Look at what my Secret Gelato brought me - 2018 Winter edition
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It's that time of the year again! Where the world (well, half of it) is covered in snow, and there are jingles and colors all around and in the majestic night sky the great Secret Gelato passes by on his sleigh, bringing gifts to all the good Gelati of the world!

Post here your joy, and your loot!
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1. Board Game: The Voyages of Marco Polo [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:47]
Board Game: The Voyages of Marco Polo
Kevin O'Hare
United States
San Carlos
California
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Woo Hoo! Thank you Geltato Santa.

A package arrived out of the blue, with no warning and in it, without any indication of who or where it was from, were copies of The Voyages of Marco Polo and Codenames: Duet. Awesome games both and glad to have them in my library of games for play.

Sorry for the long delay in commenting, with two trips back to back and other responsibilities, I just wasn't able to make my appreciation public until now. Many thanks for two great games!

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2. Board Game: Empires in America (Second Edition) [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:5292]
Board Game: Empires in America (Second Edition)
Wendell
United States
Yellow Springs
Ohio
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I realized I hadn't posted this - but I got a package (from Lexington, Kentucky, not Ethiopia) with Empires in America in it. Thanks Santa Gelato!

Edit: Oh and about 10 minutes after I posted this, I went to check the mail and lo and behold, there was an Amazon box there with my name on it. Inside was a copy of this brilliant game...

Board Game: Polis: Fight for the Hegemony


And a book of New York Times crossword puzzles! (In English, not Ancient Greek, fortunately.)

Thanks, Santa Gelato!
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3. Board Game: Scythe [Average Rating:8.25 Overall Rank:11] [Average Rating:8.25 Unranked]
Board Game: Scythe
Noshrok Grimskull
Germany
Bremen
Bremen
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Just got a box from Amazon. Not thinking about it since I'm expecting stuff from Amazon, I tore it open to find it's actually from Secret Gelato!

Inside I found the German version of Scythe!
And as if that wasn't awesome enough already, the box also contained the Scythe: Board Extension!!

WOO-HOO!
I'm a bit stunned - this is super generous.

Thank you, Secret Gelato!
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4. Board Game: Near and Far: Amber Mines [Average Rating:8.29 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.29 Unranked]
Board Game: Near and Far: Amber Mines
Marion ☮️
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Hi all
It's been already a week, or a bit longer probably, but I have recieved some stuff and this is it:

The "Near and Far" expansion has been on my wishlist for a long time, and I'm more than happy about it now, thank you secret Gelato Santa kiss

Then there was this: Zendo
Board Game: Zendo


Will play this with "my Icelanders", as soon as they are here again.


Also - apart from the other parcel - recieved Biblios
Board Game: Biblios


It came directly from the Designer, and signed too!
Thank you so much, "various secret gelato santas" ! meeple


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5. Board Game: Medieval [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:8272]
Board Game: Medieval
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Thank you Santa Gelato!

Not just one game, but 22! And those are only the ones listed on the back of the box.

I'm especially grateful for this one because it's something I honestly would never have bought myself - but now that I have it, hahahahahaha, let the Looney Games begin!

PS: In the unlikely even this wasn't from you Santa Gelato, let me know - because I signed up for four exchanges this year.


Edit: and this is me with egg on my face. blush

Pyramid Arcade is a fine box to receive, but it’s not from Santa Gelato!

I got an enormous box yesterday. Inside was a lot of that loose packing paper and at the bottom was Medieval.

But wait, there's more!

There were two other games too.

First was Oceanos.
Board Game: Oceanos

This will be perfect for family game night and also for some of my non-war gaming groups.

Second was Iron Curtain.
Board Game: Iron Curtain

Nothing like a Cold War filler to keep me toasty warm this Christmas!

Thank you Santa Gelato for your enormous generosity!
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6. Board Game: Pandemic: Rising Tide [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:718]
Board Game: Pandemic: Rising Tide
O.Shane Balloun
United States
Bellingham
Washington
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My Secret Gelato was very generous to me! THANK YOU, especially given that I joined late and was not terribly communicative as I should have been with Julia. Julia, thanks for your patience and graciousness with me.

My Secret Gelato sent a copy of Pandemic Rising Tide, which I expect will be the best game in the Pandemic series given that Jeroen Doumen helped design it.

