GCL Amoeba 353 – Finland 100 (2017-12-11)
Mikko Saari
Finland
Tampere
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Welcome to this week's Game Chat League Amoeba discussion group!

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Three years ago my GCL turn matched the Finnish independence day, making a good topic for GCL Amoeba 198 – Are you Finnished? (2014-12-07). That was three years ago, so time is ripe for revisiting the good old topic.

So, last week we had the Finnish independence day. Not just any independence day, mind you, but our 100th! There has been much rejoicing, in our mild-mannered Finnish way, and some of it has been visible abroad – the San Francisco city hall for example had pretty glorious blue and white lights in celebration:

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Instead of the Finnish national anthem, here's Finland by Jean Sibelius, perhaps one of the best known Finnish musical pieces (right after Darude's Sandstorm, I guess). This was once suggested as the national anthem of the world.

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1. Board Game: Hundraåringen [Average Rating:5.12 Unranked]
Board Game: Hundraåringen
Mikko Saari
Finland
Tampere
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Hundraåringen is Swedish for "the hundred year old", which is very appropriate, as Swedish is the other official language of Finland.

Outside Finland, what cool hundred-year-old things do you know?
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2. Board Game: Suomi Tietopeli [Average Rating:4.15 Overall Rank:18803]
Board Game: Suomi Tietopeli
Mikko Saari
Finland
Tampere
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Did you notice any Finnish centennial celebrations where you live? Any blue and white light works, or other celebrations? Is there any Finnish community or Finnish culture visible at where you live?
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3. Board Game: Tatun ja Patun Suomi-peli [Average Rating:3.20 Unranked]
Board Game: Tatun ja Patun Suomi-peli
Mikko Saari
Finland
Tampere
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What is your favourite Finnish game? Have you noticed any development in Finnish game development and publishing since our last Finnish GCL list?
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4. Board Game: Here I Stand [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:246]
Board Game: Here I Stand
Larry Rice
United States
North Newton
Kansas
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Board Game: Azul
Board Game: Gloomhaven
Board Game: Heaven & Ale
Board Game: Here I Stand
Board Game: Mini Rails
Board Game: El Grande
Board Game: Iberian Rails


 8   Azul x2

This used to play so quickly when playing incorrectly. Now it is much more "thinky" and takes longer.

 8   Gloomhaven

I thought I had retired my third character this last week until I kept reading and found out there's still yet another scenario. And then it looks like I don't even get to unlock a new character. I'll have to choose one of the two starting characters we haven't used much or at all.

 8   Heaven & Ale

Went over very well. Most people I've played this one with have enjoyed the game. Feels clever with different paths seemingly present.

 8   Here I Stand

Seems fitting to headline this one due to the GCL title. It had been a few years, but it was good to get back to this one even if the dang French had everything go their way. This game always tells such an interesting narrative! I'll just post my game summary below although it doesn't do the game justice. I was the English and was getting slightly frustrated with those dang Scottish rebels who couldn't see reality as quickly as they should have... We did play the 500th anniversary game which has some modifications including the French home card which really helped France.

Quote:
The French could do no wrong in this game expanding into Milan and grabbing two allies with some great card draws. England struggled against the Scots and didn't take over the key until the third era giving France a lot of cards and France also rolled well on his enhanced home card (we used the 500th anniversary edition). If we could have made it to the fifth round, we likely would have beat him back, but he saw the probable future and went for it in the fourth round and won the game with 25 points. The Protestants zoomed up the track in the fourth round but then was also beat back badly as the Papists and Hapsburgs beat him back (unfortunately, this divided interest by the Hapsburgs also allowed France to take Meinz and Antwerp in the fourth round on an end around). A last ditch attempt by the Hapsburgs to throw the French out of Genoa failed by one casualty. In a meaningless point grab except to allow the English to jump into second place, the 0 captain of the English rolled 10+ on consecutive rolls to become famous for circumnavigating the globe
 8   Mini Rails

I rarely do well in this game and this one was no different.

