GCL Phoenix 415: 10 year anniversary (16 Dec 2018)
United States
Wurtsboro
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Welcome to the Phoenix Game Chat League!

If you stumbled upon this geeklist by accident or through your subscriptions, please read the GameChat League wiki page for information about what this is all about. We're glad to get to know visitors through constructive comments, but please leave the adding of items to members.


Active Phoenixes:
familygaming
grasa_total
indigopotter
John Rogers - next week
karlfast
Lowengrin
mirror33
rynelf
Taibi
Tigrillo
woodnoggin

Always welcome to participate:
archivists, BennyD, Bruzza, chally, darker, Dormammu, Eeeville, enzo622, hawk-x-, Hawkeye77, JohnRayJr, judoka, leroy43, Morganza, Mr_Nuts, Muse23PT, ravenskana, Smintie, TheRocketSurgeon, tjshields, topherr, Yokiboy
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1. Board Game: Stone Age: Anniversary [Average Rating:8.05 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.05 Unranked]
Board Game: Stone Age: Anniversary
United States
Wurtsboro
NY
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This week is my (our) 10th anniversary on BGG. When we joined, Agricola was king. There was this other game some people sometimes talked about, Puerto Rico, that "used" to be No. 1, but we wouldn't play it until April 2009 at a Cornell game night.

In these days leading up to finding BGG, we were playing Pillars of the Earth, from Barnes & Noble, and Torres, probably from the Mindware catalog (from which I was also aware of games like Qwirkle), or, now that I think about it, maybe from a store in Ithaca. We didn't log games, exactly, but we have notebooks of scores for games, so we could probably come pretty close to most of what we played that previous year, especially games of 500 Rummy. It was one of these notebooks that let us retroactively log our first plays of Agricola, once we realized that was a thing.

Do you remember the hot game(s) when you joined? What games were just being released? What games you were playing? What games you wanted to play?
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2. Board Game: ZÈRTZ [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:622] [Average Rating:7.30 Unranked]
Board Game: ZÈRTZ
United States
Wurtsboro
NY
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A google search for Zertz is how we found BGG. I had had Zertz several years back (I remember playing with my mother who liked Chinese Checkers), and was looking for it so that I could another copy to play with Sam.

Since I wasn't aware of BGG, I wasn't aware of the game search that would have been much easier, or even of posting a thread and describing it, that probably would have gotten me an answer in minutes.

Agricola was so dominating everything "game" at the moment, that even my searches that were something like "game rings balls" turned up this funny game about farmers.

When I looked to see what this game was, I found BGG, and started looking at pictures and reading more about it. Sam was intrigued that it had a Latin name, and took his Latin dictionary off the shelf to show me what it meant.

Since we were both working/PhD-ing during the day, Sam had Agricola shipped to his office. I remember a snow day, and we were both home, but when we saw that it had been delivered, we jumped on a bus back to campus, grabbed it, and came back (I think, on the last bus, even). So we had a snowy weekend/holiday of learning Agricola.

Have you ever stumbled across a game while looking for something else, or otherwise somewhat randomly, and had it really connect with you?

Have you ever looked for a game from your past, or a game you couldn't quite remember? Did you find it? With BGG's help, or otherwise?

Have you ever had a weekend (or other period of time) where you sat down and really concentrated on one game, playing it multiple times?
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3. Board Game: Ticket to Ride: 10th Anniversary [Average Rating:8.28 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.28 Unranked]
Board Game: Ticket to Ride: 10th Anniversary
United States
Wurtsboro
NY
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I used Stone Age: Anniversary as my first item because I have it on my wishlist, and I'm considering getting it, even though we have Stone Age (it also comes with some expansions).

When TTR 10th Anniversary came out, I thought it looked great, but really, we don't play TTR enough to get the fancy edition (I keep a copy of regular TTR in case someone asks to play it.) Those deluxe Container ships are super cool, but I've never even played Container.

Catan has had some very cool wooden releases, and if I had a group that played a lot of Catan, I might have been able to justify getting one of them, but we don't so I wasn't.

