GCL Mafia 365: Every Day's a Design Day
Jim Parkin
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Stow
Ohio
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Important Links:
GameChat League: Mafia Division Subscription Thread (links to past lists, subscribe for weekly notifications).
GameChat League Wiki (for general information about the GameChat League concept)
GCL Mafia Wiki (for specific information about this division)
Thesp's GCL Games Played Tool (an easy-to-use tool for collating your plays for the week)

Welcome to GCL Mafia Division's weekly geeklist!

GCL Mafia Members:
• Please add an item to represent your gaming life for the week of January 15th - 21st, 2018.
• List any games played along with your thoughts/opinions.
• Also, feel free to share gaming news, life updates, random thoughts, or anything else you deem appropriate.

GCL Mafia Geeklist Format:
• A weekly game can be spotlighted and discussed. The poster will pose questions about it to encourage conversation.
• Themed questions are optional. They can be gaming-related topics or non-gaming-related topics.
• A top five question can be asked for by this week's current-list writer, with members offering suggestions, but Jim will 100% forget to update it by the end of the week.

Current Roster:
fdubois
charlest
Happymrdave
tallgrant
annowme
mith
ecargo
Epsilon_Balls
captainraffi
touchstonethefool
cferejohn
jshufelt
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From gallery of FunkyBlue
Jim Parkin
United States
Stow
Ohio
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Given how enamored I am with the thematic/mechanical blending of Christian Marcussen's games, I'm subscribed to his theorycrafting thread. Most recently, he's been talking about doing something along the lines of a post-apocalyptic survival game, but understandably laments that the market is current lousy with post-apocalyptic survival games, so he's back to the drawing board.

Every time I read this thread, I consider the nascent game designs in my head, and the two ideas that Anastasia and I have. We've decided that we want to have working prototypes with some moderate playtesting by the end of 2018. As a result, I've decided to theme this GeekList with some brain-storming exercises for everyone to indulge/discuss.
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2. Board Game: Capn Crunch Island Adventure Game [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Capn Crunch Island Adventure Game
Jim Parkin
United States
Stow
Ohio
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Let's talk about MECHANICS.



1. Someone post a mechanic on which they want to base their game.
2. Someone else post the theme you think would best fit the central mechanic.
3. Someone else add another mechanic that would compliment the current design.
4. Someone else suggest the artist for the game.
5. Someone else decide who/how will publish this game.
6. Someone else choose a title.
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3. Board Game: Ameritrash [Average Rating:10.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Ameritrash
Jim Parkin
United States
Stow
Ohio
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Let's talk about THEME.



1. Someone post a theme on which they want to base their game.
2. Someone else post the mechanic you think would best fit the central theme.
3. Someone else add the awesome-factor that would compliment the current design.
4. Someone else suggest the artist for the game.
5. Someone else decide who/how will publish this game.
6. Someone else choose a title.
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4. Board Game: Lexicon [Average Rating:5.66 Overall Rank:15222]
Board Game: Lexicon
Jim Parkin
United States
Stow
Ohio
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Let's talk about WORDS.



1. Someone post a novel approach to designing a word game.
2. Someone else post the theme you think would best fit the central idea.
3. Someone else add a social element that would compliment the current design.
4. Someone else suggest the artist for the game.
5. Someone else decide who/how will publish this game.
6. Someone else choose a title.
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5. Video Game: Dungeon Master II: The Legend of Skullkeep [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:2117]
Video Game: Dungeon Master II: The Legend of Skullkeep
Jim Parkin
United States
Stow
Ohio
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Let's talk about "RPG-IN-A-BOX."



1. Someone post a possible Hail Mary idea on which they want to add yet another title to this fabled hotness.
2. Someone else post the theme you think would best fit the central mechanic.
3. Someone else add something unique that would compliment the current design.
4. Someone else suggest the artist for the game.
5. Someone else decide who/how will publish this game.
6. Someone else choose a title.
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6. RPG Item: Millennials are KILLING! [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
RPG Item: Millennials are KILLING!
Jim Parkin
United States
Stow
Ohio
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Let's talk about SOCIAL INTERACTION.



1. Someone post a novel approach to social deduction/team interaction on which they want to base their game.
2. Someone else post the gimmick component you think would best fit the central theme.
3. Someone else describe the app integration that would compliment the current design.
4. Someone else suggest the artist for the game.
5. Someone else decide who/how will publish this game.
6. Someone else choose a title.
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7. Video Game: Extreme Fun 5 Top Selling Mac Games [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked] [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Video Game Compilation: Extreme Fun 5 Top Selling Mac Games
Jim Parkin
United States
Stow
Ohio
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You want me to do a Top 5, but you also have no expectation that I'll follow through. Such is life.
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8. Board Game: Noria [Average Rating:6.58 Overall Rank:2212]
Board Game: Noria
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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Werewords x9
DropMix x3
Loopin' Chewie x2
Hypergrid
Noria (new!)
Not Alone
Secret Hitler
Space Freaks

Reviews
I beat Grace to a Not Alone: Exploration review, which I posted straight to BGG.

