GCL Gelato 334: First times
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From gallery of PzVIE
What is a Game Chat League?

A Game Chat League is a weekly discussion-group format for people who love gaming and enjoy talking about games. It is intended to foster depth and familiarity, producing engaging content and worthwhile interaction. Members get to know one another, establish shared interests, and generally develop a friendly and productive environment.

Of necessity, each division of GCL is kept relatively small (typically between 12-16 members, though individual divisions may incline one way or the other). A tight-knit discussion group tends to function more smoothly than a free-for-all. It allows individuals to be heard and understood, and for each participant to keep up and enjoy multiple topics as the week progresses. The format is geeklist-based, and lists are not published to the BGG front page.

Policy: If you're a lurker or have otherwise discovered GCL Gelato, feel free to read along with us and see what the members have to say on everything under the sun. If you have a constructive comment or something else you think would add to the discussion, consider posting it — if it's helpful, respectful, and polite to the discussion group as a whole, as well as to its individual members.


The first:
Microbadge: First Lieutenant leroy 43 (Roger)

The senonds:
Microbadge: Second Lieutenant ad79 (Stig)
Microbadge: Second Lieutenant Bacchus (Kevin)
Microbadge: Second Lieutenant bongoherman (Bertram)
Microbadge: Second Lieutenant cmontgo2 (Chris)<--- Next week is Chris week!
Microbadge: Second Lieutenant Cole Wehrle (Cole)
Microbadge: Second Lieutenant Corran Horn (Michael)
Microbadge: Second Lieutenant cubbieblue (Steven)
Microbadge: Second Lieutenant Farsol (Patrick)
Microbadge: Second Lieutenant Hanibalicious (Sonderegger)
Microbadge: Second Lieutenant grammatoncleric (O.Shane)
Microbadge: Second Lieutenant Jacovis (Jacob)
Microbadge: Second Lieutenant jtakagi (Jonathan)
Microbadge: Second Lieutenant Lil Red Head (Nikki)
Microbadge: Second Lieutenant MABBY (Murray)
Microbadge: Second Lieutenant maho (Marion)
Microbadge: Second Lieutenant nycavri (Avri)
Microbadge: Second Lieutenant PzVIE (Ron)
Microbadge: Second Lieutenant refusetoshine (Kaitlyn)
Microbadge: Second Lieutenant Scarlet Witch (Julia)
Microbadge: Second Lieutenant tommynomad (T. Nomad)
Microbadge: Second Lieutenant wifwendell (Wendell)


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1. Board Game: Web of Gold [Average Rating:5.74 Overall Rank:12978]
Board Game: Web of Gold
This was the first "modern" board game (e.g.: not Monopoly, Ludo,...) I remember owning as a kid. My dad bought it at a family visit to the "Christmas market" (don't know what you'd call them in English) and placing huge spider webs in your friend's way was fun enough for a time. In hindsight, it's not a good game probably.

Do you remember your first "real" board game you had in your childhood?

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2. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:175] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
Board Game: Carcassonne
The first time I remember playing and enjoying a board game in adult life was during lunch break at my then job as mover on the now-defunct American Airforce base in Keflavík. It was a physically demanding job, so we had a long lunch break. After consuming their meals most of the dudes went down into the weight room to grow their muscles and whiff each other's testosterone. There was this new guy, Stefán, who brought games to work, which seemed much more fun to me. So we played this or the Catan card game whilst Tim Allen style man-sounds came from down below.
Out of this reluctance to exercise grew a friendship that lasts to this day.

What person(s), important to you did you meet through gaming?
Who introduced you into "the hobby"?

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3. Board Game: Galaxy Trucker: Anniversary Edition [Average Rating:8.20 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.20 Unranked]
Board Game: Galaxy Trucker: Anniversary Edition
Whilst this wasn't the first board game I bought, it for me marks the start into the hobby and the age of the sprawling board game collection.
I remember having walked past by Galaxy Trucker many times in the local geek store, not knowing what it was because I wasn't on BGG yet, yet always tempted by its allure.
Then, one day. New York in spring. I'm in the Compleat Strategist. ANNIVERSARY EDITION! Prowling the 2 aisles countless times. It finally happened.

Do you remember your fall down the rabbit hole?
Was there a point for you where you crossed the line between casual gamer and raving lunatic?

