GCL Mafia 379: Reverse GCL List
Travis Dean
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Welcome to GCL Mafia Division's weekly geeklist!

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)

GCL Mafia Members:
• Please add an item to represent your gaming life for the week.
• 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.

Current Roster: (next poster in bold)
Dolus
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1. Board Game: Reverse Charades [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:3727] [Average Rating:6.71 Unranked]
Board Game: Reverse Charades
Travis Dean
United States
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CA
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This week will be a little reverse. Instead of me asking questions, each of you will post an entry asking me a question.
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2. Board Game: 6 nimmt! [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:602]
Board Game: 6 nimmt!
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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Top 5

I hear a lot of people talking about movies lately, and MoviePass has been getting a lot of attention as well. Both for being a really great deal, and for no longer offering that amazing deal (currently 4 movies/month instead of 1/day).

So two Top 5 questions for you:

1. What are the Top 5 movies you've seen this year? (New movies in theater, movies that are new to you but not necessarily new, or movies you've re-watched)

2. What are the Top 5 movies you're looking forward to watching?
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3. Board Game: Paths of Glory [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:142]
Board Game: Paths of Glory
Grant Johnson
United States
Cedar Park
Texas
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Combat Results Tables: Great game mechanic, or the Greatest game mechanic?
 
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4. Board Game: Brilliant Lances [Average Rating:5.55 Overall Rank:15979]
Board Game: Brilliant Lances
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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Is this a brilliant idea for a list or merely a symptom of laziness?

External image
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5. Board Game: The New Science [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:3913]
Board Game: The New Science
Dave K
United States
Austin
Texas
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List Question for Mr. List Poster:

How would you introduce someone to the hobby today? There's so many games - many of which have had the "good gateway game" label slapped on them - that it seems hard to pick. Tried and true? New hotness? A mixture?
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6. Board Game: Peer Review [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Peer Review
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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What kind of review formats do you prefer/consume (i.e., written, audio, or video)?

What kind of review structures do you prefer (e.g,. unboxings, full rules explanations, overviews, impressions)?
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7. Board Game: Dragon Dice [Average Rating:5.87 Overall Rank:8042]
Board Game: Dragon Dice
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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List question for Travis...

Dragon Dice: Great Game, or Greatest Game?
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8. Board Game: Sidereal Confluence: Remastered Edition [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:539]
Board Game: Sidereal Confluence: Trading and Negotiation in the Elysian Quadrant
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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The Chameleon x4
Werewords x4
Fantasy Realms x2
Heroes of Land, Air & Sea
Jump Drive
Mansions of Madness: Second Edition – Sanctum of Twilight: Expansion (new!)
Rising 5: Runes of Asteros (new!)
Sidereal Confluence: Remastered Edition
World Championship Russian Roulette

Articles/Reviews
I'm a bit giddy over Fantasy Realms and didn't want to hold off writing about it. I feature it this week at Player Elimination.


We had an unexpected fifth player show up last minute, which I'm always happy to see people but I was also a little bummed I hadn't taken the time to read the John Company rules yet, as it would have been the perfect opportunity.

We piddled around a bit as no one wanted to commit to anything. I wanted to play Clockwork Wars but my buddy Aaron isn't so hot on it. We eventually settled on Sidereal Confluence, which we hadn't played in a few months. I'm not very good at this one but I absolutely adore it. It's one of my favorite negotiation games and it's just brilliant in all regards. What you're doing is pretty much the same thing in every single game (trading cubes and powering engines), but it feels so different depending on the species you play. It's such a wild and engrossing ride.

I don't normally care much about tabletop day, but we ended up making an effort to get in another game of Heroes of Land, Air & Sea so help me review it faster, as well as the fact that my entire group really enjoys it. I enjoyed this play even better than my previous two and was able to explore a new-to-me faction, the Orcs.

I still think the prolonged end game is a problem (we may agree to a 9 turn limit in the future), but it's not enough of a problem to really overly harm the experience.

Rising 5 was a disappointment. It appears a neat-ish deduction game where you're trying to figure out which symbols belong in this central pattern and in which slots. But to swap symbols out and reposition them you need to defeat enemies that pop up in a few locations of the board.

It slots into that Pandemic weight and feels a bit similar-ish in how you're basically moving around and dealing with threats, although the end result is different. It was brutally boring with four players. There's not enough decision space and it's not complicated enough to really faciliate much discussion. Because the results of your guessing with the puzzle are presented in the app, invariably one or two players get invested in that aspect as we can't all huddle around the phone very easily.

I may enjoy it more at 2 player but I don't know. I may get my buddy to bring it back for a couple more plays so I can fully suss it out and give it a review.

