GCL Phoenix #469 - I Stayed Up All Night to See Where the Sun Went (2019-12-29)
Robert
Canada
Ottawa
ON
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And then it dawned on me.

Welcome to the Phoenix GameChat League! Microbadge: GameChat League - Phoenix Division: "Like a phoenix rising from the ashes..."

Whether you found us by accident or through your subscriptions, you are invited to join in the conversation. Friendly comments are always welcome as long as you respect GCL conventions. (Only the group members add new items to this GeekList.) If you decide to lurk, please thumb this list to let us know you stopped by.

Active Phoenixes:
Simon (Agner)
Robert (BankofDracula)
Jeremy (familygaming)--January 5-11, get ready to go
Alison (grasa_total)--January 12-18, start thinking of ideas
Carol (indigopotter)
John (John Rogers)
Karl (karlfast)
Michael (Lowengrin)
Adley (mirror33)
Dave (rynelf)
Morten (Tigrillo)
Rich (woodnoggin)

Alumni:
archivists, BennyD, Bruzza, chally, darker, Dormammu, Eeeville, enzo622, Hawkeye77, JohnRayJr, judoka, leroy43, Morganza, Mr_Nuts, Muse23PT, ravenskana, Smintie, Taibi, TheRocketSurgeon, tjshields, topherr, Yokiboy

• For more information about us, see our group Wiki.

• To keep up to date on the Phoenix Division, subscribe to our GeekList Thread.

• Interested in joining us, joining another GCL division or maybe starting one up yourself? Drop us a line, and we'll help you out. For more information about what GCL is all about, check out the GameChat League Wiki.

• Try out the Games Played Formatter.

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1. Board Game: Happy New Year [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Happy New Year
Robert
Canada
Ottawa
ON
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Why did Dracula become a bank? To deal with suckers every day!
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Microbadge: That's no moon!Microbadge: This is not a drill!Microbadge: This is not the microbadge you're looking forMicrobadge: René Magritte fan - Ceci n'est pas une pipeMicrobadge: IT'S A TARP!
In what places will you be on December 31st - January 1st: will it be a home with family, friends or by yourself? Will it be at work with co-workers or perhaps again by yourself? Will it be in a third place such as a a club with dinner/dancing, in a park watching fireworks or maybe even in a subway with crazed street musicians?
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2. Board Game: Wingspan [Average Rating:8.11 Overall Rank:20]
Board Game: Wingspan
Robert
Canada
Ottawa
ON
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Why did Dracula become a bank? To deal with suckers every day!
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Microbadge: That's no moon!Microbadge: This is not a drill!Microbadge: This is not the microbadge you're looking forMicrobadge: René Magritte fan - Ceci n'est pas une pipeMicrobadge: IT'S A TARP!
A. Are you a lark (an early bird), a (night) owl or an in-between pigeon? Does this have an impact on your life?

B. When was the last time you stayed up all night and watched the sun rise?
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3. Board Game: Monopoly: Night Sky [Average Rating:5.77 Unranked]
Board Game: Monopoly: Night Sky
Robert
Canada
Ottawa
ON
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Why did Dracula become a bank? To deal with suckers every day!
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Microbadge: That's no moon!Microbadge: This is not a drill!Microbadge: This is not the microbadge you're looking forMicrobadge: René Magritte fan - Ceci n'est pas une pipeMicrobadge: IT'S A TARP!
It's a clear night. What do you look for when you look into the sky?
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4. Video Game: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night [Average Rating:8.54 Overall Rank:22] [Average Rating:8.54 Unranked]
Video Game: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Robert
Canada
Ottawa
ON
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Why did Dracula become a bank? To deal with suckers every day!
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Microbadge: That's no moon!Microbadge: This is not a drill!Microbadge: This is not the microbadge you're looking forMicrobadge: René Magritte fan - Ceci n'est pas une pipeMicrobadge: IT'S A TARP!
A. You're hosting a house con. It's 12:30 AM. You and your friends decide you're not ready to turn in. What do you play?

B. It's 9:30 AM and day 2 of your house con. What's the first game you play?
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5. RPG Item: A Mystery At Midnight [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked]
RPG Item: A Mystery At Midnight
Robert
Canada
Ottawa
ON
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Why did Dracula become a bank? To deal with suckers every day!
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Microbadge: That's no moon!Microbadge: This is not a drill!Microbadge: This is not the microbadge you're looking forMicrobadge: René Magritte fan - Ceci n'est pas une pipeMicrobadge: IT'S A TARP!
New Year's Eve, the clock strikes 12, happy 2020! As you and your friends leave the apartment where the party was hosted, you make a horrible discovery: a dead man dressed in a chicken costume lying on the ground. From the position of the body, it is evident that the person fell from one of the floors above. In his hand there is a note that reads:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
"Goodbye cruel world. I've had un oeuf!"


A homicide detective is called. She goes to the first floor of the small building and walks into the room facing the direction in which the body was found. She opens the window on that side and flips a coin towards the ground. Then she goes to the second floor and repeats the process. She continues to do this until she reaches the top floor. (Let's pretend there's no access to the roof.) Then, after coming back down, she tells you and the other party goers to stick around as she suspects...

Spoiler (click to reveal)
fowl play!




Why does she think it was a murder? Answers in spoilers, please.
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6. RPG Item: The Great Long Dark [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
RPG Item: The Great Long Dark
Robert
Canada
Ottawa
ON
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Why did Dracula become a bank? To deal with suckers every day!
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Microbadge: That's no moon!Microbadge: This is not a drill!Microbadge: This is not the microbadge you're looking forMicrobadge: René Magritte fan - Ceci n'est pas une pipeMicrobadge: IT'S A TARP!
F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote:
Now the standard cure for one who is sunk is to consider those in actual destitution or physical suffering—this is an all-weather beatitude for gloom in general and fairly salutary daytime advice for everyone. But at three o'clock in the morning, a forgotten package has the same tragic importance as a death sentence, and the cure doesn't work—and in a real dark night of the soul it is always three o'clock in the morning, day after day. At that hour the tendency is to refuse to face things as long as possible by retiring into an infantile dream—but one is continually startled out of this by various contacts with the world. One meets these occasions as quickly and carelessly as possible and retires once more back into the dream, hoping that things will adjust themselves by some great material or spiritual bonanza. But as the withdrawal persists there is less and less chance of the bonanza—one is not waiting for the fade-out of a single sorrow, but rather being an unwilling witness of an execution, the disintegration of one's own personality…
Probably the best description of depression I've ever read comes from F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Crack-Up. We know it's a particularly bad time of year for many people, and I'd argue that even from my place of privilege this last year of the decade was generally not so great: in my sister's words, "2019 can kiss my ass lol."