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4. Board Game: Camden [Average Rating:6.26 Overall Rank:5278]
Board Game: Camden
This was my first Kickstarter. I don't remember what made me look for games on Kickstarter in the first place, but this game intrigued me. The first appeal was Kovalic's artwork (at this time I still thought Munchkin was a good game). But what still does it for me is the Carcassonne but weird and wonky appeal.

Even if I knew about BGG before, this was the first time I used it to look for something and continued using it. I had made attempts before but was always deterred by the seemingly impenetrable wall of boxes, links, and functions that is the BGG front page.

If any, what was your first try at Kickstarter?
What made you dig past the surface of BGG?

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5. RPG Item: The Fantasy Trip: Legacy Edition [Average Rating:8.96 Overall Rank:219]
RPG Item: The Fantasy Trip: Legacy Edition
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This is the week that was:
Board Game: Titan
Board Game: Pax Porfiriana
Board Game: John Company
Board Game: Brass: Birmingham
Board Game: Thurn and Taxis
Board Game: R-Eco
Board Game: Startups
Board Game: Legends of the Ancient World: The Oracle's Breath
Board Game: Ticket to Ride: 10th Anniversary
Board Game: Brass: Lancashire
Board Game: A Few Acres of Snow


 7   Titan (64 all-time) iOS
I've really been enjoying playing Titan online through the app. There are a bunch of players who I've been crossing paths with a fair bit, and it's been very educational to watch them get massive growth - either they're rolling better, or I'm not making the smart kind of decisions I should be.

Nonetheless, as much as I do enjoy this game, it's a player elimination game and I while I'm ok with player elimination, it's something I wouldn't want to play in person for that reason (unless I was at a convention where I could wander off and play something else with someone).

 10   Pax Porfiriana (136 all-time) Yucata
I started a game with my original crew (OC from now on) of Ric, Keith, and Matt. We started playing this back when it first came available on Vassal.

 6   John Company NEW! Jeff
Jeff came over last Sunday and we tried this game out - we're both very into the games that come out of Sierra Madre, and I've been keen to try this Cole Wehrle design.

When the rules describe this as a sandbox game, it's not wrong. There are a lot of levers to pull in this game, and it's was really fun to move the pieces around and try and figure out how to be successful both personally (because you're in it for yourself) and for the company (that you're running collaboratively).

That said... this is the kind of game that will reward multiple plays - much like Pax Renaissance. Add to this the game is complicated enough that it requires regular play. Unfortunately, the reality of my gaming is that this isn't going to happen, so as much as I liked it, it's going to be moving on from the collection.

 8   Brass: Birmingham x3 (6 all-time) Jeff, ww
I introduced Jeff to Brass: Birmingham, and it went really well. I narrowly won the first game, and then we played to the end of the canal in the second game so that my wife could join us in game number three. All in all, I can say that I am very enthusiastic about this branch of the Brass family.

 5   Thurn and Taxis (20 all-time) Gelato Yucata
 6   R-Eco (4 all-time) Gelato Yucata
Tommy got the ball rolling on these. Thanks Tommy!

 7   Legends of the Ancient World: The Oracle's Breath (2 all-time) TNC
This was a continuation of our last session. We still haven't finished this adventure. The guys are super keen to play a real campaign though, so mission accomplished. I'm going to uplift us to The Fantasy Trip though, as it's a fully fleshed out system complete with character races, gear prices, and a monster guide for the GM.

Melee and Wizard PDFs are coming in a couple weeks, and I'm hoping the TFT manuals are not long after - although I still have my old originals from the eighties.

 8   Startups (44 all-time) TNC
We ended the night with a full game (four rounds) of this.

 7   Ticket to Ride (53 all-time) wf
The Kelda said she was willing to play a game with us, so we let her pick and this is what she selected. She came in second to me, but gave me fist bumps for both of us defeating her mother. Classic.

 7   Brass: Lancashire (3 all-time) ww
Afterwards, my wife and I played the new version of Brass, and it was a very tight game. She had a huge lead after the canal era, but I had multiple coal mines on the board so was able to take advantage and play a lot of rail links, which helped me edge out the win after the rail era was done.

My wife described Lancashire as simpler than Birmingham and she shares my preference for the latter. However, both are good enough to keep in the collection.