Are you interested in fancy anniversary/deluxe releases (incl KS vs retail)? What about them do you like? Fancy bits? Upgraded coins? Additional content like new expansions? Have you ended up getting them, or do you end up just looking?
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4. Board Game: Rotation [Average Rating:5.60 Unranked]
Board Game: Rotation
United States
Wurtsboro
NY
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John - 23rd December
Karl - 30th December
Michael - 6th January
Adley - 13th January
Dave - 20th January
Nicolai - 27th January
Morten - 3rd February
Rich - 10th February

Jeremy - 17th February
Alison - 24th February
Carol - 3rd March

Anyone interested in rejoining the rotation or posting a one-off list, please let me know.
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5. Board Game: The Tenth Dragon [Average Rating:8.50 Unranked]
Board Game: The Tenth Dragon
United States
Wurtsboro
NY
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I am user 234057. When BGG got its one millionth user account, I remember thinking that I was now in the oldest 25% of registered users.

I just checked a newuser's ID, and they are over two million. So I'm close to being in the oldest tenth of users.

There are about 2000 owners of the 10 Year Geek Veteran badge Microbadge: 10 Year Geek Veteran, so about 1% of eligible users have it (unknown how many users older than me are still active; it may be that only 10% are still active, so perhaps 10% of eligible active users have it. Who knows?)

80 people own the 15 Year Geek Veteran badge (not everyone who can, buys the badge). I found someone who registered in October 2003, pretty close to exactly 15 years, and his ID is 15650. So less than 1% of accounts were made 15 or more years ago. I wonder how many active accounts have been here 15 years?


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6. Board Game: Dice Forge [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:319]
Board Game: Dice Forge
United States
Wurtsboro
NY
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I had seen Dice Forge multiple times, multiple places, and never paid it any attention, because from the title I assumed it was something Small-World-esque, with dwarves running about.

And then finally I saw that it had dice where you could customize the faces, and a great box insert, and player mats with cutouts so that your pieces don't get bumped. It's like we rubbed a bottle and the genie gave us a game with our three wishes.

---

The other night, we punched and setup Founders of Gloomhaven, and played a few rounds. We left it on the table to tackle again, and last night we played a bit more. My having picked diamonds that could make jewelry on their own had really shifted the game and given me a head start. Placing buildings seemed very important, but we didn't understand the flow of the game enough to know if we were making good choices. I won the vote the first two times, getting to pick the special building, and build it to my advantage, getting more VPs. The score was 8 to 1, and while Sam could definitely do some big moves in the future, he was still in the establishing himself phase, trying to get access to my resources and build mid-level resources. He hadn't had the experience of having the chain go from starting resource to upgraded resource to deliver to fancy building for points.

So Sam asked (which almost never happens mid-game) "How long is this game supposed to take?" The box, rather optimistically, said 2 hours, and we laughed at that (maybe after the first time, once things are punched and you know what things are). You have to have 6 fancy buildings completely satisfied, and we had two that were partially satisfied. It was going to be a while.

I said to Sam that I was fine with leaving it on the table for another time, and setting up the card table to play another game. He was worried that if we only played in little bits, when he came back to it, it would take him time to get back into it, and he wouldn't really get to where he understood it. (Plus, this game was rather lopsided, unintentionally. I think if we had both chosen races that needed two items, we'd be in the same place, and doing more of the same things.)

So we decided to put it away, and get it out when we have a big chunk of time in an afternoon, and start again.

I let Sam open Dice Forge, which I figured had a greater than 50% chance of being a duplicate, but surprisingly enough, he said he hadn't bought it. The rules were pretty simple, and clear, and we understood what things were, and where they went. It was the sort of palate cleanser sorbet we needed.

The packaging/components are a big part of the experience. The hook is getting to change the faces on your dice. After playing it the first time, the 9 rounds go quite quickly, so you realize you have to pick one or two things, and go with it. Will you buy some dice faces with VP, and just make VP directly? Will you buy faces with sun and moon shards to buy the cards that give you lots of VP? Will you buy the card that gives you 10VP/15VP for finishing the gold track, and try to roll lots of gold to move up that track?

This would work as a lunch game, or game club game, or after dinner game. It's short, quick to setup, easy to teach, and has good curb appeal for attracting people.

When we finished, Sam said, "Let's play again!" (always a good sign) but it was after 11pm and I was ready for bed. I look forward to trying it again today, though.

