My BGG Con 2017
Bill H
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Absecon
New Jersey
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"Shijuro" in Awatum (Serpent's Tongue)
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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My personal adventures at BGG con, probably of very little interest to anyone but friends, family and myself (and no guarantees even for that audience).

You have been warned.

The usual suspects (Jon, Bay, John and Vince):
Jonno Hand
United States
Missouri
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Bay Chang
United States
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California
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John Neff
United States
Leander
TX-Texas
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1. Board Game: Up Front [Average Rating:7.86 Overall Rank:522]
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Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"Shijuro" in Awatum (Serpent's Tongue)
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Microbadge: City of Heroes fanMicrobadge: KeyForge fanMicrobadge: 1 Player Guild - Together We Game AloneMicrobadge: Star Trek Online playerMicrobadge: Star Wars: Outer Rim fan
Tuesday

With way too little sleep I headed for Dallas. After an uneventful flight (where I couldn't sleep) I arrived, shuttled to the hotel and grabbed gnocchi at the hotel restaurant.

Afterward, I met up with Bay and we chattered away, playing the second (city) scenario for Up Front. Both of us kinda know the rules but are rusty, so we spent half the game sorting through the rules (on paper and iPads) and our piles of reference sheets that would be very useful if we remembered which did what.

It was a bloody game with both sides poised to break when Bay infiltrated the building where a couple of my survivors were huddled and planted a satchel charge. "Boom" goes the dynamite, so to speak, and it was over.

While cleaning up we found some of the above-mentioned reference sheets that indicated that we hadn't quite gotten the modifiers right for that explosion, and my guys were probably just pinned instead of outright deceased, but vulnerable enough that the next volley would likely have produced the same outcome.

The trick will be to play again while the rules are still somewhat fresh in our minds, and maybe one day, we'll try a game with Armo(u)red Fighting Vehicles. Maybe.

Afterward, I retired to my room to work for several hours, finishing up a task. Now, my vacation has officially started.
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2. Video Game: Small World 2 [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:441] [Average Rating:7.45 Unranked]
Video Game: Small World 2
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Wednesday

Snagged a few hours of sleep then went down to registration. Our door prizes were a copy of Small World 2 from Steam, and:
Board Game: HOP!
Board Game: Nerdy Inventions
Board Game: Warparty
Board Game: Bottlecap Vikings
Board Game: Operation Gertrud: The German invasion of Turkey

I grabbed brunch and headed to the game library.
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3. Board Game: V-Commandos [Average Rating:7.87 Overall Rank:1208]
Board Game: V-Commandos
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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I checked out a copy of this, a game I've been interested in, to read through the rules and evaluate toward possible purchase.

Played through some of the training scenarios. It seemed pretty good, but I'm still on the fence.
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4. Board Game: Warlords [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:11384]
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Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Jon made it, and after dinner with John and Bay, we played Warlords, a dice-chucking game based on the old Atari Warlords videogame (a sort of 4-person Breakout (1976)).

Each player takes turns flicking dice off their battlements or from the field, attempting to get them through the opponent's gates to damage their castles. The winner is the player who has the least damage after several rounds. The value on the die may provide a special effect, such as placing the die manually or flicking again.

This was a lot of fun and surprisingly strategic. The castles and playfield are all constructed from wood and looked great.
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5. Board Game: Apex Theropod Deck-Building Game: Exotic Predators [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked]
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Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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John had to leave, so the rest of us played a game of this.

It was a bit sluggish, as setup was hampered by searching for several cards that had been misfiled and the differences from second edition threw me a few times, but we enjoyed ourselves.

Jon was a T-Rex, Bay was a Quetzelcoaltus (giraffe with 50' bat wings) and I was a Sarchosuchas (giant crocodile). We played using house rules that gave us a boss fight in the final round against the giant snake Titanoboa, who soundly thrashed us all.

Jon won in the end, but it was a close game.
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6. Board Game: Go Nuts for Donuts [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:2390]
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Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Thursday

After a better night's sleep, started off with coffee and bagels, then John showed up with fresh bakery donuts. I had too many.


The Dealer's room opened up, so I spent most of the day wandering around and doing demos.
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7. Board Game: Legendary: Buffy The Vampire Slayer [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:1740] [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked]
Board Game: Legendary: Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Played a demo game of this (started off a full game but we called it 3/4 of the way through). It really captures some of the feel of the show through a couple unique mechanisms, and features photos from throughout the series.

