GCL Mafia 445: Cry Babies
Matt C
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Ypsilanti
MI
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Welcome to GCL Mafia Division's weekly geeklist!

Important Links:
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GCL Mafia Members:
• Please add an item to represent your gaming life for the week.
• Please add a picture of your favorite muffin[s].
• Explain why the games you played are not as good as your favorite one.
• Also, feel free to share gaming news, life updates, random thoughts, or anything else you deem appropriate. Bonus points if they're inappropriate.

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.

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1. Board Game: A Game for Good Christians: Things That Make The Baby Jesus Cry [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked] [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
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Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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Nerds sometimes get the reputation of being sore losers. We've all experience explosive family tempers because someone blocked them from the route they needed in Ticket to Ride, or complete meltdowns because you refuse to trade your woods for their useless goddamn sheep.

What is the biggest meltdown you have ever witnessed at a game night? How did people react to it? Do you still game with that person?


My Answer:
Once, when we were teaching a game of Wealth of Nations, one of the players just could not get their brain around the valuations and trading their goods for others'. The guy teaching the game kept asking them every round if they wanted to trade for his or others' goods, since we all needed their ore. After about an hour of this, the player completely loses their shit, says they've never been so denigrated in their life, and says they have to "leave this toxic environment." They legit rage-quit in the middle of the game and drive off. I have not seen them at a game night since then.
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2. Board Game: Baby Blues [Average Rating:5.61 Overall Rank:16337]
Board Game: Baby Blues
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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The baby blues (not to be confused with postpartum depression) are a period of time where mothers often feel moody or sad about their baby. Have you ever bought a game and then gone through a baby blues period where you're sad, moody, and regret having purchased the game? If so, did you end up getting over those blues and enjoying the game, or did it result in eventual game depression and potentially selling off the game?

My Answer:
When I found out that they were making a dice version of Race for the Galaxy, I was over the moon. I may have been more excited than when I found out my wife was expecting (I'm, uhh, "joking"). Then the game arrive. I held it up and cried to my wife "it's finally here! Look at how beautiful it is! Look, she has RftG's mechanics and you can really see the heritage shining through!" I laughed and showed it off to all of my friends. But every time my friends indulged me, I had that nagging feeling "this is a lot of work, and wouldn't I really just rather play Race instead?" I tried to shake it. Surely this was normal. Everyone feels this way about highly anticipated games, right? It wouldn't go away, and as I got more moody, it cried for attention. People began asking "where's roll? Why did you just bring race with you?" I thought that maybe it just needed a new outfit, so I bought the expansion and built a foamcore insert, but nothing helped. I finally begged one of my siblings to adopt the game so it wouldn't be my responsibility anymore. Best decision ever. I no longer feel conflicted, and I can go out and enjoy my nights without feeling that stupid responsibility of taking care of this garbage I don't want hanging around.
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3. Board Game: Let's Make A Baby [Average Rating:6.80 Unranked]
Board Game: Let's Make A Baby
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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We're going to operate a breeding program now. Take your Top 2 favorite games and make a hybrid game that would be their baby.

My Answer:
Game 1: Hansa Teutonica
Game 2: Race for the Galaxy

Mechanics:
This is a card drawing tableau building game set in the 1600s Germany as you are trying to take over the word by using your trade networks. Each time you expand your network you will have to use cards out of your hand in order to build there, but each of these cards could also have special bonuses you could have used them for instead. The purpose of obtaining new towns and expanding your network is because they produce goods that need to be delivered elsewhere to be consumed for sweet sweet victory points. Every round you have a certain number of actions you can take on your turn, such as:
* draw card
* build route
* upgrade ability
* block route
* produce goods
* ship goods
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4. Board Game: Evil Baby Orphanage [Average Rating:5.31 Overall Rank:19216]
Board Game: Evil Baby Orphanage
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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To "baby" something generally means to coddle it and treat it delicately. What game are you especially affectionate about, and generally "baby" it?

My Answer:
For me, it's definitely Rattus. By any objective measure, the game is not great. However, I have a particular bond with it, since my family used to keep pet rats. Every time that I find out there's some expansion/promo that I don't have, I have to actively fight against the urge to spend gobs of money buying it. I have built foam core inserts, and only ever play the game when I'm sure that the group of people is "right" and will enjoy it. This is also how I ended up owning all 16 Rattus items currently listed in the BGG database; I just can't help myself and have to buy it new cute outfits when I see them.
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5. Board Game: Babysitter Game [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Babysitter Game
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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This GCL is now filled to the brim with parents who have kids of all ages. For those who have kids old enough to play, here are a few questions:

1. How old were your children when they started playing board games with you?

2. What were the first games they played?

3. For young kids, what are your favorite games?

4. As of right now, what are your kids favorite games?

5. What one game you are excited to teach your child in the future?




(yes, this is a sneaky reverse top 5).
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6. Board Game: Root [Average Rating:8.09 Overall Rank:31]
Board Game: Root
Jim Parkin
United States
Stow
Ohio
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Board Game: Roll for the Galaxy
Board Game: Lords of Waterdeep
Board Game: Root


Roll for the Galaxy (35 all-time)
Lords of Waterdeep (30 all-time)
Root (17 all-time)



A good week of three solid games. I'll take it.



Roll for the Galaxy
Anastasia elected herself Space Pope, then I spammed cheap novelty goods in order to buy my way into a double-tied tiebreaker with her galactic papacy. She hates it when I play produce/ship strategies, but at least she had the satisfaction of pushing me out of a win this go-around.

This game is not as good as Eclipse because while set in space and built around an economic option, it has no Warp Anomalies.

