GCL Mafia 394: Survey Says
Grace P.
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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.

GCL Mafia Geeklist Format:
• Each week, one or more questions will be posted. They can be gaming-related topics or non-gaming-related topics. Themed questions are optional. Gifs are always encouraged.
• Members can post additional items as they see fit.

Current Roster:
fdubois
charlest
Happymrdave
tallgrant
annowme
mith
Dolus
ecargo
Epsilon_Balls
captainraffi
touchstonethefool
cferejohn
ambierona
noajayne
LouieSTFU
Necroblaster3000



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The header has been updated with minor formatting/wording changes. Be sure to copy from the wiki for future lists!
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1. Board Game: Stolen Treasure [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Stolen Treasure
Grace P.
United States
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I stole these questions from a Dice Tower survey I saw a few months ago. In honor of that, post a gif/video of animals stealing something. Here's my favorite: https://i.imgur.com/TwAB8i2.gif. (Embedding won't work for the link in either Firefox or Chrome. I don't know why.)

Here's a video of the above gif:


And here's what happens when animals try to steal food from children:
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2. Board Game: Really Wild Bug Eating Party [Average Rating:3.50 Unranked]
Board Game: Really Wild Bug Eating Party
Grace P.
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What's the best snack to eat while board gaming?
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3. Board Game: What's Missing? [Average Rating:5.20 Unranked]
Board Game: What's Missing?
Grace P.
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What theme in gaming is there not enough of?
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4. Board Game: The Deck of Dice [Average Rating:6.24 Overall Rank:14176]
Board Game: The Deck of Dice
Grace P.
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What's your favorite kind of dice?
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5. Board Game: Don't Be A Loser [Average Rating:6.65 Unranked]
Board Game: Don't Be A Loser
Grace P.
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What's your best excuse for losing a game?
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6. Board Game: Stupidopoly [Average Rating:4.50 Unranked]
Board Game: Stupidopoly
Grace P.
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What board game has the stupidest name?
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7. Board Game: Goblins Breakfast: Extra Helpings Promo Card [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked] [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Goblins Breakfast: Extra Helpings Promo Card
Grace P.
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What non-cereal food is best to eat for breakfast?
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8. Board Game: Big City [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:1302]
Board Game: Big City
Grace P.
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If you could live in any major city in America, which would you choose?
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9. Board Game: Bad Actors: Free Your Wild Side [Average Rating:7.24 Unranked]
Board Game: Bad Actors: Free Your Wild Side
Grace P.
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Name an overrated actor/actress.
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10. Board Game: Dice Towers [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Dice Towers
Grace P.
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Dice Tower announced that Dice Tower West is happening in Vegas next year: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2036496/dice-tower-con-west.... The current dates are March 7-10. I have no idea what my spring schedule is yet, but I thought I'd throw this out there for consideration since many of us are on the West Coast.
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11. Board Game: Cruise [Average Rating:4.50 Unranked]
Board Game: Cruise
Grace P.
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Codenames 14 (156 all-time)
Werewords 7 (33 all-time)
Dice Throne: Season One 2 NEW!
Tides of Madness 2 (5 all-time)
Villainous 2 NEW!
Word Slam 2 (7 all-time)
Blood Rage 1 (13 all-time)
Bohnanza: The Duel 1 (5 all-time)
DropMix 1 (56 all-time)
Everdell 1 NEW!
Exit: The Game – The Forbidden Castle 1 NEW!
Exit: The Game – The Forgotten Island 1 NEW!
Fairy Tale 1 (5 all-time)
IOTA 1 (2 all-time)
Junk Art 1 (19 all-time)
Megaland 1 NEW!
No Thanks! 1 (44 all-time)
ORC 1 NEW!
Potion Explosion 1 (19 all-time) + Potion Explosion: The Fifth Ingredient 1 (6 all-time) (iOS)
Rolling America 1 (6 all-time)
The Fox in the Forest 1 (5 all-time)

Review: This was the original version of my Thunderstone Quest review (written before the Geek & Sundry one), which went up on TWBG.

Not-Really-A-Review: I got to write the press release for Return to Dark Tower on Geek & Sundry.

---

Last two weeks of games! Some of these were played on the cruise.

Dice Throne: I'm really liking this. I don't mind the Yahtzee roll-three-times mechanic. This reminds me a bit of Gekido in how the dice work, but it's a much better game overall. In our two games, Matt and I have gotten to see four of the six characters. Naturally, I played as the Barbarian and Paladin because I like beefy dudes (who lose against Matt's tiny ladies).

Villainous: I found one last copy in Target and snagged it along with Megaland. I know a lot of people have been super excited about it. I thought it was good, but wasn't blown away. Maybe because it was a little too hypes? Maybe because I'm not really a Disney fan? Still, it was fun and we got to see all six characters in our two 3-player games. There's definitely a learning curve to both your own character as well as how to stop others. The take-that wasn't too bad either, which was the main thing I was concerned about.

