GCL Phoenix 368: Unusual skills and abilities (2018 January 21)
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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. We're glad to get to know visitors through constructive comments, but please leave the adding of items to members.


Active Phoenixes:
familygaming
grasa_total
indigopotter
John Rogers - next week
karlfast
Lowengrin
Muse23PT
rynelf
Taibi
Tigrillo
woodnoggin

Always welcome to participate:
archivists, BennyD, Bruzza, chally, darker, Dormammu, Eeeville, enzo622, hawk-x-, Hawkeye77, JohnRayJr, judoka, leroy43, Morganza, Mr_Nuts, ravenskana, Smintie, TheRocketSurgeon, tjshields, topherr, Yokiboy
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1. Board Game: Phoenix [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:3830]
Board Game: Phoenix
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Wurtsboro
NY
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I promised Paulo that I would help him with how to make a Phoenix geeklist. That got me thinking about what other things I've learned how to do over time on BGG, and even those outside of BGG. If you were at a cocktail party and the topic was unusual skills and abilities, what would you say? Have you taught any of those skills to other people? Are there skills that you wish you knew?

When I was in college, I taught several people how to play Pitch, and we used to play a lot. I also taught several people how to crochet, and we made hats together in the tv lounge.

I throw pots and weave baskets. I taught some coworkers at my job in Ithaca how to make baskets. If we were stranded on an island (like Naked and Afraid), baskets would definitely be one of my contributions.

On BGG, I think the microbadge process is one of my more specialized skills. Not just making the image itself, but getting it to the stage where it appears under an avatar.

And then there's what prompted this whole train of thought, the making of the Phoenix list:

https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/new

We all have similar headers, though each is slightly different. It's helpful to point to the GCL Phoenix wiki page. You can use double brackets around GCL Phoenix to make a nice link. If you are not sure about double brackets, you can click edit on How to make a geeklist for GCL Phoenix to see how I made the links.

- It's also nice to have a list of the Phoenixes.

- You can check all 3 boxes for BGG, RPGG, and VGG if you wish, so that people can use things from all three domains for their items. It's also okay just to check BGG.

- Checking the "No Publish" box keeps our lists off the front page. People can still find us through subscriptions (to people or games, or to our previous lists).

Once you've created a list, it's helpful to post it in the comments of the previous geeklist, and also on the subscription thread.

Gamechat League: Phoenix Division Subscription Thread

For bonus points, you can add it to the list on the wiki page: GCL Phoenix When you click edit, the formatting to follow should be clear.



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2. Board Game: Rotation [Average Rating:5.60 Unranked]
Board Game: Rotation
United States
Wurtsboro
NY
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John - 28th January
Karl - 4th February
Michael - 11th February
Paulo - 18th February
Dave - 25th February
Nicolai - 4th March
Morten - 11th March
Rich - 18th March

Jeremy - 25th March
Alison - 1st April
Carol - 8th April
John - 15th April
Karl - 22nd April
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3. Board Game: Hansa Teutonica [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:135]
Board Game: Hansa Teutonica
John Rogers
United States
Yakima
WA
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Just one game this week. Whilst majority of my group played Star Trek Ascendancy, I played two sessions of Hansa Teutonica.

The first was 2 player learning session with David. I focused on keys and extending my route, David focused on actions and book. I won 98-51 and David said he liked it except for the keys which he felt was too powerful. We wondered aloud how that would change with more players.

A few minutes later we struck up a 5 player match with Christina, Julie, Steven, and again David and I. This time nobody got beyond 2 keys but again I had the largest route (7-5 I think) and I created a connection between two cities that folks used a lot and was able to gain many in-game points for the win. Scores this time around were much closer 42-31-24-20-17.

