GCL Mafia 459: Conventions, Conferences, and Other Cons
Travis Dean
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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.
• 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: The Game of Life [Average Rating:4.29 Overall Rank:19501]
Board Game: The Game of Life
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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Do you attend any professional conferences or conventions for work, training, networking, or other form of professional development?

If not, what about any local or online groups or communities? We have each other for discussing board games. Do you have a similar environment for connecting with people in your industry?
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2. Board Game: The BoardGameGeek Game [Average Rating:6.02 Overall Rank:5483]
Board Game: The BoardGameGeek Game
Travis Dean
United States
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CA
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BGG.Con is coming up. People are making plans. Food will be eaten. Games will be played. Fun will be had.

What are your favorite cons?
What are your favorite con games? What make them great con games?
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3. Board Game: Ponzi Scheme [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:983]
Board Game: Ponzi Scheme
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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3-Card Monte is a fun game. It's very simple. There are 3 cards which get mixed up, and one of them is the "money card" that if you find it, you win a bet. But the con is that somehow you always seem to fail to find the card. Huh, maybe it's not a game. Maybe it's just a con...

What is your favorite con?
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4. Board Game: Gloomhaven [Average Rating:8.81 Overall Rank:1] [Average Rating:8.81 Unranked]
Board Game: Gloomhaven
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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We played two scenarios last night.

We had a lot of fun, but I definitely feel like we're on the "things are getting too easy with our characters" side of things.

I do laugh at how I am the tank, and I surround myself with enemies, and then none of them attack me.

Although, this last scenario was different. I have 26 health but was down to 2 health by the time the scenario finished, and low on cards because I started using them for loss effects. Everybody else was at full health. Fortunately, I had the goal card that requires me to have 2 or less health. I still can't believe I pulled that off.

It looks like we're done until 2020, unfortunately. We can't plan a time that we can all play together before then.
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5. Board Game: Cowboy Bebop: Boardgame Boogie [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:9214]
Board Game: Cowboy Bebop: Boardgame Boogie
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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Board Game: Escape From Hades
Board Game: Zoo Ball
Board Game: Silver & Gold
Board Game: Cowboy Bebop: Boardgame Boogie
Board Game: Claustrophobia 1643
Board Game: AuZtralia
Board Game: Cloudspire
Board Game: Slap It!
Board Game: Doodle Quest


 7.5   Escape From Hades NEW!
 7.7   Zoo Ball x6
 7   Silver & Gold
 6.75   Cowboy Bebop: Boardgame Boogie NEW!
 8.8   Claustrophobia 1643
 7.3   AuZtralia NEW!
 N/A   Cloudspire x2 NEW!
 5.5   Slap It! x2
 6   Doodle Quest

Reviews
I wrote about Silver & Gold, the new flip 'n write from Phil Walker-Harding.


Escape From Hades
This is a new solo game from Hollandspiel.

Rad setting and solid implementation of its quirkiness. It's a compelling setup and the action is pretty well realized. The variable elements of the mission provide for a unique approach and dynamic tactical analysis. Just enough resources (troops, ship, multi-layered battlefield) to provide difficult decisions with lasting impact.

The blend of adventure and war-game is pretty neat. There's some limitations due to this combination but I appreciate the general sense of opting to streamline. For instance, there's no ranged attacking which may be bothersome to some (appropriately justified due to the curvature of the facility).

There's quite a bit to like here overall, although that doesn't mean there aren't foibles. For one, late in the game it can become a bit of a chore to manage the mounds of enemy troops. They move along a simple straight path, but there can simply be a ton of chits and lots of busy-work. This can take away from the focused tension and pace of play.

Also, combat is interesting but occasionally becomes monotonous due to pulling two cards for each resolution (one for attack and one for defense). I appreciate the condensing of the math and avoiding CRTs, but I think I would have simply preferred dice and simple modifiers on units.

Nevertheless, the core system of getting in and out of this hellish prison crawling with guards is tantalizing. Having to consider tactical decisions surrounding managing your escape craft in orbit while making a daring prison break beneath the surface - all the while with battle raging atop the installation - it's pretty dramatic.

Definitely a neat solitaire game.

Zoo Ball
Six two player games with Aaron. I won every single one. The final game I won on the very first flick, and we called it a night.

Cowboy Bebop: Board Game Boogie
I think this is a pretty solid, heavily abstracted coop with some neat features.

It's not pick up and deliver, yet it still hits on a few vaguely similar feelings as Firefly and Outer Rim, although it's only an hour. It has moments where it's giving me what I wanted Outer Rim to be, and I do appreciate its streamlined nature.

However, I am a bit disappointed in one aspect. The game makes a deal about how the character's personal stories (called "Sessions") are really the focus of play. You're trying to deal with these while also pursuing bounties as kind of these major sidequests to earn resources and not starve.