Let's end this with the opposite of what Fitzgerald tried to do: instead of stoically considering "those in in actual destitution or physical suffering", I'll invite you to share some optimism, a cheer, or an affirmation, either your own or someone else's.
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7. Board Game: The Nightmare Before Christmas TCG [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:9185]
Board Game: The Nightmare Before Christmas TCG
Robert
Canada
Ottawa
ON
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Why did Dracula become a bank? To deal with suckers every day!
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Microbadge: That's no moon!Microbadge: This is not a drill!Microbadge: This is not the microbadge you're looking forMicrobadge: René Magritte fan - Ceci n'est pas une pipeMicrobadge: IT'S A TARP!
Link to last week's list: GCL Phoenix 468: Its beginning to look a lot like that time of year (december 22nd, 2019)

The schedule:

familygaming - Jeremy - 5th January, get ready to go
grasa_total - Alison - 12th January, start thinking of ideas
indigopotter - Carol - 19th January
John Rogers - John - 26th January
karlfast - Karl - 2nd February
Lowengrin - Michael - 9th February
mirror33 - Adley - 16th February
rynelf - Dave - 23rd February
Tigrillo - Morten - 1st March
woodnoggin - Rich - 8th March
Agner - Simon - 15th March
BankofDracula - Robert - 22nd March
familygaming - Jeremy - 29th March
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8. Board Game: Bus [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:885]
Board Game: Bus
Robert
Canada
Ottawa
ON
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Why did Dracula become a bank? To deal with suckers every day!
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Microbadge: That's no moon!Microbadge: This is not a drill!Microbadge: This is not the microbadge you're looking forMicrobadge: René Magritte fan - Ceci n'est pas une pipeMicrobadge: IT'S A TARP!
Games played between December 23rd and December 29th

Board Game: Lost Cities
Board Game: Neue Heimat
Board Game: The Other Hat Trick
Board Game: Tigris & Euphrates
Board Game: Across the United States
Board Game: West of Africa
Board Game: Plums
Board Game: Small Indigo Plant
Board Game: Bus
Board Game: Devices


 10   Lost Cities (24 all-time)
 10   Neue Heimat (6 all-time)
 9   The Other Hat Trick (24 all-time)
 9   Tigris & Euphrates (5 all-time)
 8   Across the United States (3 all-time)
 8   West of Africa (2 all-time)
 7   Plums (4 all-time)
 6   Small Indigo Plant (7 all-time)
 N/A   Bus NEW!
 N/A   Devices x2 NEW!

We arrived back home on Monday, and even though the girls (Sv and Y) were with us on Christmas Eve and the following morning, we didn't get to play any games; there were just too many other things that were happening. To distract us from missing the kids afterwards, N, her sister and I got together later on Christmas day as well as on Boxing Day and Friday.

So Bus is challenging, weird but kind of perfect, eh? It's amazing how few variables it takes to make logistics difficult. I loved watching the board and our strategies morph as routes and buildings were added. Speaking of morphing, we played Bus on the same night as Tigris & Euphrates, and wow does this game sing with people who have played before and know what to do. We ended with another weird one: Pi mal Pflaumen. Hanibal ribs me for liking this game, but like it I do. It helps knowing something about the structure of each deck (1s, 4s, 7s, 10s and 13s are point scoring cards, 2s, 8s and 14s are card stealers, etc.) as well as knowing when to make a sweet offer because there's something better waiting in the next trick.

On Boxing Day, we played Devices and West of Africa. Devices is something I saw Jeroen write positively about over on the Amoeba lists, so I tracked down a copy. On the one hand, Devices is a game about converting cubes to other cubes and completing recipes. But then on the other, it was incredibly satisfying to build machines that printed points. The designer says this is a beta version of the game, and I hope he changes the end game point trigger because it's just over and done too quickly. We will likely use a house rule next time. After Devices, we played West of Africa, another red-headed step-child around BGG, but in this instance, Hanibal was the one who turned me on to it. WoA is another logistics game, but here there is a touch of blind bidding, which means players can get hosed on their turns and miss out on crucial actions, especially at higher player counts. The obvious solution is, if you're going to play this game, DON'T PLAY WITH FIVE PLAYERS.

Friday night saw Neue Heimat, The Other Hat Trick and Across the United States on the dining room table. I wish we had had just one or two more people for Neue Heimat, but it was still great. N and D didn't want to be too mean, so we played with blank roofs counting as 0+X instead of 0*X. I then talked them into playing The Other Hat Trick, and even though N and D claim to rate it higher only because they know how happy it makes me, I think they're secretly coming around to this game. We ended with Across the United States, and all of us played much more decisively this time. There are tough choices to make here, but we were able to cobble together decent strategies this time by exploring some of the contingencies available. I had enough fun playing to forget how incredibly ugly the game is.

Edit: N and I also played three-round Lost Cities on Sunday night. She still lost.


And that brings me to this year end list--476 total plays from 247 different games 481 total plays from 247 different games. I think this is similar to last year but I can't be more specific since Friendless has been so unfriendly to use lately.

Games played between January 1st, 2019, and December 29th 31st:


 10   Acquire (5 all-time)
 10   Chicago Express (6 all-time)
 10   KLASK x19 20 (137 138 all-time)
 10   Lost Cities x6 7 (23 24 all-time)
 10   Neue Heimat (6 all-time)
 9   A Gamut of Games x2 NEW!
 9   An Infamous Traffic (3 all-time)
 9   Aton x2 (7 all-time)
 9   Bohnanza (6 all-time)
 9   Breitseite x4 NEW!
 9   Catchup x3 (21 all-time)
 9   Circle of Life (13 all-time)
 9   Codenames x5 (49 all-time)
 9   Crokinole x3 (18 20 all-time)
 9   Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (3 all-time)
 9   For Sale x4 (24 all-time)
 9   For-Ex (6 all-time)
 9   Ginkgopolis x3 (9 all-time)
 9   Haggis (6 all-time)
 9   Hansa (8 all-time)
 9   Kontor x3 (14 all-time)
 9   Kraftwagen x2 (6 all-time)
 9   Lines of Action x2 (10 all-time)
 9   Linko! x4 (19 all-time)
 9   Länder toppen! (11 all-time)
 9   MarraCash (6 all-time)
 9   Modern Art x2 NEW!
 9   Ra (2 all-time)
 9   Root x4 (6 all-time)
 9   Saint Petersburg (8 all-time)
 9   Santiago (4 all-time)
 9   SpaceCorp x2 NEW!
 9   The Other Hat Trick x3 (24 all-time)
 9   The Waltzing Cat x3 (33 all-time)
 9   Through the Desert x2 (10 all-time)
 9   Tigris & Euphrates (5 all-time)
 9   Times Square x4 (43 all-time)
 8   Across the United States x3 NEW!
 8   Ad Acta (2 all-time)
 8   Arkadia (8 all-time)
 8   Atlantic Star (7 all-time)
 8   Bridge x4 (6 all-time)
 8   Canal Mania (2 all-time)
 8   Capitol (3 all-time)
 8   Casa Grande (8 all-time)
 8   Conquest of Paradise (2 all-time)
 8   Conspiracy (2 all-time)
 8   Cosmogenesis x2 (4 all-time)
 8   Dicke Dämonen x3 NEW!
 8   Die Fugger x5 (8 all-time)
 8   Divinare (5 all-time)
 8   Eggs of Ostrich x8 (27 all-time)
 8   Expedition (5 all-time)
 8   Fish Cook x2 (12 all-time)
 8   Freight Train (3 all-time)
 8   Gloria Picktoria (6 all-time)
 8   Good Little Tricks x2 (5 all-time)
 8   Guerrilla Checkers (4 all-time)
 8   HATSUDEN x2 (10 all-time)
 8   Han (7 all-time)
 8   High Society (3 all-time)
 8   Hive x2 (33 all-time)
 8   JamSumo (8 all-time)
 8   Keltis: Das Orakel (5 all-time)
 8   King Chocolate (5 all-time)
 8   Krass Kariert x3 NEW!
 8   Letnisko (3 all-time)
 8   Medici (3 all-time)
 8   Mini Rails x3 (10 all-time)
 8   Need a Fourth? x2 (3 all-time)
 8   Neolithic x2 (5 all-time)
 8   Northern Pacific x3 (6 all-time)
 8   Obsession x3 NEW!
 8   PAX (12 all-time)
 8   Paris Connection (10 all-time)
 8   Pergamon (6 all-time)
 8   Pikoko (2 all-time)
 8   Potato Man (6 all-time)
 8   Q.E. x2 3 (3 4 all-time)
 8   ROKU-lahoma mixer (5 all-time)
 8   Res Publica (5 all-time)
 8   Samarkand (2 all-time)
 8   Samurai x3 (9 all-time)
 8   San Marco (5 all-time)
 8   Scrabble x3 (10 all-time)
 8   Seeland (4 all-time)
 8   Siberia: The Card Game (6 all-time)
 8   Star Cartel x2 (5 all-time)
 8   Stock hold'em (3 all-time)
 8   Tchu Tchu Train x2 (5 all-time)
 8   Texas Showdown NEW!
 8   The Climbers x2 (10 all-time)
 8   The Soo Line NEW!
 8   Throne and the Grail (11 all-time)
 8   Tiefe Taschen x4 NEW!
 8   Timbuktu (3 all-time)
 8   TransAmerica x5 (14 all-time)
 8   Trick of the Rails (7 all-time)
 8   Tulip Bubble (3 all-time)
 8   Viticulture: Complete Collector's Edition x2 (16 all-time)
 8   Voodoo Prince x2 (3 all-time)
 8   West of Africa x2 NEW!
 8   Wings for the Baron (second edition) NEW!
 8   Wyatt Earp x3 (7 all-time)
 8   Yokohama (3 all-time)
 8   Zimbabweee Trick x3 NEW!
 8   フリップオーバー (FLIP OVER) x2 NEW!
 7   13 Dead End Drive (10 all-time)
 7   Abbott's New Card Games (4 all-time)
 7   Alice Chess NEW!
 7   Azul x2 (10 all-time)
 7   Basari: Das Kartenspiel (4 all-time)
 7   Beyond Words NEW!
 7   Big City (4 all-time)
 7   Blueprints x2 (11 all-time)
 7   Can't Stop x2 NEW!
 7   Carcassonne x2 NEW!
 7   Catan (4 all-time)
 7   Chase NEW!
 7   Circle the Wagons x9 NEW!
 7   Clans (5 all-time)
 7   Coloretto x2 (8 all-time)
 7   Colors of Kasane (5 all-time)
 7   Concerto (2 all-time)
 7   Coup x6 (29 all-time)
 7   Cubiko x20 (25 all-time)
 7   Deep Sea Adventure x2 (13 all-time)
 7   Divinity Derby (3 all-time)
 7   Fabled Fruit x3 (10 all-time)
 7   Finn Billiards (6 all-time)
 7   First Class: All Aboard the Orient Express! (5 all-time)
 7   Fish 'n' Flips NEW!
 7   Fool! x5 NEW!
 7   Fresh Fish (2 all-time)
 7   Fuji Flush x3 (26 all-time)
 7   Hack Trick (8 all-time)
 7   Heimlich & Co. (5 all-time)
 7   Hellas (4 all-time)
 7   Herbalism (3 all-time)
 7   High Treason: The Trial of Louis Riel (3 all-time)
 7   Igel Ärgern + Tante Tarantel x2 (8 all-time)
 7   Inhabit the Earth x2 NEW!
 7   Jaipur (10 all-time)
 7   King's Valley x6 (30 all-time)
 7   Krakatoa x2 (5 all-time)
 7   Kupferkessel Co. (6 all-time)
 7   Letter Tycoon x4 (9 all-time)
 7   Lost Cities: Rivals (2 all-time)
 7   Louis XIV (4 all-time)
 7   Love Letter (15 all-time)
 7   Lux Aeterna x2 NEW!
 7   Mamma Mia! Plus (9 all-time)
 7   Manga Kai x2 (5 all-time)
 7   Mr. President NEW!
 7   No Thanks! (16 all-time)
 7   ORC (5 all-time)
 7   Onitama x3 (13 all-time)
 7   Pairs (26 all-time)
 7   Parade (6 all-time)
 7   Patchwork x2 (14 all-time)
 7   Peloponnes (2 all-time)
 7   Pico 2 (8 all-time)
 7   Pit (7 all-time)
 7   Plums (4 all-time)
 7   Port Royal (11 all-time)
 7   Portobello Market (5 all-time)
 7   R-Eco (8 all-time)
 7   Saboteur (6 all-time)
 7   Safranito x2 (8 all-time)
 7   San Juan (Second Edition) x2 (6 all-time)
 7   Six Making x8 NEW!
 7   Slapshot (5 all-time)
 7   Spiel x2 (3 all-time)
 7   Stellar Conflict (10 all-time)
 7   Stimmvieh NEW!
 7   String Railway (7 all-time)
 7   Sushi Go! x2 (20 all-time)
 7   Tales & Games: The Hare & the Tortoise (8 all-time)
 7   The Bottle Imp (5 all-time)
 7   The Game of Y x2 NEW!
 7   Thurn and Taxis (5 all-time)
 7   Ticket to Ride (2 all-time)
 7   Traders of Osaka (4 all-time)
 7   Tricks NEW!
 7   Triumvirate x2 NEW!
 7   UGO! (2 all-time)
 7   Wildlife Safari x3 (9 all-time)
 7   Wing Spirits x11 (24 all-time)
 7   Zankapfel (2 all-time)
 7   高慢パティシエ (Proud Patissier) (3 all-time)
 6   5-Minute Dungeon x11 NEW!
 6   Absolutely Aces NEW!
 6   Best Treehouse Ever (11 all-time)
 6   Bruges (9 all-time)
 6   Buccaneer (5 all-time)
 6   Clue (4 all-time)
 6   Cribbage x2 (4 all-time)
 6   DIG x2 (5 all-time)
 6   Doro-Doko (6 all-time)
 6   Gauner raus! (7 all-time)
 6   Great Western Trail (4 all-time)
 6   Klaverjassen NEW!
 6   Poke NEW!
 6   Ponzi Scheme NEW!
 6   Sharp Shooters (4 all-time)
 6   Small Indigo Plant x7 NEW!
 6   Takenoko (6 all-time)
 6   Tapestry x2 NEW!
 6   The Mind (11 all-time)
 6   Too Many Cinderellas (8 all-time)
 6   Xenon Profiteer NEW!
 6   Young Jacob Marley (2 all-time)
 6   ペーターと2匹の牧羊犬 (Peter's Two Sheep Dogs) x2 NEW!
 5   Ave Caesar (5 all-time)
 5   BUS x3 (5 all-time)
 5   Bantu NEW!
 5   Baseball Highlights: 2045 NEW!
 5   Bausack (3 all-time)
 5   Escape Room In A Box: The Werewolf Experiment NEW!
 5   Gorus Maximus NEW!
 5   Karekare x2 NEW!
 5   Pizza Master (2 all-time)
 5   Trambahn (3 all-time)
 5   Undaunted: Normandy NEW!
 4   Monopoly Deal Card Game (3 all-time)
 3   Mille Bornes NEW!
 3   The Last Spike NEW!
 N/A   Age of Steam NEW!
 N/A   Bet Royal NEW!
 N/A   Biosphere NEW!
 N/A   Bus NEW!
 N/A   Devices x2 NEW!
 N/A   Franchise NEW!
 N/A   Hattrick NEW!
 N/A   Irish Gauge NEW!
 N/A   Jacynth NEW!
 N/A   Magnificent Flying Machines NEW!
 N/A   Oh Hell! NEW!
 N/A   Olympia 2000 (v. Chr.) NEW!
 N/A   Oware x2 NEW!
 N/A   Pacific Typhoon NEW!
 N/A   Pax Pamir (Second Edition) NEW!
 N/A   Penny Rails x2 NEW!
 N/A   Sweets Stack NEW!
 N/A   Vivaldi x2 NEW!
 N/A   Yukon Airways NEW!
 N/A   literumi NEW!
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9. Board Game: Noctiluca [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:2263]
Board Game: Noctiluca
United States
Wurtsboro
NY
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Thurs Dec 26th

Board Game: 5er Finden


5er Finden - this was a game with a laminated board that I saw a friend play on facebook. There are two sides; all players the same, or all players different. You roll the dice and then try to find those colors in a 5 pattern on your board (picture Boggle with colors), with different shapes being worth different points. You can only use each shape once. Once you find all 5, or as many as you think you can, you flip the timer to begin a countdown for the other player(s), and you get a point for doing so. The last round is x2 points, which can make or break it, even if you thought you were ahead. There's also a variant game where you look for a shape, and use each shape in the game once. Both provide different challenges. 3 plays.


