GCL Mafia 404: Party Hard
Charlie Theel
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St. Louis
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Welcome to GCL Mafia Division's weekly geeklist!

Important Links:
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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.

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• A weekly game can be spotlighted and discussed. The poster will pose questions about it to encourage conversation.
• Themed questions are optional. They can be gaming-related topics or non-gaming-related topics.

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1. Video Game: Party Hard [Average Rating:5.20 Overall Rank:7068]
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Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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2. Board Game: Black Out [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Black Out
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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I was at a Halloween party Saturday night and way overdid it. I was suffering most of yesterday.

I didn't have a better theme for this Geeklist so this is what you get.

What was the last alcoholic beverage you imbibed? What was the last song you karaoked?
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3. Board Game: Time's Up! Title Recall! [Average Rating:7.72 Overall Rank:388]
Board Game: Time's Up! Title Recall!
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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How do you feel about party games? What are your favorites? Which are trash?
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4. Board Game: Sushi Go Party! [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:185]
Board Game: Sushi Go Party!
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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What's your preferred size for a gaming get together? What about a non-gaming event (party or whatever)?

Why is Matt's law wrong (that all games are best at 3)?
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5. Board Game: Ultimate Werewolf Legacy [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:5360]
Board Game: Ultimate Werewolf Legacy
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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Ultimate Werewolf Legacy x7 (new!)
The Reckoners
Time's Up! Title Recall!

Reviews
The Reckoners, as an artifact of its own IP, is a failure. I'll tell you why here.


UWL
I'm not the biggest fan of Werewolf. I vastly prefer Resistance, One Night, and Secret Hitler. For a big group, I'd probably rather play 2R1B.

That said, this was fun. Timothy, former member of the GCL, was there and performed one of the key actions in Chapter 1 (he'd be very happy with how I phrased this sentence as well).

We ended up getting through two chapters (out of five), each containing three individual sessions. The massive faux-leather diary thing is awesome and is the physical core of the game. It walks you through each session, has you stickering things as long-term decisions are made, and it ties together a loose narrative we're playing through.

This is also neat because it will be a physical keepsake when everything is over. You can go back and look at who died during the night phases, certain role activities, etc.

I don't love Werewolf anymore today than I did last week, but this was a fun experience that we're looking forward to finishing up in November.

I don't have much else to talk about. Time's Up was with non-gamers and I was already drunk so not at the top of my game. I was surprised that these friends of ours (more my wife's friends than mine) who are not gamers at all or nerdy really at all, brought a collection of games including Codenames (after dark), Wits and Wagers, and Say Anything. Games are mainstream y'all.


On My Mind
Tons of stuff to review right now. KeyForge, Fallout: Wasteland Warfare, Magic the Gathering: Heroes of Dominaria, Black Hole Council, Ultimate Werewolf Legacy, MacGyver Escape Room Game, Speed Freeks. Also just got my pledge for Deep Madness which was another one of those massive miniatures Kickstarter things. And I have Arkham Horror 3e and Discover: Lands Unknown on their way.

The film Mother! totally blew me away. I wish I could talk more about it but the plot needs to really be unknown going in. Jennifer Lawrence was fantastic in it. I'm not a big Javier Bardem fan (except for his performance in No Country For Old Men) but he was fine. Ed Harris is always great to see though. Really a mentally challenging film that's very allegorical.

We're almost done with Man in the High Castle season 3 and that's going well.

I'm enjoying Walking Dead's current season thus far (haven't watched last night's episode yet). A little refreshing and I'm eager to see where the show goes with some of the casting decisions they've made.
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6. Board Game: Saratoga [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:3438]
Board Game: Saratoga
Grant Johnson
United States
Cedar Park
Texas
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Board Game: Saratoga
Board Game: Take 5!
Board Game: Roll Player
Board Game: Metro
Board Game: In the Year of the Dragon
Board Game: Colossal Arena
Board Game: Can't Stop


 9   Saratoga
 N/A   Take 5! x2 NEW!
 N/A   Roll Player NEW!
 N/A   Metro NEW!
 N/A   In the Year of the Dragon
 N/A   Colossal Arena
 N/A   Can't Stop NEW!

Saratoga: WE played this on Wednesday, the anniversary of the surrender of the British Army at Saratoga. This was actually one of our better games- Morgan's rifles got beaten back heavily in a skirmish, and the active half of the American army put together a poor defense. At the very last moment Horatio Gates released his troops, the Americans put together a brilliant charge under Benedict Arnold to retake Freeman's farm, capturing British artillery and breaking the line. The British counter attack was devastating, but not quite enough.

I think I overall played a better game, but I didn't properly close the door when I had the advantage and fate turned against me in the last two turns. I had some artillery knocked out of line that much up all of my retreats and got several units captured, and I couldn't make it up later. We both agreed this was the most exciting game of this we'd played, and I think Brandywine is on deck for later in the year!

In the Year of the Dragon: I played this a lot better- there was a lot of jostling for the top spot on the people track. I jettisoned at about the right time and was solidly in fourth, but what I sacrificed in turn order I made up in taking good people off the row and built almost enough advantages. Had I managed the two droughts better I might have won, but it's little things in this one. Really tight game- we had 2 points separating first from fourth. Lot of jostling, and a real demonstration of how agonizing the choices can be. Great play!

Can't Stop: MY GOD WHERE HAS THIS BEEN ALL MY LIFE??? This is about as pure and perfect a press-your-luck game as I've ever played. I love Acquire (which was also a Sid Sackson game), and that placed this on my radar. I must find a copy now! Fast paced and exciting, and I really could not stop!

Take 5: Great card game for having more than 5 players! I was impressed with the difficult choices and collective groaning around the table- I may have to see this one out!

Metro: Felt kind of meh. For the time and consternation I felt like I'd rather be playing Carcassonne, which has a similar tile laying mechanical but better choices and faster gameplay.

New Game Get: I preordered the Battle of Five Armies Collector's Edition. Big cards and big board sold me. I'll likely use my own painted stuff with it, but I want it and I can afford it so I ordered it.

BGG looms: I've got a couple of tasks left to ready for the big event, namely:

1. Review the rules so I can teach the GCACW event.
2. Finish painting my Lords of Middle Earth specialties for showing off War of the Ring- my friend from Canada will have sickdave mountains to put on the table!
3. Confirm Louis is in for Dungeon Lords on Friday afternoon (he seems to be perpetually on vacation so unsure he'll see this)
4. Pray that the Tichu finals do not muck up my other plans for the week.
5. Shake the tree on GCL lunch, and figure out if I'll get to attend since I'm leaving early.

On my mind
Carry that Load: I got out to hike again, and did alright. It was tiring and I've definitely lost a little conditioning (haven't done so in 4 weeks). But I completed all hills without stopping, and thanks to the cool weather my heart rate was significantly lower throughout the hike.

The Grant played on: Had the fortune of being the only person playing my part at band Thursday, which is usually great fun. I had no problems balancing, or handling the work. I'm also digging more into my recording project, including ordering an outfit to wear during real recording.

Exercises: Got done this week. I ran about 10 seconds/mile faster than I did in warmer weather. I need to make a better effort at getting to sleep on time again- it's been creeping later and I feel worse for it. But I'm eating right, I'm lifting like I should, the hike was great work for me and it looks like I'm gaining muscle again.

Texas Flood: We've had some reprieve from the flooding with clear weather over the weekend, but its supposed to start raining again and continue for the next few days. The City of Austin did issue a notice to boil water today- the amount of debris and silt in the water is hurting their capacity to treat it, and they're putting sub-optimally treated stuff out to maintain pressure for the fire lines.