The problem is that these sessions are key moments on the show about each character, but they feel so dull in play. The main mechanism in the game is spending cards from your hand to meet symbol requirements on bounties, and this is extended to the session cards. So to deal with a Vicious in Spike's Ballad of Fallen Angels Session we just need to all be on Mars and then discard a bunch of cards.

Sure, the symbols for the cards mean different things - a red gun is fight and the purple magnifying glass is investigate for instance - but it never feels thematic. There's no real narrative arc to play and these big session moments aren't really meaningful. They're just kind of there, as check boxes to mark off as a requirement to win.

I really wish the game added some meat and oomph to these. If they were more asymmetrical and just added a touch of complexity it really would have bought an elevated experience. Spike's session should add special event cards or Vicious to the board or something. Maybe accomplishing the first leg of one of your sessions gave you a new special ability or card. Really, anything to break up their mechanical monotony and add some personality would have been appreciated.

Despite this failure, I did enjoy it. It's a hobby game that approaches mainstream/gateway, and does a decent job of capturing the show's elements. It does feel like you're bouncing around and picking up bounties, which is solid. I'm just slightly disappointed as it had an opportunity to be fantastic with just a little more.

Claustro 1643
I was a little down on this new version after I first got my pledge. The move to heavy iconography instead of text (presumably for language independence) definitely hurt the experience.

This was my third or fourth play of this new edition, however, and we've gotten used to it. A BGG player aid has also helped. I'm now of the opinion this version is superior, albeit not substantially so.

The iconography is still overall a negative, the minis are better but not painted, but the real improvements are in the new cards for the heroes as well as in the multitude of new tiles.

Either way, regardless of edition, this game is one of the best.

Auztralia
This impressed me. Totally enjoyed the combined economic railroad game with fighting off Cthulhu horrors. I ended up deploying nearby a player who was clearly going military, and I leeched off his protection to focus mostly on farming. I ended up winning due to this.

Cloudspire
I don't know about this one yet. It's very slow due to minion movement functioning as creep in MOBAs. The RTS elements of developing your base and researching different advancements are great. The variety in units and asymmetry of factions is wonderful.

But I'm not sure about the core gameplay. Need more plays.


On My Mind
Think we're trying Court of the Dead: Mourner's Call this week. I'm expecting it to go well, although likely leaving me just wishing we played Blood Rage.

My buddy Ben cancelled as he was behind in packing for a trip to China, so we STILL haven't finished Adventure Games - the Dungeon. Probably next week.

Trying to schedule a special weekend session to play Flotilla but that fell through.

I got a huge box of Necromunda: Dark Uprising and I'm rushing to get a couple of games in this week. I need to turn in an article by Friday on it.

Also got my pledge for Ante Up, the Western Legends expansion. I'm a little disappointed in some of the issues surrounding it (which seem to plague every single Kolossal release), but they're not huge and I can get over it. Basically some tokens are misaligned on everyone's punch board and a few are also unreadable due to the font color/size.

The last episode of Mr. Robot was fantastic. We finished Jack Ryan season 2 and it was decent. Started watching The Morning Show which is pretty good.
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6. Board Game: Adventure Games: The Dungeon [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:1678]
Board Game: Adventure Games: The Dungeon
Joseph
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Board Game: Heaven & Ale
Board Game: Adventure Games: The Dungeon


 N/A   Heaven & Ale NEW!
 N/A   Adventure Games: The Dungeon

I kinda plays games this week! First time in a while.

First, we finished our Adventure Games: The Dungeon. The third act kinda kicked our ass. We got through the first two pretty well, with decent scores. The third we got a really bad score.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Before we really got a chance to explore the underground chamber, we flooded it. Likely missing out on a lot of helpful things.


It's kind of remarkable how much we didn't actually discover or go through. It's a game that you could definitely replay to optimize your score, but there's a point of "why bother?" as well.

The app for the other English released game is available, and I intend on picking up the other Adventure Games up.

We learned and played the first round of Heaven & Ale. I can see just how tight this game is. And I can see the scoring of this game snowball giving huge discrepancies of score between good players and bad players.

OMM:
This week, I undertook the task of making the most controversial style of pizza. Chicago Deep Dish. And I went as authentic as I could. Putting the "pie" back into the term Pizza Pie.

From gallery of jshufelt


First of all, I have to say that there is one fabulous side-effect of this style of pizza: the sausage patty concept.

After finally getting the dough in place relaxed and finally shaped, I followed the tradition of making a patty of mild-italian sausage on top of the crust. This is amazing, and gives a wonderful and consistent sausage bite.