From gallery of indigopotter


Noctiluca - you put a pawn in a brown area on the edge, and claim all dice of a value (1-6) in a straight line (so, in 3 or 4 areas). You put them on your cards, and if there are any you can't use, they go to your opponent. Finishing cards gives you VP tokens. Having the most tokens in each of the 3 types earns bonus VP. Finished squares on cards in your secret color earns VP. Some cards have bonus VP. Looks nice on the table, simple rules, but you have to sweat a little on choices. 2 plays.


From gallery of indigopotter


Patchwork Doodle - You roll a die to move around the circle of cards, and draw the shape on your board. There are a few special powers to snip a shape, draw a 1 square, or draw an adjacent shape. Scoring is based on completed squares (4x4, 5x5, etc) with extra VP for additional rows (5x6 is 25 + 1). Subtract for empty squares at the end. 2 plays.


From gallery of indigopotter


Nations Dice - This one had custom dice and a good play time, but it needed a little something. Sam thought perhaps personal goals (like most colonies) or something. It's a 20-40 min game, and we wanted to add about 15 minutes and a smidge more complexity. I used several rerolls and kept getting 1 sword, which I couldn't do anything with. Getting the dice from the tiles had a bit of a feel of CV, which we like, but something about this was a step behind similar games.



Fri Dec 27th

Board Game: Knapp Daneben!


Knapp Daneben! - like most games, I played conservatively with sensible sevens, eights, nines, and Sam rode the razor's edge with twos and twelves. Sometimes I won, sometimes he won. Having each player have their own "base color" which you combine with a second die for the total makes it interesting. 4 plays.

From gallery of indigopotter


NMBR9 - spatial games like this are more my wheelhouse, and the scores reflected that. Here I was able to put a 9 on the 3rd level for 27 points. This is a game I would play if asked, but that I probably would not request/buy on my own. 3 plays.


Noctiluca. 1 play.

5er Finden. 1 play.


Sat Dec 28th

From gallery of indigopotter


Troika - almost certainly better with 3, as it's too easy to get fuel with 2. There are 3 of each number except sevens, which have more (and some are randomly taken out each round secretly, so you don't know for sure if all 3 fours are in the pile, for example). If you plan to use sevens for your fuel (7-7-7), that leaves 4-5-6 for 6 points, but 8-9-10 is 0 points and 9-10-11 is 1 point. 7-8-9 is the most points, 9, so you have to see if you can get fuel with a triple of a different number if you want to keep those 9 points. But leftovers are negative points, so 8-9-10 at 0 points is better than 8-9 for negative points. The keep-face-up-face-up and keep-face-down-face-down with the sequences and missing numbers reminded me a bit of CABO and No Thanks, respectively. 1 play.

Knapp Daneban. 1 play.


From gallery of indigopotter


Haleakala - This is a game where the smart move is to sabotage your opponent. Send lava down to their tower, move the boat to a bad spot, put a higher token on the beach with the good card. There is a volcano, and you get more points for building closer to the top (grassland, forest, mountain). You can move your builder to empty spots to build, or the boat to beach areas to get cards, based on the values of tokens in that area. Besides building, you can buy cards to give you bonus points for building in certain areas, or having butterfly symbols on your cards. Having the most fish cards, or having pearl cards, also gives you points. It's one of the games with tokens of different values, and you can't get them back until you use all of them (or use an action to recall one). So you can't just use the 3 every turn. And while you formulate a good plan, your opponent is moving the boat somewhere you don't want it to go. I'd say this leans on the tactical side, with trying to mess up your opponent. A good fit for someone, not necessarily us.


Sun Dec 29th

From gallery of indigopotter


Portobello Market - you'll notice that I was yellow quite a bit the last few days, because Haleakala only has two colors, and Portobello Market only has enough pieces in red and yellow for 2 players. Your actions on a turn are to place a wooden stall and/or place a customer. Customers (pink and gray) are multipliers for the points in the stalls between them, depending on the combination (gray-gray being the lowest). At first, Sam would build market stalls and I would try to sabotage them with the low customer combinations. Then we placed a lot of customers so that we would know which ones were worth building on. You have 4/3/2 action chips, and you don't get them back until you've used all of them. However, the 4 and 2 are also special once-per-game scoring markers, and are replaced by generic gray markers that are stacked in descending order. If you use your 2 action token to score early enough, you can actually improve it with a 3 action token. If you wait, your 4 action token might become a 2 action token (but it might be worth it in the points you made).

There's also an interesting thing that happens with moving the Bobby (shows the active area where you can build). You may have to spend points to move him (more likely with more players, relatively easy to have a majority with 2p, and thus moving is free).

It has some interesting things going on, and I'd be curious to play it with Adley (but not over the 10 other things ahead of it in line).


Also

Board Game: Railroad Ink: Deep Blue Edition


Sam got us a copy of Railroad Ink: Deep Blue Edition that we perhaps played last Sunday (or Monday?). I didn't care for it as much as similar games, but also, we might have been tired from traveling, and it may deserve a second chance.
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10. Board Game: Magic Realm [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:1188]
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Dave Peters
United States
Belmont
California
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Scorecard for the Week/Month/Year as of 28Dec2019:

19/48/433 plays of 16/35/212 total games, with 2/4/45 expansions employed.
Plays with 11/22/123 distinct opponents.

0/1/40 games acquired (plus 0/0/22 expansions.)
0/0/1 games sold/traded (plus 0/0/2 expansions.)
0/0/36 games ordered (plus 0/0/7 expansions.)
Orders for 13 games and 1 expansions still outstanding.

With family and friends:
Board Game: Qwirkle

image by toulouse

1x _6⅔_ Qwirkle (13 total plays)

I do indeed manage to redeem myself. This time, when faced with playing a fifth element in a line of four, I restrained myself. And so found myself later with many more opportunities to play that element as a sixth.

It's interestingly inertially group-thinky: we had slightly different patterns in this game that the one in the previous week; but once we fell into a pattern, we tended to stay with it.


Board Game: Catan
Board Game: Die Siedler von Catan: Historische Szenarien

images by BoardGameGeek and yzemaze

1x _6⅔_ The Settlers of Catan (16+ total plays) (5 years dusty) (with Historische Szenarien (12 years dusty))

A silliness: this (the Cheops scenario from Historische Szenarien) is one that son #1 had played often with his grandparents when he was a small lad (before son #2 was born, in fact.) So in honour of my mom visiting, we pulled it out and played with four of us.

Despite occasionally playing Settlers with friends, son #2 found himself outmanoeuvred from time to time by the scheming of his older relatives. Mom and I finished in the middle of the pack, and son #1 had (much like when he was 7) an easy victory.

Board Game: Ubongo

image by EndersGame

1x _7⅔_ Ubongo (16 total plays) (41 months dusty)

If left to ourselves, we tend to pull out Ubongo 3-D; but to inflict on my mom, we thought we'd try the simplest variant. That was probably the right decision. It's cute; and while the scoring mechanism of the more recent Game: Ubongo games is a bit simpler, this was better (in that regard) than I'd remembered.

Board Game: ZÈRTZ

image by amberaleman

3x _7⅔_ ZÈRTZ (21 total plays)

Son #1 hadn't remembered the dynamics clearly. So I won the first game relatively easily. The second showed different patterns, and was fairly closely fought; but he had no difficulty in the third (despite - or perhaps because of - my trying something yet again different.)

