GCL Mafia 410: Insta-grab
Grace P.
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California
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Welcome to GCL Mafia Division's weekly geeklist!

Important Links:
GameChat League: Mafia Division Subscription Thread (links to past lists, subscribe for weekly notifications)
GameChat League Wiki (for general information about the GameChat League concept)
GCL Mafia Wiki (for specific information about this division)
Thesp's GCL Games Played Tool (an easy-to-use tool for collating your plays for the week)

GCL Mafia Members:
• Please add an item to represent your gaming life for the week.
• List any games played along with your thoughts/opinions.
• Also, feel free to share gaming news, life updates, random thoughts, or anything else you deem appropriate.

GCL Mafia Geeklist Format:
• Each week, one or more questions will be posted. They can be gaming-related topics or non-gaming-related topics. Themed questions are optional. Gifs are always encouraged.
• Members can post additional items as they see fit.
• Please refrain from adding items if you are not part of the current roster.

Current Roster:
Epsilon_Balls
captainraffi
touchstonethefool
cferejohn
jshufelt
ambierona
noajayne
LouieSTFU
Necroblaster3000
fdubois
charlest
Happymrdave
tallgrant
annowme
mith
Dolus
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1. Board Game: Instant Recall [Average Rating:4.54 Unranked]
Board Game: Instant Recall
Grace P.
United States
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California
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This week is about insta-grabs — a word I totally made up to refer to things that immediately grab your attention.

Since this item entry has no other purpose than to introduce the theme, you can talk about your favorite made-up words here. Bonus points for portmanteaus and/or (celebrity) couple names.
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2. Board Game: Theme Park [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Theme Park
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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What theme is an insta-grab for you?
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3. RPG Item: New Mechanic Conventions [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
RPG Item: New Mechanic Conventions
Grace P.
United States
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What mechanic is an insta-grab for you?
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4. Board Game: Design Town [Average Rating:5.94 Unranked] [Average Rating:5.94 Unranked]
Board Game: Design Town
Grace P.
United States
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California
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What designer is an insta-grab for you?
 
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5. Video Game: Fast Food [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:3881]
Video Game: Fast Food
Grace P.
United States
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California
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What's your favorite instant food/drink? The trashier the better.
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6. Board Game: A Feast for Odin [Average Rating:8.18 Overall Rank:22]
Board Game: A Feast for Odin
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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Board Game: A Feast for Odin
Board Game: Race for the Galaxy
Board Game: The Mind
Board Game: Kodama: The Tree Spirits
Board Game: Euchre


A Feast for Odin
Race for the Galaxy x10
The Mind x2
Kodama: The Tree Spirits
Euchre

AFfO -- I've been avoiding this game for two years because I knew it would take all night to play (our weekly meetup is only 3 hours). Sure enough, after rules explanation it took all three hours. It was precisely what I expected: an Uwe Kitchen Sink game. It was enjoyable, but the whole time I was playing it, I couldn't help but think that I'd rather be playing Agricola or Le Havre. I'd play again, but I'm not waiting with baited breath to do so.

Race for the Galaxy -- Flipped open my iPad to play "one" game...

Kodama -- Introduced the game to my Friday Night Friends. Went over very well, as I expected. Also, as I expected, Marion ran away with the game.

The Mind -- We tried the blind variant, where you play all of the cards face down, and then check the results at the end. We made it to level 4 before losing. 10/10 recommend, because it's hilarious when you see someone played an 80 in the middle of a bunch of 30s. Even better when most of us are tipsy.

Euchre -- Marion can no longer say that she has not played Euchre. We wanted an easy game to play while we chatted, so Euchre fit the bill perfectly. I've played before, but now Marion's an official midesterner.


On my mind:
This weekend was the first time in a month that it's not rained on the weekend. It also conincided with it being a balmy 50 degrees, so I made the most of the weather and got a few good hours of exercising and taking the dog on a walk.

Yesterday I made the apparent mistake of taking Rufus on what was to be a 4-5 mile run (something he's definitely capable of). I chose a bit longer route than usual, so he was very excited to see new paths. That is, until he got tired, then he was like "NOPE! WE ARE GOING NO FURTHER!" and refused to take another step, actively pulling me back the way we came. I had chosen a looped path, so his insistence on going home was actually a further run than just completing the loop shake. Silly doggo.

