GCL Mafia 430: Remastered
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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Welcome to GCL Mafia Division's weekly geeklist!

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

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

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

Current Roster:
touchstonethefool
cferejohn
jshufelt
ambierona
noajayne
LouieSTFU
Necroblaster3000
Thesp
fdubois
charlest
tallgrant
annowme
mith
Dolus
ecargo
Epsilon_Balls
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1. Board Game: Java Man [Average Rating:7.57 Unranked]
Board Game: Java Man
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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My family was in town this weekend and I spent some time playing Modern Warfare Remastered with him. It got me thinking about the idea of "remastering" games and media. Use this item to talk about non-boardgame remasters you like, don't like, or are looking forward to!
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2. RPG Item: Crypts & Things Remastered [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:2548]
RPG Item: Crypts & Things Remastered
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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The term "remaster" was originally used in analog media. The true original copy of a work of media(known as the master) would be copied over and over to duplicate the media. Unfortunately, copies always have a little bit of loss that can compound if copies are copied and so on. Remastering meant making a new master copy.

The physical manufacturing of board games can come with similar issues. Molds used for minis wear out, die cuts can wear out, etc. Are there any games that have had component degradation over time? Conversely, are there any games where you're amazed they've kept consistency over the years?
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3. Video Game: Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD Remaster [Average Rating:8.47 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.47 Unranked]
Video Game Compilation: Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD Remaster
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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Remastering can often come with improvements, especially in the digital world. Games have their graphics taken from SD to HD, movies upgrade to HD, or songs have their bitrates increased.

How do you feel about games that make marked improvements to rules or components in a future printing (2nd, 3rd, etc). Note: I'm specifically avoiding discussion of new editions in this item.

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4. Board Game: Talisman (Revised 4th Edition) [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:1429]
Board Game: Talisman (Revised 4th Edition)
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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New Editions are technically different from a "remaster" though they can also make improvements to the original product. Do you see them as a different game? Are there any games where you prefer specific editions?

Sometimes I'll see people who feel cheated by new editions, either because they feel they wasted their money or suddenly the existence of a new edition makes their copy feel outdated and now they don't want to play. What do you think about that? Have you ever felt that way?
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5. Board Game: Middara: Unintentional Malum – Act 1 [Average Rating:8.73 Overall Rank:1318]
Board Game: Middara: Unintentional Malum – Act 1
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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Board Game: Unlock!: Exotic Adventures – Night of the Boogeymen
Board Game: Middara: Unintentional Malum – Act 1
Board Game: Five Tribes
Board Game: Legends Untold: Weeping Caves Novice Set


 7.4   Unlock! Night of the Boogeymen NEW!
 N/A   Middara NEW!
 4   Five Tribes (2 all-time)
 7.6   Legends Untold: Weeping Caves Novice Set x2 NEW!


Middara
My group is hooked. I had to kind of strongarm people into pausing where we were so we could play some other stuff and not just Middara all night. I think the game is pretty good, but it's not particularly innovative. The big draw, like Gloomhaven, is the hundreds of hours of content and that big 400 page spiral bound story mode.

I do have to admit that I find the heavy-handed narrative (multiple pages between scenarios) actually kind of charming. The JRPG theme is different than something like Descent, and leaning into the setting for context did produce a different feel to the game.

The system is neat but pretty standard. Custom dice and you want to get better equipment to roll better dice. The novelty of your character consisting of like a bajillion pieces of equipment is kind of neat because of the degree of customization.

I also dig the enemy AI and the two encounters we played were very different due to some simple terrain adjustments (which was a bit surprising).

Unlock! Night of the Boogeymen
Another solid Unlock and we didn't get stuck on anything. I dug some of the unique twists in this one. They were gimmicky, sure, but it's a 60 minute game that's very light. Looking forward to more.

Five Tribes
I really dislike Five Tribes, and this play confirmed it. There's this thing that eats away at me where I know there's a mathematical best move available based on the board state, and your entire turn is sussing that out. The fact that every single point gain is transparent (but hidden in other moves) really grates at me, because I feel like I need to take my time and evaluate a complex matrix of moves, but I often get a nagging feeling in games when I'm taking too long and I put pressure on myself to hurry up. This is the one kind of stress I dislike in games, so I often rush and if I lose it's because I didn't accurately assess the board state, and maybe I could have if I'd taken more time. I dunno, it's just one of the least fulfilling strategy games I've played.

Legends Untold
This thing is neat. It's fussy and you have to add a few modifiers and work through some fiddly rules. Stuff like - moving to a new tile requires a scouting roll. You can choose to sneak and gain +2 to this role, but this costs you an additional time (a major resource in the game). There's different illuminations on the exits of your current location card and choosing which one to leave has a big effect. BUT, the illumination is one degree higher if you have a light source--you often don't.

This isn't incredibly complicated in practice but everything seems just one degree too far, mostly because it's a small box adventure card game with RPG elements. It's much more complex than something like the Warhammer Quest Adventure Card Game or Space Hulk for instance.

However, this added complexity and fussiness does give it some room to establish atmosphere and a more rich well rounded experience. This is a big deal because the game is mostly about exploration. Combat is fine, but it's mostly a thing to drain your resources and halt your pace of exploring.

I love how it includes things like barriers you must traverse, this can be a trap such as falling boulders, or a rickety rope bridge or shooting geyzers of hot steam. These all require tests, of which there are three different types of skill tests. You will run into enemies, collect loot, and utilize your several multi-use skill cards. It's a brutal, low-fantasy game where you play commoners turned heroes for the most part.

The decision space and questions the game brings to the surface are very nostalgic for a long-time RPGer. You will debate which path to take, what hazards to skip, when you should rest versus push on, it's all pretty wonderful.