The lake is really full, and we're sending a bit more water downstream than is usually comfortable- the real flood ravaged communities are a decent distance up-river from Austin. Our local reservoir last week received about 4 times the amount of water the City of Austin will use in a year.
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7. Board Game: SeaFall [Average Rating:6.34 Overall Rank:2323]
Board Game: SeaFall
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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We played Seafall last Friday. We're at 5 boxes open, 1 to go. After this game, we finally have in sight what it takes to open the 6th box and get the final milestones. We're still not completely sure what and are very much in the dark, but progress!

Also, I added a new feature to our game because it's hard to find all of the islands where we can do something. There are very few left. I have lego people standing on the islands that have something left now.


Note on spoilers: We've opened 5 boxes, but we are also far into the 5th box. To be safe, you probably shouldn't read unless you've opened the 6th box (or obviously if you don't care, which is probably anybody who hasn't started playing Seafall, yet).
Spoiler (click to reveal)
One player found the chart to complete the "find the chart milestone."
Somebody else apparently found a chart earlier, but didn't realize it. Honestly, we wouldn't have known if I hadn't been trying to look up answers to certain questions and stumbled across some spoilers on this topic, which basically let me know what to look for. A side comment the player made about "Oh wait, let me look at this symbol on the back of the card" made me basically ask "Is it this symbol? Does it say 'Chart'?"

Things we have left on the board:
-a 7 difficult Moon location to explore (this will definitely be the last trade post we're missing)
-a 10 Temple
-The uncloseable 10 Temple

That is it. We have 1 Tablet and 1 Item left to be found.

I suppose we also have a few stickers left in open waters. 2 portals and 6 currents. Then there are also 2 pirate ships and a handful of sunken ship sites. I don't know what all of the sunken ship sites are, but I spoiled myself enough when I was validating our game state (cards that should/shouldn't have been removed, etc) enough to know that we can cull the deck down to a single card that never gets removed.

Now if Robin or somebody else who knows the end-game is reading this, I'm interested in some strategy advice. Namely, advice to not prolong the game.

We have a few clues about coordinates to "hidden" temples based on tablet clues. 7 of the 8 tablets are discovered and each player owns at least 1 tablet. Not completely obvious, but again from what I think I gleaned online. And I'll make clear to the group if this is correct, but basically the 3 things it mentions in order is a secret tomb or something. Do we have to be at a Temple site to explore it? Then just go to that number in the Captain's Book? Since Tablet numbers isn't information we share (I wonder if we can negotiate everybody giving up one tablet's info), I assume we now have to steal other tablets to get complete info to move on? Meaning we need to raid people's homes with ridiculous raid values and/or find advisors that steal items (I think I found 1)?

I have so many raid stickers on 3 of the 4 opponents, close to 8 each, just because I've spent so much of the game in first. So stealing from most players is going to be really hard. And if there's only one advisor that let's you steal items, this is going to be a slow process. Especially because we've stopped having Winters.

EDIT: Aside from the massive number of enmity on other players' boards, there's also the lack of enmity tokens to place to raid a treasure room. Then again, there's that colony on the new island of Arados that I need to fully understand the rules for...


EDIT: Video Games
Octopath Traveler
As previously mentioned, I finished the Merchant's chapter 1 and then reached the Scholar. I have recently finished the Scholar's chapter 1 and added him to the party. I continued in the circle to pick up Ophelia the... priest girl or whatever. I just finished her prologue story and am just starting her quest to finish her Chapter 1.

I thought the boss for the Scholar was definitely challenging. I used all of my healing and several revives. I may have been underleveled. Not sure, still figuring things out.

But I think I need to shelve it again. As before, Switch and my kid is proving a difficult combination. The 3DS is actually very convenient for easy playing and getting him to sit and watch and eventually fall asleep. The Switch isn't as easy to watch (at least not Octopath. Bigger screen, but there's so much detail and things are so small on the handheld as opposed to TV that it's more difficult to see than the smaller 3DS), and it's also more enticing to grab, apparently. So back to the 3DS.


I've started playing some Luigi's Mansion on the 3DS. It's one of the many Gamecube games I never got to really play through and was always intrigued by. I'm not convinced that it's an amazing game, but it's a really clever change in the standard Mario games and it's interesting.


NazCon
So we also have NazCon coming up in a couple of weeks. This is our church's board game convention that's free to attend and we only take donations (which go to our missionary ministries, not even to the church itself), and charge for snacks/drinks at our snack bar. Fri Nov 2 and Sat Nov 3. You guys should visit.

I'm feeling more overwhelmed this year just because I can't prep for it early like I usually do, I don't have the storage totes available (but hopefully can dump contents of totes around our house to use to transport games), and most of the usual help has moved and left the church.

I've already had one year running this where effectively all help bailed last minute and I was stuck running the convention and some really stupid tournaments that I never wanted to run all by myself and that was awful. At least this time I've opted to not have any events. We really wanted to do a Locked Room, but that would require even more of my time than tournaments and a lot of effort to set up and make good. So no, not going to bother. Maybe next year. Oh, and Halloween and Bible Study both being that Wednesday before the con starts just puts more time pressure on being able to get everything done and ready. Blech. Ooh, and I need to search the church for where our shelves and such have gotten off to so I can use them again. I sure hope they haven't gone missing.

So that's a puzzle I'll be figuring out over these next two weeks. Hopefully it all comes together again and I can just have fun and play games for 2 days straight. But preparing and setting up with no time to do so is not something I'm looking forward to.
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8. Board Game: Biblios [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:360]
Board Game: Biblios
Jim Parkin
United States
Stow
Ohio
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Biblios x2 (24 all-time)

Hey, Biblios is fun. Really though, it remains a true gem. Perfect for what it attempts to be.

This morning, Anastasia departed for her nine-day European jaunt with her sister, so I'm solo-dad through next Wednesday. With my class recently finished over the weekend, this means that my evenings are entirely open. That also means I'm pulling everyone with a pulse to my house so we can play games every single night. TBD if that pans out the way I want it to happen.



RPGG D&D GM highlights:

1. I had a Cloud Giant castle nuke an entire battlefield of Fire Giants and Dwarves, then ambushed the party with some kraken warlocks and deep-sea fish hybrids.

2. A Wild Mage summoned a recurring NPC across my games, Captain Beautyhorn, the Wonder Unicorn, who immediately trampled a Mind Flayer.

3. After nearly killing a Hill Giant, one of my players had his Goliath flirt with her for several rounds while both Wood Elves snuck up to slit her throat.
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9. Board Game: Holding On: The Troubled Life of Billy Kerr [Average Rating:6.25 Overall Rank:4808]
Board Game: Holding On: The Troubled Life of Billy Kerr
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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Board Game: Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team
Board Game: The Reckoners
Board Game: Holding On: The Troubled Life of Billy Kerr


Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team
The Reckoners NEW!
Holding On: The Troubled Life of Billy Kerr NEW!

D&D

The whole gang was finally together, so we sat down to play D&D. A while back I'd planned a scenario based on the short story "The Lottery". It's a story about a town that draws a name from a bowl annually, and the town stones that person to death. In doing so, they rid the town of any negativity, bad luck, or generally bad things for an entire year. In my scenario, the group comes across a small town participating in an annual celebration of the Wind, only they've been taken over by an elemental cult in the area (we're doing the Princes of the Apocalypse book). They watch as the local youth participate in a bunch of activities, then head over to the spire nearby where the winning kid tries to fly (and can't).

It was interesting watching them react to everything. I had a few lines prepped based on what they did and what they tried to prevent. They figured out something bad was going to happen but didn't know what, and I enjoyed hearing them debate out of character where they thought it was going and what they thought I was expecting them to do, and then reacting to a kid voluntarily jumping off a building. In the end the kid was saved by a side character I'm weaving into the larger narrative but this won't be DM Ex Machina - all is not well in the valley.