My tubular review of the 80s set Estrella Drive went up as well at the Review Corner.

Edit - My review of Space Freaks is now up at BGG. I'm particularly proud of the final paragraph, which is a reference that likely no reader will understand but gives me delight none the less.


DropMix
Grace had the fantastic idea of throwing down with these challenge mixes. So, along with Raf, we're all trying to come up with the worst possible mix we can. I think we're going to have the GCL judge if people are interested. Next time we'll have some other sort of challenge (such as make the best possible song using the vocals from "Call Me Maybe" and the drums from "Ms. Jackson" or whatever).

Hypergrid
This was the first time I was able to play this game on the published version. It had a small print run self funded by the publisher and the quality is pretty good. The neoprene mat is great and the large cubes to mark rows/diagonals you've scored on are pretty sweet.

Noria
This impressed. This isn't a game I'm going to personally love, but I did enjoy it and it's one critically I can praise. It appears as though it's a Feld rondel point salad game, but it's not at all. Scoring is pretty interesting and there's some similarities to a stock market game, as you invest within one of four vectors and then players also need to take actions to increase the worth of each vector. You also simultaneously limit the ceiling of another path when you increase one. Pretty nifty and produces some excellent moments of semi-cooperation and outright hacking at each other's valued assets.

The wheel manipulation is cool and most satisfying because it's pretty forgiving and flexible. It definitely has a deck-builder style as you're basically building a deck but can see the entirety of what you've gained as its perfect information. The game can move along at a very snappy pace too as you can preplan your turn and move through it very quickly.

The setting doesn't really come through but it is a pretty game, which helps. This isn't one I will likely keep but I did enjoy my play and we're planning on getting another play or two in soon.


On My Mind
I picked up Mask of Anubis and Santorini cheap from Amazon with a gift card. I really enjoyed my previous plays of Santorini and Mask of Anubis was very cheap (Hasbro version) and I've been wanting to try it for awhile.

Rising Sun should be here Wednesday and it looks like a label was created for Walking Dead: No Sanctuary, which should be here soon as well. I have review copies of Fallen Land, Dinosaur Island, and Firefly Adventures coming.

We're likely playing Dungeon Degenerates this week as well as something else TBD. Rising Sun for sure next week if I can't sneak in a game this weekend.

Matt nominated me as Love Spreader of the Week, which is something I didn't even know existed. It appears to be the hippy version of Geek of the Week, so if you want to ask me any questions at the above link, please do.
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9. Board Game: Keyflower [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:62]
Board Game: Keyflower
Jim Parkin
United States
Stow
Ohio
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Board Game: Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game
Board Game: Roll for the Galaxy
Board Game: Keyflower
Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 2
Board Game: Canasta
Board Game: Patchwork


Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game
Roll for the Galaxy
Keyflower x3
Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 x3
Canasta
Patchwork



Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game
The Rebellion received its comeuppance after Luke Skywalker was swarmed by two TIEs and one TIE/fo. Despite losing both TIEs after that, Poe Dameron was reduced to ash as Omega Ace managed to get a Range 1 triple-critical following the successful execution of his Focus+Target Lock combo. Totally wrecked.

Also, one of the TIE flight stands snapped since the peg base on the miniature was loose. Now the peg base is gone and the plastic is embedded in the miniature. Sad. I'll figure it out. Everything is now sorted in my little quasi-Plano and an A-Wing and HWK are showing up tomorrow.

Roll for the Galaxy
I managed to literally double Anastasia's score after my Develop HARDER strategy came into focus. You dawg, we herd u like to reassign, so we reassigned your reassignment so you can reassign when you reassign. She really likes the Ambition stuff (and I do, too, of course). We both noticed that the box says "Expansion 1"...

Keyflower
This week was Keyflower week! I played The Merchants v. Anastasia and lost by a painful SINGLE POINT (89 v. 90). She went for the "make all the meeples" strategy wherein I simply ran out of actions long before her Autumn and Winter seasons were finished. I had more substantial scoring, but she just had MORE of it all over the place.

Then I walloped James on BGA. Then James walloped me on BGA. Now we're both walloping Joseph on BGA.

Pandemic Legacy: Season 2
We're in September now. Woof.

We played three games back-to-back and won all of them. The map is so big now (spoilers, I guess? yeah right). The plot is very intense. Our conspiracy theories continue to change wildly and attempt to reconcile what we're learning. For what it's worth, the little bits of flavor in this game are really good, and the story being told through this campaign is, I think, a lot richer and more compelling than the flavor of the original game (which was still quite good, but a bit more formulaic).