I'm digging it thus far and eager to explore more. I think it gets a ton of mileage out of its contents, but as stated the cost is a relatively complex system for such a reductive design concept.

On My Mind
I've watched about half of the Netflix original film The Highwaymen. It's pretty good and I'm digging old man Woody Harrelson and Kevin Costner. It's odd in that they're hunting Bonnie and Clyde, but it never really shows the two criminals. It's completely devoid of painting a gray picture, instead taking the black and white stance that these are horrible people and forming a moral lens that's kind of refreshing. It does depict the public's infatuation with the Barrow gang and how they treat them like celebrities, but this is always handled from a distance and from a critical angle.

We're playing Star Wars: Outer Rim tonight, and possibly Res Arcana if we have time. I don't expect to keep Outer Rim but I'm looking forward to playing it.

My gaming budget keeps adding entries to the expense column, so I decided to part ways with Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle Earth. I will probably be selling Mech Command RTS soon as well (just waiting for my review to go up). Also trying to decide on whether I want to keep Hellboy or not.

My gaming time for the next couple of weeks will completely reside around Middara, Outer Rim, and Res Arcana.

Geekway is less than a month away, starting to get excited for that.

My golf trip is this coming weekend. My journey with the sport has been...wobbly. I've been to the driving range three times now, although I've hit entirely small buckets and only about 200 balls total across all my different clubs. I made perhaps an ill-advised decision to buy a set of clubs after doing much research, but I would like to stick with it and I know the opportunity will be there since my father-in-law plays 3 times a week and basically breathes the game.

But yeah, I've had trouble getting the mechanics of the swing down. It's a complicated thing with like 20 different things you need to keep in mind. I've also had trouble connecting behind the ball and hitting too much in the dirt, or coming on top of the ball. I'm slicing pretty badly as well.

I hit 60 balls yesterday and was definitely improving near the end. Connecting solidly on my last 20 or so and getting better distance with the driver (still pathetic power overall though and only getting out to be about 150 yards on my longest drives).

Trying to hit the driving range one more time before leaving on Friday, but not sure if that will happen. I have a deep bruise in my right hand that was bothering me and got worse after yesterday. Trying to debate over letting it heal more or hitting more.
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6. Board Game: Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 4 – Nederland [Average Rating:7.41 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.41 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.41 Unranked]
Board Game: Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 4 – Nederland
Robin Levins
United States
Round Rock
TX
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Board Game: Dominion
Board Game: Res Arcana
Board Game: Pick Picknic
Board Game: Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 4 – Nederland
Board Game: Vikings on Board
RPG: Dungeons & Dragons (5th Edition)


 10.   Dominion x2 (282 all-time)
 10.   Res Arcana x4 (14 all-time)
 8.0   Pick Picknic (20 all-time)
 7.0   Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 4 – Nederland NEW!
 6.0   Vikings on Board NEW!
 N/A   Dungeons & Dragons (5th Edition) (3 all-time)

Games
I've actually played Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 4 – Nederland once before, and my feelings of the second play felt very similar to my first play of it. The gimmick on this map is tolls - the first person to claim a double-route pays a toll to the bank, and the second player on the route pays the toll to the first player. There is a substantial (55!) point bonus to the person with the most toll money left at the end, 35 to 2nd, et cetera. It's a neat idea, but in play, it feels...haphazard? It rewards people who are going along the same directions who place their trains early. Now, I like any mechanic in TtR that's going to incentivize early play rather than hoarding a bunch of cards for then playing a bunch of routes in succession near the end of the game. In the Nederland map, though, it works for you...if someone else is also going your way. If no one else happens to be going along the East side of the map, for instance, you're just not going to get compensated for playing early, and that 55 point bonus is really, really big. I'll play this map again, I just think it's at bottom of the pile for some very good maps that TtR already has.

Vikings on Board was a worker placement game where you're moving your influence markers around and sailing ships off and trying to score points from commodities in the ships and guessing who will control each ship when it sails. It's very, very chaotic, and very, very average.

Res Arcana continues to be amazing, and winning on Round 4 is super fun. Our D&D group is starting to gel more and they're just so much fun. Kristen got a 3D printed mini of her character through Hero Forge, one of the people in the group painted it for her and it looks gorgeous, and before play Kristen promptly dropped it and it broke at the ankles. She'll glue it back together, but during the session she used bits of Starburst to keep the character adhered to the base and we could not stop laughing about it.

On My Mind
Easter was lovely. I really dug the last Game of Thrones episode. My teeth suck and I've got an appointment on Thursday to take one out that's causing me a lot of pain.
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7. Board Game: Anachrony [Average Rating:8.08 Overall Rank:46]
Board Game: Anachrony
United States
Yay Area
California
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Board Game: Qwinto
Board Game: No Thanks!
Board Game: Magic Maze
Board Game: Just One
Board Game: Junk Art
Board Game: Anachrony
Board Game: Spirit Island
Board Game: Secret Hitler
Board Game: Paris Connection
Board Game: The Estates


 6   Qwinto (2 all-time)
 6   No Thanks! (8 all-time)
 10   Magic Maze x4 (123 all-time)
 8   Just One (10 all-time)
 8   Junk Art (3 all-time)
 8   Anachrony x9 (10 all-time)
 9   Spirit Island (36 all-time)
 6   Secret Hitler x3 (29 all-time)
 7   Paris Connection (2 all-time)
 8   The Estates (3 all-time)


Qwinto/No Thanks - These are light enough games where my strategy is always RISK IT push your luck as much as humanly possible. And by that I mean I lost terribly.

Magic Maze - Louie and company harassed a newbie but he’s a masochist so we kept playing even adding the extra rules. Yay.

Just One - We were doing flawlessly and 3 people cancelled out leaving me only the clue “HAYSTACK” for the word “NEEDLE”. I was not impressed with my team.