David’s favorite bit is the engine-building-tech-track board stuff. He also likes how there are several ways to score, though laments the dominate key multiplier. We’ve never played a Feld but something tells me David would love him, IF he could make a game that was also highly thematic. His favorite game remains Agricola which features all the things he likes in games: several ways to score (paths to victory), passive-aggressive-near-MPS style of interaction, and highly integrated theme in a subject matter he likes. I’ve suggested other UWE games but he doesn’t care for their themes so we haven’t gone there.

Suggestions?

Anyways my thoughts are as follows:

Good route-building-engine-efficiency game. I dig how all the tech tracks funnel back to building and reenforcing your presence on the map. This helps to fight against the pull towards points-salad-lets-maximize-all-the-tracks thing. I like that.

Even better is the displacement action. Screwing your neighbor isn’t zero-sum but rather has an immediate cost to the attacker and potential benefit to the victim both immediately and in subsequent turns. I really like that.

But what makes it great is that if played well one can begin to not only incentivize others through cube positioning, and inviting displacement, but can start to manage those incentives in such a way as to determine the board state toward their benefit. Now that I love.

A couple of things I am unsure about:

1) In both plays I had the most keys and largest network and won both times. Does that mean the game always devolves into a fight over the gaining or blocking the keys?

2) The bonus tiles allow you to break the rules in various ways. While I’m okay with that in general, the free displacement tiles run contrary to the most interesting decision and dare I say spirit of the game?

Plays 2
Rating 8
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4. Board Game: Port Royal: Just One More Contract... [Average Rating:7.51 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.51 Unranked]
Board Game: Port Royal: Just One More Contract...
Nicolai Broen Thorning
Denmark
Ebeltoft
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Games Played Week 3:

1x Port Royal w/ Ein Auftrag geht noch...
1x The Voyages of Marco Polo

The Week in Review:

So, took a time-out following the exam. Not a lot of games, but plenty of chill. I have been adding a lot of games to the VGG database. Then listening a lot to Blaue Blume and Velvet Volume.

Right now, I am listening to yesterdays games from HGC NA.

On to games.

Friday I placed an order with Philibert for Import / Export (Captain Edition, even if Morten says the base is enough), Noria and Otys.

Saturday we played a first for E., whom we had convinced to join us. It was a first for V. and I in terms of adding the expansion. I had been playing Port Royal online a few times last year with it and felt the game was miuch better. It proved so.

E. won and was very pleased, even if she did not know how.

Sunday V. and I played a game of The Voyages of Marco Polo with a draw on characters. I am rather enjoying the game, parsing the layout of the bonuses on the board and the ability of my persona. We have left it on the table for a re-match tomorrow.

The Week Ahead:

Most likely a game on Monday. Then, who knows.
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5. Board Game: The Settlers of the Stone Age [Average Rating:6.59 Overall Rank:1837]
Board Game: The Settlers of the Stone Age
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Sunday Jan 14th
Castles of Burgundy Dice x4

Tuesday Jan 16th

Keltis: Das Orakel

Wednesday Jan 17th

Settlers of the Stone Age (2002) - new

Sunday Jan 21st
Yahtzee x5

and some Can't Stop with Sam on his phone yesterday
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6. Board Game: Santorini [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:151]
Board Game: Santorini
Board Game: The Voyages of Marco Polo
Board Game: A Feast for Odin
Board Game: Terra Mystica
Board Game: Santorini
Board Game: Magic Maze


 8   The Voyages of Marco Polo
The brilliance of this design has become more apparent as I improve my skill, but I don't enjoy this game on a level that would have me playing it often, so I decided to sell it this week after one last play. Just not enough variability in the style I enjoy.

 10   A Feast for Odin
Still good! NEED NEW EXPLORATION BOARDS!

 10   Terra Mystica
Still good.

 8   Santorini x5
And, whaddaya know, this game - abstract though it may be - is really starting to grow on me. The god powers and super-short play time make it a fun romp for sure. If I played this super-competitively, I'd hate it in the same way I hate chess. Which is to say, I don't really HATE, but compared to other games, prefer strongly not to play. So, yeah, where was I? It's pretty cool for an abstract.