Edit: minor typo

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7. Board Game: Catchup [Average Rating:7.68 Overall Rank:5544]
Board Game: Catchup
The Mirror
United States
New York
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Board Game: Catchup
 8   Catchup x40 NEW! - I exclusively played the app here, but it threw me down a researching rabbit hole of combinatorial (or otherwise) abstracts, and I've concluded that I'll be happy with just this one for the time being, and I can explore more at a later date. That said, at the moment, I'd love to have a nice wood physical version of Catchup, even just engraved particle board or something. Just seems like it's the type of thing that would be really nice to have around. That said, I played against the AI quite a bit, and basically stalled at level 10 AI. I can beat it from time to time, but not enough to introduce the next tier of "intelligence." Which is nice, feels like there will be a lot more to learn from the game.

Board Game: Root
 7.5   Root - Spent the bulk of the week in the city in meetings, doctors appointments, and running errands, but in the midst of all the running around I was able to to convince the kids to get together for a last minute game night on Tuesday. I finally lost at Root! Was a 3 player game, Cats (D), Birds (G) and Tinkerer Vagabond (me). I was the first to go. It's an interesting challenge, the Vagabond for me. Maybe it's that I don't find them particularly interesting mechanically, but their open ended, scraps from the table approach is less fun for me than the Birds and Woodland Alliance. In fact, it's interesting in general, playing 3 player without the WA. And by "interesting" in this case I almost entirely mean "uninteresting", I don't think its as compelling of a game, but c'est la vie.

The game started as a battle of the superpowers. The Cats started off quite strong, but as the game progressed the Birds started making some pretty great strides against them. I was just poking around and exploring the ruins for treats. The Cats per usual were spread a bit thin and perhaps accidentally made themselves vulnerable to the Birds. So when the Birds attacked their keep, I took advantage of the thinned cat distribution, and went hostile with them. Started picking off lone kitties in clearings with infrastructure. This went on for two rounds, basically rendering the Cats quite toothless. At this point I just wandered around picking off the Cats for a while. What I *should've* done was wandered around and picked off Birds, but instead I went for the easy wins. Also the Cats should've picked on the Birds, but instead they came to attack me. Regardless, the Cats switched to a corner domination strategy, and set themselves up for a win without the Birds and I working together to stymie them. Instead the birds did a few attacks and won on 30 VPs. I was at 21 and not moving quickly.

Anyway, king is dead, long live the king.

Board Game: Turin Market
 5.5   Turin Market NEW! - Beautifully (graphically) designed little auction game that fell a bit flat for me in terms of gameplay tension. I'd happily try it a few more times, but it's lacking that buzz that I got from Q.E. or Neue Heimat. Or even that steady admiration that I had for High Society. In Turin Market there's a sense that I should be performing probability calculations the whole time and that if I were I'd have some real decisions to make, but unfortunately there's none of that natural tension of games that present the equation as far simpler, and more obvious, thus allowing for the burden of cognition to rest in the decision space itself. Needless to say, it's the first primarily auction game I've played and not been really charmed by. So it's also possible that I'm missing something.


___________________________________________________________________________


Unplayed games of note: 1849, 18CZ, Balance of Powers, Colonial Twilight: The French-Algerian War, 1954-62, For Sale, Kogge, Mü & Lots More, Napoleon’s Triumph, Rolling Stock, and Shadows of Malice

Only played once, games of note: 1714: The Case of the Catalans, 1860, Cataclysm, Here I Stand, Indonesia, and Revolution: The Dutch Revolt 1568-1648
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8. Board Game: Pax Porfiriana [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:455]
Board Game: Pax Porfiriana
John Rogers
United States
Yakima
WA
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Board Game: Commands & Colors: Ancients
Board Game: Pax Porfiriana
Board Game: Commands & Colors Tricorne: The American Revolution
Board Game: Karuba
Board Game: Bohnanza
Board Game: Carcassonne


10  Commands & Colors: Ancients x3 (99 all-time)
8  Pax Porfiriana (13 all-time)
7  Commands & Colors Tricorne: The American Revolution (11 all-time)
6  Karuba x2 NEW!
3  Bohnanza (2 all-time)
2  Carcassonne (4 all-time)

Got a few solo plays of Commands & Colors: Ancients and Commands & Colors Tricorne: The American Revolution in this past week. The week kicked off on Wednesday with Kings Mountain (10.7.1780). The Brits upon a hilltop surrounded by Continentals who historically forced them to surrender after their commander was killed trying to break through the blockade. BUT as has become the custom lately the losers won. You see the Continental forces were mostly made up of milita and provincials who break and run at the sound of musket fire. The Brits routed a great many of them off the board and took the day.