In an amusing event, I went to go spin on Saturday and showed up 10 minutes early only to realize that I forgot my spin shoes, so I couldn't actually go work out. I had to drop Marion off, drive home, and come back late for class. Doh. In the 40 minutes left of class I basically went Full Effort after my warm up.
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7. Board Game: Titan [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:1008]
Board Game: Titan
Grant Johnson
United States
Cedar Park
Texas
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Board Game: Titan
Board Game: KeyForge: Call of the Archons


 9.5   Titan
 N/A   KeyForge: Call of the Archons

Titan: Almost was in a game of Puerto Rico with Dave (which I would have enjoyed), but this was also requested and I could not say no! 3 player game, where I was the big bully early on. I stomped on stacks, and was up 386-12 after eliminating the first player in a Titan vs. Titan battle, which was mostly even in army value but swung heavily in my favor with the Angel summon. I wore down the other player until he had two stacks left, which prompted a battle. It was my 11 Titan with 2 Angels, a Warlock and 3 Cyclopses against his 7 Titan, 3 Gorgons and 2 Cyclopses. I dumped an Angel next to his Titan, but he rolled 6 hits on 7 dice (statistically each had a 50/50 shot of hitting) and took my angel out. I had an abysmal roll when I had a Cyclops, Angel and Warlock attack a Gorgon (statistically I should have had about 8 hits, but I got 5 total instead) and I got pinned down. While my Titan survived unscathed I lost everything but the Warlock, and had to face his angel summon as our Titans closed for final combat. He rolled better than I did, but I did have enough to ensure mutual destruction of the Titans. We had no winner, but we got what everybody plays to see:

From gallery of tallgrant


On my mind
Continuing things: My usual stuff presses forward. I had a good week for nutrition and exercise. I played a concert Sunday that went well, and I recorded more trombone this weekend. My holiday project should finish this week;the hardest thing in the piece is done now and I'm happy with how it sounds.

Smash: Releases Friday. I'm not properly excited for it yet- not sure why.
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8. Board Game: Plums [Average Rating:6.58 Overall Rank:2342]
Board Game: Plums
United States
Yay Area
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Board Game: Plums
Board Game: Kobayakawa
Board Game: Codenames: Duet
Board Game: Disney Villainous
Board Game: TransAmerica
Board Game: Shogun
Board Game: Rise of Augustus
Board Game: Modern Art
Board Game: Circus Flohcati
Board Game: Notre Dame
Board Game: Dungeons & Dragons Basic Game


 7   Plums
 7   Kobayakawa
 7   Codenames Duet x2
 7   Villainous
 8   TransAmerica
 8   Shogun
 6   Rise of Augustus NEW!
 9   Modern Art
 6   Circus Flohcati NEW!
 8   Notre Dame
 6   Dungeons & Dragons Basic Game

Plums
- I don’t know why I like this game so much, maybe because it’s one of the first trick taking type game I played but it’s great. Also, has Matthias Cramer ever made a bad game? The theme is super odd.
Quote:

The name Pi mal Pflaumen is a play on the expression "Pi mal Daumen" — "rule of thumb" or "roughly" — which also originated in that period, but now instead of thumbs, players are concerned with fruit.
Like that’s already weird but on top of making fruit mixes for pie I guess you also have mathematical pi because why not. And there is a dog to guard your fruit and it’s a double sided card so you can choose which doggo you want. And the play on words Daumen to Pflaumen means last player always gets a consolation prize of a plum card. Like what? Anyways, there is just enough slightly meaty decisions of which cards to play. I got hard denied some scoring cards on the final turn. I would say my largest strategic error was never getting pi cards to manipulate my card strength.

Kobayakawa - This was good, taught it again. Got the rules right and everybody seemed to enjoy it. My only major gripe is the Iello version is in a large stupid box compared to the super sleek Oink version. Also, no metal coins.

Codenames Duet - Introduced this to some new people that said they’ve played codenames. Unfortunately whoever taught them codenames did not teach them proper Codenames etiquette. Twirls mustache, puts pinky up. For one when they said a clue the other side guessed a word and they just out loud exclaimed “Oh that’s not the one I was thinking of” which clued them in that there was an extra card they were missing. Also, they didn’t understand the rule about touching cards. So the other side would just mention a clue and they would just say it’s correct and put a card on top. And later on when we were discussing clues on our side they were just touching cards like it’s obviously not CHEESE while pointing and poking at the CHEESE card and I would just facepalm inside. But I wasn’t too rules lawyer-y about it because it was just whatever game to close out the night.

Villainous - I played Prince John. Louie kept fate-ing me every chance he got and I got hit with Little John and Robin Hood. Robin Hood makes you earn less 1 less power per action/card effect. Combined with Little John taking my remaining money I was incredibly low on power and wasn’t able to really do much until near the end of the game when I finally got rid of Robin Hood. But by that time Louie already won.

TransAmerica - I managed to win somewhat luckily on one of the round in that someone completed my cards for me. Synergy!

Shogun - Really good game, unfortunately because of the way events turned out there were 2 times where I was hoping the recruit came before the attack action and they didn’t so I couldn’t take 2 easy territories. In the end I tied for first place with someone. Tiebreaker is #of Warchests and we tied on that as well and there is no official tiebreaker after that so I guess no one wins.

Rise of Augustus
- I think this is an interesting BINGO type mechanism. My only complaint would be the take that cards.

Modern Art - A really good 5 player game of Modern Art. I thought I was going to lose first round because I made an agressive buy on GREEN double auction and hoped to bump it up on my turn but out of nowhere a lot of ORANGE came out and ended the auction leaving GREEN in 3rd place and losing money on that round overall. I then played very conservatively mostly selling and up-bidding people. A few moments where people overbid on my items so that was good. A lot of unwise pricing on Fixed auctions on other people’s ends I think also helped me. In the end I won by I think 30. But the scores behind me were all super close.