Megaland: I was hoping this would be a good push-your-luck game to play with my parents despite not generally being impressed by Ryan Laukat's designs. I tried it out with my game group and was underwhelmed. I'll give it some more tries, but it's probably going on the sell pile.

Everdell: This was pretty good and had more combo-y depth than I expected. The tree is totally unnecessary and actually ends up obscuring parts of the board, but it's cute.

Exit games: These were frustrating. Perhaps it's because we played them on the ship in crowded and/or noisy rooms, but we were disappointed with a lot of the puzzles. They seemed obtuse, with little clue/context to give you some direction in solving. I frequently looked at the hint cards, just to make sure we were going in the right direction. Maybe we're just dumb? I don't know. At this point, I might be done with the Exit series and just stick with Unlock! (though I still have Escape Room: The Game to go through), especially since those are at least resellable.

ORC: This isn't really new. I played tested this with Chris; I just had never logged it under the game itself.

---

On My Mind:

Our vacation was good. This was my third cruise; Matt's first. We enjoyed the ports of call more than the cruise ship itself. That said, we're glad to be home in our own bed and showering in a space larger than a refrigerator. Here are some pictures:

From gallery of ecargo
Us in front of Mendenhall Glacier.

From gallery of ecargo
Mendenhall Glacier from one of the walking/hiking trails.

From gallery of ecargo
This was from our train ride in Skagway up the Whitehall Pass & Yukon Route.

From gallery of ecargo
Also from the train ride.

From gallery of ecargo
A store selling furs in Skagway. The other clothes actually were pretty legit. I've never touched anything so soft and costing so much.

From gallery of ecargo
Matt thought I should buy this for my desk at school.

From gallery of ecargo
Cruising through Tracy Arm Fjord.

From gallery of ecargo
Water trickle from the glacier in Tracy Arm Fjord.

From gallery of ecargo
Victoria, BC.

From gallery of ecargo
Leaving Victoria.
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12. Board Game: Root [Average Rating:8.09 Overall Rank:31]
Board Game: Root
Cassadi
United States
Blacklick
Ohio
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Board Game: Sobek
Board Game: Root
Board Game: Terraforming Mars
Board Game: Gravwell: Escape from the 9th Dimension
Board Game: Azul


Sobek - This was a fun little set collecting/press your luck game. A nice simple one to learn/play during lunch hour!

Root - I wasn't planning on going to board game night last week since I was still under the weather, but I was feeling much better Wednesday so I ended up teaching a friend how to play her copy of Root. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, and I won as the Vagabond! It was easier this time around since people were actually crafting.

Terraforming Mars - I feel like I had a really good game of this for once! I was actually getting stuff played on the map and was able to snack a few milestones pretty early. I actually came out victorious this time around! Which was a complete shock!

Gravwell: Escape from the 9th Dimension - It's been a while since I've played Gravwell. It was still a lot of fun! Simple to teach with fun card mechanics.

Azul - I'm going to keep saying this, but I'm pretty sure I could play this every week still.

On My Mind
- My birthday's tomorrow! And it's date night so I have to decide where to go to dinner and what we're going to do!

- Last week was horrible as far as working out and watching what I eat since I was under the weather most of it. I need to get back to it this week! I feel so much better physically and mentally even with just the small workouts I do

- I finished the audio book for Never Let Me Go. It was a fun story! Still working my way through Tigana, and I'll have The Last Battle finished this week!

- Caught up on The Expanse series. I love the books, and the show is just so good. Glad Amazon's picked it up for the 4th season! We finished Glow also, and started on Lost in Space last night.

- My kid proclaimed a love for dice over the weekend. Going so far as to give EACH dice it's own hug. I don't know where I went wrong...
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13. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:29]
Board Game: Agricola
Jim Parkin
United States
Stow
Ohio
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Board Game: Agricola
Board Game: Root
Board Game: Brass: Lancashire
Board Game: Gloomhaven


Agricola (48 all-time)
Root (2 all-time)
Brass (13 all-time)
Gloomhaven (45 all-time)



Agricola
I came. I saw. I plowed and sowed ten grain fields.

Root
Anastasia and I swapped Eyrie (me) vs Marquise (her). I had a huge aggressive opening but got entirely overwhelmed about 3/4 way through and my roosts could not outpace her onslaught. I did end up with the Commander and a crafted card that boosted my hits in exchange for giving VPs to the defender. I managed to clear a lot of cats with only a few birds in those instances. Cool, but not enough in this case. We're still barely scratching the surface here.

Brass
I got my fancy box this week. Admittedly, it IS superbly produced. The Iron Clays are the swankiest accessory I own, and I plan to use them for any plausible currency need across my games. I introduced two new players and they did pretty well, but ultimately, I used them shamelessly to set myself up for many late-Rail Era overbuilds and scored about forty more points than them. They were enamored with the shared incentives of the map, however, and I know they'll be back for more.