From gallery of jshufelt


It took about a total of 3 hours, from making the dough and sauce from scratch. But the actual assembly of this pizza is dead simple, and delicious. The cheese ratio is spectacular. This might be the most unhealthy dinner thing I've made, and my family loved every bite of it.
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7. Board Game: The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine [Average Rating:8.05 Overall Rank:71]
Board Game: The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine
Robin Levins
United States
Round Rock
TX
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Board Game: 6 nimmt!
Board Game: The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine
RPG: Dungeons & Dragons (5th Edition)
Board Game: Betrayal Legacy
Board Game: Jump Drive
Board Game: The City
Board Game: UNO


 10.   6 nimmt! (100 all-time)
 10.   Die Crew: Reist gemeinsam zum 9. Planeten x10 NEW!
 10.   Dungeons & Dragons (5th Edition) (10 all-time)
 8.0   Betrayal Legacy (3 all-time)
 8.0   Jump Drive x3 (8 all-time)
 7.0   The City x2 (6 all-time)
 4.0   UNO x3 (4 all-time)

Games
So I ordered Die Crew last week, and while it's not here yet, I really wanted to play it. So, I proxied it up using Sticheln cards, random tokens for the communication tokens, and a random number generator + paper to keep track of the tasks. This game is frickin' fantastic. It's a cooperative trick-taking game, where you're trying to ensure certain players win certain cards in tricks. Missions vary with the number of tasks, or with the order they must be done in, or other unusual handicaps and goals. What helps make this game shine even more is the use of communication tokens - once each mission, each player can reveal a card from their hand and indicate that it's the highest/lowest/only card in that suit for their hand. Using these tokens at the right time is key, as they form crucial signals to help everyone know how to feed each other cards properly. I cannot rave enough about this game, it's easily in my personal top ten, and my favorite game in nearly a decade. We played ten missions of it in about 90 minutes, and while we won each mission, they were all gripping and tense, and we have 40 more to go until we've played all of them! If you'll be at BGG.Con, hunt me down and I'll gladly play this with you.

Our usual babysitting options failed us on Saturday night, so we didn't have anyone to keep AnnaMarie during D&D. Our plan was to sit her in front of a TV to watch whatever she wanted and let her stay up a bit late, but she really wanted to watch us play, and everyone in the group was okay with it, so we gave her some strict warning that if she interrupted or was distracted, she was going to bed. (We also promised her a cut of the babysitting money we would have otherwise paid out, depending on how well she did, so that may have played a part for all I know.) In any case, she was great, watched and listened with great interest, and even started making her own "character sheet", naming a character and giving her a back story. (I'll try to post a picture of it later.) The group wrapped up the tail end of Lost Mine of Phandelver, and has arrived in Triboar for our introduction to Storm King's Thunder, and is starting to get involved with the local populace there. We'll have some large setpiece battles coming soon enough!

BGG.Con To Play
Here's my list of games I'd like to learn at BGG.Con, what am I missing? What can you teach me? (Some of these are older, some of these may not even be out yet.)

Adventure Games (various)
Clans of Caledonia
Deckscape
Ecos: The First Continent
Fast Sloths
House of Borgia
It's a Wonderful World
Kingsburg: The Dice Game
Magic Maze Kids
Maracaibo
Nyctophobia
Panamax
Paranormal Detectives
Pipeline
Rome & Roll
Rune Stones
Slide Quest
Spirit Island
Sprawlopolis
Sushi Roll
The Great City of Rome
The King's Dilemma
The Mysterious Forest
Tiefe Taschen
Valeria: Card Kingdoms



On My Mind
I've installed a mod to allow custom songs on Beat Saber, and there are some fantastic song mappers out there. I've played all sorts of things, including Shake It Off, Seagulls (Stop It Now), and the fantastic Shia LaBeouf (which gives you a very faint sense of actually fighting Shia LaBeouf). It's wild.

One of AnnaMarie's mice took sick very suddenly on Saturday, and had to be euthanized on Sunday. Tears were shed, but AnnaMarie handled it as well as you would hope a kid would. We got a new mouse to replace her, and "Checkers" is fitting in quite nicely. Still, it turned a relaxing weekend into a stressful and tough one.
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8. Board Game: Martian Coasters [Average Rating:6.13 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.13 Unranked]
Board Game: Martian Coasters
United States
Yay Area
California
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Board Game: Kingdom Death: Monster
Board Game: Magic Maze
Board Game: Ghost Stories
Board Game: Animals on Board
Board Game: Tussie Mussie
Board Game: Zendo
Board Game: Coloma: Deluxe Edition
Board Game: Jetpack Joyride
Board Game: Martian Coasters
Board Game: Patchwork Doodle
Board Game: Room 25
Board Game: Tichu


 10   Kingdom Death: Monster (69 all-time)
 10   Magic Maze x3 (154 all-time)
 9   Ghost Stories x5 (21 all-time)
 8   Animals on Board (13 all-time)
 8   Tussie Mussie (9 all-time)
 8   Zendo x5 (7 all-time)
 7   Coloma: Deluxe Edition NEW!
 7   Jetpack Joyride x6 (18 all-time)
 7   Martian Coasters NEW!
 7   Patchwork Doodle (2 all-time)
 7   Room 25 NEW!
 7   Tichu (7 all-time)

BGGCon Official Hot Games list This got released so definitely interested to try some of those at BGGCON.