 10   Magic Maze x3
LOVE THIS!


Progress towards Nintendo Switch purchase...\
sold Voyages of Marco Polo
sold 7 WOnders Duel
sold 7 Wonders Cities expansion
sold Harry Potter Deckbuilding Game
sold Blokus Duo.

That still puts me a ways off a Switch, so I am formulating a Plan B: buying a Nintendo Switch secondhand and playing that for a few years. After all, I can play: Mario Maker, 3D Mario World, Mario Kart 8 and Breath of the Wild, plus Wii games I'd love to try like Mario Galaxy 2. This may be a wiser course of action considering my budget limitations. used games for Wii/Wii U are much cheaper than forking over the big $$$ for Switch games, as well.

Anyone have these systems and want to chime in?


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7. Board Game: Gaia Project [Average Rating:8.49 Overall Rank:8]
Board Game: Gaia Project
Dave Peters
United States
Belmont
California
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Scorecard for the Week/Month/Year as of 20Jan2018:

7/26/26 plays of 6/19/19 total games, with 1/8/8 expansions employed.
Plays with 7/13/13 distinct opponents.

0/0/0 games acquired (plus 0/0/0 expansions.)
0/0/0 games sold/traded (plus 0/0/0 expansions.)
0/0/0 games ordered (plus 0/0/0 expansions.)
Orders for 3 games and 0 expansions still outstanding.

With family:
Board Game: Super Big Boggle

image by DICE_COLLECTOR

2x _7⅔_ Super Big Boggle

With my wife (who, naturally, won) and son #2. The mostly-incompetent menfolk are getting better with practice. But equally, at our current rate of improvement it'll be decades before we're actually competitive.


With the Lunch@work group:
Board Game: Take The "A" Chord

image by saashiandsaashi

1x _7⅓_ Aコードで行こう A kōdo de ikou 'Take the "A" Chord' New!

This is a clever little trick-taker. High card changes depending on the "key" of the current trick. And that changes from time to time (even modestly thematically - which is amusing) as a side-effect of card play. Combine that with a scoring rubric that encourages winning a third of the available tricks (three out of nine-ish; and has one score worse for winning four than winning two) and the game becomes an interesting dance of occasionally wanting to win, and often hoping not to. I'd be delighted to give it another try.

Board Game: Xenon Profiteer

image by TheCrippledWerewolf

1x _7⅓_ Xenon Profiteer

Fun: I tried a pattern that had worked quite successfully for me in my last play; and ended up dead last. I'm amused (and encouraged) by the requirement to pay attention to what the others are doing, and to mutate my plans to compensate.


With the Wednesday night gang:
Board Game: Gaia Project

image by W Eric Martin

1x _8_ Gaia Project

I've now played four times. And demonstrated reasonable competence with the Gleens (this game) and Firaks, and significant incompetence with the Itars (my first and third games).

Again, I really enjoyed this. It feels (though I admit that I could easily be wrong!) a bit less front-loaded in decisions than Terra Mystica: it appears to me that there's more opportunity to respond to an opponents gambit here (and that as opposed to simply executing one's faction's Plan, based on the initial placement.) And that's not to say that there aren't a bunch of significant decisions up front here: there are.

Board Game: Roll for the Galaxy
Board Game: Roll for the Galaxy: Ambition

images by W Eric Martin and Claus Stephan

1x _7⅔_ Roll for the Galaxy (with Ambition)

Really close result from two dramatically different tableaux. One with 14 tile spaces (if one pretends that the starting tiles fill 3 tile spaces) the other with 8. And yet only a couple of points apart in score - and in a way that could easily have gone the other way with only a modest mutation of intent.


And a solo play for the week...:
Board Game: Shephy

image by Malaiser

1x _7_ Shephy

Hah! My first 7000. And, amusingly, finishing with the Planning Sheep card in hand, too. If I were to guess, I'd imagine that my play will taper off if it proves I can win regularly. And if it's a while before my next 7000, my enthusiasm for the game will increase. Probably won't be this (upcoming) week's solo play, though.


