GCL Mafia 428: Getting Baked
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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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 misrepresent your gaming life for the week.
• List your thoughts/opinions.
• Also, feel free to share gaming news, life updates, random thoughts, or anything else you deem appropriate. No pressure. Maybe a little pressure. Under pressure?

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. I can remove them as I see fit.
• Please refrain from adding items if you are not part of the current roster. That means you, Janet.

Current Roster:
captainraffi (u nex)
touchstonethefool
cferejohn
jshufelt
ambierona
noajayne
LouieSTFU
Necroblaster3000
Thesp
fdubois
charlest
tallgrant
annowme
mith
Dolus
ecargo
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1. Board Game: Bakin' with Bacon [Average Rating:1.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Bakin' with Bacon
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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In one of the GBBO episodes they had the contestants bake a showstoppong board game. What game would you pick to bake? Obviously, describe any pertinent details of the bake as well.
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2. Board Game: Eat or Eaten [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Eat or Eaten
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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I am sure that most people here have seen a baked Settlers of Catan before. I remember seeing a baked Le Havre and The Duke come across my feed (pun intended) as well. What is the best baked board game you have seen? Geekgold for linking a picture.
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3. Board Game: Bread [Average Rating:5.10 Unranked]
Board Game: Bread
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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Do you bake? If so, what is your favorite thing to bake (cookies? Bread? Cakes?)? Do you bring your bakes to game night?
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4. Board Game: Unlocked: The Mansion of Mana [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:14253]
Board Game: Unlocked: The Mansion of Mana
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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What game fell into your lap like manna from heaven?
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5. Board Game: Pot Farm: The Board Game [Average Rating:6.49 Unranked]
Board Game: Pot Farm: The Board Game
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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Ann Arbor just threw their annual hash bash this weekend. It originally started to promote legalization, which happened this Past November. Do you drugs? Am “not” FBI.

(Spoiler, I am boring and have never smoked)
 
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6. Board Game: Just Desserts [Average Rating:6.17 Overall Rank:5112]
Board Game: Just Desserts
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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What game is like a fine dessert; wonderful the rare times you play it, but not something you want every day?
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7. Board Game: Big Top [Average Rating:5.75 Overall Rank:13836]
Board Game: Big Top
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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Give me your top 5 baked goods.
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8. Video Game: Super Mario Party [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:2634]
Video Game: Super Mario Party
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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No games, but played some video games.

I completed 100%'ing Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe. I feel slightly bad that I beat one level using the P-Acorn. It's the only time I used it. Level 9-2 - which is a speed run course. You have to run and hit a P-switch to keep coins as blocks, or else you fall to your death. I had the system getting the first two star coins down pretty well, but I had a hard time with the last 1/3 of the level. After using the P-Acorn, I learned there were 2 final P-switches I had trouble with. One I had to jump off a cliff, bounce and jump off a flying turtle to hit a P-switch with my head. That one I usually die on, but occasionally get. The last one was after a series of difficultly timed jumps, followed by a tricky wall jump to hit a P-switch. There's no time for mistakes or delays in that last P-switch. I've only made it that far about 3 times, and could never hit the P-switch. But after using the P-acorn to beat the level, I learned how close I was to beating the level all along.

Out of curiosity, I set up live-streaming to test out how live streams work. We want to configure live stream for our church sermons, so there was incentive there, too. It was really easy overall, just taking a few minutes to install stuff and figure it out. So if you want to kill an hour watching me finish 100%'ing Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, you can. I'm hoping to meet with people at our church to work out a live stream plan this weekend.

I then played the first level of Super Luigi U Deluxe to see what it's like. It's going to take time to get used to Luigi in that game. I'm going to put the game up for a while before I play this one. I want a break from it.

I did a second live stream test making use of a webcam as well with Super Mario Party on the Switch, which I haven't played for a long while. I also played through the 80 minigames to unlock one of the gems, 3/5 for me. And finish unlocking all the extra characters. I had to skip 4 minigames that I need to go back to and finish. 3 were rhythm levels, which I clearly suck at, and 1 was 3v1 that I just have a hard time completing.

So a whole lot to talk about nothin'. But life is good.





Switch owners!
Sign up for which Switch games you are interested in playing together online.
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Dz_4rK66jvkrmrRel44c...

Don't have Switch Online? If you're a Twitch Prime member (or Amazon Prime member which gives you Twitch Prime free), you can redeem a year for free!
If not, ask to join our family membership!
If you don't own a Switch. Buy one! We are taking over the GCL!

We'll test out Discord for in-game chat and to mass-message other GCL-Switch players to see if anybody is up for a game. Let me know if you want an invite.
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9. Board Game: Crib Wars [Average Rating:5.90 Overall Rank:13323]
Board Game: Crib Wars
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Caverna: The Cave Farmers 1 (6 all-time)
Shards of Infinity 1 (11 all-time) + Shards of Infinity: Relics of the Future (3 all-time)

---

No new games this week, but both Caverna and Shards of Infinity were great (and not just because I won).

I've been playing the Shards of Infinity app beta too and it's almost as good as the Ascension one.

---

On My Mind:

Baby stuff
Today marked the beginning of the third trimester.

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I finally had to give in and buy maternity clothes as my pants are now not fitting well and shirts are getting awkward.

Matt and I put together the crib (twice) today. Pro tip: build a crib in the actual room you plan on keeping it, else it might not fit through your doorway. Now we have an empty crib in our bedroom, which is made weirder by the fact that we haven't bought the mattress yet. Gotta wait for that 15% discount off registry items in the last two months, yo.

Non-baby stuff
As for TV/movies, we finished Planet Earth II. Spoiler: Nature continued to be an asshole. I also watched Leaving Neverland, which was equal parts interesting and disturbing.