I'm in the middle of a solo game of the new Mansions of Madness: 2nd Edition expansion, The Sanctum of Twilight. This scenario is very interesting as it takes place in two parts, with two distinct locations. The first features moving floats that creep across the board and it was a fun investigative experience. I'm planning on tackling part two tonight.

On My Mind
First off, I need to mention Jim. This awesome dude sent me one of his specialty binders, crammed to the gills with Heroes of Aturi Cluster. The pieces are fantastic and I'm 100% sure I could not have done such a magnificent job (there's these multi-piece magnetic turrets which will make your eyes water).

I have a huge collection of X-Wing, which has been a problem lately. We haven't played it in awhile and I basically decided to stop buying/reviewing new ships. I adore the game as it's a top 10er for me, but it's difficult to just whip out when it's so massive of an undertaking (I see that you see what I did there). So I'm ecstatic for the opportunity to kind of return to the roots of the game and field some rebel ships blowing up some Imperial heathens. I'm hoping to get to this in a week or two, as I need to finish some other solo obligations first.

My review queue is loosening up a tad - the only unplayed games I need to still get to are Grimslingers, the new edition of High Society, and Gaslands. I'm still working on some more Gaslands cars at the moment.

I've been struggling a bit with my monthly column at Tabletop Gaming as I thought it would be much easier to find an "Indie game" to feature each month. Writing 500 words is easier than using the restroom, but the run on Indie games is getting harder. I asked on twitter and was deluged with suggestions, but most that actually qualify (i.e. NOT Gloomhaven), just looked blank or uninteresting. I've been going back to old waters for this reason featuring Bemused in my latest and probably going to Techno Bowl next.

My Marvel binge has been positive. I think that watching several films in a row has expanded my appreciation a tad, as I see where some of the stories connect and it feels just slightly that there's a budding purpose. I was disappointed in Civil War (kind of boring and it felt like it actually lacked stakes), but I did enjoy Antman more than I thought I would as well as Age of Ultron. None of these were as good as Winter Soldier but what can you do.

Oh - and forgot to mention I re-watched/finished Guardians of the Galaxy. It was fine. I'm not a big Chris Pratt fan.
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9. Board Game: 18USA [Average Rating:8.63 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.63 Unranked]
Board Game: 18USA
Dave K
United States
Austin
Texas
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Only one game this week but it was a big biiiiiig one - and I got to game with some of my normal group again YAY!

So 18USA is an expansion to 1817 that adds a new map, new private companies, and a few new rules, but keeps the majority of the rules and such intact. 1817 is already a huge game so 18USA is pretty monstrous.

I really like the variable setup in it. You assign different metropolises each game (which are valuable cities, so everyone is encouraged to build in/near them), have a different set of private companies available (some of which are very powerful, others not-so-much), and have different incentive tokens (things that make some of the out-of-the-way cities more attractive to build in). So there's a lot that changes the map, but as normal for an 18xx, the randomness steps aside once the game starts.

The group has played 1817 a few times when I couldn't join, so they had a leg up on me in using the stock shorting mechanism to fund companies, and I saw it used quite a bit. There was one turn mid-game where like 8 new companies started up. Very neat stuff to see.

Overall, would definitely play again. I mean, the core is 1817, which is one of the best 18xx games ever. So really, unless they totally screwed something up, it was going to be good.


OMM

We haven't gone to see Avengers IW yet - we're going to be waiting a few weeks. Odds of us getting spoiled by then seem good but we're going to try to avoid spoilers regardless. I might try to watch a couple of the movies I missed, but not sure if that'll actually happen. Would probably prioritize Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy.

Still playing Granblue Fantasy. It's been a lovely evening distraction for my wife and I.

Supposedly the new God of War for PS4 is amazing. I wasn't that interested until I saw how much it had changed - now I'm thinking about getting it. I have some time since the current print run seems gone, but Sony is making more.
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10. 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: 18USA


 N/A   18USA (None all-time)

18USA: Gaming with Dave for the first time in a while. The big company start during Stock Round #4 had actually happened in our last 1817 game. I was the big instigator this time though- 4 of the 8 companies that we founded that round came from me, and most of the money came from shorting existing companies. I went into the next operating round with 6 companies, all of which immediately bought permanent trains. If anyone wants to know more I can provide more details- this was the huge leap forward we made in understanding this style of game.

1817 is a brilliant game. I'm not sure all the bells and whistles 18USA added really make it better, but the bones of the system are pretty strong.

New Game Get: Still waiting this week. My order upgraded to shipped on Friday (was moved to "Packing" two weeks ago today). I'm imagining a mob of giant snails packing the order. But it'll be here, and then it can sit unplayed for a while...sigh...

UPDATE: UPS has sent notification of delivery for tomorrow! Games apparently left Addison, IL yesterday...

UPDATE #2: New games have arrived

Board Game: Roads to Gettysburg II: Lee Strikes North
Board Game: Atlanta Is Ours


I'll probably crow more about having these in next week's list.