Board Game: Spaceopoly

image by WanderingMouse

2x _5_ Spaceopoly (4+ total plays) (14 years dusty)

Speaking of Settlers and tiny son #1; this was one he'd played with parents and grandparents when he was 5. He'd loved the planets and their satellites - and would often engage an unsuspecting adult with a question like "which moon is your favourite?" - hoping for an answer that shed some light on a facet of a moon he'd not yet encountered; and generally being disappointed that most adults couldn't pull more than a couple moons to mind.

This is (mostly) a stupid game. It's a volatile and capricious take on Monopoly: and, as a result, son #2 (who didn't have a history of playing it as a tiny person) expected the worst.

After the first game, he said "I'd play again: it was unexpectedly charming."

Amid its completely unlikely framing, it gets several things better than one might expect:
• It doesn't tend to last too long. (Neither of these games lasted past the 70m mark.)
• Early reverses aren't catastrophic. (Daughter #1 had a really slow start in the first game, but came back strong after the mid-point to win.)
• Even if someone has an apparently-unassailable lead, they won't necessarily win. (Notably, daughter #1 won the second when a Laser roll of double-six (which, under normal circumstances, would have eliminated her from the game) bounced off her experimental shields, demonstrating their prowess and completing her Special Mission for the win.)

I don't think we'll play again soon. But the next time my mom visits? Plausible.

Board Game: Bongo!

image by tbraut

1x _7_ Bongo! (35 total plays)

With son #1 and one of his college buddies. Silly; amusing; and more a puzzle than a game with a newbie. (I've had the fun of occasionally experiencing it as a game: where one is trying to block a leader as much as solve the current configuration. And that's cooler. But it's still OK at its worst.)

Board Game: Yavalath

image by n_r_a

1x _7⅓_ Yavalath (76 +0 total plays)

With my mom and son #1. They conspired to eliminate me early, then mom had the opportunity to force son #1 into a loss, but was trying for a constructive play instead of a destructive. We had a nice chat about it after the fact, but I'm not convinced that she wanted to win by making him lose!

Board Game: Xactika

image by mdikwb

1x _6⅔_ Xactika (3 total plays) (33 months dusty)

This had originally been mom's copy; but she'd given it to me a couple years back because she'd not bothered to play. So it seemed amusing to inflict it on her with the help of sons #1 and #2. I think the young gentlemen were about as impressed with it as Brian (from the Wednesday Lunch Gang) is: one has too little an idea of the suits that might be played in the final trick of each hand to make any sensible decisions (or something like that.)

I found it entertaining; but it absolutely is volatile.

Board Game: Ticket to Ride
Board Game: Ticket to Ride: USA 1910

images by Fawkes and kilgore

1x _7⅓_ Ticket to Ride (36+ total plays) (with USA 1910 (41 months dusty))

With son #1, his college buddy and my mom. Which is, admittedly, an a-priori entertaining field. It was entertaining. Son #1 ended the game early (for me); but only managed a third-place position. And yet, if he'd failed to end things then, he might well have come last - so I can't (couldn't; won't) fault the decision.

Board Game: YINSH

image by samoan_jo

1x _8_ YINSH (14 total plays)

With son #1. He had no difficulty dispatching me. I think I need to practice with his brother...

Board Game: Magic Realm

image by Werbaer

1x _10_ Magic Realm (37++ total plays)

With sons #1 and #2. We all went with a rather friendly (and not terribly difficult character): son #1 with the Druid; son #2 with the Dwarf; me with the Black Knight. The youngsters were amused when I recruited the Company and wandered around the map pillaging and slaughtering monsters: most of our previous plays had seen victory come by accumulation of treasure; and the notion of doing well by the accumulation of Fame and Notoriety was a bit surprising to them (even as they realized that was indeed part of the game's framing.) I wouldn't be surprised if we see a few more of the fight & pillage characters in future...

Board Game: Cryptid

image by CaptainCapybara

1x _7⅔_ Cryptid (9 total plays)

With son #1 and his college buddy. Son #1 wins easily; but he at least gave the other two of us three turns each before finishing us off.

Board Game: Greener

image by nestorgames

1x _7_ Greener 2 total plays.

I didn't do any better at this than at YINSH: easily defeated by son #1.



With cool folk at BAP:
Board Game: Die Dolmengötter

image by buergerberatung

1x _9_ Die Dolmengötter (23 total plays)

I don't usually pull this out with 5: but we'd set up and were ready to play with 4 when a fifth player arrived. And rather than put this away (in preference of something else) we just dealt them in.

It's weirder with 5 than with 4: there's more blocking; more times where one's only play is to Gather Herbs; and possibly more subtleties of (or, at least, more chaos resulting from) timing. Our first player won by a substantial margin - and, to their credit, wondered if they'd done well (in part) because of turn order things. I think they'd just played well: but it could be; I don't have enough prior plays with 5 to know!

Board Game: Pacific Typhoon

image by jcangel

1x _7_ Pacific Typhoon (4 total plays) (9 years dusty)

With the full complement of seven players.

It's silly and hilarious. Several card plays resulted in the table laughing, or saying Oooh! Or groaning with the knowledge of impending disaster. One player carped that they didn't have much control: and the table agreed that was absolutely the case; but they should still try to take advantage of the occasional opportunities that fell their way.

Or, in other words, it's quite a lot of a a trick-taker, even amid the WW2 framing. In the end, I think we had seven enthusiastic participants (including a bytstander that arrived half-way through) and one slightly-grumpy person.

Board Game: 1862: Railway Mania in the Eastern Counties

image by PzVIE

1x _8_ 18EA (4 total plays)

...whose opinion of the world wasn't much improved by being part of this one. All sorts of things went wrong for them here. (Modestly) early rusts of trains they were hoping to use One More Time; sales of their stock by co-investors looking for slightly better retuns on the pound; track that wasn't quite laid in the convenient direction.

I found it entertaining. But also missed having my spreadsheet available (I'd left the laptop at home. Oops.)



Owned-and-unplayed: 1 (+0/-0)
Owned-and-played-once: 97 (+0/-0)

Outlook for the week: Off work again this week. But no longer on call (At least as of 1400 on Monday.) Might play the occasional game. Or just hang out with family. We'll see.
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11. Board Game: Beyond the Rhine: The Campaign for Northwest Europe [Average Rating:8.41 Overall Rank:4916]
Board Game: Beyond the Rhine: The Campaign for Northwest Europe, September 1944 - April 1945
Lo
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Solo on the West Wall
Board Game: Beyond the Rhine: The Campaign for Northwest Europe

 8   Beyond the Rhine New!

I partially played the smallest scenario from Beyond the Rhine earlier in the week, but had to clear it off the table for Christmas dinner. I barely scratched the surface of the game and the game play. Unlike the old I-go/U-go games that I played in my teens with their simple move-combat-retreat/advance, Beyond the Rhine has combat interrupting movement ("overruns") and the non-phasing player having a reaction phase during the phasing player's turn, and then the phasing player being able to exploit/react after "normal" combat. So games are much more fluid and defences have to be in depth because multiple attacks and advances can occur and zones of controls really only matter for trucks (and the units that use them). Then, on top of all that, there's tracking/allocating supply for everything.

It's a monster.

Addendum: While clipping counters the past few days, I've been watching a playthrough of Tunisia that's using a more up to date set of rules (more in line with Beyond the Rhine: The Campaign for Northwest Europe). It's been very instructive, showing how to use overrun and reserves to crack a line that's set up in depth.

And in other wargame related news, I finally ordered a heavy duty 3mm corner clipper so I can retire my old nail clipper. That and I ordered a stainless steel dentist tweezer because I don't like the jewerly tweezer I'm currently using to extract crowded counter stacks.



