GCL Phoenix 358: If you want to make the Universe laugh (Nov. 12, 2017)
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Welcome to the Phoenix Game Chat League!

If you stumbled upon this geeklist by accident or through your subscriptions, please read the GameChat League wiki page for information about what this is all about. Visitors are welcome to make constructive comments, but please leave the adding of items to members.


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1. Board Game: Valiant Universe: The Deckbuilding Game [Average Rating:5.37 Overall Rank:17477]
Board Game: Valiant Universe: The Deckbuilding Game
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Wurtsboro
NY
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"If you want to make the Universe laugh, tell her your plans."

(h/t Woody Allen, edited to be more open)

I was working on our holiday newsletter this morning, and I found myself typing the line, "This isn't the year we would have chosen." This has been a year of anger, fear, and sadness for me. It's been hard to find much to look forward to. I didn't color Easter eggs this year, didn't decorate for the summer holidays or go to parades. Didn't take a vacation, didn't make plans.

Friends of ours recently lost everything in the CA wildfires; people are still recovering from the hurricanes. Many families are mourning.

Saw my 40th birthday looming, and felt like this year was a rather large wall dividing the past and the future.

Finally, in the last few weeks, it's felt like there is a possibility that things might get better. And until they do, I've tried to think of what I can do in the meantime. We make plans for different "what if"s, and are grateful for things like an affordable place to live and food in the pantry. We don't just think it, but say it. We say that we're lucky to have a filled fuel tank, and the heat on.

I've made some connections and met some new people who energize me. I signed up for Thrifty Santa and the card exchange, because I would miss them if I didn't. I like getting mail. I'm happy when I see a subscription ping from a GCL Phoenix list. And I smile to hear about babies being born, and look forward to seeing pictures.


Did this year go as you planned or expected? Where there surprises? What are some things, big or little, that have been good? What are some things that you are looking forward to?
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2. Board Game: Star Wars: Stolen Plans Card Game [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:7180]
Board Game: Star Wars: Stolen Plans Card Game
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Wurtsboro
NY
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What about in gaming? Do you feel like the Universe often laughs at your plans? We sometimes have games where we've set it up very conservatively, rolling anything but a 6 will be good, and then - we roll a 6. Sometimes it's for longer arcs of the game. A strategy seems good, but it falls apart. Do you have memorable times when the Universe, or the game, laughed at your plans?
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3. Board Game: Waffle-opoly [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Waffle-opoly
United States
Wurtsboro
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I have some games that stay on the periphery of my wishlist for an extended period of time. Not necessarily because they're hard to get... they're usually ones I've had opportunities to get, but say 'nah' for one reason or the other. But yet, they're still in the back of my mind as a 'maybe'.

They're the games I would love to try, if someone else had a copy, but can't quite bring myself to buy.

Snow Tails
Arkwright
CO2
Helvetia
Freedom: The Underground Railroad
Lignum
Kanban

The Palaces of Carrara was a member of this list for quite a while, but I recently made an attempt to get a copy.

The 7th Continent is sort of de facto in this category, but it's purely because of cost. If it had been a standard $60ish game, I would have gotten it for Sam for Christmas.

Do you have a similar list of games? Whether actually on your wishlist, or just in the back of your mind?

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4. Board Game: The City [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:1942]
Board Game: The City
United States
Wurtsboro
NY
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The other day Tom Lehmann 'liked' something I wrote on Facebook, and I wanted to say, "OMG, you're Tom Lehmann" (but I managed not to). I did, however, think to myself, "Why couldn't it have been for a board gaming thing?"

I've been fortunate to talk to designers in the forums, like Jeroen Doumen and Dominic Crapuchettes. I wouldn't forget our very own Eric, or Christopher Rao. And of course, I talk to lots of designers and publishers, helping them with database/admin stuff.

Who is the most famous board gaming person you have ever met? For those of you that go to BGG.Con or Spiel, that list is probably quite impressive. My most famous person is Scott Nicholson (and I'm reasonably certain I met Donald X., but didn't know who he was at the time).