I also received Indulgence and Tournament at Camelot, all of which were on my wishlist. Thank you very much.

The wrapping (unpictured—I should have thought to take a photo first) was very very well done, with real cloth ribbons tied around the packages. It made me feel very special.

External image
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7. Board Game: Black Orchestra [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:461]
Board Game: Black Orchestra
Patrick Pence
United States
Tallahassee
Florida
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My package arrived from overseas about 10 days ago, and remains lovingly wrapped and under the tree. I am containing my excitement and resisting the urge to open it until Christmas Morning. I shall update this entry then!

Merry Christmas to my Secret Santa (and thanks to the requirements of international customs forms, I know who they are!)

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all my fellow Gelati! This has been a hectic year for me, and it kept me off of BGG forums more than I'd like. I am looking forward to rectifying that in 2019!

Updated!

I was sick in bed all of Christmas Day, but managed to open presents in the morning! Thank you, Santa!!
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8. Board Game: Number 2 [Average Rating:5.67 Unranked]
Board Game: Number 2
Board Game: Tournay
Board Game: Keyflower
So, as Julia explained somewhere, some of us decided to go for a double dose of Secret Gelato in order to include a latecomer.

At the beginning of this week, I received package number 1 from my Secret Gelato number 2. I sadly took no pictures, though.
The parcel came from a European online retailer and contained two beautifully if only briefly wrapped presents. I was very depressed that day, so I decided that there was no better way to lift the spirits than some early unwrapping of presents. The good thing with solo unwrapping is that I can take my dear time, you see, I like to disassemble the wrapping material (for later reuse) ever so carefully, almost sensuously.

Knowing this was a gift from a fellow gelato I was not worried about the items being ill-chosen. But, boyo, Julia hit the nail on the head, knowing my collection and circumstances well and carefully analyzing where there were two gaps in my collection that desperately needed stuffing!

All I can say, in my best Italian, and I do this without google translate or ever having written in Italian before: Gracie con tutto il core!



From gallery of bongoHerman
From gallery of bongoHerman

Parcel number 2 landed just on time yesterday (23rd) and was stuffed with goodies from Bella Italia. My favourites (as if Julia knew) are the nougat (the white stuff Mediterraneans consider nougat) and the nougat (the brown nutty-chocolaty-soft stuff Germans and Scandinavians (to my knowledge) consider nougat. I don't know though what it is called in Italian.


From gallery of bongoHerman
From gallery of bongoHerman
As if that wasn't enough, there were some really fancy handmade Christmas decorations. The kind that made me wish I'd get Santa'd by Julia one day for many years now when looking at the thank you lists.

Thank you once more and have a jolly good time.

UPDATE: Now with loads of crappy cell phone pictures!
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9. Board Game: Splendor [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:157]
Board Game: Splendor
A face in the crowd
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Chestermere
Alberta
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I have had no contact with my Secret Gelato so far, but I have received a package in the mail, just today.

Good timing, I say; I'll open it up on Christmas morning, most likely.
So it remains a mystery... for now.

EDIT:

The day has passed and the deed is done.
I opened up the large but otherwise unremarkable box and this is what I found:

On top, Lost Cities: Rivals which is a game I've had my eye on for quite some time.

Below it, Trambahn which is a game that bongoherman was raving about and it just seemed to be so right for me as well. I can't wait to get into this one!

Finally, below that, the much desired game of Splendor, one that I'm certain I will be enjoying with my regular game group.

From gallery of MABBY


Many thanks go out to my Secret Gelato santa-- you are most generous!!
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10. Board Game: Unknown [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:5337]
Board Game: Unknown
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Placeholder at the moment.....

Something icelandic is sitting in customs, waiting for me to pick it up.
Not sure when this will be, probably after Christmas, since I'm much too weak to do anything.

But Thanks a Bunch in advance! kiss

edit: 27. December

Today I got my parcel, and customs didn't even charge me, when they saw those lovely wrapped stuff they said I can take it and go home (I had to open it in fornt of them).
So this is what I (and customs officers) saw:
From gallery of maho


Looking deeper into it:
From gallery of maho

A gift from bongo and one from Stefan and of course those infamous icelandic sweets!

What's inside?
From gallery of maho

Orbis from bongo and Welcome To... from Stefan!

