GCL Mafia 443: Over It
Grace P.
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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:
fdubois
charlest
annowme
mith
Dolus
ecargo
Epsilon_Balls
captainraffi
touchstonethefool
cferejohn
jshufelt
ambierona
noajayne
LouieSTFU
Necroblaster3000
Thesp
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1. Board Game: Last Word [Average Rating:5.40 Overall Rank:18761]
Board Game: Last Word
Grace P.
United States
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California
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What term or phrase used to describe games would you be happy never hearing again?

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2. RPG Item: Character Pack [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:1135]
RPG Item: Character Pack
Grace P.
United States
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Which board game personality / content creator / channel are you over?

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3. RPG Item: ME2: Ragnarok and Roll [Average Rating:5.80 Overall Rank:7464]
RPG Item: ME2: Ragnarok and Roll
Grace P.
United States
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What mechanic and/or theme are you tired of seeing in games?

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4. Board Game: The BORED Game [Average Rating:3.00 Unranked]
From gallery of themormongamer
Grace P.
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What was a game you played that was so excruciating you wished it would just be done?

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5. Video Game: Awesome [Average Rating:5.50 Unranked]
Video Game: Awesome
Grace P.
United States
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What gaming experience was so great that you can't get over it?

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6. Board Game: Trend Color [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Trend Color
Grace P.
United States
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What other trends are you over? It can be food, movies, clothing, or anything else.

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7. Board Game: Super Comics [Average Rating:5.67 Overall Rank:14289]
Board Game: Super Comics
Grace P.
United States
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Anyone excited about any news/previews from Comic-Con? Or just see pictures of really cool cosplay?

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8. Board Game: Gloomhaven [Average Rating:8.81 Overall Rank:1] [Average Rating:8.81 Unranked]
Board Game: Gloomhaven
United States
Yay Area
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Board Game: Gloomhaven
Board Game: Modern Art
Board Game: Hansa Teutonica
Board Game: Medici
Board Game: High Society
Board Game: Pax Pamir (Second Edition)
Board Game: The Duke
Board Game: Welcome To...


 10.   Gloomhaven x4 (20 all-time)
 9.0   Modern Art x2 (8 all-time)
 8.0   Hansa Teutonica (3 all-time)
 8.0   Medici (10 all-time)
 7.0   High Society (8 all-time)
 7.0   Pax Pamir (Second Edition) x2 NEW!
 7.0   The Duke x2 NEW!
 7.0   Welcome To... (8 all-time)

Gloomhaven - We got major dunked on . Very bad party composition for the task at hand. Looked up some threads and yeah other people similarly find it problematic for the characters we’re using. Didn’t want to way to heavily meta-game and make new characters to beat the thing but maybe we have to because we didn’t do so hot.

Modern Art - It’s interesting to me how different groups approach this game, it’s a completely different beast with the very strategic group of dweebs we have for local game nights.

Hansa Teutonica - I think this was the session where I sorta for jokes and because I didn’t have any other end game scoring just went HAM on the Coellen Table, got 3 of the 4 spots. Did not win.

Medici
- Went for the 1st turn free boat strategy and got shorted a card from deck running out. Managed to slowly make progress on the next couple rounds and in the final game crank out a neat 24 boat which helped push me into first place. Started from the bottom now we here.

High Society
- Even more of the doctor. I think this is my first time winning.

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Pax Pamir - Probably got caught up in the hype. It was fine, not mind blowing.

The Duke - Neat abstract game. Way too reliant on luck. *waits for duke fans to jump out and attack me*

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Welcome to - I named my place Macaroni and cheese but we didn’t win.
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Other -

Happy Lemon - Tried this out first in San Diego but apparently there is a spot like 3 mins from my work. So I went twice last week and got some lemon black tea with salted cheese on top. Recommend getting in on the salted cheese for boba.

Raclette - So this is a thing that exists. I know it's the scraping cheese and when I saw it in the store I bought some. Apparently most people who do this have fancy raclette heating devices. But I wasn't about to buy that without sorta trying it first. Went with a very DIY solution of this thing called a pan over a stove. Worked out fine, comes out super gooey. It's also consuming a mass amount of gooey cheese which isn't super healthy so will likely not do this too often.

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Crypt of the Necrodancer - Still getting rekt as Melody. Tried the bat lady. Managed to get to the end of Zone 5 consistently but
Spoiler (click to reveal)
usually the final stage of Frankensteinway is rough for me and I take on way too much damage to beat it. By the time I fight the conductor I'm down to 1~2 health and I just get destroyed fairly easily.


Cthulhu Wars - Still haven't received Ancients. Yikes! I got an email from support saying they're sending it right away. That was 4 weeks ago. Currently have rest of OS3 stuff unopened in a corner because I really want the last of it here before I go into organizing mode.

Work - A lot of reports are being switched over to a new system. I understand this is for the better but in the meantime a lot of the reports I need aren't ready and I just have this growing sense of dread of all the work that is going to hit me all at once.
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9. Board Game: Pax Pamir (Second Edition) [Average Rating:8.35 Overall Rank:206]
Board Game: Pax Pamir (Second Edition)
Louie
United States
SF Bay Area
California
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Board Game: Modern Art
Board Game: Hansa Teutonica
Board Game: Welcome To...
Board Game: Pax Pamir (Second Edition)
Board Game: Medici
Board Game: Gloomhaven
Board Game: The Duke


 8   Modern Art x2 (9 all-time)
 9   Hansa Teutonica (6 all-time)
 7   Welcome To... (12 all-time)
 N/A   Pax Pamir (Second Edition) x2 NEW!
 8   Medici (10 all-time)
 8   Gloomhaven x4 (6 all-time)
 N/A   The Duke x2 NEW!