While our benefits and available abilities continue to improve, the difficulty is getting quite intense. Yes, we won three games in a row (and the first without a SINGLE incident!), but overall, the pressure coming from so many directions (dun dun dunnnn) is brutal. The last two games were extremely close shaves, and our characters are personally quite battered at this point.

Canasta
This is the family card game of choice, as modified by my great aunt some fifty years ago. We had a second Christmas with my mom, dad, and sisters on Friday/Saturday since we were not around in Ohio during the holidays. My sister, Becky, helped me crush my mom and Anastasia. They insist it's not done until we play another hand and compare final collated scores... but we didn't have time to play another hand, so I'm just, you know, conveniently calling it a win in my favor.

Patchwork
I just traded Patchwork for Codenames: Pictures in the most recent US Math Trade. We realized that we prefer to play on the app, despite having logged dozens of plays on each platform. Not a bad trade, in my opinion, and we decided to play Patchwork app-style as a result. I lost by almost thirty points.



On My Mind:

The RPGG New Player Initiative is coming up for 2018. I'm going to run three games.

Our Youth Group overnight event is this Friday, and the related committee (five folks, two of which are Anastasia and I) are really looking forward to it. I'm especially excited for the food challenge we're going to submit all of the middle schoolers to: "do you eat the thing you can see, or the thing you can't see?" I'm sure awkward hilarity will ensue. We also have overwhelming requests for more Avalon and Codenames, and I think I'll PnP a quick version of 12+ player Happy Salmon for the occasion, too.
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10. Board Game: Azul [Average Rating:7.84 Overall Rank:45] [Average Rating:7.84 Unranked]
Board Game: Azul
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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Board Game: Secret Hitler
Board Game: Dinosaur Island
Board Game: Azul


 8   Secret Hitler x2
 8   Dinosaur Island
 N/A   Azul NEW!

Azul -- This is a cute and clever little game. It's easy to learn, there are some interesting decisions to be made, and it plays quickly. I see why it's all the craze right now, and would gladly play again.

Dinosaur Island -- My fifth game of Dinosaur Island, this time with significantly fewer patrons being eaten. Brian Lewis (co-designer) was in town, so we obviously had to play his game with him. I got a little nervous when he purchased the Jeep Ride and some predators, but he decided to not go Full-Nedry. I picked up early Gigas and combined that with some raptors and roller coasters to make my park. This game was interesting because it was the first where I didn't snipe a "place worker for 1 ADV DNA" lab upgrade, and thus it was the first where I had to focus on really mixing the basic DNA together to make ADV DNA. I managed to win but yet only have 5 dinosaurs in my entire park, mostly due to how many VP each were worth and also claiming two of the objectives.

Secret Hitler -- Fascists had a hard time this week. In the first game I was the only fascist that didn't almost immediately out themselves by their behavior. Further, I was the president in a failed mission (to be fair there were three fascist cards dealt to me) and was able to check someone's loyalty card. I picked someone people were hedging on (who I knew was a fascist) but before I could either out him or clear him, that guy accidentally flipped his allegiance card to the table. We decided not to redeal, but it ultimately undercut the strength of my play and led to our eventual loss.

Game #2 I was a liberal and three of us liberals were able to identify each other pretty quickly. That led to the fascists having to strongly vote for/against teams which only solidified our understanding of the teams. When the liberals won, I was able to look across the table and pick out each of the four fascists and guessed which was Hitler.



On my mind:
Marion and I spent the weekend in Detroit, which was the first time we've actually been to 'the big city' since living here. It was nice; we toured a few breweries, shopped the local markets, and generally had a very relaxing weekend after what was a very stressful week at work for me. Of course, our favorite beer of the tours was from Jolly Pumpkin, which is an A2 company, but that's how it goes sometimes.

EDIT: This Christmas I received a bunch of new polyhedral dice, despite my not having played an RPG in years. I asked a few of the other board gamers if they'd be interested and suddenly we have a 6 person group organized. Huh.

EDIT: I forgot to add that i booked my hotel for Geekway. So, that's a thing that's happening. Get hyped!
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11. Board Game: 1817 [Average Rating:8.79 Overall Rank:1637]
Board Game: 1817
Grant Johnson
United States
Cedar Park
Texas
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Board Game: Gloomhaven
Board Game: 1817
Board Game: Exit: The Game – The Polar Station


 9.5   Gloomhaven
 9   1817
 N/A   Exit: The Game – The Polar Station NEW!

Got busy last week, so while I got the list out I didn't get to post much. BGG's troubles also did not help. So here's a 2 week extravaganza.

1817: We got this to the table again, and I'm still super impressed. It is really cool to watch the companies grow and split, and I've not seen anything quite like it in other 18XX games. I got off to a decent start in the auction (I snagged about half the seed money) and avoided the PAR mistakes from the prior games. I then made some stupid choices in train buying that limited my early cash. I recovered by the mid game, and had a lot to invest during the 4 trains. I crippled myself at that point by starting a new company instead of investing in profitable ones and recapitalizing a few of my own. My new company needed to buy a 4 train and not long after a permanent train, and never got off the ground. I closed it and fell out of contention.