 7   A Few Acres of Snow (20 all-time) Jeff
Jeff likes this game a lot. I know because he keeps issuing me invitations on Yucata. We're both still trying to figure out the British strategy.

What's Going On
BGG Con: I may not make it to BGG Con this year. I have a bunch of work projects including delivering some training, and I am also going to be attending some training in November, but the dates are TBA. This means that my plans are on hold for now - good thing I didn't book my flight yet.

The 7th Continent: This is a game that I've enjoyed, but it's not a game that I'm going to get good value out of. It was one of the pricier KS projects I've backed, and I have the second shipment coming later this fall. If anyone wants to take it off my hands, I'm willing to take reasonable offers from my fellow Gelati.

TNC RPG: The TNC has really gotten into the RPG stuff, and being in the GM chair again after a long hiatus has felt good. Really good. And playing a much lighter system in Legends of the Ancient World has really exposed to me the serious problems with Pathfinder.

Even though my Monday group wants to switch now to D&Dv5, I think it's clear I need to be playing a system that is more OSR (old school role playing), with a more open rules set that allows for flexible narratives and story telling to take the forefront.

Calm before the storm: The Kelda has survived her first week of school. This coming week all the extra curricular events start - including Friday art meaning my wife and I will be able to play games while she's in art class again. This is the last quiet weekend for a while...
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6. Board Game: At the Gates of Loyang [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:286]
Board Game: At the Gates of Loyang
Marion ☮️
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My only game this week.


I really love it.
Still puzzled about how to get more than 17 points, either solo, or with 3.

Always applying different strategies.
It seems that it doesn't make a huge difference if you take loans, or buy fields, .... in the end it's always a tough cut .....

I love it, but do I play it wrong?
Why is there never a significant difference in scores? shake
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7. Board Game: Citadels [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:396]
Board Game: Citadels
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Chestermere
Alberta
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My gaming entry for this week.
Due to us planning to see Frank Turner in concert on Wednedsay this week (our normal gaming week) we squeezed in some beer and games last week.

Citadels: It turned into a fairly close game, but I made a fatal error on the very first turn. I assassinated the King and robbed the merchant but I should have (and had thought of) doing the opposite.
As a result, the guy with the King card lost his turn and was ticked with me, and the merchant had no coins at the start of his turn.
The other way, I would have got 2 coins from the King, and (killed) stopped the merchant from cashing in and building a big expensive building.

Tally Ho!: Both of our turns began poorly but improved as we went along. All of the bears, on both turns, were shot-- which is a bit odd in itself.
I ended up winning by a mere 3 points.

Wasabi!: My daughter came over for roast beef and Yorkshire puddings, and chose the game for after dinner.
She almost won it, but my wife tweaked her by one point, and won. Two points back of her (1 behind my daughter) was little old me. A close game.

My new beer selection was an odd co-op effort.
Tulsa Twister-- from Denmark! 650 ml bottle, so just smaller than a wine bottle.
A "farmhouse" saison style, it was nicely carbonated, lightly fruity, and a touch on the sweet side. A good combo, actually.

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8. Board Game: Big Trouble in Little China: The Game [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:1996]
Board Game: Big Trouble in Little China: The Game
Kevin O'Hare
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San Carlos
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Hi all. Finally got some serious gaming done this past weekend at Mellow Meeples in Denver. Combination of older games and a lot of new to me games as well.

Here's the list:

Board Game: Twin Tin Bots
Board Game: Team Play
Board Game: Puerto Rico
Board Game: Maskmen
Board Game: Kepler-3042
Board Game: The Grizzled: At Your Orders!
Board Game: Drop It
Board Game: Code 777
Board Game: Zendo
Board Game: Tichu
Board Game: Rajas of the Ganges
Board Game: Great Western Trail
Board Game: Die Fugger
Board Game: Brass: Birmingham
Board Game: Das Vermächtnis des Maharaja
Board Game: Power Grid: The Card Game
Board Game: Mississippi Queen
Board Game: Löwendynastie
Board Game: Hanabi
Board Game: Deep Sea Adventure
Board Game: Deduce or Die
Board Game: Big Trouble in Little China: The Game
Board Game: Railroad Ink: Deep Blue Edition
Board Game: Masque of the Red Death
Board Game: Fuji Flush
Board Game: Fresco