Anachrony - Kickstarter is up for expansion and I realized I’ve only played this once. I cranked out some solo sessions to see if it’s still worth bothering. It was. Ended with trying out all the leaders and definitely enjoy the asymmetrical bits.

Estates - 5 player, I didn't win but the one player without a company was not sabotaging enough.

Spirit Island - There is that weird bit where you can for sure win on the next turn so I'm not sure whether to just tell the people still taking their turn to not even bother cause “I got this”. Anyways I was nightmare and we needed 6 fear to win and I could easily crank out 10 fear Fast phase. Slowly reaching the point where I don't think I can play difficulty level 0, since I don't think I can lose.

Staring at Kickstarters


On Mars - The new Vital Lacerda/Ian O’Toole combo from EGG. I just got Escape Plan so not super tempted but the special announcement suggests a cooperative expansion which I dig the idea of. Also EGG is price gouging the ever loving crap out of there add-ons so maybe I get it now before it’s super expensive after the campaign(?) Or maybe that’s what they want me to do.

Anachrony Expansion
- Adds more solo boards which is why I liked the game in the first place. Real good automata but can’t use any of the modules, the expansion lets you customize and add current modules AND the expansion modules. So slightly more tempted.

Tramways: The Dystopian Expansions - Still haven’t played the base game, but he has a lot of neat little expansions but they’re all really expensive because small print runs. Tempted but also how much am I going to play this. Right,cferejohn?

March of the Ants: Empires of the Earth
- On the one hand neat little condensed 4X was totes not going to back a full on expansion but it’s a small $15 expansion so a little tempted just to be a completionist.

Life Stuff -

Dentist - Had a temporary crown put in so I have a metal tooth at the moment. Of course this means I've had to have several lifestyle changes such as only listening to Paul Wall or Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz, and flashing my tooth at people every chance I get.

External image


EDIT: I dropped out of my D&D group. We haven't played since my character died and it just seemed like a good place to exit the group entirely. I'd like to perhaps use the now free weekends to play more solo games.
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8. Board Game: Blankety Blank [Average Rating:5.67 Unranked]
Board Game: Blankety Blank
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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FUSE 2 (16 all-time)
Escape the Dark Castle 1 NEW!
Jump Drive 1 (4 all-time)
Space Base 1 (25 all-time)
The Prodigals Club 1 (9 all-time)
Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 5 – United Kingdom & Pennsylvania 1 (7 all-time)

Review: Gen7 sucks and Plaid Hat should be ashamed.

---

Escape the Dark Castle: I was very excited about receiving this back in December. For no good reason, it's been sitting on my shelf since then. I finally busted out a solo game, which was much faster than I thought it would be. I ended up dying on the last boss. I don't know how I feel about the game. It's super light and I appreciate its simple mechanics. At the same time, I don't know if there's much there to keep me coming back. I'm wondering if it's better with other people.

Jump Drive: I am astoundingly bad at this.

Space Base: I bought the expansion (mostly for Matt as I'm a bit tired of the game at this point). Technically, we did play with it, but I'm an idiot and misread the card so we only played with one minor change in the game. Deciding whether or not to delete the logged play of the expansion was the hardest decision of my life. Also, the expansion cards are a different material / print color so clearly it ruins the game. #boycottAEG

---

On My Mind:

After playing Caverna a few weeks back, I decided to give in and spend some of my board game sales money on an insert from Etsy that I've been eyeing for a long while. It arrived from Canada, fully assembled (which was a nice surprise), and I eagerly dumped all the components into it. Now I want to play Caverna again.

I learned that you can get a lot of Twitter action by posting a stupid comment about Wingspan:


My parents and my old movie of the week was The Graduate. Maybe it's a generational thing, but I found it totally overrated. Not sure if we're doing another movie this Friday as Matt's clinicals will be over by then (so we'll actually see each other more than in passing) and so we may return to our normal game nights.

I received my baby gift from Cassadi the Blanket Fairy and it's lovely! I recommend everyone have a baby (or just say you are) so you can get one of these sweet bespoke blankets.

From gallery of ecargo
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9. Video Game: The Sims 4 [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:2151]
Video Game: The Sims 4
Cassadi
United States
Blacklick
Ohio
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Board Game: Seeland
Board Game: Power Grid Deluxe: Europe/North America
Board Game: Legacy of Dragonholt
Board Game: Wingspan
Board Game: The Pillars of the Earth
Board Game: Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game – Pegasus Expansion
Board Game: Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game – Daybreak Expansion
Board Game: Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game


Power Grid Deluxe: Europe/North America - I actually won this game! We ended in a tie, but I was so happy to win.

Legacy of Dragonholt - Very slowly working on my solo playthrough of this. I didn't do much in this play because it was harvest day!

Wingspan - Someone actually brought this to our weekly meetup. It was nice to get to play. I enjoyed the game play. It's very lovely, but I'm not sure if it'll ever have a place in my collection. With others' getting it I don't feel like I also need to own a copy.

Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game - In this game of BSG I was once again the Cylon Leader. Noone else seems to want to play as this when when have 6 players. I don't mind though. This time I played as Cavil, and actually ended up having more Cylon cards than Human! However, one of our cylon players spent THREE ROUNDS in the brig and didn't bother to reveal. The other cylon player did eventually reveal, but later in the game than I had expected. So, I actually hit the objectives on 3 of my 4 cards, and if the cylon's would've won I actually would've won a game of BSG, but the human's squeeked it out. I'm still blaming the cylon player that spent far too long in the brig just trying to get out instead of just revealing and going to the mothership.

On My Mind
- Lizzy went on her first Easter Egg hunt over the weekend, and that was super adorable! She had so much fun.