Any famous non-board gaming people?
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5. Board Game: Rotation [Average Rating:5.60 Unranked]
Board Game: Rotation
United States
Wurtsboro
NY
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John - 19th November
Karl - 26th November
Michael - 3rd December
Dave - 10th December
Nicolai - 17th December
Morten - 24th December
Rich - 31st December

Jeremy - 7th January
Alison - 14th January
Marc - 21st January
Carol - 28th January
John - 4th February
Karl - 11th February
Michael - 18th February
Dave - 25th February
Nicolai - 4th March
Morten - 11th March
Rich - 18th March

Jeremy - 25th March
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6. Board Game: Kingdomino [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:215] [Average Rating:7.36 Unranked]
Board Game: Kingdomino
United States
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Since we're in birthday month, it is fair game to open presents. Sam teaches late two nights a week, and often has a podcast on Thursdays, plus RPG day on the weekends, so it's better to find a cooperative day, than wait for a specific date on the calendar.

On Friday night, I opened the smallest of the boxes, wrapped with metallic green paper, which matched the game inside

Board Game: Codenames: Duet


We had tried Codenames at a semi-local game store a while ago, but didn't care for the 2p rules, and we just didn't have a group for it, so did not buy it. This one has rules better suited for two players, and we generally did pretty well. There was one question where Sam said something like Headbanging 2, and I pointed to Kiss

External image


feeling pretty proud of myself, but alas, Sam had only thought of that as the action. It was an assassin, and we lost.

There was Lamp 2, and I chose scroll, since our lamps have wrought iron scrolls. Sam was actually going for Bulb, but Scroll was another green square, so it worked.

It was pleasant, and I would play it on occasion. It's probably also easy enough to play in teams if my dad and his gf want to play.

Yesterday I opened the now-smallest box, and found

Board Game: Kingdomino


which I never would have picked out. Perhaps partly because it reminds me of

Board Game: Cities


which we used to own. I generally don't enjoy much straight-up tile laying (it's only part of Walnut Grove, and you produce/harvest, so it's okay there).

I was impressed at the useful insert and the thickness of the tiles. The first game went smoothly enough, but then I managed to get messed up in a few more. We ended up playing 7 times. It's a game that's easy to say, "One more". It's more Patchwork-sized than TTR-sized, and it uses the space pretty well, so I don't mind having it on the shelf.

I might make/laminate some player mats so that it's easier to see the perimeter. There are some in the files section that I might check out before I reinvent the wheel grid.
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7. Board Game: Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:62]
From gallery of Photodump
Board Game: Kingdom Builder: Crossroads
Board Game: Kingdom Builder
Board Game: Daytona 500
From gallery of Photodump
Board Game: Eclipse


 8   Kingdom Builder: Crossroads
 10   Kingdom Builder
Always a good time. Natalie wants to get better at it.

 10   Daytona 500
Taught E and L and they thought it was quite fun. I think I might sell this one off after picking up Downforce because I like the idea of two tracks and a bit more game to my game. Also, my Daytona 500 is in rough shape (box, cards, and cars), so a nicely spruced up version would be nice.

 8   Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure NEW!
WOW! This has been a hit with Natalie, and the more I play it, the more I like it. It's quite simple as far as deck-builders go, but the pressure of the dragon attacks and the "timer" that players can put each other on makes it feel fresh. I also like cobbling a good deck out of a rotating display works. It's like Ascension if Ascension was interesting. (I always wanted to like Ascension, but found it a bit clunky, and not interesting to combo, at least with base game and first expansion.) Hoping for more expansions and this might be an evergreen title for a few years.

 8   Eclipse
Probably the last time I play this one. If I am going to set aside 4 hours for one game, I want it to be a COIN. Also, I find I enjoy this one a lot more with the expansion in any case, so I'm selling my copy.
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8. Board Game: Kraftwagen [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:946]
Board Game: Kraftwagen
John Rogers
United States
Yakima
WA
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The Week That Was

Board Game: Kraftwagen

Rating: 7
Plays: 1


Night began well with a 3-player teach of Kraftwagen; I taught. David killed Stephen and Lee both of whom had scores in the 40s vs David’s mid-60s score. All of us liked it and I asked if we should keep or trade and everybody wanted to play again. David was surprised by how much he liked it and that it was deeper than he supposed. In observing it I felt it was lighter than I expected. Still pleasant but somewhat obvious.

Board Game: Poker

Rating: 6
Plays: x


Played several hands of Texas Hold'em with BJ who is potentially becoming a regular. Some surprise hands including back-to-back near exact hands, a 4-of-a-kind stringing along a 3-of-kind, and a big full house to end the session.