Maracaibo
Cooper Island
Taverns of Tief...

Also if anyone knows someone that could potentially let me crash Tuesday night that would be great. snore I decided to go a day early.

BrosGiving - I made mac and cheese over the weekend it was a caramelized onion and prosciutto Mac n Cheese. Initially I thought the prosciutto would be a bit much, but the onions really do a great job of balancing out the flavor. Mostly did it because I'm going to my brother's Friendsgiving thing he's hosting this weekend and I kinda got assigned this dish. He asked if I can bring party games which I'm taking Codenames/Doodle Rush/Bamboleo, I suspect none of them will get played. I own very few party games since I'm mostly culled them for space.

Meetup
- Our Friday meetup is full of a lot of great people we know but also has people I really dislike gaming with so it's become a weird dance of trying not to get into games with those people and I feel like I'm getting to a point where it's just not worth the effort. I think unless I have other plans, I could easily just stay home on Friday, grind out some solo games and be less on edge the whole night.
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9. Board Game: Pick Your Poison [Average Rating:5.48 Overall Rank:15823] [Average Rating:5.48 Unranked]
Board Game: Pick Your Poison
Philip Newman
United States
Plano
Texas
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Plays since October 22, 2019

 5.0   I Spy Bingo x8 (77 all-time)
 9.0   Shards of Infinity x7 (157 all-time)
 9.5   Gloomhaven x4 (29 all-time)
 10.   Race for the Galaxy: The Brink of War (142 all-time)

Session 25 (reposted from previous comment)

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Scenario 27, Level 3


Spoiler (click to reveal)
We got prosperity from our city event and saw an added road event from a completed achievement:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
The Drake Aided

Spoiler (click to reveal)
The drake torched some Inox and we got to loot them, sweet.


This scenario is a single room, so not much setup! The first couple rounds we tried to take out the initial enemies, but soon settled into Sue dealing with the top half of the room and Laelia dealing with the bottom half. Things got scary for Laelia around round 7 or 8 - she was down to two cards in hand and her recover-lost-cards card in discard, so she wasn't going to be able to soak damage. Meanwhile, Sue just tanked everything (I finished with 11 HP), stunned a few times, and got a couple lined up for her lance once. So much loot, so little time to stop and get it.

For the last round, I had maneuvered back over to Hail, and played my you-and-adjacent-allies-take-no-damage card. Laelia got in some shots before retreating to me as well. Then the wind demon attacked and pulled Hail toward it. Oops. Fortunately everything else was focusing on Sue or Laelia, so Hail finished with half her health (and completely cut off from us, so good thing she was able to close the rift!).

Rewards:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
With the gold for enhancements, I put a strengthen on a movement card and beefed up my big level 1 attack. I also hit level 5, and took the permanent retaliate action, which will be fun to set up with my shield on some scenarios but also has a move-with-stun on the bottom, and I bought the eagle-eye goggles. I should have lots of advantage going forward when I do attack. Oh, and the ignore negative scenario effects perk. Aerial also took a strengthen for one of her cards, and improved one of her reusable attacks.


Next up, we're going to follow up on the poison in the sewers (in large part to get to a dagger forest scenario so Laelia can finally retire).


Session 26

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Scenario 18, Level 3


Spoiler (click to reveal)
Laelia got us a prosperity on a city event, and we both donated to get another prosperity. That bumped Gloomhaven to level 4,

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Which opened a scenario from the town records book.


Nothing too noteworthy in the scenario itself. In the first room, we were able to damage the ooze some before it split, making it easier to finish off both. The last room got a little crazy with the oozes multiplying, and we very nearly ran out of cards - Laelia exhausted and Sue had to deal with the last three on her own (fortunately all at low healthy by now).

This one opens a bunch of stuff, the most important being the one that allows Laelia to complete her quest.


Scenario 27

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Scenario 43, Level 3


Spoiler (click to reveal)
After a long break from being sick, we finally played again Friday. Our city event gave us a prosperity and a reputation, so that was nice.