Matt started his final clinicals last week and has been working nights, so it's been pretty weird being on opposite schedules (even during the days he doesn't have to work since he's trying to keep his sleep from getting totally screwed up). Consequently, I've just gone and hung out with my parents on Friday nights and not played games. (Terrible, I know. I've just been too tired.) Last week, we watched Nine to Five, which held up pretty well, and this past week we watched the original Ocean's Eleven, which was boring as fuck.
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10. Board Game: Vengeance [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:3040]
Board Game: Vengeance
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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Board Game: Vengeance
Board Game: Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game
Board Game: Root
Board Game: One Night Ultimate Werewolf
Board Game: Just One
Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth


 7.9   Vengeance (3 all-time)
 7.65   Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game (36 all-time)
 8.1   Root (7 all-time)
 8   One Night Ultimate Werewolf x3 (131 all-time)
 7.7   Just One (2 all-time)
 7.4   The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth (3 all-time)


Vengeance
It had been awhile since I've pulled this one out. We were supposed to have six at game night so Aaron ran Terra Mystica and I ran Vengeance. We ended up with five and I had three total for some this sweet murdering spree.

Game is still great, although I totally sucked. I had a last minute gambit to take down the leader of the biker gang, but I failed on two rolls to get a move result and didn't have the necessary skills to mitigate the luck. I would have gained 12 points and catapulted into second. Instead I got blown away. Totally worth it though, especially when the new player wrecked an entire tile on his very first roll, killing every single enemy. His eyes lit up and it was awesome.

Death Angel
Before game night started Aaron and I were looking for something to play. He spotted Death Angel on my small games shelf and suggested that. I love the game but hesitated as it's been at least 3 years since I've played it. I pulled it out anyway and realized I had remembered most all of the rules. I guess after 30 plays that shouldn't be a surprise.

We died horribly in like the second room. Tons of fun.

Root
I was Cats in a five player game. It was tight all around and I went for a dominance victory about a turn too early. Everyone ganged up to stop me and the Vagabond surged ahead. Riverfolk and Eyrie were close behind though.

One Night Ultimate Werewolf
No real comments besides it still wows me to think about how many times I've played this. Nothing else comes even close to me if you count only physical plays (I've played Dominion and Race for the Galaxy much more if you count online games though).


On My Mind
Cthulhu Wars tomorrow! We have a player who has only played it one time coming, and his last play was in 2015 or whenever it came first came out (it was my first play of the game as well, right after it delivered to Kickstarter backers). He was the one who requested it due to our constant gushing.

I've grown closer and closer to my wife's group of friends and their husbands over the past year, and the husband's have now invited me on a golf trip they're taking at the end of April. I initially said no, explaining I've never hit a golf ball outside of a miniature golf course (although to be honest, I think I would like golf if I could learn how to play). They talked me into going anyway and now I'm excited/terrified. I borrowed some clubs from my father-in-law (he golfs 2-3 times a week), and I think I'll be hitting the driving range for the first time on Wednesday. I have about 2.5 weeks to practice as much as I can.

It should be fun but I have a natural sense of dread when trying new things as I worry about looking stupid. For instance, I really wish I could go to an abandoned driving range or at a time no one else would be there.

TV - I gave up on Star Trek: Discovery. It's fine but I realized I wasn't even paying attention when watching it last night. Season 2 was OK, but it's not really my thing. Should have just tried to catchup on American Gods.

Hockey playoffs start this week! You have my sympathy Grant, total bummer to see The Wild miss by the smallest of margins.
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11. Board Game: The New Game of Busy Bees [Average Rating:6.50 Unranked]
Board Game: The New Game of Busy Bees
Jim Parkin
United States
Stow
Ohio
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Push Cubes. Blow Stuff Up.
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MIND. BLOWN.
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Board Game: Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization
Board Game: Magic: The Gathering


Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization (25 all-time)
Magic: The Gathering x2 (24 all-time)

We had two big church events this weekend, both of which took up most of our time prepping for this week. Family (non-gamers) were also here, and I spent all of Saturday putting together a bunk bed for Theodore (which is sweet, and I want to sleep in myself, frankly). Basically, we had very little time for gaming this week, which has been the unfortunate norm for myriad reasons over the last month or so. Ho hum.

I am currently playing a Vassal game of Eclipse as Lyra (which might be a contender for my favorite faction), and polished off another TTA game with Grace and Louis. I surprised myself by managing to win the latter, mostly through a lot of high-end tech buildings and some key scoring cards. Saturday night, post-bunk bed, I went over to a friend's house for a few games of Magic using his decks. I also had some gnarly sinus congestion, so I took some of his cold & flu medicine, which was already a bit wonky, then had a generous glass of Laphroig 10 Cask Strength. Apparently (becuase I don't remember), the effect of sinus dizzyness, plus a flu pill I've never tried, plus aggressive scotch... all led to my being a bit schwasty on my way out that evening. I lost both matches, needless to say.



EDIT: I should mention I am super pumped for the release of the next Hearthstone expansion tomorrow, Rise of Shadows. Fingers crossed another spectacular solo mode, as has been the established trend up to this point.

I am loving the music direction for this go-around... sort of like Pink Panther meets Mission Impossible meets Warcraft.



The "Machinations" track is also especially good.

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12. Board Game: Root [Average Rating:8.09 Overall Rank:31]
Board Game: Root
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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Root
Rising Sun
Agricola

So much gaming this week. I definitely did not have to cancel game night due to 2 sick kids and definitely didn’t squeeze a game of Age of Sigmar into Sunday afternoon.

Root

4p game with the core factions. Loved it!

Rising Sun

Very tense game, I was the dragonfly clan. Flit about murdering everyone.