Lords of Waterdeep
My friend, Joe, and I played an all-the-things game with every expansion and it was probably the most fun I've had with the interlocking systems in Lords of Waterdeep. I ended up with plot quests that allowed me to draw and play free intrigue cards when I played other intrigue cards, score bonus points when I play intrigue cards, play up to two additional intrigue cards when I play an intrigue card, and convert my accrued corruption into VP whenever I dump it through means on the board. I proceeded to build two buildings that allowed me to funnel away corruption and either DRAW or PLAY intrigue cards, so I managed to accomplish a goal of mine I've had for years--play a LoW game where the intrigue deck is actually played all the way to the bottom and reshuffled. It was something like 70+ cards by the end. My score came in just south of 300 points, which is likely a bar I'll never surpass henceforth.

This game is not as good as Eclipse becuase it does not include Plasma Missiles.

Root
Sam and Eee are back from being out of state all summer, so we met for dessert, beer, and games. Eee wanted to learn something new, so we taught her Root. Anastasia was the Riverfolk Company, Sam was the Tinker Vagabond, Eee was the Eyrie Dynasty, and I was the Woodland Alliance. I had a slow start becuase of my supporter deck being quite multi-dimensional, and initial sympathy was not spread quickly. Anastasia lagged for a bit due to little purchasing on her wares, though she was as aggressive as she could manage in regards to opening trading posts. Sam's Tinker was off to a strong start with hammers, but Eee decided to smash him a few times and knock out a lot of his items. The end-game pivoted quickly as Eee went into turmoil and I bought Riverboats, allowing me to spread officers and sympathy out of my reach and revolt twice in the next turn for mouse and fox clearings. Despite a two-way mad dash for clinched dominance victories, I eeked out a win with last-minute sympathy spam since Eee and Anastasia decided to stomp all over my sympathy without managing to destroy a base, leading to a huge supporter deck.

We realized about half-way through that this is NOT a good matchup for Riverfolk Company, as only Eee (and sometimes Sam) had enough pieces/items to pay for services. I did spend a few mouse dudes for some of her hand cards, but the Riverfolk Company really thrives with the Marquise and Lizard Cult in play, both for their weaknesses (and the Riverfolk's strengths) and their sheer number of pieces to use for payment.

This game is not as good as Eclipse because Rho Indi space bastards.



I impulse-bought Raiders of the North Sea in app form.

I also grabbed Ascension: Delirium for the app and LOVE it. I recall now, Grace, your good thoughts on the usefulness of the insight currency in the game, and I think the interaction of new dreamborn cards and the delirium die are quite good fits for the game. Whether paired with Dreamscape or played on its own, I'm digging it.

The Boy Scout-adjacent group I help lead at church, Trail Life USA, is having our first big campout in about a month. We figured out some good logistics practices to help streamline our organization, and I am looking forward to a big new calendar year of development and growth. I was also tasked by the ladies' counterpart, American Heritage Girls, to lead a session on orienteering and compass skills on their own campout this weekend. I promptly ordered a compass and now have to re-teach myself how to, um, do that.
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7. Board Game: Finger Guns at High Noon [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:7071]
Board Game: Finger Guns at High Noon
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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I'm back from Gen Con and exhausted.

Board Game: Warhammer Underworlds: Nightvault
Board Game: Jaws
Board Game: Hanamikoji
Board Game: Android: Netrunner – Terminal Directive
Board Game: Valley of the Vikings
Board Game: Tentacle Town
Board Game: Sovereign's Chain
Board Game: Skull King: Das Würfelspiel
Board Game: Secret Hitler
Board Game: The Quacks of Quedlinburg
Board Game: Q.E.
Board Game: Pax Pamir (Second Edition)
Board Game: Palm Trees
Board Game: Horrified
Board Game: High Society
Board Game: Extraordinary Adventures: Pirates
Board Game: Word Slam
Board Game: Unpublished Prototype
Board Game: Rising Sun
Board Game: Hako Onna
Board Game: Flamme Rouge
Board Game: Finger Guns at High Noon
Board Game: Fate of the Elder Gods
Board Game: Blood Rage
Board Game: Time Chase
Board Game: Inis
Board Game: Cosmic Encounter: 42nd Anniversary Edition
Board Game: Betrayal Legacy
Board Game: Hellapagos
Board Game: Condottiere
Board Game: Blockbuster
Board Game: Bahamas


 9   Warhammer Underworlds: Nightvault (7 all-time)
 8   Jaws x2 NEW!
 7   Hanamikoji NEW!
 6   Android: Netrunner – Terminal Directive x3 (8 all-time)
 6   Valley of the Vikings NEW!
 N/A   Tentacle Town (2 all-time)
 7.4   Sovereign's Chain NEW!
 6   Skull King: Das Würfelspiel NEW!
 8.4   Secret Hitler x7 (40 all-time)
 N/A   The Quacks of Quedlinburg NEW!
 7.6   Q.E. x2 NEW!
 8.6   Pax Pamir (Second Edition) (5 all-time)
 N/A   Palm Trees NEW!
 7.2   Horrified x2 NEW!
 8   High Society (6 all-time)
 N/A   Extraordinary Adventures: Pirates NEW!
 6   Word Slam (2 all-time)
 N/A   Unpublished Prototype (126 all-time)
 8.5   Rising Sun (9 all-time)
 6   Hako Onna NEW!
 7.9   Flamme Rouge (4 all-time)
 7.7   Finger Guns at High Noon x5 NEW!
 6   Fate of the Elder Gods NEW!
 9   Blood Rage (20 all-time)
 7.4   Time Chase x2 NEW!
 8.2   Inis (7 all-time)
 9   Cosmic Encounter (8 all-time)
 7.6   Betrayal Legacy x2 (4 all-time)
 7.9   Hellapagos (8 all-time)
 8.4   Condottiere (7 all-time)
 7.4   Blockbuster (4 all-time)
 6.8   Bahamas NEW!



Secret Hitler (7 plays) - We played this every night of the convention. Totally awesome and I won 6 out of 7 games. In one particular game a good guy outed two of us bad guys early on. I managed to convince one Liberal to believe me and we somehow got Hitler elected.

In another play, Raf did an actual spit-take and spat water across the entire table. We were dying. With the right people, this game is top shelf.