Board Game: Mottainai

Rating: ?
Plays: 1


I admire Chudyk but man I just don’t follow. Innovation took me about half a dozen plays before I got it and Mottainai has even more going on. As David explained how the whats do multiple whats achieving whats across various whats via other whats, all I heard was...




Finally I said screw it and we just jumped in. It’s only 20mins after all. How hard could it be? An hour later I was surrounded by cards turned this way and that, desperately trying to make sense of the mess in front of me. I’m sure it makes sense. It does doesn’t it? Maybe if I had one of those beautiful-good-will-hunting-minds to grasp it.




But alas I had no idea how they or I got there or how I managed to score any points at all. For an hour I had asked the same dumb questions over and over again, pounding my head against that stupid deck. I’m getting a headache just thinking about it. I just wanted to know. I just want to understand. Please help me get it!


External image


Here’s the deal. Chudyk’s games are hard for me. I mean really hard. Carl’s games reduce me to a blithering idiot. I’m just not wired for them. I’ve played COIN, Eklund, Splotter, Here I Stand, etc and none of them compare to the learning curve of a Chudyk game for me. Martin may recall our Innovation discussion a couple of years back. Martin, this is worse. Way worse.

My primary gaming partner, David observed afterward that we think differently. He loves process and is a linear thinker. I on the other hand hate instructions and prefer to think from the goal backward. For him the purpose is in the process and for me it’s in the desired end. He really liked Mottainai (though he hated Innovation; too much direct take that for him) and enjoys complexity even for the sake of it at times. Conversely I tolerate complexity when necessary but prefer Ockham's razor be applied to the weight of complexity in favor of depth.

The weight in Chudyk’s designs seems to be in their complexity of process. I don’t think any designer packs more complexity into a tiny package then good ole’ Carl. Every card does multiple things both in a vacuum and exponentially when interacting with other cards and bits in the game state. I can see why he is so popular. His designs definitely give you a lot to think about. It’s just not the kind of thinking I enjoy. That said, I’m actually looking forward to trying it and likely Impulse this weekend.

Wish me luck. I’ll also take Tylenol.


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9. Board Game: Tulip Bubble [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:2307]
Board Game: Tulip Bubble
Chris
United Kingdom
Birmingham
England
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Board Game: Ticket to Ride: Europe
Board Game: Democracy under Siege
Board Game: Tulip Bubble
Board Game: Mini Rails
Board Game: KLASK
Board Game: Alien Artifacts


 6   Ticket to Ride: Europe
I've recently moved my games from my sitting room to my new extension dining area type thing, and it seemed to catch my sons eye. Typically when I suggest playing games he will respond with "maybe, I'm not sure" which, as with it's use in any part of his life means "No, I really don't want to, as there might be a chance I can play on my PC instead, but I don't want to make you feel sad". Here though he said out of the blue that he really wanted to play TTR. So of course we played TTR! And it was fine, and I crushed him without trying. Maybe I can start pushing things a little more often with him now he's almost a teenag... oh... probably not!


 5   Democracy under Siege NEW!
What had become common earlier in the year, but then stopped, along with all games - going round to georges for heavy stuff. An Essen purchase for George, and looked interesting, but just not for me. A strictly 3 player multi-tug of war in general and man... I'm just not smart enough. I felt awkward and anxious throughout the half of the game we managed in 3 hours, even though I actually very very nearly won. There's an early condition where getting 40 points before the end of the 3rd round of 8 is an instawin, and somehow the small sliver of the game that I felt I understood, I was able to pull a number of very high scoring countries towards my Communist haven, getting up to 55 points, but the other guys managed to just nick away enough to leave me at 38 points when it mattered. But I still didn't feel like it was genuine, and I was mostly worried I was affecting their experience, as I was trying to find some unobtainable middle ground of being honest about my emotions and not being a spoil sport. I couldn't really fault the game, but it's not for me, and I really think I need to admit that to myself in advance, and stop trying to play things like this, or COIN in the first place. :/


Saturday games in town as I try to get back on the wagon.

 7.6   Mini Rails NEW!
 7.7   Tulip Bubble NEW!
Almost all my recent purchases seem to be about stocks and shares, just something pulling me towards them so irresistably... So two titles from Moaideas where you do just that.