Death in the Dungeon
Board Game: Massive Darkness
Board Game: Massive Darkness: Enemy Box – Troglodytes

Board Game: Massive Darkness: Heroes & Monster Set – Noble Warriors vs The Cockatrix
Board Game: Massive Darkness: Heroes & Monster Set – Sorcerers vs Lord Tusk

 7   Massive Darkness x3 (32 all-time)
+  7   Enemy Box – Troglodytes x3 (23 all-time)
+  6   Heroes & Monster Set – Noble Warriors vs The Cockatrix x3 (19 all-time)
+  6   Heroes & Monster Set – Sorcerers vs Lord Tusk x2 (6 all-time)

Massive Darkness was masochistically entertaining on Saturday night. We each died twice in the same dungeon with different characters.

The scaling in the game sucks and we really need to figure out some house rules to reduce the power of roaming monsters at the lower levels and increase it at higher levels. I'm sure they're fine in the standard game, but they just don't work in the story format that we play.

Tavern Building w/S
Board Game: The Taverns of Tiefenthal

 7   The Taverns of Tiefenthal x3 New!

While I can see getting a number of plays from The Taverns of Tiefenthal, I think they'll pretty much be restricted to two-player with S. The game is definitely her style, a light/medium Euro with deck-building from Ascension and good old Euro engine-building. I'm okay with it, but it's definitely more her style than mine.


The Week Ahead

I'm working on and off this week (off Monday and Wednesday) so hope to make some progress on the Beyond the Rhine: The Campaign for Northwest Europe's 1944 Montgomery campaign which is now spread over the dining room table. Other than that, I have no plans. But Beyond the Rhine: The Campaign for Northwest Europe is really more than enough for this week.

Unplayed games of note in shrink: 18Lilliput, Maria, Francis Drake, German Railways, Tikal and Revolution: The Dutch Revolt 1568-1648.

Unplayed games not in shrink: Mottainai.
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12. Board Game: Dutch InterCity [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:7283]
Board Game: Dutch InterCity
The Mirror
United States
New York
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Board Game: Dutch InterCity
8  Dutch InterCity x3 NEW!
So this game gives Neue Heimat a run for its money in terms of mean lean and quick auction games, only it throws in the shared incentives of company shares and you get what is likely to end up an all time game for me.

Game is played in phases a la 18xx, first is the share phase where in priority order shares are auctioned off each player can continue to raise their bids but once you pass you are out. Once the second to last player passes, the winner adds their bid to the company treasury. The next player in priority order puts another share up for auction. This continues until one player is completely out of money and then the game moves to the operation phase.

In this phase each company president (first share sold is Pres cert, this changes if another player exceeds president in shares of company) plays a track card face down in front of them. They are all revealed simultaneously. If the track card played is distinct from the other companies, then the company pays minimum track cost. If two companies play the same track card then the involved companies conduct a single blind bid auction, winner pays winning bid to build that track or minimum track cost whichever is greater.

Dividends are then payed to shareholders at $x per share where x=# of contiguous track stretches owned by the company that don’t loop through any city more than once. Branches also don’t count.

Player with most cash in hand then becomes 1st priority in the next stock/share phase, second most 2nd, etc. Wash and repeat until all of the tracks are owned by the companies or no track link is purchased at all. Companies pay final dividends, and then remaining company cash is distributed to shareholders evenly per share with extra rounding dollars going to the president. Player with most money wins.

I love it, ask me anything.


Board Game: Modern Art
7.5  Modern Art NEW!
Any other week, this would be the big winner, and my first play was quite enjoyable (we were all learning together), but I’ve got some questions about longevity with hidden info and interest/fun in an open cash iteration of the game. That said, it’s clearly super fun. Any of y’all play open cash? Does it kill the game?
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13. Board Game: Sol: Last Days of a Star [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:1463]
Board Game: Sol: Last Days of a Star
John Rogers
United States
Yakima
WA
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10  Sol: Last Days of a Star x2 (47 all-time)
8  Bus x2 (6 all-time)
8  Modern Art x2 (30 all-time)
7  Fae x4 (10 all-time)
5  The Flow of History (7 all-time)
4  Hail Hydra x3 NEW!
3  Dragonwood (4 all-time)

The Good
Got in a few plays of Sol, Bus (rating my drop), Modern Art, and Fae this past week. All were pretty good but Sol just speaks to me in a way the others don’t. It had been a couple of months and after my first of two plays I wondered aloud at why I had waited so long to get it back to the table.

The Bad
Played DragonWood with my niece (8yr). I enjoy playing with her regardless of the game. But this isn’t the kind of game I enjoy. Also played Hail Hydra (which will likely see a ratings drop in retrospect). It’s BSG with all the good stuff taken out. Essentially a party affair where you can accuse others of being a traitor with zero to go on. No thanks.

The Ugly
Probably my play in a 5ply session of Bus. I was fairly passive and allowed a player to get to four buses; the next best was two. He ended up wining 10-7-6-4-3. The poor play is on me though I am finding myself cooling on Bus. And no one at the 5ply table seemed to like it at all. (though both my parents seemed to enjoy our 3ply game). I need to play it at 4ply sometime but I definitely prefer this 3>5 players.

Bonus Bus Thoughts
In playing Sol and Bus each twice this past week I realized my strong preference for Sol, or at least the concept of it. Both games begin incrementally. Both have shared board influence and creation. But where Sol builds toward abundant mutualism and communal opportunities, Bus seems to contract and narrow toward zero-sum play as it comes to a close. It’s like differing philosophical sides of similar coins. Sol is a rising-tide-lifts-all-boats kind of thing. Bus is an I-take-you-lose-zero-sum affair via action prioritization. It’s a game of blocking, withholding, and stealing. This town ain’t big enough for more than one bus line.

Bus is a game of odd extremes: collisions and wide open roads. On the board players fight over scarce passengers and central congestion while simultaneously running to create open, isolated roads along the edges. The action selection is also interesting as legit actions are somewhat narrow at the outset, expand in the mid-game, before collapsing in the end. Play is incredibly sharp (even more so after half a dozen plays). In fact it may be the meanest, sharpest Splotter I’ve played.

But I don’t know how much I like it. For a mean spatial affair I’d much rather play Fresh Fish. For an action selection I prefer the more co-habitation play of Dominant Species. For a similar length/vibe Splotter I’d opt for Zimbabwe. It isn’t a bad game but I’m not sure how often it will hit the table given the preferences of my group and I.
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14. Board Game: Promenade [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:7360]
Board Game: Promenade
Christmas break fortunately meant more games played. We were busy touring around to visit both sides of the family. Lots of people around meant Lauge had fun but also suffered a bit from impression overload (and diarrhea…). Saturday I even managed to slip away all day to play games with my old group in Aarhus.

Board Game: Dadaocheng

 6   Dadaocheng NEW!
Since the whole Christmas (jul as it is called in Danish – juletid/yuletide means Christmas time) celebration is on December 24, I had a window of a few hours during the afternoon on the 25th to go visit Simon and his family as they live 25 minutes from my parents. Simon had a bit of time off at that time as well before some of their family came by for a visit. Of course we spent that time playing games! I had recently acquired a copy of the first edition of Dadaocheng based on Hanibal’s recommendation of it most likely being the superior version. Simon did not mind trying it with me. It is much more of an abstract puzzle than I thought. There is really scope for AP meltdowns in this because it is impossible to plan ahead and there are so many permutations to sieve through in your head despite you only have two simple options to choose from for your two actions on the board. I do not think I would dare play this at higher counts. My hope was that it would be a game Lærke and I could enjoy but now I am not so sure she will like it. Did I? Difficult to say. I liked it well enough to give it a provisional rating of 6 and if it is something we will play more I could see it move up because pattern recognition would definitely help. I like the cool comboing you can do but if it is more often a matter of coincidence then my desire to play it would slip away. It is odd because I found the game to be ugly when it came out and now I quite enjoy the artwork.