We had played this at my place after Essen, I didn't get the rules right for almost an hour, but I loved the game!

And Orbis - as if Basti had known - is a game I started to look into!

Wow so great, thank you guys so much, a perfect end to a terrible week of being sick! laugh
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11. Board Game: Number One [Average Rating:7.12 Unranked]
Board Game: Number One
At the beginning of the secret Gelato season, I received an incognito geek mail that because of certain hints made me think it may be from Nikki. Some days ag I got a padded envelope the from secret Nikki containing Terraforming Mars promo cooperations and really fancy component bags for Root. Yesterday I met Santa Nikki's (not very) little helper Stefán who gave me two wrapped packages. The wrapping is (not so) slightly seethrough, so I will already inform you guys what's in it:

From gallery of bongoHerman
From gallery of bongoHerman


THANK YOU SECRET (NIKKI OR NOT) GELATO
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12. Board Game: Mystery Express [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:1784]
Board Game: Mystery Express
Julia
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It's Friday, and Andrea is in Bozen for lectures when he receives a phone call from UPS informing him they tried delivering a parcel, but none was home (I was having lunch at my MIL). Andrea asks about a new delivery, but unfortunately it's not possibly right before Christmas. No worries, says Andrea, I'll go pick up the parcel on Monday, just let me know where. The guy doesn't know where, he just mumbles "the postal office closest to your place"

So, now it's Monday morning, and Andrea goes to the closest postal office. A place which is more of a battlefield for Andrea (he's a very calm guy, so, before getting on his nerves...) and clearly his number is called by his arch-nemesis. He explains the story.
"We don't have a parcel under this name, I just checked what arrived this morning"
"Sure, but the parcel was returned to the post office on Friday last week, not today"
"But I told you there's nothing here"
"Yeah, ok, but I need to know where the parcel is. Possibly you could track it down for me?"
"There's nothing national to this name"
"Lady, the parcel's coming from Iceland"
"However this tracking code is not from the national system"
"Sure thing, as said and as written on the label I gave you, it's coming from Iceland"
"But the code is not national"
(Andrea starts smoking from his ears like Mount Doom)
"You're certainly right, but please can you tell me where the parcel is?"
"You should have told me immediately that the parcel was not national"
"My apologies, you're certainly right. Could you now tell me where the parcel is, so that I can go pick it up?"
"Just for once..."
and she gives him the address of the general postal warehouse on the other side of the city.
"You sure it's there? They usually don't stock parcels for the general public there"
"But this isn't national!!"
"Ok, ok, thanks for your time"

Andrea goes out of the post office, jumps in the car, drives to another warehouse to pick up another parcel, and then it's just 25 km and he's where my Gelato parcel should be. 30 minutes in the queue, then he presents to a new guy the situation.
"We have nothing here for you" (didn't we have already been there?)
"But I was told that.."
"Who told you that?"
"The post office where I was before. And the vector who tried delivering on Friday"
"They BSed you"
(Mount Doom is about to erupt)
"So, who has my parcel?"
"The vector who called you on Friday of course. It's out for second delivery today"
(see the lava flaming?)
"And by chance can you check on him so that at least I know when I'm supposed to be home or where I can ambush the guy?"
The guy kindly asks the vector guy, and he's on delivery in 40 minutes. Enough time to go grab him before the holidays break.



So, here we go!!! Super-parcel sent from my super-Santa Basti / Bongo / Susan. First of all, let's go with the usual image of dimensions (so that I can present you another member of the family):

Spoiler (click to reveal)
From gallery of Scarlet Witch


Please meet the Hamster of Fury. This adorable little hamster represents the embodiment of Ultimate Evil, and every time we playtest something, it represents "the bad stuff going on": the ritual location, the avatar of an evil god, and so on. So please don't be fooled by its adorable look.

And also please someone explains me why my Santas keep using Brass boxes to send me gifts. Is it a subliminal message that I should forgive mr Wallace because the new Brass is really awesome? Do you want to send me a free copy? In case, I'm game

But anyway, time to open the parcel and grab (literally) the content:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
From gallery of Scarlet Witch


Curious to see what's inside are you? Well, this is the right place to follow the Rite of Revelation:


Spoiler (click to reveal)
From gallery of Scarlet Witch


First parcel inside reads "Used Gelato": the concept is bizarre, but the intent is clear. Very eager to see what's inside because my Secret Gelato and I have quite a similar taste in games, so, possibly it'll be something I'll like a lot.