New To Me:

Pax Pamir: 2e -- Game 1 ended hilariously enough - one person took first for a Dominance check, and three others split second place. This ended the game with the leader at 5, and all others at 1. In the words of my buddy: “We fucking suck at this game.”

So we all agreed to give it another go, and I think resolving that first dominance check put everything together. Our game ended on the final dominance check, with two players figuring out a way to angle for a tie in first place for dominance, but with one winning by a single point.

I’m. . . not sure where I feel about my play. I think mechanically speaking, it’s well-designed and elegant. Maybe it just doesn’t line up with my tastes? But either way, I’d be down to play this more.

I'm also not familiar with the controversy surrounding the original. Is that something one could look into fairly easily?

The Duke -- So I picked this up a month back from the Bay Area VFM, mostly off the good rep it has among the mafiosos. I think Julio and I were both fairly brain burned after playing a ton of Gloomhaven, and our two games ended quickly pretty much because we’re garbage. But what sells me on the game, at least theoretically, is how ridiculously interesting and powerful most of the tiles are, like the Assassin or the Champion. Julio himself had a Wizard out that was pretty badass.

Other Stuff:

Gloomhaven -- So I asked for some Gloomhaven, because it’s Gloomhaven. We picked up where Julio left off in his solo run, with me picking up his Tinkerer, the “Gizmo Gal.” We got stomped pretty hard on three out of the four scenarios we played. There are some. . . movement and looting-centric scenarios that I think the composition we had isn’t super great at.

I guess just an appreciation for getting repeated plays of Modern Art, Medici, and Hansa Teutonica has been great lately.

OMM

I’m taking a red-eye to Orlando on Thursday, and then following that we’ll be in Indianapolis again for my third (!!!!!!!!!!!!!) GenCon. Maybe my last? We’ll see.
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10. Board Game: Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid [Average Rating:8.16 Overall Rank:2838]
Board Game: Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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Board Game: Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid
Board Game: Lords of Hellas
Board Game: Fuji Flush
Board Game: Flamme Rouge
Board Game: Fireworks
Board Game: Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Warcry Starter Set


 7.5   Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid (2 all-time)
 8.1   Lords of Hellas (7 all-time)
 5.95   Fuji Flush x2 (3 all-time)
 7.9   Flamme Rouge (3 all-time)
 N/A   Fireworks NEW!
 8   Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Warcry NEW!

Reviews
Ars finally got my review of Terminator Genisys: Rise of the Resistance online. It blew up on reddit and I celebrated by watching T2 over the weekend.

Warcry!
Holy shit this is good. I don't think it's quite as good as Shadespire, but it absolutely is the best skirmish game GW's put out. I really they'd now re-do Kill Team and give it the Warcry treatment with alternating activations and much more streamlined play. Finally a GW skirmish game we can play in 40 minutes.

Power Rangers
Nothing new here as I still feel the same way I did last week. Very solid game but not quite great. It was more enjoyable four player than solo and I do dig it. Need more plays to suss out its long term viability (I don't think it's something you could spam and play all the time).

Flamme Rouge
This is something I could play all of the time. I love this game. My last plays have been with four players and very tense. This one was a very interesting race with a series of hills near the end.

I feel like I have a firm strategic grasp on my decisions now, and I was able to pull out a win on this one. My big move was keeping my sprinter in the middle of the pack and burning a 9 when cresting a hill and on the way down. This allowed me to burn past the people who played low cards to save energy. I was first going into the last hill and had just enough of an edge and just thin enough of a deck to hit my other 9 coming out towards the finish line. Won by a single space.

Lords of Hellas
With all of the expansion stuff arriving, we were eager to get this back out. Unfortunately, we had a poor experience with the Poseidon monument. I created a whole thread on this particular expansion item in the forums, but suffice to say, I think it's a little too strong and incentivizes a degenerative strategy. Thankfully the player who executed it did not win, but it's a bit of a bummer.

Fireworks
This game is wonky. You throw a huge die into a pile of tiles and then select from ones that turned faceup. It's a lightweight family game and my five year old could handle it.

She ended up winning and understood some of the strategy points I walked her through ("If you place that tile there, you will get more points, see how it completes two fireworks?"). She loved it of course and wanted to play immediately again.


On My Mind
I'm cooking now. I was in a big rut with reviews, writing only about 1 a week or so after averaging 1.5-2 for so long. Geek & Sundry really falling apart was the primary reason for this.

I finished up a bunch of work this past week, however, getting my first piece for StrategyGamer.com done, as well as turning my Wings of the Baron article in for the September issue of Tabletop Gaming magazine. I'm not ahead in my reviews due to Wizkids sending me 9 games (mostly unsolicited), and still some Renegade stuff to work through, but I have a good handle on it.

I should be getting in two game nights this week. One we're playing Hako Onna, the one game I did request from Wizkids, which I'm super pumped for. I think we're getting Star Trek: Ascendancy back out for the other night. Then next week is Gen Con and we're off to the races.
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11. Board Game: Ugh! [Average Rating:5.58 Overall Rank:15305]
Board Game: Ugh!
Cassadi
United States
Blacklick
Ohio
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EDIT: BOARD GAMES!!