Gloomhaven
In what may be the most fun gimmick scenario rule-set to date, we were nearly crushed three times. Two guards had to be killed at all costs, and while we steamrolled the first room, the second chamber was an insane death trap. Anastasia and I (with me being a pretty beefy melee character) were nearly one-shot due to some high-level elemental effects, and had to burn several cards to stay at it early on. We were threatened with exhaustion every round, and Eee managed to use her class' unique skill-set to allay the worst of the monster horde while Sam tried to solo the mission objective. We barely managed it. My character hit Level 9, marking the first of any of us to progress that high to date. I need one more side scenario to retire, then I'll open the final unknown class (I think) for our campaign (Eclipsing Sun).



We attended a wedding on Friday that had some of the best dancing I've experienced. The mood in the room was so elated, it was a blast. No one was cagey about it. Also there were lots of glowsticks.

I had a sous vide ribeye for the first time. Everything has changed.
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14. Board Game: Root [Average Rating:8.09 Overall Rank:31]
Board Game: Root
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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Western Legends x3 (new!)
Mars Open: Tabletop Golf x2 (new!)
Root x2 (new!)
Shifting Realms x2 (new!)
The Grizzled

Articles/Reviews
I didn't want to delay any longer in writing something about Nyctophobia. So I told a story - check it out at Player Elimination.


Root
Dayyyum. Cole Wehrle may be on his way to becoming my favorite designer. This and John Company are world-shakers. This was a pair of two player games where we switched sides. I lost both games but absolutely loved it. The Eyrie particularly were entrancing, with all of their political infighting and byzantine red tape.

I'm organizing a couple of four player games this coming weekend.

Western Legends
In the adventure game theater, Merchants and Marauders has my heart. Xia is a close second, and Western Legends is giving that game a run for its money.

It helps that westerns are my favorite genre and criminally underrepresented in this hobby. This is a fantastic hybrid Euro/AT game that feels well designed and excellently developed. It does not feel like a Kickstarter game in the slightest and it's wonderful.

My only concerns are the lack of equipment (this is a game where gear is not super important) and the lack of teeth. You can't actually die. In a western game with gunfights.

But the soft repercussions of fighting does fuel an unprecedented level of player interaction. You can rob other players, even jail them if they're wanted. That twist in having wanted characters (similar to pirates in M&M) but also having characters who progress down the Marshall track and can actually arrest them - that's great stuff.

Also, this is an absolutely rare adventure game in that it plays better with more. We ran with four a couple of games and I'm itching to try it with five or six. The length is great and it moves at a very solid clip (it's about 90 minutes) so it's easy to table. Very good game.

Mars Open
This game is fantastic as well. Dexterity golf with these absolutely weird folded ball things. My group fell in love and we were high fiving and screaming into the wee hours of the night. I think I yelled louder than I've ever yelled after nailing a difficult shot. Thankfully my daughter was spending the night at the in-laws or I would have woke her up.

Shifting Realms
I was pretty hyped for this game, being the latest release from Craig and Jeff Van Ness.

This is a light Euro-style game with some resource gathering and building, but it's kicked up a notch due to the three segments (realms) of the board being randomized. So some games you'll have the dwarves and their dragon, others you'll have the pirates, etc.

Each board has their own set of buildings and a story deck you can push as one of your actions. This results in interesting interactions and narrative bits that help elevate the main engine.

I'm definitely a fan and it plays incredibly quickly. I think both of our games clocked in at under an hour with a full player count of four.


On My Mind
Root, baby.

This week we're playing Cthulhu Wars at my main game night, giving the Ancients a test run. Hoping to get in some other stuff as well to push my review queue along.

Root and maybe another game or two will get played on the weekend.

I have some more stuff coming from Asmodee/FFG so no sleep for the wicked.
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15. Board Game: Opera [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:2703]
Board Game: Opera
Grant Johnson
United States
Cedar Park
Texas
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No board games this week. Phooey.

Pathfinder: I ran a short Pathfinder scenario for a couple friends who had never seen an RPG before. This was actually the one that I played on the Friday at GenCon, right before I met up with Louie and Cassadi. My newbies had a lot of fun- they generally rolled highly on their D20s, and a few of the encounters I was sweating were cakewalks. Won't ever be that easy again, but good for the first timers.

I subscribed to the official Paizo podcast and have been listening up on the new edition for Pathfinder. I got the playtest stuff at GenCon, but with as busy as I am I doubt I'll get to run it in the next 3 months where they're actively testing. But my main purpose was to have it to browse and look over, so I can make a good choice when 2E comes out next summer.

On my mind
Painting again: Finally finished up some War of the Ring figures that have been on my painting table for 6 months- sat down and closed them out, then sealed them up. I've got a new short turn-around project in preparation for War of the Ring Day (less than 2 weeks out)- hopefully I'll finish in time!

And speaking of War of the Ring Day, I've begun buying meat. The brisket purchases will wait until next week, but since I'm seeing good deals on pork ribs I've been grabbing them and putting them into the freezer.