Owned-and-unplayed: 0 (+0/-0)
Owned-and-played-once: 95 (+0/-0)

Outlook for the week: Not sure if I can attend the Wednesday Lunch games. But a game with family and something with the Wednesday Night gang is plausible. Then I'm off to Zürich next weekend for a few weeks, so my gaming might fall back to nothing more than solo plays. (Or I could end up taking Asia/Europe Engulfed: WWII European Theatre Block Game in hopes of pushing the rules back into my head and end up playing nothing.)
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8. Board Game: Neuroshima Hex! 3.0 [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:265] [Average Rating:7.41 Unranked]
Board Game: Neuroshima Hex! 3.0
Alison Mandible
United States
Somerville
Massachusetts
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Board Game: Kokoro: Avenue of the Kodama
Board Game: Harbour
Board Game: Flip Ships
Board Game: The Palaces of Carrara
Board Game: Pentago
Board Game: 5 Second Rule
Board Game: Neuroshima Hex! 3.0


 N/A   Kokoro: Avenue of the Kodama NEW!

This arrived and I gave it a solo play to test. It does indeed have most of what I liked about Doodle City (the weird pathing mechanic) without the irritating dice mechanics. I'm a little disappointed that things score at a semi-random time determined by the deck, rather than (as in Doodle City) whenever the path reaches them. But I'm totally willing to roll with that and see how I like it after a few more plays. Anyway, no rating because I didn't buy it to play solo (though I see how the multiplayer game is basically solitaire).

 3   Harbour

A work friend brought this in, so I gave it another try. I enjoyed it more this time, but I had the Bookkeeper, who kind of let me ignore half the challenge of the game (you no longer lose 'excess' goods when selling). The win was unsatisfying.

 5   Flip Ships NEW!

Much, much harder than it looked! Just getting ships to land in the vicinity of the enemy formation was challenging; we never figured out whether one could subtly aim more precisely than that, much less whether we were doing so. I mean, we'd think about where we wanted to hit, and *sometimes* the ship would go there, but...

 7   The Palaces of Carrara x2

An old friend in town wanted to try this, and after a quick resounding loss, he asked for a rematch. This time I pulled so far ahead that he resigned halfway through. Usually when I teach him games, he beats me!

Playing 2p exaggerates some of the things I like about the game (hate drafting and multi-turn planning) and yet it doesn't feel quite right. I almost think 2p should have the same victory conditions as 3p, just with some buildings taken out of the pool. But exactly which buildings to remove would be a whole question.

 3   Pentago NEW!

On Friday that same friend and I, and 6 more people we knew, went to do a local escape room. It was good! They had games sitting in the waiting area, which were less good, but still a nice surprise. This abstract wasn't awful or broken but our attempts to care were already flagging by the time he overlooked my winning move and lost.

 3   5 Second Rule NEW!

A meh mainstream party game, sitting elsewhere in the waiting room. But the TIMER! Oh my gosh. Maybe this is standard technology for measuring very short times without electricity, but I hadn't seen it before and it's very clever-- a spiral column about 10", encased in clear plastic, with a bunch of tiny ball bearings inside. Turn it over, and they roll down the spiral going ZZZZZZZZ for 5 seconds. I suspect it's more accurate than a 5-second sand timer would be, but more importantly, you can tell when it ends without looking at it. Genius!

 7   Neuroshima Hex! x2

It only took four years but I think I am fully sold on this game being fun. I picked up some expansion armies and we played Dancer vs. New York and New York vs. Mephisto. New York won both during the final battle, though in the second game we were tied 4-4 after that battle, and I discovered the tiebreaker is to take another turn and battle again, at which point the fact that I'd never dealt with my girlfriend's Rocket Launcher led to a narrow (2-1) loss for Mephisto.