Board Game: Marrakech
Board Game: Bärenpark
Board Game: The Rise of Queensdale
Board Game: Trogdor!! The Board Game
Board Game: The Shipwreck Arcana
Board Game: Power Grid Deluxe: Europe/North America


The Rise of Queensdale x3 - The story in this is super entertaining, but I think part of that is our reader uses voices and gets into it. The game play is pretty basic worker placement. We're enjoying our time with it, but I'm ready to move on

Trogdor!! The Board Game - One of our players didn't know the background for this one. Which made it not nearly as enjoyable for her. This, to me, was a pretty standard co-op. Burninating was pretty fun. Will play again just for nostalgia.

The Shipwreck Arcana - This was an interesting logic puzzle that I didn't have the brain space for the day we played. Will need to try again

Power Grid Deluxe: Europe/North America - I was SO CLOSE to winning. I made the mistake of thinking we were going to go another round so I stocked up on resources. If I hadn't done that I would've had the money to build one last generator for the win. Booo, it was still such a great game though.

On My Mind
- I've taken a step back from social media without really trying. The last time I updated on Facebook was... in May. Which is apparently long enough for Facebook to be like "hey, you haven't posted in a while". Honestly, I think I'd get rid of the platform all together if it weren't for the closed group of Lizzy pictures for family and the fact that I wouldn't get invited to anything if I wasn't on Facebook. I look at/post to Twitter less frequently than I have been. Though that will change come Gen Con because it's the easiest way to catch up with folks.

- I've gained an absurd amount of weight back, and I'm letting it affect my mood in a very bad way. I'm spiraling and can't seem to find my way out right now.

- I think part of this is because I actually currently just hate everything about my job. I'm working from home as much as I can get away with because I'm just so frustrated with everything about that place. I updated my LinkedIn profile since it was 5 years out of date, and I'm working on my resume now. I was going to wait until I passed my CRISC to start looking, but it's time now.

- I wish it was Gen Con now. I wish I had any motivation to get back into content creation. I keep thinking about how to start/what to do, but I keep drawing blanks. Or telling myself nobody even cares what I have to say about things. So that's where I am.

- I need to do things to fix this. First, the thing that I can readily control, get my eating back in check. It's not about motivation, it's not about self control, it's about accountability, and I'm not holding myself to anything. Just letting myself slide far away.

-Yep, so that was a lot of ranting. I am VERY looking forward to Gen Con, and today I'm gong to spend sometime with my unplayed games. Need to learn Copenhagen to play at lunch tomorrow. Sorry for the tangent, wasn't expecting to completely unload here, but now it's done.
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12. Board Game: Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Warcry Starter Set [Average Rating:8.42 Overall Rank:2552] [Average Rating:8.42 Unranked]
Board Game: Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Warcry Starter Set
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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Board Game: Warhammer Quest: Blackstone Fortress
Board Game: The Tea Dragon Society Card Game
Board Game: Era of Kingdoms
Board Game: Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Warcry Starter Set


Warhammer Quest: Blackstone Fortress
The Tea Dragon Society Card Game NEW!
Era of Kingdoms NEW!
Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Warcry NEW!

Warhammer Quest

Tim and I have gotten into a regular groove lately of a last minute call to play some games. We decided not to go for a Stronghold and to do a normal run, but after randomly seeing 4 non-combat encounter cards to start the run we took our easily-gotten spoils and went for the next Stronghold. Unfortunately we drew Obsidious Mallex as an always-available enemy. I did pummel him with UR-25's cannon rolling 3 crits in a row, but throughout that combat we took a few grievous wounds. We're halfway through; 2 more combats and then the stronghold itself.

I ordered the Dreaded Ambull expansion now that we're on the cusp of a 2nd Stronghold.

Era of Kingdoms

I really liked playing this but Grace informed me that I'm wrong, which is a bummer. Civ-lite tableau builder that was satisfying in its constant build up and overwriting of cards. Also my farm was named the Jewel of Cheese. We added a modular expansion that added some faceup draw options for a little control. Scores were close in the end. 34, 33, 32, and 21. I lost by 2 after Tom stole a building from me on the last play for 2 points.

Tea Dragon Society

An intro-to-deckbuilding that has you playing cards to your play area 1 by 1, turn by turn, until you build up enough to buy cards that go straight into play. Some deck management with the reshuffle mechanism, and some mischievous cards that mess with your display. We yelled at the game more with this game than with many other aggressive games, mostly because those little dragon fuckers were mischievous and messing up our plans. Not a great game for me, but a good game and one I'd play with new gamers/family. I know some people who like it a lot as a game for their group so I don't think this is purely a "My First Game" or anything.

Warcry

Hachimachi this is fun. I got all the terrain and warbands built this weekend, and have played 3 games so far. I played a 3 model vs 3 model demo game followed by a full game, both with different players who were new and got it all done in an hour and 15 minutes including rules look ups and stuff. Amazing.

Very fast combat system and the alternating activations make everything you do impactful and important. Random scenario generation is great, and the way it interacts with abilities is a lot of fun. One of the models has a big harpoon and he can use it to pull people into a scrum, or off of objectives for control depending on what you need. Little moments like pouncing with my lion followed by the beastmaster giving him a bonus attack add some cinematic elements that are stronger than Kill Team.

I had very high expectations for this game and so far it's met them.