- I spent way too much money on a new laptop for gaming, but I'm having a blast actually being able to dive into some bigger stuff in Sims 4. I can stream/record screen/play all at once without any snags in the gameplay.

- On that note, I'm actually going to be streaming on Twitch regularly. Every Thursday and every other Monday unless life things come up. I feel like mostly I'll be playing through my Legacy challenge in Sims 4, but every once in a while I might switch over to something from my very old Steam Library. The most recent thing I've purchased is Stardew Valley. I actually want to go back and finish Dragon Age: Origins. If you would like to add me on Steam or Twitch user name is the same as here.

- Looking forward to Geekway! Trying to decide what beer things to bring for the swap. I know I'm bringing something from Hoof Hearted for Raf, and I'll probably bring some sours for the swap... Last year I brought way too much, and I'll probably do the same this year. I've only signed up to play one game (BSG) with the same group I played with last year, and I'll be attending fancy gaming too! Super looking forward to seeing friends!

- TWO BABY BLANKETS HAVE BEEN DELIVERED! Two more to go! I'm almost half done with one of Ambie's blankets!

- I'm very much looking forward to the next episode of Game of Thrones. Last night's episode was excellent!

EDIT: Need to work on my grip for dead lifts. Can't get past the 80 pound mark. Did some bar squats at the gym finally! Literally just with the bar. I can definitely do more, and I'll give that a go next time. Maxed at 160 pounds on the leg press. Whoohoo! Got up to 80 pounds on the lat pull down too! Feeling pretty good after that workout.
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10. Board Game: Count Your Chickens! [Average Rating:5.08 Overall Rank:18514]
Board Game: Count Your Chickens!
Philip Newman
United States
Plano
Texas
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Plays since March 13, 2019

 5.0   I Spy Bingo x13 (17 all-time)
 10.   Race for the Galaxy: The Brink of War x10 (106 all-time)
 7.5   Twice As Clever x6 NEW!
 8.5   The Quest for El Dorado x2 (3 all-time)
 8.0   Codenames: Duet x2 (14 all-time)
 8.5   Azul (5 all-time)
 8.0   Exit: The Game – The Polar Station NEW!
 7.5   Masmorra: Dungeons of Arcadia NEW!
 5.5   Go Fish (2 all-time)
 4.5   Count Your Chickens! NEW!
 3.0   Tic-Tac-Toe NEW!

Look at me, actually playing games...

Luke's Games

I Spy Bingo is currently Luke's favorite game, and has been requested a lot (including two plays yesterday). He is quite good at naming all the things on the card and then picking one that he has. Still getting the hang of recognizing which letters he needs to win.

His Go Fish game is with the alphabet. Cute cards, but he doesn't quite have the attention span for it. This play was with his cousins, with us helping them by holding the cards... and Luke just couldn't stay still. Jacob wanted to show the card he drew every time. It was pretty funny.

Luke helped me go shopping on Saturday, so I picked up Count Your Chickens! for him (along with a new soccer ball). He doesn't need help counting, so the main benefit of this one is learning how to move along the track, and follow the rules of the game. It's a cute game, but our spinner sucks - it doesn't spin very well, and tends to stick on the Fox half the time (which would pretty much guarantee a loss if I weren't just letting him put the spinner where he wants). I'll have to see if I can make it spin better somehow, or replace it.

His Bingo game has a tic-tac-toe board on the letter X, so I asked him yesterday if he wanted to learn it (since it has a similar concept to Bingo). We played using a board made out of his train tracks, with him playing the trains and me playing the cargo. He did pretty well recognizing where he needed to play to block me, but once decided he wanted a particular space that was taken and just moved my piece out of the way, and at the end of the game decided all his trains should be friends on the same corner space. Good times.

Other Games

I finally gave in and got the Race app on my phone; my logged plays are with human opponents, 8 of them with Robin. I've also played the AI a ton, mostly the Hard AI with all expansions (after a few warm-up games on Easy/Medium, starting with just base). I won the first 8 games, and was feeling pretty good about myself... and currently I'm a hair under 41%. Eesh. I'm on a particularly bad run right now, going 1-13. (Overall record is 74-107-1.) Slowing down would probably help a bit, but it's nice to be able to speed through a game in a few minutes.

Twice as Clever was also on my phone, and logged plays are one-per-day (despite many actual plays, it's solo and online and I'm too lazy to keep count, so reverting to the method I used for the previous game). This is way harder for consistent scoring - the theoretical max is just completely out of reach (despite having a much higher theoretical match, I've only broken 300 three times, whereas in the previous game I was getting in the 300s probably a third of the time despite a max of 334). Most of the challenge (and luck) comes in the first round - there just aren't many good options for low numbers, especially going for an optimal placement in yellow. Low in silver is lame, low in blue makes things much harder the rest of the game, low in green is just terrible... really pink is the only safe throwaway for a 1 on the first placement. I think this one would be quite a bit more fun multiplayer than the original, but for solo play it's just too chaotic.

Quest for El Dorado and Azul continue to be good, and we continue to be bad at Codenames: Duet.

The Polar Station was another fun Exit game, which we made harder on ourselves a couple times out of stupidity (notably at the very last puzzle, we had another card available that was just sitting off to the side and forgotten). I thought several of the puzzles were very clever in this one.

Masmorra was cute. A bit too much take-that/bash-the-leader stuff for my tastes, but the dice mechanism was neat. The main flaw for me was that the treasure cards seemed wildly imbalanced relative to each other, and that despite each having two uses. Anyway, I think I'd be more interested in it as a co-op, but that's probably just me.