Agricola

Sort of enjoyed the multiplayer solitaire thing I did. No one was really playing animals so I E-I-E-I-O’d my way to 2nd place.

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13. Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar – Tribes & Prophecies [Average Rating:8.14 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.14 Unranked]
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar – Tribes & Prophecies
Joseph
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Tzolk’in + Tribes & Prophecies

Well, I wanted to play the expansion. I heard a lot of how great the expansion is. I’ve had it for a very long time. And… I was taught a heavily house-ruled variant of them. /sadtrombone. The biggest change is that instead of every player having a unique ability tribe, every quarter a new tribe becomes available for everyone to use. In addition, they pulled out several tribes so they weren’t available to even be pulled out. And the next change they did was that they gave out extra corn based on initial turn order, to “balance out” the turn order. This flat-out broke the game, in my opinion. And while a lot of factors came down to it, the order of who won was the initial 4th, 3rd, 2nd, and the starting player coming in last place. I DO get why they wanted to try something. I find the importance of NOT being last in turn order in Tzolk’in to be too constricting.

I’m not sure my experience with the expansion helped or hurt my opinion on the game. It was, at one point, a top game of mine. But now, I feel rather “ho-hum” about it. One that I feel some reluctance about giving up, but it’s also one I never feel the need to reach for. But there could be other factors at play too.

A lot of my “meh” experiences of playing games lately has had two things in common. One: me. Two: Another player in specific. He’s a younger smugger rahdo. He’s very prone to AP. He narrates his thoughts constantly. It’s leading me to the realization that I need to stop going to game nights at my FLGS. I’m too passive/adverse to conflict to say no to playing games with him. I tried one tactic of denying his game choice of The Networks. (A game I’m all that fond of), which is why we then defaulted to Tzolk’in. Plus, there were no other players to join up with.
So, I’ll probably just take a break from the FLGS, and try to arrange game nights/days with players I know I enjoy playing games with.

OMM:
While it didn’t have the over-the-top awesomeness of Dead Beat, I really - REALLY liked Proven Guilty. It is amazing how the amalgamations of all the events of the previous books drive the story so heavily, while still feeling very fresh and new. There’s a constant growth of all the primary characters, and lots of attention lent to the secondary characters. And every book seems to just raise the stakes even further. Next up: White Knight. 8 out of 15 books (Plus the ancillary short story books) done.

And given the knack for the book titles having double(+)-entendres, I have a pretty good idea what this next book will consist of. Especially with the context of all the other books. Of course, just when you predict something is going to happen, Butcher throws a curveball.
Heavy rain really put a damper on our weekend plans of getting projects done.

Edit: I can't believe I skipped out on my weekly "Look what I ate" stuff. On Saturday we went to the meat market. I wanted to make cowboy steaks. Unfortunately, they don't sell the full tomahawks, but I did get some good sized bone-in ribeyes. I smoked them on the grill for about 2 hours, and then made the house SUPER SMOKEY by flash searing them in the cast iron after they rested. Consensus in the house: Best steak any of us ever had. Super tender. Super juicy. My MIL normally reaches for the A1 sauce, but she didn't want to waste her time with that nonsense. 10/10, would spend that money on steak again.
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14. Board Game: What Do You Meme? [Average Rating:5.17 Overall Rank:19393]
Board Game: What Do You Meme?
United States
Yay Area
California
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Board Game: What Do You Meme?
Board Game: Magic Maze
Board Game: Disney Villainous: Wicked to the Core
Board Game: Gravwell: Escape from the 9th Dimension
Board Game: Gaia Project
Board Game: Arboretum
Board Game: Airships


 3   What Do You Meme?: A Millennial Card Game For Millennials And Their Millennial Friends NEW!
 10   Magic Maze x8
 7   Villainous: Wicked to the Core NEW!
 6   Gravwell: Escape from the 9th Dimension NEW!
 7   Gaia Project NEW!
 7   Arboretum NEW!
 7   Airships NEW!


What do you meme - This is Cards Against Humanity but with memes. It was acceptable in that the company was okay but I’d rather play more magic maze. If I had my druthers I would never play it again. I was initially killing it, I went 5-0 and then tailed off and eventually tied 7-7, we had a tiebreaker round and I won with the caption “When you find out your ex died in a freak masturbation accident” on this photo.

External image


Magic Maze - We straight failed 4 in a row with a 6 player group. Horrible coordination all around, I try my best not to alpha game/quarterback with the “Do Something” Token. Rather I tend to lead through actions. So I move purple up and people just follow and see where I’m trying to move and we slowly get that going. That tends to work better than slamming a token in front of someone and having them stare at all the pieces confused. But this team was bad in that even after each failed game where I tried to give them some bit of guidance/strategy they still made the same mistakes. Still good though and I hope I didn’t scare off any newbies to the meetup with how high intensity those sessions were.

Gravwell
- Interesting mechanism but near the end just got a bit annoying.

Space Terra Mystica - Definitely better than my first ™ play. I actually knew the rules and wasn’t expected to just learn as I go. Money was tight for me since I never built the tier 2 buildings and I had to pass early and use all my space discs for money. This screwed over person to my left that was also short on money. Otherwise acceptable.
Arboretum - It was fine, after hearing about it for so long wasn’t terribly captivating in any real sense.

Airships - Kinda neat roll dice engine builder. I had garbo dice but went for cheap points and it got me the win. Yay.

Villainous - Played the expansion. I skimmed the rules for Hades and didn’t realize the Titans I’m supposed to move count as Allies. I was trying to move them via the special cards that move titans. I would not have won but would have definitely done better than having all my titans circlejerking in the underworld. Louie didn’t let me play Evil Queen despite calling dibs.