 7   El Grande

Much time has passed since I last played the base game and I didn't remember fully how everything worked (I prefer to play the K&I expansion). Twas all good but the person responsible for keeping blue in check failed letting blue score both of the "Score all Regions of value 4" where had had majority in a couple and runner up in a third. Game over after the second time. I do enjoy this one but it plays best when people know the game and know that keeping opponents in check may be a better play than going after personal glory (I know, this is hard to do!).

 7   Iberian Rails

Third play of this one and still the game is fairly obtuse. Shares are good - that's clear (some better than others depending on company treasury and expansion capabilities). I don't think we've figured out timing on blind bid auctions (while great for personal gain, those are very bad for the company and it is hard to destroy a company of which you are CEO. I can see this working to some degree in combination with the mafia where you can pay money to take the CEO role as long as you have one share to try and wreck potential if someone has the advantage.

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5. Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 [Average Rating:8.18 Overall Rank:34]
Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 2
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
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Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 x5 - Caleb, Chris, and I continue to move forward with our legacy play. We're halfway through June now...and we're doing a great job of losing the first game of the month and then pulling it out in the second game We came oh so close to winning the first game of June but lost the turn before we would have won...of course, we also knew the odds were pretty poor going in as we were nearing the end of a spread of epidemic cards that must have been spread between the top of it's respective stack and the bottom of the next stack...our discard pile was quite large...and it had emptied many of the cities of supply cubes as we went for it.

We've completed all of the initial the recon missions to all regions except for Africa.

Interestingly enough (unlike the original), we've stayed with the same characters from the start of the game. Part of that might be the fact that we've enhanced them sufficiently that it's hard to let them go...

Spoiler (click to reveal)
We've gotten far enough that the little green men are now back...except now they are called the "Hollow Men". We've established 3 or 4 permanent supply centers and have also unlocked air travel between havens/supply centers...which is a great relief!


************************************************************************

OTHER gaming:

I downloaded Dream Quest for the iPad when it was mentioned by one of the reviewers in the current list of articles being put out where a number of reviewers list their top 10 apps. It sounded interesting.

I enjoyed my first few plays, but I'm starting to think jump in difficulty between level 1 of the dungeon and level 2 is too much (at least for meshake ). I have yet to defeat level 2 and have generally died fairly handily at the hands of a higher level monster or the boss on level 2 (level 1 is cakewalk).

It's an interesting take on a deckbuilder with a map...and quite fun if it wasn't so frustrating!!! I've tried a small deck, heavy health, heavy spells, etc and haven't come close yet. Anyone else played the app?
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6. Board Game: Silverton [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:1817]
Board Game: Silverton
Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
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 10   Saint Petersburg -- As is often the case on a Monday night, Brett and I arrived early and didn't need to eat pizza with everyone else, so we headed downstairs for a quick game of Saint Petersburg. Brett got a fairly early Observatory, but I got a nice blue upgrade and a batch of (successively discounted) Customs Houses, so I pushed buildings for VPs and tried to stay in range on Nobles. As it turned out, I had a lead of more than 55 VPs before noble scoring, so even though he got 10 nobles for 55 VPs, it didn't matter how many nobles I had (I had 7 for 28 VPs.) People claim that nobles are the only way to win this game, but it's not true.

 8   Jump Drive -- People still hadn't all filtered downstairs (it was a light night with many people away and only 8 of us there,) so we squeezed in another play of this. If I get one more play, it will make it onto Eric Brosius's H-Index List!

 7   18GA NEW! -- A few years back I purchased 18Dixie with 18MS and 18GA, which BGG considers to be a "compilation" of three separate games. Two of those games are separately published, but 18MS is available only as a part of the compilation (and as a result, cannot receive a ranking on BGG.) I had played 18Dixie and 18MS, but until last week I hadn't played 18GA (which predates the compilation by many years.) Brett and Lou and I played it. It has a great deal in common with 1830, which was probably a good thing for Lou, who hasn't played many 18xx games. In contrast to 18AL, which I didn't like at all, this wasn't bad at all. We floated all six companies (two each) and each of us got two trains into one and one train into the other, for a total of 9 trains (3, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5.) Brett and I each had 3-4-5 and Lou had only 3-3-4. Neither the 3-trains nor the 4-trains are permanent, but we each had about $100 in each company, leaving little incentive to save for a 6-train to rot the 3-trains. At one point I saw that Lou had two trains in the Central of Georgia, which could run them for big money, so I let my Georgia & Florida slide down into the yellow zone (where its certificates don't count toward the certificate limit) for one Stock Round, letting me buy up several more CoG shares. Brett and Lou had the most valuable companies at the end, but I had more shares in companies running two trains, and this made the difference in a close game.

