GCL Phoenix 426: Class Notes (2019 March 3)
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Wurtsboro
NY
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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:
Simon (Agner)
Alison (grasa_total)
Carol (indigopotter)
John (John Rogers) - next week
Karl (karlfast)
Michael (Lowengrin)
Adley (mirror33)
Dave (rynelf)
Nicolai (Taibi)
Morten (Tigrillo)
Rich (woodnoggin)

Always welcome to participate:
archivists, BennyD, Bruzza, chally, darker, Dormammu, Eeeville, enzo622, familygaming, hawk-x-, Hawkeye77, JohnRayJr, judoka, leroy43, Morganza, Mr_Nuts, Muse23PT, ravenskana, Smintie, TheRocketSurgeon, tjshields, topherr, Yokiboy
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1. Board Game: Tales of Wells Fargo Game [Average Rating:3.75 Unranked]
Board Game: Tales of Wells Fargo Game
United States
Wurtsboro
NY
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My 20th college reunion is this summer. It will be the 4th reunion I've been to (5th, 10th, 15th). Our college invites everyone back every year, and some people do go other years, because we were small enough they had friends in other classes. We've never stayed on campus or gone to the dinner, so this will be the first time for both.

For 15 years, I've been our class' Class Secretary. I ask people to send in Class Notes, which I edit and pull together into a column, and it gets published. People can also send in pictures.

Since we have a newer member I thought it would be a good time to share a little intro paragraph about ourselves. Pictures are welcome, though some of us are more camera-shy than others, so no pressure.

From gallery of indigopotter
The people from our class who marched in the parade in 2014. (21 people were in the later class photo, so about a quarter of our graduating class.)

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2. RPG Item: Advanced Class Guide [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:1475]
RPG Item: Advanced Class Guide
United States
Wurtsboro
NY
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Since I live with an RPG-er, I would feel unbearable guilt (?) if I didn't make a reference to Class in RPGs. If you are currently playing in an RPG, (or have a favorite from a past game), feel free to tell us about your character.
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3. Board Game: Timeline: Music & Cinema [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:1358] [Average Rating:6.75 Unranked]
Board Game: Timeline: Music & Cinema
United States
Wurtsboro
NY
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Since I mentioned the other type of Class, I should mention the other type of Notes. Feel free to share any musical interests or involvement here.
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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 - 10th March
Rich - 17th March (swapped with Karl)
Michael - 24th March
Adley - 31 March
Dave - 7 April
Nicolai - 14th April
Morten - 21st April
Rich - 28th April
Simon - 5th May
Alison - 12th May
Carol - 17th May
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5. Board Game: Hansa Teutonica [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:135]
Board Game: Hansa Teutonica
Alison Mandible
United States
Somerville
Massachusetts
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Board Game: Blokus
Board Game: Dominion
Board Game: KeyForge: Call of the Archons
Board Game: The Quest for El Dorado
Board Game: Omen: Fires in the East
Board Game: Junk Art
Board Game: Hansa Teutonica


 6   Blokus (3 all-time)
 10   Dominion (220 all-time)
 8   KeyForge: Call of the Archons x2 (52 all-time)

I finally won a match against S! Though one of the games was on an unfun technicality, but research suggests that's definitely how the card is supposed to work.

Small print: Gauntlet Of Command is an artifact that says "Action: Ready and fight with a friendly creature." If the opponent has no creatures, your creature is readied and the 'fight' part of the effect fizzles because it can't. You then have a ready creature, which if it's of the active house could be used for something other than fighting. So if this deck gets all three Gauntlets out and keeps the enemy's board clear, it can produce 4 æmber per turn with any single Brobnar creature. It's not that it was easy to do-- focusing on fighting means different trade-offs than usual, so it was an interesting game-- but once it was set up my turns all looked the same, which is boring.

 9   The Quest for El Dorado (7 all-time)
 8   Omen: Fires in the East NEW!

I'm not sure I like the new publisher of Omen; there are some apparent misprints and the art isn't as cool. It's still a fun game, though.

 8   Junk Art (6 all-time)
 8   Hansa Teutonica NEW!

I finally got to play Hansa Teutonica!

I... do not know what I think. Everybody went crazy over bonus actions at first, and I thought maybe I could do okay by staying out of the fray for a few rounds. But whether it was that or something else, the game never came together for me and I finished in a distant 5th place. Eric said it was very different from any other game of HT he'd played; I think the top score for keys was 4 (2 adjacent cities, one key upgrade).

As one opponent said, it wouldn't be a game if you couldn't make mistakes. But as I've said so many times, losing a game is enough punishment for mistakes-- no need to also give people less game to play when they mess up. So I guess any game with an "upgrade your number of actions per turn" track is going to risk rubbing me the wrong way.

Still, I loved it until it became clear how misguided my approach was, so I want to play again.
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6. Board Game: Indonesia [Average Rating:7.85 Overall Rank:219]
Board Game: Indonesia
John Rogers
United States
Yakima
WA
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Board Game: Indonesia
Board Game: Modern Art


10  Indonesia (16 all-time)
8  Modern Art (27 all-time)

Friday wrapped up my gamer’s valentine commitment. There were four of us, each of whom selected a game between February 1 and March 1. The games included: Agricola (David), Scythe (Scooter), Patchistory (Bill), and Indonesia (me). This is the tale of that final game.