On my mind:
Exercising discipline: Due to a concert, Infinity War and all-day 18USA, I've really thrown off my schedule for nutrition and fitness. My running day was out of whack and I've been shorting sleep too much. Hoping to fix that this week- I don't think I'm reversing gains yet, but I'm preventing progress and that's not good. I did get in 4.5 miles of running (broken into two segments) Sunday, and I also lifted this weekend. And the eating was never out of control, so that is good too.

Recording project: Will hopefully appear on facebook this week. I need to be diligent tonight.

Heavy research starting: I've got trips to several civil war sites planned for the summer. I took a break from it the last couple of months because it was far out, but I think this week I dive back into preparation. I'm going to be a tour guide not just for the wife but for her parents and brother, and I want to have my act together and be really knowledgeable. At least down to the division commander level in key areas.
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11. Board Game: Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire – The Farstriders [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire – The Farstriders
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire
Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire – Magore's Fiends
Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire – The Farstriders

Shadespire

This play was from before the new baby, but I hadn't posted so here we go. Popped over to Tim's house to try out the new expansions. We didn't play with optimized (or even built) decks, we just threw shit together to see how the factions would play and really enjoyed both. Tim wasn't planning to grab them but I think he got excited about them once seeing them in action. I still really dig this game and am glad to have a regular partner to keep playing. There's a tournament next weekend; probably won't be able to go but just in case I'm rattling a list around in my head.

On my mind

Baby's here! The last week was pretty crazy. A stomach bug tore its way through our house, hitting everyone except for Katie. I got it literally the morning we were heading to the hospital and by the afternoon the nurses sent me home and wouldn't let me stay overnight because of how rough I looked. Cleared up the next day and I was able to sleep at the hospital for the rest of our time there.

The delivery went very smooth. It ended up being a C-section, as the doctors didn't want the pregnancy going any later than 1 week beyond the due date. No trip to the NICU this time which was great, and Katie's recovery has been much faster. We think it's because she didn't labor for 6 hours before hand and we've had a lot less stress all around. Javier (we call him Javi) has been a champ. Eats like a horse, so much so that the pediatrician canceled his 2 week check up because he is already back up to birth weight. This also means he's (mostly) giving us 3-4 hour stretches of sleep already. This is game changing. We're still tired, and emotional when he won't fall asleep at 2 am but once he DOES fall asleep we get some rest. Raffi seems to enjoy having him around. He's very sweet and gentle around the baby, and concerned about him. He's started acting out a little bit but never around Javi, just towards us which I think is about as good as we can hope for.

I'm back at work this week as my mom is here, but I stayed home all of last week. We're much more relaxed, and because the recovery has been better it was a really nice week. Katie and I went out to eat, we took Raffi out for mini golf just the 3 or us (Katie's parents were here), and I even got some time to paint and Katie did some baking. It really has been smooth so far.
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12. Board Game: SeaFall [Average Rating:6.35 Overall Rank:2323]
Board Game: SeaFall
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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Seafall
Mage Knight: Board Game

Seafall
We played our 7th game of Seafall last week. This was also our fastest game of Seafall. For non-spoiler details, we were all hanging around 5 glory, and the player in second took an action which allowed him to claim 2 milestones at once and gained 11 glory with one action. Enough to end the game. The other three of us had 5, 6, and 7 glory, which means our absent player earned 4 glory.

In our next game, we only have 2 unclaimed milestones, and virtually no idea how to achieve either one (I have guesses, but they won't be easy and will be somewhat random). So our next game will probably be a slow one.

Something else that's made things go slow is we have a few advisors who are really good at what they do, but I've lost my good advisor, and there's so many bad advisors that now it takes a long time for anybody good to come out. So doing challenging endeavors is more difficult as well.

Now for spoilers. Inside the first spoiler tag I'll describe what the spoilers revolve around. Actual spoilers inside the embedded spoiler tag.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
I believe the boxes we have unlocked are 1, 2, and 4. These spoilers concern colonies and the Isle of Patmos.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
The player who earned so much glory did so by attacking the City of Ker on the Isle of Patmos. After losing dice, he had 8 dice and rolled 6 successes, exactly enough to succeed. 1 glory for the endeavor, 1 for an active colony, 4 for the milestone to conquer the city, and that was his 3rd colony so I think 4 glory for 3 active colonies. I don't remember what brought him to 11 glory, maybe he got a free upgrade or something as a reward. I can't recall.