This was Tim's first game of D&D, so I was initially a little worried about running this scenario but he seemed to enjoy it. He was eager for combat so I made sure that happened, and he also was playing it the way you'd play a video game. Seemed like he thought there was more scripting or 'trigger' events, but he liked that it was freeform and that I told him he could truly do whatever. He's up for another game.

Kill Team

2 games, 2 more wins. The shop owner let me play ahead a week since I'm going to be gone this weekend for the funeral. These were both excellent games against good players. The first was against Harlequins, a match up I was worried about. Lucky for me, he rolled very poorly on his charge rolls in Round 1. Harlies roll 3d6 instead of 2d6 but he was still rolling 6-8. This meant I had a round of shooting neither of us expected me to have and (more importantly) that I could counter charge and have surviving units to fall back and freeze him out. He still almost won, as he managed to get 1 unit off the board and I had to spring to try and get 2 off. I got some lucky advance rolls at the end; we were in the "Game could end now after any round" phase so I was pressed.

2nd game was against Necrons. I was rolling hot (like four 6s and two 5s in a single roll) BUT rolling 6s against Necrons brings them back to life. It's called Reanimation Protocol and I think I triggered it 5 times by the end of the game. This was a slog of neither of us dying, jockeying for position, and trying to claim ownership of objectives. In this scenario he begins with 12 points and can only lose them while I began with 0 and can only gain. He was up at the end of the first round where we rolled to see if we continued, but I pulled ahead in the next round and he conceded.

Kill Team is great. I picked up some Necrons as I want to try to get them built for Month 3.

The Reckoners

Fine, a good bit of fun, but the theme is fairly pasted on. This plays the same as Thanos Rising only it's 2x the cost, 2x the set up time, and 4x the box size.

Holding On

Hoo boy. Not sure if playing this the week I head to a funeral was the best idea, as it was definitely on my mind while playing.

This game does a lot of things really well, and nothing poorly. It's a game about providing both medical and palliative care to a terminal patient. There's both a textual narrative through the 10 scenarios and each play has a sort of abstract narrative of discovering Billy's memories. The game mechanisms involve drawing 1 patient card for each of 3 shifts and assigning nurses and staff to the card. Some cards represent a Stable Billy that only requires assigning a single nurse. If you provide medical care it's possible Billy's condition improves, though these also offer an opportunity to provide Palliative Care which is how you discover his memories. Memories are initially obtained as "partial memories" which are a short blurb and a blurry picture. You can spend your care resources to Inquire about memories which involves drawing through a deck of Clear memories, hoping to match them to partial ones you have in play. There are also cards that are medical emergencies and some that will cause him to deteriorate if you opt for palliative care.

The game elements are some of the best I've played as far as invoking the setting, a la Pandemic. You're constantly torn between providing the Medical care he needs vs the personal touch he and you want. The limited hospital staff inevitably leads to stressed employees and the need to send people on leave, and there is even a faceless administration that gives you warnings if you can't staff appropriately. The stress is represented by rings that physically hang on your tokens like a weight around your neck. The blurry memories also give you a sense of curiosity and wonder, and the clear image doesn't always match up with what you might expect. A+, this game is just super well done and sits up there in the "yes board games are art of course" realm.

On my mind

I ordered a sweater on ebay effectively as a try on of the style and material before committing to ordering a nice and more expensive one. I feel very old and like I've crossed some sort of line as far as the whole wardrobe improvement side hobby has gone. Happily, I love the ebay sweater more than I expected.

Heading to FL this weekend. Flying down Sunday and back Monday, mostly sad emotions.

Kids and Katie were sick this weekend so we mostly took it easy. I got the basement completely cleaned up and put stuff away so it's ready for construction. I'm very excited about this.
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10. Board Game: Brass: Birmingham [Average Rating:8.64 Overall Rank:3]
Board Game: Brass: Birmingham
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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Board Game: Samurai
Board Game: Northern Pacific
Board Game: Chicago Express
Board Game: Secret Hitler
Board Game: The Potion
Board Game: Trapwords
Board Game: Paris Connection
Board Game: Modern Art
Board Game: Hansa Teutonica
Board Game: DropMix
Board Game: Doodle Rush
Board Game: Dinosaur Tea Party
Board Game: Cryptid
Board Game: Crokinole
Board Game: Container: 10th Anniversary Jumbo Edition!
Board Game: Carla Cat
Board Game: Brass: Birmingham
Board Game: Gold Fever
Board Game: Fist of Dragonstones: The Tavern Edition


Samurai NEW!
Northern Pacific x2 (4 all-time)
Chicago Express (16 all-time)
Secret Hitler x2 (4 all-time)
The Potion x4 (6 all-time)
Trapwords NEW!
Paris Connection (8 all-time)
Modern Art (12 all-time)
Hansa Teutonica (18 all-time)
DropMix NEW!
Doodle Rush NEW!
Dinosaur Tea Party x2 NEW!
Cryptid x4 (5 all-time)
Crokinole (8 all-time)
Container: 10th Anniversary Jumbo Edition! (3 all-time)
Carla Cat x2 NEW!
Brass: Birmingham NEW!
Gold Fever x2 (3 all-time)
Fist of Dragonstones: The Tavern Edition x2 (3 all-time)

Finally got a chance to try Samurai at my regular game night. It was fine. Felt a little lop-sided when playing it, but the end result ended up being surprisingly close. I can see why this one was re-printed, it's got some of that Knizia spark, but I found it too close to Tigris & Euphrates which I've never been a big fan of. Glad I got a chance to try it.

GCL MAFIA BAY AREA MEET UP AT AMBIES!

It was great to see all the faces old and new! Grace I see pretty regularly, but it had been a number of years since I'd gamed with Chris F. and it was a welcome reunion. It was a ton of fun to finally meet Ambie, her husband Toby, Louie and Necro. Games were played, Hot Pot was eaten, and merriment abounded

Necro introduced us to Doodle Rush, which was a more low-key Pictomania. It was just the right amount of frantic and competitive, with some good laughs thrown in. I enjoyed my play, even though it wasn't up my usual alley.

Toby broke out Carla Cat right before we went out to get some Hot Pot for lunch, and it was a silly bit of frippery: One player has a big, cat-shaped pot-lid thing and everyone else has a plastic mouse with a long string tail. All the mice are gathered in a circle and each player takes hold of the end of the tail of their respective mice. The Cat player continuously calls out two numbers between 1-6 and rolls both dice, and if the dice ever show one of the numbers they get to slam the cat cover down on the mice. The mice players are trying to yank their mouse away before it can get covered, but if they flinch without the dice allowing the cat to descend, they're out for the round (also if they get captured). It was goofy and not a bad children's game.

Grace brought her big DropMix set and we got to play a handful of the game modes that came with the app. They were all reasonably fun, I think I enjoyed the fact that they were all partially rhythm games and it was fun to bounce along to the music. Creating mixes seemed to be the main draw, but that only felt like a superficial aspect of the modes I ended up playing. Neat.

Chris F., Louie and I broke out my copy of Brass: Birmingham, which was pretty cool. I did like the interdependence of consuming other players' resources and the balance between pursuing strategic ends vs. playing tactically. It didn't feel super focused to me, the nature of the game seemed to be a bit meander-y, which while it helped the game to feel open and your options not super constrained, also meant that it kind of passed me by without leaving a deep impression. There were certainly moments of grind where players were trying to figure out the best way to go about doing what they wanted, but I never felt like I was ever fully stymied in what I wanted to do (which isn't necessarily a bad thing). I'm not entirely sure how much I liked it, but I certainly didn't dislike it.