Circus Flohcati - This was an okay push your luck/set collection thing.

Notre Dame - 2nd play of this, I still really like it. I was short on money one round and 1 person took all the VP for Notre Dame and that put them way ahead.

Dungeons & Dragons - Continuing our fight with weird people, I stay engaged with hammer lady, she immediately throws up a huge firewall separating our party. I roll absolutely horribly this session two Natural 1s and two 3s on my Flurry of Blows and Extra attack. Absolutely garbage. She continues to wreck us with spells, I manage to monk evade some. The other monk enemy guy is taking on our tank. At one point our druid falls unconscious from Cone of Cold. The enemies take a turn for the cruel as we stabilize the druid and their next turn they attack her, heal her again, and once again they attack her dropping her to unconsciousness. Despite my terrible rolling I do manage to put some hurt on hammer lady. She readies a 5th level spell and targets the druid, she declares if we attack them she will kill her. We stand down and they escape. After that the army catches up to us and they have taken back the city. Our NPC friend who charged into battle dies but we save the king. More plot stuff. We essentially decided we are going to waltz into the enemy kingdom as adventurers and try and get close enough to the enemy king to kill him.

Other -

I did not play Spirit Island this week. Was planning on cranking out more solo but just watched netflix.

TV
- Still watching Terrace House. I don't know if it's because they are on camera but they are ridiculously polite to each other and deal with a lot of their emotions in what to me seems like an extremely mature manner. For example in a group someone made a joke but it cut too close for someone. Later on they take them aside and explain that they were hurt by what they said because X, Y and Z. The person will apologize and will explain what they actually meant and how they did not intend to hurt them but they will definitely be more considerate of others’ feelings in the future. And maybe years of movies and petty squabbles on american television have spoiled me into thinking everyone is out to get each other but damn Terrace House is just so wholesome at times.
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9. Board Game: Everdell [Average Rating:8.07 Overall Rank:38]
Board Game: Everdell
Louie
United States
SF Bay Area
California
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Board Game: A Feast for Odin
Board Game: Power Grid
Board Game: Everdell
Board Game: Disney Villainous
Board Game: TransAmerica
Board Game: Shogun
Board Game: Rise of Augustus
Board Game: Power Grid: Québec/Baden-Württemberg


 10   A Feast for Odin
 8   Power Grid
 6   Everdell NEW!
 8   Villainous
 8   TransAmerica
 6   Shogun NEW!
 4   Rise of Augustus NEW!
 N/A   Power Grid: Québec/Baden-Württemberg NEW!

Hot takes on newer stuff:

Everdell - What’s immediately memorable about the game is its components and art. The tree, while really good looking, doesn’t add much to the game besides knocking someone’s workers off while trying to fat finger some cards out of that holder. Gameplay-wise, it’s an interesting mix of worker-placement and tableau building, and I found fun in trying to find combos and VICTORY POINTS. I find that there might be a bit to unpack with some repeated plays, but the snoot in me doubts that it’ll have the staying power of RftG or Terraforming Mars.

Shogun - Aside from a frustrating ending, which is my fault for not playing safe enough, I found that there’s some decent gameplay. You’d probably be into this if you’re into aggressive Euro hybrids. I didn’t find the setting, nor the theme, to be evocative, though, so it feels mostly like aggressive cube pushing, and it takes a good deal of time to get through the game. As it stands, I’m unlikely to give this another go.

Rise of Augustus - I hated this game. It’s like some bingo, contract fulfillment game, and there’s cards that aggro on other people. There are certain ones that if timed correctly, can really fuck up people’s progress. I’m mostly surprised that the reaction to this game is fairly positive, and I’ve also enjoyed Paolo Mori’s other offerings. Makes me think that I’m missing an element of strategy here.

What's still good?

Transamerica, Villainous, Power Grid, A Feast for Odin.

Regarding Power Grid, we played on the Quebec map, which had an interesting change to the power plant market - mainly, renewable generators never cycled out. Also some interesting tactical decisions to be had, as Quebec and Montreal had four spaces with no connection costs. Made for some interesting map interactions.

OMM

Gearing up towards the last month of the year. Trying to forge some healthier habits again before the new year. Because why wait until then, DO IT NOW?!?!

I was at the gym last night (Sunday), and I really enjoy that time frame. Mainly, it's empty. I really need to work myself into the habit of going during the week, it's just difficult with the commute and work.

Also, I set up a Christmas tree in our apartment. It's one of those tiny, fake ones, but I found a clearance bird ornament that's cute, and wrapped a bunch of presents for my buddies. Excited for the holiday season.

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10. Board Game: Lowlands [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:901]
Board Game: Lowlands
Joseph
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Board Game: Lowlands
Board Game: Architects of the West Kingdom


 8   Lowlands NEW!
 7   Architects of the West Kingdom

Both games likely can likely improve with more plays.