Finger Guns at High Noon (5 plays) - I brought this one not thinking much of it. It's kind of a Bang-style game where you countdown 3-2-1 and then make a gang sign/signal with your hand to perform an action. Things like pointing your finger at another player to shoot them, throwing up the devil horns for blow up Dynamite, or a number of fingers to heal that many.

But it's extremely social with a ton of negotiation and is completely silly. It's one of my games of the con and I wasn't surprised to hear Indie Boards and Cards sold out by Friday (it's only $15 MSRP).

We loved this one. Tons of table talk about forming a posse (if half or more of the table puts their thumb up to form a posse those who didn't suffer 5 damage). People agreeing then backsliding to instead look dumb by making a circular lasso motion. The lasso action grants you the special ally character in the middle of the table, which is a permanent special ability, but you don't succeed if anyone else at the table lassoes. Lots of talk like "that ability kind of sucks" and then multiple people trying to sneak it in thinking no one else will and no one getting it.

There's also this brilliant mechanism where we have to flash our hand signs when any player counts down 3-2-1. If you performed the previous countdown you can't do the next. You can count down at any speed though. Occasionally we'd be in conversation, possibly arguing about something, and someone would rush the count out of nowhere trying to take people by surprise. If you don't get your action up fast enough it doesn't count.

So, one time I said we should all posse, asked another player what he thought and he began to explain his opinion but I hammered the countdown and Power Shot him immediately (a huge attack that is unsuccessful if anyone else shoots you). It's hilarious watching other people scramble to come up with a sign on the spot and what they choose.

I have no idea if I ever won this because it doesn't matter. All throughout the con we'd be playing something else and randomly someone would rush a countdown and a few of us would throw up Finger Gun actions.

Android: Netrunner Terminal Directive (x3) - We played this on day 0, before leaving for the con. I think we're almost done and I finally won a couple of games as the runner. I think I'm like 3-5.

Betrayal Legacy (x2) - Carved out some time to play this one with three of us during downtime on Saturday afternoon. We've now finished four sessions of this and I'm really digging it. It's definitely better than standard Betrayal. For those who have played we opened the Helm and I absolutely love it.

Horrified (x2) - Solid game for sure. I love how they tied defeating the monsters to a mini-game associated with each. The Creature from the Black Lagoon is my favorite of these films so pushing that little boat along certainly hit some nostalgia factors.

I do have some concerns on this one long-term. If you're going to play it more than a half dozen times, I think the basic structure would get repetitive. You're basically just moving around a board (one that looks stunning) spending actions to pick up items and then moving some more to drop them off. The game is centered on the antagonists and that's where the interesting elements lie.

But the mini-games aren't complex or overly novel. They're largely similar really with only a few minor variations on how the track or collection works.

So, I dig this one but it's not nearly as good as Jaws and I'm certainly fine never playing it again.

Jaws (x2) - This game rocks. It's also much better with a full complement of players discussing possible locations for the shark and collaborating on strategy.

It's been tense and down to the wire each time. My only point of criticism is that the first phase feels almost inconsequential in terms of balance or affecting the outcome of the second phase. It certainly matters as it affects the card draw, but the wild and random nature of the dice and card effects has me questioning whether it really matters.

And if the first phase is almost inconsequential, I'm not sure that even matters that much. It's still fun and tremendously thematic. In our last game, I ate Quint in the final showdown as he was hacking at me with his machete. Hopper finished me with his hammer though.

Q.E. (x2) - This one is fascinating. After our second play we talked about it for an hour and even drew graphs to help focus discussion.

I agree with the comments here that a particular strategy may be dominant, but I think I was convinced that it can be shut down if the rest of the table bands together and simply allows the player to commit suicide and lose the game.

I think this is a flaw in the game but it's one that's surmountable. The game needed a simple change - the winning bid should get the first pick of multiple tiles, second highest bid should then get to pick, and so on. There needs to a point value award for not over-bidding when someone decides to take the game off the rails. It still would have nailed its thematic points this way and it would have a built in mechanism to align gameplay.

Time Chase (x2) - Here's one you won't hear about anywhere. This is a trick-taker from Renegade that is wonderful. I don't even like many trick-takers.

The novel mechanism here is that it has time travel. You receive gems each turn and can go back in time and influence previously won tricks. The winner is the first to have three tricks won at the end of a turn. It's pretty wild and thinky for a trick-taker. Very unique.

Bahamas - An interesting game of stealing cards and money from each other, with action selection based on a dice roll. It reminds me vaguely of Tiefe Taschen (it's not the same mechanically but it fits in the same slot). The problem is TT is much better and I'd always choose it over this.

Blockbuster - This recent party game is a bit underrated, but it's not as good as Time's Up. Wish I would have brought Time's Up instead.

Blood Rage - Great game where we all pursued different paths and scores ended up with the winner only besting last place by 6 points. I'm used to seeing at least a couple of players blown out so this was pretty tense.

Condottiere - Love every play of it. I had a big maneuver near the end of round one where Raf and I were the only one left with cards. We were fighting bitterly over a territory and I realized I couldn't likely win. I had one card left (he had several) and I offered - if you pass and let me win this, I will play my last three next battle and you can win that one. This way we each end the first round with a win rather than risk getting nothing.

He accepted after some debate and then I discarded the winter card I was holding to drop the hammer.

Cosmic Encounter - Great play of this with a five player win. Poor dude with only 2 colonies.

Extraordinary Adventures: Pirates - A Glenn Drover game that's kind of a pirate race thing. You have three ships, each on a different path (think track in a racing game). It's deckbuilding and you play cards out of your hand to move one of your ships. You can't really push all three of your ships so you need to commit to really shoving forward a couple.

There are considerations besides finishing in a certain position, such as needing to stop at ports and collect goods to buy better cards. It kind of mixes some Euro-style set collection and efficient gathering of resources with deckbuilding to fuel a race game.

Utterly average and forgettable.