People jumped into mergers fairly quickly in era A with David and I both owning merged companies of some sort. Scooter was the main beneficiary having 2/3 of his start-ups merged away. It was Scooter’s first time and at first he seemed a bit confused but I felt he caught on rather quickly, bidding others up and cashing in as his opportunities came.

Era B saw two pivitol mergers back-to-back. I knew David was eyeing a siap-faji merger with his large rice and Bill’s growing spice company, a company I too desperately wanted as it was wonderfully positioned near a red, yellow (soon to be red), and multiple green cities. I managed to outbid him for turn order and announced the first merger: Scooter’s small shipping company with my larger one. I knew Scooter had the money to buy me out. In fact I was counting on it. I also knew I needed at least $200 in the process. Thankfully I managed to net $210 which was enough to buyout the rice-spice company that David announced next. With that I dominated era B. Elsewhere David picked up and merged a couple of rubber companies, Bill had a fledgling shipping and rubber company of his own, and Scooter dominated the waterways. I picked up a second rice company and grew it like mad. Meanwhile David researched turn order a couple of times and would go first all but once more for the rest of the session.

Era C rolled around and David stepped up his game. He waited until my slots were full and merged another, albeit far smaller siap-faji and placed it in direct competition with my own. Scooter continued to grow his shipping and picked up and quickly expanded an oil company which David merged away. Bill managed a protection merger for his smaller boat companies, merged his rubber company (with mine) away for a nice sum, and picked up a spice company that went nowhere. I grabbed a rubber company which merged away to Scooter (along with Bill’s) and outbid David ($500 w/ his multiplier) at $505 guaranteeing my siap-faji would ship in full and his would not. David won the final round making about $400 more than I but it wasn’t enough to make up for my big era B gains. Final scores $2037 (me), $1778 (David), $1772 (Scooter), $1347 (Bill).

Thoughts. Well everyone had a good time throughout the 210min runtime. Scooter liked it more than he thought and when I asked Indonesia or Zimbabwe he said the latter for length and its spatial play (I honestly think he would like FCM most as he LOVES tech trees and games with more complexity; he also expressed interest in Antiquity). David definitely prefers Indonesia to Zimbabwe (he feels the latter is meaner via the 2ndary craftsman and less forgiving). Bill likes both and feels comparing the two is akin to steak and ice cream.

For me it was a different (yet still fantastic) session. I only went first twice but did so when it mattered most. I allowed the others to drive things, in particular I let David dictate mergers while I focused primarily on hull player and slots. I did my best this time to capitalize on rather than to manipulate what others were doing. It was a fun approach and I really had a great time.

As for it compared to Zimbabwe (my other favorite Splotter), Zimbabwe is a near flawless, lean, elegant design that does what it does fantastically and has interesting twists (self-determined VP goals for examples) to boot. In contrast Indonesia can drag in operations, it is at least twice as long, and is far more fiddly. BUT. The mergers. Oh those mergers. They’re like the ultimate mic-drop in boardgaming. I absolutely love them. They fold so wonderfully into every other aspect of the game and it keeps you guessing right up to the end. I rate both a 10 and would happily play either any time. But Indonesia is the more singular experience and for that I give it a slight edge. Maybe.

After Indonesia the night was still relatively young so we opted for a game of Modern Art. Again, a new one for Scooter who by the end was looking up various versions to buy. I played rather conservatively this go around. Like Indonesia I played the hands of others more than my own. I had six helm paintings in my hand from the outset and unloaded five of them over the last two rounds; otherwise I just went with the flow. Scooter played the bids very aggressively, charging and bidding much higher than I was interested in paying for. But it nearly worked out, as he scored $425 of his total $495 in the last round alone! Final scores $496 (me), $495 (Scooter), $399 (David), $333 (Bill).

This is a classic for David and I and has become a favorite of Bill’s as well. Anymore I find most of my joy in playing off what others have and gently guiding them in directions that best suit me. Otherwise I can nearly always guess the real values for each artist from round-to-round. It’s still my favorite Reiner game and one I would always play if someone wanted to.
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7. Board Game: 1832: The South [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:5813]
Board Game: 1832: The South
The Mirror
United States
New York
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Board Game: Catchup
 8   Catchup x5
Catchup: Great on a Plane! Actually A has been getting pretty anxious while flying lately, which is *funny* seeing as she travels copiously for work. But she tried to create a correlation between my playing Catchup and the turbulence. Luckily I talked her down from that perch because I like this game too much to give it up while in her presence, while on a plane Somehow I feel like I continue learning with the AI on the app???

Board Game: Throne and the Grail
 8   Throne and the Grail x2
A’s sister S is a great strategic thinker. I was a bit sleepy the last night we played, but she annihilated me squarely, twice. Perhaps I’ve gone too far with how little I value the negative aspect of the negative value VP cards. I’ve been picking them up willy nilly a lot lately…

Board Game: 1832: The South
 N/A   1832: The South NEW!
YES! Got a face to face play of this gem of a 1870-related ‘xx that plays well at lower player counts. There were three of us. This is the first time that I’ve played it (I’ve also never played 70), and I was quite charmed by it. So many interesting ways to produce money in different places, mergers, potential force buys, half payouts! It’s the first 18xx I’ve played since ’30/’89 where I felt that the rules weren’t just chrome, but just different rules. So much value for so little change. No awkward euro mechanics like ’46, no random events after the third 5T is purchased where the player two to the left has an opportunity to merge that train—no not that one, but the other one is ok—into a national railroad. Just slight rules variations that are so interesting...I don't know. I'm geeked!