I had-- maybe I said this before? I had the theory that I didn't quite enjoy NH at first because every match went to time and the scores were often close. I no longer think that's it. I just needed some weirder factions to play (and, probably, a few more years' exposure to abstract games, so that the deterministic combat no longer feels unfair; I put down a good tile, you make a point of destroying it before it can attack, that's the whole point!)

The one all-new matchup we didn't try was Mephisto vs. Dancer, on the theory that they're both "you only have a few units" armies. Now that I've seen them both in action, though (and played one), I think they may not be that similar. The Dancer has relatively few targets to focus on, but they're mobile. Mephisto has pieces everywhere, ignoring the usual logic of where your units go in favor of scattering your organs as far as possible so the enemy can't shoot them all at once. Plus, as with many of the Theseus matchups, I think "creepy laboratory escape triplets fight a Frankenstein worm" is a movie I might watch, unlike the matchups in NH base set which are all Gunmaster Frownjerk vs. The Ouchbot and I'm like, I don't really want either of you to win.
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9. Board Game: The Voyages of Marco Polo [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:47]
Board Game: The Voyages of Marco Polo
Lo
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Over the Week With S

Board Game: Carcassonne

 7   Carcassonne x1

Just the one play of Carcassonne with S. She won on farmers as I was distracted by what was happening on the edges of the "map" and not on what she'd set up in the centre. Well, and I was also paying more attention to dessert.


Board Game: Lorenzo il Magnifico

 8   Lorenzo il Magnifico x2

I began the week with a win in Lorenzo il Magnifico and then ended it with a second. I'm not sure how I won this evening when S was chaining actions and accumulating more Faith than the Pope. I did get a good draft that relied mostly on venture cards and had a large lead based on my generating VPs during the game (mostly through yellow building cards). If this game remains in play, I may yet rank it a notch higher. I am curious to see if my enjoyment of it holds with more players; while I assume it's probably even better with more, I'm so used to playing it fast now, a third and/or fourth player might make it drag.


Board Game: The Voyages of Marco Polo

 9   The Voyages of Marco Polo x3 Out of the Dust!

Back in August 2016, the success of The Voyages of Marco Polo came as a bit of a surprise to me. I dismissed it as just another dice Euro when it came out and picked it up only because there was nothing else of interest to fill an order. It quickly became a favourite of S and mine and even made it into my top ten. And this week, Lorenzo il Magnifico very nearly knocked it out. But now that I've played again, I think it's safe to say, I prefer The Voyages of Marco Polo (marginally) to Lorenzo il Magnifico.


Incidentally, three weeks of January have now passed, and S and I are on track to playing more games this month than we have in any month in well over a year. in fact, even if we don't keep up the pace, we've still played more in this month than in any month last year.


The Week Ahead

JR might drop by one evening this week to play the two-player "Bohemian" variant of 18CZ that includes a dummy player named "Vaclav". Other than that, I'm not sure how much gaming will happen as S has informed me that she has three dinners lined up with friends this week. It's just too bad No Retreat! Italian Front: 1943-45 will not be here yet to solo. I ordered it last week with Heaven & Ale.

Unplayed games of note in shrink: Maria, The U.S. Civil War, Francis Drake, German Railways, Tikal and Revolution: The Dutch Revolt 1568-1648.

Unplayed games not in shrink: Normandy '44 and Mottainai.
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10. Board Game: Visby [Average Rating:6.58 Overall Rank:9131]
Board Game: Visby
It’s becoming a habit this year to play three games from my list of unplayed a week. Last week was the third running but looking at what’s left on my list I fear it won’t continue this week unfortunately. Lærke was at a stress conference in Copenhagen for some days so all my gaming was during the weekend apart from two plays of RftG.