Grace foisted Trapwords on us as it was a review copy she needed to get some plays in for. It was a pretty decent twist on Taboo in that other players came up with the active players taboo words, which resulted in some fun bluff and double bluff. I brought it home for our teams final point, so it's naturally one of my favorite games . Chris F. made the excellent point that this could be reduced to a simply party game a la Telestrations --> Eat Poop You Cat, and I agree that it would work just as well.

Near the end of the night Grace, Ambie and I broke out Dinosaur Tea Party which turned out to be as delightful as I expected. Ambie kicked our butts in both plays, but I think we all had a good time with fun table talk and enough to think about that the game didn't seem mindless. We did find that there was a need to be careful about how to deal with a hot streak, since everyone can follow along when the possibilities start to narrow down for a particular player. We had a couple of times where one player would narrow the possible choices down for another to a 50/50 chance, but asking the final question that would seal it would end the active players turn, leaving the next player in line to make the obvious guess for a point. I'm not sure if this is a built in problem to the game or one that can be mitigated by smarter play, but it did mar an otherwise delightful time.
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11. Board Game: Kobayakawa [Average Rating:6.34 Overall Rank:2593]
Board Game: Kobayakawa
United States
Yay Area
California
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Board Game: Trapwords
Board Game: Spirit Island
Board Game: Root
Board Game: The Potion
Board Game: Nine Tiles
Board Game: Kobayakawa
Board Game: DropMix
Board Game: Doodle Rush
Board Game: Decrypto
Board Game: Cryptid
Board Game: Crokinole
Board Game: Container: 10th Anniversary Jumbo Edition!
Board Game: Carla Cat
Board Game: Dungeons & Dragons Basic Game


 6   Trapwords NEW!
 9   Spirit Island (13 all-time)
 7.5   Root NEW!
 7   The Potion NEW!
 9   Nine Tiles x2 (28 all-time)
 7   Kobayakawa NEW!
 7   DropMix x3 NEW!
 7.5   Doodle Rush (13 all-time)
 6   Decrypto (2 all-time)
 8   Cryptid x4 NEW!
 8   Crokinole x3 NEW!
 8   Container: 10th Anniversary Jumbo Edition! NEW!
 8   Carla Cat x2 NEW!
 6   Dungeons & Dragons Basic Game (8 all-time)


GCL YAY AREA Meetup. Played some games. Had some dank hot pot. Played more games, Had some swaggy cheese, and then played more games. It was hella crunk and hyphy. The rest of y'all should come down. It'll be mos def lit AF fam.

Nine Tiles It was great playing with other hardcore Nine Tiles players. Usually I steamroll some noobs but I got properly demolished against Ambie and Toby.

Cryptid - From reviews and general description this went about as well I expected. I liked it. It’s neat little deduction without too many rules. And I definitely feel better about adding this to my cart last minute in my spontaneous purchase last week.

DropMix - I like the idea of this. I didn’t like that the competitive wasn’t real time. I was imagining some intense DJ dueling. The party mode was acceptable but with four people didn’t really feel like everyone got to do much.

Container: 10th Anniversary Jumbo Edition! - I enjoyed this. Simple enough teach.

Crokinole - I mean I’m terrible at this but it was great to just flick things.

Kobayakawa - I like that I won because I risked it for the biscuit on the last one.

Root - I won so I never need to play this again! I played Woodland Alliance. I enjoyed it. I definitely felt like I spread myself too thin and was close to just losing everything. But no one really attacked my largely undefended bases so that was good. Also, got lucky on the previous draw in that I got all items that I could craft and were available and gave me exactly enough points to win.

D&D - We got to play after a month. Picking up where we left off a dragon appears. Our party splits (our high level traveling NPCs distract the dragon) and we duck into some ruins for safety. Weird runes no one understands, we cautiously try to open a door. Eventually golems awaken to attack us once we figure out we have to magically activate things. Golems are a good test subject for me to use GONG OF THE NORTHERN SUMMIT which the party hasn't seen me use yet. Essentially I cast Shatter but as a monk so it looks way cooler. Golems explode and we reveal more stuff and eventually a portal appears. Someone just instantly jumps into it. We end up throwing caution to the wind and follow after them. In a weird room with enormous circle glyph in the center and orbs and pillars. Eventually puzzle stuff together and move the pillars to turn on the orbs to turn on the magic glyph. Apparently touching the orbs activates the glyph to either go left or right. We held both while our warrior jumped in and luckily survived a constitution save. According to the DM if he would have failed his character would have literally been split in two just instantly killing him. A grim reminder in his own words "After level 5 the gloves are off." The session ends with us only touching one orb and a different person jumping into the circle. (For some reason the warrior didn't want to volunteer twice.)

EDIT: UPDATED

Other -

Finished Megaman 11 - As I expected the upgrade shop puts things a bit too much in extra easy mode (Being able to buy extra lives, health, energy, etc).

Spoiler End -
Spoiler (click to reveal)
I do like the upgrades unlocked by beating Dr. Wily. You get two purchasable upgrades one that gives infinite weapon energy and one that gives you infinite Double Gear. There isn’t anything left to beat but you can replay stages while being ridiculously overpowered and I’m the kind of dweeb that enjoys those things so I replayed every level just to extra wreck the stages.


Megaman X Collection 1+2 is on sale until the 24th. I’ve been iffy on it but I’ll probably just end up getting them. One of the gimmicks they're trying to sell you on is the challenge mode you can fight TWO Robot Masters at once if you're a masochist.

Soul Calibur 6 is not on Switch unfortunately.

Cheese - Aside from GCL cheese I bought some personal cheese.

Buttermilk Blue Cheese - This was a fine average blue cheese

Huntsman - Absolutely wild it’s a Double Glouchester with layers of Stilton inside

Red Hawk from Cowgirl Creamery
- This is a washed rind triple creme brie. Wasn’t sure if my family would be into the whole washed rind thing but they like brie and they said they enjoyed it.

Muenster - Just bought some since I’ve never tried it. Then I read it melts well so I threw it on a hamburger and it was pretty amazing. The right amount of gooey cheesiness.

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12. Board Game: Root [Average Rating:8.09 Overall Rank:31]
Board Game: Root
Louie
United States
SF Bay Area
California
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Board Game: Not Alone
Board Game: Treehouse
Board Game: Spirit Island
Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy
Board Game: Trapwords
Board Game: Root
Board Game: DropMix
Board Game: Decrypto
Board Game: Cryptid
Board Game: Crokinole
Board Game: Container: 10th Anniversary Jumbo Edition!
Board Game: Brass: Birmingham


 8   Not Alone NEW!
 4   Treehouse NEW!
 10   Spirit Island
 10   The Castles of Burgundy
 6   Trapwords NEW!
 8   Root NEW!
 8   DropMix x2 NEW!
 8   Decrypto NEW!
 8   Cryptid NEW!
 8   Crokinole x3 NEW!
 8   Container: 10th Anniversary Jumbo Edition!
 8   Brass: Birmingham NEW!

Several opportunities to play this week. Of particular note, was getting to meet a bunch of you GCL Mafia folks. It was great meeting everyone, and I had a ton of fun engorging in Seapot, eating fancy cheese, and playing a bunch of games. For me personally, I didn't have a clunker. Everything played was a good time.

FAST TAKES
Treehouse - This is okay. It uses those Looney Labs pyramid things. I learned you could play Zendo with those, which I would've rather played.
Spirit Island - Great play.
Castles of Burgundy - Great play.
Trapwords - Apparently this is like Taboo.
Dropmix - A lot of fun. I would've had more fun if I could find ALL the Call Me Maybe cards so I could only play Call Me Maybe.
Crokinole - Amazing. It's now a life goal for me to own a Crokinole board. The problem is fitting a huge board in a modest apartment; probably not feasible yet for my specific situation.
Decrypto - One of our clues was AFRICA. I was fixated on trying to tie that to TOTO

External image


Cryptid - I really enjoyed this. Particular, when people went for a guess, and you knew the Cryptid wasn't there, so you could let out an obnoxious buzzer sound.
Container - Second play overall. I'm still thinking on why I enjoy this a bit more than something like Food Chain Magnate.
Brass: Birmingham - Really super enjoyed these. Not sure how I feel about it, when compared to Brass, but I left it with a very positive impression.