On Thursday Jack was home sick so (among other things like homework and Mario Kart) we played Ancients. The battles of Amphipolis 422 BC and Coronea 394 BC. Jack controlled the Greek/Athenians and I the Spartans. Now I want to make something very clear here, Jack actually chose who to move and who to fight and rolled his own dice. I picked his cards according to who he wanted to move and fight with. The sessions ended surprisingly tight 6-5 and 8-7 with the Spartans barely pulling out victories; Jack declared the sessions a tie.

But Friday was the big day. The return of the glorious Pax Porfiriana! The session included two newbies, David, and myself and took about an hour. David was (unsurprisingly) entirely frustrated and complained that building enterprises was futile because folks would just attack them. I laughed because I had a spread of gun stores, a bank, a theater, and a mine (the latter two of which I built specifically to play strawman outrage on). Meanwhile Willie just kept buying and playing black cards (though he was disappointed that the didn’t propel him to victory like most take-that games nor did it hurt folks as much as he expected). Scooter tried to focus on troops and a smelter but it didn’t go well.

When the first topple came out David bought it first chance he got and declared victory; we were tied in outrage and the others had none, and David had the most money. Not so fast! Willie had a card that added to Diaz’s strength so the game went on but not for long as the next card out was the second topple, this time one that reduced Diaz by 1. On my turn I played an outrage on myself and claimed the topple for the win.

So after 3 LONGGGG years how did it go? Well I fell right back into the groove and quite enjoyed myself. David continues to hate the game play as he feels it is too chaotic and an anti-engine-building-take-that-luck-fest (though he really likes Chudyk; more on that in a minute). Willie found it to be graphically confusing and hard to read. He said it was meh but he’d try it again maybe. Scooter was befuddled. He really liked the history, co-dependence of players on enterprises and the bits that reminded him of Innovation (he too likes Chudyk) but felt this was more chaotic, take-that, graphically confusing, and meaner than a Chudyk and was left unsure of how he felt. He too said he would play again but he isn’t sure he likes it.

This led into a lengthy discussion about Porfiriana vs Chudyk and why they strongly enjoy the latter, recognize some overlap between the designs, but don’t really care for Porfiriana. David’s theory is the primary draw for people who claim to like both is the chaos (which he doesn’t like and feels with Chudyk you can have a strategy but it’s impossible in Pax).

For those who have played both, what are the main crossovers? What is it they share that you like? Are there elements of one that you like/hate? Maybe one design does this better than that? Please elaborate.

I recall Martin, Morten, and I discussing this a few years back but thought a refresher would be nice. Especially since I am playing with folks who dig one and not the other. Thanks!

To wrap it up I played Bohnanza (which I don’t care for at all; I know I’m a soulless Scrooge) and won handily despite barley paying attention. It just doesn’t engage me. I feel the decisions are obvious and the play too long for what it offers.

I followed that up with Carcassonne which was surprisingly worse. They added the Dragon which is just freaking awful. As I had won Bohnanza, people had an axe to grind and the moment the dragon arrived it ate 4 of my meeples and I lost a 20pt castle I had been working on. I actually asked to quit midway through with zero points and trailing the leader by 35pts. Willie agreed, saying the Dragon had ruined the game for him as well. The other players shrugged and we happily gave the leader the win. The random tile draws in the base game are bad enough but that freaking dragon can swing an entire session both in play and mood. I’m not a fan of Carc but the dragon killed it for me.

The night ended with two sessions of Karuba, which was surprisingly very pleasant. I enjoyed the spatial aspects and route-building. The choices between building and moving. I think my wife would like this quite a bit. Not as engaging as say a K&K but quite nice nonetheless.
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9. Board Game: IKI [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:1413]
Board Game: IKI
Lo
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Saturday Night
Board Game: IKI

 8   IKI x1 (9 all-time) Out of the Dust!
Just one game again this week, but at least it was something of some significance. Our friends were visiting from Oregon and though they don't play a lot of board games, I've inflicted a few on them including Steam and Valley of the Kings. For their part, they subjected S and I to Betrayal at House on the Hill.

IKI might have been a bit too heavy - especially after the wine. I was feeling a bit foggy while playing and was totally unfocused so I was amazed that I actually won.

And maybe it was the wine and a lack of sleep, but I didn't enjoy it as much as past plays. I found it went a bit too long and was lacking in tension. But there were also a lot of interruptions with S and E going back and forth to the kitchen. So I'm not going to spend too much time dissecting my feelings about it.