Middara - I didn’t play but I spent Saturday night punching out all the bits and meticulously organizing the cards into what I think will be a good setup based on never having played the game. Sunday I spend random chunks of time working through the 70+ page rulebook. Fell asleep once. Finally finished around 11pm but couldn’t start the game since you need to essentially equip characters with items and abilities. Was up until midnight thirty doing that. All set to play if I find time this week.

Other

Dentist: Round 2 of Root Canal was painless. I have another appointment to fit my crown and then an appointment after that to put the crown in. Dentists are expensive. Someone in our game group was looking for someone to go to Origins with and I was highly considering it but highly doubt that after these expenses.

Meetup -
We visited a new brewery and played games there and the owner/manager person saw us and said he was interested in doing game night since he loves board games, we mentioned we run a local meetup and would be willing to help with that. Super solid. Also a milkshake IPA is a beer with lactose and not a literal milkshake.
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15. Board Game: 42 [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:5434]
Board Game: 42
Robin Levins
United States
Round Rock
TX
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Board Game: 6 nimmt!
Board Game: Res Arcana
Board Game: 42
Board Game: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Wrath of the Righteous Adventure Deck 6 – City of Locusts


 10.   6 nimmt! (91 all-time)
 10.   Res Arcana x6 (9 all-time)
 9.0   42 (15 all-time)
 9.0   Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Wrath of the Righteous Adventure Deck 6 – City of Locusts (2 all-time)

Games
Despite the rules, I'm going to accurately represent my gaming this week. Just Roll & Cube and some games of Res Arcana with Kristen. Pathfinder Adventure Card Game was a blast as always, and it's just so dadgum fun to play with the same crew and watching the characters play out over the years. It's going to be weird starting new characters in a few months, as we're almost done with this cycle. We're going to look at either The Mummy's Mask, or the new reboot coming in a few months. (Probably the reboot if it actually is cleaner and more streamlined, though I like the Egyptian theming of Mummy's Mask.)

Res Arcana continues to be amazing and replayable. I've seen a variety of wildly divergent strategies succeed, including one where I repeatedly sacrificed and resurrected a mermaid for phat stacks of gold.

I want to take a moment to highlight the glory that is 42. I know we have some trick-taking fans amongst us, and if you enjoy trick-taking games, 42 is worth a look. And, it's easy to try, because you just need double-six dominoes to play it! Rounds often have interesting decisions to make and go by quickly, and it's the only trick-taking domino game I'm aware of. If you haven't played, give it a whirl some time.


On My Mind
I stopped running for a few weeks because I got sick, and I finally got back out doing it this weekend and now my everything is sore.

Also, I went and saw Fiddler on the Roof for the first time, and it's an amazing play. We got season tickets to Broadway Across America in Austin, really just so we can see Hamilton when it comes in about a month. The Play That Goes Wrong was awesome, and Fiddler was amazing, but the rest has been mediocre or worse. I'm also coming to the realization that in most musicals, the music and dancing is my least favorite part. I think it's because so often it slows down the story. On that note, I'm gonna skip the next play in the season pass, Cats.

Rocket League Championship Series league play started this weekend. It's a blast watching it, and even Kristen and AnnaMarie are starting to recognize some of the players. Also, I tend to cheer for a team based on the coolest screen names.

Game of Thrones final season starts this weekend, everyone. My body is ready.

And I have a dream of BGG.Spring around the corner.
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16. Board Game: 1817 [Average Rating:8.79 Overall Rank:1636]
Board Game: 1817
Grant Johnson
United States
Cedar Park
Texas
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Board Game: Glory to Rome
Board Game: Catan
Board Game: 1817


 9   Glory to Rome x3 (13 all-time)
 9   Catan (17 all-time)
 9   1817 (6 all-time)

Glory to Rome: Got my copy to the table, taught it and off we went. I won two of the games- the first was a teaching game where they were learning, and I ran away with it. The last game was good and close- I did a great job getting clients and won off that. The middle game I had a situation early with the Catacombs, where I was behind the player on my left by 2 points but could finish my building by calling Craftsman. I took a shot at it, and ended up tying him because he was able to get out a rubble building. Well played on his part- we laughed because the game lasted less than 10 minutes.

Catan: Was close. I managed to squeak out a win by doing a 3:1 trade for lumber, then trading it to someone chasing longest road who took it from the threatening player. Prolonged the game so I could get my third soldier and win with largest army. Felt gamey for it though.

1817: Our big game for the month. On the one hand, this was generally the best 1817 I've played. That said I've generally sucked, and I came in fourth here. I can point to a critical error where I mismanaged merges, which kept me from rushing the twos. That funded a lot of other players and put me behind all game.

Game was a bit sad- one of our folks is moving away, and I'll be sad to see him go. He was always down for Here I Stand, Virgin Queen and 18XX. He was also the other hockey fan I talked to (he's a big Blues fan), and I'll miss that dynamic.

New Game get: Made a purchase last night. Will announce later when it comes in, but I don't think anyone in GCL has the game I picked up.

On my mind
New diet this week- I'm moving more toward calorie neutral. I ended up being pretty wiped out most of last week. In retrospect, I think I had been going full-bore since about March 18, and while I handled Disney well enough I destroyed most of my reserves. Work took a lot out of me last week, and I just didn't have it in me to run on Friday night. I rested that day and Saturday, and limited myself to my weight routine Sunday. I feel a lot better for it.

I've also gained a pound or two, but I think it's due to salt/water intake as opposed to fat or overeating. I'm going to resume walking tonight and see how it goes.
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17. Board Game: Vanuatu (Second Edition) [Average Rating:7.54 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.54 Unranked]
Board Game: Vanuatu (Second Edition)
Cassadi
United States
Blacklick
Ohio
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I haven't really been playing a lot of games... Or really doing much of anything. The last few weeks have been a bit rough mentally. HOWEVER, after a nice weekend I'm feeling refreshed and like I'm on the mend. Yay!