Board Game: Race for the Galaxy

 7   Race for the Galaxy x2
The week started with two plays of this with Lærke and I’m beginning to like it enough to have also bought an expansion for it. After researching a bit it seemed Alien Artifacts suited my needs the best. A few more cards and twice the amount of starting worlds. Is the Orb part of it worth playing? I won both times so I hope my winning every time is not going to make Lærke not wanting to play it.


Board Game: Jump Drive

 9   Jump Drive x5
It was now time to play Jump Drive again and see if we liked both enough to keep them both or if we should stick to one. Lærke wanted to play RftG some more to be certain and so do I so as it now, we’re keeping them both. I still like Jump Drive better but let’s see how those feelings develop. One of the first plays was my first ever tie in the game which was cool.


Board Game: Bellz!

 5   Bellz!
This game holds a special place in our relationship even though it’s not good. It was the first thing Lærke and I played together at Essen the one day she visited me there a couple of months after we met. It’s a magnetic dexterity game where you use a magnet to try and get all the metal bells of one colour without removing any of the others at the same time. Simple and not that fun – unless you play it with a beer and whisky in your other hand which is what I did with a friend Friday evening. Interesting beer that was made to match Highland Park 12 Year Old Single Malt whisky – and it did match it quite well.


Board Game: Struggle of Empires

 5   Struggle of Empires NEW!
I had hunted for the Warfrog edition of this for a couple of years until I finally got one late last year. A friend of mine locally is also a Martin Wallace fanboy so we had agreed to play SoE at a minicon and we also managed to find three other players. Only my friend had tried it before and for me it was the last of my old Warfrog/Treefrog games I still hadn’t played. It’s nice and simple to learn but to be honest I was very underwhelmed by the experience. It might have been because we were five new or almost new to the game and that negotiations were at the lower end because of it but the first two wars I found rather dull and the game dragged for far too long so I think I’ll try and sell this to make a bit of room on my shelves. Too bad because I had heard a lot of good things about the design.


Board Game: Visby

 7   Visby x2 NEW!
We continued with two four-player games of Visby. Just the base game without the Abbey expansion and I have to agree with Rich that it’s a lot of fun. Definitely a good experience. And infitely better than Tallinn form the same Baltic series by Stefan Risthaus. Perhaps not very thematic either but at least the player interaction in it makes it fun to play. A keeper.


Board Game: Sluff Off!

 7   7 Signum NEW!
I added this to my order for the newest edition of Taluva and RftG: AA because of the many good words about Sluff Off over the last few weeks here in GCL land. The other three players weren’t the big trick taker players so it wasn’t as boisterous as I imagine it could be but I had fun nonetheless. I think that I’ll keep this, Fox and the Forest and Voodoo Prince and sell Skull King and Cobras. The chances of playing trick takers is fairly limited here and those three are my favourites of the ones I have.


Board Game: The Palaces of Carrara

 7   The Palaces of Carrara
Lærke and I played the last two titles on this list yesterday to see if we wanted to keep them or put them up for sale. Lærke had been lukewarm about Carrara to say it mildly after her first couple of plays – so much so that she had forgotten all about the game since. This time we played the simple game because several of you here said that’s how you prefer it. Do you also add the cards from the advanced rules sometimes? I think I would like to have some variance there at least. As it is with the base game one player runs away with it most often and that’s also how it was here. Lærke beat me by 50 points. Her comments afterwards was that it was a lot simpler than she thought it was so she must not have been ready for it the first times she played because she had a hard time getting it. Not so now so we’ll keep it.


Board Game: Five Tribes

 7   Five Tribes
Five Tribes on the other hand was me that had a bad time playing the last time we played it. Perhaps because we added the Artisans expansion without having played the game for a while so I wanted to try the base game on its own again. It was better but we have enough of these light to medium games as it is and I’d rather have some more room on my shelves than keep it. Away it goes.



Games that left my collection this month: Wars of the Roses: Lancaster vs. York, Taluva 2nd Edition and Hanamikoji.

