kind of ehh with 4 (too chaotic) but for 2 or 3 it's terrific.

Hansa Teutonica I think the list is rather familiar with. Especially that Matt guy.

We had a 5p game and I was able to sneak out a win (but baaaarely) even though my network was kind of junk because I was able to bank a ton of points in Coellen and and I completed two sections on my tableau, but nobody else completed any. The person who made the most points off their network was able to make a killing because nobody ever challenged him once he got a city.

OMM

BGG.CON! YAY!

I've been doing some of the post-game content in Mario Odyssey and there's a _lot_ of it. It's not quite as fresh and awesome as the game was playing it through originally, but the fact that there's still a lot of fun things to go through is pretty great regardless.

Looking to start another RPG soon, but not until BGG.CON is over (big surprise). Still thinking it might be Tales of Vesperia PS3 version... although Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is less than a month away.

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17. Board Game: London (Second Edition) [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:341]
Board Game: London (Second Edition)
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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Board Game: Skull King: Das Würfelspiel
Board Game: Santo Domingo
Board Game: Hansa Teutonica
Board Game: CrossTalk
Board Game: Sheriff of Nottingham
Board Game: Fuji Flush
Board Game: London (Second Edition)
Board Game: Hansa Teutonica: Britannia
Board Game: Cosmic Run: Rapid Fire


Skull King: Das Würfelspiel NEW!
Santo Domingo x2
Hansa Teutonica x2 (one play Vanilla, one with Hansa Teutonica: Britannia)
CrossTalk
Sheriff of Nottingham
Fuji Flush x2
London (second edition) NEW!
Cosmic Run: Rapid Fire

Quick write up before bed, then plane, then BGG.CON!

Skull King: Das Würfelspiel is basically Wizard The Dice Game, and it is unfortunately kind of crap. You have to make your beds *before* knowing what die faces you'll get (though you do get to know what dice make up your "hand"), so this is pretty darn random. Zero Bids are different from Wizard (maybe also in Skull King, which I haven't played), and there's a different set of trump and uber-trump cards/faces. I'll certainly agree that this game is at least *dramatic*, but it's also far less satisfying than Wizard. Very sad that this one is pretty dumb.

I'd played London once with a poor teacher and got my butt kicked, but what I saw made me intrigued enough to pursue a copy of London (Second Edition). This is still the game of sweet, sweet pain that the original was, but with more focus on managing your poverty rather than eliminating it. The game feels super balanced with 2p, though probably not at it's best unless with more (our game came down to who got the poverty hit, and it was me). I really appreciate how this game sets itself apart from other engine builders, and am happy I got the new edition.
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18. Board Game: Fury of Dracula (Third/Fourth Edition) [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:210]
Board Game: Fury of Dracula (Third/Fourth Edition)
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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Catacombs & Castles x2 (new!)
First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet x1
Fury of Dracula (Third/Fourth Edition) x1
Gears of War: The Board Game x1
Tobago x1 (new!)

Reviews
Shadespire got some love from me at Ars Technica.

Affliction: Some Salem Game is fine but doesn't really stand out.


Catacombs & Castles
This is a new smaller standalone game from the people behind Catacombs. It plays more like a miniature skirmish version of Catacombs as two teams of heroes face off. There's a boss mode where a team faces a boss, but that seems secondary to the team play.

This was actually a lot of fun and a bit surprising as I expected it to feel like training wheels Catacombs but it doesn't exactly. It feels like a skirmish game with its own personality.

The unique aspects are new large pieces of wooden terrain blocks that you deploy on the map strategically, as well as a nifty charge up your ability system to let you use special powers. We all really enjoyed this and my team pulled out a win in both games which was nice.

First Martians
I began the campaign with Grace (well we're both playing it solo separately) and we'll both be reviewing this soon. I like the campaign much more than the individual scenarios but I still don't love the game. The campaign is pretty much the same, but the stakes are higher as your board doesn't reset. This alters your decision tree slightly as leaving broken parts and lasting damage is more rough.

This was also the first scenario where my astronauts were banged up and one almost died. Otherwise I did very well.

Fury of Dracula
I killed Dracula with two investigators punching him for the final blow. This was after shooting him with a rifle as he tried to escape with bat form.

This was a very fun play where we took awhile to get on his trail, but then cornered him quickly. He went to sea twice, but we rebuked him on land shortly after. I think he should have stayed at sea longer.

Gears of War
Very short play of the final print on demand mission and we didn't even make it to General RAAM. Died after about 20 minutes as I pushed too far forward and was cut off. Great game and one of my favorites still.