Lessons for next time: Starting a company in that period of the 4s is not a great option. Also, don't be afraid to make the jump into a larger company. While it devalues your payouts, it helps the company get loans for a better train and ensures it can pay more frequently.

We've got a group that loves and wants to play it. I suspect we'll see it again in February or March.

Gloomhaven: Scenario went well, even if I had some personal character bad luck. I'm 4 XP from level 2, should happen next session. Our party did take the time to execute two people who slightly annoyed us during our Road and City events- I think I know which way we're headed.

Exit: The Polar Station: Was waiting in a long line on Saturday, brought this. It passed the time well, but it would have been a lot easier to focus if we were at a table.

New game get:
Board Game: Gunslinger

Played at BGG.CON and loved it. Been watching for a copy on eBay and got one for under $50 (watching it, usually sells for about $100-150 depending on condition). It is missing 3 tokens (one of eight roof markers, a delay token, and one of the + player aim counters). Which I think is fairly minor- the only unique one that is a problem is the aim counter, and I think it only presents a problem if we're playing with 7 players and the one with the missing token wants to try to aim pistols at two separate targets.

Also came with a pretty solid copy of The General on Gunslinger.

Painting
Been working on the basic party we're running from Gloomhaven. Making progress, will hopefully have those four finished before our next play session.

On my mind
Taking a step back: Due to family being in town, I was somewhat off my game last week. I ate out every day from Wednesday to Saturday, and I missed workouts on Thursday and Friday. Based on calorie counting I should still be down a pound this week, but I'm worried I've undercounted something as I've gone up. Weigh in goes on Wednesday and its very possibly my body evens it out by then, but I can't help being a little disappointed about it this morning.

Other than the missed walking days, the fitness is still generally good. I got my run in Saturday, I'm now 6/6 on strength training days (though one was a day later than scheduled), and I've got a plan to stay on track this week.

He's a music man
I was off the horn a few days longer than I'd like, but it didn't seem to affect ability. We start rehearsal on Thursday, and based on the practice I did yesterday I think I'll be in good shape for it.

I've also laid down some recordings for my new project. Should hopefully be ready early next month.

Phantastes
Been reading this book by George McDonald. It's definitely strange- I go through a lot of love/hate with it. I very much enjoyed a few of the stories (especially the tale of Cosmo of Prague), but it feels like it wanders aimlessly too much. But I should finish it this week, and move into some of the non-fiction I snagged over break.

I'm also reading The War of the Jewels right now, and enjoying it quite well.

Football is stupid
Rough being a Vikings fan.
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12. Board Game: Raiders of the North Sea [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:85] [Average Rating:7.80 Unranked]
Board Game: Raiders of the North Sea
Joseph
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Board Game: Raiders of the North Sea
Board Game: Camel Up
Board Game: Colt Express
Board Game: Trajan
Board Game: Sentient
Board Game: Bruges


 N/A   Raiders of the North Sea NEW!
 8   Camel Up
 6   Colt Express
 6   Trajan
 8   Sentient
 6   Bruges

Camel Up - 4 Player game of totally guessing wrong and betting on what was probably going to happen didn’t pan out.

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Colt Express - 6 Player game of total chaos. I was awful. I literally ended the game with no dollars, and my last hand I drew looked like this:
From gallery of jshufelt


Raiders of the North Sea - While I wanted to play this game, I didn’t want to play it the night I did.. But I got roped in. The game is good. The place-a-worker, take-a-worker is a very fun twist that totally makes it feel different than any other worker placement game.
My impression of the game is that a lot of the cards have quite an edge. The game is probably just a bit too heavy for me to enjoy the Take That! The Avenger card can fuck right off. Though I might be speaking from a stance of sour grapes on that. The card’s crew ability states that if it dies in combat, you can choose a player and they have to remove one of their crew members.

Five Reasons why I hate the Avenger.


1. It takes 1-4 coins, depending on the crew member, and over one action to get someone added into their crew (An action to draw 2+ cards, another action to add a crew member). I didn’t see any card have nearly the same impact. Most were “lose a provision” or “lose a silver” - this is basically “lose an action and 1-4 silver”.

2. The number of crew members is a gate for raids. To raid harbors, you need 2-3 crew members. The next tier, outposts, need 3. The next tier, Monasteries need 3-4 crew members. And the final tier, Fortresses, need 4-5 crew members. If you get behind in crew members, you get screwed as the other players are able to raid quicker. Lower tiered raiding locations can get quickly taken out by other players, forcing you to need even more crew members to get to the next tier, forcing you to take even more actions drawing cards, getting coins, playing crew, and getting provisions, while other players are just focusing on getting provisions and plundering.