Nine-W: On Saturday morning/early afternoon, I fulfilled one of my summer musical goals. I put on a recording of Die Walkur, and played my way through the opera. I missed a few entrances (this was a crazy exercise in rest counting), and there were a few spots I'd like to have back. But I'd never listened to a classical opera in its entirety before, and I liked a lot of what I heard. That being said, I'll probably break it into smaller chunks next time- the entire performance I used ran 3 hours and 36 minutes. I did take some issues with the story

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Sieglinde and Siegfried hooking up is completely messed up. I know its mythology, but if you find your long-lost twin getting busy with them shouldn't be the first thing on your mind.

Wotan seems to get around quite a bit too. He fathered more than half the characters in this opera, and none of them with his wife (who is the goddess of marriage).


I'm starting to feel recovered from my less than stellar practice habits in July. I also saw the local high school band parading through the neighborhood while I was out running this week- makes me feel nostalgic for the good old days of marching band.

HYOH: Next to last practice hike is in the books. I've got a local Con this weekend, but I'm thinking I will take one more test run at things on Sunday afternoon. Then we carry for real!
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16. Board Game: Ker Plunk [Average Rating:4.76 Overall Rank:19467]
Board Game: Ker Plunk
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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Ker Plunk
Gloomhaven

My son got a belated birthday gift, Ker Plunk, from a family friend. This was actually a game I always loved playing as a little kid and several times pushed that I wanted to pick it up (especially when I saw it for $5) but was always turned down. Now we have. Hahaha! Take that. I mean, yay.

Despite being rated ages 5+ (probably cause you shouldn't eat marbles), my 2-year old really enjoys it. His most enjoyable parts are putting sticks and marbles in the hole in the top, but we've actually set up and played the game correctly a few times as well. Daddy usually loses, he's such a klutz. But it's fun to see the marbles come down, and then we can put them back in the hole up top again! In our last play, we got down to 9 or 10 sticks before without any marbles falling! That was pretty cool.

As far as the game itself, I remember the game being better structurally and easier to set up. I assume this is due to using cheaper parts to make the game cheap and easy to produce which makes total sense. I often have a hard time getting the sticks to come out the back side when pushed in. I'm okay with giving up on the last few sticks and leaving them out. And they definitely feel flimsier than I remember, but whatever, they work.


Gloomhaven
We played and won 2 scenarios, a side quest that came from an event followed by the ooze quest we lost twice last time.

We did the side quest first, which caused one of our players to retire. He unlocked the Triforce guy which was really cool.

We got to use him on our third attempt killing oozes. Oh, also, 2 of us leveled up and the other player sort of leveled down due to retiring and getting a new character, but overall we were stronger. Still, based on this being our third attempt we tried it on easy. And we definitely handled it very easily. Also, I changed up my strategy a little bit. I decided to go for my heavy-hitting cards, still, but I also managed to play them in a way that I lasted quite a long time as well. In fact, I made it to the end of the scenario (I usually exhaust in about the 2nd room or early in the 3rd room), and would've exhausted the turn after we won (as well as one of our other players). Ooh, we also had an ally perform a Loot 2 to gain 10 coins at one point. That was pretty cool to see.



OMM
There's always more on my mind than I can remember, but here's a few things.

Car is having major electrical problems. To the extent that the wife wants to sell it and buy a new (or slightly used) car to replace it. I finally found some time to research and it sounds like a bad battery cable that needs to be replaced. It's a common problem with Chevy Captiva cars apparently. It's an $85 part, which is much cheaper than a $20-25k car. I've taken my car in twice for this issue and they did absolutely nothing (which also sounds par for the course from reading on everybody else's comments who faced this issue), so today, if we can confirm that this is probably the cause, I'm going to try to buy the part and perform the replacement myself.


Zelda Tri Force heroes. I picked this up. It plays 1 or 3, and playing 1-player means you're playing with 2 AIs. Anybody wanna play?
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17. Board Game: Royals [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:1027]
Board Game: Royals
United States
Yay Area
California
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Board Game: BANG! The Bullet!
Board Game: Antidote
Board Game: Via Nebula
Board Game: Truck Off: The Food Truck Frenzy
Board Game: Modern Art
Board Game: Magic Maze
Board Game: Machi Koro: Deluxe Edition
Board Game: Garbage Day!
Board Game: Animals on Board
Board Game: Royals


 5   BANG! The Bullet! NEW!
 6   Antidote NEW!
 7   Via Nebula NEW!
 6   Truck Off: The Food Truck Frenzy NEW!
 8.125   Modern Art
 9.8   Magic Maze x2
 6.5   Machi Koro: Deluxe Edition x2 NEW!
 7   Garbage Day!
 7.8   Animals on Board
 7.3   Royals NEW!

Bang! - First time playing the card game after only having played the dice version. It is incredibly long by comparison. Ate up about an hour something of our meetup time. Was not impressed.

Machi Koro - An okay game. Played twice in a row as a filler. Wondering about the legacy version. I had a really good number spread of blue cards but pretty much never got income.