Fate of the Elder Gods - I feel duped by this one. My buddy played it Thursday night while I was busy in another game, and he raved about it. I played it Friday with him and it fell flat for me. It looks like an area control game where you're cultists competing to summon their great old one (which wins you the game). But it's really more of a worker placement game that's highly repetitive and very convoluted.

I won by kind of hitting the same two locations as often as possible. Felt like I was playing a Euro overall, despite being raided by investigators, casting spells, etc. Fine never playing again.

Flamme Rouge - Still love it. I wished we were playing this instead during Drover's Pirates.

Hako Onna - Maybe my most disappointing play of the convention. This game is on fire conceptually - one player is a dead girl stuffed in a box, able to move around the mansion and live in other boxes. The other players are trying to search all of the boxes and find a way out of the mansion (which there are multiple paths such as finding the girl's weakness, unlocking a safe to grab some keys and then make it out the secret door, or returning the doll to the girl's bones). The trick is that if you open the box with the girl you are dead.

So it's this horror thing with tension and kind of reverse hide and seek. It wasn't bad and it was certainly ok, but I had hope it would be great. One thing which is very annoying is this mini-game where you stack discs. Players must stack a disc before they take their turn, if the stack falls the girl player interrupts and goes. This sounded awesome. Unfortunately the stacking of discs is so extremely difficult it didn't work.

They do provide an alternative system which works fine, but it's not the same.

Hanamikoji - Surprised how much I enjoyed this. Battleline-ish.

Hellapagos - Seven player game. Raf had never played before and he tried to work a deal for someone to trade him some bullets for his gun. I wasn't letting that alliance form as I had a gun and two bullets. I shot Raf and then threatened the player who had another two bullets to give them to me or I'd shoot him. I got those, then a round later shot three players. Two of them had the sheet metal!

All was well as I eventually was able to get another bullet by working a deal and shot a player, allowing me and the first guy with bullets who I strong-armed to win.

High Society - Yep. Spent too much.

Inis w/ Expansion - Great play. The expansion is solid but nothing spectacular. More cars and a fifth player are good. The ports are interesting and worth including. I like the altered end game well enough. The little season wheel thing is dumb and unnecessary extra cruft to remember. Would almost never choose to play with it.

Palm Trees - Dumb card game where you have to hold these plastic palm leaf cards in your hand. Each card has rules on it which require you to hold it with certain fingers. You play until someone drops a card and then total points. The game comes with cloth sleeves depicting a palm tree stump. You wear these on your arm. It's dumb. I really enjoyed this game but it's not something I'd play often. Reminds me of Yogi of course.

Pax Pamir 2 - Our first play Wednesday night at the convention. One new player. Riveting game where it came down to the Dominance check as the very last card. Every other card was removed from the offer. Crazy.

Quacks of Quedlinburg - Fun for sure. Nothing I need to own and I'd still prefer Can't Stop, Incan Gold, or World Championship Russian Roulette if we're doing push your luck. Still, I dug it and I played well enough to win a four player game by a solid margin.

Rising Sun - I played poorly but had a great time as always.

Skull King - A trick-taker which was fine. Some neat weird powerful cards that trump everything, but it's a lot of book-keeping and a little complex. Definitely preferred Time Chase.

Sovereign's Chain - Need more plays of this. It's another quiet Wizkids release that will get no buzz. Wonky tableau builder where you play cards to your, or another player's tableau. Cards do weird things such as cover other cards. There are two suits and your final score is the difference between them - so you want high in one and low (preferably 0) in the other. You play to other player's tableaus to of course raise the suit that they don't want.

Lots of nifty abilities and thinky play in 30 minutes. Love the event deck which has some crazy rules. One of my favorite plays of the convention.

Tentacle Town - Got in another play of this one. Still feel it's a solid family game. It's not a mind-blower and the most fun part is tossing harpoon tiles across the board.

Cosmic Frog - This has progressed much from last year. It was smoother and still a very fun time. Jim is of course always enjoyable to be around.

I did provide some feedback and there's one mechanic in the game which basically has you lose one or more turns in a row - being knocked into the outer dimension of the cosmos. While narratively delightful, I'm very much anti-skip a turn in modern board game design. It's certainly not a significant enough portion of the game to ruin it for me, but we'll see how the final version ends up. I know Jim's reluctant to get rid of it completely, but he was considering ideas to tweak it.

Valley of the Vikings - Haba game that's kind of like Viking bowling. It's fine but not something I'd play with adults.

Warhammer Underworlds: Nightvault - Fantastic game where I played Magore's Fiends and opponent was the Dwarves in season one. He bested me by a small margin due to some clever play, very satisfying overall. I got Dreadfane (the new streamlined core set for Barnes & Noble), and am eager to try out its event deck in regular games of Warhammer Underworlds.

Word Slam - Second time playing this one and it was pretty enjoyable. I'm down with team-based party games.
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8. Board Game: Funkoverse Strategy Game [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:2440] [Average Rating:7.56 Unranked]
Board Game: Funkoverse Strategy Game
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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Board Game: Valley of the Vikings
Board Game: Tentacle Town
Board Game: Sovereign's Chain
Board Game: Skull King
Board Game: Palm Trees
Board Game: Moon Base
Board Game: High Society
Board Game: Extraordinary Adventures: Pirates
Board Game: Secret Hitler
Board Game: Rising Sun
Board Game: Q.E.
Board Game: Marvel Champions: The Card Game
Board Game: Funkoverse Strategy Game
Board Game: Flamme Rouge
Board Game: Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team
Board Game: Unpublished Prototype
Board Game: Time Chase
Board Game: Hellapagos
Board Game: Finger Guns at High Noon
Board Game: Downforce: Danger Circuit
Board Game: Downforce
Board Game: Condottiere
Board Game: Blockbuster
Board Game: Bahamas


Valley of the Vikings NEW!
Tentacle Town NEW!
Sovereign's Chain NEW!
Skull King
Palm Trees NEW!
Moon Base NEW!
High Society
Extraordinary Adventures: Pirates x2 NEW!
Secret Hitler
Rising Sun
Q.E. NEW!
Marvel Champions: The Card Game NEW!
Funkoverse Strategy Game NEW!
Flamme Rouge NEW!
Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team
Unpublished Prototype
Time Chase x2 NEW!
Hellapagos NEW!
Finger Guns at High Noon NEW!
Downforce: Danger Circuit
Downforce
Condottiere
Blockbuster NEW!
Bahamas NEW!