3. Crew members give you boosts, making it easier to do things. Someone with 4 crew members will have an easier time raiding, getting resources, hiring crew, moving up on tracks or getting bonus points. When you have 1 or 2, you see the snowball get real.

4. Crew members also give raiding strength. Starting with the Outposts raids on, if you meet a strength threshold when you attack, you get points. And generally speaking, the higher your strength, the more points you get.

5. When the person who is probably leading has the Avenger, and picks you.. The one with the fewest crew members and is already behind, you will consider flipping the table. It took what was a challenging hill to climb, and turned it into a cliff I had to scale.

I still enjoyed the game. If I ever bought Raiders of the North Sea, which I do think is largely a good and fun game, I would strongly consider burying the Avengers. I do think there is questionable balance with the cards. The scale power of the cards become more/less powerful with more/fewer players. But despite these perceived flaws, I think the game is fun.

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Bruges - First game I’ve seen where the the canals weren’t really used. I struggled to get majority tokens. I got a canal in the first round, and flipped over the people in the last. I managed to to get a bunch of Royalty cards down, which earned me a great money engine to lay down some good end-game scoring.

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Trajan - It has been so many years since I last played it. We got confused with the paragraph structure of the rulebook which led to military actions being super OP. I still had fun, but the game’s drama was totally destroyed as the winner (who just lined up military actions over and over) won by about 100 points.

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Sentient - Still having a lot of fun with this, but my Sentient hunger is feeling satiated. Decisions are starting to become more obvious. Still a great, clever, and overpriced game. (Funny. Those are probably the same adjectives to describe the early home robotics.)

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OMM:

1. I'm a bit overwhelmed with a lot of things in life. I need to figure out some things to sacrifice. I just am having a hard time figuring out what.

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2. Kim is still throwing up a lot. It's calmed down a bit with some medications, but the poor woman has so many pills to take now, she ends up gagging on them and throwing them up half the time. Nothing makes me feel smaller or more helpless than seeing my pregnant wife struggle. I can only try and do the small things ahead of her.

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3. We try to do a family night once per week. Usually on the weekend. My mother-in-law started watching Breaking Bad mid-marathon. We decided to start the show from the beginning for family night. Rose couldn't get enough. We plowed through four episodes without stop. God, this show is so good.

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4. My best friend told me last night that he went into anaphylactic shock twice on Saturday. His blood pressure dropped so far, that the paramedics told him he was moments from dying. He's doing better now. Poor guy has so many allergies, it's hard to know exactly what caused it.
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13. Board Game: Uchronia [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:2695]
Board Game: Uchronia
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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Board Game: Uchronia
Board Game: King's Road
Board Game: For Sale
Board Game: Coloretto
Board Game: Azul
Board Game: Haggis


Uchronia
King's Road
For Sale
Coloretto x3
Azul x2
Haggis

No new games this past week, which is a first in a long, long time!

Quick hits on the old stuff...

- Uchronia was in the ding and dent section of my FLGS AND they were having a 40% off sale for everything on the shelf. For that price (and because some in my game group liked it), I succumbed to my usual bad instincts and picked it up (again). It's not quite as bad as I remember it, it went faster than previous plays and I felt like I had a better handle on it. I'm going to cause some monocle-popping and say that it is better than Mottainai. Come at me!

- James' "Wrong-Way Peachfuzz" Rules Screw-Up Corner: So it turns out that final scoring in King's Road involves *all* regions not scored in the final round, not just up to the King's Castle. This made the final round much more interesting, as there was some legitimate interest in what a good final play was given the seating order. Unfortunately, it proved to be the only interesting thing going in the game, even though it chugged by at a good pace even with a full complement of 5p.

- Still Awesome: For Sale, Azul, and the 10th Anniversary Edition of Coloretto (that has some fantastic updated art).

- Haggis remains a difficult beast for me. I genuinely like the game, but I think it's only going to get to the table with player(s) of similar skill-level/familiarity with the game. It's too unwieldy for newbs (especially if they haven't played climbing games before) and has a sharp learning curve. Playing to the recommended point total is about right in order to even out the inherent chaos in a ladder-climber, but it seems to take a lot more time than it feels it should.
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14. Board Game: Save The World [Average Rating:3.84 Unranked]
Board Game: Save The World
Philip Newman
United States
Plano
Texas
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Plays since January 15, 2018

 10.   Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 x3
 N/A   Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords – Adventure Deck 6: Spires of Xin-Shalast NEW!

Pathfinder report was on last week's list...

Pandemic Legacy

We finally wrapped up our 4 player campaign on Friday... last report was on GCL Mafia 353...

Game 14:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
November


Spoiler (click to reveal)
Until our previous game, we had kept COdA well contained, with only Madrid and Cairo turned Faded outside of yellow. A Madrid outbreak at the very end of October added 4, bringing us to 18 Faded cities to deal with.