On my Mind

Very stressful week last week, rolled into the weekend feeling like shit.

Dad was in town which was fun. He helped me build terrain and also built a lego pikachu thing for raffi, so there were a few hours where we were just hanging out building stuff while everyone in the house slept.

GenCon is coming! I have a few things booked but I'm basically done scheduling. Going to try to actually play more games this year.
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13. Board Game: Twilight Struggle [Average Rating:8.30 Overall Rank:9] [Average Rating:8.30 Unranked]
Board Game: Twilight Struggle
Jim Parkin
United States
Stow
Ohio
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MIND. BLOWN.
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Board Game: Morels
Board Game: Dead Man's Draw
Board Game: Azul
Board Game: Twilight Struggle


Morels x4 (20 all-time)
Dead Man's Draw x3 (89 all-time)
Azul x2 (27 all-time)
Twilight Struggle (34 all-time)



Card games and Azul are fun, but the real meat of the week is Twilight Struggle, which has sat sadly unplayed for a long while in my basement until last night.

A friend of mine, Frank, came over since he's moving to Cincinnati on Tuesday and wanted to hang out one more time before he's gone for a while. He requested we play "the best two-player game" I had. That was a simple decision. Frank is a minor history buff and a lover of any game that, in his words, "ruins friendships" (his favorite game is Diplomacy), and on caliber of game alone, Twilight Struggle was the only answer.

He opted to play the USA, so I started by trying to bolster USSR influence along Russia's border and with the Vietnam Conflict, dumped as many Ops Points into Southeast Asia as I could manage in Turn 1, including using the China Card (for 6!) and passing it across teh table. Frank went heavy into Western Europe, which I delayed worrying about with Du Galle and Warsaw Pact likely to show up. However, he ended up scoring Europe at the end of Turn 1 and scored a ton of points. Turn 2 was mostly uneventful. Frank tried to reinforce Asia and I started hittin the Middle East, then used Fidel to setup in Cuba and spread towards South America. Frank was able to dump influence all throughout Eastern Europe, but I then played a card that removed all of it, wherein he lobbed multiple expletives at me.

Turn 3 was filled with coups and realignments all over the place. DEFCON plummeted, and we ended up flirting with nuclear winter in short order. We scored Asia and I cleaned up, then did the same for the Middle East. USSR was sitting at 13 points by this point. Frank depserately tried to Space Race three turns in a row, failing with a "4" result each time, so I memed him by playing Captured Nazi Scientist to effortlessly bump up and score the first Space Race points, putting USSR at 15 VP. He then played Voice of America, stripping control from all of my holdings in Africa, plopped a bunch of control there, and nearly scored Total Control there, pushing USSR down a bunch of points.

Turn 4 got quite heated, as I started with Missile Envy. I played it once, then grabbed Nuclear Test Ban, which was mostly useless for me ( ::shakes fist:: ), but then Frank Missile Envy'd me back, and I gave him Good Friendships, and since the UK was no longer under his control, was mostly useless to him, too. I Missile Envy'd AGAIN, then grabbed Muslim Revolution, which totally toppled his hold on the Middle East after eroding my standing there following the last scoring. He Missile Envy'd me a second time (now the fourth that round), and I handed him "What You Can Do For Your Country," and he shuffled out his hand for new cards (after griping that all of his cards were good for me and bad for him). We went back and forth again, but he ended up drawing the Europe scoring card after I entirely wiped out his control there. USSR scored 11 points and won, right there on the spot. He was speechless.



We probably talked about the nitty gritty moments and highlights of the game for another half hour. He was 100% smitten with it, despite his loss.



On My Mind... D&D Ramblings:

It's dawned on me that 5th Edition establishes assumptions which fly in the face of what I want in a fantasy adventure game, both for mechanical and personal considerations. Adventuring should be very dangerous. You're going into tombs or castles or deep forests and facing larger-than-life threats which are far more powerful and sophisticated than a guy with a sword, bow, or magic staff. 5e is so soft on adventurers, and it shatters immersion for me. I'm not saying I WANT PCs to die all the time, but somehow a 6' elf can take on a 20' fire giant whose weapon is twice the elf's size and get hit multiple times before passing out, get healed and right back to his feet, hit again, and then stab the giant's leg enough that she perishes.

In short, combat is typically a long, inevitable slog, but also (and more importantly) there are no real stakes. You're "knocked out" by what ought to be fatal damage, and with easy healing through low-level spells or abundant potions, most combatants don't play smart with environment, cunning, or creativity becuase it is makes the most cost-benefit to just go ham on bad guys until they die. Most XP systems based around eliminating enemies promotes aggressive and often uninteresting patterns of meeting interesting people and killing them (again, often descending to an HP race with little nuance). Think of Smaug over Laketown. No amount of force is going to kill that old wyrm--he is enormous and invincible, exceedingly intelligent, and region-meltingly powerful. But Bard the bowman realized Smaug's single weakness, and exploited it in a truly epic fashion. How many Smaug-equivalents have we already faced and easily steamrolled in our campaigns? Food for thought.