 8   Silverton -- On Thursday, Len brought a pimped-out copy of Silverton out to the Fiscal Group. Four of us played it. I like Silverton, but I hadn't played it for about 7 years, so it was about time! I started in Salt Lake City, far away from my three opponents. When you're the Salt Lake City player, a lot depends on where the mines that come out of the deck are located. I did okay early on, but Len built west aggressively and the competition did neither of us much good. Brett grabbed the highly lucrative Cripple Creek passenger run that pays $1650/a turn but goes away after the fourth Cripple Creek depletion, and that fourth depletion did not go away until after he made it to $30,000 to win the short game. I think the short game is a good introduction, but it's too short to let all the interesting parts come out.

 8   Breitseite x2 -- Joe Huber hosted a game day on Saturday, but the snow in our area kept many people away. At the start, it was just Joe and I, and we played two games of this wonderful game. I suppose it's a dexterity game, because it involves building a shaky ship out of chunky wooden bits and then "firing" a wooden shell at your opponent's ship by banging it with a larger wooden bit. My problem is that I am often more dangerous to my own ship than to that of my opponent, but it's great fun. I'd love to get a copy but they're hard to find.

 6   Heaven & Ale -- Aaron arrived and wanted to try something new. We played this, which I had played a few weeks earlier. It's not a bad game, but it wasn't as interesting on its second try as on its first. I'd play it again, though, if someone wanted to play.

 7   Iron Dragon -- Next we played this fantasy-themed crayon rails game, which was re-issued this year just in time for Mayfair to go out of business (!) I guess it's like 18xx: Mayfair sold its Settlers franchise to someone else and then dumped the company! I benefited from a huge piece of good luck: I was near Bluefield when the Rainbow Bridge event went into effect for a single turn, allowing me to jump over and grab two Cloth in Octomare (normally it would have been a long trip) and bring them back to sell for big money, since I had two Cloth contracts in hand.

 3   Pixie Queen NEW! -- Matt arrived, carrying this recent Kickstarter acquisition. He explained that he wasn't sure why he bought it, because it was listed as taking 60-120 minutes, which is too long for his normal group, and it seemed heavier than would work for him and his group. We volunteered to help try it, reassuring him that if we all hated it, we didn't have to play till the end. Well, it's a fairly intricate economic game with lots of "take that" and blind bidding in which you must pay your bid whether you win or lose the bid. I certainly don't mind blind bidding games in which you must always pay your bid, as long as they're short and simple -- I'm the biggest fan of Bakschisch on BGG, after all -- but if they also require planning and take a long time, I hate that just like everyone else. We played 2 out of the 7 possible turns and mutually agreed to stop at that point. This is so not the kind of game I enjoy.

 7   Q.E. -- As a palate cleanser, Joe suggested this short, simple game, which I had tried just a few weeks ago. Last time I didn't bid enough, so I balanced that out by bidding too much and therefore being eliminated. This game isn't going to be a favorite of mine, but I will cheerfully play it. It does what it sets out to do in a a focused and effective way.

 10   Eurorails x2 -- I left fairly early because I knew that Claire would worry about me getting home safely in the snow. And indeed, Waze kept me off the Mass Pike and on Route 9 (I don't know what conditions were like on the Pike, but it's the first time Waze has ever kept me off the Pike coming back home from Joe's.) We played a pair of games, as we often do. The second was especially interesting: I started with Imports to Lodz and Machinery to Budapest (or vice-versa) and built out of Berlin both west and southeast. Claire went to Iberia and lugged a Cork around for a long time without ever getting a contract for it. My track never got closer to Iberia than Torino (Joe Rushanan would approve.)
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7. Board Game: Rajas of the Ganges [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:163]
Board Game: Rajas of the Ganges
Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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Board Game: Rajas of the Ganges
Board Game: Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases
Board Game: Santa Maria
Board Game: The Builders: Middle Ages
Board Game: Bali
Board Game: Altiplano
Board Game: Transatlantic
Board Game: Lorenzo il Magnifico
Board Game: Nusfjord
Board Game: The Colonists
Board Game: Scythe
Board Game: 1822: The Railways of Great Britain