Spoilers about what our 2 current milestones are and my thoughts on how to achieve them.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Our last 2 milestones are
1. Find the Tomb of the Ancients
2. Use a map with a funky symbol to find some island (not the Isle of Patmos)
Here's spoilers on what I think needs to happen.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
1. Explore the skull sites. These are already difficult to explore, and we've explored a significant number of them. I think we have 1 or 2 left before we have to explore more islands (2 remaining to be discovered by normal means).
2. I'm guessing box 3 has more research cards which has map pieces to find this island? There's nothing in the current research cards for this, and we're convinced that the 4 map pairs currently in the research cards are all going to basically give us ship upgrades. I got one for hold (meh for me), and I have 1.5 more pairs. The other top player has 1.5 pairs. Unfortunately, his complete map pair is useless because he has to visit a site that doesn't exist, yet.


Mage Knight: Board Game
We played co-op blitz scenario. Unfortunately, I tend to burn through my cards quickly, so I had to try to slow down more to let my ally get some action in.

There were 2 cities we had to take out. 1 with 3 monsters and 1 with 4. The scenario is also 2 days and 2 nights. Early in day 1, like the first turn, I killed 2 of the 3 in the first city, and then killed the last monster in the second turn. I also managed to quickly heal myself of any wounds I'd take. Unfortunately the 2nd city was far away and difficult to reach, but when I leveled up, I got a card that made all terrain movement 2. I was able to draw that at the start of night and sprinted in one turn to be adjacent to the city. I couldn't come up with any way to face the 4 enemies given what they had, so we wanted to do a combined assault. My ally said he was going to need some time to get there, so I basically spent the entire night waiting, and burning cards to get my best cards in my hand. Then, on the penultimate turn, he says "Oh, I can't get there." Well, that was what we were counting on. So I go in to face all 4 alone, slay 3 of them, take 5 wounds of 6 hand size, and then take another wound as an effect of one of my attacks to slay a monster. So I took 3 out and left 1 alive. I re-rolled a mana die to green which allowed my ally to get adjacent, and "Oh, I can't actually kill anything." Well, my last turn was spent discarding a wound because my hand was full. So we lost.

So it was fun, and this was my first non-tutorial game with others. It was awesome, and I enjoy the game, and would play it again, but I still feel it's too much math and busy work to calculate optimal moves and all that. So I don't feel bad about getting rid of my copy.
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13. Board Game: Twilight Imperium (Fourth Edition) [Average Rating:8.69 Overall Rank:5]
Board Game: Twilight Imperium (Fourth Edition)
Chris Ferejohn
United States
Mountain View
California
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Played this week:

Gloomhaven

We got to play with our two new characters, Triple-Spear (me) and Circles. Triple-Spear class is...kind of hilarious. I'm not sure how long the novelty will last, but that's all right because we're going to be 2/3rds of the way to my retirement goal after next session already.

Pandemic Legacy, Season 2

We played November and pretty much rolled it. I'm hoping we get a bit more of a challenge in December or we're going to be finishing the game out with a bunch of really easy wins. To be fair, I think we did a really great job of setting up the board in previous games, but after the constant up-and-down of the first half of the game, it's feeling a little anti-climactic.

Twilight Imperium, 4th edition

Played my second game of this, this time with 4 players. I was the lion people. I don't feel like I did a good enough job of leaning into their trading specialty, but really the game was kind of awkward because about 2/3rds of the way through one of the two new players (who was losing pretty badly) was about to attack the game host and he did some blustering (e.g. "OK, but if you attack me, I'm going to attack you back and we're just going to go down the hole of fighting each other"). The other person thought about it for a while and backed down. I said "oh..you backed down", which I thought was pretty innocuous in the spirit of the game, which the new player responded to with a not-at-all-in-jest "Fuck You".

After that the rest of the game was played in a kind of awkward mostly-silence while we basically tried not to engage with that player, who spend the rest of the game seething. I don't know the person well, but the host did talk to them afterwards. I'm sorry they were upset, but mostly I'm pissed that they made it all shitty for everyone. I ended up pretty solidly second-to-last as the only other player who did not get to 10 points on the last turn (though I did tank any chances I had by taking a long shot against Mechatal Rex to stop the presumptive winner (which basically opened the dor for the other two players, one of whom ended up winning).

I still do like the game, but I feel like I want to be sure I play it with people who are very good at leaving the game in the game, because it does kind of necessitate blustering and backstabbing, and if you're going to get pissed about those things out of game, it's going to make things...awkward.

Crazy 8s / Biotix / Fear

Alistair has started to request Crazy 8s a lot, which is fine, but I can see him getting frustrated when luck doesn't go his way (since there are pretty few actual decisions). Another game he likes is Biotix, despite the mystifying "14+" age suggestion on the box (it should really be 8+). He doesn't quite get the strategy (to the degree that there is one - a lot of luck in this one too), but he can play it mechanically for the most part and he's really good at adding up his score at the end (and adding up multiple numbers to get to totals in the 20-40 range is pretty impressive for a 5-year-old #ParentBrag).