My favorite game I've played recently is Vanuatu. It's kind of mean for a worker placement game, but it's USUALLY an unintentional mean. Usually. I say this because everyone bids on the available action spaces, and only after everyone has placed all their bids do actions get taken. If you win the bid, you get to do the action before someone else. If anyone gets to a point where they can't do an action because they don't have any of the winning bids then they skip a turn. When an action is taken your bidding tokens are removed so then the next winning bid can take that turn.

I may not be explaining it well, but it's really interesting to play. You'll ALWAYS get mad at someone, but it's because they have an order they want to do their actions. It just may not mesh well with the order you want to do your actions.

IN OTHER NEWS
- I'm completely done with ONE blanket, and working on the border for the second. Our fearless leader gets the first blanket. Hoping to get the third one started this weekend! Nobody else have any babies, okay?
- Watched a lot of TV recently since I haven't wanted to do much else. Russian Dolls, Sabrina Season 2, One Day at a Time, and probably others... Russian Dolls was so great, and Sabrina was fun. One Day at a Time just made me sad because REAL.
- Finally made some progress in Octopath Traveller. Finished the 2nd chapter for both Therion and Primrose. On my way to Ophilia's 2nd chapter.
- My mood/spirit/whatever has been UGH the last few weeks, and I can't decide if that came first of if the poor eating choices came first. Regardless, the last few weeks were bad all around. Yesterday I made it to the gym and did my weekly meal prep. I've had my packed lunch, and it was delicious. Looking forward to gym time Wednesday, and I'm signed up for a free personal trainer session Saturday.
- OH YEAH! I did dead lifts at the gym for the first time ever. I've been terrified to do this, but I'm so glad I did. Can barely move today, but totally worth it.
- I finished reading all of Locke & Key. SO GOOD! In the 5th book they had the floor layouts so now I'm building it in Sims 4. Started reading the new Expanse book. Haven't made it too far in, but already enjoying it. I don't think there's much that can make me want to stop reading this series.
- We've been working our way through a Game of Thrones re-watch in preparation for the new season. We're about halfway through season 6, and I don't think we're going to make it through season 7 before the new season starts! That's alright. We've seen it before.
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18. Board Game: Cthulhu Wars [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:234] [Average Rating:7.92 Unranked]
Board Game: Cthulhu Wars
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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Board Game: Yunnan
Board Game: Yunnan: Tu Di Gong Shrine
Board Game: Northern Pacific
Board Game: Fleet
Board Game: Titan Dice
Board Game: Heckmeck Deluxe
Board Game: Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age
Board Game: Roll Through the Ages: The Late Bronze Age
Board Game: History of the World
Board Game: Fleet: The Dice Game
Board Game: Cthulhu Wars
Board Game: Cthulhu Wars: The Windwalker Expansion


Yunnan (6 all-time) + Yunnan: Tu Di Gong Shrine NEW!
Northern Pacific x2 (9 all-time)
Fleet (25 all-time)
Titan Dice (9 all-time)
Heckmeck Deluxe NEW-ISH!
Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age (6 all-time) + Roll Through the Ages: The Late Bronze Age NEW!
History of the World (3 all-time)
Fleet: The Dice Game (7 all-time)
Cthulhu Wars (14 all-time) + Cthulhu Wars: The Windwalker Expansion (3 all-time) NEW-ISH! (played with OS3 stuff)

Good gaming this week!

Finally got a chance to break out the Yunnan: Tu Di Gong Shrine, and it was both better and somewhat worse than I had imagined. It did indeed allow for divergent strategies, as players could double up on a won bid and move a little faster toward diversifying. However it also meant that the player who focused on pushing their horse all the way out effectively removed themselves from the bumping mechanic as no-one else tried to pursue the same strategy, securing the win about 3/4s of the way through. It may just be that players have to more actively work to pull down the leader through judicious use of the dragon track, but given how much of a double edged sword that is, I'm not sure. I still really like the game, but my enthusiasm for the shrine has been lightly blunted.

Heckmeck Deluxe isn't strictly new as the only difference between it and Pickomino + Heckmeck Extrawurm is one additional helper (a green apple that's worth 3 endgame points if you still have it). It was a minor hit with the work game group and remains a decently entertaining filler. It ticks so many of my check boxes and yet is still a game a few clicks below my favorites, I'm mainly playing it out of curiosity at this point (probably also sunk cost).

I finally got a chance to try Roll Through the Ages: The Late Bronze Age and I can see why people prefer it. The base game always felt a little too short (and I'd never seen the Pyramid built), so extending it to 7 developments or all monuments actually gives you time to get your engine going. I admit that I really like the trading aspect as it opens up interaction and allows for some fun non-zero-sum stuff. I was intrigued by the Ships but felt that the tech that allowed their building/trading was expensive enough that you might just not get any use out of it. Outside of that it's still that nice, streamlined play you get in Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age, which is still fun. On the plus side it made my buddy really appreciate Roll Through the Ages: The Iron Age more.

While I didn't personally play them, I got a 3p game of Cthulhu Wars with me as Windwalker and the other two players as the Ancients and Tcho-Tcho, respectively (along with the iGOOs from Cthulhu Wars: Masks of Nyarlathotep and Cthulhu Wars: Nodens). Just based off of a single play, it did seem that the Tcho-Tcho needed to be aggressively gone after: without CC the game was largely building up strongholds and fighting border skirmishes, which lead to an easy Tcho-Tcho win. The juggling of the High Priests with a need to get Elder Signs seemed to make for an interesting path for the Tcho-Tcho player, but my buddy who played them was concerned that there might be an optimal build order for spell books.