 10   1822: The Railways of Great Britain
 9   Scythe
 9   The Colonists
 8   Lorenzo il Magnifico
 7.5   Nusfjord
 7.5   Altiplano
 7   Rajas of the Ganges x3 NEW!
 7   Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases NEW!
 7   Santa Maria x4
 7   Transatlantic x2
 5   The Builders: Middle Ages
 5   Bali NEW!

Still mainly playing the new Spiel releases. My opinions are beginning to solidify, albeit still in soft clay. I quite like Nusfjord and Altiplano and suspect they'll survive for at least 4 to 6 months. Rajas of the Ganges replaced Quest for El Dorado for us and I'm curious to see if it ends up having more staying power than previous Brand games. If it does, it could quickly move up to an 8 (something that only Azul of the Spiel releases has done so far). Santa Maria and Transatlantic are on the edge of going on the trade list. If I can get Amanda to play and like Castles of Burgundy, SM will likely go and Transatlantic is already on the trade list. Neither is a bad game; I just don't see choosing them over other options (assuming I can convince Amanda to play CoB).

As for expansions, the Colonists expansion fell flat while the Lorenzo expansion is at least as good as the Marco Polo one. I get what the Colonists expansion is trying to do; it's just the exact opposite of what I want when I play Colonists. It turns a relaxing, optimization resource conversion game into a frantic race to stay alive. Maybe for when I've gotten another dozen plays of Colonists in and am looking for something else. As for the Lorenzo expansion, I thought it was good. The houses (like the VMP special powers) are overpowered, but there's an interesting auction of starting resources to balance things out. My one negative is I think the extra tower loosens things up a bit. While that might be needed with 4 or 5, with 2 and even 3, I don't think it's necessary. Finally, I enjoyed the new leader cards.
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8. Board Game: Fallout [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:1029]
Board Game: Fallout
Jason
United States
Irvine
California
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Board Game: Azul
Board Game: Fallout
Board Game: Century: Spice Road


8.0  Azul x2
8.0  Fallout NEW!
7.0  Century: Spice Road

Acquisitions:
The Masters' Trials: Wrath of Magmaroth
Charterstone
Kingsburg (Second Edition)
Gaia Project
Battle for Rokugan

Azul is just awesome. Plan B games is really doing a good job with picking their games. We even played Century: Spice Road, which is also fun (although not nearly as good as Azul).

I am a big fan of adventure games, so was excited to give Fallout a try even though I know nothing about the theme. The game does a really good job of telling a story as the players adventure throughout. While I have heard some people complain about the combat system, I found it to be really interesting, although I wish they had put in a player aid card that shows the different sides of the die to it was easier to calculate your odds. Excited to try more of the scenarios for sure. FFG this year has put out some top notch stuff for sure.

Kingsburg is one of my favorite lighter games, so a few months back I sold my 1st edition when I heard they were releasing the 2nd edition. Already have plans to play it on Christmas since its one of my brothers favorite games.

Charterstone has a much bigger box that I anticipated... It's even bigger than Gaia project, which has a surprisingly small box compared to Terra Mystica. Really excited for both.
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9. Board Game: Nusfjord [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:423]
Board Game: Nusfjord
Mikko Saari
Finland
Tampere
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1 x _9_Innovation
2 x _8_Animal Upon Animal
3 x _8_Takenoko
1 x _8_Rhino Hero
1 x _8_Carcassonne: The Castle
1 x _8_Pax Pamir
2 x _8_Nusfjord
1 x _8_Exit: The Game – The Abandoned Cabin (new!)
3 x _7_Fleeting Foxes
1 x _7_For-Ex
2 x _6_Adventure Land (new!)
2 x _6_Magic: The Gathering

Pax Pamir with five players was much better than with two. Some folks didn't get it at all, with some it clearly clicked after couple of rounds. I know I'd really, really love to play it more. We played a quick game, it was over in the first topple (we didn't play the nation builder variant), and next time I'd like to play a proper, longer game.