I STEWED ON THIS A BIT MORE
Root - I enjoyed it. I'm leaning more towards "This is okay" versus "This is a design I'm passionate about and want to play forever."

That being said, I think my first play was about as good as you could get. Chris F. taught this very well, and overall it was clear what I (as the Eyries) had to do. Plus, Grace (as the cats), Chris (as the Vagagond) and myself were all in it until the end, until Julio pulled ahead as the Woodland Alliance. I probably needed to aggro the Woodland Alliance a bit more to keep them in check, it may have extended it a round or two.

Of particular note, playing the Eyries was a lot of fun. I was expecting my decrees to blow up in my face, so it was tense trying to keep myself flexible for future turns. Plus, I knew that if I lost a key area (my starting Roost where I stacked four Recruit actions), I would've been totally screwed.

Grace, if you're still looking at pawning off your copy I'd for sure take it.
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13. Board Game: Cryptid [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:268]
Board Game: Cryptid
Ambie
United States
San Mateo
California
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Microbadge: Board Game Blitz fanMicrobadge: Kirby fanMicrobadge: I crochetMicrobadge: Disney fanMicrobadge: It looks like you're rushing the trains. Would you like help?
Board Game: Gloomhaven
Board Game: Trapwords
Board Game: Spirit Island
Board Game: The Potion
Board Game: Paris Connection
Board Game: Nine Tiles
Board Game: Modern Art
Board Game: Kobayakawa
Board Game: Hansa Teutonica
Board Game: Freedom: The Underground Railroad
Board Game: DropMix
Board Game: Doodle Rush
Board Game: Dinosaur Tea Party
Board Game: Cryptid
Board Game: Crokinole
Board Game: Carla Cat
Board Game: The Mind
Board Game: Dark Moon


 N/A   Gloomhaven
 N/A   Trapwords NEW!
 N/A   Spirit Island
 N/A   The Potion NEW!
 9.5   Paris Connection
 9   Nine Tiles x2
 N/A   Modern Art
 7.5   Kobayakawa
 N/A   Hansa Teutonica NEW!
 8   Freedom: The Underground Railroad
 N/A   DropMix x4 NEW!
 N/A   Doodle Rush
 N/A   Dinosaur Tea Party x2 NEW!
 N/A   Cryptid x2 NEW!
 9.5   Crokinole x4
 8   Carla Cat x2
 10   The Mind x2
 7.5   Dark Moon

I invited a bunch of internet strangers over to my house on Saturday and didn't get killed. Yay!

But before that we played another Gloomhaven scenario on Friday. I forget what happened. Luckily, I comment on my logged plays so now I remember. I was able to summon rats and they actually did something! But then after they attacked an enemy and saved an ally, we all rushed ahead into the next room and they were stuck behind because they suck at moving. Poor rats.

GCL game day was fun! A bunch of other people already mentioned a lot of what we played, so I guess I'll just go over the new-to-me games.

The Potion - quick bluffing game with a cool 'box' (it's a bottle)
DropMix - I didn't like the versus game, but I liked the real-time cooperative mode and the solo puzzle mode. And I was super impressed with the technology of the cards. It could read 14 sleeved cards in one stack! It was also cool that it played music while you were playing the game, but the game itself didn't seem connected to the music otherwise (you don't actually have to listen to the music to play the game).
Cryptid - I liked this a lot. Pretty neat trying to figure out the people's clues based on where they say is and isn't possible. The only other induction type game I've played is a prototype that I've heard is similar to Zendo, and that one was cooperative and didn't feel very gamey, so I enjoyed this a lot more.
Trapwords - We're special and got to play Grace's review copy. It was fun trying to figure out ways to explain the words without using related words, but then it just ended up being people describing in the most generic way (It's a thing with other things in it). And the dungeon game part was silly.
Dinosaur Tea Party - I don't think it's fair that when you get a yes answer you can just keep going. Makes it pretty lucky.
Hansa Teutonica - Yay we finally got to play this after buying it last year at a flea market! It was fun. Pretty neat trying to block people so they have to displace you and you get bonus cubes on the board. I forgot what all the end game scoring was when we were playing, but I enjoyed trying to anticipate what other people were going for.

Sunday went to my coworker/friend's house for lunch and some games. Played some Mario Party (on the switch). Super random for the non-mini game part... and then we played the co-op mode which was more fun (more dense in the mini games), and then we just played mini games only mode, which was the best. We also played The Mind and Dark Moon. I was uninfected in Dark Moon, but one of the infected gave himself away too early (being really shady), so we quarantined him and the ship never got too damaged.

On My Mind

- Haven't had time to plan BGG.CON yet. But an email with a link to the schedule went out yesterday, so I remembered I want to do the puzzle hunt. Anyone wanna do it with me? Teams of 4.

- Only one more week to finish my Halloween costume! And we're carving pumpkins on Saturday so I need to work on my costume during the week. I sewed the skirt part last night and have it pinned to the top part, so I think it's almost done? I also need to figure out how to make my hair like Cinderella (minus the color). That'll be tough since I don't ever do anything with my hair other than brush/comb it... so I may need to buy some bobby pins.

- A cappella is in crunch time! I think we'll be okay. We had our first internal performance last week, and it went better than expected. Doing another one today, and we'll have another week of practice before Techapella.

- I haven't had time recently to work on video or song stuff. Too busy with actual work and a cappella. I also am stuck on ideas for my next 18xx video in my series. I was thinking of starting to go into specific tactics/strategy, but I'm really nervous about that because it has to be correct. And I don't usually go super deep into that stuff...

- I'm super excited about our roommate moving out at the end of the month because then we'll have that room to use as a filming room (I hope), so then I can get more video stuff done! And maybe live stream. I want to start a stream (on The Dice Tower) called Ambie's Amateur Art, where I paint minis and do other board game crafty stuff.

- I probably drank more alcohol over this weekend than I had in the last 6 months. Because I don't usually drink much alcohol. Had 2 cocktails on Friday for my coworker's goodbye happy hour, and then had a cider on Saturday and another one on Sunday.

- Books/TV: Finished Steelheart last week, and now I'm working on Morning Star, the third book in the Red Rising series. I think after this I'll go to the next book in the Reckoners series (if it's at the library), or I'll have to put something on hold. Yes, I read physical books. For anime, we started watching a new series called Goblin Slayer. Pretty gratuitous/graphic and some annoying fan service. But the main character is really good at killing goblins (that's all he does), and pretty obtuse in human interaction, which is funny. At one point everyone's talking about why they became an adventurer (inspired by someone, to protect people, etc), and then it's his turn and he's like, "to slay.." and everyone else is like, "yeah, pretty sure we know."
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14. Board Game: Random Encounters [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:8631]
Board Game: Random Encounters
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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DropMix 4 (71 all-time)
Timeline: Diversity 4 NEW!
Pounce 2 NEW!
Crokinole 2 NEW!
Cryptid 2 NEW!
Dinosaur Tea Party 2 NEW!
Nine Tiles 2 NEW!
Qwixx 2 (80 all-time; FML, the things I do for my parents)
Doodle Rush 1 NEW!
Freedom: The Underground Railroad 1 NEW!
Kobayakawa 1 NEW!
Root 1 (3 all-time)
Spirit Island 1 NEW!
The Potion 1 NEW!
Trapwords 1 NEW!