Anyway, based on all that I picked up Fear (one of the Friedeman Frieze "Fast Forward" games), which turned out to be a real hit so far. It's a fairly simple card game (draw a card or play a card to the middle (max hand size 3), if that makes the total greater than 15, you lose and the player with the highest total of cards in their hand wins). It has an evolving rule set that you discover as you play through the deck. It may well get to complex for him as we keep going, but he was able to handle the initial rules well (though we're playing more-or-less open handed because he needs help with the card text). I'd definitely recommend it for anyone who had kids who were into stuff like Uno.

What I'm Watching
The Moshe Kasher and Natasha Leggero "Honeymoon" standup special on Netflix is pretty great.

Saw the first episode of the first season of Archer. I kind of like that a lot of the characters have come into these last two seasons as strangers or with very different relationships than is "normal". <3 Kreiger as parrot.

OMM

My wife's company (Financial Engines) just got acquired, so that's...something. We'll hopefully know more about what that means in the next couple days. In the mean time she has an interview with a smallish company this week, which is looking like a more and more attractive option if she gets an offer.

I'm doing my free personal trainer session for boxing today (in like an hour), which I'm hoping will be cool. The contrast between how they teach boxing at this place vs. my martial arts experience is interesting. Martial Arts was very focused on getting the mechanics correct and repeatable. The Boxing class is much more aerobic-workout focused and while the instructors will sometimes give pointers, it's a very different feel. I've been watching a bunch of instructional videos on the "Fight Tips" YouTube channel which has helped me get a handle on the mechanics.
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14. Board Game: Portland in-a-box [Average Rating:3.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Portland in-a-box
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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No plays!

Review: My last Miniature Market review is for Shards of Infinity. The game is great, but I'm still bummed about the shutdown.

---

For the first time in a long while, I didn't play anything this week (aside from my usual, never-logged asynchronous games going). I spent most of the week in Portland, eating far more food than I should have. My colleague and I spent most of the trip around town, doing things other than the conference.

Thursday: Breakfast at a hipster place with salt crystals at each table setting. Then, we wandered around downtown and ended up at the river. We had amazing ice cream and mediocre Vietnamese food.

Friday: Biscuits for breakfast, then an okay boat cruise along the river. The rain caused our Segway tour to be canceled, so we went and got authentic Thai food. I've never had anything like it; it was great. We got doughnuts afterward.

Saturday: We did the farmer's market at the Portland State campus in the morning, then spent a few hours at the art museum where this creepy modern art display was. There were plenty of other pieces in the modern collection that I didn't understand because art. After that, we did a food tour that was insanely packed with food. The previous food tours I've been on usually have you walk more and eat smaller bites. By the time we got to the bowl of handmade pasta, I couldn't stomach another bite (and I'm a pretty good eater). No lie, I'm still full.

Edit: Forgot to mention that the reason we went into the museum was to see the LAIKA exhibit. It was very cool.

I got home yesterday and was beyond happy to be back in my own bed. After watching The Room earlier in the week, Matt and I watched The Disaster Artist last night. If you've never heard of or seen The Room, I highly recommend doing so. It's definitely the best worst movie ever and provides a lot of context for The Disaster Artist.

Also, I resubscribed to Comixology and bought a few comics to pass the time in the evenings at the hotel. I read the latest volume of Saga, the first issue of Squirrel Girl (meh, not impressed), the first volume of Bitch Planet, and bought volume 2 of Bitch Planet and volume 4 of Sex Criminals. I've got James's recommendations of Astro City, Swamp Thing, and Black Panther all lined up along with a million others. I really enjoy comics, but what a money sink!
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15. Board Game: Arkwright [Average Rating:7.88 Overall Rank:528]
Board Game: Arkwright
Fabrice Dubois
France
La Garenne Colombes
Hauts de Seine
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 10  Antiquity x1 (5 plays so far)
 9  The Voyages of Marco Polo x2 (10 plays so far)
 8  Tzolk'in x1 (8 plays so far)
 8  Madeira x1 (3 plays so far)
 7  Nippon x1 (6 plays so far)
 N/A  Arkwright x1 New!

Nothing really outstanding apart the fact that i am digging some of my favourite games which is something i am always looking now in my gaming life.

Arkwright was a 2 players, Spinning Mule game. The goal of my buddy was to introduce me to the game. I was reluctant to play this one because i am not a fond of economic games and i am not good at evaluating/setting prices in order to be competitive. But in this one, it is straightforward and easily "readable". The way demand, offer and workers are working remind me of what i have learnt about how Ford was running his business. The all package is intituive and i found myself wanting to play it again.

Antiquity was a 2 players and the goal was to introduced my buddy to this monster. I won at Santa Barbara (all buildings built) while my buddy didn't build his cathedral but the outcome is irrelevant since he found the game awesome : he is always willing to play my copy but he won't buy it because of the fiddliness and poor component quality of the game.