Lowlands is a great game. It feels like a great Rosenberg, but it also feels wholly unique and different at the same time. Probably one of the more unique feeling games in the mid-to-heavy euro genre. I lost by a lot, so worst game ever. But I had a great time with it. We all played pretty conservatively, so we didn't have any breached dikes. But I could have tanked it in the end, except then I would have lost literally all my sheep. I lost because I was the slowest out of the gate to getting my sheep to find that magical thing called love. I'm not sure how it would play at 2.

Architects of the West Kingdom is a mouthful to say, and is probably the worst part of the game. I played it with 3, and enjoyed it more than 2 +bot. The game is very smooth playing. It has a great rhythm and sails to a smooth experience that doesn't take too long, nor does it feel too short.

PBF RPGS - I started up another game of Edge of the Empire PbF. I really love the other game I'm running too, but I've felt a bit of a stall with it. I'm not sure if there's player disinterest or not. I will preserve though!

Books - I finished Leviathan Wakes. It was amazing. I want to read the next one. I see that there are some mid-chapter novels, would it be a good idea to read the three "prequel" stories first, and then the move on to Caliban's War?

I started up Grave Peril (Dresden Files Book 3) in the meantime. And it's been the best one so far. I'm really digging it.

TV - Finished the first season of Dexter and now in the second. Really enjoyable show. I'm also hitting up The Expanse when I can too.
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11. Board Game: Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:139]
Board Game: Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game
Ambie
United States
San Mateo
California
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Board Game: Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game
Board Game: Legacy of Dragonholt


 N/A   Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game NEW!
 N/A   Legacy of Dragonholt

Played Day 5 of Legacy of Dragonholt one day on the shuttle. It was a wedding day. I just went to weddings all day (2 different weddings) and that was it. So I got a bunch of free food. Yum.

Played the first case of Detective. I liked it. The questions at the end were worded weirdly though, so I redid it after answering them all wrong. It was worded like you had to have conclusive proof for everything, so we put "I don't know" since we weren't 100% sure, but then the answers were saying it was best guesses and hunches and stuff. So then we would have answered correctly. That was my only problem with it though, and now I know for the future questions. I'm excited for the future cases though! And it was neat to play upstairs in our computer room because we have the room space heater in that room, and it's cold downstairs in our game room.

On My Mind
- I got a Switch! Went to Game Stop on Saturday and traded in my Wii and games and got ~$75 and then spent it immediately on a Switch and Breath of the Wild. Also pre-ordered Smash on Amazon (and got Pokemon Let's Go Eevee with the pokeball on Amazon too). I played Zelda on the shuttle today! That was pretty awesome. I also played some last night in our computer room, which was great because it's warm (see above for Detective).

- I finished my sweater! It's hard to put on and take off because of how I carried over the different strands of yarn, so it's a little tight, but once it's on it's fine.

- I think I'm sick again. I keep getting sick. It's annoying. I feel like I've gotten sick more during my time at this job (the past 3.5 years) than the rest of my life combined. Or at least the life that I can remember. I didn't get sick much when I was a kid (or I bounced back faster).

- We're getting our prizes sorted out for T-Con (our annual mini-convention for Toby's birthday). We have a bunch of games to raffle off! Oh yeah, if any of you Bay Area people are free on December 15, let me know if you want to come over for T-Con. It's basically a day of board gaming with a bunch of friends (a bunch being currently ~15-20 people have responded that they're going).
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12. Board Game: Keltis: Der Weg der Steine Mitbringspiel [Average Rating:6.44 Overall Rank:2798]
Board Game: Keltis: Der Weg der Steine Mitbringspiel
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy: The Dice Game
Board Game: Keltis: Der Weg der Steine Mitbringspiel
Board Game: Condottiere
Board Game: Architects of the West Kingdom
Board Game: Nefarious


The Castles of Burgundy: The Dice Game x2 (6 all-time) (Solo)
Keltis: Der Weg der Steine Mitbringspiel NEW!
Condottiere x3 (9 all-time) NEW-ISH!
Architects of the West Kingdom (3 all-time)
Nefarious (5 all-time)

A friend at my local game group who is getting into Knizia brought the travel-game version of Keltis in Keltis: Der Weg der Steine Mitbringspiel. I'd heard good stuff about it and sure enough it was a neat distillation of the base Keltis game into a more compact form. I liked the push-your-luck aspect of flipping tiles, and the game wrapped up in a good time frame. I'll definitely bring my copy of Keltis (with Neue Wege, Neue Ziele) for him to try later.

I was able to break out Condottiere with the classic rules for a few plays and, oh boy, I now totally see where the vocal contingent here on the Geek who prefer it that way are coming from. The game is sleeker, tenser, and a lot more dynamic. I agree with Pete's assessment in this most recent thread on the subject, and trying the game out with the 3rd ed. rules even elicited the same observations from my buddies in my work gaming group. I had thought that the die-hards complaining that the non-1st-ed rules taking the fangs out of the game were just being over-competitive cranks, but it turns out those teeth make all the difference.