Games that entered my collection this month: Race for the Galaxy, Taluva 3rd Edition and 7 Signum plus a few expansions and promos/mini-expansions: Gentes: New Cities, Race for the Galaxy: Alien Artifacts and Small City around the world #1: Asian Cities.

Unplayed games in my collection: Tahuantinsuyu, 1860: Railways on the Isle of Wight, Falling Sky: The Gallic Revolt Against Caesar, Splatter SHOOT, Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001 – ?, Sword of Rome, Colonial Twilight: The French-Algerian War, 1954-62, El Alamein, Stephenson's Rocket, Chicago Express, Continental Divide, Q.E., Sakura Hunt, and Here I Stand (500th Anniversary Edition).


I also saw a beautiful new to me bird species: King Eider. It's supposed to be in the high arctic but this one got lost it seems like:

From gallery of Tigrillo
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11. Board Game: The Arrival [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:4071]
Board Game: The Arrival
Karl Fast
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
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So I just ordered a bunch of games, mostly small games, family games, or classics that flesh out the collection and will also make good games for introducing to casual players.


My question: Where would you start with this list? What games would you want to play first, and why? Anything here you particularly dislike?


Can't Stop (push-your-luck is popular in our house; new-to-me because all the serious gamers I know have it and like it but never suggest it)

Claim (2p trick-taking, want to compare with Fox in the Forest; new-to-me)

Crazy Lab (a unique trick-taking game; new-to-me)

The Cousins' War (2p micro wargame with bluffing; new-to-me)

Jump Drive (to compare with RfTG and argue over with GCL-ers; new-to-me)

Manhattan (the new edition, have long wanted to play this; new-to-me)

Modern Art (to upgrade our ugly Mayfair edition; the only game here I have played before)

Qwinto (roll-and-write, gamer Qwixx; new-to-me)

Santo Domingo (aka Visby, cause so many here love it; new-to-me)

Sherlook (unique spot-the-differences game; new-to-me)



So aside from Modern Art, these are all new to me. I am most excited about Crazy Lab, The Cousin's War, and Santo Domingo. That doesn't mean I will get to play them first though.
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12. Board Game: Gaia Project [Average Rating:8.49 Overall Rank:8]
Board Game: Gaia Project
Rich P
United Kingdom
Sheffield
United Kingdom
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Last week's plays:

-10- Scrabble
|9| Innovation
-8- Concordia
-8- Gaia Project New!
-7- Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 (x2)
-7- Royal Goods (+Longsdale in Revolt)

I can't remember getting a 9-letter word in Scrabble before, but this game I managed to play petiolate on a Triple Word Score and it was very pleasing.

Our Royal Goods game saw us complete the first expansion. A lot of the discussion in the Longsdale in Revolt forums focuses on the solo game and how difficult it is to win and therefore progress to the next scenario. We've been playing it 2-player, where there's no restriction on progress: you move on to the next scenario regardless of anyone's scores in the current one. Instead, the scenario gives a VP penalty to players who didn't meet a particular requirement. You're trying to beat your opponent, not the game, so the story feels less relevant. I'd like it better if the Chapter rules had a bigger impact on the game and if there was a way for all players to lose. Completing the campaign in solo mode must feel like a big achievement given the difficulty level I've read about; we've just completed it in multiplayer mode and it was anti-climactic. We still enjoy the game and the new cards are useful, so there's value to the expansion even without the campaign.

We discovered a lot of new content in the last two Pandemic Legacy games and it provoked some discussion about our long-term strategy. There's one option in particular which looks suspiciously powerful and will probably come back to bite us later so we haven't used it yet. But it is tempting...

This Season gives players plenty of freedom to discover the story in different ways. We're part-way through June now but unlike Season 1, that's not necessarily the best comparator of progress between groups because there are alternative routes for moving forward aside from the Legacy deck, which is great. I imagine every group will be funnelled towards the same end point but getting there will be slightly different. We're having fun with it but it's not quite as good as Season 1. The core game feels even more luck-based than regular Pandemic and we're getting a bit tired of having to complete the same Mandatory Objective each game. The game also has a disappointingly western-centric viewpoint. I don't want to mention any spoilers but this has become more apparent the further east we explore. Last game we sacrificed winning to explore a new region instead because winning isn't as fun as adding new stickers to the board.