Tobago
Not sure how I've never played this one before as I really enjoyed it. This was another game that I just immediately got and ended up destroying two other players who had played before. Think scores were 61-42-29.


On My Mind
Finished Stranger Things season 2 and loved it. Getting a little bored already with this season of Walking Dead (didn't watch last night's yet). Mr. Robot's remaining interesting.

Lila turned four yesterday and we crammed way too many family members into our small house for a big party. She loved it though and it turned out fine. I get to spend the morning with her tomorrow and then I leave for BGG.Con. I'm most looking forward to a big TI4 game, Cthulhu Wars with the Mafia boys, and playing The Thing: Infection at Outpost 31 (James, Dave, anyone, interested in this? I'm bringing it).

Necromunda: Underhive arrived slightly unexpectedly Friday and looks great. Wish I had more time this past weekend to dig into it as I've only assembled the terrain (which most were just 2 piece barricades/walls).

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19. Board Game: D-Day Dice (Second Edition) [Average Rating:7.72 Overall Rank:3169] [Average Rating:7.72 Unranked]
Board Game: D-Day Dice (Second edition)
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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Board Game: D-Day Dice (Second Edition)


D-Day Dice: 2nd Edition NEW!

That's 1 total play from only 1 game. < - Damn judgy mcjudgerface.

D-Day Dice

I'd never played this, but the KS for 2.0 is about to launch and I got a demo copy to check it out. It was really a ton of fun. I like that it's a push your luck system that doesn't always reward pushing your luck, and that (especially in solo play) you really need to push for moderation. It's also pretty hard..

Painting Party
Finito.

From gallery of captainraffi

From gallery of captainraffi


Citadel's Blood for the Blood God paint is amazing, and I'm going to be doing some (light) splatter effects. But it feels good to have these done.

On my Mind

Birthday weekend! Went out to eat on Friday night to my favorite local spot, and had one of those burgers you can only justify eating once a year. Matt arrived on Saturday and we went almost straight to the beer fest. Had a killer sour beer and a few other really good ones. Spent most of the time trading reddit war stories and getting a healthy buzz. We tried suprisingly few beers but still managed to get good and toasty given the ABV of all these barrel aged beers. Then we had a shot of Malort when we got home, and I made up for it with a taste of some Zacapa rum. This is why we didn't play The Duke in the morning.

In San Diego this week, expecting a pretty light week of gaming accordingly. But more beer.
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20. Board Game: Nothing Gained But Glory [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:3694]
Board Game: Nothing Gained But Glory
Grant Johnson
United States
Cedar Park
Texas
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Sadly, no games again. That should change this week with the impending Convention! In the meantime, a series of questions to catalogue my experiences this week (answers at end of post)

On my mind
What popular series is set a few days after eating Convention food?
I'm getting along in my prep for the Con- games are stacked on the table (though if I'm fortunate I'll add one to the stack to play with Charlie), I've got my big social event pretty well planned out, and most of my trip itinerary is together. Still have a few smaller tasks but I can see the convention over the horizon, I've got a great mix of favorites and items I never get to play planned, and I'm going to see a ton of friends. I'm excited.

What is the definition of a gentleman?
Alumni band is always a fun and special day. Getting out on the field with 600 like-minded people, preparing a show in a short rehearsal, then reliving some of the best times of my life by performing at halftime. It's also really humbling and uplifting to chat with people who I brushed elbows with 20 years ago, and remember stories from the old days. I think I made stronger friendships at that time than I realized, and I'm super-grateful every year when I'm reminded.

The halftime show should appear on Youtube at some point this week, and I'll post it. There's an unofficial version up now but since it has shaky-cam I'm going to hold back for the official one.

Edit: This one looks alright. You can definitely see one point of slopiness where they ran a cadence during the applause for the veterans- most of the alumni band misses the step off.

I start on the south 20 (right hand side), 3rd person west of the home-side hash.




How many bass trombones does it take to change a light bulb?
I also managed to control myself during the football game and not destroy my chops. I was in fantastic shape for our concert yesterday. There was recording done (including video) so I think something will pop up in Youtube- I'll post a link for those who want to hear it. The ensemble sounds fantastic, and while we had no major uh-ohs I know we'll be even better next month for Chicago!

I told my wife afterward that I felt really good and wanted to continue playing that evening. She responded by saying trombone time was done for the day (we got home from dinner a bit after 9), so no more horn time. I'm planning to play every day until we leave for BGG.CON, and I think my only regret in going is that I won't be bringing the horn or getting to play for a few days.