This week, I picked up Teotihuacan: City of Gods and gave Friday away, keeping my collection size unchanged. Well, until you compare box sizes.


The Week Ahead

It's a short work week - just two days and then both S and I are off until after Christmas. So hopefully we'll get some gaming in. That or I'll solo something.

Unplayed games of note in shrink: Teotihuacan: City of Gods, Sakura Arms, Maria, Francis Drake, German Railways, Tikal and Revolution: The Dutch Revolt 1568-1648.

Unplayed games not in shrink: Mottainai.
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10. Board Game: Ur [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:2885]
Board Game: Ur
Dave Peters
United States
Belmont
California
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Scorecard for the Week/Month/Year as of 15Dec2018:

3/14/373 plays of 3/9/197 total games, with 1/5/41 expansions employed.
Plays with 7/15/141 distinct opponents.

1/4/28 games acquired (plus 1/1/17 expansions.) - Great Western Trail: Rails to the North and Yokai Septet.
0/0/1 games sold/traded (plus 0/0/0 expansions.)
0/0/15 games ordered (plus 0/0/1 expansions.)
Orders for 1 games and 0 expansions still outstanding.

With kids:
Board Game: Melee
Board Game: Death Test

images by The Maverick and JBMallus

1x _6_ Melee (12++ total plays) (8 years dusty) (with Death Test (8 years dusty))

The image should make it clear; but this isn't Karl's Melee, but instead the old Microgame. Son #2 has recently developed a fondness for dungeon crawls: in both RPG and boardgame form. We'd hoped to play Descent again; but ran out of time. So this seemed like a viable (if much abbreviated replacement.)

While son #1 and I had played Melee on several occasions, son #2 hadn't seen it before. He found it quite amusing, though I can't claim that we were particularly successful prosecuting our assault on the Death Test dungeon.


With the Wednesday night gang:
Board Game: 18Lilliput

image by PzVIE

1x _7⅓_ 18Lilliput (2 total plays)

True to form, my Wednesday gang manages to play a game in significantly longer than the posted duration. I think this was most of 5 hours. We enjoyed it (despite the glacial pace) too. It's quite sensible. And it seemed (very subjectively) a good deal more Series: 18xx-like than something like Poseidon.


With the Lunch Crew:
Board Game: Ur

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1x _7⅓_ Ur (9 total plays)

Fun to have this back on the table. I think it's quite clever, and since it explains and plays pretty easily in an hour, it's a cool Lunch Game. (And, amusingly, it's not been a candidate for some weeks since we've not needed something that played with three or four for a while. Last week worked perfectly: we had 8 show up, so dividing into two four-player games was ideal.


Owned-and-unplayed: 1 (+1/-0) - Yokai Septet arrived.
Owned-and-played-once: 99 (+0/-1) - 18Lilliput was played again.

Outlook for the week: A longer game with the lunch gang (on Friday: no idea what we'll choose. Last year was Outpost with 8!); something with the Wednesday Night folk (Great Western Trail (with Rails to the North)? Medioevo Universale? Indonesia? Don't know; I expect the exact attendance matters!) And something or three with my youngsters: all of them should be home this week.

In other news, our house might have its roof finished this week. Which would be lovely.
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11. Board Game: Terraforming Mars [Average Rating:8.43 Overall Rank:4]
Board Game: Terraforming Mars
Last week was rather quiet on the boardgaming front due to lots of Christmas activities and my mum’s birthday. What I did play wasn't that great but they did fit the groups and situations. This was the week when my string of weeks where stuff got removed from my list of unplayed games was finally broken – and a new one was added to it. Boo but yay.

Board Game: Firenze

 7   Firenze (3 all-time)
Lærke took a long nap on our commute home Thursday so she was awake enough to be able to play a game with me after dinner. She asked for Firenze so that’s what we played. It was an interesting setup she chose with a couple of blocked stories on the white tower but also one of bonus balconies on it so it quickly filled up making the white blocks not quite as interesting. We pretty much split the majorities of the towers and were fairly equal points wise through most of the game but Lærke collected many of the more valuable bricks towards the end and mine were not so I decided to grab a minus 2 card because it had many bricks so I could end the game then with two smaller level balconies. It did of course grant her one more round which was just enough to catch up with me for a tie. I like how the game allows for the occasional clever play but perhaps it lacks an arc because it does not ramp up (no engine building here). I’d love to play it at a different player count before I make up my mind entirely.