Sovereign's Chain
Thought this was really near. It doesn't have as large a variety of cards as Fantasy Realms so I wonder if it would eventually start to feel samey, but I think it's got legs and will pick it up when it hits retail.

Funkoverse
Scheduled an appointment to demo this. I was skeptical, but cautiously optimistic because the design team behind it is really sharp and came away impressed. It's a 30-40 minute skirmish game aimed to have broad appeal, and for that it's great. Really great I think. It won't replace Underworlds for very many people but I think the target audience is also very different.

The skill cool down system is clever, the skills are both exciting in the way they impact the board and were integrated well with the setting (at least the Harry Potter stuff was), and it's super accessible. I have a lot of game/skirmish experience but Chris taught me the game and we played almost a full game (would have ended next round) in 20 minutes. It was a 2-unit game, normal is 3, but still. Took home the Harry Potter and Golden Girls sets and am looking forward to more plays.

Moon Base
Very neato stacking abstract game that is also gorgeous. Japanese import which was cool to try out. I don't have a regular partner for a game like this but if I did I'd pick it up in a heartbeat.

Time Chase
Like Charlie said, very brain bendy trick taker. I played 3 games and each had a different experience and winning strategy. The first ended in the mid range with about 4-5 tricks played. The winner set the trump after round 2/3 and then rode to victory playing high trumps. In the 2nd game, Charlie won because no one went back in time to contest his owned-tricks and he popped out a win. In the last, Charlie won a very late game that went to round 9 because everyone had used up their trumps contesting/recontesting early tricks and he rode lead-trick to victory, because no one had matching cards. Very cool, really excited about getting more plays of this in.

Kill Team
I was supposed to get 2 games in but I got bad food poisoning and my first opponent's roommate also got sick so we canceled. Played 1 game with a guy I met in a 40k podcast community's discord channel. Standard 100 point Kill Team game, my Necron Force vs his Genestealer Cult force. I had only 7 models; that's considered an "elite" force. I was curious to see how it'd work out since they're not as tough or offensively powerful as Death Guard which I've used before. He had some fast, strong melee units but very weak shooting. Scenario was "Sweep and Clear" which is 1 VP per kill, and 3VP for each controlled objective at the end of the game. Which round ends the game is random, unless you can break your opponent.

I went first Round 1, which is something I didn't want. I generally prefer to act 2nd in Round 1. I effectively stood still and hoped I could get a number of good shots off at his melee models as they closed. It's risky, because it relinquishes board control (thus objectives) to my opponent. He moved forward, and got in range but I only took out 2 models. Round 2 was much better for me. We tied up in melee; I didn't kill anything but it kept his melee units away from me for a round. I was able to take out another 4 models and only lost my melee units. At this point, he had to start taking risky leadership rolls that threatened to disable one of his larger threats. He continued closing in melee; genestealers were shredding my models but I kept them clustered to minimize and kept picking him off. I was worried that he'd back off and control objectives but he kept fighting. The game ultimately ended in Round 5; I won with Kill VPs, but think if he'd ran back to control objectives it'd have been closer. It was a very good match; I had a string of good rolling and then fortunes reversed.

Ultimately, I didn't love the Necrons. They have some great abilities and I used more Necron strategems than I ever used Death Guard but they didn't play all that different. I have like 400 points painted, which is more than DG but they may become mostly display models with the occasional game played. On to the next project I guess.

QE
Fascinating. Charlie and I went back and forth with a podcast episode's worth of discussion just at the table, spilling over into Secret Hitler. I want this game to play with my group, I'll just have to put away the knives.

On my mind

Getting sick at GenCon was no fun. I lost basically a day's worth of time and plays which was a bummer on top of feeling like butt.

Went way less heavy on media appointments and liked it; the stuff I did schedule was more about the people and less about trying to get in to see any particular game. Got to play more games with Charlie and crew. That does make me wonder "why GenCon?" over other cons, but the answer as always is "well the people".

Work presentation went great! Really happy. Still gonna start applying elsewhere though...
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9. Board Game: Inis [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:108]
Board Game: Inis
United States
Yay Area
California
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Board Game: Treachery in a Pocket
Board Game: Lamarckian Poker
Board Game: Inis


 5   Treachery in a Pocket NEW!
 4   Lamarckian Poker (3 all-time)
 7   Inis (4 all-time)

Treachery in a Pocket - Solid meh. There is a person in our group that seems to be in that newbie stage of buying lots of new board games, a lot of them are small box games which I can understand getting into the hobby you don’t want to buy a big game and then not be able to get it played. The result is they bring a lot of these fairly mediocre games that I usually try to avoid. I won, not best game ever.

Lamarckian Poker - I understand the concepts but anything that requires me to guess what other people will play I am horrible at. I did terribly.

Inis - 4 player game teaching one newbie. We were going to break into 5 player INIS once our 5th showed up. So we did some practice turns. They showed up a bit later than expected so they just joined me to form a team. I thought we were going to reset but we didn’t. Which was awkward since I was playing extremely risky since I imagined we were going to reset. Basically explored very heavily only leaving 1 unit on territories. But to my surprise other people were wrapped up in their own goals to go fight me. Got a deed and then in the last turn held onto the geis and kept passing until people tried to wreck me. Cheeky victory.

Other -


Life
- Work was rough last week, super busy and drained so didn’t want to go to game night just wanted to sleep. On top of that Gen Con FOMO in many ways. But had a great Saturday catching up with friends, getting drinks and trying out a fondue restaurant for the first time.