On My Mind In Our Lungs

Aerial and the kids have been sick the past week - Luke was diagnosed with Croup, and Zoe and Aerial almost certainly have the same underlying virus. Zoe's fever got up to 102 yesterday, poor baby. She's so happy most of the time that it's heartbreaking when she's miserable. (We have also been less happy about being puked on.)
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11. Board Game: 1849: The Game of Sicilian Railways [Average Rating:8.26 Overall Rank:1865]
Board Game: 1849: The Game of Sicilian Railways
Ambie
United States
San Mateo
California
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Board Game: For Sale
Board Game: Tragedy Looper
Board Game: Stick 'Em
Board Game: The Mind
Board Game: FUSE
Board Game: Bandido
Board Game: 1849: The Game of Sicilian Railways


 7.5   For Sale x2
 9.5   Tragedy Looper
 N/A   Sticheln NEW!
 10   The Mind x2
 8.5   FUSE x3
 N/A   Bandido
 N/A   1849: The Game of Sicilian Railways

Did a live play of 1849 on Saturday. We called it early (whole stream was ~2 hours) because Talbot was winning by a lot due to many mistakes that Toby and I made. And the company order was horrible! All the bad companies came out first, so everything was even more poor than usual. I feel like my brain shuts off a little when streaming. Or at least I don't pay as much attention to the game as usual. But people said the stream turned out well and showed some of the interesting things that can happen, so that's good. And I think the new setup turned out good.

We had time to play a bunch more games Saturday after the stream. We played the second scenario from Midnight Circle for Tragedy Looper. I really enjoy the process of the whole game, but sometimes it's a little arbitrary who wins or lose (depending on the scenario). In this specific one, it was pretty much impossible for the protagonists to win unless we got a lucky guess. So maybe this shouldn't be my favorite game anymore because of that arbitrary part, but I really like the journey of playing the game.

We played Bandido with a house rule that someone messaged me about - adding in the extra card that has the publisher's name on it to add more exits that you need to shut off. That, plus playing 4 players, made it a lot more challenging. We barely managed to win!

We played a few games of FUSE on Insane mode. The rules don't say how many dice you're supposed to roll when one person gets rid of all their bomb cards for insane mode, so we're currently playing where you roll the number of dice of the people left in the game. But it gets really hard to defuse all the bombs once people get out of the game. The closest we got was 3 bombs left total.

On My Mind
- Today's my first day of non-work! I was a little sick yesterday but I'm feeling better today. I slept in until 9, then stayed in bed finishing a book until 9:30, and then ate breakfast and went to Costco this morning. Still a lot of cars at Costco, but the lines at the register were pretty empty. After this I'll do some chores, cook/eat lunch, and edit the podcast. Yay productivity! It's also harder to keep up with BGG and internet now that I'm not sitting at a computer all day.

- Had an easter egg hunt with the toddlers in Toby's family (at his cousin's house). Everyone was saying, "this will be you soon" whenever a kid cried.

- I got two more puzzles last week as gifts. One from my intern and one from coworkers as a going away present. They're both Disney puzzles! So now I have 10 puzzles to do, and I'm partway done with one of them.

- Gonna start Pandemic Legacy Season 2 this Wednesday (which happens to be my birthday)! It'll be nice being able to play games on weeknights since before I was the weak link that couldn't start games until 7:30 because of my commute.
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12. Board Game: Utopia Engine [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:2947]
Board Game: Utopia Engine
Jim Parkin
United States
Stow
Ohio
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Board Game: Richard Scarry's Busytown: Eye found it! Game
Board Game: Lucky Dogs Dice Game
Board Game: Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure
Board Game: Hauling Astronauts
Board Game: Glass Road
Board Game: Broom Service
Board Game: Azul
Board Game: Utopia Engine


Richard Scarry's Busytown: Eye found it! Game x5 (7 all-time)
Lucky Dogs Dice Game (8 all-time)
Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure (21 all-time)
Hauling Astronauts (16 all-time)
Glass Road (13 all-time)
Broom Service (24 all-time)
Azul x2 (22 all-time)
Utopia Engine (25 all-time)



Ah, at long last, a week of solid board games. We're always juggling plenty of stuff these days (and nights) but this week was a pleasant respite wherein we found our evenings free for little more than reading, gaming, and Buffy'ing.



Richard Scarry's Busytown: Eye found it! Game
This may still be Candy Land with a twist, but it's a fantastic twist. Seriously, it's a spinner game with a Where's Waldo interlude at random points, but it is a sincerely great kids game. Theodore is a clue-finding beast these days, hence his asking to play it over and over again this week. For the record, I spotted nine distinct hot dogs. #OWNED

Lucky Dogs Dice Game
Ted also asked to play this a few days into the week. It's a nifty dice-placement-matching game, which simply boils down to wanting to match die results with spots on bones which, when completed, spell out "L U C K Y DOGS." The nuance is that as you commit dice, the pool shrinks, and multiple bones swap between rewarding new dice or taking more away. It's actually super hard to win. Definitely great for the "we lost, what happens now?" question to pose to an almost four-year-old.

Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure
Solitaire score of 209, which is just shy of my recent best at 220. I did get to attain my deck-building dreams though by effectively drawing my entire deck turn after turn. The only bummer is that I finally managed it too late in the game to grab serious returns before having to bolt for the exit. Penny spectated as well, and meowed fiercely whenever I played Mr. Whiskers.

Hauling Astronauts
Played with my friends' daughter, Emma, and schooled her with my dice manipulation ways. Aside from Utopia Engine (below) this is my favorite PnP game to date. After having crafted, oh, seventy different games or so over the years, I'd like to think that recommendation is worth something. Dice-duel filler perfection, in my opinion.