Modern Art - Great first game with newbies. I got someone to massively over pay me twice on sealed auctions. And based on our final scores I’m sure those payouts were the reason for me winning. Overall they picked it up fairly quickly. They made a lot of poor valuations at the beginning that I let them take back but got into the groove later on. (also, don't know why it uses that image for modern art. I'm not that cool)

Royals - Got this in the recent math trade. First time teaching. I like it. I think of it as area control on top of area control. It’s a short enough game where I don’t mind the card randomness.

Other -

Swimming - My instructor has temporarily given up on me swimming + breathing. A lot of steps got added in and I would go for the breath and not concentrate on kicking and then not really move. So slowing down to really get the technique down. Frustrating since I understand what I need to do, but lack the muscle memory to do it in the water. Other than that learned the dolphin kick which feels pretty cool to do.

As mentioned in another comment did terribly over the weekend with workouts and eating. But getting back into the gym for sure this week.

External image


There is a redditgifts boardgames exchange which I was a bit hesitant to join because last year was so terrible. But decided to refocus the mindset as usual to “It’s about giving not receiving”.
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18. Board Game: Hero's Journey Home [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:9163]
Board Game: Hero's Journey Home
Chris Ferejohn
United States
Mountain View
California
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Back from vacation, with all the associated relief and wistful sadness that goes with that.

Didn't do a ton of gaming in Mammoth, but got a few things in:

Spy Club

Played two games of this with Hilary, Alistair, and my Mom. One with just the base game (which we lost) and one as the first game of the campaign (which we won). Spy Club doesn't require all players to play through the whole thing, so we'll probably continue with just the 3 of us.

First of all I was amazed how well Alistair remembered the rules of the game from our abortive half-game 2 weeks before. The game itself is a fairly straightforward set collection co-op with multiple ways to lose, so per Pandemic you work on collecting your sets and trying not to let the same bad thing happen over and over again. The mechanism of being able to trade freely when on the same color of clue allows for some clever play opportunities. Basically at any given point one of the cards in your "hand" (which is in fact face up on the table) is selected and if that matches somebody else you can trade cards and "ideas" (in game resource) freely.

It "suffers" from vulnerability to alpha-gamer syndrome, though for a game that, at least thematically, is designed to be played with kids who might struggle some with rules and decisions that's not necessarily a drawback.

It looks like starting from the second game of the campaign things get pretty seriously shaken up (there's like 7-8 cards we'll pull out that will mess with the rules/victory conditions), so curious to see how that works and if Alistair will be able to keep up with the shifting rule set.

Unlock!: Mystery Adventures – The Tonipal's Treasure
This was one of the "3 lock" (e.g. most difficult) Unlock games. It seems like for this one the difficulty could mostly be ascribed to the length. It felt like we were constantly making progress and we only used a couple of hints, but it felt like there was just too much to do. It's possible more than 2 players would have helped a bit, but like most of the Unlock/Exit games there's not necessarily much the extra players could do to solve things faster. A little deflating to feel like "oh, time just ran out, but we just got to what looks like about then end and...oh wait, now we have to do this thing? That's going to be like 20 minutes all by itself", but that said the puzzle quality was good.

Exit: The Game – The Sunken Treasure
So this Exit game was rated 2 (out of 5) for difficulty. It was certainly the easiest one we've played, to the point where I can't really imagine what a 1 would look like. It was by far the most linear of them – you're pretty explicitly working on one puzzle at a time, but there are a few clever moments. It would probably be an excellent introduction to the concept of escape room board/card games since it really handholds you in terms of what you are supposed to do next. Even playing somewhat leisurely, we finished in less than an hour with no clues used, so at least we have a baseline competence at escape room games now.

OMM
It's Alistair's 6th birthday! We did a birthday celebration for him up in Mammoth with my parents, and we'll have some cake and ice cream tonight. We've been watching clips from Penn and Tell: Fool Us on YouTube recently and he's begin asking me to teach him my one piece of slight of hand that I perform well enough to fool most people the first time and 5 year olds pretty consistently, so we got him a couple of Melissa & Doug brand magic kits labeled 4+. He's only opened one, but it was a big hit, and it definitely goes with his performance side. He performed for a dinner guest and even managed not to tell him how the tricks were done.

Saw Mission Impossible: Fallout. It was enjoyable. Henry Cavil seems way better at this than at Superman, though maybe that's just the mustache. I had a couple minor nitpicks, but given that they really went in on the multiple betrayals thing, it all held together pretty well.

Nitpicks/spoilers:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
When Cruise catches Cavil on the elevator, Cruise says that Cavil won't shoot him because "he still needs his Plutonium". At this point, near as I can tell, he already *has* his Plutonium since we go right from here to "the bad guys have 2 nukes". Also threatening him with his wife seemed pretty irrelevant since Cruise ignores it and she was going to be placed in harms way either way – it kind of set up an expectation where Cavil takes her hostage or something, but that never happens.