Crypt of the Necrodancer - Finally beat the game with Nocturna. I think I'm finally satisfied enough to stop. This one was sorta bothering me because I was always so close and have a habit of just getting overwhelmed in the final fight. But I think it's a good place to stop.


Kingdom Death: Monster
- Lots of new exciting things announced but also pushed back a year. kinda revitalized some energy. I think I'm going to make an effort to finish out my solo campaign so I can work on my other ongoing campaigns. This also reminds me I have so much left to paint.
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10. Board Game: Yspahan [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:553]
Board Game: Yspahan
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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Board Game: Texas Showdown
Board Game: Keltis (with Neue Wege, Neue Ziele)
Board Game: Just One
Board Game: Dicht dran
Board Game: Crossfire
Board Game: Yspahan
Board Game: Ystari Box
Board Game: The Quacks of Quedlinburg


Texas Showdown (5 all-time)
Keltis (with Neue Wege, Neue Ziele) (13 all-time)
Just One (5 all-time)
Dicht dran x2 (7 all-time)
Crossfire x3 (14 all-time)
Yspahan (5 all-time) + Yspahan: The Souks NEW!
The Quacks of Quedlinburg (2 all-time)

Only one new play, and of an expansion at that: I played Yspahan with the rules tweaks and altered bonus card deck of Yspahan: The Souks. I really liked how it changed up the game very gently, allowing for a "draw two, keep 1" from the bonus cards helped make that less of a crap-shoot, and the new scoring cards helped even out the 2p game a lot. I don't think there's much reason to play the base game without at this point.

Quick Hits

- Texas Showdown is really starting to show its quality. It's very much a game of "screw everyone else as much as possible" a la Little Devils, but if you can get into that the game is a riot. We had a table full of uproarious laughter in our last play. Also, the game at 5p is *vastly* improved over 4p, in fact I'd say don't play this if you don't have 5 or more people.

- Still pretty darn good; Keltis, Dicht dran, Just One.

- I got to break out Crossfire in Sniper Mode with my regular game group. We had 7-8p and managed to avoid the trap we had in our 6p game (having the Blue/Red Decoys are fascinating), and once again found that swapping out the bystander with the Bomber resulted in a lot more interesting plays. We also found that the secret sauce of the game really was in the 3 minute timer. Once you get more than 6p, that's not a lot of time to be discussing things and really puts the pressure on the sniper to get people talking. This was a hit, which made me pretty happy.

- I went in on the upgraded bits for The Quacks of Quedlinburg in the geek store, and while they cost a pretty penny I really liked how they beefed up the feel of the game. Having nice, weighted chips in your bag really made the game feel more substantial. I look forward to getting both the expansion and the upgraded bits for the expansion.
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11. Board Game: Tiny Towns [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:326]
Board Game: Tiny Towns
Joseph
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Board Game: Tiny Towns
Board Game: Nusfjord


 N/A   Tiny Towns NEW!
 N/A   Nusfjord

Tiny Towns is fun. Way more challenging than I had expected it to be. But very simple and clean overall. Two player game, basic rules. I can see this game getting to be very mean and confrontational if you wanted it to be.

Nusfjord is fun. Two player game. I'm digging it. It plays quickly. I'd put this game in the same class as Glass Roads for how quick it should play. It came down to a tie-breaker, but I can't remember who won.


I'm basically all caught up with the Dresdin Files. I'm in the last chapter or two of Skin Games. So here's my hot takes:

Storm Front - A great start and good introduction to the world. Very short in retrospection. 8/15.

Fool Moon - A bit mediocre for the series. Not bad, but in comparison to the series as a whole, it's a bit underwhelming. I liked the multiple angles of the same "kind" of monster. 3/15

Grave Peril - It's hard to actually review this one in comparison to the rest of the series, because this one starts off probably the single most significant event(s) in the series. 7/15

Summer Knight - The first big dive into the Fey. This one was a bit more complex of a plot than what was normal. But I still found it very enjoyable. 6/15

Death Masks - I think this is the book that made me go "Yeah. I'm in. I'm all in." The Denarians are an awesome concept of a group. It introduces a lot of amazing characters. At this point, I found it to be the strongest of the group. So good. 11/15

Blood Rites - And then this one was the next book in the series. Worst of the series. I had a hard time finding the motivation to end it, except I do like the bigger introduction into the White Court, and I liked a bit of the "I'm going to go kick ass" "move on the offensive" attitude of Dresden. 1/15

Dead Beat - Then Butcher TOTALLY REDEEMS HIMSELF. This one has so much action, flavor, and fun. While the series this far rarely gives a moment to breath. This is book is non-stop action and adventure. I love the manner in how necromancy is done in this. So. Cool. 15/15

Proven Guilty - Very strong themes run though this one, as it dives deeply into some of the mindset of Dresden. I found it to be one of the most thought provoking books of the series. 12/15

White Night - This one recaptures a bit more of the "Private Detective" vibe from the earlier books, after riding a wave of "big game action". It definitely scales up into a big scene at the end, as is typical with the series. 4/15

Small Favor - Basically 9 or 10 years since the start of the series, and you see a lot of growth in the reoccurring characters at this point. This is such a good book. I'm basically "all in" whenever the Denarians are involved. 9/15

Turn Coat - Wow. Right from the very first paragraph, this one hooks you in. It starts to get very difficult to discuss the books as it's so late in the series and the books become so predicated on the events of the previous installments. The monster in this one is legit freaky. 10/15

Changes - Holy. Shit. I had a hard time debating with myself if this is the best one or not. 14/15. I won't even come close to spoiling this one. It is great from the very start to the VERY. END.