Gaia Project was new this week and was very good. It's close enough to Terra Mystica that if you know one you could fairly easily play the other, but there are enough differences to make it worthwhile as a separate game. Unlike Dave, I actually felt there were more decisions to make at the start of the game but this could be because I'm more familiar with Terra Mystica already. The variable placement of techs on the tech tracks suggests I should carefully consider how to incorporate them into my strategy before the game begins. And whereas in Terra Mystica there is a competition for cult track endgame scoring, leading to tactical priest placement there, Gaia Project gives points to anyone sufficiently far up the tracks (although the top spots are still exclusive). This meant I was less focused on trying to keep up with or overtake other players on certain tracks, except to watch out for someone reaching the top before me. The board play didn't feel as tight as its predecessor, it's hard to get trapped and there are Gaia planets that are easier to terraform but that may be a good thing: we've had some games of Terra Mystica where one player has been cut off and removed from contention early on, and it's no fun to be in that situation. I particularly liked some of the strange new abilities each faction has. I played the Taklons with their super brain token worth 3 power (incidentally, their suggested starting setup was awful). It was nice that the game comes with a special plastic piece to represent the brain but given that they went to all the trouble of making all these custom pieces, why is the start player token made of cardboard?

Once again Innovation offered something new. It's hard for two games to play alike. This time, I ended up claiming three Special Achievements before I had one regular Achievement. I had rushed up the ages with Writing, Mathematics, Experimentation, Astronomy and Electricity, always looking for some way of reducing Kate's score pile and increasing mine. I didn't quite manage it. I'd reached Age 8 when Kate revealed Construction and her castle dominance allowed her to steal my high value cards. It's great when early game cards can reappear in the late game and have an impact. I wanted to try the Cities of Destiny expansion but Kate just wanted to stick to the base game this time.
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13. Board Game: T.I.M.E Stories: Estrella Drive [Average Rating:7.30 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.30 Unranked]
Board Game: T.I.M.E Stories: Estrella Drive
Paulo Renato
Portugal
Vila Nova Gaia
Porto
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I run through Rahdo's Runthroughs and make right what once went wrong (via annotations)
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Past week was pretty slow, only 2 games played

Board Game: T.I.M.E Stories: Estrella Drive

 8.0   T.I.M.E Stories: Estrella Drive NEW!
Really liked the story of this one... it's a much more adult theme heavy story. The less good part is that it felt easier than the others, not that much puzzles to figure out.










Board Game: Master of Orion: The Board Game

 8.9   Master of Orion: The Board Game
Master of Orion is a great tableau building gaming. Really love the way the game progresses, the powers of the different races, the advisers, etc.
Love everything about this one...
I didn't play the computer game where this game is set but from playing with a friend that did and was excited to play this because of that and he hated it because it was nothing like the video game, so beware if you don't like tableau building and are expecting something resembling the video game stay away from this one!
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14. Board Game: ICECOOL2 [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:1853] [Average Rating:7.28 Unranked]
From gallery of BoardGameGeek
Karl Fast
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
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Ice Cool has been a big hit in our house, though my son's hot-cold personality means that he vacillates between wanting to play it a lot and ignoring it completely.

Ice Cool 2 is on the way. Slated for later this year.

I saw a comment in the Ice Cool forums that they are "going to launch Ice Cool 2 this year. First pictures of the new rooms coming this week."

Two questions:

1. Does this hold any interest for you?

My answer is yes, as a family game.

2. If yes, what would you like to see in the sequel?

Whatever it does, I want to mix and match rooms to create new combinations without increasing the length or complexity. But maybe they have some other surprises up their sleeves. I am curious.
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