We did 5p mini rails first, and rattled through the game in about 30 minutes, which surprised everyone. But everyone liked it, despite the initial mockery of Chris bringing yet another train game. So here each player collects ont share and changes one share price each round, the locations of those shares on a track making the turn order for the next round. Also the one spare share on the track that no one goes to make that company a positive scoring one at the end of the game. So from that basic decision of "do I gain a share or make it better / worse" you also have some really nice decisions falling out the the mechanisms, to also bring turned order in as a strong influence at times, e.g. going last next round to hopefully get the choice of what disc doesn't get used, to make ir score positively, instead of negatively. really neat, "looping back round in on itself" type design that makes me smile when I recognise it. The spatial element is really not *that* interesting I found, but clearly serves to provide a potential for how each company may work going forwards, and given the route building is present, but so pared back, I'm left wondering if it actually IS a Train Game (c)(r)TM... anyone think it is? I really want to try a lower player count, and would like to see if the occasional feeling of possibly a few too many irrelevant action choices in the game continues, but as a small shares filler, really nice. I certainly liked the way company values are modelled in the game as there are no values tracked, merely the changes, by virtue of moving the relevant shares on everyones boards up or down a +/- track accordingly, so it's not about the value of the company, but the change since you bought that share.

4p Tulip bubble after this. Same publisher, same box size, comparable production quality, but very beautiful artwork. A notable amount more game here, whilst still being only an hour long. Here the share price changes are both annoyingly random and very clever depending on where they come from. Random comes from an event card at the start of the round. To me this felt like a shame. Clearly you can / should know what cards are yet to come out as the game continues (bar one left in the box) and play accordingly, but the rest of the game is so much slicker that a card flip. The very clever changes come from how many tulips of each colour are in the market at the end of a round - market saturation vs scarcity. So as it's up to the players to buy from the market during the round, a motivation for buying a tulip could be only to ensure it isn't the one that will drop in price. I liked that motivation a lot, along with the motivation of knowing some of what tulips will be available to buy next round. Our game had me predicatably last, but mostly because 1) Harry stole the high scoring collector card I was going to complete for big profits in the very next turn, git. and 2) because my stupidity stopped me realising that my 5 yellow tulips were all about to drop by two increments and basically destroy me. oh well. A great core mechanism here. Better than Mini Rails I'd say. Less... generic? But the main criticism seems to be that the game might end *immediately* at the start of rounds 7, 8 or 9. in a game with 2) so few rounds, 2) when you can't buy and sell in the same round and 3) any held tulips worth nothing at all at that immediate end, it saw everyone divest of tulips to preserve their funds before they might have needed to. I was wondering if completing the round might be better, but mostly that'd just let everyone sell everything, so you might as well just make them auto sell.

So Tulip Bubble is the bigger game, and potentially the better, however it's that end game that could fundamentally undermine. That said, two players both were in a position to buy the "instawin" magic sexy tulip on round 7, so maybe that's actually meant to be the far more common way to end a game?

 7.5   KLASK x2
Yay Klask.

 6   Alien Artifacts NEW!
Played this in between MR and TB, and it was fine... Very early on I saw some parallels with Glory to Rome and maybe I clung on to that too much as my opinion dropped when it was like Glory to Rome enough! But it was fine, very very fast to play, lots of progress. Maybe a few too many mechanisms and card types, the Alien Artifact cards themselves were just powerful one off random bonus actions, which felt very expansiony rather than belonging in the core game for example. But... yeah.. nice enough.



Coming up next weekend... Extension warming games day! Wooo lots of gaming space now!

From gallery of TheRocketSurgeon
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10. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:53]
Board Game: Race for the Galaxy
Dave Peters
United States
Belmont
California
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Scorecard for the Week/Month/Year as of 11Nov2017:

14/20/413 plays of 6/9/187 total games, with 3/4/32 expansions employed.
Plays with 9/11/116 distinct opponents.

1/1/35 games acquired (plus 1/1/19 expansions.) - Keyper and The Colonists: Ante Portas.
0/0/16 games sold/traded (plus 0/0/3 expansions.)
0/0/28 games ordered (plus 0/0/13 expansions.)
Orders for 4 games and 0 expansions still outstanding.