Anyway, I was planning on ’49 being my next serious exploration, but I’m finding myself pretty taken by ’32. I think I’ll get on the Golden Spike waiting list to pick up a copy. Plus my birth city is on it...

___________________________________________________________________________

Unplayed games of note: 1849, 18CZ, Angola, A Study in Emerald (First Edition), Balance of Powers, Colonial Twilight: The French-Algerian War, 1954-62, Conspiracy, Kogge, Mü & Lots More, Napoleon’s Triumph, Rolling Stock, Shadows of Malice, and Stephenson's Rocket

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: Throne and the Grail [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:4973]
Board Game: Throne and the Grail
Lo
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Wednesday Evening w/S
Board Game: Throne and the Grail

 7   Throne and the Grail x3 New!

I may get myself relegated to the "island", but I'm not dropping Throne and the Grail into my top ten after it's first set of plays. Yes, I think it's an elegant and intelligent little card game. But it's still a filler and fillers aren't the sort of thing I'm all that interested in even when there's not time for something more involved.

Saturday Evening w/S&K
Board Game: Massive Darkness

 7   Massive Darkness x1 (21 all-time)

While both S and K agreed that having our party nearly wiped out made the game very exciting, I still don't think I can get them to agree that we should to retire our characters and start again with more "mortal" heroes (at least not before the end of the campaign). I wish, like Gloomhaven, there was some mechanism to force retirement. But Massive Darkness's campaign is an afterthought and not developed at all. S and K are fine with it, but they're also fine with using stand-in miniatures - like when S suggested that instead wasting time pulling the Troglodytes out of their box, that I just use the goblins that were sitting beside me.

Can you believe it?


The Week Ahead

I suspect this will be a pretty sparse week and weekend of gaming. Nothing is planned and we have distractions.

Unplayed games of note in shrink: 18Lilliput, Kingdomino, Maria, Francis Drake, German Railways, Tikal and Revolution: The Dutch Revolt 1568-1648.

Unplayed games not in shrink: Mottainai.

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9. Board Game: セブン (Seven) [Average Rating:7.09 Unranked]
Board Game: セブン (Seven)
Dave Peters
United States
Belmont
California
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Microbadge: Choir geekMicrobadge: Black Lives MatterMicrobadge: Antiquity fanMicrobadge: GameChat League - Phoenix Division: "Like a phoenix rising from the ashes..."Microbadge: I aspire to Curmudgeon Level Eric
Scorecard for the Week/Month/Year as of 2Mar2019:

13/8/88 plays of 12/8/62 total games, with 0/0/16 expansions employed.
Plays with 7/3/46 distinct opponents.

0/0/9 games acquired (plus 0/0/7 expansions.)
0/0/0 games sold/traded (plus 0/0/1 expansions.)
0/0/8 games ordered (plus 0/0/2 expansions.)
Orders for 4 games and 0 expansions still outstanding.

With family:
Board Game: Step by Step

image by bluestarfish

1x _7⅓_ Step by Step (2 total plays)

Brother #2 defeats me pretty easily at this one. But it again impresses. The rules are really simple; and it's again a surprise how interesting the game seems (admittedly: at my current level of ineptitude. Perhaps after a couple dozen games I'll learn that it's solved, and so won't care. But it doesn't have that feeling of triviality yet.) Definitely entertaining: both visually and in play.

Board Game: Catchup

image by milomilo122

1x _7⅔_ Catchup (8 total plays)

(Again with brother #2.) This is cute and entertaining and approachable; and decidedly worth playing, too. (And for more context about Step by Step, brother #2 finds them comparably entertaining - having played neither before. Since I'm pretty confident that Catchup is cool, I heard that as praise for the other!)

Board Game: The Mind

image by W Eric Martin

1x _7⅓_ The Mind (4 total plays)

Son #2, brother #2 and I at a coffee shop. We managed to get to level 8 - which didn't seem too bad for a first try (with the three of us, at least.)

Board Game: Finca (2018 Edition)

image by CinCin

1x _7_ Finca (2+ +3 total plays)

By the time brother #2 joined son #2 and I for this one, it was nearing 4am subjective time for him. Which meant that his concentration wavered, and his progress was uneven. He found that unsatisfying: not that the game was bad, but that he'd not been able to play it to the standards he expected.

Board Game: JamSumo

image by demuur

1x _7_ JamSumo (10 total plays)

A play with my wife and brother #2. We play several each of Jam and Sumo, and enjoy both of the games. The three of us are pretty well matched, and it's very entertaining.

Board Game: Piratenbillard

image by DavidNorman99

1x _7⅔_ Piratenbillard (8 total plays)

With my wife, son #2 and brother #2. We're all completely terrible and laugh a lot. It's hiarious. Brother #2 calls his wife on Skype back in Ireland so she can laugh at our incompetence, too. I threaten her with sending them a copy for Christmas this year, and (a bit surprisingly) she's less horrified than I'd expected. It may be a plan.