Yo G-rant so fat....
I think I'm in a bit of a plateau now- after several weeks where I dropped 2 lbs each time, I've slowed down to one pound per week. But I'm keeping at it because I'm seeing a pretty solid increase in energy/activity, I feel great, and I'm noticing changes in my physique. I went shopping for new pants last week, and found I can comfortably wear straight fit jeans (as opposed to relaxed fit that have a larger waist and flare out in the thigh area). I've also had several shirts where my pot belly hung out- it's now being covered. The weight is coming along, I'm super happy, and I hope I can avoid derailing myself at the Convention or during Thanksgiving.

Keep pushing toward it guys- even if you feel like you're not making progress, you are!

How many fantasy characters does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
Oathbringer tomorrow! I got shipping notification today too, so I'll have it before I leave town.

Life before Death, Strength before Weakness, Journey Before Destination.

And the answers to the questions above:

What popular series is set a few days after eating Convention food?
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Game of Thrones

What is the definition of a gentleman?
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Someone who knows how to play trombone but does not.

How many bass trombones does it take to change a light bulb?
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Just one, but he'll do it too loud

Yo G-rant so fat...
Spoiler (click to reveal)
his Patronus is a chocolate cake!

How many fantasy characters does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Five in the first book, ten in the second, and fifteen by the third. They won't finish screwing it in until the ninth book, after they've united the mortal races, reforged the artifact of power, and ended the civil war.
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21. Board Game: Gold West [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:750]
Board Game: Gold West
Joseph
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Board Game: World's Fair 1893
Board Game: Gold West


 9   World's Fair 1893
 7   Gold West NEW!

I finally got a chance to play Gold West after carrying it to game night so many times. The first bit of nervousness is that it is a TMG original title. They import great games, their original games catalog leave something to be desired in my experiences. Gold West is an exception because Gold West is great. It’s also OOP right now. (Rumored it is coming back into print)

Gold West isn’t a complicated game. I don’t think the designer has a capability of making a convoluted game. Like my loved World’s Fair 1893, it’s a squeaky clean design. You do a couple of straightforward actions, a mancala-like panhandling for resource, which pops out two types of resources, each type with variations. You then use those resource to get points and to place your dudes buildings on a map..The mechanisms are straight-forward, which makes it easy to teach and play. But the consequences/decision tree for each decision is very impactful.

There is a hair of point-salad in this game. You get points for throwing resources into spots in your mancala, you get points in half a dozen ways at the end of the game. You get points for cashing in your metals in three different ways throughout the game. But unlike a point salad with a drier and complex vinegarFeld, this one is simple and sweeter salad that makes getting points feel more cohesive, as they trickle out in small and large quantities throughout the entire 60 minute experience.

After playing Gold West, we went on to another J. Alex Kevern game I love:

World’s Fair 1893. It still holds up super strong for me. I’m constantly amazed how one decision each round can pack in so many consequences and considerations. I focused mostly on trying to have cube dominance, and I got so many “2nd Place” awards, and a handful of “1st Place” awards, that it carried me to victory.

After playing both Gold West and World’s Fair 1893, I walked out of my FLGS with Sentient.

OMM

Kim’s sister’s family came over on Sunday. Between our two families, there are 4 birthdays all near and around the same time, so we did a birthday/early pseudo-thanksgiving lunch thing.

I made a white chocolate raspberry cheesecake for dessert.

From gallery of jshufelt


But just two days earlier, we got a message from the doctor regarding some blood tests with the baby. That includes the genetic/chromosome testing. Which means we got the sex of the baby. So we quickly threw together a reveal party.

We revealed it this way (not our pictures:

External image

External image


We’re having a girl!
External image

External image


We also have a name picked out already.

Lillian Belle
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22. Board Game: Captain Sonar [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:146]
Board Game: Captain Sonar
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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Board Game: Werewords
Board Game: Space Alert
Board Game: Captain Sonar


 N/A   Werewords x4
 N/A   Space Alert x2
 N/A   Captain Sonar x2

Captain Sonar -- I got to play the radio operator for both matches (3 vs. 3). The first match was really rough because the opposing captain was very soft-spoken. Moreover, the guy who was supposed to be confirming didn't do a great job of that either. So, I missed several steps at some key points (when they were increasingly nervous about us getting close). We had three indirect hits on them, but ultimately sank first.

The second match I politely requested that they change captains. The new captain actually gave proper commands, and I was able to follow along much better. There was a particularly fantastic moment where I was able to deduce their location directly after they ran silent. We had their location pinned, as they entered the center (sector 5). They declared that they were running silent, which gave them the option to move only West or North due to their previous trail. They surfaced immediately after silence, so they had to declare that they were still in sector 5, leaving me with the following grid situation (O is origin, P is possible locations, W is water):
W W P
W W P
W T P
P P O

We fired at the location T, because an indirect hit at that point is better than nothing. We missed, giving us their exact location. From there we simply chased them down and quickly dispatched them.