Twin Tin Bots
Team Play
Puerto Rico
Maskmen x4
Kepler-3042
The Grizzled: At Your Orders!
Drop It x3
Code 777
Zendo
Tichu x2
Rajas of the Ganges
Great Western Trail
Die Fugger
Brass: Birmingham
Das Vermächtnis des Maharaja
Power Grid: The Card Game
Mississippi Queen
Löwendynastie
Hanabi x2
Deep Sea Adventure
Deduce or Die
Big Trouble in Little China: The Game
Railroad Ink: Deep Blue Edition
Masque of the Red Death
Fuji Flush
Fresco

Of these, the stand outs were Brass: Birmingham, Great Western Trail, Kepler and Rajas of the Ganges. Brass Birmingham was fantastic. Not having to deal with the ports from the earlier Brass Lancaster was great and the addition of additional goods another great improvement.

Big Trouble in Little China was fun, and true enough to the movie that I wouldn't mind another play.

Edit: Forgot to Add R-Eco and Thurn and Taxis on Yucata with the Gelati.
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9. Board Game: Little Drop of Poison [Average Rating:6.04 Overall Rank:9419]
Board Game: Little Drop of Poison
Board Game: Hare & Tortoise
Board Game: Thurn and Taxis
Board Game: R-Eco
Board Game: Carcassonne Junior
Board Game: The Rose King
Board Game: Little Drop of Poison
Board Game: Elfenland


 N/A   Hare & Tortoise NEW!
 7.0   Thurn and Taxis (26 all-time)
 6.0   R-Eco (16 all-time)
 5.0   My First Carcassonne (7 all-time)
 7.0   The Rose King (36 all-time)
 6.0   Little Drop of Poison (10 all-time)
 N/A   Elfenland (3 all-time)

After a week of many plays of Rat Hot, the tot asked for Little Drop of Poison. "Hello, Ratty..." is now our favourite gaming catchphrase. Pity I missed out on Rattus in the latest Math Trade. Little Drop is a clever card game of shifting alliances, and we adore the 'period' artwork.

I remarked on someone else's GL that I like My First Carc more than its parent, because it's not terribly dull. This is the game about which Roger and I disagree most.

My favourite thing about Elfenland is pronouncing the city names.

H&T needs some rejugging of the hare rules, but we liked it otherwise. Loved opening a rulebook that said: "players can move as far as they wish along the track." Silly fun with a dash of tactics.

The math trade didn't pan out: one product of my own funneled collection is that I have fewer games others want.

It sounds like Wendell and Roger may be in for some Cuban revolutionary activity. Who would like to join us?

We've started attending Korean school on Saturdays. It means getting up really early and commuting all day, but it'll be worth it when we visit family this winter. The kids are already embarrassed by their latency, and we want that to come to an end. I hope the pride that comes with achievement (they will be high performers in classes with kids more Dutch than they are, should they get over the initial hump of catching up) inspires them to buy in.

A rainy dawn greets me. I wish you all a good week.
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10. Board Game: NichtLustig: Fäkalini [Average Rating:5.91 Overall Rank:14317]
Board Game: NichtLustig: Fäkalini
Ron
Austria
Vienna
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GAME WEEK

 8   Sushi Go! (12 all-time)
 7   NichtLustig: Fäkalini (12 all-time)
 10   Chaos in the Old World (8 all-time)
 10   Advanced Squad Leader (523 all-time)
 N/A   Unpublished Prototype (15 all-time)
 8   Las Vegas (23 all-time)

I played Advanced Squad Leader on VASSAL again; after we played a lot of Stalingrad scenarios, my Finnish opponent wants to explore the Pacific Theater, so we played a small scenario featuring a Japanese assault on a British-occupied hill. It was a quick and bloody affair, I let my Japs run uphill in a Human Wave, but this came to stop quickly when my best leader ate a bullet and the hand-to-hand combats saw many Japanese soldiers left bleeding out on the ground. I rallied and attacked again with what was left, but that attack also was repelled by the brave Brits. The Emperor was not amused.

We played Chaos in the Old World on Thursday; this is such a wonderful asymmetric game in a great setting. However, from what I've read by now, Cole's Root might kick this one from the top of asymmetric games. I need to play this!!! After the Bloodgod Khorne won by killing all that moved (yeah, my favorite side to play!), we had a quick Sushi Go!, followed by NichtLustig: Fäkalini. I love this little dice roller. It's so ... unusual!