With family:

7x _10_ Race for the Galaxy (with the first arc) - Son #2 is improving. He won one of these (and we tied with another.) And the larger pool of games helped him improve his heuristics. In this set: the most military didn't necessarily win; the most prestige didn't necessarily win; the most consumption VP didn't necessarily win. And in each of those cases, it wasn't even an issue of focus: there were a few victories where the winning tableau was a rather vague mishmash of a few (semi-compatible) features.

As a result, he's complaining less about not seeing particular features in his hands. And doing a better job of exploiting things he'd previous not considered (strongly enough, at least: I think he may well have considered a few things then (incorrectly; prematurely) discarded the option.)

1x _7⅔_ Super Big Boggle - A Birthday Play for my wife. And it played out exactly as one would expect: not only did her total score exceeded the sum of my score and that of son #2, she achieved that separation in all but one of the rounds, too. It was still entertaining, even despite our lack of success.

With the Lunch@work group:

(I'd forgotten to bring any games. And rather than using the café's (terrible; incomplete) copy of Carcassonne like we did last time I'd forgotten to bring something, I thought we might try a software version of a game we might otherwise play. My first inclination was my cool/dorky/vaguely-correct For-Ex spreadsheet - but there was incomplete enthusiasm for that. The two things we did end up with were apps on my phone!)

3x _7⅓_ Hey, That's My Fish! - The first game was deeply unsatisfying: my explanation of the game proved inadequate, and Jeff thought that when a penguin slid in some direction, they always slid maximally in that direction. Oops.

The second game was amusing: Jeff scored more than the sum of the other two players. "That's what we get for telling him the rules." was the quote.

Then we pulled in a fourth player for the third game. And it was a great deal closer than either of the previous two had been.

Aside from the rules mishap, the game may have been "better" in the app version. There's no hidden information, and setup was instantaneous. So we achieved much of the boardgame aesthetic but with less friction.

1x _7_ Neuroshima Hex! 3.0 (26 months dusty) - This was quite wrong in (more than) a few ways:
• My memory of the rules was wrong.
• Even when I remembered the rules, I think son #2 and I have historically played a few things wrong anyway.
• The app's iconography isn't quite the same as the v2 game - so there were icons I didn't understand.
• We couldn't figure out how to use a few tiles (the blue Grenade; the red Clown; a couple others.)
In principle, the game could work in future. But I'd need to be much clearer on how the app works.

With the Wednesday night gang:

1x _7⅓_ Vast: The Crystal Caverns - We're still terrible at this: so we complain vigorously about the favourable treatment given one role (or the terrible treatment someone else is getting.) And, sadly, some of that is true: we don't understand the game balance enough to reliably or sensibly act.

I think there's hope for the future; but if we continue to thrash we might give up (before achieving sufficient mastery to play well, I mean.)

The game was cool with all five factions in play. I enjoyed the frivolity of the Thief. I think we also (over-)reacted to the fact that the Knight won the last game: and so she may have been constrained by her peers more strongly than her game progress warranted.

1x _7⅓_ Northern Pacific - A serious frivolity. The rules are trivial; the duration is short: and yet, there's some rather non-obvious decisions to be made.

This particular instance saw a bit more kingmaker-flavour than I'd prefer. Based on historical plays, I'd not say that it's a necessary issue; but equally, I'm not sure how it can be reliably avoided.

Owned-and-unplayed: 2 (+1/-0) - Keyper arrived.
Owned-and-played-once: 94 (+0/-0)

Outlook for the week: In Pittsburgh for the week. Flying home Friday so I can pick daughter #1 (home for Thanksgiving) from the airport on Saturday. Who knows if any games will be played!
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11. Board Game: Fugitive [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:672]
Board Game: Fugitive
Karl Fast
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
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It was the monthly marathon here in the twin cities last week, and so i got to play a lot of stuff. Some quick thoughts on what I played

NEW TO ME

Fugitive. A 2p asymmetric deduction microgame filler. And it's <sing-sing-voice>aaaawwwwwesommmmme</sing-song-voice>. There are 43 cards. The fugitive is trying to place cards in ascending order from 0 to 42. The marshall is trying to figure out which cards the fugitive has played. The rules are simple, but the game has great tension for both players. I am in love with this. My only complaint is that while the production is great, I'd be just as happy with a leaner production at a lower price point. Cannot wait to play this more, get good at both sides, and then start adding in the advanced event cards to mix it up. Designed by Tim Fowers (Paperback, Burgle Bros.) thumbsupthumbsup