This one was pretty easy for us. Laelia had picked up the Piercing Bow and that made dealing with the flame demons way easier, and the drakes couldn't hit hard enough to get through all Sue's shields (when they weren't stunned). After handling the big room pretty easily, Laelia opened the door to the room with the treasure and then jumped back out, in order to draw the drakes through the stun traps so I could deal with them. Laelia got the treasure and handled the last enemy in there, while I opened one of the side rooms to get to our last enemies.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Naturally, since Laelia opened it, it was yet another 50-cost item for her to sell.


Laelia hit level 8 on this one (she was within the success bonus, so she didn't even have to try), and I managed to get 13 XP (plus the 10 bonus) for the first time (after failing on that battle goal a couple times before - unfortunately I didn't have it this time). Laelia's new card, Cold Front, is just crazy on the bottom. See next scenario. Anyway, with three dagger forest scenarios completed, Laelia unlocks one of her final two scenarios...


Scenario 28

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Scenario 55, Level 4


Spoiler (click to reveal)
Our donations got us another prosperity, but we lost a reputation from a shady city event, and then got wounded by a bear.

This one is generated randomly, but limited to six options from the monster deck and six options from the room deck.

Room 1: Cabin/Mangy - Laelia took out the shaman immediately, and the scouts were no big deal, but I spent quite a few turns in the corner dealing with the bear. It didn't do much damage (shields and stun), but I had an epic run of bad modifier deck luck. On my first attack, I considered going with advantage but decided not to - crit miss. The next three attacks, I did have advantage, and the second card drawn was the crit miss all three times; good that I avoided them, but my attacks were effectively without advantage as a result as far as the damage result. Laelia opened the door after the bear was finished, while the last scout had a single hit point and was stunned.

Room 2: Road/Tribal - We had thought she might immediately run back into the first room, but she didn't want to waste her attack. The archer was the only one able to attack her anyway, as the guards couldn't get to her. We also had a scout reappear in the first room thanks to the minor effect, so she came back to deal with that while I got in the door to tank attacks. The guards lined up nicely for me to hit them twice in a row with the spear, and we concentrated on the archer after that, but it took some time. Laelia had also set up her awesome level 8 card, which on the bottom has a three use retaliate 3 range 3 take no damage... but couldn't get anything to actually attack her, so it was still out when she recovered lost cards, and only got to use it once. Boo. I moved on into the next room:

Room 3: Trail/Infected - Probably the worst room/monsters we could have drawn? I fought off a bunch of snakes, but with no jump I was stuck in the first few hexes. Laelia did have jump available at least, and after coming in the room she was able to jump 4, long rest, jump 4 to the treasure. Fortunately the oozes hadn't quite multiplied to the point of completely blocking her. Because we had to take a loot action, she couldn't use her move 8 with jump, which would have made things much easier. She survived the long rest turn without much problem, thanks to her retaliate card, and then she jumped to the treasure, leaving about half the room focused on Sue and half focused on Laelia. Sue took a few hits before being knocked out, and Laelia was able to survive the rest of the oozes to seal the win. It was close though - 8 oozes on the board at the end.

One more scenario for Laelia, but first we're going back to Gloomhaven - Sue managed another 12 XP + 10 bonus which was exactly enough to get her to level 6.
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10. Board Game: Ready Steady Cook [Average Rating:5.25 Unranked]
Board Game: Ready Steady Cook
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Drop It 2 (7 all-time)
Paladins of the West Kingdom 1 (3 all-time)
Shards of Infinity 1 (15 all-time) + Shards of Infinity: Relics of the Future 1 (7 all-time)

---

Nothing new this week. Fun plays all around. I'm pretty much back on a weekly game night schedule, which is nice. This also means I can now justify buying new games again, right?

---

On My Mind:

I've been trying to regain a sense of a normal routine by cooking dinner, so I made several new meals last week from my favorite website, Budget Bytes: Enchilada Bubble Up Casserole, Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala, and Pineapple Pork Hawaiian Burgers. I have some other plans for meals this week too.

I started watching The Morning Show and Dickinson. Still getting a sense of whether or not I like them. Matt and I are almost done with season 4 of Outlander and the fifth season doesn't start until early next year, so we're going to need some new smut soon.
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11. Board Game: Funkoverse Strategy Game [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:2435] [Average Rating:7.56 Unranked]
Board Game: Funkoverse Strategy Game
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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Board Game: Warhammer Underworlds: Beastgrave
Board Game: Nagaraja
Board Game: Funkoverse Strategy Game


Warhammer Underworlds: Beastgrave x2
Nagaraja NEW!
Funkoverse Strategy Game
The Castles of Burgundy

Nagaraja

2p game published (or distributed who knows anymore) by Asmodee. Each player has a 3x3 gridded board and you arrange 9 treasure tokens around 3 sides. The side facing you are your entry points. Each round a tile with paths on it is revealed and players bid on it by playing cards to build a pool of "sticks" and rolling them. Faces have dots or swirly symbols that can be spent to activate other cards in hand for special abilities. person with the most dots wins the tile and adds it to their board. The goal is to build paths Karuba-esque to connect enough treasures to reach 25 points, the catch is that 3 of the tiles have cursed idols on them and if you reveal all 3 you instantly lose.