The Ancients were really weird and cool, they got 4 of their spellbooks in a single round (the 3p map is very close together, so they were able to kite an Acolyte around the map and drop cathedrals off for only 1 cost apiece for the first 3). The fact that they can remove cathedrals to straight up eliminate GOOs made the rest of us antsy and helped clutter up the map, but the Ancients player wasn't aggressive enough and didn't even bother to summon any of his Yothans (!), which led to him coming in last despite having all 6 spell books very early on. He mainly focused on awakening independent GOOs to shore up his defenses. I kited Ithaqua with a bevy of units into his least defended area, which happened to contain the Bloated Woman (which was a great pick as the Ancient's quick get of their faction spell books unlocked her spell book immediately). Fortunately for me none of my units died and I was able to wrestle the gate away, preventing him from getting both a Doom AND and Elder Sign from the Bloated Woman's spellbook.

While Nodens ended up getting awakened, it was near the end of the game and he didn't see much play, and the Haunter remained the only iGOO not to make it out. It was a fascinating play and I look forward to trying it all again, hopefully with me controlling the Ancients

Quick Hits

- Base Fleet was OK, but reinforced the concern that the first player to get a Processing Vessel Licence wins. Makes me want to play with Arctic Bounty again.

- Fleet: The Dice Game is cooling quickly, I think I may only have one more play in me before I sell it.

- I got a final "let me try it at least one more time" play of History of the World in, and it unfortunately confirmed for me that I'm ready to let it go. It's just too long for what it is, they simplified the game down to a nice pace but didn't bother scaling it for different numbers of players. If it was 30 minutes shorter it would hit a good sweet spot, but I feel like the designers feel that the length is a "positive" that gives it it's own unique feel. Oddly enough it's making me want to try Small World again.

- Titan Dice is still really rad, though I think only I and a few others feel the same. At least my work group liked it!

- Speaking of my work group, we absolutely ground Northern Pacific into a powder. We played with a full 6p (which I now believe only works with non-programmers) and group-thinked the game to death. Since seating order is so important, with a group that large the players who are trailing really need to be sitting together so they have a chance of changing things, otherwise (at least for our group) the leaders convinced themselves that it was more worth it to just dog pile rather than speed the game. This lead to an awful lot of frustrating "well OBVIOUSLY I can't make that move" which completely locked the game up and ended up with everyone in the same path that no-one wanted to diverge from. All it would have taken was for one of the 4 leaders to break with the rest and join the two trailers (which happened exactly once), but they didn't, so they handed the game to the player in the lead.

The game was still interesting, but not for those who can only think in terms of calculating EV and min-maxing (at least at that player count).
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19. Board Game: Firefly: The Game [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:331]
Board Game: Firefly: The Game
Louie
United States
SF Bay Area
California
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Board Game: Secret Hitler
Board Game: Magic Maze
Board Game: Disney Villainous: Wicked to the Core
Board Game: Gaia Project
Board Game: Arboretum
Board Game: Turin Market
Board Game: Strike
Board Game: Root
Board Game: Northern Pacific
Board Game: Firefly: The Game
Board Game: The Estates


 8   Secret Hitler (25 all-time)
 10   Magic Maze x4 (35 all-time)
 N/A   Villainous: Wicked to the Core NEW!
 10   Gaia Project (3 all-time)
 8   Arboretum (10 all-time)
 N/A   Turin Market NEW!
 N/A   Strike (6 all-time)
 8   Root (9 all-time)
 N/A   Northern Pacific NEW!
 N/A   Firefly: The Game NEW!
 N/A   The Estates (3 all-time)

The Villainous Expansion -- Can’t complain. It’s more Villainous, and I like Villainous a lot. I was one turn away from winning, but my friend to the right swept the win from under my nose. She played out her two win condition cards a turn prior, but I was tunnel-visioned in setting up my own win. The Evil Queen has to acquire a bunch of poison and then poison Snow White. It’s metal. I’ll let Julio play The Evil Queen next time.

Gaia Project -- Offered to host a game of this during game night, and I got a few willing takers! The ones who’ve played Terra Mystica did well, the one who was brand new to the whole system didn’t do as well, but I think she had a good time and seemed open to giving another crack at it. I actually suggested we use the starter factions and setup, but Julio was like: “Louie has a cool alien. Why don’t I have a cool alien?” And then he played the more complicated side.

My strategy was focused on moving up the tech tracks, and building up two federations, one of them for the 12 pointer. Julio did a super cheeky move at the end, where he connected a second federation with five satellites, which pushed him up to first on one of our endgame conditions. I legit thought he had a good chance at winning because of it, but a combination of solid opportunistic scoring, and saving money, pushed me ahead. Close game all around.

Also wanted to mention that, I’m super excited about this play. I feel like it was a good group to muddle through a teach, I clarified a bunch of stuff, and I think I’ve got a good grasp to teach this to more folks. Would definitely love to get the opportunity to do so.

Turin Market -- Weird auction game from Jordan Draper. It’s a blind-auction for cards, with a varying number of resources on each one (typically 3x, 2x, 1x). And like 10 resources or something, each with payouts from 5 to 10 scrudo at the end. The catch is that, since the cards have up to three resources on them, you may be gaining the lead on one resource, but then you’re “putting your finger into other people’s pies” and thus, you have to pay them a coin at the end if you’re not the leader.

It’s blind-bidding, which I already am not particularly fond of, but the small form factor and interesting gameplay is keeping me intrigued in another play.