Glass Road
We taught long-time game friends Sam and Eee both Glass Road and Broom Service. They both went over well (unsurpisingly). Glass Road remains a very-almost-top Rosenberg in my estimation. Not unlike Wes Anderson movies, wherein I can easily say that The Royal Tenenbaums is my favorite, but choosing the next favorite is nigh-impossible, so I look to Agricola as remaining my fave game, whereas his other games tend to crowd the #2 spot. Glass Road, Ora et Labora, and At the Gates of Loyang continually brawl there, with A Feast for Odin and Fields of Arle occasionally tapping in. In this session, I managed to go into lots of adjacent-scoring buildings, but Sam leveled the black forest and, like the Counting Crows prophesied, paved over paradise and put up a parking lot by way of burning down all the forests and filling more than half his boards with sand pits and heavy industry.

Broom Service
It was an absolute piece of cake to teach Broom Service after Glass Road given the card system. We played exactly how I hoped we would--eventually shouting about just who IS the brave weather fairy and who isn't. This is important to determine, you know. I plowed into big points in the far corner, but it was a really close game, with Sam nearly overcoming me with lightning bolts. Between the two, I still think Broom Service is better than Glass Road, but playing both back-to-back was a real delight.

Azul
Anastasia and I had a snap double-date with our friends, Jamie and Carolyn, and we went back to our place after trashy Mexican food (you put melty carnitas and tomatillos in a taco and I simply won't say no) to teach them Azul. After playing twice, I managed to both come in distant last place (with a final score of 19...) and narrowly winning by a single point at 65. I got demolished the first game after everyone stuck me with a full cache of negative points. Jamie and Carolyn both loved it, and thought, "huh, this is the meanest, yet nicest-looking, game we've ever played." Truth.

Utopia Engine
The world asplode.



In the D&D world, Jason and I are fervently refining and honing our co-authored adventure for publication on DMsguild.com at the end of the month or beginning of May. It was really well-received at the convention premiere in March, and over nine tables played it in three days. We got loads of excellent real-time feedback, but most importantly, everyone involved thought it was a blast. Thanks, again, to all of you who dabbled with its prototype form and helped us playtest ahead of time.

The GCL Mafia team managed to kill a really stinky goat demon in our game here on RPGG, and then got spelled by a pink-clad goblin and his coterie of sparkly friends. It was weird.

I'm also phasing into a magic item auction in Joseph's game, complete with a triad of legendary artifacts which are already turning heads. I hope that I can bait out a few players into spending all of their earthly possessions to try and bite on these babies.

I have a few other games I'm running now, too, which feature anything from sentient lobsters to death gas to astral observatories to floating cities full of rare technology to full-blown Planescape in Sigil. It's a blast.

Finally, my cousins texted me out of the blue and said, "yo, will you run a campaign for us at home?" I'm floored. I definitely want to run it for family and friends, but I fear it will likely devolve into herding cats. Still.
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13. Board Game: No Thanks! [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:442]
Board Game: No Thanks!
Louie
United States
SF Bay Area
California
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Board Game: No Thanks!
Board Game: Magic Maze
Board Game: Junk Art


N/A  No Thanks! NEW!
10  Magic Maze x2 (37 all-time)
8  Junk Art (5 all-time)

No Thanks! — A game I haven’t played yet! I like it. Apparently it’s a thing to let people put money on things to try to take advantage, and despite multiple people telling me this, I went ahead and drew a run 29-28-27 without bidding because I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M DOING. Apparently I could’ve milked that shit because NOBODY wants to take that garbage. But it was fun. I didn’t come last.

Junk Art — It felt particularly validating when Julio said “Watch out for Louie because he always wins this one.” This was for Monaco, where you draw a card and place the thing. I did indeed win that scenario.

Magic Maze —- Still great. We threw someone to the wolves, but he was game.

OMM — I skipped out on my Friday meetup, so I could attend a CHVRCHES concert in Berkeley. One thing most striking was, my Lyft took me to Berkeley through frat row. I was mesmerized because like, I went to UCSC, what I consider to be a non-traditional school. So seeing these college kids just partying and playing beer pong outside - felt like I was watching something out of Animal House.

I got cross faded before I went. The opener was Mortal Unknown Orchestra, who I’ve never heard of until the show. They were great, and the mixture of substances and their music became a legitimate experience. I felt their songs with my body.

CHVRCHES themselves, always awesome. They do this gimmick where one of the band members takes over lead vocal for a song or two. While he’s not great at it, he brings a stupid amount of energy into his dancing. He crushes it.

The next day, I backpacked in Henry Coe for the night. A couple of friends and I did about seven miles, 1700 feet of elevation, and found a pond in the valley. We heard turkeys courting each other. Also, I had made a lot of gaffes - not bringing a second layer, not checking my headlamp batteries, and not cleaning my water filtration system. It took me ten minutes to filter 350 mil of pond scum water. I was not a happy backpacker.

The water filter has since been cleaned and I can confirm its it usability.

Also Game of Thrones. Carly Rae Jensen. Endgame in a few days. Something to look forward to.

EDIT: I've been online dating again. It absolutely fucking sucks. I don't get too many hits, and the ones that do tend to ghost me from the start. It's been a real wrecker for my self confidence. Gonna keep my head up, though. I'm fulfilled in other facets of my life so I just gotta keep working on it and keep pushing forward!

That being said, here's an image that best represents my dating life right now.

External image
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14. Board Game: Food Truck Champion [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:4167]
Board Game: Food Truck Champion
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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Board Game: Food Truck Champion


Food Truck Champion NEW!

Food Truck Champion

My mom and 2 of my siblings were in town this week. I played a couple games of FTC with my brother. The first one was a little herky jerky because we didn't have the rules down but the second one went smoothly. I've not played many multi-use-card games like this, so it took a bit to get used to but overall I thought it was pretty good. It felt like every aspect of it had a sort of tempo you had to manage. In the 2nd game, I tried to quickly staff up with Managers so I could hire help quickly and fire off the managers. There are times when you want a lot of cards in your hands and other times where it doesn't matter and you need to manage that.