Speaking of his wife, it was a little too 'neat' that his ex-wife completely lets him off the hook for the fact that she has to live her life hiding/on the run/looking over her shoulder. Sure, she loves what she does, but does she never want to retire (or maybe have kids?). I know this isn't meant to be heartrending family drama, but I wanted *some* kind of reckoning that she was paying a price for him.


Received Brass (both versions) and Container while we were gone, so now need to get people together to play those.

Finished the first Uncharted game and played probably too much Rocket League (though I still suck at it) on vacation.
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19. Board Game: 1857 [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:5612]
Board Game: 1857
Ambie
United States
San Mateo
California
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Board Game: Codenames: Pictures
Board Game: Northern Pacific
Board Game: 1857


 N/A   Codenames: Pictures x2
 7.5   Northern Pacific
 8   1857

More Codenames: Pictures at work this week. We also played some Mario Kart and Overcooked on the Switch.

Friday night we had the internet stranger over again with a couple more internet strangers. Inviting complete strangers to our house to play games is becoming the norm... Played a quick game of 1857, and then played Northern Pacific. Winsome day! 1857 was a bankruptcy on the 2nd diesel. The player that ended up bankrupt and I both had corps with 2 trains that never ran, so we were doing the worst from early on. I floated a suitcase though to survive, but because I had so little money it went late in turn order and had to buy the first diesel. But I shuffled and had enough money in my two companies to upgrade my 4 train so I didn't lose any personal cash from it. But I was still in 2nd to last place. The timing worked out for the player who ended up winning, because he was able to get the 1st 6 train in his corp that originally had 2 3's. So he overtook the player who was playing safe and had the first 5 train.

On My Mind
-I finished my script for my first 18xx video but I haven't filmed it yet. I want to be wearing a train shirt in the first part of the video for humor effect, but I don't own one, so I need to borrow one from a friend first. I might be able to do that next weekend. I tried looking for one at Goodwill over the weekend but I looked through all the shirts and didn't find one.
-Changed the oil in my car yesterday. This was the first time that my oil was leaking, so I was actually low on oil and my car was running poorly. So it's a lot better now. The reason it was leaking is because my dad had used a jack on my oil filter and smashed it... so it was hard to take off this time and I had to buy an oil filter wrench. But it's a pretty neat tool.
-We played a bunch of Overcooked 2 on Saturday at our friend's house. It was a lot of fun. You can now throw food! But only raw ingredients. We were sad that you couldn't throw plates around.
-I bought some fabric to try to start on my Halloween costume. I may just do half of it for this year though. I had wanted to make a transforming Cinderella dress, but my sewing skills aren't great, so I don't know if I'll be able to make it by Halloween. I got fabric for the ballgown dress part and I'll try to make that. Transforming may have to wait.
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20. Board Game: GIPF [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:934] [Average Rating:7.10 Unranked]
Board Game: GIPF
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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Board Game: Deadpool vs The World
Board Game: Container: 10th Anniversary Jumbo Edition!
Board Game: Ra
Board Game: Wir sind das Volk!
Board Game: The Voyages of Marco Polo
Board Game: The Voyages of Marco Polo: Agents of Venice
Board Game: GIPF
Board Game: Elements


Deadpool vs The World NEW!
Container: 10th Anniversary Jumbo Edition! (2 all-time)
Ra (4 all-time)
Wir sind das Volk! NEW!
The Voyages of Marco Polo x3 (7 all-time) + The Voyages of Marco Polo: Agents of Venice NEW!
GIPF x2 NEW!
Elements x2 (14 all-time)

Biggest surprise last week was Deadpool vs The World, not just because it has that trademark DP irreverent humor, but it actually breaks the mold by being an improvement on the Apples to Apples formula. It's the same setup as that old chestnut: There's a deck of cards with illustrations of Deadpool in various strange and hilarious situations, and each player chooses a card from their hand that they think matches it.

The twist is that each card has a word or phrase with a blank line in it, and they complete the word or phrase however they'd like with a dry erase pen. This gives a wonderfully fresh dose of creativity into the mix, and allows for some really fun and funny cards. It very nearly sidesteps the mean and punch-down humor of such dreck as CAH (the cards are designed to look like the yellow-text-box-inner-monologue of DP, so it's framed as him wryly commenting on himself), but I did see a card or two that made me wince a bit. Overall, however, it was a very pleasant surprise.

My regular gaming partner had been sitting on a copy of Wir sind das Volk! waiting for some time to try a teaching game, and we busted it out for an incomplete play-through in order to wrap our minds around the design. This very much is a riff on the Twilight Struggle school of design, but I found myself very impressed that Peer Sylvester brought his usual streamlining aesthetics to what still was a very bells-and-whistles kind of game that I usually associate with stuff like TS and Washington's War and 1960.

WSDV's big twist is that players are using the same shared deck of action cards, BUT they only have two cards in hand privately and are also drafting from a face-up pool of 7 cards each half-round (14 cards total), with each round representing one of the four decades that the game runs through. Thematically, players are dealing with massive unrest by building up production, infrastructure, and quality of life (which I found refreshing as a theme), but are also dealing with a battery of other historical factors abstracted out into some minor mechanics but mostly an end-of-round checklist that tugs various tracks back and forth and influences the board state.