---

Timeline: Diversity: I've played several versions of Timeline already. This was a new one I bought because my stepdad kept stomping us at the Americana and American History ones. And in case you guys were wondering, the domestication of sheep happened before the first video game console. #spoiler

Game day in the Bay!

Pounce: A dumb flinching dexterity game. I would've played it at least 10 more times.

Crokinole: I was glad Chris brought this so I could finally give it a try. We didn't end up playing full games, but did get a good flavor for it. Man, it's a mean flicking game. Pretty fun though.

Cryptid: This made me feel only marginally less stupid than when I played Zendo. Parsing the information on the board is really hard to do and I would love to use a sheet to keep track of everything despite realizing that it may diminish some of the game that way. I need far more plays to get comfortable with this, so although I love the idea of it, it ended up making me feel pretty dumb.

Dinosaur Tea Party: Compared to Cryptid, this made me feel much better about myself. I like the whole reverse Guess Who? thing, but it felt like it lead to too much piggybacking off others' work. Although it's totally parent-weight, I think it might get boring after a few plays. James will have to be my test dummy on that.

Nine Tiles: Probably one of the better Oink games I've played. I was about one second slower than other people most of the time. Perfect filler.

Doodle Rush: Pictomania if Vlaada hadn't made it. I liked it.

Freedom: We almost won on hard, which means it's pretty much my fault since it took me a few turns to get into the flow of things. It's got some interesting mechanics in terms of how you select your actions and the board movement. Glad to have gotten to try it.

Kobayakawa: Another good Oink selection. It kind of had that No Thanks! feel mixed with poker. I don't know how to describe it. There were some good staring-into-your-soul moments.

Root: I think I'm done with it. It's not a bad game, but I don't think I care to invest any more time in it when I could just be playing Vast instead. I don't even mind the combat; I'm just not into what the game is ultimately doing. My loss is Louie's gain.

Spirit Island: There was so much going on and the simultaneous play threw me off, so I think at least 50% of my turns consisted of cheating (both in my favor and not). I'd love for this to be an app. I think it'd be great solo and having all the maintenance being taken care of would be great. In the meanwhile, I'd like to try this again. It's got some cool stuff going on.

The Potion: Harder to understand than it was to play. A decent 5-minute filler.

Trapwords: I like Taboo. I liked this. The curses are kind of dumb. I had to give one of my clues all in one breath. I'm not into games making me do stupid stuff like that (see: cards in Coconuts that I never play with; see: reason I got rid of Loony Quest). Shout out to everyone indulging me on the play. Also, let's all remember that this game let me say the phrase "blowing on a stick to make pretty" to describe my clue. I'll let you non-attendees guess at what that was.

---

On My Mind:

Matt and I drove into the Bay on Friday. By the time we got to the hotel and had dinner, there wasn't much to do. We drove to Game Kastle and I was ready to spend money on games I don't need, but there wasn't anything that I felt like getting. It was then too late to go to the Meadery, so we went back to the hotel and watched TV like old people.

On Sunday, we had breakfast and then headed to the Pinball Museum/Arcade, which was fun. We spent about two hours there, so it was worth the $20 ticket. Here are some pictures of some of the machines, taken for reasons that include Elton John, a half-man/half-motorcycle centaur, objectification of women, 2-player baseball pinball where one person pitches and the other hits and the dudes light up and move, and hybrid Pac-Man video game that you then played the pinball part if you went through a gate:

From gallery of ecargo
From gallery of ecargo
From gallery of ecargo
From gallery of ecargo
From gallery of ecargo


We then went to an even shittier game store because it was close. After that disappointment, we headed back home. We stopped at Barnes & Noble on the way home and I bought Steelheart. Now I just need to finish The Republic of Thieves. I'm a horribly infrequent reader.

It was nice to be away for the weekend and, of course, see everyone. I meant to get a group selfie and promptly forgot. (I did get a picture of hot pot though, so priorities.) I'm ready to start planning our next meetup.
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15. Board Game: House Hunting [Average Rating:3.00 Unranked]
Board Game: House Hunting
Cassadi
United States
Blacklick
Ohio
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Will update played games tomorrow hopefully.

On My Mind
- Today my mind is utterly pre-occupied. Matt has been sending me houses that we can afford for the last few months because he's been "bored" at work. I'm pretty sure this was a ploy to get me to want to buy a new house. So, yesterday we went and looked at one that just came on the market. It was everything we would want in a new house. Better school district, 4 bedrooms, way too many bathrooms, finished basement, and only 1.8 miles from our current house. So, our realtor is coming over tonight to check out our house, and see what we can get for it. I'm pretty sure we'll also be putting in an offer on this new one. So that's potentially happening. Even if we don't get this one, we now have our pre-approval and will continue looking. STRESSED!

- I can't even think about anything else right now. I've been "working" from home today to clean up the house a bit before the realtor comes over tonight. Thankfully dinner is in the slow cooker so I don't have to worry about feeding the family tonight.

UPDOOT:

- I don't even care what games I played last week at this point. Just put an offer in on this new house. Got the sellers to go for an earlier closing date (meaning NOT moving the week of Christmas). They have until 9 tonight to accept/counter/decline the offer.
- The rest of this week and weekend is going to be de-cluttering our house, cleaning up the basement, and hopefully getting someone to come in and do some very minor drywall repairs in one of the bathrooms. Then our house can go up!
- Pretty sure I'm going to continue being stressed about all of this for a while. Doing my best not to binge eat. But I want to eat ALL THE THINGS!
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16. Board Game: The Battle of Marathon 490 B.C. [Average Rating:7.60 Unranked]
Board Game: The Battle of Marathon 490 B.C.
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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Board Game: Shadow Hunters
Board Game: Jump Drive
Board Game: The Fox in the Forest
Board Game: dude
Board Game: The Chameleon
Board Game: Captain Sonar


 6   Shadow Hunters (11 all-time)
 N/A   Jump Drive (8 all-time)
 N/A   The Fox in the Forest NEW!
 N/A   dude x2 NEW!
 N/A   The Chameleon x5 (15 all-time)
 N/A   Captain Sonar x3 (12 all-time)

Game night last week consisted primarily of many light games, rather than a solid euro or two. The highlights were definitely dude, and Captain Sonar.

dude
One of the guys I play D&D with found this oddity at Target. Each person is given 12 cards, each of which has a spelling variation of the word dude. You look at your top card secretly, then try to see if any of the other players have a card that matches the same spelling of the word dude, by only using the word dude to describe what card you have. For example, there's one card that has tie-dye coloring, so I used "dewwwwwwwwwde" to describe it. Once you think you have a match with someone else, you both say "sweet" and play down your cards. If you matched then you get a point, otherwise you lose that card. When someone runs out of cards then you count how many points each person managed to get. This game was much more fun than it had right to be, and I highly recommend it as a cheap gimmick game.

Captain Sonar
First time playing 6 players, though that didn't matter to me because I was the sonar operator twice, and the captain once. The first game was hilariously short, since we hit them once with a missile and their [new] engineer accidentally killed them by taking two damage in a short amount of time. The second game was much more tense, and due to having to surface I completely lost where the opponent's sub was, so they hunted us down and killed us while I was trying to readjust my bearings. The final game was the one in which I was the captain. I gave away our position once we had our torpedoes charged, and let them seek us out, which involved going through a narrow passage. Once they were in the passage I shot them, quickly recharged our weapons, then shot again for the win. Tense, but thrilling victory.