Board Game: Greed

 8   Greed (69 all-time)
Simon had asked me a couple of weeks ago why Greed is so good because he was considering buying Nicolai’s copy. Very much a Poenix affair! My explanation was good enough it seems because he bought it. I brought it to also teach him how to play it. I had not played for some months so it was great getting it back to the table and I think Simon liked it well enough too. Since it is a drafting game of combo-making it benefits from knowing the deck so I hope he will explore it enough to get to that point. For Lærke and me, this is one of our games so I will always look upon it fondly.

Board Game: Taluva

 7   Taluva (27 all-time)
On Boxing Day, we packed the car which took an hour! and drove down to Lærke’s mum where that side of the family had gathered for a large Christmas lunch. One of Lærke’s cousins plays boardgames and so does his girlfriend now. His mother even talked about how great an experience it was to play a game the night before. That Ag-Agri-something game. During the afternoon I sat these three down to teach them Taluva as Lærke had recommended it to them. It was very much a teaching game where I helped them make good decisions so they saw some of the depth of the game. It was my impression that they enjoyed the game and like us found our creation at the end of the game to be beautiful.

Board Game: The Mind

 7   The Mind (9 all-time)
Fortunately, they were the ones to stay overnight so when everyone else had gone home we opened a bottle of port and played a couple of small games. We started with The Mind where Lærke’s mum joined even though I knew she would not enjoy it but there was no keeping her back. She suffers from FOMO extremely bad so if it looks like someone else will have a good time she wants to join. She has repeatedly said she does not get our love for playing boardgames and she quickly develops a mental block so even the simple rules do not go through. Sure enough she complained all the way through and totally destroyed the focus on each other needed and I packed the game away before we had lost all our lives. Lærke then played several rounds of Eggs of Ostrich with her cousin and his girlfriend and that went over well.

Board Game: Electropolis

 8   Electropolis (2 all-time)
Next day, Lærke and I managed to play our second play of Electropolis during one of Lauge’s naps. Man, is this one good. At least at two. I even upped my rating afterwards from a 7 to an 8. Before we finished Lærke already talked about us needing to play this again soon. That mix of Habitats and Small City is just perfect for us. It is not really a great looking game but you have to touch those silky tiles.

Board Game: Animal Kingdoms

 5   Animal Kingdoms NEW!
The next day I was back on the road again and drove down to Aarhus for a day of boardgames with my old semi-defunct group. We started out with this small Kickstarter that one of the others had just received. The seemingly family friendliness of it was what made him back it. Basically, it is typical KS fare: beuatiful and toothless. At least they playtested this enough to create a balanced game. It's really very standard area majority stuff with no edges or quirks. Inoffensive, simple and rather dull.

Board Game: Promenade

 7   Promenade NEW!
This, on the other hand, is not standard KS stuff. It did not get funded for some reason (perhaps that it is a good game?) so the designer made it available as print on demand in a second campaign. I think only 125 supported him this time but those that did seem happy with the game and Rio Grande Games as since picked it up. It is a fairly thematic deck builder of art speculation and market manipulation – a mix of Dominion and Modern Art perhaps. But it feels very thematic to use deck building as the main mechanism when the players are art collectors. Yeah you can use the artworks as payment without losing them which is far from thematic so you have to live with that. Otherwise, it is pretty cool stuff. You have a market to buy from – galleries of course. The prices change over the course of the game and some galleries are more prestigious than others so increase the value of the type of paintings bought there more than those from less prestigious galleries. The more a type of painting (there are five types) is invested in the more it is worth but there is also another way of manipulating the market and that is exhibiting in the museum. Just like with the galleries, some exhibitions are better than others. The better the pricier it is to exhibit and the smaller the exhibition. The thing is, when you exhibit a painting you also lose it from your deck. You are awarded some points immediately but you also create extra worth for everyone else. On our first play we found it a bit hard to track who had what so colluding was minimal but I am quite sure that with more plays you would see a lot more of that.

Board Game: Hurlyburly

 7   Hurlyburly (2 all-time)
Silly fun of trebucheting rocks after each other’s card towers. It was described by La Mame Games before Essen as Rhino Hero with catapults and that is exactly what it is – just without the weird Uno card play of Rhino Hero.

Board Game: A Handful of Stars

 6   A Handful of Stars (2 all-time)
We like to play a Martin Wallace game when we meet and this had been talked about for quite a while. Mind you, we hardly meet but still. I had not played it since my half play at Essen when Martin W showed it there the year before it was released. My impression then was that it fixed the end game issues in Mythotopia ingenuously and after a full play I agree with myself that it is. I think this is my favourite game in his deck building trilogy although I do not get why ASiE is not included in the trilogy as that clearly has the same kind of deck building. Anyway, it is a good game if you feel like a game of deck building tug of war and if you can live with silly species names like Peacenims, Culturemoogs and Exploremords. It is also quite handsome looking on the table which is not something you would say about a Treefrog game that often.


Games that left my collection this month: Conquest of Paradise and A Handful of Stars.

Games that entered my collection this month: CliniC: Deluxe Edition and Flotilla.

Unplayed games in my collection: 1860: Railways on the Isle of Wight, Napoleon's Triumph, Turning Point: Stalingrad, Ligny 1815: Last Eagles, Autumn for Barbarossa, Dubbe, PQ-17: Arctic Naval Operations 1941-1943, Lords of the Sierra Madre (Second Edition), Triumph & Tragedy, The Princes of Florence, Paths of Glory, Cataclysm: A Second World War, Joffre, Greed Incorporated, Mice and Mystics, Happy Hour, King Thief Minister, Yin Yang, Mauwi, Haggis, Proud Patissier, Nevsky, CliniC and Flotilla.
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15. Board Game: Wavelength [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:637]
Board Game: Wavelength
Alison Mandible
United States
Somerville
Massachusetts
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-- CHRISTMAS EVE --

Board Game: Codenames
 10   Codenames x2 (79 all-time)

Possibly the two worst games of Codenames I've ever played. I'm not sure what was wrong! Two invalid clues were given, which we had to look up the rule for because it had never happened to any of the many experts present. I gave a bad (albeit legal) opening clue that confused my team for the whole game. It was just a mess.

Board Game: Wavelength
 9   Wavelength NEW!

I'm so glad this arrived!

It's... good. It's great at what it does. It almost feels too easy, in that you quickly realize you're unlikely to be on the wrong side of the center, and so it's more like you're picking one of two choices to see if you get points at all (is a kitten "kinda soft" or "very soft"?) and then the real game, the weird mind-meld game we were promised, is in seeing just how accurately you can find your spot within that range. But it's fun and easy and intriguing and has the same appealing feature Codenames does of allowing people to drop in and out while playing, so, it will definitely be on my game tables until it stops being fun.

(The feeling of being too easy might be different once we open the 'advanced' pack! Haven't yet.)

 
 9   Monikers NEW!

This game also never fails. Due to laziness and lack of scrap paper, we scored each round as a separate thing (i.e. just which team had more points in this round) and that worked better, possibly because often you have one team being better at the verbal rounds (1 and 2) but the other being better at charades. With cumulative scoring, that just means the second team will finish round 3 still losing but having gained ground; instead calling that "you won this one!" is nicer for everybody.

---

Board Game: Circle the Wagons
 7   Circle the Wagons x5 NEW!

I've played this solo once and taught it to 2 people, and in all cases, having played a ton of Sprawlopolis made it feel too simple. The fact that some cards just hand you 3 free points in matching terrain is a downer for those looking for a puzzle. In theory it should be interesting to decide whether to skip a card in order to GET one of those obviously-good cards, but... well, maybe I just mean to say, I haven't lost a game of this yet and my interest will probably drop if that stays true.

Board Game: Chocolatiers
 5   Chocolatiers NEW!