On my mind: Do i need to watch Avengers #1 and #2 before watching Infinity War ?.
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16. Board Game: Pulsar 2849 [Average Rating:7.74 Overall Rank:213]
Board Game: Pulsar 2849
Joseph
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Board Game: Pulsar 2849


 9   Pulsar 2849

This week my sentence structure might be off because I wrote it over the course of the week when I had time.

Pulsar 2849
It might be arrogant to say this because I haven’t lost either of my games of this yet (Best game ever?) but I really do believe this game is one where the best player will win, and poor play will be reflected in the score. I finished this game with 195 points. Second place had 150 points. Third place, had like… 90 points. The big difference between my score and the person who came in second: End of Game Points. I. Cleaned. Up. Fully scored 2 of the 3 methods. The second place winner, didn’t even pay attention to the end of game scoring, and focused on Claiming Pulsars and Spinning Gyrodynes the entire game - neither of which were end game criteria. The third player barely earned any bonus dice, nor did he get any reliable methods of points at end-of-round scoring.
However, EVERYONE loved the game. I liked it a lot too, because there are so many little combos and methods to help you get a die result you need. And it’s really enjoyable trying to figure that out.
I liked this game more this second play than I did my first play.

OMM:

IT’S A GIRL!

Wednesday the wife had a phone call from the clinic saying she needed to come in Thursday morning and to be prepared for emergency inducement. They did some blood tests which she has had every appointment, and it had popped up red flags for the doctors. Thursday morning, we go in and get more lab tests done. The results of those tests perplexed the doctor. Bad numbers were now good, good numbers were now bad, when many had shown specific trends. The doctor ended up consulting the other doctors in some sort of doctor pow-wow. She had one sever blood pressure, but it improved over the course of the clinic. It was late in the afternoon when they finally made the decision to NOT admit to the hospital and to just put her on a low threshold for the ER until the induction date.
So, I went back to work on Friday, wife had a 3:00 ultrasound appointment, which I scrambled to make. And the ultrasound went well, but the UA + blood pressure readings influenced the doctor to admit us to the hospital. A second “sever blood pressure” reading. So, we ran home, to return a car at home, grabbed some dinner super quickly, had Kim spend time with the dogs for about 15 minutes and then we went to the hospital.
The first night, friday-saturday, they spent a lot of time balancing blood pressure vs. a deceleration of the baby’s heart rate.
Saturday, was pretty uneventful at first. They did several things to induce. By Saturday night, things had progressed tremendously far.
Early Sunday morning, around 2 AM, the pains grew too large for Kim so an epidural was placed. Shortly after installing the epidural, the baby’s heart rate started showing significant decelerations. Most noticeably after contractions. The hospital staff spent a long time trying to balance things out. While there was that amazing progress, we were realistically still 10-18 hours or so from delivery. The risk at this point was that the decelerations indicate a low oxygen supply to the baby during the contractions. The baby was doing alright, but 10 hours later, maybe not. They realized this deceleration started happening at a small scale before the epidural, so it was a trend, not a weird side-effect. So they decided to have an emergency C-section. About 15 MINUTES later, I heard my baby daughter cry in the operating room.
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17. Board Game: Bohnanza: Ladies & Gangsters [Average Rating:6.90 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.90 Unranked]
Board Game: Bohnanza: Ladies & Gangsters
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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Board Game: Werebeasts
Board Game: Through the Desert
Board Game: Santo Domingo
Board Game: Jump Drive
Board Game: Hamburgum
Board Game: Azul
Board Game: Bohnanza: Ladies & Gangsters


Werebeasts NEW!
Through the Desert (13 all-time)
Santo Domingo (10 all-time)
Jump Drive (18 all-time)
Hamburgum (3 all-time)
Azul (19 all-time)
Bohnanza: Ladies & Gangsters (Al Cabohn Solo) NEW!

I hesitate to add Werebeasts as it was a) a single incomplete play that resulted from b) breaking the game because we missed a rule. It took three of us a great number of minutes to finally find the place in the rules where the particular segment was stated (for the record, it was the "you can't accuse one of your left/right neighbors of having one of the cards you share" which makes the game break down pretty spectacularly if you miss it), which at this point in all our collective gaming careers squarely landed on how well the rulebook was written. As such, the game seems interesting enough, but I won't have a full opinion until we play it correctly.