Senators. The new game from Rikki Tahta (and his father, in this case), the designer of Coup & Melee. I had previously played at 3p. Now I've got two more plays, both at the preferred player count of 4p. The first game ended after 9 events and nobody had time to cash in. The second game ended after 15 events, which is better, but it finished with 2 war events in a row, which caught people by surprise. I'm mixed on the game so far. There are parts I really like. There are parts I'm unsure about, notably the endgame. The game is just a bit too long for a game with a variable endgame condition that doesn't give players a way to score if the endgame is triggered, not even at a worse exchange rate. And in 2 of 3 games we've had people caught unawares, victims of a low probability event card draw coupled with turn order. I like the game. I want to really like it, but something about the endgame doesn't quite work for me (unlike Melee). It needs some work though I'm not yet sure what it is. thumbsup

Colt Express. A Spiele winner that I hadn't played. I was expecting something more random and chaotic than it actually played. I'd heard mixed things, and I liked it more than expected. I won't turn it down and would consider getting a copy as a casual game for when friends come over. At the same time, I have lots of games that meet that criteria, and for lighter programmed movement games I think I prefer the goofy chaos of the faster, simpler Walk the Plank!, which I already own. And for more strategic programmed movement I like VOLT (excited about the second edition)

Seasons. I missed this one too when it came out. I liked it. Didn't love it mostly since the theme just does nothing, but mechanically strong and it's pretty fun.

New Bedford. The theme is about whaling in 1800s new england. Cool theme, so long as you can put this in the historical context. But mostly an unexciting euro for me. Nothing that made me feel like I was doing something super interesting. In the world of Euros this is a good one. It just lacks the spark to make it interesting to me. snore


OLD FAVORITES

Gold West. A mid-weight euro that has steadily become a fixture of my collection. It plays smooth, it's easy to teach, it moves quickly, the game feels tight, yet it's easy to play sub-optimally and finish out of top spot. I really like this one. An overlooked gem. Not hugely overlooked, but if you like mid-weight euros with clean rules that play in less than a hour, this is a good one. thumbsupthumbsup

Karuba. This game has been a big success every time I teach it. It works with kids (10+ usually) and grownups. It works really well with casual gamers. And people always ask to play a second time. It was shortlisted for the Spiele but had the bad luck of going up against Codenames, which works even better with casual gamers (people usually ask to play it a second, third, and fourth time). If you made a shortlist of great games that were shortlisted for the Spiele, didn't win, but could have in another year, Karuba would easily make my list (Pandemic would too). thumbsupthumbsup

Fox in the Forest. A solid 2p trick-taking game. The only caveat for me is that I need to play Triumvirate and see which I prefer. thumbsup
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12. Board Game: Cornerstone [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:4650]
Board Game: Cornerstone
Alison Mandible
United States
Somerville
Massachusetts
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Board Game: Tybor the Builder
Board Game: Sagrada
Board Game: NMBR 9
Board Game: Merlin
Board Game: Captain Sonar
Board Game: Xenon Profiteer
Board Game: Ugg-Tect
Board Game: Space Cadets: Dice Duel
Board Game: Mystic Vale
Board Game: Cornerstone
Board Game: Capital Lux
Board Game: Café Fatal
Board Game: Ca$h 'n Guns (Second Edition)
Board Game: Altiplano
Board Game: Wordsy
Board Game: Tumblin-Dice
Board Game: The Rose King
Board Game: Quickpick: Island of Monster Masks
Board Game: Potion Explosion
Board Game: Photosynthesis
Board Game: My Story
Board Game: Import / Export
Board Game: Deep Sea Adventure
Board Game: Lazer Ryderz
Board Game: Azul


Lobster Trap!

 9   Captain Sonar x5

I got to play with a table full of experienced folks (and one new player, but), which led to one of the best gaming compliments I think I've ever gotten-- afterward the guy who'd been my radio operator for the first round walked up to me and said, "I'm used to captains who stop a lot and ask me for my input. I've never seen someone who just moves so fast they don't have time to ask and at first I was like, grr. But I realized you knew what you were doing and I just had to make sure I had good information showing when you glanced over. That's a very different way to play. It's... kind of intense. But it was cool."