The sticks are basically D4s, but rolling sticks is way more fun so i like them. This game was pretty damn interesting and we played 2 games back to back immediately. There's a good element of hand management as you're balancing using cards for their dice pool, saving for abilities like rearranging tiles/tokens etc, and also having to factor in the fact that there's no natural card draw. Sometimes you may decide it's fine to lose the tile because it will mean greater control over cards (draw 3, keep 2, pass 1 to opponent). Also the sticks come in 3 flavors; brown has the most dots but no opportunity to plya card effects, where green has 2 faces with squiggles and 2 faces with only a single dot so there's some good decision making to be had.

We both felt that card draw effects were super powerful and leaned into that but both games were close. This is exactly the kind of game I'd look for on sale or in a math trade.

Funkoverse

Harry Potter + Golden Girls. Played an area control mode and had a pretty good time with it. My buddy went out an dgrabbed the DC set afterwards. I like Funkoverse; gives a good skirmish feel with some opportunity for clever abilities and things like that. Almost think it's too short? Though not sure how well it would work if it went longer. It's in a weird space that way and I think it's because you don't play X rounds, you play to 10 points and it's possible to burst a bunch of points. I think I'd like it with a Warcry system where you almost always play 3-4 rounds and check points at the end.

Beastgrave

Have a tourney this weekend! My deck is working better but who knows, Tim is wiping the floor with all of us in practice.

On my Mind

Sick. Everyone got sick. Javi was in the ER with croup/laryngitis (not crazy bad but enough we wanted to go in). Then I was home Thursday and Friday with fever, congestion, chills, etc.

Friday night, Katie's transmission blew out so now we're car shopping. That's fun.

Got a good bit of painting done. Continue to work towards 2,000 pt age of sigmar list. It's a slog because I get done with 2 hours of work aaaand like, lips and teeth are done? I'm not getting the dopamine hits that come with finishing an entire model. Instagram hearts are helping.

Lots of Games Workshop releases this weekend I'm going to pick up as I continue to ignore board games and sniff plastic glue.
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12. Board Game: Tramways Engineer's Workbook [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:3826]
Board Game: Tramways Engineer's Workbook
Ambie
United States
San Mateo
California
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Board Game: Tramways Engineer's Workbook


 N/A   Tramways Engineer's Workbook

Ha, take that, life! I played a game! Granted, it was only like 5 minutes and it was solo, but still.

I succeeded on episode 7 on my first try! It actually took me a while to get started because I hadn't played in a while, and I forgot the rules. I guess this is something that you need to be playing more regularly since the rules build up on each other. I'm not sure if I still enjoy the game. Thinking about optimizing the stuff exactly doesn't really appeal to me that much, since it's basically busy work backtracking to see what you need to do each turn. But when I played episode 7 I didn't do that and was able to get over the target amount (assuming I counted correctly, which I may not have). So I think I like that better, and I'm hoping that the future episodes are also ones that don't need to be played perfectly to beat.

On My Mind
- Breastfeeding is hard. We decided to switch to practicing both at once, and we've been trying to exclusively breastfeed (no bottle) for the last 24 hours. Roy had to have a little expressed milk last night since he was still hungry after going back to bed and I was exhausted, but otherwise it's been going okay and they're getting better! I've been using nipple shields since they don't really know how to latch otherwise. But it's definitely better than pumping and bottle feeding at the same time (with all the clean up that entails). It's taking a little longer, but hopefully they'll improve this week. I'm tired today.

- Yay I filmed some video and I'm planning on filming more this week! These are for the Dice Tower's 24 hour marathon - they're having contributor clips in the middle when they're between games. So I filmed a quick clip for a collaboration some of us are doing, and then I'm planning on doing my own video too with games I'd bring for a 24 hour marathon.

- 1867 stream is this Saturday!
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13. Board Game: The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine [Average Rating:8.05 Overall Rank:71]
Board Game: The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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Board Game: The City
Board Game: The Quacks of Quedlinburg
Board Game: The Quacks of Quedlinburg: The Herb Witches
Board Game: King's Road
Board Game: Chicago Express
From gallery of Algaroth
From gallery of Photodump
Board Game: Letter Jam
Board Game: Gold Fever
Board Game: The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine
Board Game: ARTBOX


The City x4 (27 all-time)
The Quacks of Quedlinburg x2 (6 all-time) + The Quacks of Quedlinburg: The Herb Witches x2 (3 all-time)
King's Road (5 all-time)
Chicago Express (17 all-time)
Similo: History x2 NEW!
Similo: Fables x2 NEW!
Letter Jam x2 NEW!
Gold Fever (4 all-time)
Die Crew: Reist gemeinsam zum 9. Planeten NEW!
ARTBOX NEW!