Obvious choices for roles this game were the Operations Expert (Casey, to build Vaccine factories) and Immunologist (to be efficient with Vaccines; I played this one). As usual, the Dispatcher (Adam) and Medic (Aerial) rounded out our roster, with their usual players.

This one went pretty smoothly. We started with all black and blue cards, and were able to cure and eradicate black very quickly (as is often the case), and blue a little later. That made things easy for the Medic to keep under control in red. Meanwhile, I picked up a bunch of vaccines and started cutting off escape routes for COdA out of yellow, while Casey and Adam tried to keep Africa under control (pain to get into, with two collapsing and two rioting, and since Khartoum started with three faded we used on of our roadblocks there which made it difficult as well).

The turn before I would have been able to vaccinate Santiago (our City Zero), we drew it as an epidemic and it immediately had an outbreak, which turned it to collapsing (and I had no yellow to get in). Boo. But otherwise, we actually extended the game a full round after we had the red cure in hand, so that we could get as many orange stickers on the board as possible; we ended up with only 3 unvaccinated faded left - Johannesburg, Santiago, and Lima.

We also sabotaged the last two military bases for good measure, completing all four objectives.

Upgrades: Vaccine Factories in Los Angeles and Delhi.


Game 15:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Adam took the Operations Expert in this one, and handled the remaining faded quickly (with the win bonus going toward starting with doses in Delhi). We also had a pretty good start on the search (with me also cleaning up as the Medic and Aerial feeding me and Casey - Dispatcher - cards with the Researcher).

Black (Actually Just Indigestion) blew up rather suddenly at one point, hitting the epidemic card and then a chain outbreak in the same infection phase, and I commented that it would be funny if after so many eradications it was Black that killed us in December. We spent a few actions dealing with that, which we could have used for getting cards in the right places otherwise.

Santiago also had an outbreak just before Adam could vaccinate it, and City Zero finally fell.

It wasn't cubes or outbreaks that killed us though - it was the search. We had pairs of cards ready for every color but yellow, but had spent too many yellow cards and only had two available (with one still in the deck), one with Aerial and one with Casey. It wouldn't have been a problem for Casey to get it if that's all she needed to do, but we had Adam's hand set up with two blacks and two reds, and since Adam went after Casey, Casey couldn't play the yellows yet.

Counting cards left in the deck, we would have been ok if the last Epidemic was at the bottom (this would have gotten us back to Casey's turn, and she could get the yellow and a blue from Aerial to play both pairs); we spent a lot of time trying to figure out if we could somehow get both yellow cards to me (I had the blues), or a blue and yellow to Aerial, but kept ending up one action short.

In the end, it didn't matter - we drew the Epidemic after Adam's turn, so it never got to me.

Upgrades: Forgot to even take them, there wasn't much useful at this point.


Game 16:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Only the search left to do, other than keeping cubes from killing us. We swapped out the Operations Expert for the Scientist (purely for relationship reasons), and ended up with Adam as Dispatcher, me as Medic, Aerial as Scientist, and Casey as Researcher (all starting-game roles, though we had used the Generalist instead of Researcher in January).

Early on, it looked like we might be in trouble, getting stuck with no black cards for a while. Then we started having really good luck with the way the cards fell, and completed the search before the fourth Epidemic (though we were prepared with blues if it had come early). The board wasn't too bad either, since we were mostly just cleaning up cubes until we drew those first two blacks.

Final scores:

8 Early wins, 3 Late wins, 1 Loss (11-5 by games) = 380
1 Fallen, 3 Collapsing, 17 Rioting, 27 Normal = 172
Maximum Bonus = 280
Total = 832


Lots of fun, and I think we did a lot of clever things in this campaign to save games (2 player is a lot less complicated in terms of getting cards passed around and dealing with problem areas). Just wish it hadn't been so spaced out - we started this before Luke was born, and he'll be 2 on Saturday.

Aerial and I will be starting Season 2 as soon as we wrap up Pathfinder (hopefully this week?).
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15. Board Game: Escape the Dark Castle [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:1279]
Board Game: Escape the Dark Castle
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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Board Game: Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire
Board Game: Escape the Dark Castle
Board Game: DropMix


Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire
Escape the Dark Castle NEW!
DropMix x2 NEW!

Shadespire

Tim came over, so we put this back on the table before finishing some painting. He took the Bloodreavers w/ my deck (who he had never played with) and put them into battle against my Sepulchral Guard (skeletons). I'd never played with them or the deck either. It was a fantastic game. He won 14-13, and it went back and forth. I had a great first round and jumped to an early lead and was able to put some upgrades out. Then he knocked me back a bit in round 2. Going into Round 3 it was anyone's game and I made a colossal error in forgetting that you can only move once and not appreciating the speed of his inspired dudes. It was close, but I really set myself up poorly in that round.