Quick hits on old stuff

- The Castles of Burgundy: The Dice Game is still good as a solo game, I finally broke down and laminated all the score sheets to include in my roll'n'write box, and while trying to write with the thinnest dry-erase marker is still tough on those small things, it's not as much of a problem as I thought it would be.

- We had the goofiest combination of twists in one of our games of Nefarious: The first one allowed us to play an extra action card every round, effectively letting us play two, and the second one prevented us from playing the same action card(s) twice in a row. We effectively made one choice at the beginning of the game of which two cards the play, then cycled back and forth between them and the other two cards in hand every other turn. It was a surprisingly high money game because a) everyone was doing everything all the time, which then meant b) everyone was able to get all their henchmen out early and take advantage of the card cycling. It was ridiculous and lots of fun.

- Architects of the West Kingdom was much improved at a higher player count, though at a full set of 5p it was kinda dizzy. Turns whipped by and there were so many buildings and apprentices out on the board it was hard to keep track of everything. I think 4p may be the sweet spot. Also, it turns out my gaming partner and I got a rule wrong when we played it at 2p: Apparently you can use the Town Center to retrieve your own groups of guys off the board, which would have solved the problem we had of our game locking up. Will definitely get another few games out of this.
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13. Board Game: Warhammer Underworlds: Nightvault – Zarbag's Gitz [Average Rating:8.19 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.19 Unranked]
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Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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From gallery of BoardGameGeek
Board Game: Warhammer Underworlds: Nightvault
Board Game: Arkham Horror (Third Edition)


Warhammer Underworlds: Nightvault – Zarbag's Gitz NEW!
Warhammer Underworlds: Nightvault
Arkham Horror (Third Edition)

Zarbag's Gits

Triumphant return to Warhammer Underworlds. Very fun game of this wild and wooly warband. I played defensively in the first round, looking primarily to set up a lot of my gobbos adjacent to one another. I managed to take out one of my opponent's Stormcast, which gave me the glory I needed to set up some big combos. These goblins can explode with speed and combos, and good card draw helped me set that up. I ended up eliminating Larry's squad by the end of the 2nd round. Felt good to play some Underworlds again.

Arkham Horror

3p game, recommended first scenario again. Chris and Matt pointed out that the downtime in this game is significant and the very restrictive action system can make for rounds where you don't feel like you did all that much. I don't think it differentiated itself enough given that Matt loves Elder Sign and we all love the card game.

On my Mind

Basement's done!

From gallery of captainraffi
From gallery of captainraffi
From gallery of captainraffi


Carpet went in on Saturday, and I moved some furniture and the table downstairs on Sunday. We've got a lot of dusting and cleaning to do in the storage areas but we're taking a break and just enjoying the space. Really happy it's done.
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14. Board Game: Writersports [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Writersports
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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DropMix 2 (97 all-time)
Space Base 2 (22 all-time)
Architects of the West Kingdom 1 (3 all-time)
Azul 1 (7 all-time)
Great Western Trail 1 NEW!
Vegas 1 (59 all-time) + Las Vegas Boulevard 1 (26 all-time)

---

Great Western Trail: The cow-deckbuilding mechanic was cool, but I found the rest of the game annoying and tedious. In particular, we had a lot of "pay the other player" buildings out, which maybe is typical, but I it made me want to punch people. This proves yet again that I find Pfister overrated (sorry, Louie).

---

On My Mind:

I'm behind on reviews. I haven't had much opportunity and/or motivation to play/write lately. Probably just end-of-the-semester fatigue setting in.

We visited friends in the Bay this weekend and met their 3-week-old son. Matt took Christmas pictures for them and I ate bánh cuốn. We then introduced them to Azul and Space Base, which they both enjoyed. I know they intend to pick up Azul and wouldn't be surprise if they grab Space Base too. They've been trying to get Junk Art, but apparently it's between print runs (for the wooden version). I had no idea.

Stuff I've watched: Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (interesting, but I wanted more focus on the Wonder Woman comic), Hidden Figures (finally; it was good), and Trevor Noah: Son of Patricia (good). I also finished Salt, Fat, Acid, and Heat a few weeks back and really enjoyed it. I'm considering picking up the book by the same name.
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15. Board Game: Betrayal Legacy [Average Rating:7.88 Overall Rank:425]
Board Game: Betrayal Legacy
Chris Ferejohn
United States
Mountain View
California
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Betrayal Legacy – Played the first scenario of Betrayal Legacy. It funny to have such a small house, but I imagine that will change quickly.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
We all figured out that we were all human before it was revealed, but it was funny how much effort the game went to to preserve that fiction. As it was it kind of served as an introduction to combat.


Looking forward to playing more of this.

Memoir '44 – Played the Vassieux, Vercors scenario with Alistair twice (once from each side). Germans won both times. I actually thought I had him as the Resistance but made a bad guess as to what was in his hand and missed some rolls to leave him with 2 1-figure units and he was able to finish me.