A perfectly nice game in the Ticket To Ride / Quilt Show genre (but much shorter!). The hook is a smaller hand limit but more ability to pivot (your action can be discarding one card to take two from the face-up offer, rather than just keeping your hand and taking one card like normal), so you can react to changes in both the card offer and tile offer more interestingly. There's also a little of Carrara's "catch your opponents with their plans uncompleted" race.

Board Game: Cat Café
 4   Cat Café NEW!

I play so many bad games with cats in them! Why? I guess that just means I'm less selective about games when there's a cat involved, not that designers are worse at making them. That could be true too.

This isn't a disaster, but it was also curiously leaden. And like every cat game I can think of, the theme was super-extra pasted on.

Board Game: Tier auf Tier: Das Duell
 7   Tier auf Tier: Das Duell (4 all-time)
Board Game: Escape Room in a Box: Flashback
 5   Escape Room In A Box: Flashback NEW!
Board Game: Animal Upon Animal: Small and Yet Great!
 7   Animal Upon Animal: Small and Yet Great! (6 all-time)
Board Game: Sprawlopolis
 9   Sprawlopolis x26 (76 all-time)

I decided to cut back on the weird stuff and just play base Sprawlopolis for a while. That was still fun. So I've been adding back in the fan expansion and it still seems solid, even with more grounding in just how well-balanced the base game is (i.e. mostly, but sometimes not). I don't know if I need more solo games like this, or if I need some way to break the habit.
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16. Board Game: Robot Turtles [Average Rating:6.00 Overall Rank:4738]
Board Game: Robot Turtles
Simon Agner Holm
Denmark
Aarhus C
Danmark
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Board Game: Vast: The Mysterious Manor
Board Game: Rory's Story Cubes
Board Game: Santorini
Board Game: Kleiner Obstgarten
Board Game: For Sale
Board Game: Night-Night Kisses
Board Game: Greed
Board Game: Dadaocheng
Board Game: Robot Turtles
Board Game: Hats


Looking at it i´m kinda surprised by the amount of gaming I did in the christmas holiday.

 7   For Sale
We only managed to squeeze in a single game during the christmas eve celebration but since all of Røskvas family adore For Sale it wasn´t surprising that this was the game to hit the table. It is after all a magnificent game.

 8   Santorini x7
So far Santorini has been a hit with just about everyone I´ve showed it to. Personally I´m still very very much in love with it. Looking forward to the next 50 plays of it and hope that they´ll decide to bring the expansion to EU at some point.

 7   Greed NEW!
 4   Dadaocheng NEW!

Morten came by on the 25th and luckily I had a small break from the family at the point so he had time for a quick couple of games. Dadaocheng had a very charming aesthetic and an interesting central mechanism but was ultimately very much not for me. It was one of the most AP inducing games I´ve ever played and because a few extra minutes of thinking might literally double your payout on any given turn it is hard to justify playing it quick and loose.
I am interested in seeing how having 3 or 4 players would change the dynamic of the game since you would then be (almost) forced to also benefit some of your opponents during your turn, but the downtime is simply too much for me to even try this. I do however think I would quite enjoy this game if it had and asynchronous online implementation so you could take as much time as you wanted.

Greed on the other hand was great. Obviously for a drafting with a deck of 80 (or so) unique cards you´ll need a few plays to familiaries yourself with what to expect. But as a 2 player game I found it very satisfying and tense with lots of room for strategic diversity, strong combos and clever counterplay. Can´t wait to try it again.


 N/A   Rory's Story Cubes x2
 N/A   Kleiner Obstgarten x2
 7   Night-Night Kisses x2
 7   Robot Turtles
Plenty of gaming with the kids. Highlight was playing Robot Turtles with my 7 year old nephew. That is a great age for this game as you can build some more challenging levels and have them choose multiple cards at a time before resolving movement/running the program. He was being very cocky so I built a level which required him to do both A and B before progressing to C but I also built in a trap for him in which he could lock himself out of victory. He got super focused and a bit frustrated when he fell in my trap, but the satisfaction on his face when he finally completed it made it all worth it. Afterwards we switched sides with him building and me playing. He made an insanely long level bit missed that there was a path around everything strait to the end Afterwards he spent 5 minutes trying to figure out why the level didn´t work as he had intended. Great stuff!

 7   Hats
A single game of Hats 3 player with Røskva and a close friend. It was as confounding and delightful as always.
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17. Board Game: Jalan-Jalan [Average Rating:6.24 Unranked]
Board Game: Jalan-Jalan
Rich P
United Kingdom
Sheffield
United Kingdom
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Last week's plays:

|9| Gloomhaven (+Solo Scenarios) (x4)
|9| RoboRally (+Armed and Dangerous)
-8- Just One (x3)
-7.5- Lewis & Clark (+Cédrick Chaboussit; Martin Wallace)
-7- Pictomania
-7- Ticket to Ride: Japan (x2) New!
-6- First Contact (x2) New!
-5- Jalan-Jalan New!
-3- Speak Out New!

More party games and a chance to try out some of the Christmas presents.

Just One was popular with the family. My non-gaming dad was almost convinced to join in but ended up watching and adjudicating.

Speak Out was my older sister's contribution to Christmas gaming. In it, you put a plastic contraption in your mouth which forces your lips apart, then you read out obscure phrases from cards and your teammates try to guess what you're saying. There's no miming allowed, so you just have to repeat the phrase until someone guesses it. It's funny once but I don't need to play it again.

Pictomania went badly. My youngest nephew didn't want to play but my sister insisted he join in. His brother scored better than him in the first round, so he then sulked and gave up trying, playing randomly for the rest of the game but still complaining he wasn't doing well. I had hoped to try out the Pop Culture promo cards but when I laid out the first ones, the rest of the table were very puzzled reading through the lists. These are more Geek Culture than Pop Culture, and my family hadn't heard of Cthulhu, Cylons, Charmander etc. I swapped them out for the regular cards and we continued. I'll save the new cards for a more suitable gathering of gamers.

Jalan-Jalan is an Indonesian card game I picked up at Essen, themed around visiting tourist attractions. You each have one public and one secret goal for the type of destination you'd like adding to the group itinerary. There's voting and card play to influence what the trip looks like and you're trying to get as many matches as possible between the completed itinerary and your goals. It was fine but you don't have a lot of control over what gets added to the itinerary. You have your vote every turn but it's the action cards which have the biggest influence, some of which are much better than others. The 'Manly Voice' (!) card allows you to ensure your vote passes. There's another card which lets you swap secret goals with another player, which is a nice idea but doesn't help you if the goal you're looking for is face up already. With a bit more development this could be a pretty fun game.

First Contact was a Christmas present. Fun but much easier than I had expected, even without using the beginner rules where you start with some information. We found that there was an advantage to whichever alien happened to want an item clued-in early by the humans. For example, Mike clued 'alive' and Matt had several animals on his wishlist. Is there anything the other alien player could do to overcome this? I was expecting more symbols to be used, more deciphering to be required but it seemed easy to score points using only a couple of symbols each time. I'd like to play a few more times but this may not be the game I thought it would be.

The twist in Ticket to Ride: Japan is the cooperatively built bullet train routes. Once built, anyone can use these routes to help complete tickets. You get a big bonus for having contributed the most to the bullet train building effort and a penalty for building the least. These shared routes change the game quite a bit. Ticket values are very different as a result. Sometimes you can complete a ticket entirely using trains built by other players. On the other hand, you have only 20 personal trains, so you may need to rely on the bullet trains to fulfil your goals and your fellow players may not build them where you want. An interesting variant.

Lewis & Clark was a comedy of errors, with everyone making a big mistake at one point; I discovered our Gloomhaven Brute character was not well equipped for his solo scenario; and RoboRally was over quickly thanks to a rocket-powered jumping upgrade.
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