Skeletons are an odd army. They hit hard enough against the reavers but it would have been much tougher against the stronger armies. Their numbers are difficult to bring to bear, but once someone is surrounded it's a lot of pain. I need to rework this deck a little.

After the match we went to the basement and tim finished his minis. I wrapped up the paint job on the guard a couple days later.

From gallery of captainraffi

From gallery of captainraffi


Escape the Dark Castle

Quick 30 minute or so co-op game. I played solo, controlling 2 characters. It's very simple, and reading the rules I wasn't quite sure how it would go. You've been imprisoned in some sort of dark hell-castle, and are trying to escape. You've got to face challenges by way of a large deck of castle cards illustrated a la Cave Evil. Your character has some basic stats represented on a custom die and you resolve those 15 challenges through a series of rolls of 1d6. Combat has some extra stuff and there are ways to modify your dice, but a lot of the game is just rolling the die.

However man it was a good game to play over my morning coffee. I ultimately don't end up playing many fillers but this is once I would actually play before game night kicked off. I wish it fit in a Quiver. There is a lot of opportunity to push your luck or make decisions on how much you want to lean into that die, and with two characters there was also some solid tactical decisions to make regarding resting and not resting in combat. The art and dice fed the atmosphere just enough, and there's a big variety of Castle Cards so that every castle plays through differently. I had a good time with it.

DropMix

Let's just say I'm glad I can depend on articles at Geek & Sundry to fund this card collection craze.

On my Mind

Started swim classes with Raffi again, and they're a lot of fun. He continues to be obsessed with Star Wars so I continue to get to watch a lot of that. I continue to wish that Legion was coming with droid armies and wookies and stuff like that.
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16. Board Game: Music Mania [Average Rating:4.91 Unranked]
Board Game: Music Mania
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Codenames 6
DropMix 4
Strike 3
Fast Forward: FLEE 2 NEW!
Arcane Academy 1
Bärenpark 1
Caverna: The Cave Farmers 1
Charterstone 1 NEW!
Sagrada 1

---

DropMix: I'm using the Raf method of logging once per session/day since it's too hard to know how many times I played or only log if I play one of the game modes. I mostly want to keep track of how much I play. This was all freestyle, which has become more fun since I went on card-buying spree. I have more packs coming this week, which will finish out the collection. To make a game out of it and ensure we get our money's worth, Charlie and I (and Raf?) are going to do weekly challenges. As Charlie mentioned, this week is going to be worst mix, affectionately dubbed "Audio Bukkake".

Fast Forward: FLEE: I really liked the idea of the game: no rules, learn as you go. What really happens is that you just spend most of the time reading cards and rules as they come out. Because the deck is ordered a certain way, the game feels very prescribed. Sure, there are a few choices as to which card to play when, but I couldn't shake the general feeling that we were allowed to win the first time and then slammed into a losing wall the second. I don't have a lot of interest in going back to this and trying to beat the game via several head-to-wall-bashings.

Charterstone: Another "read the rules as you go" game. Because I watched the Watch It Played video and the actual turns seemed simple enough (place a dude or take all your dudes back), I decided to try this with my parents. I did some pre-game prep, opening cards and getting things ready to try to make it go smoothly. Although my parents have played similarly complex games (e.g., Lords of Waterdeep), they do struggle with new games some times. They grasped onto the turns easily enough, but had a lot of questions about buildings and how objectives worked. They did start getting the hang of it when BAM! A new crate comes out and changes the rules and I'm frantically trying, on the spot, to figure out what it means while trying to take my turns and answer questions. So, it was a bumpy play and I flubbed a few rules/card/sticker draws. Overall, they liked it and look forward to trying it again.

---

On My Mind:

School starts this week.

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17. Video Game: Music Stomp [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
From gallery of BoardGameGeek
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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From gallery of ecargo


This week's challenge is for who could make the worst mix.

Grace: https://www.dropbox.com/s/gayqirwei7t8i8v/Worst%20Mix%20-%20...

Charlie: https://www.dropbox.com/s/b52ypu30n5fsn4b/Worse%20Mix%20-%20...

Raf: https://www.dropbox.com/s/rj6ipwyi77uwb1p/Worst%20Mix%20-%20...

Poll
Whose mix is worse?
      6 answers
Poll created by ecargo


Edit: Posted Raf's and changed the poll. Charlie won against me.

Old poll for posterity's sake:

Poll
Whose mix is the worst? You're voting for which is less of a song and more of an assault on your ears.
      6 answers
Poll created by ecargo
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18. Board Game: Werewords [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:779]
Board Game: Werewords
Chris Ferejohn
United States
Mountain View
California
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Board Game: Enchanted Forest
Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 2
Board Game: Gloomhaven
Board Game: Tramways
Board Game: Shark
Board Game: Papà Paolo
Board Game: Hanabi
Board Game: Werewords


Enchanted Forest x2

A couple more games of this kids game. It's really held Alistair's interest, and he even tried to teach it to his cousins.