Cartagena – Played this with my mom and Alistair. He's much more able to focus on this game than we was the last time we played it ~ 1 year ago.

OMM
Having a party game night this Friday for Hilary's birthday. Anything recent I should try to pick up? I think Just One was available at my FLGS last time I looked.
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16. Board Game: Cthulhu Wars: Ancients [Average Rating:8.36 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.36 Unranked]
Board Game: Cthulhu Wars: Ancients
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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Board Game: Lincoln
Board Game: KeyForge: Call of the Archons
Board Game: Battlestar Galactica: Starship Battles – Starter Set
Board Game: Cthulhu Wars
Board Game: Condottiere
Board Game: The Climbers
Board Game: Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions Trading Card Game
Board Game: The Walking Dead: Here's Negan – The Board Game
Board Game: Unpublished Prototype
Board Game: Firefly Adventures: Brigands and Browncoats


 7.6   Lincoln NEW!
 7.5   KeyForge: Call of the Archons x2
 8   Battlestar Galactica: Starship Battles – Starter Set
 9   Cthulhu Wars
 8.4   Condottiere
 5   The Climbers NEW!
 7.65   Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions Trading Card Game x5
 7.6   The Walking Dead: Here's Negan – The Board Game
 N/A   Unpublished Prototype
 7.4   Firefly Adventures: Brigands and Browncoats

Reviews/Articles
I wrote about Fate of Fantos for my January Independent Shelf subject in Tabletop Gaming Mag. Then I decided to write a really weird...session report?


Lincoln
This is pretty interesting. It's Martin Wallace's 4th take on his deck building area control thing. Although, this design is actually pretty old so I'm not sure how much he updated it and pushed it forward relative to the lessons he's learned.

We really enjoyed it though. It's definitely not a simulation and it's not going to capture the historical nuances that most wargamers will desire, but it's a very interesting take on "deck deconstruction" as Wallace calls it. You're mostly burning cards and only add a chunk of cards each time you reshuffle your deck, with the Union player needing certain victory point thresholds with each of their reshuffles.

It's very clever and presents a simple system with a solid amount of depth. We're eager to play this again.

Cthulhu Wars
Our second play with the Ancients. They won this game, beating me by a single point (30-29). I was Opener and we also had Yellow Sign and Crawling Chaos. Those citadels the Ancients can build are damn scary since they can blow them up to kill Great Old Ones in the area.

Condottiere
I picked up the new Z-Man version so pushed to get it played. Introduced two new people and one liked it and one didn't. Can't account for taste.

I think this is my favorite 40ish minute multiplayer card game. I'd rather play this than Race for the Galaxy, Innovation, probably even Glory to Rome. I love how it's entirely brinksmanship and full of drama. Even when you're out it's intense.

The Climbers
Not sure what I was expecting but this didn't quite live up to it. It's like a thinking person's Rhino Hero Super Battles and I'm not sure I really enjoy the logic puzzle at play.

Firefly Adventures
Received the new mini expansions with River/Simon and Shepherd Book/Inara. These characters are interesting but the interplay between River and Simon is the very neat. In this game you can flip between states of acting casual or heroic (you want to be casual when sneaking around to avoid alerting guards), and River can't calm herself down. Simon has an ability and is required to return River to casual. She's completely a badass though when acting heroic.

The most surprising aspect of these expansions is three new scenarios in each. The base game only had four scenarios which is a big criticism. They're replayable but it still felt shallow. Most were expecting one, maybe two in these sets but now we have six total and they all look great.


On My Mind
Big game day Saturday and my top priorities are: John Company, Black Hole Council with 6-8, Here's Negan, and a big Wings of Glory game. Need to get re-reading some rules.

I was about ready to up and quite playing Warhammer Champions but the second card set just dropped. I switched to playing as Chaos and it completely revitalized me. I made it to Diamond II in ranked, my highest rank being in the 40s overall in the world at one point (think I slipped to around 60 when the first ranked season ended last week).

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17. Board Game: A Christmas Carol [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Board Game: A Christmas Carol
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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It's Christmas Music time! What are your favorite albums or holiday jams?
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18. Board Game: Gaia Project [Average Rating:8.49 Overall Rank:8]
Board Game: Gaia Project
Fabrice Dubois
France
La Garenne Colombes
Hauts de Seine
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 10  Gaia Project x1 (14 plays so far)
 8  Teotihuacan: City of Gods x1 New!

On Gaia Project:
We are still playing it here and it is more and more beloved in my LGC.

It was a 4 players (Xenos vs. Bal T'aks vs. Firaks vs. Nevlas) played in 2 hours.

Xenos won quite easily (128-98-95-85) thanks to an excellent final scoring (before the end of the game, the scores were 68-65-60-40): 60 points including 32 for technologies and 27 for the goals.