Board Game: Birth

image by Takashi Sakaue

1x _7⅓_ Birth (9 total plays)

Son #2 and brother #2. Son #2 is enthusiastic (he "likes dice games." Brother #2 is equally dubious (prefers no dice when possible.) By the end of the game both of them claim they've enjoyed it: so, a success!

Board Game: Eggs of Ostrich

image by W Eric Martin

1x _7⅓_ タマゴリッチ! Tamagoritchi! 'Eggs of Ostrich' (21 total plays)

My wife and I, together, finish with about 2/3 my brother's score. We clearly didn't collaborate effectively. But it was a lovely frivolity.


With the Lunch@work group:
Board Game: 7 Symbols, and 7 Nations

image by Tanayan

1x _8_ 七つの紋章、七つの部族 Nanatsu no monshō, nanatsu no buzoku "7 Symbols, 7 Nations" (6 +0 total plays)

Using my design of a セブン deck. It meets with mixed scorn. One participant is amusingly and completely disparaging: he sees absolutely nothing of interest or redeeming value in the deck. One participant is gently and kindly dispproving. Another indulges in avoidance of the topic - I expect on the "if you can't say something nice" philosophy.

It amuses me, but I can see that it's not going to get a lot of work in future.

That aside, the game is great, and definitely enjoyed. (Modulo the Huge Distractions of the Completely Misguided Deck according to Mr. Disparaging. Heh. "It would be so much better if you..." Sure; thanks.)

Board Game: Powerboats

image by zombiegod

1x _7_ Powerboats (14 total plays) (24 months dusty)

Richard and a couple others have been playing Samara on the other end of the table. They're about 15min away from completing, so Jeff and I give Powerboats a try using the "Play fast and make mistakes" style. And manage to set up, survive a rules explanation, finish a race, and then put it away before the other gang was done. It was charming at that speed - possibly more amusing for me than the (usual) more leisurely version of the game. But I don't know that many people disciplined enough to pull it off!


With one of the Wednesday Night gang:
Board Game: Heaven & Ale

image by flope

2x _7⅔_ Heaven & Ale (7 total plays)

Ron had never tried Heaven & Ale, and so we tried a couple games in a row - so he could learn from the first round. Our two games were not remotely like one another. And while neither of us played particularly well (in either instance) the game was quite appealing.

Board Game: Discover: Lands Unknown

image by W Eric Martin

1x _?_ Discover: Lands Unknown New!

Then we tried the Valley Scenario #1. Neither of us are particularly fond of co-ops; so we played it more like a multiplayer solitaire thing (which made a bit of sense: despite having the opportunity to help one another out, the victory conditions are per player, rather than per team.)

It was weird. And entertaining (I can't claim - with a clear conscience - that it wasn't fun.) But it wasn't playing-a-game fun. It was like watching a particularly odd low-budget movie where the plot is never clear and weirdly unexpected things happen somewhat randomly without any particular purpose or disclosed rationale.

And in the end, we both "won"; though I can't say my experience was enhanced even remotely by that fact. If my last action had left me with a "and now you've lost" it would have been roughly as rewarding.

Would I play again. Sure, I guess so. I was happy to watch that sort of movie with friends back in college; and I expect I'd be content to do so again (as long as - like we did back in the day - we discussed it afterward (which, in my opinion, was a good deal more entertaining than watching the movie in the first place.) ) Playing this again with folk that were enjoying the weirdness would be entirely acceptable. Though I'd still likely not care if I (or anyone else) won - which might argue against the utility of my participating.


Owned-and-unplayed: 0 (+0/-0)
Owned-and-played-once: 100 (+0/-1) - Step by Step was played again.

Outlook for the week: Likely Wednesday games (both lunch and in the evening.) Two choir practices. And other than that? No idea. (Though my wife is singing backup for Sarah Brightman on Saturday; if she gets a comp ticket, I'll go listen )
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10. Board Game: Pax Porfiriana [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:454]
Board Game: Pax Porfiriana
What a week! I had gaming dates planned for all day apart from Thursday when I went to a sold out public talk one of my colleagues, Svend Brinkmann, gave on JOMO. He’s pretty famous for it here and the talk was excellent. Friday from 17 to Sunday till 17, we had our local con and by Sunday my head was so worn out that I couldn’t muster energy for more than a day on the sofa with a book, TV series and an old film with the cat on top of me. Fortunately our appointment to play Bonaparte at Marengo tomorrow is postponed so now I only have game night tonight before I can have a bit of a low intensity break. That said, it was a great week and the con was the best so far I think. We also got some nice media coverage, incl. a newspaper interview with the owner of our two boardgame cafés in town and me.

Board Game: Star Wars: X-Wing (Second Edition)

 7   Star Wars: X-Wing (Second Edition) x2 (3 all-time)
Monday evening I went straight to a boardgame shop after we got home from work. This was a first for me since I’ve never played in shops before and it was a very different crowd from what I’m used to – miniature gamers and a couple of tables of people playing Magic. It’s also the place where the local crowd of X-Wing players meet up so this is where another beginner had invited me to come. It’s great playing this against someone equally unskilled so we can learn together. And learn something we did. I totally get the draw of this game after having tried it more professionally where squad building in advance is a major thing. There are a lot more strategic choices to be made here than I imagined, especially if you have a lot of upgrade cards. We played twice with the same squads with almost identical setups on the table so we could try and employ some of the lessons learnt from our first play.