Friday was train gaming night again, and again, we tested Lonny's new prototype about Viennese Tramways. He added another thing, and removed some elements that didn't worked too well, and slowly, this turns into a great 18xx family member!

This is a long game, so we looked for something short to end the evening and agreed on Las Vegas. I still love that little gem. Apart from Puerto Rico, the best game in the alea series! meeple

Board Game: Sushi Go!
Board Game: NichtLustig: Fäkalini
Board Game: Chaos in the Old World
Board Game: Advanced Squad Leader
Board Game: Unpublished Prototype
Board Game: Las Vegas


RENOVATION

It's nearly finished ... this was the first night we slept in our new bed! Yeah!!! We'll get a couple of new windows and window seals next week, and I still have to assemble the table for our new game room. Once that is done, it's over. I'll open a bottle then. A huge one! meeple

I hope you all had a great week too! meeple

EDIT: I totally forgot (with the geek down and all that) - here's a photo from the last 1840 playtest session!
From gallery of PzVIE
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11. Board Game: Fire in the Sky: The Great Pacific War 1941-1945 [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:2478]
Board Game: Fire in the Sky: The Great Pacific War 1941-1945
Wendell
United States
Yellow Springs
Ohio
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I've got a friend who's in the gaming desert of Astana, Kazakhstan. So we've started a PBEM game of Fire in the Sky, perhaps the finest playable design covering the Pacific War. I took the Japanese side. So far, so good.

I also met three friends at the D20 gaming bar and refought the Vietnam War in Fire in the Lake, the campaign game. Long story short, despite (or partly because of, heh) appalling US casualties, on the fourth coup card I was at +1 for victory. Unfortunately so was Dave's VC - and the VC win the tiebreaker. Great game as always.

AND the night before with a group including my brother and some friends (the same group that meets at D20 every 2-3 weeks, but this time at a friend's house), I tried Secret Hitler. I'd had some misgivings re the topic, but in the end I don't think that was too bad. And the game itself is a lot of fun. We had eight guys there, and Secret Hitler can accommodate up to 10, so it was a good choice - we played five times, in fact. We also had a warm-up game of Joking Hazard, which can be amusing if you don't play for too long.

Also met (via vassal and skype) with my buddy to continue our Fire in France, I mean Liberty Roads game. My Allies may be on the verge of a breakthrough around Paris, on verra. And a PBEM game of Nevsky: Teutons and Rus in Collision 1240-1242; the early going of a longer game and I've lost Pskov to the perfidious Teutonic Knights.
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12. Board Game: 7 Wonders Duel: Pantheon [Average Rating:8.03 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.03 Unranked]
Board Game: 7 Wonders Duel: Pantheon
EXTRA AVOCADO! Sonderegger
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 N/A   Pizza Master NEW! 2p ww x1

Meat and fish and broccoli
stacked from here t'eternity
and cheese, the noble firmament
ameliorates the worst lament
-
So- pizza master? Don't play it with two. It's all about timing and majorities, and like most things, the tension only really comes with more (I'm assuming). And don't bother with the learning game. Indeed, the only reasons it's not on the trade pile are a. its amazing production b. The fact that a. will make it appeal to gateway gamers and c. it may prove more satisfying in a melee and d. I might remove the reserving rule to just add a frisson of Knizia Kruelty.

 8   Lost Cities: Rivals NEW! 3p x1

if you look really carefully
with loupe in eye and space well lit
you'll see each wager's sleeve has hid
a dagger folded deep in it
but don't be fooled- they're not for show
they'll end up in your back, you know
-
HOLY REINERSSANCE. It's phenomenal. Cruel. Fast. Vicious. So few rules but so many important and elegant levers- all of which showed up in the first play. Who knew that RA! would fit in a blender, let alone with lost cities and traumfabrik? Herr Doktor knew. I cannot wait for Megan to try it. Also, as I'm a crazy person, I've tossed the box and put in wooden coins.


 9   Kashgar: Merchants of the Silk Road NEW! 3p x1
Though tailors' clothes and butchers' meat
and jewelers' jewel encrusted ring
are beautiful and tempting treat
it turns out farmers are the thing
with which to catch the crown of king
(but catch me on my next upswing)
-
Damn fine game. The players were quick, each turn blasted by, I lost on a PYL moment to a man with double farmers- which I'd managed to get in line with a beggar, but then my beggar was slowed down with a counterplay. It was grrrreat, and only reinforces how much I love this game.