I also appreciated (on the 2nd play) how the fact that cards in your hand provide action-options but not resources. I'm used to looking at the cards in my hand as something I want to play to accomplish a task (put food into the fridge, play a new order, etc) and not to initiate an action. It was a fun perspective to shift into.

On my Mind

Good weekend with the family. I did another sous vide brisket that turned out well, and I tried my grandma's recipe for biscuits that turned out great. I think I want to try to nail down a few different biscuit recipes to have in my belt.

Javi has been pretty sick lately. He has an appt on Thurs so we're hoping we don't need to take him in sooner. It's stressful, and he wakes up a lot in the middle of the night so we're running on fumes.

I'm also continuing to bounce from medical issue to medical issue. The cough was replaced with congestion, the congestion with dry nose, the dry nose with pounding headaches, etc etc. I've never been not-healthy for this long and it's causing me a lot of stress. I'm also now questioning every little thing that goes wrong out of nerves. I've lost like 20 lbs in the last few months. Is that good and because I've been eating a lot better since being diagnosed with a reflux thing? Or is it bad because it's too much too fast. Blegh.
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15. Board Game: Fury of Dracula (Third/Fourth Edition) [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:210]
Board Game: Fury of Dracula (Third/Fourth Edition)
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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"Watch, but do not govern; stop war, but do not wage it; protect, but do not control; and first, survive!" - Cordwainer Smith
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Board Game: Fury of Dracula (Third/Fourth Edition)


Fury of Dracula (third/fourth edition) (9 all-time)

Still in a dry spell for games, but did get FoD back to the table! I finally played a hunter for once, and our Dracula suffered a string of bad luck that wiped him out on week 2. He started in France and moved toward the Iberian peninsula, but we got the Ally out that gave Drac additional damage when moving through water. He tried to zig back out into France, but one of us landed in his city and turn order was such that 2 more hunters were able to dogpile him prior to night combat. He got super unlucky in drawing escape cards (both his "escape as bat" cards had been used at night to flee earlier combat and were stuck in the trail) and we got him down to one health before he was able to end combat.

He then tried to zag back to Spain, but we checked all possible escape routes out into France and boxed him in, even going so far as to Consecrate Madrid, which was the nail in the coffin. Unable to jump in the water without dying, it was simply a matter of time before the Drac player had to cross our paths, and we were easily able to double up and deliver the finishing blow.

It was super dramatic, but also a little rough for the Drac player. Fortunately good fun was had by all!
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16. Board Game: Suspicion [Average Rating:6.19 Overall Rank:5648]
Board Game: Suspicion
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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2x Suspicion
2x Gloomhaven

Suspicion
At work we played Suspicion and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Suspicion is a game like Clue where you are trying to deduce who the other characters are while also trying to look gems in a mansion. Overall the deduction is on the easier side, and based on these 2 plays getting more deductions than your opponents at the end of the game is what wins the game, with gem sets/individual gems being the tiebreaker. This is probably fine. There were a lot of ways to deduce who your opponents are, but you still have to make a pretty good effort, sometimes forgoing collecting gems, to do so. I won the first game barely, and the second game handily. Our second game was 4 players and I figured out one player who didn't protect his identity well by the end of the second round. The other two players I had down to a 1 in 5 and 1 in 2 chance each, out of 10 characters. I ended the game earlier than I needed to because I liked my odds enough to gamble it rather than give my opponents a better chance of beating me. Also, I only had one type of gem so I hid my character really well, but also wasn't going to get any good points with gems. I only ever had the option to choose one type of gem, so I think they should've been able to deduce my character based on that issue if they'd thought about it. Surprisingly I got both the 1 in 5 and 1 in 4 chance of being right for securing the win easily.

We also played Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which motivated me to finish unlocking characters. I'm now good enough to consistently unlock characters and after a couple of hours I had unlocked everybody except for Chrom and Cloud. I've lost repeatedly to both of them. I don't plan to buy a fighter pass DLC because that's crazy expensive. $25 for 4 characters when I paid about $32 for 74 characters. No thanks.

Gloomhaven
We played 2 scenarios of Gloomhaven. The first was completing retiring the Brute which we unlocked the Angry Faces Spiky Haired dude, which we're looking forward to playing. The second was just a scenario we all really wanted to play.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
The scenario that retired our character was #56.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
The first room especially and a little bit of the second room were hard, but we still cleared it out pretty handily. The third room where we had to keep an Orchid alive was ridiculously easy. We plowed through the first two rooms so well that we were really strong and ready for the last room and had no time defeating all the bad guys and keeping all 3 orchids alive.

Scenario #22
Spoiler (click to reveal)
This was the Temple of the Elements. We were really excited for this scenario, but were ultimately disappointed with how anticlimatic it ended up being. This scenario obviously had a different set of elemental demons in each of the 4 rooms, with cultists in the two main rooms and skeletons to be summoned. Also, the demons were incredibly powerful because of the presence of 4 altars which had to be destroyed. In one turn, the cultists were going to summon living bones. We could've killed all cultists in the first room before they summoned, and not opened the door, but one of our players didn't want to waste a turn so he did so anyways to have 3 or 4 skeletons summoned instead of none. It was a terrible move strategically, but I approve because it gave me two checks for my battle goal; have a monster on the board at the start of every turn.