Nusfjord continues to entertain. I think it's really quite good. I was rather pleased with myself when I was able to build my board full of buildings, that was a nice achievement. The game is short and sweet, we played a four-player game in about 80 minutes, but the mass of buildings means there's some AP tendency. A two-player game in about 30 minutes is a good experience.

My brother visited with two preconstructed Magic: The Gathering decks. Last time I played with actual cards was in the 20th century, so it was fun to give the game a go. It hasn't changed all that much. I haven't missed much, it's still quite the complicated game, and one I'm not terribly keen to explore further.

Adventure Land was ok. Nothing particularly thrilling, but I do like the combination of easy rules and the different scenarios. I do wish there was more than three scenarios in the box.

The Abandoned Cabin was the easiest Exit so far, we made it out in just 40 minutes, with just the two of us playing. We used one hint. The puzzles were mostly pretty clear and again there were some pretty clever ideas.

ACQUISITIONS

Traded my copy of The Abandoned Cabin for some Deckscape games, and also bought a 3-euro copy of Klunker, the one interesting Uwe Rosenberg game I've never even seen. I'll get these later, next year probably, but I'm patient.

I also bought a copy of Sidereal Confluence: Remastered Edition. I just couldn't resist.
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10. Board Game: Clank! In! Space!: A Deck-Building Adventure [Average Rating:7.87 Overall Rank:105] [Average Rating:7.87 Unranked]
Board Game: Clank! In! Space!: A Deck-Building Adventure
Jeroen Doumen
Netherlands
Eindhoven
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1x _8.00_ Power Grid
1x _7.25_ Clank! In! Space!
1x _7.00_ Eclipse
1x _6.25_ Doctor Who Fluxx
1x _6.00_ Unlock! Temple of Ra
1x _6.00_ Path of Light and Shadow
1x _5.75_ Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King
1x _5.75_ Patchwork
1x _5.50_ Mystery of the Temples
1x _5.50_ Noria
1x _5.50_ Reworld
1x _5.50_ Ex Libris
1x _5.50_ Enemy Coast Ahead: The Doolittle Raid
1x _5.50_ City of Chaos
1x _5.25_ Laurel Crown
1x _5.00_ Sorcerer & Stones
1x _5.00_ Lagerstätten
1x _5.00_ Sentient
1x _5.00_ Fantahzee: Hordes & Heroes

Mainly more Essen games for me as well. Though I'm still going through first plays mostly .

Clank! In! Space! was a recent arrival. I like what it does; it's a (small) improvement over the original for me.

Unlock! Temple of Ra was a small disappointment; one of the puzzles was still in French which took us a while to realize. And the last step of the final puzzle was hard.

Path of Light and Shadow is interesting. I like the type of deckbuilding, where you get to upgrade the cards you collect. It's combined with a kind of conflict game, which is not as interesting.

Mystery of the Temples was quite decent. The collecting of gems to make a certain path is nice.

Noria was interesting, though the wheel mechanism takes a bit to get used to. We also found the gears to be hard to come by, but both of us went for high production first instead of building factories. Interesting trade-offs in this one.

Reworld is nice, it takes some inspiration from the old Rise of Empires in that you collect "actions" and then execute them in reverse (LIFO) order. Though I'm not completely sure the second part of the game, where you race for most goals, is as interesting as setting up the actions.

Ex Libris was decent fun, the book titles are hilarious! We may not have had the most interesting characters/libraries/special abilities, but we had good fun. It's easier to arrange stuff alphabetically properly then I'd think at first .

I played the first training mission for Enemy Coast Ahead: The Doolittle Raid. Still a bit simple, but I achieved the historical outcome after failing to sight any targets twice.

Laurel Crown was a fun quick game. Draft some gladiators, and then use them over 5 matches with increasing point and penalty scores...

Sorcerer & Stones was decent, but ultimately not as good as Mystery of the Temples for us. You play cards to manipulate a pattern, so you grab stones to move on a different board. But it was usually too easy to make good patterns. We also were left with a rules question about whether you could use the special abilities multiple times per turn or not...