(As long as engineering can keep up, I pilot the sub very very fast in Captain Sonar. It often wins. It is always more fun.)

 9   Cornerstone x2 NEW!

This was amazing! I was taught this (3D cube-stacking) game using a homemade set that had been made by someone's non-gaming father-in-law based on a copy of the instruction booklet, and which for that reason wasn't made within the tolerances gamers might expect for polycube pieces that they were going to pack into a tall parallelepiped. This made it equal parts strategy and dexterity, with entire slabs of our building canting at bizarre angles and keeping pieces aligned to 'the grid' being somewhat theoretical at times. It was so much fun we played again despite it being way too late at night.

I can't imagine the regulation version being quite this exciting, though the underlying game did have some interest. It just thrived with an extra helping of dexterity-game stunts.

 9   The Rose King
 9   Quickpick: Island of Monster Masks

 7   Xenon Profiteer NEW!

Weird game. While I was reading the rulebook, two people said, "That game? It's weird." We played it and it was weird. Also, fun.

 7   Space Cadets: Dice Duel
 7   Wordsy NEW!

A little disappointing in that there are only 8 cards to score in a given round, so the scores cluster together a lot more than I had expected for a game that's all about coming up with wildly long words.

That said, in round 1, me and one of the other players (someone I didn't yet know) both came up with SESQUIPEDALIAN, and ended up tying for first place at the end of the whole thing. I think that was somehow more satisfying than winning would have been.

 7   Photosynthesis NEW!

The game of the con-- it seemed like wherever I looked someone was playing it. It was good enough to overcome my general loathing of action-point games, but between that aspect and its running time, it didn't quite capture my heart.

 7   Import / Export NEW!

It genuinely seems a little wrong for Chudyk not to get royalties on this. It was fun (and Robot Cats are definitely more fun than a Colosseum or whatever), and I'm tempted to buy a copy, but like, the game systems that didn't come directly from GTR/Mottainai were also the hardest to absorb on first play, so it hardly felt like learning a new game.

 7   Azul NEW!

Very much fits what I understand to be Kiesling's style: everybody's assigned the same dance steps, and the game is in whether you can find space to fit in a flourish or two. This one's kind of relaxing, though, in that mistakes look more like giving somebody else a plum opportunity than like ruining your own day.

 5   NMBR 9 x2 NEW!

It's fine. I would rather play Pent Up, which is the same thing with less math and more confrontation. (But that doesn't play 4p...)

 5   Mystic Vale NEW!

Loved this while playing it; it dropped a grade when it seemed like in the final analysis, either some cards were just totally miscosted or some paths to victory are just flat better than others. Still, a much better use of the card-sleeving concept than Custom Heroes is.

 5   Capital Lux NEW!
 5   Café Fatal NEW!

Las Vegas with a spatial element instead of just number-matching. I think that's enough for me to much prefer playing this again than playing Las Vegas again? But as it is I only play Las Vegas when someone else suggests it, and I doubt I'll stumble across more copies of this in the wild, so.

 5   Ca$h 'n Guns (Second Edition) NEW!
 5   Altiplano NEW!

A Feast For Orleans. It's fine.

 5   Potion Explosion NEW!

Like the other Lorenzo Silva games I've played, I wish it was a little more gamer-ly intricate and less proud of its own jokes. But the "science experiments" suggested on the box top genuinely made me laugh, and it was already intricate enough to make me think a lot harder than I expected.

 5   Lazer Ryderz NEW!

This needed about three more pages of rules clarifications; we didn't have fun until we stopped arguing (and a random stranger declared what he thought one of the answers was confidently enough that we just went with it) but then, pretty rad.

 3   Sagrada NEW!

"I Guess I Should Not Have Done That Thing I Did Last Turn: Das Wurfelspiel".

 3   Merlin NEW!

Feld's modern designs are a sadder thing than disasters: they're... just fine. As S said, "In picking a Feld game to play from the Felds we haven't played, that was a perfectly good choice. But now that it's competing with Felds I have played, it just has no chance of me ever playing it."

I do like the Rieneck-y twist on action selection. I wouldn't be sad to hear they were collaborating again.

 3   Ugg-Tect NEW!

So disappointing! But I finally got to play.