This is related to my second concern, that of player versus character agency. D&D began in the 1970s and 80s as a story of normal people undertaking great risk to gain treasure and discover mystery for the sake of gaining prestige. Getting into a fight with a fantasy creature or eldritch wizard was more often a death-wish than a good idea, so the posture for most games was the players being creative and economical with their resources in order to bypass threats and evade traps (the latter which are mostly HP taxes now, but almost certainly lethal in the past), rather than "clear the dungeon" by killing all of the inhabitants. This meant that the majority of play was using not just the character's resources (weapons, rations, items, spells etc) but also the player's insight, problem-solving, and creative thinking. The style of play here, then, is less of looking at your character sheet and seeing what you're allowed to do, and more of looking at the actual game world and interacting with it realistically. You don't roll Perception to find something, you describe your character searching out something specific in the room, then the GM explains what was uncovered.

...

tl;dr -- PC's as invincible superheroes is immersion-breaking to me. I want to see player-led exploration, not character-sheet decision making. 5e is still fun and great for what it tries to do, but I think I'm leaning towards OSR games at this point.
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14. Board Game: Pax Pamir (Second Edition) [Average Rating:8.35 Overall Rank:206]
Board Game: Pax Pamir (Second Edition)
Robin Levins
United States
Round Rock
TX
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Board Game: KeyForge: Call of the Archons
Board Game: Montana
Board Game: Muse
Board Game: Pax Pamir (Second Edition)
Board Game: Wits & Wagers
Board Game: Wreck Raiders


 8.0   KeyForge: Call of the Archons x2 (12 all-time)
 8.0   Montana (2 all-time)
 8.0   Muse (2 all-time)
 8.0   Pax Pamir (Second Edition) NEW!
 7.0   Wits & Wagers (11 all-time)
 4.0   Wreck Raiders NEW!

Games
Getting back into the swing of playing games! Keyforge remains enjoyable. Montana still has that Finca feel and goes by surprisingly fast. I thihnk it's going to see a lot more play. Muse is going to replace Dixit for me eventually, I think. And Wits & Wagers continues to be what you expect, and plays very well in a mixed larger family setting.

A friend taught several of us Pax Pamir 2e this Thursday, so it was 3 n00bs and him giving it a whirl. It's a fascinating game! It has a lot of the "dance" of Root with significantly different mechanics, and I like it. I think my appreciation for it will be complicated by the fact that it will really shine only when everyone has a decent grasp of the game, and can see what needs to be attacked, what's vulnerable, where players can push for supremacy, things like that. In any case, I missed the win by one dollar (couldn't trigger the scoring), my fortunes radically turned, and the next hour of the game I spent licking my wounds. Still, fantastic and engaging game, and I want to try this more.

I'll preface my next comments by saying I was the only person at the 5-person table who didn't like Wreck Raiders. But I severely disliked the game. As one who usually likes and appreciates "point salad" games, this still fell flat. On your turn, you draft a die and place a diver in an area using that number. You and anyone next to your diver gets a treasure, and if you boot a diver they get some other fish currency. Then you can spend your treasures to acquire exhibits, and spend fish currency to build aquariums. Various treasures and fish help you in various ways in these endeavors. I found that the game really played you rather than the other way around, and invariably if people placed next to you more frequently and if you got bumped once per round, you would do significantly better than other players. And it wasn't at all clear if you could predict how such a thing would go down, either. I did very poorly in the game, which I try not to let affect my opinion of the game. Yet I feel even if I came in first, I don't think it would have been from savvy play on my part (nor do I think the winner played significantly better than everyone else). I fully acknowledge it may be my own shortcomings making this assessment. Still, this game's getting a hard pass from me, which is a pity because it's very well produced and everyone else seemed to enjoy it.

On My Mind
Busy weekends ahead - I was in Houston this last weekend and caught an Astros game, will be in Houston again next weekend, then down the the beach the following weekend. The house is slowly getting more in order. Next, we've got to get someone to put gutters on the house, so we don't get a curtain of water by the back door.
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15. Board Game: Welcome To... [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:121]
Board Game: Welcome To...
Joseph
United States
Portland
Oregon
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I played a solo game of Welcome To.... It's the first time giving it a try.

It's alright.


Lillian took her first steps this weekend. It was amazing.
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16. Board Game: Trogdor!! The Board Game [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:2959]
Board Game: Trogdor!! The Board Game
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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Last week I managed to get Trogdor!! The Board Game to the table with my co-workers. I also commited the faux pas of not having read the rules. So we learned as we sat and set up. But having seen the kickstarter video helped me be ready for most of it. We each had one turn before the game finished and we lost, but everybody said they had fun. Nobody was familiar with the Trogdor lore except one person who wasn't playing, so I need to indoctrinate everybody.

I played and finished Iconoclasts which is an enjoyable video game, but there are some significant complaints I have where if you play it, I recommend a walkthrough guide for the bosses so you know what you have to do. At least if you keep losing and haven't figured out what to do.

I started Dead Cells, but it hasn't grabbed me so I don't know that I'll finish it. I think I'll move on to something else.
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17. Board Game: One Hit Wonder [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
Board Game: One Hit Wonder
Philip Newman
United States
Plano
Texas
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Top 5 One-Hit Wonders!