 N/A   Imhotep NEW! 3p x1

overlooking pyramids
in which the king's entombed
the crew got disinhibited
and skunkily perfumed
the master builder inhaled deep
a puff to make Jamaicans weep
he giggled, coughed, and lightly moaned
"Now me and Pharoah both are stoned"
-
Not bad. Genuinely the best PWH I've played. Not great either though. But it was short enough that I didn't get angry at it. I have the unnerving feeling that each stone is worth 0-5 points, realistically. But hey, it was fun, and my mitspieler made it fantastic.

 9   7 Wonders Duel NEW! 2p x1

Tanit came and gave you gold
and gilded floor to wall
To which my succulent retort must be
go on and suck my Baal.
-
Duel is a great game. Pantheon adds a lot of extra levers, the best of which is being able to skip a card play- but I think I'd rather play the base game to death first (see: Innovation).
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13. Board Game: Kariba [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:3863]
Board Game: Kariba
Jonathan Takagi
United States
Escondido
California
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Board Game: Fast Forward: FORTRESS
Board Game: That's Pretty Clever!
Board Game: Encore!
Board Game: Gizmos
Board Game: Blue Lagoon
Board Game: Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger
Board Game: Kariba
Board Game: Lost Cities: Rivals
Board Game: Santo Domingo
Board Game: Ticket to Ride: New York


 N/A   Fast Forward: FORTRESS x7 NEW! - Great idea for a game. This is the first of the Fast Forward series I've played. The way it teaches you the game without a standard rule book is very cool, but potentially fraught if people aren't paying attention. I kind of like Friese's recent number games, it's amazing how well this works. Definitely a niche game, as a big part of the pleasure is in the discovery, I'm not sure how well this would work after you've worked your way through the deck. I guess there's only one way to find out.

 N/A   Ganz schön clever x4
 N/A   Noch mal! x3

 N/A   Gizmos x2 NEW! - This game focuses on giving euro players what they like, pared down quick engine building. It feels good to get more and more powerful as the game goes on, though with a plodding player it might be a little too much, especially if they narrate their turns. "I'm going to pick a blue marble, and because I picked blue, I get to take a random marble. Because I took a random marble..."

 N/A   Blue Lagoon - Second play did not banish the fear that initial turn order seems to make a big difference. Start player won, last player came in last. Seems like there should be an easy fix if it actually is a problem, but I'm not ready to pass judgment yet.

 N/A   Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger NEW! - Amazing how well this works. This was a lot of fun, even if it is harder than it seems to visualize what's going on and where you are. And I was the one reading the cards! I'm not sure how much game there really is here, as your performance rests very heavily on your die rolls. But I like this type of game because it's a different type of game experience I can have with my kids.

 N/A   Kariba NEW! - This was probably derived from an earlier design, but I was pleasantly surprised at how creative this design was. There are many of these Knizias where you play numbered cards not trying to set up your opponent, but this one felt different. Helvetiq's strength is definitely their graphic design.

 N/A   Lost Cities: Rivals NEW! - Delightful. It's amazing how flexible the Lost Cities genre is. This feels right at home in the series yet offers something completely different. The bidding system is simple but works wonders.

 N/A   Santo Domingo - Still good with 3, mainly because you got to play 2 cards. Would like to try with 4.

 N/A   Ticket to Ride: New York - I'm not sure that the game isn't a little too short. It's not very often that I would say something like that.
From gallery of jtakagi

I wanted to mention a little bit about Efteling. My rule of thumb is usually to not build up expectations, because then I am inevitably disappointed. But as soon I found out we were going to be in the Netherlands, I found out about Efteling and decided to visit. There seems to be a pretty active group of Efteling cheerleaders from outside the Netherlands, and I watched quite a few videos on YouTube. It still lived up to and even surpassed my expectations. I have grown up in Southern California and have gone to Disneyland more times than I can count, but Efteling is the only park I've gone to that can compete with Disneyland in terms of theme and design of their attractions. There are a couple nondescript rides - Python is a very basic looping coaster, Piranha is a run of the mill water ride with an insanely catchy trash techno track that plays on repeat (how do the employees not go crazy?). Their version of "It's a Small World" is kind of depressing and somewhat racially insensitive in a typically European way. But the majority of the attractions tell a genuinely compelling story that is understandable even to the non-Dutch speaker (except for Villa Volta, an attraction where a room appears to revolve upside down, luckily a friendly person filled us in on what was actually going on.) T