Board Game: Root

 8   Root (5 all-time)
Tuesday, my Root group (which Simon is now also a member of) met at the public library. This was also the first time we played with any of the expansion factions and my first go at the Eyrie. Simon had picked the otters and we also had the cats and the alliance. I shot ahead by some margin early and it’s easy to see that it was too far ahead because it meant the other three colluded against me so I lost all momentum and couldn’t get back into the game despite only needing 7 points. The end was still very tight with the first three players on 28, 29, and 30 points and Simon at 26 points but with a round fewer than the rest of us. He would have won had the alliance not done so just before his turn. We still make tactical mistakes but when our plays are this tight it doesn’t matter at all because we’re having a good time.

Board Game: Sweet Honey, Bee Mine!

 7   Sweet Snatch, Be Mine! x2 (3 all-time)
We then played two rounds of Snatch and had fun bluffing. I did at least but I also really like bluffing games. I’m not sure how our scores were but then again it doesn’t really matter either.

Board Game: Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure

 6   Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure (11 all-time)
Wednesday we had our monthly game night with our friend and neighbour. He’s always knackered these days so he usually requests lighter shorter games and this time he asked for Clank! and Lærke had also talked about it that day so that was our first game. We chose the Mummy’s Curse board and played with all promo cards and for once, a lot of them actually came out. There was a lot of clank in this play and the dragon attacks went up to 5 cubes very quickly so it was obvious we’d have a rather short game. Our neighbour died in the depths and Lærke was extremely lucky not to. Instead, none of her cubes came out so she could dash up and out for the win.

Board Game: Blue Lagoon

 8   Blue Lagoon (2 all-time)
This meant we had plenty of time for another game and I suggested Blue Lagoon since we had all played it together before. Last time I had won quite easily by focusing on majorities and having a big coherent network so I tried to do that again which in hingdsight I probably shouldn’t have because they were definitely also paying attention to it this time so my are majority deficiencies were easily exposed and I did not stand a chance. Perhaps I should try to focus more on the set collection part next time. Still, a great game nonetheless and together with Voodoo Prince my favourite newer Knizias.


At Aarhus Brætspilsfestival

Board Game: Hansa Teutonica

 9   Hansa Teutonica (6 all-time)
I went out to the school where we host the con a bit earlier to help with the final preparations and was quickly set to carry tables and chairs because we had to be quick to finish the practical stuff after the last pupils had gone home and the first guests arrived. Like last year, my only official work their was to host a couple of games Friday evening. This year I had picked an Andreas Steding double whammy starting with Hansa Teutonica. While I was still setting it up three young fellas walked past and said: ‘that looks fun, let’s play this’. Not something I would have expected to hear about HT so I had to warn them that despite the brownness and wooden cubes it’s actually a pretty mean game. That didn’t scare them away and they had a great time. So did I – especially when they colluded against me so I couldn’t build a kontor in Stendhal and thereby not get the 7 points that would have won me the game. Instead I came in third, two points after the winner. Another tight game in other words.

Board Game: Kogge

 9   Kogge (3 all-time)
We finished just in time for me to set up Kogge and still be on schedule. I had coaxed Simon into joining and he in turn got hold of one of his friends from a neighbouring table where he had just finished Brass: Birmingham. The fourth player was someone who had walked past earlier and expressed an interest in the game. He didn’t know the game of course but I think the setting pulled him in. It’s a pretty simple game rules wise but all parts are very interconnected and you need to plan your moves carefully because you need the same tiles for bidding, changing shipping lanes, building a kontor, swapping for goods and buying your second raid marker. Our fourth player found that too hard but kept soldiering on without complaining. Because of this depth, you are definitely rewarded by repeated plays. The game is either a race to 5 development points or if the guild master moves around the table twice the winner is determined by VP. We did quite a bit of raiding (the guild master is afraid of pirates so he’ll never visit a raided city) so both options were possible. I managed to build my fifth kontor and thus gained my 5th DP two-three rounds before the guild master made it back to Riga where he had started the game. It’s a shame I only play this once a year approx. (last time was at the con a year ago and Marc was one of my co-players) because it’s such a good game.

Board Game: For Sale

 7    For Sale x2 NEW!
This is when we left the worlds of Andreas Steding and pulled out Stefan Dorra’s For Sale. Our fourth played left and two others joined instead. For Sale is one of those classics I had never played before for no reason but I knew Simon had so I asked him to teach us. I totally get why it’s so well-regarded by almost all my geekbuddies and it’s not leaving my collection. The size of the box is the biggest problem so yesterday I threw it away and put the cards and coins in a small bag instead to save some space.

Board Game: Stick 'Em

 8   Sticheln x2 NEW!
We finished the evening with another of my unplayed classics: Sticheln. And we loved it. So much so that Simon and I played it the next day as well against two others. Simon said he preferred it at 4 but I liked both equally I think. I just like to be a dick. I think Sticheln might be my favourite trick taker together with Voodoo Prince. The fact that all other suits are trumps demands a huge change in the way you think about which cards are good to have and which you want to get rid of. Blank suits aren’t good in this game.