GameSurplus was having a sale, and I decided on a whim to pick up all the combined Bohnanza expansion/variant boxes as they were dirt cheap. The "Gangsters" half of Bohnanza: Ladies & Gangsters is a re-packaged Al Cabohne, which looks to be one of what's now a great many 2p variants in the Bohnanza family tree. It also has a Solitaire mode that I took a swing at, which turns out to really emphasize "managing bean plots" element by including 3 "hostile" plots that will take bean cards away from your own and vacuum up cards during the draw. I managed to lose by a slim margin, but had enough fun juggling beans that I definitely want to try again.
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18. Board Game: Risk Legacy [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:332]
Board Game: Risk Legacy
Jim Parkin
United States
Stow
Ohio
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Board Game: Dancing Eggs
From gallery of Photodump
Board Game: Risk Legacy
Board Game: Merchants & Marauders


Dancing Eggs x2 (6 all-time)
Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure x2 (9 all-time)
Risk Legacy x5 (5 all-time) NEW!
Merchants & Marauders (19 all-time)



We were in Annapolis for a long weekend due to a family funeral. I manned my in-laws' house with two sick kiddos while everyone else was attending. That said, my in-laws are consistent board game players, so we ended up spending the rest of our visit doing what we always do!



Dancing Eggs
I actually played this with Theodore twice before we left for the Chesapeake Bay. He is just starting to grasp how it works, and was giggling and laughing so much as he tried to run around the table with a giant rubber egg under his neck. We never really finished either game, but he keeps asking to play, and lasts a little longer each time. Good progress, and super funny for both of us already.

Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure
We played with my mother- and father-in-law, and they loved it. My FiL, Mark, who said the "theme" of Dominion never appealed to him, has never played a deck-building game. I was shocked. Really? Seriously? By the end of two games of Clank!, it was obvious that he was hooked simply on the mechanic, so I told him he had to get or try Dominion or Ascension just to enjoy the pure experience, theme (or obvious lack thereof) notwithstanding. In the first game, my MiL, Lorraine, ran in for the Golden Bananas and then high-tailed it out. Anastasia straight-up died in the depths, and Mark and I barely made it topside, only to both lose against some fortuitous extra secrets Lorraine gathered on her way out. In the second game, I think I managed a perfect run. I found two minor secrets and both of them were trash-a-card, so I got rid of both Stumbles before drawing them more than once each. From there, I found extra buy, and grabbed Brilliance, then almost all of the Elven items, and two Gems + Sneak. I was playing my whole deck shortly thereafter, and ended up with Flying Carpet and Wand of Teleportation. Anastasia died again, along with Mark, after Lorraine continued to spam Mr. Whiskers and sic the Dragon on everyone over and over again, but I was effectively immune with zero clank. My final score was 125 points. I doubt I'll come close to that again in a long time.

Merchants & Marauders
Mark comes to expect my bringing this game to his house every time we visit, and was sincerely salty the one time I forgot it. As is now family custom, he poured some Ron Zacapa for everyone and we pumped up the sea shanties in the background. In a life of shameless piracy, I dodged multiple naval vessels as the Dutch and Spanish fleets quickly waged war on each other. Anastasia and Mark both went the merchant route, while my sister-in-law, Erica, opted for a sloop and the whims of fate like me to triumph. However, one event brought out the pirate Man-o-War right in front of Mark, and he barely limped away (I've actually never seen a successful retreat from that ship until this session). He licked his wounds but had a hard time recovering with multiple pirate ships (along with two pirate player Frigates now cornering him in, too). Anastasia nearly won with a favorable trade route in the Bahamas, but I was able to smuggle consistent contraband and dump my raided cargo for huge profit twice, and ended up with a big win following the wrap-up of a rumor which turned out to be true. 10/10, will play Merchants & Marauders at every opportunity.

Risk Legacy
Okay, so, we ended up bingeing this quite a bit, playing a third of the campaign over three days. Anastasia bought this for Mark for his birthday earlier this year, but our expectation that he would play it with his brother a and nephew never panned out. He suggested we play it together when we all visit, and I thought, "Did you say 'legacy'?!" and quickly acquiesced. In the opening two games, we were mostly giving the game the "oh, it's alright" treatment. I mean, at this point, it's basically just Risk with a few tweaks. Risk without much nuance is, well, still boring and repetitive. However, once we founded all nine minor cities and opened up the related pack going into our fourth game, things got really interesting. The roller-coaster for me was winning the first game with Imperial Balkania and founding "Genovia" in Northern Europe, at which point I decided that the eponymous and exceedingly-campy national anthem from Princess Diaries would be played any time I win from then on out. I mean, come on, Imperial Balkania is like the ne plus ultra of hyper-imperialist old European tropes. Everyone laughed and agreed it fit very well (expecially when other cities were being named things like "#Cats," "Lemur Palace," and "Cry 4 Me" (in Argentina).