Root -- I ALSO PLAYED ROOT. It was a teaching game for one person, and then someone else’s second play. Some weirdness happened, where the Eyries really focused on keeping me (the Woodland) in check by battling with my sympathy tokens. He was limited in where he could Battle, since he plopped his battle decree down on a Rabbit clearing and he quickly ran out of cat options to fight. Thus, the Marquis was able to fortify. But weirdly, both the Eyries and the Marquis went into Dominance Victory conditions, and were essentially just preventing each other from winning. It let me swing for 12 points on Sympathy tokens for the win.

Firefly: The Board Game - I really enjoyed this! I wasn’t sure what to expect. I actually wrote a bunch on my instagram, so I’ll probably just link that to save the effort of another write-up. That being said, for those that have played, how does Firefly compare to Merchants and Marauders? I’ve read off-hand that the two systems are similar, and honestly, I think I’m into this kind of gameplay. I liked that you were building up your team and having your own adventures.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bv9hUpAjMYq/

OMM -- Will update later as I think of more!
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20. Board Game: The No Game [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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Ambie
United States
San Mateo
California
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If I interpreted the rules correctly, just the item has to misrepresent my gaming life, but the description can be accurate.

Board Game: Hippo
Board Game: Bandido
Board Game: Word Slam
Board Game: Tulip Bubble
Board Game: Taj Mahal
Board Game: 1828
Board Game: Wingspan
Board Game: Swordcrafters
Board Game: Smash Up
Board Game: Rescue Polar Bears: Data & Temperature
Board Game: Medici
Board Game: Loopin' Chewie
Board Game: KOI
Board Game: Dimension
Board Game: Decrypto
Board Game: Cahoots
Board Game: Tricks and the Phantom
Board Game: Splendor
Board Game: Rolling Stock
Board Game: Nine Tiles
Board Game: Modern Art


N/A  Hippo NEW!
N/A  Bandido x2 NEW!
N/A  Word Slam
N/A  Tulip Bubble
N/A  Taj Mahal NEW!
N/A  1828 NEW!
N/A  Wingspan NEW!
N/A  Swordcrafters NEW!
N/A  Smash Up NEW!
N/A  Rescue Polar Bears: Data & Temperature NEW!
N/A  Medici
N/A  Loopin' Chewie x3 NEW!
N/A  KOI NEW!
N/A  Dimension NEW!
N/A  Decrypto
N/A  Cahoots NEW!
N/A  Tricks and the Phantom
8  Splendor
8  Rolling Stock
9  Nine Tiles
N/A  Modern Art

This weekend was BATT CON! We played some games.

Notable games:
1828 - we played through the 6's and were going into probably the second to last stock round, but it was 1 am and we were tired so we called it. Very interesting game. I like the stock market with the 67 on the floor, so you can float a bunch of corps and sell down without losing share value. I only had enough cash to do two, but was able to make a great 3+D (3 cities, unlimited dits) route with those two (NYH and Boston). Merging into systems was also cool, although I didn't get to do that yet. And we didn't see any forced purchases using that, but we were about to. The system is two corporations, and they have double the train limit, both tokens, etc. You can say that one corp in your system is holding the trains and the other corp can force purchase for it (assuming there's less than the train limit in the first).

Wingspan - I liked this. I like engine building and it was pretty, although it's getting close to Easter and the eggs really look like Easter candy. I messed up a couple times with my actions because I finally could get a bunch of food in the last turn so I did, but I didn't need it at all so that was a waste. But I had a bunch of food at the end! Take that!

Modern Art - The last few times we played this we've been playing a rule wrong because we didn't realize the artists only score the cumulative points if they place in the top 3. I blame the fact that we played on the Oink version first and we can't read German. But that made bids a lot riskier. In this game we had a bunch of high bids to everyone, so I didn't get any art until the last round (since I don't like bidding up too much). But I ended up kinda catching up to everyone else in the last round, except the winner who was ahead by ~$100.

Splendor - Hadn't played this in a while, but it was fun! Toby and I played on a team since we had 5 players. I usually like getting a bunch of different colors and building up my engine and then I take too long, but Toby was enforcing that we focus on green and blue, so we did and then we won. Not as pretty as getting all the colors, but at least I like blue.

On My Mind

- Our War bracket at work is finishing up today. I'm in the final four! I just won my fourth game this morning. I made baseball card type things for everyone in the final four. Everyone chose a nickname, and I used their work picture with some images related to their nickname to make the cards. We'll have sharpies for autographs before the final two rounds (which are in a couple of hours).

- Sent in my two weeks notice last Thursday, and this morning my badge got deactivated. I had to call in and get them to reactivate it. Kind of annoying, especially since the number that the front desk gave me to call was the medical emergency hotline, and not the hotline in charge of badges.

- We bought a few games at the flea market at BATT CON. There was a store (I forget which one) getting rid of some inventory and selling games for cheap, so we picked up Deadline, Level 7 Escape + expansion, and Level 7 Invasion for $11 total. We'll probably use some for raffle prizes for T-Con. We also got Medici and Quadropolis from a normal flea market person for more normal flea market prices.

- I guess if GCL people are starting to play Switch games online with each other I should play some more Switch. I still haven't played in a while, but I did put it in my backpack to possibly play on my commute today. I usually have ~45 minutes to kill after a cappella and before the shuttle comes so I can play then too.


EDIT: I won the War competiton at work! There was a whole audience and event for the final 4, along with soda floats! Overall I won 6 matches in a row, and the last one I got the whole deck in 2.5 minutes! (All the matches were timed to 5 minutes and whoever had the most at the end won) I guess I’m super lucky skillful at War.