Board Game: Small City

 9   Small City (13 all-time)
Saturday morning started with a two-player game of Small City with one of my favourite co-players. It’s the same one I play BaM with and he’s also part of the Root group. After I told him about SC he has been keen to also try it. This seemed the perfect time for that. We played the base game but I handicapped myself and chose to play on the harder side of the personal board. It came as no surprise that he beat me because he always wins. It was close though so it shows how cool this feature of the game is. He liked the game as much as me and was surprised by the amount of player interaction in a game that has so large individual player boards and no central board. I hadn’t played it since I introduced it to Marc last year so I was very happy to play one of my favourites again.

Board Game: Quickfire

 8   Quickfire (11 all-time)
During our Root play on Tuesday the four of us had agreed to play Pax Porfiriana Saturday afternoon but the other two weren’t quite ready so we played a quick round of Quickfire – and he won that too. Of course.

Board Game: Pax Porfiriana

 10   Pax Porfiriana (19 all-time)
Simon had then finished his Tash-Kalar tournament which seemed like a huge success and our fourth player had also arrived so now was the time for the main event of the week. Simon and me had played before and the others were new to it. Not that it mattered much because we all jumped into the fray immediately and it was a tight game where all of us had a chance of winning if only we had one more action/peso/etc. The way every good Pax Po game is in other words. One of the new players won on the third topple after 1½ hours. A quick and great game. Perhaps we should add it to our Root nights as well.

Board Game: Sol: Last Days of a Star

 7   Sol: Last Days of a Star (2 all-time)
John not only made me interested in Sol but also Simon so we talked the other two into playing it with us. I suggested we play the beginner variant where everyone gets to place a gate and a structure at game start. In hindsight, that wasn’t such a great idea because two of us placed a tower in the outer orbit layer which you normally cannot do. The effect of this was that we got 13 points ‘for free’ when a solar flare card was drawn and that in turn meant that we were far ahead of the others. Few energy harvesters were made so it probably also determined the game. We all agreed that our next play should be with a blank board so we would have more time in the beginning to build up our infrastructure. Because of this lacklustreness the reception of the game was fairly muted but we all agreed that we’d like to play again without the beginner variant.

Board Game: ...und tschüss!

 7   ...und tschüss! x2 NEW!
We then had a break for dinner and when we came back we needed something lighter so I explained the rules to this old Martin Wallace card game. Imagine he made a game like this that only ever came out in German. In some ways it’s a simpler version of For Sale with more calculus. You only play one round of going through the deck and the cards you gain here award you points without having to convert them to other cards first. There is one suit of cards ranging from 1 to 14 (I think) plus -5 and -10 cards. In a four-player game each player has a hand of 7 cards and 3 cards are laid out on the table (always one fewer than the player count). Players then play a card from their hand simultaneously and the player with the lowest card is out of the round and takes the lowest card from the centre of the table. The remaining players keep going but this time the new card is added to what they played earlier and the player with the lowest sum on his cards is out and picks the lowest card from the centre of the table. In other words, the player with the highest total in the last round gets nothing. It’s really nice to have a -10 card in your hand then. A lot better than having to take it from the table. It’s a fun game. Simon and I talked about Sticheln which we had played the evening before and the others wanted to try it too so this was when we played the four-player game I have described above.

Board Game: Neue Heimat

 9   Neue Heimat (7 all-time)
We still had 1½ hours till Simon had scheduled his play of The Great Zim and everyone was keen to play Neue Heimat so that’s what we did. Two of the rows got shortened so the game only lasted 30 minutes when we got started which is probably the slowest I’ve ever tried. We played the friendly variant where 0 roofs count as 0 added to the building and not as a multiplier which was fine. Based on my fairly limited experience I think I like it better when at least one of the rows is extended so it isn’t as tight as this one.

Board Game: Hinkel & Stein

 6   Hinkel & Stein NEW!
Before the con I was keen to play TGZ with Simon but at this stage my head just wasn’t up to it. I wasn’t the only one at the table who was mentally exhausted by then so we let Simon walk off and got a new fourth player instead so we could try this oddity. Not only the last game I played last week but also the fourth of my unplayed ones so my list is now down to a more manageable 10 games again for the first time since Essen. I only have the German rules for it so I misunderstood a key thing (that you have to place a stone every round) which meant we decided to start over again after two rounds. This time the game was much more fun. It’s surely an oddity and an oddity that gives you a great tactile experience. It’s not a very balanced game (ha!) so there’s a lot of room for negotiation here. That’s a good thing for certain but I’m not sure what to think of the rest of the game. I think that pretty much mirrors Dave’s impressions?


Games that left my collection this month: Nothing yet.

Games that entered my collection this month: Nothing yet.

Unplayed games in my collection: 1860: Railways on the Isle of Wight, Continental Divide, Populi Turolii, Napoleon's Triumph, てづま師 (Tezuma Master), Outpost, Turning Point: Stalingrad, Pizza Master, Ligny 1815: Last Eagles and Autumn for Barbarossa.

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11. Board Game: The Great Zimbabwe [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:345]
Board Game: The Great Zimbabwe
Simon Agner Holm
Denmark
Aarhus C
Danmark
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Board Game: Once Upon a Time: The Storytelling Card Game

1x 6 Once Upon a Time: The Storytelling Card Game (9 total plays)
This was a quick monday evening session with Røskva. I havn´t played this in about 3 years but I do very much like it. The concept of competitive tug-of-war storytelling can lead to some absolutely absurd and hilarious narratives. Due to the vagueness of some of the rules it functions way better when approached as a social/creative exercise than as a competitive game.