But before unwrapping the gift, lo and behold, there's another one inside, this time appealing to dionysiac tantric Shaivism as the label suggests:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
From gallery of Scarlet Witch


Not so sure if the sticker's intended to represent me and A, but it's quite realistic (I'm not exactly 6'3") and it's adorable, so, let's go for a yes, yes? Yes. If you didn't say yes, please go play 12 hours of Twilight Imperium as penance. Yes, the penance is also because after 12 hours you'll have to leave the game halfway.


Anyhoo, if you dare unwrapping with me, please follow the spoilerish breacrumbs:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
The Mystic Gelato
From gallery of Scarlet Witch


(and yes, the rulebook's signed by Ananda Coomaraswamy, so, it's real mistique)

(anyway, nail hit on the head plenty here because of too many reasons to explain. Thank you kiss


AND

Spoiler (click to reveal)
The Used Gelato
From gallery of Scarlet Witch


(which is fantastic!!! We both so much longed for this game, and we really can't wait to try it!!!!)


But of course it's no Christmas / Yule without candy bars:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
From gallery of Scarlet Witch


And there's an add-on which has a special meaning for me: two dishes decorated by Basti's daughters (I still have their drawning from our first Iceland visit on my fridge):

Spoiler (click to reveal)
From gallery of Scarlet Witch


So, in the end, I'm a super-happy hamster!!!! Thank you Santa!!!!!
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13. Board Game: Championship Formula Racing [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:3665]
Board Game: Championship Formula Racing
Avri
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Brooklyn
New York
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Arriving home last night from a holiday party that Johanna has been attending since she was four (followed by traditional take out Chinese at her Mom's), we encountered a package being held by our doorman. According to the shipping label, it had been sent by me (I'm blaming Nikki . . .)

From gallery of nycavri


Along with the beautifully wrapped gift was a note:

From gallery of nycavri


And the gift? A game from high atop my wishlist that I look forward to teaching my girls!

From gallery of nycavri


Thank you, friend Gelato! Pefect gift, perfect timing.

Merry happies to all of you and yours.
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14. Board Game: Ingenious [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:414]
Board Game: Ingenious
Nikki Ebright
Netherlands
Arnhem
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I am highly amused laugh at all the blame or credit, haha, I'm getting for being various people's Secret Santa. It helps that I've been on multiple continents during this time, and at a nexus or two for meeting up with fellow gamers... plus there's the magic of the internet. (I'll say no more.) I would say this has been a good year for all the super secret business going successfully. cool

There's for sure one Secret Santa I cannot take credit for and that's my own! (At least I don't think so...) ninja

Before Tommy and his family headed off on their Korean adventure, Billy and I managed a quick visit over to Den Bosch. The main purpose was to pick up bicycles that we're long-term borrowing from them, but getting in a bit of Secret Santa was also on the agenda if possible. It was!

My Santa had managed to deliver gifts to Tommy to pass to me, so the fun ensued!

I've been embracing the Dutch flavor of all things recently, and my Santa must have been listening because it was a Dutch-themed gift giving that I received!

First there was a box! It was a boardgame shaped box, so I had my suspicions...

From gallery of Lil Red Head

From gallery of Lil Red Head


It was a boardgame! It's Knizia's Ingenious, however this is the Dutch version! This is awesome, because I mention the scoring system often as an example against other things, and now I can show this to the people I'm talking to!

From gallery of Lil Red Head


After some help from Tommy's youngest (I have a great picture, but I'll keep it offline for his privacy), there was a second present! This is a MINI(!!!) version of what is a classic Dutch game called Sjoelen. We took it back home with the bicycles, and I'm glad we didn't get the full version!

Billy did a lot of the heavy lifting on this one, riding his bike with one hand while carrying the Sjoelen game with his other!

From gallery of Lil Red Head



Here we are back at home, with an artistic picture of the game.

From gallery of Lil Red Head


Thank you, Secret Gelato Santa! This was a lot of fun, and I'm really happy with my Dutch presents. I already was telling one of my new friends about Sjoelen and he was like, Oh the memories! so I know I'll have some great fun playing it with people and getting to hear their stories of playing it over the years. I am so Dutch now, lol!
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