The demons were going to be hard to face, but we quickly realized there were 2 in every room and they were normal, no elite. One of our characters had a new attack card that targeted in a triangle and kills all normal monsters targeted. It requires two elements, but oh look he has a card that lets him generate two elements. And we had two characters who could have allies recover discarded cards. I helped him realize the optimal strategy was to spend a turn approaching a door and generating the two elements. Then the next turn enter the door and blast the demons dead immediately before they had a turn. The only two we didn't kill right away were earth demons and that was because I had gone that direction and not him. One of our characters stunned both demons literally every turn for something like 5 turns out of 6 while I spent 1 or 2 turns destroying the altar by myself and then running away. We completed the scenario handily that otherwise would have been really difficult.


Disneyland
We went to Disneyland with family and my son is loving it more and more each time he goes. He's much better vocally, so he's also much more able to tell us what he wants and what he doesn't like. He really wanted to meet characters, particularly Goofy and Daisy. He enjoyed Winnie the Pooh and wanted to ride it again. And he was scared again on Pirates of the Caribbean. He also loves to run to and watch every fountain at the park or Downtown Disney. I really want to take him to Disneyland, just the two of us, to do everything he wants to do; see characters, watch shows/parades, and look at the fountains. With only a couple of rides like Winnie the Pooh.

Dragon Dice
We're finally getting back together to play Dragon Dice, probably on a monthly basis. Hooray! I've got 5 total people interested, counting myself. 3 of us will be trying to play this week. I have high hopes that this becomes regular and successful. If we can build our numbers up towards 8, that would be great!

Other Video Games
I played through Mario Bros. Lost Levels and beat the game and all the levels to play World 9. World 9 is really easy, but interesting and fun. It's different. I learned that I have to beat the game 8 times in order to access Worlds A, B, C, and D. So that is my next goal.

Lego DC Super-Villains I've almost completed. It's pretty fun and I recommend it. I haven't convinced my wife to play it, so I'm just going to beat it (maybe play the extra levels, I'm not sure), but not replay for 100%. Although it seems like it'd be worth it. I actually enjoy the story and the reason for playing villains. Also, it feels like the overworld is a bit Grand Theft Auto like, but too tame to be interesting.

Zelda - I'm still at the final boss with Phantom Hourglass. I'm not very motivated to play when I feel like I'm losing because I can't control my character to do the right thing. But I really want to move on to Spirit Tracks. I'm also kinda stuck on Zelda II The Adventure of Link. I'm at the second palace which has really hard to beat monsters, and I don't have any good place to return to for grinding levels to increase my attack. Ugh.
I'm starting to get the itch to play Zelda Breath of the Wild on the Master Quest level. But I would like to wrap up these older Zelda titles first.

Super Mario World 3D I have access to a friend's Wii U and this is the last game that I don't know if it will be released on the Switch which I can only play on the Wii U. So I'm trying to play through it. I'm on I think the third world. It's really easy, but kinda interesting with the new stuff going on. I finally understand what the cat power-ups mean. Basically I can climb up walls and stuff.
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17. Board Game: Malifaux: Colette Avatar of Deception [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Malifaux: Colette Avatar of Deception
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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Can’t believe there is an entry for Colette in BGG surprise

No board games this past week, as one would expect. All three of my D&D groups were supposed to meet, and as a result of me missing, none of them actually did. Whoops.

Since we brought her home last Monday, it’s been over a full week now out of the hospital! We had doctors appointments Tuesday, Wednesday AND Thursday, so we were forced back outside into the public, which was good for all of us. Marion is recovering well from her surgery, and Colette is gaining weight right in track. So far, so good!

We do have a few extra appointments with doctors because Colette was born with “clicky hips” (very easily dislocated hips of both sides). It’s something that runs in Marion’s side of the family. So, Wednesday’s appointment was to get a little brace for her to ensure her hips develop appropriately. Since getting her fitted, Colette has seemed much happier when moved around and especially during diaper changes. We will be going in every week or two for the next few months to adjust the harness as she grows. If the brace does work then we should only need it for a few months, and then we will just routinely check to make sure they are developing right. On the scale of problems to have, I will definitely take this since it is very temporary .

Mostly, this is just an excuse to upload pictures, since this GCL is becoming GCL Muffins.


From gallery of Epsilon_Balls
From gallery of Epsilon_Balls
From gallery of Epsilon_Balls
From gallery of Epsilon_Balls
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18. Board Game: Cottage Garden: The Easter Bunny [Average Rating:6.39 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.39 Unranked]
Board Game: Cottage Garden: The Easter Bunny
Joseph
United States
Portland
Oregon
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No games played this week. The only day off was Easter day, where it was still a very busy day. But it is a good busy. We were doing a picnic-style late lunch for Easter, so I smoked a 4 pound top round roast and sliced it up into smoked roast beef, and made french dip sandwiches. It probably could have used an extra 30 minutes or so to try and get a bit more tender; especially since we ended up being 30 minutes late to eating. I also had some pre-seasoned baby back ribs that were on clearance, and smoked those up. I wasn’t as huge of a fan of them as what I do with my usual baby back ribs, but my roommate was a fan. He, like many others, enjoy that membrane snap. I felt like it held back the smoke flavor from getting into the meat. But it was all still very good. We also had homemade potato salad, broccoli salad, and deviled eggs. 4 pounds was plenty of meat for us all, and the leftovers have been amazing, as they’ve been soaking in the au jus and onions and slowly tenderizing.

I’ve been putting in overtime hours to make an upcoming deadline, which is why I’ve been a lot more AWOl or slow to respond. Lots of work. There was a slow realization that I haven’t made any overtime in over 14 years, despite working the hours. Getting time and a half or time off later in the week is a huge shift in attitude for those long days.
We’ve Getting ready to throw Lillian’s birthday party. This monday she turns 1, but we’re doing her party on Cinco de Mayo. Despite sending invitations that said “RSVP”, only one family has done so. It was very discouraging. I ended up texting the other people, and turns out - RSVP is dead. Text messaging has replaced it.
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