Board Game: Root
Board Game: Sweet Honey, Bee Mine!

1x 8 Root (11 total plays)
Meet up with our monthly Root group (which happens to include Morten). This was actually the first time I had managed to show up. We played Cats, Birds, Woodland-critter and Otters (me). The game ended up going to the Woodland Alliance but was extremely close at the end. The cats could have taken it had they realized that I had a bird card up for sale. Around the late mid-game I has only one resource short of being able to pull of a 17 point turn which would have catapulted me to victory from last place at with 14 point at that time. But oh well, it was not to be.

1x 6 Sweet Honey, Bee Mine! new
Afterwards we played a short session of Sweet Honey, Bee Mine. Luckily for us Morten has made his own copy which features artwork and quotes from the movie Snatch rather than pictures of overly-sexualised Bees (!?!?).
Game is quite fun, sorta like No Thanks with a decent layer of bluffing on top. Would like to play again. Has the potential of a classic little filler

Board Game: Pictomania (Second Edition)

1x 7 Pictomania (Second Edition) (4 logged plays)
6 player game with some friends. It is great. Absolutely hysterical everytime.





Then came about the weekend and with it the local board game convention as well as a whole bunch of plays:
Board Game: Kogge
Board Game: Stick 'Em
Board Game: For Sale
Board Game: Mascarade
Board Game: Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends
Board Game: Pax Porfiriana
Board Game: Sol: Last Days of a Star
Board Game: ...und tschüss!
Board Game: Cryptid
Board Game: The Great Zimbabwe
Board Game: Condottiere

1x 8 Kogge new
I arrived late on friday, but just in time to join a game of Kogge (set up by Morten). This was without a doubt my best "first impression" of the week. Complex gameplay with a simple ruleset and mind melting turn-by-turn decisions. Each action you take can have quite a few repercussions down the road, which are very hard to gauge (at least on the first play). Despite its simplicity there is alot of things going on: Multiple endgame/win conditions, multiuse resources, map manipulation, a tiny amount of bluffing, tech upgrades, lots of player interactions (both direct and indirect) and varying game length (it can "tecnically" be anywhere from 4-16 turns long.
Morten won by quite a margin as we failed to recognise his advantage before it was waay to late.
Well at this point i´m just rambling. I need to collect my thoughts on this game a bit.

2x 7 Stick 'Em new
I was quite surprised how much I liked this weird little gem of a trick-taker. Its deceivingly mean, but also quite clever and it forces you to forget everything you thought you knew about trick-taking: You are never forced to follow suit, anything of suit is considered a trump and the value on all cards you collect in one suit will count against your score. Played first with 5 and then with 4 players. 5 was fun but felt a little out of my control. 4 seemed to strike the perfect balance between clever hand-management and the randomness of your opponents play. Great game!

2x 7 For Sale (33 total plays)
This game is a classic for a reason

4x 9 Mascarade (61 all time)

1x 10 Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends (75 all time)
It was finally time for the Tash-Kalar tournament. Outside of the 9 people in the tourny (7 of which had never played before), 5 more came by to just try out the game. I think one of the participants didn´t really get it all losing 11-0, and one of the others didn´t like it. The rest of the people seemed to really enjoy it with at 5 of them walking away wanting to pay their own copy (one of which didn´t to as he won the tournament). I couldn´t have picked a better person to win if I tried to. He was so much into the game that he was literally shaking from a mix of excitement and nerves through out all of the final-session.
Personally I managed to sneak in a single game with someone who came by and wanted to try. Also my recent Tash-Kalar renaissance with 12 plays over the past 2 months has lead me to up my rating to a perfect ten. I just want to play it all the time. Any player count, any game-mode, I just want to play!

1x 8 Pax Porfiriana(7 total plays)
1x 7 Sol: Last Days of a Star new
2x 6 ...und tschüss! new
As we were all at the con we meet up with the above-mentioned Root group to play a few games. This was my first ever play of Pax Porf with a group who where all somewhat confident in navigating the complexity of the rules and graphic design... And oh my what a difference it makes. How could I have possibly know that this is actually quite a snappy game when played well and not a 4+ hour epic. I suspect my rating to go up with more plays like this! The session was fairly interesting as we all pursued our own type of point, meaning that controlling the topple was difficult right from the start.

Sol was next and I enjoyed it, but not as much as I thought I would. First of all the comparisons between this and TGZ are extremely superficial at best.
It was fun and despite the breeziness of the turn-by-turn gameplay the themes here of desperation, cosmic dread and survival comes through in spades (to an almost surprising degree). But the game didn´t quite wauw, for now at least as I definitely want to dive in deeper in the future.

2x 6 Cryptid new
Cryptid was fine. But I was perhaps a little too up-beat (and inebriated) at time so I kept screwing up and forgetting my clue shake

1x 10 The Great Zimbabwe (37 total plays)
Despite a lot of fantastic moments my gaming highlight of the convention was surely my playing TGZ for the first time IRL in 10 months! 5 players, two of which had never played it before, 140 minutes including teach.
This game is just TOOO good. I feel its almost unfair to other games.