If I keep buying Game: Legendary (Upper Deck Entertainment) games, I'm going to need a separate room just for them.
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8. Board Game: 10 Minute Heist: The Wizard's Tower [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:2980]
Board Game: 10 Minute Heist: The Wizard's Tower
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Played a full game of this in about 15 minutes (with rules explanation). A very fast run through a wizard's tower, grabbing magic items along the way. Each scores itself, plus bonuses for having the most in a category (books, etc.) and the better scoring ones are "cursed", with a penalty to the player with the most cursed, etc.

Fun, very fast, and inexpensive.
 
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9. Board Game: Serpent's Tongue [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:7212]
Board Game: Serpent's Tongue
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Stopped by Legendary Speaker Bob's for a browse and bought up some more boosters from this game. It's a deeply thematic magic slinging game (what I imagined M:TG would be like before I played it) with some gorgeous and haunting artwork throughout.

I've enjoyed playing this, mostly solitaire as I can't convince friends to give it a try.

It's a shame, I haven't given up on it even if the designer has.
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10. Board Game: Firefly Adventures: Brigands and Browncoats [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:2984]
From gallery of Shijuro
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Signed up for a full-game demo of this, played Mal (John was Jayne). We found a hostage, rescued her (with some thrillin' heroics by Wash, who defeated 3 thugs in spectacular fashion).

We loaded her onto the mule and made our getaway with the thugs firing impotently behind us.
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11. Board Game: Doctor Who: Time of the Daleks [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:2652]
From gallery of Shijuro
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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A Doctor Who boardgame that's thematic and enjoyable to play? Damn you, Gale Force Nine!

Comes with Doctors 1, 4, 11 and 12 (expansions featuring pairs of Doctors with companions, missions, etc. are planned).

Time is a mechanic, Daleks are the main NPC opponent but you encounter Cybermen and the others along the way. You overcome challenges by building a dice pool of various colored dice, each with different probabilities, then rolling to match the specified icons. Icons represent things like Knowledge, Command and, of course, Running ("lots of running"). Companions come and go at various times, and each brings (or alters) some of the dice according to their characters (e.g, Ian Chesterton can provide Strength). Each Doctor is better at some things than others. If things go poorly, you may be forced to regenerate into the next available Doctor.

Lots of fun and can be played in a relatively compact space (unlike some I could mention...)
 
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12. Board Game: Codenames: Duet [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:152] [Average Rating:7.60 Unranked]
Board Game: Codenames: Duet
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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After Jon, John, Vince and I made the trip to Hard 8 for too much excellent barbecue (I had smoked ham, a smoked turkey sandwich on jalapeno roll, brisket-stuffed baked potato and roasted corn) we returned to the con and hung out with some of John's friends.

We played a couple games of this, losing one and winning the second (at the last possible moment).

Codenames is always a good time.
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13. Board Game: Bill & Ted's Excellent Boardgame [Average Rating:6.07 Overall Rank:10235]
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Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Friday
After breakfast, I headed to the dealers' room for some more demo games and played a full game of this.

You preplan moves then play them out to swerve through time grabbing historical figures as a couple figures (the knight and the sheriff) try to stop you.

It reminded me most of RoboRally. In some ways it was a little simpler, but in others it was more complicated (especially if you started doing well -- each historical figure you have aboard your phone booth adds moves to your trail each turn).

I enjoyed it, although it might not be a must-buy just because the RoboRally is so abhorrent to some folks.
 
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14. Board Game: Nightmare Forest: Alien Invasion [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:11581] [Average Rating:7.16 Unranked]
Board Game: Nightmare Forest: Alien Invasion
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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I found out that Legendary Speaker Bob was a playable character in this, so I snagged a copy. Jon and I went by their booth to learn to play and found that the woman who was teaching us was also a playable character, and I got them both to autograph their cards.

Jon and I played a demo (several turns) of this. It's a dungeon crawl that's quick to set up and play, but still offers a fair bit of strategy and tactics.

The also do a version where the players are fighting zombie animals.

I'm happy with my purchase.
 
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15. Board Game: Firefly Adventures: Brigands and Browncoats [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:2984]
From gallery of Shijuro
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Microbadge: City of Heroes fanMicrobadge: KeyForge fanMicrobadge: 1 Player Guild - Together We Game AloneMicrobadge: Star Trek Online playerMicrobadge: Star Wars: Outer Rim fan
Returned to the Gale Force Nine area to play a different scenario of this with Vince, and it made me even happier that I'd preordered a copy.

Excellent small-scale skirmish game with a stealth mechanic and an elegant time system (your moves are each "paid for" by moving your marker that far on the time track; furthest back goes next).

The game has really captured the feel of "Firefly", and the characters have special actions that suggest the way they are on the show. I wouldn't be surprised to find that someone juggles geese, baby geese.