On my mind:
From gallery of Epsilon_Balls
From gallery of Epsilon_Balls
From gallery of Epsilon_Balls
From gallery of Epsilon_Balls


Sunday was the Detroit Free Press Chemical Bank Marathon! My official completion time was 3:36:59 (8:17/mile pace). That put me in the top 15% of finishers, and top 25% within my age/sex category)

The weather decided to be especially cold, so while I was originally expecting 40-50 degree temperatures, it actually turned out to be 30 degrees with a "real feel" of 25-30 for the entire time. A few crazy people (my cousin included) decided to run in their shorts anyway, but I opted for much warmer clothing, which was the right call for me. My cousin and I discussed our strategy beforehand and agreed to run the first half together, then if one of us was stronger they would split off for the back half.

My goals for this race were:
1. Don't die. (The day before my race this popped up on my feed).
2. Don't shit myself (succeeded, never had to emergency stop a toilet)
3. Complete < 4 hours (succeeded, this was the original goal with my cousin)
4. Complete < 3:45 (succeeded, thought this was attainable if I ran with my cousin the whole way)
5. Complete < 3:30 (not met, could probably have made this if running alone)


The marathon starts with staggered waves, so that the faster runners do not have to weave through the slower ones (they place you into a corral based on your estimated completion time). My cousin and I started in the fourth (of 13) wave, with the 4 hour pacer at the front. I loved this corral placement because it was slightly below my ability, so I got the thrill of chasing down and passing people the entire marathon, rather than continuously being passed by faster people.

The course itself is extremely flat, except for two places: the Ambassador Bridge into Canada, and the tunnel coming back into the U.S from Canada. When they released our wave I was surprised by the number of people who sprinted out of the gates, and about 1.5 miles in the same effect happened, where sprinters from Wave E bolted past us doing 6:00 miles. We hit the Ambassador Bridge roughly 3 miles into our effort, and suddenly all of those sprinters clumped up and you could hear people already sucking for air and holding their sides due to bad pacing. Unfortunately for them, they had to climb for about 1.5 miles at a decent grade. My cousin and I held roughly a 8:30/mi pace through here, passing hundreds of runners who had not trained for hills.

Once we passed into Windsor, Canada most people held a much more consistent pace. The course wound its way along the riverside, and lots of Canadian spectators came out to cheer, which was really nice to see. The first half went smoothly for me; the cold air kept my body cool, I didn't have any GI distress from the food I was eating, I still felt hydrated, and I'd comfortably increased our pace.

It was almost exactly at the half way point that my cousin started slowing a bit at each water station. I pulled back my pace for a few miles to let him recover, but each station he kept falling just a few feet further behind. At mile 17 I made the call to increase speed so he would not keep trying to hold onto my speed. For the last 9 miles I picked it up and raced toward the finish. Also, about this time I passed through Detroit's East Side, where there lots of spectators cheering and offering surprisingly hoppy beer.

When people talk about Marathons, you usually hear about people "hitting the wall" around mile 20. I kept on top of my nutrition so that didn't happen to me, but between picking up my pace and others hitting the wall, the final 5 miles were littered with runners sidelined by muscle cramps and other hardships. Spectators and officials through here were very encouraging, and kept telling me that I still looked strong. My legs started feeling a little heavy around mile 23, but with only a 5k to go I was able to ignore them and actually pushed my fastest pace through that segment. As I stared down the finish line pushing a 7:00/mi pace I felt really proud to be finish strong and with good form.

When I crossed the finish line and got my finisher's medal, my body suddenly reminded me of how cold it was. My wife was wearing a winter coat to cheer me on, and suddenly all I had between me and the freezing temperatures was a thin shirt soaked in sweat. I think that my favorite picture of the event is the one where I am clearly miserably cold, wrapped in a mylar blanket. Thankfully I had prepared for this, Marion had a sweater waiting for me, and our hotel exclusively based on its soaking tub for after the race.

So, TL;DR: I ran my first marathon! Nothing catastrophic happened, and while my perpetually-a-problem foot aches, I'm otherwise feeling great! Thanks for sticking through the long read.
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17. Board Game: Cryptid [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:268]
Board Game: Cryptid
Robin Levins
United States
Round Rock
TX
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Board Game: Dominion
Board Game: Gloomhaven
Board Game: Decrypto
Board Game: Sleuth
Board Game: Harvest Dice
Board Game: Cryptid
Board Game: Megaland
Board Game: Space Base
Board Game: Tales & Games: The Hare & the Tortoise
Board Game: Azul
Board Game: Diamant
Board Game: Pictomania (Second Edition)
Board Game: Qwixx
Board Game: Paradox Girl: Game Time!


 10.   Dominion (258 all-time)
 10.   Gloomhaven (7 all-time)
 9.0   Decrypto x2 (4 all-time)
 9.0   Sleuth (2 all-time)
 8.5   Harvest Dice NEW!
 8.5   Cryptid NEW!
 8.0   Megaland NEW!
 8.0   Space Base (31 all-time)
 8.0   Tales & Games: The Hare & the Tortoise (7 all-time)
 7.0   Azul NEW!
 7.0   Incan Gold (26 all-time)
 7.0   Pictomania (second edition) NEW!
 7.0   Qwixx (2 all-time)
 3.0   Paradox Girl: Game Time! NEW!

Hello everybody! For those who may not know me so well, I'm Robin, one of the local-to-Austin GCL Mafia members and one of the original members from back in the day, and dropped due to lack of time. You may recognize the tool I built to help format game plays into pretty BBCode. I was graciously granted me a spot back in the roster, so I can chat with you all about stuff I've been playing lately. Looking forward to getting back in the groove! My play tracking was consistent for years, then a bit scattered until a few months ago, so some play counts may not exactly match up with my actual experience. I host a regular game night at my house on Thursday nights that regularly gets 12-14 in attendance, so I've usually got something I'm playing each week. Be prepared to hear me profess my love of Race for the Galaxy from time to time.

Games
I have a regularly scheduled Dominion game on Mondays and Wednesdays at lunch with a friend that I usually get to make, but only got one in this week, and it was excellent as always. We've also got a standing Sunday game of Gloomhaven with a couple friend of ours that's been going well, and we've played 15 games of it so far. Really digging it.

The best new play of the week was the only one at my game ngiht this week, and that was Cryptid. I had high expectations and it did not disappoint. There's a hexagon map of territory in the game, and each player is given one rule about where the Cryptid is (like "within one space of a desert" or "Not in a lake or swamp". All the rules taken together point to exactly one spot on the board, and you take turns in the game asking each other about if the treasure could be in certain spots or not. It's a lovely deduction game, and I'm hoping that Kristen will enjoy it more than Tobago (which fits a similar niche) and we can replace Tobago in our collection with this.

I got significantly more gaming in this week due to a local charity board game convention, Game for the Cause. Kristen and I brought AnnaMarie, and she played a few things, and then played with some toys for part, then Kristen took her off for the second half of Saturday. So, I got quite a few good games in! In best-to-worst order, Decrypto was solid as always, though we tried to be too clever with our clues*. Sleuth went over terrifically well, with tense back-and-forths of "I think I'm close!" to "Dang, I thought that was going to be it". Harvest Dice was new to me and incredibly clever, perhaps one of the best and most clever simple dice-drafting games I can think of right now. Megaland had much of the feel of Incan Gold with a few extra interesting choices to be made, which puts it in a neat spot - I really dug the game, but Incan Gold often comes out in spots (large player count filler) that Megaland won't fit. Space Base was excellent as always, and everyone enjoyed it. Tales & Games: The Hare & the Tortoise was solid as always despite my crushing loss (and the first time I've seen the fox win). I snagged my first win in Azul which was solid as always. One player got a huge 40+ point first round in Incan Gold and was almost caught (!). Pictomania was neat, and I want to try it some time when AnnaMarie isn't drawing for me. Qwixx was solid as always. And Paradox Girl: Game Time! was trash - halfway through the game I could finally see the strategies and approaches to the game, but had no desire to go back and try them out. (Pity, it looked like it had dark horse potential in an oddball way.)