(because I didn't forget, I'm just slow)

1. Samuel Barber - "Adagio for Strings"



2. A-ha - "Take On Me"



3. Vangelis - "Chariots Of Fire - Titles"



4. Soft Cell - "Tainted Love"



5. Starland Vocal Band - "Afternoon Delight"



Honorable Mention, because it's perfect for this list:



Honorable Mention, because it was #1 when I was born (they had a bunch of other successful songs but for some reason this was listed on VH1's top 10 list so)

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18. Board Game: Pirate Tricks [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:9872]
Board Game: Pirate Tricks
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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Board Game: Texas Showdown
Board Game: Q.E.
Board Game: Crossfire
Board Game: Corinth
Board Game: Stick 'Em
Board Game: Pirate Tricks
Board Game: Android: Netrunner
Board Game: Android: Netrunner – Terminal Directive


Texas Showdown x2 (3 all-time)
Q.E. x2 (7 all-time)
Crossfire x10 (11 all-time) NEW-ISH!
Corinth (3 all-time)
Sticheln (25 all-time)
Pirate Tricks NEW!
Android: Netrunner (170 all-time) + Android: Netrunner – Terminal Directive (6 all-time)

Had a card-game-tastic week, with lots of trick-takers.

I wanted to re-vist Crossfire as my one play of it left me bewildered, but intrigued. Taking a cue from the majority of commenters who recommended Sniper mode over Crossfire, I broke the former out with my work group and it was an instant hit, with us playing it 10 times in a row. I know Charlie mentioned that Crossfire mode felt unfocused and random, and Sniper mode immediately put that to bed. Essentially a gussied up version of Win, Lose, or Banana, one player is openly the Sniper, who has to shoot 2-3 Assassins before they can kill the VIP. The same card pass-and-shuffle that occurs in Crossfire mode happens here, giving groups of players a little info as to who their neighbors might be, but now since there is someone who is openly a role, players are given more direction for how to lie and who to.

We played with the minimum number of players and the base set of roles, but switched out to the only extra role available to the Sniper rules at that player count, the Bomber. This character adds an extra twist in that they win if they are not shot first, meaning the Sniper has to ensure that they get the Bomber in their cross-hairs or EVERYONE but the Bomber loses. But because they only have enough bullets for the 2-3 assassins, so they HAVE to let at least one assassin live in order to not tank the game. The VIP team can still win if the Assassin(s) don't shoot the VIP, but now the blue team has a much harder job of it, meaning that EVERYONE now has to lie so the blue team can try to protect the VIP. We found it an interesting construct, but too weighted toward the Assassins. If we had a single additional player it would have added the Blue Decoy to the table, which probably would have put our reservations to bed.

All-in-all, I very much agree with the consensus that it's not the best of hidden role games, but succeeds in being a moderator-less short-timeframe social deduction experience that it's good value for money. I'll probably want to try Crossfire mode a few more times with the extra roles, but for now Sniper is the way to play.

I'd picked up Pirate Tricks on Charlie's recommendation, and it's a very solid design. It owes not a little to Chronicle (with both the three-suited-deck and variable win conditions each hand), but adds some additional gubbins that to its credit don't bog the design down. Using VPs to bid on partly open-and-closed hands helps balance the game out, as well as VP earning opportunities both for the hand you get after the auction and the results of the trick-taking after that. Scores were very close and I had a good time, but time will tell if this remains in my good graces.

Quick Hits

- I had a Twitter grump session complaining about some of the killjoys who I played Texas Showdown with, though additional plays have shown that there is more to this game than initially meets the eye. I was able to come out of the most recent play pretty well despite having high cards, and the challenge of figuring out when to play to duck tricks/fob off high cards is a tough one. I'm really liking this design.

- Playing Q.E. with the correct rules led to some very tense games. I think 4p is better but also seemed to be prone to lots of thinking, with our 5p game zipping along at a good pace.

- Corinth: Still fine.

- Stick 'Em: Still rad.

- Finally pulled out a win in Android: Netrunner – Terminal Directive, managed a good draw and got my money supplemented by the now huge amount of money I can get due to my TD powers (2c every un-successful run, 2c every no-run Runner turn). It was very close and tense and came down to match point, with my partner YOLOing through a Neural Katana and some other porous (but painful) ICE. I managed to build a giant ice tower and made the runner hit one of my biggest pieces of ice despite him using Inside Job (and a piece of ICE he had no breaker for, muhahahaha). I'm on set 8 and one loss away from opening set 9, which I think may be a "bad" set due to it resulting from four losses. Still having fun with this.
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19. Board Game: Unlock!: Exotic Adventures – Expedition: Challenger [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:3158]
Board Game: Unlock!: Exotic Adventures – Expedition: Challenger
Chris Ferejohn
United States
Mountain View
California
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Pitying fools as hard as I can...
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KeyForge: Age of Ascension – Played a game with Alistair with our 2 new Age of Ascension decks. Based on a massive sample size of 1 play with 2 decks that we say like 2/3rds of, there does seem to be more opportunities for clever play and combos here. I beat him fairly handily starting w/a 5 chain handicap.

Unlock!: Exotic Adventures – Expedition: Challenger – We restarted this one (having started it last week but been interrupted). As such we were of course able to progress quickly through the first part of the game. For a 3/3 difficulty game, the puzzles here didn't seem *that* hard (not that I didn't screw some of them up), and I appreciated some new ways they used the app. One funny thing (spoilers).

Spoiler (click to reveal)
So with the Parasaurolophys skull 'machine' - I figured out it was sound based, but I thought that you had to sing a specific pitch (since singing within a given range made it "shake"). Basically I could make it shake, but it wouldn't quite 'activate' until I moved it close enough to my mouth to trigger whatever the "air over mic" sound it was looking for. It did lead to some pretty funny scenes of me singing at my phone).


In related news, we picked up the new 3-pack of Unlock games as well as the double-sized exit game, so we've got that to look forward to.