Board Game: Happy Salmon

 N/A   Happy Salmon x9 (28 all-time)
Friday we had our Christmas party at work and this year we didn’t get to play much but I did gather a big crowd for 9 plays of Happy Salmon. I had just bought the blue set so we could play up to 12 which is quite chaotic but fun. I wasn’t the only one having fun as a couple have told me today that they’ll buy it.

Board Game: Terraforming Mars

 6   Terraforming Mars (22 all-time)
All the fun Friday meant a very tired Morten the next day and more time on the sofa with the cat. Sunday I was able to brain again. We hadn’t played TM for a while, mainly because it usually takes too long for Lærke now that she is so tired but we started early this time and in the end it was our fastest game ever: only 90 minutes. Both of us chose a corporation from Prelude this time. Lærke Lunar something that gave production of Titanium and card draws whenever she played an earth tag – she got a lot of cards in this game – and I picked one that gave me a discount on building tags. That suited my two chosen prelude cards that both gave me steel production (and income and heat). I had some pretty bad cards in my initial hand plus from the first two rounds so I decided I would focus on heat production and oceans. Oceans are usually the game ending parameter for us so I like to have some cards that let me control that but this time I had several cards that could both place oceans and had placed ocean tiles as a requirement to be played. I also got my heat production level up 14 in no time which was great because I held the card that could change that into money income as well. For once, a rush strategy was possible for me and it pretty much caught Lærke still building her engine before she could cash in on it. 12 turns might also be the fewest in our games and the scores were definitely also the lowest since we had far fewer points on our cards and much less presence on the board than normal. A lot of this is due to Prelude which I think has improved on the game a lot for us.

Board Game: Factory Funner

 7   Factory Funner x2 (5 all-time)
Since we finished TM so quickly we decided to play Factory Funner immediately afterwards. For some reason we just seem to get worse and worse at this. It’s just a glorified puzzle with a weirdly added bit of player interaction where players pick a tile from a shared pool as fast as they can/dare. For some reason your needs very often end up being the opposite of what is available or if you get something you can use, the input colours are often the opposite from what you can do easily. That just adds to the puzzle aspect of it but it also makes it very AP prone. Like with Habitats, I can see the fun of this wear off after a few games if they are not spread out over more time.


Games that left my collection this month: Nothing yet.

Games that entered my collection this month: Blue Lagoon.

Unplayed games in my collection: Tahuantinsuyu, 1860: Railways on the Isle of Wight, Sword of Rome, Continental Divide, Populi Turolii, Napoleon's Triumph, てづま師 (Tezuma Master), Bonaparte at Marengo, Acquire, Turning Point: Stalingrad, Outpost, Hinkel & Stein, Sticheln, Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends, Tokyo Metro, From Batavia, Pizza Master, ...und tschüss! and Blue Lagoon.
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12. Board Game: Take it Easy! [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:1631]
Board Game: Take it Easy!
Karl Fast
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
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 6   Take it Easy! x2 NEW! -- I got a copy for $6. CSI was having a sale on a lot of stuff and I ordered a few pitchcar expansions and found this for cheap. DONE!

This is great. I know folks here have spoken highly of it. I like that it's easy to teach, quick to play, and it plays 6. After a few games I still prefer Karuba and Kokoro, which strike me as similar. But this is faster to teach and easier to understand so I may use this as a gateway.


 6   Qwinto -- I have found this to be an excellent restaurant game. We can almost always finish a game before our food arrives, it takes up almost no space, and since we've laminated the sheets, if there are any spills the game goes undamaged.

And spills are a routine occurrence at our table. On Saturday my son dropped his fork on the floor (twice), knocked two coasters off the table along with two crayons, dragged his coat sleeve through his food multiple times, and finished the night by knocking my wife's winter coat to the floor as well as her purse, which tipped over on the way down and everything tumbled out. He really outdid himself. Qwinto though was unharmed.
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13. Board Game: Cottage Garden [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:775]
Board Game: Cottage Garden
Alison Mandible
United States
Somerville
Massachusetts
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Board Game: Spring Meadow
Board Game: Fast Forward: FORTUNE
Board Game: Cottage Garden
Board Game: Catch the Moon
Board Game: Just One


 9   Spring Meadow (5 all-time)

I'm glad this isn't an iOS game because if it were I would play it 100 times and get sick of it.