Ghost Story - A very intriguing series with some very fun moments. Some parts seemed to drag on though. 5/15

Cold Days - This one had some very interesting parts, but I just had a hard time really liking it. 2/15

Skin Games - I haven't finished it yet. It has the Denarians. 13/15.
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12. Board Game: Holding On: The Troubled Life of Billy Kerr [Average Rating:6.25 Overall Rank:4807]
Board Game: Holding On: The Troubled Life of Billy Kerr
Ambie
United States
San Mateo
California
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Board Game: Holding On: The Troubled Life of Billy Kerr


 N/A   Holding On: The Troubled Life of Billy Kerr x2

I got an unexpected review copy of Holding On in the mail so I decided I should try to play it. Toby and I had played it at BGG.CON and didn't like it then, so Toby didn't want to play it again. This weekend, Toby was at a wedding in Chicago that I decided not to go to since I don't think going on a plane now is a good idea, so I tried to play it solo 3-handed. I played the second and third scenario. It introduced some more mechanics, but there was a ton of randomness for what it was. In the third scenario, there was no way I could win just because of how the card draw was happening. And then it felt super tedious trying to get the partial memories in order to get the clear memories. When it was over, I didn't want to replay it, so I ended up just reading through all the memories and the scenario. I thought the story was interesting and neat, but the gameplay was too random to keep me engaged.

On My Mind
- We have a huge tree in the front yard that keeps dropping branches whenever it's windy. We tried to see if we could get it removed but when we had an arborist look at it they said it's healthy and isn't in danger of dropping things so we can't get rid of it since it's a heritage tree. Another branch broke yesterday and is stuck in the tree, so this week I'm contacting a bunch of tree trimming services to see if they can remove the branch and trim the tree. I hate that tree.

- Forgot to say this last week, but last weekend I had a waitress ask me if I was 8 months pregnant (I was 6.5 months). That was amusing.

- I started my halloween costume! I sewed fluffy white lining onto a red silk bathrobe type thing I got at Goodwill. Right now it looks like a Santa nightgown, but it's gonna be a King Dedede jacket! He just happens to wear a similar jacket to Santa.

- quick edit: Oh yeah, details for our Board Game Baby Bash - Saturday August 17 starting at 10am at our house. No gifts. Let me know if you can come so we know how many people are coming, and PM me if you need my address!
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13. Board Game: Lanterns Dice: Lights in the Sky [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:3145]
Board Game: Lanterns Dice: Lights in the Sky
Cassadi
United States
Blacklick
Ohio
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Board Game: The Downfall of Pompeii
Board Game: Dominion
Board Game: TEAM3 PINK
Board Game: Quirky Circuits
Board Game: Just One
Board Game: Lanterns Dice: Lights in the Sky
Board Game: Wingspan
Board Game: Catan Dice Game


The Downfall of Pompeii - I still love this silly game. Having replaced the little cylinders with tiny meeples and adding a light to the volcano has made it so much better!

Dominion - Still a fine little game.

TEAM3 PINK - This was a DIFFICULT game. 2 teams of 3 in which each team has a person that uses hand gestures to show another person which shape needs to be picked up and how it needs to be placed. The 3rd person for each team has their eyes closed and they're listening to instructions from the 2nd person. Very fun idea.

Quirky Circuits - Cute programming game. The scenario we played was much harder than I was expecting given how adorable it is. I was able to pick up a copy (and get it signed) for a friend while at Gen Con!

Just One - I'm sad it's taken me this long to play it! So fun.

Lanterns Dice: Lights in the Sky - POLYOMINOES!!! This was actually very cleverly done. I enjoyed it, and will definitely play quite a bit more.

Wingspan - We got the boyfriend to play this one. He loves combo building games like Dominion and Terraforming Mars so I figured he'd enjoy this one as well. And he did! We ended up in a tie with him winning on the tie breaker.

Catan Dice Game - This is a game.

On My Mind
- Still basically hate my job. Still taking steps to remedy that.
- Back to meal prep this week after crazy Gen Con. I didn't do great with food and alcohol while there, but I did better than years past!
- My birthday is next week, and I keep forgetting. lolol
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14. Board Game: Dinosaur Island: Totally Liquid [Average Rating:8.12 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.12 Unranked]
Board Game: Dinosaur Island: Totally Liquid
Louie
United States
SF Bay Area
California
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Board Game: Medici
Board Game: Patchwork
Board Game: Dinosaur Island: Totally Liquid
Board Game: Dinosaur Island
Board Game: Nine Tiles
Board Game: Decrypto
Board Game: PARKS
Board Game: Horrified
Board Game: Everdell
Board Game: Disney Villainous: Evil Comes Prepared
Board Game: Disney Villainous
Board Game: Res Arcana
Board Game: Nine Tiles Panic
Board Game: Lanterns Dice: Lights in the Sky
Board Game: CABO (Second Edition)


 8   Medici (11 all-time)
 7   Patchwork x2 (15 all-time)
 N/A   Dinosaur Island: Totally Liquid (2 all-time)
 8   Dinosaur Island (7 all-time)
 6   Nine Tiles x6 (18 all-time)
 8   Decrypto (4 all-time)
 N/A   PARKS NEW!
 N/A   Horrified NEW!
 6   Everdell x2 (5 all-time)
 N/A   Disney Villainous: Evil Comes Prepared x2 NEW!
 8   Disney Villainous x2 (11 all-time)
 N/A   Res Arcana x2 NEW!
 N/A   Nine Tiles Panic NEW!
 N/A   Lanterns Dice: Lights in the Sky NEW!
 N/A   CABO (second edition) (2 all-time)

New To Me!

Res Arcana -- I've been hearing a lot of good things among fellow GCL-ers, and also some disappointing things about. . . other aspects about this game. In terms of gameplay, I like that you don't start with much - a hand of three cards (out of a deck of 8), a magic item that changes each round, and a mage power you draft. Then you have to go out and progressively build an engine that hopefully pushes you towards something that scores (Places of Power/Monuments).

And I'm a weirdo who finds thematic elements in Race for the Galaxy so I did feel like a mage that generated gold from dwarven pickaxes and Midas rings. But yeah, the game is mostly just tapping cards to get a bunch of stuff so you can play more stuff.