Had a game evening with one my regular gaming buddies who brought back his Essen swag, so got to play some of the new hotness.

First up was ARTBOX which for me began the evening's trend of "Vlaada's ideas are pretty good when they're done by someone else who doesn't make them grindingly competitive." In this case it shares a lot with Pictomania in that players are drawing clues and then the table has to guess which picture goes with which clue, but the twist is that at the beginning of the round a bunch of dice with shapes on them are rolled, and everyone has to use exactly the number of symbols on the dice to draw their clue. This leads to a lot of fun abstract drawing, and to make things more spicy three more random clue cards are added into the pile, Belratti-style, to add some fun frisson to the guessing. Players get points for making the most correct guesses and for having the most people correctly match their drawing to their clue, and first to 5 points wins. I found this much more intellectually stimulating and fun than other games of this type, though in the end it's still not a "for me" kind of game.

I then got a chance to try a few missions in The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine, and as advertised it is a very good implementation of a cooperative trick taker. The game is essentially a sort of campaign, with new twists and added challenges added in each time (each "mission" is just as single hand, so they can go by quickly), and the tools the game gives you to communicate with other players are pretty neat. Robin did a more complete write up in his entry this week, so there's no need for me to elaborate further on game play, but it's definitely a very solid entry. My usual misgivings about legacy-style games apply here as well, but it's built on a good core. Seek it out if your a trick-taking fan.

Continuing in the "Vlaada without Vlaada" vein were Similo and Similo, which sorta worked out to be cooperative Codenames. The clue giver gets a random target card that they want the other players to end up with, then shuffle it into a set of 11 other random cards to form a 12 card grid. They then get a hand of 5 more cards, and then play five rounds by giving the table a clue using a card in their hand. They can play a card vertically to indicate "the target card shares a trait in common with this card," or horizontally to indicate "the target card does NOT share a trait in common with this card," but they can't communicate anything other than placing a card down in one of those two orientations.

The table then has to pick cards to eliminate from the board (1 the first round, 2 the second round, etc. until you have to pick one from two in the final round), and as long as they don't eliminate the target card the game keeps going. It's got the usual Codenames/Spyfall challenge of having people read too much (or too little) from purposefully vague clues, but the fact that it's cooperative takes out a lot of the sting of those other games have for me. I enjoyed myself thoroughly and look forward to the billion different themed Similo decks that are sure to come out in the following years.

And finally I got to try the new CGE hotness Letter Jam which continued the "remix" theme of the evening by being Code 777 the (cooperative) word game. Players create 5 letter words for each other out of a deck of letters, and then each player flips up one letter at a time, Hanabi-style, and can take turns giving clues by spelling out a word with the letters they can see. There's a single * card in the middle of the table that lets players sub in any single letter to make a word, and they have to say that they're using it but can't specify which letter is the wild one. Players may put down their letter at any time if they think they know what it is and move on to the next one, and once a certain number of clues have been given, players have to guess the word they've been given (well, they have to make a word with the letters they've been given, Ponkotsu Factory (ぽんこつファクトリー)-style). If everyone guesses the right letters in their word, everyone wins!

The fact that it's cooperative adds some more interesting considerations to the pretty spare Code 777 model, and the fact that you just need to guess your word at the end means that you sometimes don't even need to guess all your letters. As I found out, though, sometimes it's that one letter that makes a difference as I lost the second game with a mouthful of vowels and a single consonant as my only clues. If you're a word game fan this is definitely one to seek out, but once again this is definitely not a "me game," though I did have some fun moments playing it.

Quick Hits

- The City continues to give me everything I wanted out of Jump Drive with none of the headaches. I'll have to agree to disagree with Robin on this one, I find that the trade-offs that The City makes compared to Jump Drive are all positives for me, and proof that removing the (for me, needless) complexity of the latter game results in the same experience with far less cruft. I've already rambled on at length about this in previous lists, but in sum I'm not sure when I'm going to get tired of this game.

- Quacks with the expansion is still going strong. I'm really liking the two-bookmark set of ingredient powers and the modules I've played with in the expansion are still a lot of fun. Maybe I'll add the Witches module in next time, provided we don't have any newbs playing.

- King's Road definitely has a sweet spot at about 3 players, more than that and trailing players have a hard time keeping up. One of the regulars at my game night pointed out that, without any sort of variable start, the game could potentially get stale with the same players. I don't disagree, but definitely want to get this to the table a few more times.