I played for the Firaks and i had too a decent final scoring (55 points). This allowed me to catch up since i was last with 40 points. Given the final scoring tiles (the most occupied sectors and the largest number of buildings in federations), i shaped my development around Terraforming and Navigation technologies. As a result, i was first on occupied sectors thanks to the lost planet that earned me an additional tile at the very end of the game.

This was a great fight (more than usual) for planets, mainly due to the final scoring tiles but also to the special powers and development choices of each player :
- Bal T'aks: huge QIC production to extend range, to Gaiaform and to occupy Gaia planets.
- Xenos: Navigation and the most federations founded (3).
- Firaks: Terraformation and Navigation.

This game has everything i love: special player powers, technology tree, tense management, tough choices, economic & spatial development.

Gaia Project is the most impressive game to me in recent years (along with Mombasa).

From gallery of fdubois

From gallery of fdubois

From gallery of fdubois


On Teotihuacan:
We played with the recommended configuration for a first game.

Final score: 150-143-126-109.
The pyramid was built completely.

I was 3rd without participating to the construction of the pyramid nor progressing on the alley of the dead. I focused:
- on worship (i bought about fifteen discovery tiles, collected masks (3x15 PV) and focused on two temples (top of the green and blue temple)).
- on decoration of the pyramid to help progressing on temples.

The first player had 2 technologies associated with the pyramid (+1 resource for productiong and progression on a temple), a big production and a big contribution to the pyramid (11 tiles in all).

My strategy was short at the end, especially for decorating the pyramid to progress a little more on the red temple. However, I found that the synergy between worship and decoration action work rather well, progressing on the blue temple helps a lot towards gold production.
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19. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:91] [Average Rating:7.63 Unranked]
Board Game: Dominion
Jim Parkin
United States
Stow
Ohio
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MIND. BLOWN.
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Gloomhaven (52 all-time)
Dominion x5 (46 all-time)



A mostly quiet week in the board game world for me.



Gloomhaven
Behold, as our ninth-level party defended Gloomhaven in a big old siege, absolutely demolishing an invasion of elemental demons, and ultimately sending Big Bad Evil Guy packing, to the tune of 90+ damage in a turn.

External image

Dominion
My friend's daughter, Emma, has recently been requesting more and more of the games stashed in her house, and pulled out Dominion + Prosperity. We played for about an hour and a half, knocking out several games in a row, then another the following day. She's really got the hang of it, and did a few novel things between some of the cards that weren't more tried-and-true strategies. Good stuff.



In D&D news, we've already received some feedback from (over)eager playtesters on our adventure. If you're still interest in trying it out or reading through it, first thank you, and second, just let me know.

-----

The real highlight of this week, however, is the progress of my Storm King's Thunder game here on RPGG. The party has recently been tracking fire giants to their ancestral forge of Ironslag, high up in the mountains north of some dwarven citadels. They've know that the giants have been digging up scores of big adamantine fragments all over the countryside for the better part of a year, and the overall adamantine market has been getting drained of its supply. There was also a drow raid on a dwarven city in the underdark, where a fire elemental primordial was captured.

Wall of Text™, should you care.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
With all of this context, the party said, "shoot, the fire giants are up to something big," and headed out to intercept them. After getting in touch with a rogue frost giant and a copper dragon, the entourage scaled the side of the mountain where the forge was contained, and found a peaceful village on top made of heavy stone and thatched roofs. There was no one in sight save for a single yakman. It is nearly winter, and it makes sense that not many folks are out of doors, but the party was skeptical, especially since these yakfolk were living on a mountain filled with militaristic fire giants. They sneak over the wall and head towards the millhouse near a waterfall. The sound mostly obscures their movement, but they hear odd, sonorous speech they don't recognize (I actually just translated a gossip conversation about the last season of Scandal into Chichewa). The party rogue and monk slip in, find two yakfolk knitting, and also two dwarves working with bags of flour, totally naked. The rogue strong arms the yakfolk and binds them. It is understood that the dwarves are slaves, and treated very poorly. The party pitches the two bound yakfolk into the river, then the pair falls down the waterfall of off of the mountainside.

Setting the dwarves free and exploring the rest of this half of the village, they find a yakman playing with wooden building blocks with his yakchild in another hut. The ranger uses hail of thorns, hitting both the parent and child, killing the latter outright. The parent goes into a rage and bellows for his peers, and a yakfolk stable master and seven pissed-off boars storm out of the barn across the way. The party cleric is incensed, and rushes past the parent to revive the dead child, who then gets to watch the rest of the party kill his dad. Then the animal keeper and his boars get fireballed by the wizard, which prompts a big gong to start ringing on the western rise of the village. Ruh roh. The party finishes off the yakdude and his livestock (including three actual yaks which came out of the barn) while the cleric stays with the weeping, half-dazed yakchild with the dead dad.