Lagerstätten has good ideas, but somehow it feels too random. I just couldn't find the skeleton parts I needed. Just like real paleontology!

Sentient was slightly disappointing to me, but perhaps my expectations were too high. It's good enough at what it does: a simple dice manipulation game.

We had a game of City of Chaos Saturday evening. Good fun, even though the movement mechanism is way too slow at times (rolled a 1 again, nothing to do this turn). But the paragraphs and adventures are worth it .
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11. Board Game: Notre Dame [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:270]
Board Game: Notre Dame
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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Board Game: Race for the Galaxy: Xeno Invasion
Board Game: Notre Dame
Board Game: Last Will
Board Game: Atlantic Star
Board Game: Around the World in 80 Days
Board Game: Alien Artifacts


I braved the snow (the other overly cautious drivers were the main hazard/annoyance) to travel across the state to Bruce's for some games.

 9   Alien Artifacts Two new of five, but enjoyed it
 7   Last Will with Getting Sacked. We started with ninety million and the Rick made it into single digits.
 10   Race for the Galaxy: Xeno Invasion x4 A perennial favorite, Lauren and Rick split the wins here.

Beth got home and we enjoyed Bruce's pork roast and crock-potted squash dish before pulling out
 7   Around the World in 80 Days I got around the world 'first,' but Beth did it most efficiently.
Rick had to depart and with five, we selected
 7   Atlantic Star Darrell proved to be the best tour operator.
For the last ~1 hour game before departing, we selected
 7   Notre Dame
Beth's carriage strategy won on the tiebreaker.

Lots of fun, some old ones hit the table and good company!
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12. Board Game: Gloomhaven [Average Rating:8.81 Overall Rank:1] [Average Rating:8.81 Unranked]
Board Game: Gloomhaven
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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So we got a little tiny box in the mail last week...

From gallery of Phrim
_7_ Gloomhaven x2 (new!) - Anni and I are going to play through this 2-player with one character each--I chose the Cragheart and she chose the scoundrel. Neither of us really got the impression that this was a race against time, so we did a lot of full heals, and Anni in particular used a lot of her Lost abilities early on. Well, it turns out that this is very much a race, and Anni ran out of cards just as we were entering the final room. She managed to stick around long enough to be a pretty effective meat shield for the skeletons, but I couldn't take on all the archers by myself and we lost. We tried again the next day, though I have to admit I was a little intimidated because we weren't really that close to winning last time. However, we were a lot more conservative with our card plays, and while Anni came close to being expended at the end, we managed to pull it out. We did leave some money on the table (literally), but we did grab the chest, and were surprised that it wasn't anything that would help us on future adventures. This game is harder than I thought it would be, but we'll see how it plays out.
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13. Board Game: Anomia: Party Edition [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:2203] [Average Rating:7.07 Unranked]
Board Game: Anomia: Party Edition
Joshua Gottesman
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
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Because I was traveling last weekend, I didn't get much gaming done. I played some Sherman Leader before heading out of town and am enjoying it, even though I'm doing terribly in my 1st campaign.

At my sister's house this weekend, 5 and then 6 of us played Anomia: Party Edition going through 5 or maybe all 6 of the decks. As my sister-in-law mentioned, this is a game that would work better with shots. It's not a bad game, although it doesn't play to my strengths. You have to call out an answer when the symbol on your card matches the symbol on another revealed card, based on the other revealed card's topic. As smart as I am, my brain doesn't always process the symbols that quickly. Still, it was good fun, and nobody got too bent out of shape about it. As a game I'd play regularly, I'd rate it a 4. As a party game, it's a solid 7.

On Sunday I taught my sister to play Splendor. While describing the rules, she made the comment "this is much more complex than Rummikub", although I think as she started to play it and understand it, she realized that wasn't true. We didn't quite finish the game, although she was ahead, in great part because I was helping her with some moves when she didn't see point scoring opportunities. By the end she said she really enjoyed it. Hopefully she'll teach my brother-in-law soon (he was working so couldn't join us) and it will become a family staple.

So, not a lot of gaming this week, and seeing family was worth giving up the games.
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