There are a couple thrill rides that are a lot of fun. Baron 1898 is a steampunk themed ride where you are suspended for a couple seconds before a vertical plunge underground. The Flying Dutchman is a mixture between a water ride and a roller coaster.
From gallery of jtakagi

But the heart of the park is the Fairytale Forest, where scenes from prominent fairytales are depicted. Sometimes just by statues, at others by quite sophisticated animatronics. The talking tree was entrancing even though we understood nothing it was saying. There are a handful of indoor scenes that were breathtaking and genuinely moving. I loved the Indian Waterlilies, I imagine that the catchy song must be somewhat iconic for the Dutch. The Little Match Girl was very well done but I was nearly moved to tears by The Chinese Nightingale. Maybe because I didn't understand what they were saying, I just watched the lighting, enjoyed the relative silence. At the end, as the nightingale saves the old man from death's grip, the light subtly changes and the nightingale keeps singing. I realize this is probably filler sound for people to exit, but being relatively empty it was cinematic and reminded me of how some of my favorite movies end.

They certainly seem to have invested heavily in the lauded dark ride Symbolica, but to me the real winner that I will always remember was Droomvlucht, a truly magical wonderland not for the cynical. I was constantly delighted by the scenes and movement of the ride.

Luckily we stayed for two days, there is no way you could see it all in one.

From gallery of jtakagi
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14. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:314] [Average Rating:7.26 Unranked]
Board Game: Arkham Horror
Julia
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Yes, I made it! I read and commented the whole list, yay! Super-happy! And it's still Saturday, so, I still have a small corner of time to sneak in an entry / update.


Games
We took some time over the last month to play a bit of Arkham Horror. Yes, 2nd edition. It's still our second most played game, and still one of the most loved. When everything goes south, Arkham's always there with its magic to make us happy. And it still has so much to say (despite 3rd edition coming). So, over the last month we played this one 7 times, for a total of 6 victories and 1 defeat (yeah, sometimes the board still beats us - previous defeat dates back in 2016, Christmas Eve) - all games with AH, KH, IH, MH. We're still going through the Dagon rotation, and we're about at 60% in of our project of playing a complete rotation of Ancient Ones per Herald / Guardian / Institution existing in the game.

We played a few more of The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, always with the Khazad-dum cycle. It's interesting that the game's starting to show its limits, in the sense that even with the 2nd cycle, you see scenarios wanting to go bigger and in the end if your engine triggers before the scenario's engine, you win, otherwise you lose. Don't get me wrong, it's good and solid, but it's very difficult recovering from a bad start, or losing a game with a solid start (not in terms of progression, of course, but of cards in play). Still a very solid game. Need to play more.

Also, we went on playing Kingdomino with Cat, as long as Azul (interesting that after only 34 games, tiles already are peeling off) - which is fun but still waaaay too light for our palat, we just use it as evening ender for when everyone's asleep, and Sagrada. Sadly, this is the year where we played the least games since 2011: not that odd considering it's been the year where we worked the most, where our health was at the lowest, and where we got a house, but still, numbers are dramatically low.

Anyway, we decided to start demolishing our wall of shame. Too many great games unplayed, or played once and then tossed because there was no time. So, tomorrow we're leaving for holidays, and tomorrow morning I'll pick a game, and Andrea will pick one too, and we'll try to play them while away.


More stuff related to games
We just ended testing two games, which we loved, but were quite demanding in terms of hours and brainpower, and we just got started with another one (which we can take veeeery slowly fortunately). Horizont seems quite, with new stuff to work on coming in October (both testing and editing, I think), so, possibly we could really cut some slack for ourselves in the next two weeks.


Life
Health (both mine and A's) is improving. The doc changed A's meds so that despite the (let's hope) formerly displaced disc he'll be able to hike. So, mountains. We have a few (kinda) extreme things in mind, but even if weather's awful, we just need to get away from here, so, worst case scenario, triple blanket and a pile of books.

We're preparing a few things for the next renovation step at our next place (redo entirely the bathroom), which will be done end of October / beginning of November. Then we should really start packing.
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