This session I played with one of my good friends who has the annoying habit of always antagonising me in any game because I "win too often" (A belief I think stems more from confirmation bias than anything else). Unfortunately for my the 3 other players all thought it was a fine idea to gang up on me from the get go. Because of this I leaped directly to the "newb-killer" god Tsui Goab, which ended up working out in my favor. I had a rough start as everyone went out of their way to NOT buy anything from me, only buying from L, who went craftsman heavy. Half way through the game the 3 others realised that continuously giving cattle to the same player is not a viable long term strategy so they switched their focus from me to L in the latter half of the game, allowing me to finally catch up and eventually eek out a win on a tiebreaker.

1x 8 Condottiere(7 total plays)
After TGZ we wounded down with condottiere (new edition, old-dare I say better-ruleset). Always great an it should be waaay more well-know and popular than it is, if you ask me. I mean just look at the popularity of the fictional card-game Gwent (from the Witcher video game series) which is basically just a strait-up rip of condottiere.


Overall it was a good week and great weekend of gaming. Also nice to get to hang out with Morten so much!
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12. Board Game: On Tour [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:1174]
Board Game: On Tour
United States
Wurtsboro
NY
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Sam has been up to his eyeballs with grading, but we made some time on Sunday to try the games from DJ.

Board Game: Metro X


MetroX was first. We had sheets from the Osaka pad before we realized it was recommended that you start with Tokyo. Osaka was okay, except it was easier to lose track of the starting spots, especially the one that was sort of in the center. We played the Tokyo map second, and found it much easier with everything along the edge.

Even though I puzzle for hours over the optimal placement in things like Ganz Schon Clever/Twice as Clever!, this one might fall a little over the line to work rather than fun.


We also tried On Tour, which has neat folding wipe-off boards. I like the way that you get a unique setup every time. This one was also filled with extended mild angst, especially in the second game, where twice we had rolled perfect numbers, but the cards wouldn't allow me to place them where I needed them. MetroX has box size in its favor, but this one was a little more fun.
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13. Board Game: Lords of Xidit [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:624]
Board Game: Lords of Xidit
Rich P
United Kingdom
Sheffield
United Kingdom
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Last week's plays:

|9| Gloomhaven (x4) (+Solo Scenarios) (x2)
-8- The Castles of Burgundy (+2nd; 5th; 9th expansion New!)
-8- Greed
-7.5- Deep Sea Adventure
-7- Deus (+Promo Temples New!)
-7- Ganz schön clever
-6- Lords of Xidit New!

I love Himalaya and have wondered for years what its reimplementation, Lords of Xidit, was like. Last weekend I got the chance to find out. One thing I was interested in was how the three endgame conditions can be used in any order. In Himalaya, you always score stupas first, monk-controlled areas second, and yaks third. LoX mixes up the order but in this play, the scoring categories happened to come out the same as Himalaya, so I couldn't compare how that would affect the game. Now, I rate Himalaya 9, and the game play is more or less the same here, so why do I only rate it a 6?

1. LoX uses plastic minis over wooden cubes. Aside from aesthetic concerns – the minis are ugly – they are also fiddly and much less functional. You need to restock tiles with specific minis every turn, which is annoyingly cumbersome. In Himalaya, you just grab some cubes out of a bag – simple.

2. LoX supply and demand markers are fixed by location. In an age of supposed replayability through variable board setup this really surprised me. You know that location 1 will always produce the same goods and demand the same goods. This might be a positive for some players interested in learning the board and planning ahead to stock up on the particular goods you know are going to be demanded by a particular location. For me, it removed some of the fun and tension where you hope for a demand tile to come out that will solve your problems, or the rare possibility for a stack of pure gold to come out of the bag.

3. I found the area control game state a lot harder to parse, even discounting the added Hidden Trackable Information of the central scoring area (akin to El Grande's Castillo). I can no longer just count up the number of areas people are winning, I have to calculate their score in each area instead. Too much effort to get the desired result here.

4. The wildcard demand tiles which appear when there are too few demand tiles available otherwise are an additional swingy and unpredictable factor. They might show up during your turn, or they might not. They let you put scoring markers down anywhere, so they give powerful rewards to the player lucky enough to find them.

5. I didn't like the way stupas are placed. They're called Wizards' Towers in LoX (of course they are) and can now be increased in size with future demand fulfilment, even if you're not in the same location as the tower. There's an early land grab to build your first towers and after that we all increased their sizes to the maximum. It was a bit disappointing how close we all were on tower points in the end.

There are some changes I did enjoy: the ability to look ahead a couple of supply/demand tiles adds to the decision space and is a change that would be easy to incorporate into Himalaya. The programming dials are nicely functional and speed up the planning phase. But overall, this edition is a step backwards from the earlier one, except perhaps in marketing and sales terms, in much the same way as Small World was a poorer Vinci but was more commercially successful.

Also new to me was the team expansion for The Castles of Burgundy. We all liked the opportunity to discuss tactics with a partner but the game took a very long time to complete, even for four experienced Burgundy players. I felt the team map wasn't tight enough: both teams managed to complete the goals they were aiming for with actions to spare.

Also played, but not logged, were several games of Doppelt so clever on the app, while travelling. I've been enjoying it a little more than the original because it feels less like there's an optimal path to take, instead giving more tactical decisions to make. The way the silver dice tempts you to knock out more of the other dice than you might like to otherwise is quite clever, especially in combination with the special ability to retrieve lost dice. I wish the app had a pass-and-play option but then maybe nobody would buy the physical game.
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