Horrified -- Bought this on a whim - I was at the Ravensberger booth for Villainous but I picked this up too. People kept asking about it, and I heard something along the lines of “there are 55 people in front of you, and only 55 copies of Horrified left. There’s a good chance you can get it, but it depends on what the people in front of you do.”

Only a single play, but I'm a fan of how this plays. There’s an AI-deck that controls how often items spawn, any monster/villager specific events, and which monsters move and attack. I like how this is implemented, because not all events or monsters will trigger on a given pull, but there’s a chance monsters may trigger twice. In the end, the monsters are chasing you around the board while you try to do stuff, and every so often they’ll be terrorizing villagers or punching you in the face.

Villainous Expansion: Yzma and Ratigan -- I played Ratigan, and he was neat. His goal was to get a Mechanized Robot Queen to the Palace, but if Basil shows up and stops him, his goal is to then defeat Basil.

Yzma was also neat. Her fate deck is split up among the four locations, and you had to find Kuzco and defeat him with Kronk. But if you drive Kronk too hard, he’ll change alliance and become a Hero for you defeat.

So yeah, still a fan of Villainous. Not a perfect game by any means, but the movie inspiration here shines through, and the game plays well enough, for the Disney apologist in me. I like it best at low counts, 2P - 4P, but I’ve had fun at higher counts despite the significant downtime.

PARKS -- Not my copy, but my sister picked it up because she loves hiking. In the end, it’s a worker-placement game with a bit of contract fulfillment. Probably a good gateway - and I can see it being attractive for those that like outdoorsy activities, too. Plus, the art is fantastic.

Nine Tiles Panic -- Only a demo at the Oink booth, but I had fun. It still captures the stress from Nine Tiles, since if you mess up your tile placement (like a road is placed in an illegal spot), then you score nothing.

Lanterns: Dice -- We played this with Cassadi! And I’ve never played the original Lanterns before. But this was neat because it had polyaminoes.

OMM

Definitely feeling the vacation blues. It fact it feels WORSE because I was at both WDW and GenCon doing things like eating and playing board games and spending time with family. I get to eat and play a lot of board games, but not as much with my older sister so I miss it a lot.
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15. Board Game: Baby Boom [Average Rating:5.79 Overall Rank:14906]
Board Game: Baby Boom
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Microbadge: Muffin loverMicrobadge: I like tacosMicrobadge: GatePlay.comMicrobadge: ProfessorMicrobadge: GameChat League - Mafia Division: "A mob is forming."
Just One 2 (11 all-time)
Dragon Castle 1 (7 all-time)
Pulsar 2849 1 (3 all-time)
Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization 1 (iOS face-to-face with Matt) (13 all-time)

---

These plays are from the week before last.

This was my second win of my three plays of Pulsar. Both times I won I was pregnant, so clearly playing with an internal teammate is the winning strategy.

No games played last week because baby.

---

On My Mind:

It's been a whirlwind of a past week. We ended up being in the hospital for almost six full days with labor that wasn't progressing, resulting in a C-section, and some feeding/latching problems postpartum. All is good now - including my surgery recovery, which has been incredibly smooth and relatively painless - and we're home, figuring out our new routine. Obviously, my participation will be sporadic, but I am still checking in!

From gallery of ecargo
Not the best picture as Simon was mid-fuss at being put down, but I was trying to take it as close to his birth time as possible.

From gallery of ecargo
A gift from the iSlaytheDragon team. Simon now has awesome blankets galore thanks to all of you internet people.

Also, the new BGG logo is ugly.


Edit: Per the header instructions:

Quote:
Please add a picture of your favorite muffin[s].
✔ Only have one to choose from.

Quote:
Explain why the games you played are not as good as your favorite one.
✔ I played Through the Ages, which is one of my favorites.

Quote:
Also, feel free to share gaming news, life updates, random thoughts, or anything else you deem appropriate. Bonus points if they're inappropriate.
✔ I addressed labor and delivery.
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16. Board Game: Gloomhaven [Average Rating:8.81 Overall Rank:1] [Average Rating:8.81 Unranked]
Board Game: Gloomhaven
Philip Newman
United States
Plano
Texas
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Plays since July 30, 2019

 9.0   Shards of Infinity x10 (96 all-time)
 8.5   Gloomhaven x2 (3 all-time)
 10.   Race for the Galaxy: The Brink of War x2 (136 all-time)

MOAR GAMES

Gloomhaven Party: The Dawntreaders
Aerial: Laelia, the Orchid Spellweaver
Me: Kragle the Inevitable, the Savvas Cragheart

Session 1
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Scenario 1, Level 0


Spoiler (click to reveal)
Nothing significant happened with our road event, and Kragle got us some gold with our city event. I donated to the sanctuary. My quest is:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Donate 120 gold


I had a battle goal of only long resting. I don't remember what Aerial's was, but it didn't work out for her. Anyway, this went much better than our practice run. I got absurdly lucky on the first turn and took out an elite and normal guard, and we were never in any real danger. I opened the treasure chest, giving us:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
A random scenario, 69


Session 2
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Scenario 2, Level 0


Spoiler (click to reveal)
Our luck in the first room was not at all like the previous game - the curse cards didn't help, with Aerial drawing one as her first card and me drawing all three over the course of the scenario - but we rushed the archers to pin them so that they would have disadvantage, and eventually connected on attacks to take them out.

The second room felt overwhelming at first. The Bandit Commander boss immediately opened the third room to get some living corpses headed toward us, and then summoned a living bones the next round, so we had four enemy types for a bit. He didn't move for a while though, and that kept the corpses away from us. A well timed shield and the iron helmet kept me from taking too much damage, and we got him low on health before he finally jumped to open another door before finishing him off on the round he would have opened a third (with Kragle jumping over him into that room to get to the treasure).

My battle goal was having 5 cards left between my hand and discard, which I just barely managed, after Aerial decided to finish off the last corpse rather than take a potentially big hit and try to get more loot. Hers was not using an item, which she also succeeded on.

Kragle might level up next scenario, and has 37 gold to spend. And then we'll be deciding which new scenario to head to.
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