The last part was the most clunky and the thing I most dislike about these sort of games (though to be fair, implementing a non-intrusive mechanic for simulating multiple real-world factors is a tall order), but on the whole I found a lot to like in the design. It was a fair amount to take in just in terms of pure information, but everything gelled quickly, and I'll be happy to try a full game of this later.

My love/hate relationship with The Voyages of Marco Polo continues, as I finally got a chance to implement the Venice board and Companion modules from The Voyages of Marco Polo: Agents of Venice into a 2p game. It was neat to have other areas to put dice, which ended up in a very close game (I won by 2 points). I have a suspicion that it's utility is largely making a 5p experience workable, but I also liked how the Companions helped loosen the collar on this game quite a bit. Like all parts of this design, it's very well balanced and an easy recommend if you like the base game.

And finally, I got my hands on the progenitor of the GIPF series, GIPF. I've always been a bit apprehensive about it because folks tend to rate it fairly low among the other titles of the project, and it's kinda easy to see why. It's the most simplistic of the games with the shortest rule-set and simplest game play. However, only being able to introduce pieces into the edge of the board (along with working to both capture your opponents pieces and not run out of your own) does create an interesting dynamic. The board growing and shrinking as pieces are added and then removed from the board is neat, but it's weirdly repetitive and something that got tuned much better in the later game YINSH.

I would be kind of curious to see how the myriad Potential pieces from the old Project GIPF sets would change the game, but they're a little hard to find nowadays. As-is I think it's a really good introductory abstract (and the rules are written so gently and charmingly, assuming that the reader has never played an abstract before, as to be very touching), and I'm happy to have it on my shelf.
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21. Board Game: Everdell [Average Rating:8.07 Overall Rank:38]
Board Game: Everdell
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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Board Game: Everdell
Board Game: Warhammer Age of Sigmar
Board Game: Visitor in Blackwood Grove
Board Game: Into The Echoside
Board Game: Dinosaur Tea Party


Everdell x2 NEW!
Warhammer Age of Sigmar
Visitor in Blackwood Grove NEW!
Into The Echoside NEW!
Dinosaur Tea Party NEW!

Everdell

Big, beautiful...substantive? There is no question that this game is gorgeous. Art is great, the giant cardboard tree is great, and all the components are awesome. The premise is that you're setting out to found a city, by filling it with buildings and cute critters. There's some light worker placement, some light tableu building, some light engine buildinger...lots and lots of light mechanisms rolled together. It also has some really clever elements that I like a lot. For example, there are no real rounds. On your turn you either place a worker, play a card, or 'prepare for the season' which lets you take your workers back, gain new worker(s) or cards depending on the season, and begin again. There's an action that can only be taken when you're in autumn so there's some strategy to being first into Autumn. However, you only take workers back when you prepare for the season so if you are capable of stalling then you can continue to jam up good spaces with your workers even after opponents have taken their back and are now having to play into less efficient spaces. There's that cool pressure that comes from being forced to act you get in a WP game without the game being 100% WP.

Cards played go into your city tableu to a maximum of 15. This is where the light engine/combos come in. Buildings can be used to play critters for free if you have the right one (e.g. if you build an Inn, you can play the Innkeeper free). They're also full of production symbols, special abilities, and other 'stuff' that help your actions. At the end of the game you score points based on the cards you've played and any end game scoring abilities.

I like every individual thing about this game, but it didn't come together to really wow me because, so far, no one has felt a really satisfying moment of seeing your city 'work'. Katie said she'd be happy to play this again, but would rather play Suburbia because you get that feeling of an engine churning away rewarding your investment. The engine in this kind of sputters in that you'll get 2 or 3 cards to work together then that engine stops while some thing else is going on and maybe comes back to life in a later season. The other thing is that all the cards are shuffled into one big deck, so there doesn't feel like a natural progression from low-value production cards, into high value cards. This isn't a huge deal as these cards are balanced very well against each other and the spaces on the board ensure that someone who gets a ton of production cards thanks to the shuffle won't 100% outstrip someone who doesn't, but it also takes away from the narrative. I built a city that followed the kind of progression you'd imagine in founding a new city. Farms and farmers led to schools, inns, etc which led to a festival at the end. Katie never had that progression going; she built a palace and got a King in it and a lot of other end game scoring things and won. Mechanically it's fine but you look down at what you've created at the end and one makes more narrative sense. I really wish the cards were paced out by season, adding more strategy to when you progress or hold back.

Going to play more for sure though, as I enjoy the plays. Comparing to Suburbia isn't necessarily fair given how much Katie and I like that. This game is clever and fun in its own right, and I think it'll be a commercial success as it's very approachable. Probably play with my Dad the next time he visits as I think he'd really like it.