You get the details of the scenario, make a plan of action, get partway into executing that plan and it all goes to hell. Then, you have to quickly improvise.

To quote Jayne: "Well, what you plan and what takes place ain't ever exactly been similar."
 
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16. Board Game: Doctor Who: Time of the Daleks [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:2652]
From gallery of Shijuro
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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While at the GF9 booth, I played another game of their Doctor Who while Vince played the same at the other table.

While I've enjoyed both games of this, they've been a little similar -- travel around, overcome the issues to move along a track until you or the Daleks win. The game is thematic, but both games have gone somewhat similarly and you see most of the cards over the course of each game so there won't be many surprises.

Still, a fun Doctor Who game. Who'da thought?

 
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17. Board Game: Poker [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:1000]
Board Game: Poker
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Jon, Vince and I decided to try out "Mister G's", the 5-star steak restaurant in the hotel. It was very, very, very good, from the amuse-bouche (a bite of beef filet and one of a sauced scallop) and Caesar salad prepared near the table, through the lobster bisque garnished with black caviar, to our entrees: salmon, scallops, and the beef filet/venison chop/bison steak special. Dessert was also good, Crème brûlée and chocolate/white chocolate/cappuccino mousse. We've just started another annual tradition.

Vince and Jon went into the Texas Hold'-em tournament, where they both did reasonably well.
 
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18. Board Game: Too Many Bones [Average Rating:8.45 Overall Rank:54] [Average Rating:8.45 Unranked]
From gallery of Shijuro
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"Shijuro" in Awatum (Serpent's Tongue)
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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John's family arrived. John taught his older two boys and myself Too Many Bones.

We played the simplest scenario but still found it tough battling through. Also, half of us were exhausted and having trouble staying awake.

I enjoyed the game system even as it spanked us, and the occasional cool move was rewarding.
 
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19. Board Game: Zombie Dice [Average Rating:6.22 Overall Rank:2006]
Board Game: Zombie Dice
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Board Game: Zombie Dice 2: Double Feature
Back at our room, my brother and I played a several game competition of Zombie Dice, followed by an exhibition game featuring the Santa die from Double Feature.

Who won?

Let's just say that between the two of us, I got the brains.
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20. Board Game: Tichu [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:158]
Board Game: Tichu
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"Shijuro" in Awatum (Serpent's Tongue)
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Saturday
After the breakfast buffet, Jon and John learned Tichu, with Jon getting a grand Tichu in the third round of his first game.


 
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21. Board Game: Nightmare Forest: Udder Terror [Average Rating:6.98 Unranked]
Board Game: Nightmare Forest: Udder Terror
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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I wandered back into the dealers' room to browse and demo.

i tried a bit of this game, a simple memory/bluffing game themed on aliens stealing cows. You lay out the field of cows face-down, each worth varying points. Each turn you peek at two (possibly swapping them in secret before returning them), then play a card from your hand (face down) for either the row or column.

Once all of those have been played, you compare your row/column scores for each cow with your opponents', and the winner scores the cow.

Cute, nice artwork, but didn't grab me. I think my favorite alien-invader-stealing-cows-themed game is still Cosmic Cows.
 
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22. Video Game: Puzzle Quest 2 [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:1163]
Video Game: Puzzle Quest 2
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Jon, Bay, John's son Alexandro and I spent the afternoon at the Puzzle Hunt, one of our traditions.

This year's was themed on states, with 50 puzzles and an overall meta-puzzle. If we got the correct solution, we could go to a room at the hotel and collect lollipops for the group.

We finished all 51 puzzles shortly after the buzzer, but while the prize room was still open.

Success tastes like a strawberry sucker.
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23. Board Game: Warlords [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:11384]
Board Game: Warlords
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Jon and I went out for Brazilian Barbecue, then returned for some late-night gaming.

We played this with John's older sons and were outsmarted by the youngest.
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24. Board Game: Apex Theropod Deck-Building Game: Exotic Predators [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked]
 Missing Image
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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We played a game of this in the large ballroom, a variant where we all fought a T. Rex at the end. We took turns fighting rounds against the boss and brought it down (although I had been defeated by it).

I do love this game.
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25. Board Game: Crokinole [Average Rating:7.88 Overall Rank:66]
Board Game: Crokinole
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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On our way back to the room, Jon and I played a quick game of Crokinole. It wasn't for Champion of the Universe as Bay wasn't there to participate. Without the huge prize money and sponsorship deals, my heart wasn't in it and Jon beat me. In a shut-out. I may never live this down.
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