 5   Fast Forward: FORTUNE x10 NEW!

I normally hate swings of luck, but I found myself wishing this actually had more, specifically in the form of
Spoiler (click to reveal)
being able to knock even before there are 3 cards on the table
. I'm not sure this is worse than Fear, but it feels like a retread of it, which is disappointing.

 7   Cottage Garden NEW!

Spring Garden but with a lot more lookahead (and punishment for not looking ahead). Which isn't why I rated it lower than Spring Garden. I don't think. Not sure.

 9   Catch the Moon (2 all-time)

Still beautiful, and a good challenge, but we ran out of ladders way before tears, and that was not a satisfying outcome.

S said she enjoyed that it was a stacking game which was difficult without having total collapses every other turn, which is true, but that also means adding more ladders wouldn't necessarily fix the game length; as the structure grows the number of placement spots grows too.

 9   Just One x2 (3 all-time)

With the same group of 3 adults and 2 kids, we got 4 the first round and 11 the second. Rating might drop if it turns out it's too easy once a group hits its groove.
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14. Board Game: Tempus [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:1896]
Board Game: Tempus
Rich P
United Kingdom
Sheffield
United Kingdom
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Last week's plays:

|9| Gloomhaven (x3)
-8- Carcassonne: The Castle
-8- Terraforming Mars (+Colonies; Hellas & Elysium; Penguins; Prelude; Small Asteroid)
-8- Witness (x2)
-7.5- No Thanks!
-7- 1572: The Lost Expedition
-7- Haste Worte?
-7- Pronto
-7- Ticket to Ride: Legendary Asia
-5.5- Tempus

Tempus was not as fun as I recalled. The first part of the game involved building up our populations while moving into territory which matched the next era's goal. There was little interaction here as we had all started fairly spread out, just a sort of majorities game for those seeking to advance their technology first. In the later part of the game, it became clear that two players had made better use of space than others and were able to build more cities. However, they were on the opposite side of the map to the two trailing players and our civilisations didn't have enough movement to reach them and bring them down. Eventually, we discovered ships and were able to conduct some skirmishes, but it was too little, too late. The leading players refused to fight each other, instead preferring to go for easier pickings, so one of them won and the other came second.

I felt like the game starts too slowly and ends too quickly. You're all doing more or less the same thing to expand your civilisation, your powers aren't very exciting, and there's not much interaction with other players (unless you chose to start right next to someone, which seems like a bad idea for both parties). Was it the Splotter guys who proposed cutting out the first part of any game until you reach the true decision points? Tempus could do with a bit of pruning at the front. Or how about taking a turn off the front and sticking it onto the end to help the endgame feel less rushed? When you finally get to build railways, the biggest movement upgrade in the game, you only get one turn of using them before it's all over. That's a shame.

We also had frustrations around the religious conversion cards, seen as an unpleasant Take That element by their frequent recipient, and the general random nature of the card deck. So not a hit, all told.

Updated Wallace count:




Played:
A Few Acres of Snow (x2)
A Study in Emerald
Age of Steam (x2)
Book of Dragons
Brass
Brass: Birmingham
Discworld: Ankh-Morpork
Great Western
Last Train to Wensleydale
Liberté (x2)
London (x2)
Moongha Invaders
Mordred (x2)
Perikles
Princes of the Renaissance
Slate
Steel Driver
Tempus
Tinners' Trail


In Gloomhaven, we taught Mike the game, leading him into the Deep Ruins. He enjoyed it but doesn't have much time to join us for future games. Later, Tim and I completed the Ancient Cistern and retried the Corrupted Cove, which had defeated us previously. This time a more cautious approach was successful.

Carcassonne: The Castle is a nice, self-contained version of the game, unsullied by expansion bloat (in fact the only announced expansion was cancelled). The bonus tokens along the score track add some short term goals to aim for while the endgame points for markets and largest house require long term planning. Kate and I both enjoy the game occasionally, while other versions of Carcassonne have fallen by the wayside.

I was surprised by how few generations we had in Terraforming Mars: our chosen Prelude cards raised the terraforming parameters considerably from the outset, shortening the game. I probably should have changed tack. My strategy needed an extra round or two to be fully effective, so despite claiming two milestones I couldn't catch the leader even in this low-scoring game.

I also played some lighter games and party fare as many of my regular opponents weren't in the mood for anything more substantial in the run-up to Christmas, what with all the preparations and Christmas parties taking their toll.
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