 3   My Story NEW!

Staying up until 2am to finish this was my worst gaming experience of the con, worse than the games I rate lower. But its handling of the age track (time is a resource, but you have to spend at least one 'year' per turn and so it doubles as the turn order track) was unique among 'life' games I've played, so the theme hit kind of hard. But the rest was neither original nor good.

 1   Tybor der Baumeister NEW!

This, on the other hand, was totally pleasant to play, I just realized afterward that nothing about it was memorable.

 1   Deep Sea Adventure NEW!
 1   Tumblin-Dice x2

... and now onward to BGG.con. I managed to NOT play all the hot new games I was looking forward to at Lobster Trap, so expect next week's update to be a lot more 2017-y.
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13. Board Game: Brew Crafters [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:636]
Board Game: Brew Crafters
Lo
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Games Played

_8_ Brew Crafters x2 Out of the Dust!
_8_ 51st State: Master Set x1
_7_ Carcassonne x1

Board Game: 51st State: Master Set

The Week in Review

After last week's drought, I nudged S back into gaming with 51st State: Master Set. It did require a very quick refresher of how to play for, although we'd played it 44 times before, the last was way back in July.

S has a knack for this game, intuitively knowing when to switch from engine-building to running it for VPs so our games are often a bit like the proverbial tortoise and hare. I jump to a quick lead, but her steady and slow buildup gives her the win on the last turn.


Though I'd have preferred dusting off Vinhos this week and really jump back in with both feet, the idea of S revolting to a long rules (re)explanation made me look for something lighter. So after watching the designers "How to Play" video for Brew Crafters, I set it up...or at least I started to. After opening the box and seeing all the baggies, I nearly changed my mind. This game has a lot of set up - with tokens for nine different beers required (randomly selected from over twenty) on top of all the standard stuff like money tokens and goods cubes.
Board Game: Brew Crafters

When S saw me setting it up, she didn't make it any easier by suggesting we play 51st State: Master Set again....

But I set it up; leaving the beer tokens in their little baggies (on top of the matching beer card) in spite of my obsessive compulsive need to have all baggies off the table.

The game play wasn't as enjoyable as I'd remembered (from 2013), but like most interesting worker-placement games, it's one of those with too many choices and not enough turns to pursue them all in. So I was willing to give it another try. And a couple night's later, when B came over, we did.

Three-player was much more interesting with the added competition over market spaces. Too late in the game, I realized that quantity strategy that I'd wanted to play was never going to materialize as there just weren't enough ingredients in the market and the right "expert" cards weren't in play. As S showed, quality was the way to go.

Board Game: Carcassonne

S and I ended the week with a quick game of Carcassonne (à la almond croissant and tea). I managed to win this one thanks to S committing her meeples too early and not freeing them up fast enough to capitalize on new opportunities.


The Week Ahead

Assuming plans follow through, K's coming over this Saturday and we'll break out Massive Darkness for the first time. Other than that, I'm hoping to keep the momentum going from this week.

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 and Tikal.
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14. Board Game: Nada! [Average Rating:5.57 Overall Rank:14947]
Board Game: Nada!
Marc Hawkins
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
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Last week was a no game week for me -- which is being rectified this week!
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15. Board Game: 878 Vikings: Invasions of England [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:714]
Board Game: 878 Vikings: Invasions of England
Chris
United Kingdom
Birmingham
England
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Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars, where you will be forced to drift aimlessly farther into the vast, empty abyss of space until a lack of food, water and oxygen causes you to succumb to Death's cold embrace.
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This annoyed me when my 878 goodies arrived... what a waste of space!

Board Game: 878 Vikings: Invasions of England


Why did this come in a box at all? Bought before it existed, and the tiny contents goes straight into the main box. Nrrg.
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16. Board Game: Mage Knight Board Game [Average Rating:8.10 Overall Rank:24]
Board Game: Mage Knight Board Game
Rich P
United Kingdom
Sheffield
United Kingdom
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Something of a gaming lull at the moment, while we work out how to look after a baby. Kate and I got in one game of Royal Goods with the Longsdale in Revolt expansion. Later, I was sat up with B so thought she could help me out with a solo run-through of Mage Knight. I was very rusty, having not played in over a year, and although I succeeded at the scenario, it was with my worst score ever. It was probably throwing B in at the deep end of boardgaming; I should have started her on a lighter hand management game to begin with.

Then, on Monday, Gloomhaven arrived:

From gallery of woodnoggin

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