Age of Sigmar
Game 3 in the Path to Glory campaign. 1 left! This was a cool scenario where 1 player had to defend a monolith on one edge of the board while the other had to charge over and try to destroy it. Every turn the Builder could roll 1d6 if they had a miniature within 3", and add that roll to a pool. Once the pool got to 20 they won. The other player could roll a d6 if they managed to get within 3" and on a 4+ the monolith would be destroyed.

I won the roll to choose sides and had my opponent play as the monolith builders, as they only had 3 (big) models. Opened by charging my Eels directly into one of his chariots and destroyed it in my first turn. He retaliated with his leader and took them out on his first turn, but importantly he had to leave the monolith and thus delayed adding points to the construction pool. He charged his other Chariot into my mass of weak units but I was able to destroy it in the 2nd round simply under the mass of shots I had. Weak units, but I think I laid something like 60 dice into him. Unfortunately for me, every point of damage that doesn't kill a unit gives him summoning points. I was sitting strong and thought I would win in round 3 when he summoned 20 Daemonettes as reinforcements. I pulled out the win by wiping his units off the table but it was close. I think if he'd stuck by the monolith and not gotten tempted to attack he may have won. I'm now sitting on 6 points with a shot to win the campaign this week. Added another unit of archers (30 more shots!) for the last week.

Into the Echoside

ICP DECKBUILDER WHOOP WHOOP HERE COME THE JUGGALOS.

A little long but Vanilla Ice is a card, along with a ballsack dressed like Superman.

Visitor in Blackwood Grove
Nice deduction game that isn't in any way similar to Werewolf/Resistance. We had a really good time and played it twice back to back, changing roles. We implemented a minor house rule making a player who proves the pass rule state what they think the rule is and if they're in the vicinity they win. Charlie pointed out that it's possible to win by random chance, so we gave this a shot.

Dinosaur Tea Party
This was fun for as long as we were willing to adopt terrible British accents. After that it was pretty meh unfortunately, first real strike out for Restoration for us.

On my Mind

Had an awesome long weekend. On Friday Katie and I went to a peruvian place downtown to fill up on ceviche and cocktails before going to the cubs game. Then we had some pizza from a local place we don't get to much after picking the kids up from daycare.

Assembled my last unit of minis for Path to Glory, and also finished a terrain project I'd been working on. I had the idea to give raffi a paint brush and let him 'drybrush' the ruins for me. He had an absolute ball and they don't look half bad so it was a fun way to craft together while moving along my painting queue.
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22. Board Game: Power Grid [Average Rating:7.86 Overall Rank:36]
Board Game: Power Grid
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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Board Game: The Resistance
Board Game: Power Grid
Board Game: Jump Drive


 8   The Resistance x2
 9   Power Grid
 N/A   Jump Drive

Power Grid -- We were setting up to play a 5 player game of Hansa Teutonica when someone new showed up to the game group. Nobody had great suggestions on what to play at 3-players, so when I saw the New Guy had Power Grid, I suggested we try that. Apparently my game group sucks (myself included) since we all lost to the only person who had never played before.

Jump Drive -- Such a pleasant little game. Won by a landslide because I got a lot of rare planets and developments out early and then hit on the 8-cost development for its VP. Wasn't a close game.

The Resistance -- One of the guys, I'll call him Mark (because that's his name), dislikes Social Deduction. When he plays he's not a bad sport about it when he does play, but I find him almost impossible to read. The first game was relatively unremarkable; the good guys picked good teams early on and won by the 4th mission. The second game was more contested right up until Mark was included on a mission and accidentally flipped over his role card (Merlin shake) instead of the Success/Fail cards he had been passed. The game was effectively dead there, but we spent the 3 minutes to finish out the round and let the Assassin kill Mark for the win. We decided perhaps we shouldn't play a third round.

Dungeons and Dragons (3e sibling game) -- We made friends with the evil dwarves who now run the forge. We're forging an alliance between them and the baron who originally sent us to them. Before we return to the baron, we are helping the dwarves clear out a few creatures they have been having problems with (namely, a dragon, and some troglodytes). This week we took out the troglodyte problem. As a wizard I know Draconic, so when we discovered they were hiding near the graveyard of the original dwarves who lived here, I started making scary ghost-dwarf sounds in draconic in order to scare the trogs. This marginally worked, in that it made them freeze for one round so we could engage them rather than them escaping and warning the whole warren. From there we basically just walked in and killed every man, woman, and child we could find, because we're terrible people. But, hey, I got a shiny new magical glaive out of it, so that's something!


On my mind legs:
Accomplishments of the week:

1. Consistently running < 25 minutes for my 5k times
2. My weekly run mileages are more than the marathon's distance.
3. I've not let running completely overshadow biking (biked 3x last week).
4. Used a watt bike for the first time last week: still lots of room for personal improvement.


Non exercise stuff:
I watched The Meg this week. It was... good? I was not expecting it to be good, but it managed to be a shark movie that didn't feel like a Jaws ripoff.

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