The western gate opens, and a huge yakfolk guy, the chieftan Kartha-Kaya, leads four other warriors with a flaming greatsword, while two spooky yaks conjure earth elementals to send against the party while they begin an inscrutible ritual behind full cover. The party has two rounds before the earth elementals close the gap, by which point the ranger, rogue, and monk have all scaled the wall. The wizard summons a horrid undead worm thing to infest the dead yakfolk on the eastern side of the village, and the party starts to fight the elementals. The copper dragon ally tries to melt some of the yaks with acid, then gets grappled by one of the elementals and slammed repeatedly into the ground, ending up in bad shape. The warriors get into a big melee with all of the party members except for the kraken warlock and ranger, who try to pick off the bad guys as best as possible. One of the elementals is blinded, and ends up smashing through the wall and knocking the warlock flat on his back. Then the chieftan nearly kills the monk in a big, fiery cleave, while the cleric and paladin rebuff his other attacks.

One of the elementals punches the warlock's lights out, and he goes down, unconscious. The warlock then rolls a nat 20 on his death save, pops up, fires off a lightning bolt at the elemental, which then turns around and punches him AGAIN, knocking him out cold a second time. The paladin divine smites the living daylights out of Kartha-Kaya, who is then infected by the undead worms. The monk gets on his magic broom and sails through the air to try and interrupt the creepy priests, seeing that they are doing something that looks like a portal summons. After a few quarteraff whacks and punches, the monk can't manage to break the concentration of the two yakpriests, and they bring a huge dao (earth genie) into the fray. The dao pontificates darkly, then the party wizard rushes forward and casts suggestion on him. The dao barely fails the save, and is compelled by the wizard, who asks him for the gift of lichdom. The dao struggles under the spell, but then smiles, and grants the wish, blasting the wizard with black energy. The wizard is knocked out of the fight altogether (and I made up some half-lich abilities for him to add to his character sheet).

The elemental continues smashing the copper dragon's head into ground, nearly killing her, when the rogue tosses a potion of growth into her mouth. She grows to huge size, bites into the elemental, then flies over the edge of the cliff and drops it several hundred feet to its demise. At this point, the party's frost giant ally finally makes it up the mountain (having to move up a staircase designed for normal people) and helps the paladin and undead worm thingy break up the second earth elemental. He succeeds, but with the wizard out of commission, the worm spawn turns on the paladin and beats him up, then tries to Wrath of Khan his ear with some nasty worms. The paladin gets infected, but his holy constitution ends up searing away the infection. Meanwhile, the kraken warlock tries to insult the dao and drive it off through a will contest, at which point the dao nearly one-shots the warlock on the spot, who proceeds to bleed out. The frost giant picks up the earth elemental and throws it at the dao in an ironic planar collision. Then the dao lifts up a wall of stone, cutting his half of the village off from the party (and giant), while the remaining yakpriest banishes the monk into a harmless demiplane.

In a hail mary, the dragon slashes the yakpriest, who loses concentration on his spell, which brings the banshished monk back, who then leaps onto his magic broom again and surfs up to the flying dao, whacking him in the face. The dao then loses concentration on HIS spell, and the stone wall disintegrates. The rogue runs forward to try and parkour into a rapier stab on the dao, and after missing, tucks and rolls to get to where the warlock is dying. The paladin also tries to rush forward and lay hands on the near-dead warlock, but the dao nails him on his way through, and similarly knocks him unconscious. This is where the combat is at this point, but we're nearing the conclusion, I think.

Basically, one PC is probably going to die outright, another might be on his way, and the wizard-turned-partial-lich is entirely down for the count. There are portals, and giants, and brawls, and dragons, and all sorts of acrobatics and spell madness. It is easily the most cinematic combat I've ever been a part of to date.

If you want to read the actual game thus far, start here, then read to the current page.
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20. Board Game: 12 Days of Christmas [Average Rating:5.99 Overall Rank:8642]
Board Game: 12 Days of Christmas
Grant Johnson
United States
Cedar Park
Texas
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Grant's 12 Days of Christmas Novelty begins today!

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21. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.00 Overall Rank:25]
Board Game: Puerto Rico
Dave K
United States
Austin
Texas
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Love 'em even if a few games get scuttled from time to time.
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Meow.
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Board Game: Puerto Rico
Board Game: Dominion


 9   Puerto Rico
 10   Dominion


A small but good gaming night for me. We started out with Puerto Rico and I re-taught it to two people who hadn't played it in a long time. I decided to try and see if I could make good use of the trading house and an early coffee build, but I spent too much time building stuff that I didn't really need and it hurt my ability to actually generate points.

We also let the winner get too many free shipments early on by not having things to ship ourselves.

Still a lovely game.

Next up was a single game of Dominion with Alchemy, as I feel that's a bit of a neglected expansion. It was very combo-tastic but had no way to get extra buys in the game, so the incentive to get tons of money wasn't as high.

I had some good stuff going but I came up a couple purchases short in the end, as I think I clogged up my deck with points a tad too early and had some no-op turns late in the game.


...


And in case you're wondering yes, there is some irony in me posting plays of games that are both like 9+ years old and I bought a ton at BGG.CON. None of which I have taken the time to read the manual for.

Whooooops.
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