We're going to try to have a cocktails, hot wings, and party game thing this weekend. Locals here invited (I mean if you want to fly in from wherever non-locals invited too). Watch this space for details.

As threatened, the details wrote:

Hey all. We're having a party this Saturday the 27th! There will be games! And hot wings! And cocktails!

We'll start at 3:30 and go until we stop. As evidenced by the subject, there are 3 basic components to this party:

Cocktails: Hilary has gotten really into making fancy cocktails in the last few months (and also virgin cocktails and spritzers for the non-booze inclined/legal). Come let us make you one.

Wings: All 3 of us have gotten into hot sauces. We'll be whipping up a bunch of wings and trying sauces of various flavors and intensities.

Board games: Hey, it's me. Probably leaning towards the party/social variety, so while a love silently staring at maps of southern England/the North East US, that'll be for a different party.

Kids and friends welcome. Bringing drinks and food (and hot sauce!) to share is encouraged, but not required.

RSVPs encouraged so we have some idea of how many wings/cocktails to get. Also, let us know if you are vegetarian or any other dietary restrictions so we can pick up some non-meat alternatives as hot sauce conduits.

Hope to see you this weekend!

Chris and Hilary
GM me if you are available to come and want my address.
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20. Board Game: Mahjong [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:737]
Board Game: Mahjong
Ambie
United States
San Mateo
California
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Board Game: Unpublished Prototype
Board Game: TransAmerica
Board Game: Mahjong
Board Game: Decrypto
Board Game: Deception: Murder in Hong Kong


 N/A   Unpublished Prototype
 7.5   TransAmerica
 7   Mahjong
 N/A   Decrypto x2
 9.5   Deception: Murder in Hong Kong x3

Friday night we were gonna play Harzbahn 1873 but we had a PnP that we made before we were really playing 18xx games, and we needed to print out additional stuff because the PnP files didn't come with everything. So we decided to wait until later and we played Fourth Age (1870 retheme in Middle-Earth) instead. I'm pretty bad at Fourth Age since I always focus on the destinations and then don't really do anything else. I ended up third in order so I got tokened out of the places I wanted to be too, so my corps had horrible runs from the start and I didn't get any money. Then I decided to try to get to yellow by withholding a lot, but I'm not good at that either. I did manage to get to yellow though! But I didn't have enough money to buy shares to make it matter. It was fun though. Toby got the orcs but didn't end up destroying any track! He was all excited to destroy track at the beginning too. One of these days we'll have some track destruction.

Saturday we went to a friend's house and played some games. Hadn't played TransAmerica in a while, and that was quick and fun like usual. We also played Deception with the expansion! None of the special roles, but added the extra cards. And in Decrypto we had a bunch of miscommunications. But I had fun making themed clues! One of my clues was all Pokemon ('Pikachu', 'Psyduck', 'Abra' for Detective, Memory, Magic) and one of my clues was rhyming ('spin', 'win', 'put it in' for Spider, Contest, Water). It was hard to think of the last rhyme. And I think I got miscommunications on both of them. But I was proud of my clues.

We then played Mahjong because somehow it came up. All of the people there were Chinese or Taiwanese, so we mostly knew how to play the basics. This was the first time I've played with all people my age and at similar levels! My friend's dad was all impressed because I knew how to set it up and play more than everyone else (and I'm the least Chinese). He was watching, and I'd do something and he'd say something in Mandarin in an excited voice, and I didn't know what he said so then everyone else would tell me that he was impressed I knew so much about Mahjong. That was funny. Anyway, Mahjong was a lot of fun. We just played basic rules (no money or points, just going out with the basic sets), but this was the first time I got more into paying attention to what I'm discarding to make sure I don't give other people the win. It was a lot of fun and now we want to get a Mahjong set.

On My Mind
- Gonna finish painting Stuffed Fables this week! I'm on the bosses now. I also just opened LotR Journeys in Middle Earth, and that has a lot of minis so I guess I'll be busy with painting for a while!

- Moved some of the hand-me-down baby stuff over. We now have a bunch of boxes of clothes. I don't think we need to buy any clothes, which is really nice. We also got a crib, but it didn't seem very sturdy (looked like it was from IKEA and it didn't hold up well to disassembling and reassembling), so we decided not to use it. But now we know how much space the crib takes up in the bedroom (which still has my board game filming stuff in it with plenty of room). My brother-in-law was commenting how it was weird seeing two infant car seats and hearing us talk about a second crib since most of the time people only need one.

- My parents are visiting this week! We're gonna do an escape room type thing on Saturday. It says it's not an escape room, but a murder mystery type thing (Sherlock themed) so we'll see how that is.

- We're having a Board Game Baby Bash on August 17. If you live around here (or will be around here that weekend) then let me know if you want to come and I'll give you the details! I have a Facebook event but I don't know people's Facebooks.
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21. Board Game: Billboard Top 40 Trivia [Average Rating:6.50 Unranked]
Board Game: Billboard Top 40 Trivia
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Tumblin-Dice 6 (58 all-time)
Cacao 1 (5 all-time)
Gizmos 1 (8 all-time)
Just One 1 (9 all-time)
The Quest for El Dorado 1 (3 all-time)
Time's Up! Title Recall! 1 (42 all-time)

Review: Reykholt went up on iSlaytheDragon.