EDIT 2: I went in for an NIPT (non invasive prenatal testing - screening test for chromosomal abmormalities) ultrasound yesterday and found out I’m getting two for the price of one. So I guess that explains things like why I’m already getting maternity clothes, why morning sickness was so bad, and why I’ve been so tired all the time. Although I had nothing to compare it too so I didn’t know if it was worse than usual. Also now it’s high risk so I’ll need to be getting ultrasounds every 2 weeks. Hopefully everything turns out healthy.
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21. Board Game: Hansa Teutonica [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:135]
Board Game: Hansa Teutonica
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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Hansa Teutonica -- Introduced 3 new players. The one person who had played before has never played against me, though one of my better local opponents taught her the game. She spent the entire time talking to the other three about how she "usually plays with experts, and this is a weird game." Can confirm, was weird game because nobody was stopping me like her friends usually do. I gently suggested that perhaps they should stop me from taking every bonus marker, but I ended the game with 8 of them and almost double anyone else's points. Lucky thing too because Marion told me not to come home if I didn't win...

Reef -- This is a game. It's fine. I've played it before. I'd like it better if the pieces were hard candy and there wasn't any game. Utterly generic and uninteresting game.


On My Mind:
Our nursery is coming along. We secured the various furniture, hung a light and security camera (I guess they politely call them "baby monitors"), things like that. We washed a bunch of the clothes and I think installing the car seat is on our agenda for this week, as well as deep cleaning the car. Most of our baby shopping list is complete now, thanks to the local Mega Yard Sale that our town puts on for kids stuff; we got things like the baby bouncer and structured carrier for 75% off.

I rode my bike! It's been almost 70 degrees here in Michigan, so I took advantage of that. Two 35 mile rides later I'm happy with where my fitness is currently (I think it's probably at least as good as when I ran the marathon). I met up with the velo club last night and ended up being one of the people leading the [intentionally slow] ride.

The local running shop's Donut Dash 5k was again this week. I wanted to actually compete for a Top 10 of all Time, but the line at the bakery was insane, so I only ended up doing the run portion (just under 7:00/mi pace, which had me solidly 1st back from the run).

Swimming was brutal because I suck at breast stroke, and that's what we're doing. I think this week may be my final lesson for a while. Marion found out that the local university is doing a small triathlon in the fall so we're looking at both signing up for that.
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22. Board Game: Unlock!: Exotic Adventures – Scheherazade's Last Tale [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:3572]
Board Game: Unlock!: Exotic Adventures – Scheherazade's Last Tale
Chris Ferejohn
United States
Mountain View
California
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Back to doing this from memory, because logging is one of the other things that fell off my radar:

Hilary and I played Unlock!: Exotic Adventures – Scheherazade's Last Tale and Unlock!: Exotic Adventures – Night of the Boogeymen.

They were both good.

Boogeyman tried some new stuff that was kind of interesting (and worked better than the somewhat similar things that were added to the old west mystery one), but still not sure I loved that aspect. I did like the narrative of it.

In Scheherazade it felt like we were just cruising on through for a while, but some of the stuff in the final quarter or so really tripped us up, especially:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Are you sure? Spoilers!
Spoiler (click to reveal)
...the fact that you needed to say something out loud.


Also, like the Wizard of Oz one, it required a very small, very common piece of knowledge about the property in question (in this case 1001 Arabian Nights). It's something that I've known since before I can remember, but I'm sure there are people who are like "what the heck is that?" More spoilers:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Basically you need to be aware of the phrase "Open Sesame"/


Quibbles aside, there were some cool puzzles in both of them.

We stayed over night at my sister's place this weekend and watched her kids while she and her husband went to a wedding. We played a game of Camel Up with them, which was new to me (though I'd actually bought it for them for Christmas). I tied with my older nephew (no tiebreaker).

In the morning, the 4 adults played Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King. I had to teach it out of the rule book, but it's a pretty simple rule set. Through a little good planning and a massive amount of luck I ended up blundering into 2 massive point engines and nearly lapped the field (and in fact did lap last place). The pricing mechanism is pretty cool. I can see how the game could get a little AP prone depending on how closely you are trying to read your opponent's boards, but it's only 6 rounds. I think I prefer it to Glen More in the category of "Clever Celtic Tile Laying Games where You Build Your Own territory", but I guess that's a short list.

OMM:
My direct manager and a guy who has been at my company left for another job and it's kind of bumming me out. Our CEO can be...challenging and Neal (the guy who left) was really good and dealing with him, so this means that I will have to deal with him more, and Neal really seemed like the glue that held the company and our product vision together. It's one of those things were a bunch of people are all going to have to do a little bit more to make up for his absence (we are continuing to hire people, but a lot of what made him valuable was institutional knowledge, and you can't replace that from outside).

Update: I (and my family) are going on the Dice Tower Cruise in January! I'm so excited!
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23. Board Game: Terraforming Mars [Average Rating:8.43 Overall Rank:4]
Board Game: Terraforming Mars
Fabrice Dubois
France
La Garenne Colombes
Hauts de Seine
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 10  Terraforming Mars x2 (27 plays so far)
 8  IKI x1 (3 plays so far)
 8  Caverna: Cave vs Cave x5 (18 solo plays so far)
 7  Solenia x1 (4 plays so far)
 N/A Lignum New!

On Terraforming Mars: we have introduced Prelude for the first time and i like it because it speed up your developement right from the beginning. We played for 10 generations.

I lost by 1 point (93-92). The only grip i have with the game is that with all of these cards laid out and the "hidden" VPs on them, ending the game could be a gamble. I know that it is an open information but honestly it is cumbersome to keep track of these VPs and to have to count them again and again.
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24. Board Game: Surprise! [Average Rating:5.71 Unranked]
Board Game: Surprise!
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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Our little surprise decided to come early! Marion’s water broke while in the warm water pool at our gym and a few hours later we held our daughter Colette in our arms for the first time. Baby and momma are healthy and happy recovering from the trauma (ended up being a C-Section due to the baby being upside-down.

From gallery of Epsilon_Balls
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