What frustrated me SO MUCH, though was my two-time attempt to deploy 30+ troops while still having a missile, to open one of the big legacy boxes. In the second game, I nearly did it, but Anastasia won literally the turn before I could turn in the cards to deploy. In the fifth game, I was set to pull it off on my turn. I had played a very defensive turtle game and clamped down all of Europe for probably six full consecutive rounds. The biggest threat was my brother-in-law, Emery, who had a decent presence in North America. I put twenty-seven troops in Iceland to ward him off. He was trounced by Anastasia, who came in from Asia and stole his HQ, and given how late it was in the game, he knew he was not going to win. So he last-ditches it to Iceland with ten troops. And he wins. I was in shock. It was my turn next, but now that I lost Europe, I couldn't deploy enough troops to open the freaking box. I was seriously so angry at the table! My only hope was to stop Erica from winning in the next round, since I knew she had enough cards to turn in for a point if she grabbed one more HQ. I steamrolled her entire force in Asia, which was ready to take Anastasia's starting region. However, on Anastasia's turn, she played a set of cards and DIDN'T REINFORCE HER HQ WITH THEM. I couldn't believe it. Erica then earned her point, bolstered her last forces in Siam, and easily crushed Anastasia's mostly-undefended capital for the win. I was so salty. In fact, I'm STILL a bit salty. Like, everyone knew I just wanted to open that box...

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19. Board Game: Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:102] [Average Rating:7.70 Unranked]
Board Game: Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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X-Wing 2.0 was just announced.

My reaction:

"What? Fuck."

"Hmm, maybe this won't be so bad. They're going to have conversion kits and the game could use some major readjusting..."

"Oh, I'll need to buy 2 conversion kits for Rebels and 2 Imperials just to field my collection? Fuck that."


I'm excited, but I'm also angry. It's only appropriate this was announced just as Jim sent me Heroes of the Aturi Cluster, which would probably need a major overhaul to work with the new edition.

Looking at around $200+ MSRP just to get the new material to play all of the factions (no minis).
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20. Board Game: Too Many Cooks [Average Rating:6.33 Overall Rank:3218]
Board Game: Too Many Cooks
Chris Ferejohn
United States
Mountain View
California
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List question:

If they weren't there already, board games have pretty definitively played the point where you will no more be able to play every game that sounds interesting any more than you will be able to watch every movie or read every book. As we've moved from relative scarcity to an overwhelming torrent, how do you choose what to play (and what to buy)?
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21. Board Game: Fortress America [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:1683]
Board Game: Fortress America
Jim Parkin
United States
Stow
Ohio
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Huh, Michael Barnes' shift from F:AT to There Will be Games is quite interesting. I'm well aware of the overall sadness that is the gutting of the written MM Review Corner, but I wonder what ripple effects this will have. To quote the elderly man-headed turtle from The Avalanches video,

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22. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs Imperium [Average Rating:7.93 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.93 Unranked]
Board Game: Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs Imperium
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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Board Game: Shadow Hunters
Board Game: The Resistance
Board Game: Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs Imperium


 6   Shadow Hunters x2
 8   The Resistance
 10   Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs Imperium

Shadow Hunters -- I don't mind this game, but I also don't love it. The guy who owns it absolutely loves the game, and because we're burning out on other social deduction games, he's been bringing it more often. Meh.

Race for the Galaxy -- I was excited to get this back to the table. This was a 5 player game, and I was able to correctly guess that someone would call Settle in the first phase, which allowed my Trade action go through, giving me a necessary boost to my economy. That single call really powered the rest of the game for me, as it allowed me to drop an early 6+ Cost Development. While I didn't pick up many of the objectives, I did win by a fair margin.

On my mind:
This weekend I had a family reunion for my father's side of the family. My time with family was largely enjoyable. I spent a majority of my time catching up with one set of cousins who love board games and books, which are Marion and my two passions. All of my cousins, aunts, and uncles were there; only my younger brother could not make it. We had a rented cabin that allowed dogs, so Marion and I even got to bring Rufus along for the journey!

To prepare for the vacation, Marion and I baked! We made four different types of bagels (one dozen were egg bagels, while one dozen used a regular bagel dough). This was the first time that Marion helped me with my bagels, and while I was skeptical of making blueberry and chocolate bagels, everything turned out great.

From gallery of Epsilon_Balls
From gallery of Epsilon_Balls



Running Stuff:
Tue: 3.5 Miles, I pushed myself on mile 2 to see what my Single Mile Pace was, and was pleased to eke out a 7:27 mile! I had to cool down to finish the last part of the run though.

Wed: 6 miles, 9:17 pace with Rufus

Sat: 7 mile run with Rufus through the hiking trails; he's been exhausted ever since then (1,300 feet of elevation gain will do that to a dog). Something like a 12:00/mi pace due to the terrain. In retrospect, I wouldn't take Rufus with me again because the trails often had about 6 inches clearance with precipitous drops, but he was a champ, even waiting for me before leaping down rocks because he knew he needed more lead with the leash.

Sun: ~2 mile hike at a leisurely pace. Rufus loved sniffing around in the woods.
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