Pandemic Legacy: Season 2

We beat early May. No spoilers, but June looks like a bear. I will agree with the sentiment that the story here is much cooler than Season 1s.

Gloomhaven

Our second incredibly close run game in the last 3 sessions. I basically ended up soloing the last 5 mobs as everyone else was dead or taking a final long rest to act as meat shield. This was our first game at level 2. We also got to open Envelope B (which happened a lot faster once we read more carefully and realized there was actually a *reason* to donate to the temple.

Papà Paolo NEW!

First of a few games played at a game day on Saturday. A bit of a mechanic salad with tile placement, delivery, worker-placement, and Amun-Re style simultaneous auctions. I didn't *love* it, but would certainly be willing to play it again. In a 4 player game, 4 of us tied at 27 points and I was 3rd in the money tiebreaker.

Tramways

Got to play my second full game of this. 3 players again (I feel like 4 would be better). We ended up with a good variety of passenger refill tiles and as a result the game didn't end up feeling all that tight – I think also we pulled starting tiles with fairly large numbers of parcels. I managed to leverage some big 4-length Luxury deliveries to victory. It feels like getting a few big luxury deliveries is pretty key to this game.

Hanabi

Played a 4-player game of this with one very experienced player. Unfortunately 2 of the tiles were sitting in the expansion box, which we only realized at the end, so, yeah, we lost.

Shark NEW!

This was the original version (I think there was a reprint that messed with the rules in some way?). A fair amount of luck in the dice rolling, and we ended up in a weird state where everyone divested most of their shares towards the end as most colors were "at risk" - not sure if that was an oddity of our game or how it usually plays out. Some pretty cool ideas here, though I think Acquire is still a better game all told.

Werewords x3 NEW!

So, yeah, everyone who said the incentives lined up better here than insider were totally right (not that I disagreed, I just hadn't played it yet). Also the app makes being the Mayor a lot easier. I'm not totally sold on the Mayor having a random role though – Mayor-Seer just seems annoying. Mayor-Werewolf *could* be fun, but I could also see it being frustrating. I may just play with the Mayor winning with the villagers going forward. We played with 7 once and 8 twice. The villagers won every time and the werewolf really seemed like they had a rough task. That may have been due to using Easy words though - will probably step up to medium next time (anyone have any custom word sets they'd recommend?).

OMM

Finished Brave New World 2 weeks ago, then went to the library and checked out a couple more books and got back on the reading train with a vengeance, reading all of City of Brass (https://www.amazon.com/City-Brass-Novel-Daevabad-Trilogy/dp/...) in like 3 days. It's a little YA-ish (reading/maturity level maybe akin to the last couple of Harry Potter books?), but I really enjoyed the will thought out character motivations. While we had characters we sympathized with, the characters who did "evil" things in the book all seemed to have well thought out motivations and believed they were doing what had to be done. I will definitely be reading the next book in the trilogy at some point. Hopefully it holds up.

Saw the Guy Richie King Arthur Movie last week. It's....pretty much what you expect, so if that seems entertaining, worth a watch.
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19. Board Game: Cold Turkey [Average Rating:4.04 Unranked]
Board Game: Cold Turkey
Dave K
United States
Austin
Texas
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Last week work was crazy and then I got sick and blah blah it sucked.

I had a small amount of gaming before getting sick and on one other day.


Shogi x a bunch
Scythe x2

Shogi is a really interesting and intriguing game in the Chess family. It is both more aggressive and less aggressive than normal Chess due to the way you can place captured pieces back onto the board for your own use.

My wife has been watching a TV show about a young man who is a budding Shogi professional and it got me re-interested in the game.

If you like abstracts - and, well, Chess - it's a very thought-provoking game in that vein. The biggest problem in the USA is likely finding a board, finding pieces you get used to using (traditional pieces are all in kanji and it takes some getting used to), and then finding someone that is interested in learning.

But it's worth the effort!


Scythe I'm well overdue on just trying the damn thing already. It's good. I think it's overrated (it doesn't deserve to be in the top 10 of all-time) but it's also better than what the it's-cool-to-hate-it-crowd describe it as.

I like the board upgrading and how you can gain abilities that give you small bonuses based on what your neighbors do. The former might be the most interesting thing about the game in terms of new mechanics - it just works well. Good stuff. The latter is admittedly a bit of a cheap trick (I think it was partially done just to make you watch what other players are doing more closely), but it works well enough.

The combat is very bland (but I was able to leverage it well, so ... I guess it's okay? ). Glad it's not dice-driven though.

I felt like each faction was pretty useful minus the one that is incentivized to be super aggressive. They seem the most limited given that combat is very expensive to pursue.

I'll play this again - maybe even ask for it - but I don't quite have a final rating. Initial rating is in the 7-8 range.

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