- Introduced my work group to Chicago Express and it went down like a charm. I'm very eager to introduce them to the world of Cube Rail games!

- Gold Fever is getting pretty dull, but at least it's fast.
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14. Board Game: Roll for the Galaxy: Rivalry [Average Rating:7.78 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.78 Unranked]
Board Game: Roll for the Galaxy: Rivalry
Jim Parkin
United States
Stow
Ohio
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MIND. BLOWN.
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Board Game: Roll for the Galaxy
Board Game: Patchwork
Board Game: Dead Man's Draw


Roll for the Galaxy (36 all-time)
Patchwork (80 all-time)
Dead Man's Draw x3 (92 all-time)

Picture-heavy because I feel like it.

From gallery of Annowme

The highlight this week is getting Roll for the Galaxy: Rivalry to the table. We played with four players, using the new faction and homeworld tiles, the dark blue pioneer dice, and the Alien Orb pimp-your-die modules. There was a bit of downtime as we were poring over the sizeable list of die-face-upgrades for the Orb die, but really, the die is not that difficult to grok. Each set of faces has a certain upgrade value which can be discounted by various in-game mechanics, but really, the die just lets you cheat. Oh, you want free points? Okay. Settle that world for two dice fewer? Go for it. Just swap your idle citizens for high-value goods? You got it. We really enjoyed it, particularly because it is always rolled publically, so it provides a better telegraph as to what everyone is likely doing, and how you can better follow them.

From gallery of Annowme

I ended up adding all genes faces to my die, each of which either gave me one or two talent counters, which are either a free wild or a victory point if kept. I also leveraged a new genes world which acts like a 6+ development, scoring additionally for each other genes world I settled. So, basically, it was a genetic fiesta on my tableau, and I ended up winning by a sizeable margin. It's unclear if the talent counters earned from the Orb die upgrades count as VP like they do in the Ambition expansion. I think so? I would have won either way, but it's a worthy errata question.

Overall, we thought it was great. We have not yet tried the Deal game, but I certainly want to! Rivalry is definitely the love letter to the base game--ramp up the curious cruft as you wish, or just add basic cool things. Either way, excellent, excellent expansion that I'm glad I grabbed, even if it's effectively more expensive than the base game!

I'd picked up some Mothership RPG stuff a little bit ago, and next up is Electric Bastionland, which is an evolution of the already-great rules-light adventure game, Into The Odd. I've played a lot of Into the Odd at this point, and it's among my favorites of the "okay you need treasure, go solve problems to get it" vein of high-risk, high-reward game concept. EB moves the setting ahead to better feature Bastion, the "only city that matters," which is a huge, impossible megalopolis sitting in an otherwise derelict world full of yawning ruins and decrepit landscapes. There is a Lovecraftian underworld beneath the city, and some esoteric alien stuff in the stars above. It's also now the post-industrial electric age, hence the name, so everything has absurd batteries strapped to it.

External image

There's a free preview PDF here. The full rules of the game are just two pages, while much of the book will be filled with "failed careers" which your characters had before becoming buried in debt and down on their luck, forcing them to go adventuring, which is otherwise a reckless and exceedingly silly notion.

I also had a great brewday this past Saturday, which is something I've not been able to carve time for in many months, if not a year. My friend, Mark, made a smoked porter while I decided to dabble in lagering for the first time, and opted for a German pils. For all the bourgeois modern beer that I like, I very sincerely enjoy an excellent pils. It's like the chocolate chip cookie syndrome--they are ubiquitous, and thus slant towards mediocrity... but a really good chocolate chip cookie blows much anything else out of the water. Well, I'm not expecting to make a perfect pils, but I thought I would take advantage of the temperature outside and try my hand at a cold-fermented lager.

From gallery of Annowme
From gallery of Annowme


Theodore had a blast, too. He's always lurked around when I've made beer in the past, but this time he was old enough to really pitch in and help. He was official mash master, set out all the hops, and opened all of the doors as we hauled 10-gallon pots filled with boiling liquid over to the garage for wort chilling... Now he's telling all of his school friends how much he enjoys beer. No regrets.

The actual pils bit is weird, overall, since it ferments from the bottom-up, rather than ales which ferment from the top-down. I also found that the only place I could actually manage this temperature (45F - 55F, max) was inside of my fireplace! Instead of a big, foaming head of krausen (the yeasty fermentation froth made from ale yeast, usually threatening to eject its airlock into your ceiling), the whole fermenter is effervescing like a glass of soda--the tiny bubbles rising from some mysterious spot on the bottom of the glass. It is really going to town in there, though, and it's a rather mystifying process as it subverts all of my expectations for how beer is made.

From gallery of Annowme
From gallery of Annowme
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