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Nothing new again this week. Cacao and The Quest for El Dorado hadn't been played for two years. I still enjoy Cacao as a quick filler and want to try the expansion modules that I've had forever at some point. I'm considering The Quest for El Dorado as a good game to play with my parents, though I'm in no rush to run out and buy it right now. Also, they're already releasing a new version (with Vincent Dutrait art /eye roll) so I'm waiting to see what, if anything other than the art and card size, is going to be different.

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On My Mind:

I hit 40 weeks yesterday, which sounds like an absurdly long time to be pregnant. I'm scheduled to be induced on the 30th if he doesn't come before then. Based on a few signs, I am hopeful this week will be the week.

Notable TV watching this week: The ABC Murders, Generation Wealth, and Vice. All were good, especially Vice.

I got the second set of Graphic Novel Adventures in the mail. I downloaded the sheet for Mystery and am going to start there. I had planned on reading more than just one from the first series, but that didn't happen. Whoops.
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22. Board Game: Madeira [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:353]
Board Game: Madeira
Fabrice Dubois
France
La Garenne Colombes
Hauts de Seine
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 9  Madeira x2 (5 plays so far)
 8  Lorenzo x2 (10 plays)
 8  Yunnan x1 (5 plays)
 8  Glass Road x1 (5 plays so far)
 N/A  Las Vegas New!

2019 10x10 solo challenge :

01) A feast for Odin
02) At the gates of Loyang 10/10 (16,17,16,18,16,17,17,17,19,16)
03) Caverna: Cave vs Cave 10/10 (54,48,53,55,38,48,44,52,38,46)
04) Le Havre 10/10 (247,236,286,324,267,269,221,241,244,256)
05) Fields of Arle
06) Arkham Horror JCE
07) Mage Knight
08) Antiquity (solo variant by El Commandante)
09) Roads & Boats
10) Terraforming Mars 19/10
11) Glass Road 05/10 (16,27,28,23,23)


On my mind:
1) vacation tomorrow !!!! My wife and my children are already at my mother-in-law's house. We are leaving from there on friday to go to Luberon for 2 weeks.

2) today, i have an interview for a new mission. It is an enterprise architect position for BNP Cardif (insurance). I have some former colleagues who are working there and i am excited by the opportunity but in the other hand english is the communication language as it is a job where your are supporting countries's projects. This also means sporadic travel to those countries.
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23. Board Game: For Sale [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:293]
Board Game: For Sale
Philip Newman
United States
Plano
Texas
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I didn't post my item until late last week, and I'm having a game day this weekend (birthday games), so I'll just wait until next week's list.

In the meantime: I got our shelves organized, and pulled out a few things to sell or give away. These are some games I am debating on:

Agricola
Not to get rid of totally, but to replace with the revised edition. I have a bunch of expansions, and we don't play it often enough (read: at all, in the last few years) to warrant that much variety.

Android: Netrunner
I love this game, but Adam and I haven't played in a long time, and I don't know if that's going to change any time soon. I don't think Aerial would ever get into it enough to build her own decks.

Dungeon Lords
This would also make me very sad, but it's not something I want to play 2 player, and it's complicated enough that it's hard to see ever getting it to the table 4 player.

Hansa Teutonica
Not a 2 player game, and too much of a cube pusher to hit the table with our usual group.

Hive
We have a bunch of abstracts, and this has never hit the table.

King of Tokyo
Might try to get this played this weekend... we don't have a big group often enough to warrant keeping this, though.

Le Havre
Not sure I would play this much solo (and I have the app), and I don't know how interested Aerial would be.

Mage Knight Board Game
Leaning toward keeping, but I really need to play it more solo (or teach it to Aerial) if it's going to stay long term.

Mr. Jack
Cute, but it's been a while since we pulled it out.

Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper
Still unplayed.

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Skull & Shackles – Base Set
Debating mostly because we've got so many other things to play, and if I do get Aerial into our Gloomhaven campaign I don't know that we'll be starting this one in the next few years.

Puerto Rico
Probably need to try it 2 player before selling it.

Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island
Need to play solo or sell. Too many other lengthy co-ops to play with Aerial.

Space Alert
Need to play solo or sell. Aerial isn't too interested in the concept

The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
The last couple times I played this, it just felt like such a beatdown. Feels like I either need to commit to playing it more regularly, or sell it.

Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
I like it, but I don't know how often we'd play it 2 player.
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24. Board Game: Rattus [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:971]
Board Game: Rattus
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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Hansa Teutonica
I lost... again. Colette must be sapping my super powers because that's twice in a row on the base map. I knowingly made the mistake of shooting for libra/move/block strategy in the 4 player map while telling people it was a stupid idea. I managed to block off stuff pretty well, but got little in return, and everyone else shot straight for privilege and actually built offices. So, by the end of the game I had control of few cities, and the person to my right was collecting bonus markers which actively hampered my ability to do so. He won in a very well played game (I took second).

Rattus
We didn't have much time left, so I suggested either 8 Minute Empire: Legends, or Rattus. They bit on Rattus. I replaced two of the base roles for this game: the King I replaced with a ridiculous BGG promo that allows you to drop two pieces from a foot off of the board and wherever they land is their new location; the other role I replaced was the Witch for the Wizard (which gives you an elixir you can use to save one person from the plague). Everyone had a surprising amount of fun with this game despite its stupid randomness. This, of course, made me go look to see if I was missing any Rattus stuff, which then led me to putting in a $100 order to have all of that imported directly from White Goblin Games.

On my mind:
PURPLE crying sucks.
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