On My Mind
I'm sooooooooo ready for BGG.Con and getting my want-to-play list together. What needs to be on it?


Bonus Round
In our game of Decrypto, one encryptor gave the clue, "Bristol". The clue cards were:
Clue cards wrote:
Bribery
Track
Bell
Accident
What would you have picked for that clue, and why?
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18. Board Game: Friday the 13th [Average Rating:6.44 Overall Rank:1780]
Board Game: Friday the 13th
Grant Johnson
United States
Cedar Park
Texas
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Hey, who's going to be at BGG.CON Wednesday morning? Since there was a lot of kolache discussion last year, I'd be happy to stop and grab a few in West on my way up Tuesday night. We can eat before the line bull-jive Wednesday morning goes on.
 
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19. Board Game: The Greatest Gift [Average Rating:10.00 Unranked]
Board Game: The Greatest Gift
United States
Yay Area
California
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I guess if you're interested in GCL: "One Small Thing" exchange somehow let us know to include you in the exchange-a-tron
 
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20. Board Game: Vinhos [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:403]
Board Game: Vinhos
Fabrice Dubois
France
La Garenne Colombes
Hauts de Seine
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 10  Gaïa Project x1 (13 plays so far)
 8  Vinhos x1 (2 plays so far)
 8  7 Wonders Duel x1 (20 plays so far)

On Vinhos:
My first game was a nightmare but it was in a particular context (2 players, we missed/didn't use the divest option). The experience was so bad that I did not want to hear about this game anymore, not only because of the look and feel (the editorial choices of WYG are really shiny) but I found the game pasted on theme (I had the feeling to fight against the game and not having the means to age wine (only 12 actions in the game!!!!)).

My buddy who teached me the game was always saying to me that it is a very good game, that I had to give it a another chance. Also, after long negociations, I finally said OK since 3 players wanted to play last night. Starting with the explanation, I regretted it right away : no, definitely, these colors, this complexity, these bonuses everywhere....

But after the first year, i was hooked : at the end of the game, I wanted to play it again.
So, why such a change of thoughts ?

1) I spent a lot of money to launch my engine in the first year. So, I had more wine at the beginning of the second year. Disinvesting is crucial here, something we missed in our first play.

2) The central action selection mechanic is brilliantly implemented: the action boxes are located near the corresponding area, the selling action box is located right next to the bank action, etc....

3) There are competition wines (to score well on the fair and/or on the export) and bad wine (to bribe the VIP for example): you have to know how to make them, paying attention to several parameters (the weather, the competition, the management of our domains). It's far from simple to get into the winemaking and i find this aspect of the game very thematic. Once you have understand the value of production and the value of the wine, it helps a lot to understand the other aspects of the game.

4) I really like the way the bank is running. When wine is sold, the revenue generated is added to your bank account instead of being paid directly in cash. Although this may seem counterintuitive, I find it rather interesting because you can save actions by not going too often to the bank (if you have another way to earn cash), the balance of your account giving you victory points at the end of the game. This is also true for the investment track: you can generate money every year without having to sell wine. Not to mention that you can divest at any time if you need cash.

5) Vinhos is about timing and knowing how far to place the cursor on the different aspects of the game:
- how far to stop in the race for the tasting competition? Quickly lead the race but playing last? Stay behind without losing too much ground to threaten the leaders? Do not go for it at all and keep the wine for exporting and/or selling?
- what quality of wine to produce? for what purposes? the money is tense and you must not waste it otherwise you will be severely punished.
- when to give up VIP's actions for scoring?
- when to start hostilities on the export?
- how to use your barrels in an efficient manner? where to affect them?

In short, even though Vinhos is not without flaws, it was like Navegador for me : nightmare on the first play, another go after years and, in the end, i want to dig it.
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21. Board Game: Fairy Meat [Average Rating:5.94 Overall Rank:12990]
Board Game: Fairy Meat
Chris Ferejohn
United States
Mountain View
California
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Sorry for the late entry. Been in Montreal for work and, among other things, haven't wanted to be typing into an obviously non-work website. Folks are starting to leave now though, so I can finally recap last week.

Memoir '44
Played Omaha Beach with Alistair as the allies. He won, but this looks like a tough scenario for the allies and he generally drew better cards while my best forces were mostly stranded in the middle of the board.

Other than that is was GCL meetup time! Thanks for hosting us Ambie (and Toby)!

Crokinole
I hauled my Crokinole board out and we all played a couple of games at some point I think. Good times. I still suck at it.

Cryptid
This was neat. I'm glad I played it twice, because the first game I really felt like I was casting around in the dark, but in the second game I was able to focus on trying to figure out one rule at a time, which seemed to go pretty well. I wonder if a metagame emerges after multiple plays were players conspire to hammer on one player at a time. Definitely an improvement on Tobago, which always seemed better in concept than in practice.

Brass: Birmingham
Got to play a 3 player game of this. First play on this, but I've played regular Brass a fair amount. James and Louis were both new to the system. I did make some pretty boneheaded mistakes in the canal era because I wasn't really grokking the differences between this and Lancaster, but I was able to course correct and pull out a win in the second half. The shipping locations are very important and we basically all ignored their importance in the canal era. Using beer to double build rail (beer is roughly analogous to ports in Lancaster) changes the texture of the rail phase significantly. For some reason the game had much more money/higher incomes than I feel like is typical in Lancaster. The addition of a third consumable good (beer) might have had something to do with it, though I've also rarely played Lancaster with 3. Felt like they did a really good job of changing quite a lot of things, but still making it feel like Brass.

Container
4 person game on the shiny new production, which I own, but is still in shrink. It was definitely the best game I've played. I was able to be "big warehouse" pretty effectively. I think Necroblaster could have cut me off there, but he ended up diversifying into production, which I felt really let me control that aspect of the game (it was his first game).

Decrypto
This was neat. In terms of "gamers word game" I think i preferred it to codewords – having to come up with clues that distinguish 4 words that only you and your partner(s) know is a neat challenge.

Trapwords
So I thought the "make your own secret taboo list" thing was pretty cool, and worked better than I expected (I thought the clue givers would have a really hard time of it, but it was actually pretty even). There's a pretty neat metagame of "maybe we shouldn't list the really obvious words" (e.g. "foot" for "shoe") because they wouldn't say something that's so obviously a trap (but then if they *know* we know that...etc etc.).

I did not think the dungeon exploring theme wrapped around the word game really added anything at all, and while the curses were a neat idea, I didn't feel like they were particularly well thought out. I'd play it again, but it really feels about 1-2 development cycles away from being really good.

Root
I'm really starting to feel like the first game of Root is kind of problematic just because everyone is so tunnel visioned on their own stuff and it's not necessarily obvious who is winning. As the vagabond, I probably had the least power to stop anyone from doing anything, but it's possible I needed to take a more active role in saying "hey, go step on that guy", but I would feel like a dick doing that to first time players. I'm glad Grace got to feel like she experienced the game properly, even if it wasn't for her. This is a game I'd like to explore because I feel like it would get really interesting after 3-4 plays with the same group (granted that's a steep hill to climb in todays OMG NEW THINGS EVERYWHERE environment).

OMM
The walkathon was a big success! And more to the point, it's over. Well, over-ish, there's still collecting money, getting lap prizes that we ran out of, collecting lessons learned for next year, etc.

Spent this week in Montreal, though didn't get to see too much of it since I was mostly in a house working. Had some good late night drinking/talking with work folks sessions (valuable since we only see each other a couple of times a year). Brought a couple games (Modern Art, Werewords, Set), but other than briefly breaking out Set, it never really seemed the right time to scare up a game. Maybe tonight since there will be fewer people (e.g. like 6-8 rather than 15-20).
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