Space Alert -- We had two new players, so we still did the advanced tutorial missions with internal threats, rather than the proper real scenarios. One of these days!


On my mind:
From gallery of Epsilon_Balls
Rufus ran in his first official sporting event. Our gym cosponsors a Tails and Trail 5k. Last year I really wanted to run it with him, but he was too young and would have just wanted to bark and play with all of the dogs. It was a walk/run event, so there were tiny pugs and giant german shepards all together.
I've joked before that Rufus is a better runner than me, but seriously Rufus is a much better runner than I am. The race was a looped course (2 laps + an abbreviated 3rd lap), so every time that we would get within sight of another dog Rufus would literally pull me forward so he could go say hi. My fitness app tells me it's the fastest I've ever run a 5k (26:03 (~8:24/mile)) and I was completely anaerobic by the end. But it was totally worth it since Rufus was the first dog to finish (there were a few people who ran dogless, so I believe we were the third finishers -- the fastest completing in just over 20 minutes).

After the race, I drove over to Chicago for Raf's birthday and drank back all those previous calories. We are the best/worst board game buddies, since we managed to not play a single game. Despite the festival being billed as Barrel Aged Beer festival they had a surprising number of options, and I agree that the best ones were the sours.
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23. Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – The Morgul Vale [Average Rating:8.05 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.05 Unranked]
Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – The Morgul Vale
Philip Newman
United States
Plano
Texas
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Plays since November 6, 2017

 10.   Dominion x20
 N/A   Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords – Adventure Deck 2: The Skinsaw Murders x5 NEW!
 N/A   The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – The Morgul Vale x5 NEW!

I was home sick Friday, and Aerial took Luke to a family thing Saturday, so lots of Dominion time. I played pretty well, despite feeling terrible. I was favored in all but one game, but still out-performed my expected record by a couple games (17-3 vs. 14.8 expected wins).

Pathfinder

Game 12 (2.4) - We breezed through this one, despite Harsk running into the villain early without Lini at the location (because we're hardly ever at the same location), which gave him an extra 1d4 (rolled a 4, so 20 for the check). He escaped, and then we didn't see him again until we had closed everything else. I picked up a Heavy Crossbow to replace one of my Light Crossbows, but that's about it as far as I remember.

Game 13 (2.5) - Harsk got hit by a Falling Bell on my first turn and I lost my whole hand, but Lini cured me a bit and we didn't have much trouble after that. Lini found the villain with Augury and once we had closed the other locations she finished her off very easily (43 on the second check, needing 17).

I had to banish my Archer to close the Shadow Clock; I took an extra Ally for completing the adventure and picked up a Sage and a Troubador. I think Aerial took an extra Blessing? I can't remember now.

For loot, Aerial got the Impaler of Thorns (which is -2 vs. her Mace but with a reroll ability, and goes to +2 when she takes proficiency in Weapons), and I got the rest. The Snakeskin Tunic is weaker as armor than the Fire Resistant one I had, but adds 1 to Dexterity which I am rolling constantly. The Medusa Mask replaces my Cape of Escape (not that I have used evade abilities at all), while I also kept the (second) Sihedron Medallion over the Luckstone. So lots of damage reducing/evading going on.

I placed an order for the remaining APs last week, so hopefully they will be arriving soon (and maybe we make it through the third before Pandemic Legacy arrives).

Lord of the Rings

After mostly breezing through the APs in the Against the Shadow cycle, Morgul Vale kicked my butt. There are a lot of nasty cards which hurt a lot against both of my decks (3 damage to all but one sphere is particularly painful to the Outlands deck). And a few times I thought I was set up in good shape and then got clobbered by extra attacks from Shadow cards and/or
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Lord Alcaron
's ability. One game, I hit the spider that gets extra attack for questing characters and the treachery that gives threat for non-questing characters, on the same draw. I even knew they were coming because I had used Palantir in that game (which I soon regretted because my threat got too high).

Anyway, on the fifth game I finally got ramped up fast enough (and also slow-played the first stage a bit to buy time), with all sorts of attachments on Elrond (to use Vilya and defend on the same turn) and Glorfindel, all the good stuff on Hirluin to spam Outlands dudes (I think I had 13 in play at the end?). My threat got a little scary at the end (never saw Galadhrim's Greeting), but I was able to take out the Nazgul with a bunch of Sneak Attack Gandalf.

Overall, I enjoyed the cycle, but I can't say that I would want to try to play it with a casual group. There is just so much arbitrary nastiness, and ultimately my ability to win that last game was down to drawing my key attachments at the start and not getting overrun in the first couple turns.

I think I'll be switching to the Saga expansions next (whether with Aerial or not, I'm not sure yet - she doesn't seem interested right now).

On My Mind In My Nose

So, I finally went to see an ENT doctor because my sinus infections keep coming back. Turns out I have a nasal polyp, which is not as scary as it sounds, and also not as scary as it looked seeing it on the camera he put in my nose, but may require surgery to cut out. Doing a CT scan next week. Good times.

I am at least feeling a little better than I did yesterday, and made it to work. So that's something.

Also looking forward to the pre-BGG.con escape room tomorrow afternoon. Luke is going to get to play with his cousins while we do that.
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24. Video Game: The Thor Trilogy [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Video Game: The Thor Trilogy
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Strike 3
51st State: Master Set 1
Flatline: A FUSE Aftershock Game 1
Gloomhaven 1 NEW!
Time's Up! Title Recall! 1
Wizard 1

Review: CrossTalk is like Password, but better.

---

51st State: After eight plays, I am still undefeated. This last play I won by one point. I am tempted to just burn the game and never play again.

Flatline: I suck and don't think I've gotten the rules right for this any time I've played. Still fun though.

Gloomhaven: This was my big excitement for the week. Certainly, the game has a lot of hype to live up to, so I think given that, my first play was a little bit disappointing. I can't say for sure what I was expecting, but the mechanics didn't grab me as much as I hoped they would. It was also a lot harder on normal mode than I expected, so I may play on the easy-fluffy-pansy-rainbow mode instead, just to experience the game. I know there is a lot of game here and I definitely want to see more of the campaign/legacy stuff. I haven't given up yet. Like other big games, once I get the rules down, it will hopefully make for a more enjoyable experience.

---

On My Mind:

Matt and I saw Thor: Ragnarok. It was really enjoyable. Totally tonally different than the other Thor (and Marvel) movies, definitely capitalizing on the 80's vibe right now, but it worked.
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25. Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 [Average Rating:8.18 Overall Rank:34]
Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 2
Jim Parkin
United States
Stow
Ohio
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MIND. BLOWN.
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Board Game: Innovation Deluxe
Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 2
Board Game: Grand Austria Hotel


Innovation Deluxe
Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 x2 NEW!
Grand Austria Hotel



This week felt like it took forever. I played Innovation on Monday night, which seems like an eternity ago. I'm not even sure why.



Innovation Deluxe
This game was, perhaps, the most absurd yet. I ended up with all five colors splayed up, and the biggest stack (yellow) had 30+ cards in it. I then went on to score that entire pile due to an Age 10 card, for a score pile of 90+ points, and then Achieved and got two global Achievements for free, and ended up winning that turn. It was a really close game, and featured a TON of aggressive dogma actions slamming back and forth.

Grand Austria Hotel
Our friends (the often-co-homebrewer, Mark, and his family) wanted to have us over for lunch and games on Saturday. Abigail, their teen daughter, requested Grand Austria Hotel after Anastasia described it to her in advance, and we played it four-player. Anastasia was crushing it early on, but I ended up steamrolling Emperor points early and kept up that momentum, for the eventual win. Abigal and Mark loved it, and the former practically begged for a family copy. #eurosuccessstories

Pandemic Legacy: Season 2
Oh man, this was awesome. We played with our Season 1 group and got in two games on Saturday night (one loss, one win) to complete January. We named our havens New Hudson, Atlantis, and Pizza Port. My character, Britt, is the only Pizza Port native. She's proud of it. This game was way smaller than Season 1 in scope, but felt waaaaay too big to manage. This is a good thing. Given that the map starts mostly empty (not a spoiler), and reading through the resupply rules (not a spoiler), my mind is already spinning with the implications and related difficulty. Much fun. Happy to have it back in our lives. For a legacy setpiece, it's great at what it tries to do. I look forward to whatever else the heck is in those boxes/that deck.



This week we discovered that cheap ALDI naan bread makes for:

1. the best quick, semi-homemade pizzas
2. the most amazing grilled cheese sandwiches

We've had a lot of commitments recently (board meetings, church events, sick kids, homework) that forgoing our normal foodie-ness and indulging a few easier meals has been a boon, not a drag.

Theodore also told me today that his middle name is 'T-Money,' and I refuse to be the one to tell him it's not true. Because now I want it to be. Forever.
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