GCL Mafia 483: Chef's Kiss
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Welcome to GCL Mafia Division's weekly quarantine chat!

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 muffin-related topics. Themed questions are optional. Muffin pictures are always encouraged.
• Members can post additional items as they see fit.
• DO NOT ADD items if you are not part of the current roster.

Current Roster:
fdubois
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mith
Dolus
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1. Board Game: Kitchen Rush (Revised Edition) [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:3426]
Board Game: Kitchen Rush (Revised Edition)
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Do you save a perfect final bite of food to end on?

Is there a perfectly satisfying food? Something for you that you could have ONE of and be satisfied and not want another after.
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2. Board Game: Dream Factory [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:708]
Board Game: Dream Factory
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What movie/shows have a perfect final scene? The rest of the movie/show doesn't have to be flawless, but the exact final scene before credits is "perfect" in some way.
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3. Board Game: Meta Chess [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Meta Chess
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Some games end soon when you feel you could use a couple more turns, other games seem to drag on too many rounds past the point of interest.

What games end exactly at the right point?
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4. Board Game: Five Tribes [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:61]
Board Game: Five Tribes
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5. Video Game: Animal Crossing: New Horizons [Average Rating:8.38 Overall Rank:1545]
Video Game: Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Ambie
United States
San Mateo
California
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Still no board games, but plenty of Animal Crossing.

Also I finished one of the Ravensburger escape puzzles that I have. The jigsaw puzzle part was taking a while because I was only working on it like 3-5 minutes at a time, and I wasn't looking at the box cover because it said that it doesn't match. But then I realized that the picture is similar to the box cover (items are in similar places), so on Monday I looked at the box cover and then finished the puzzle. I did the escape room part on Wednesday night, took like 30 minutes. I enjoyed it, although the last metapuzzle thing wasn't too obvious.

I'm kinda halfway through The Maze of Games (puzzle book) now. I also bought The Keymaster's Tome (the solution book in story form) with it, which has been very helpful since I'm not great with crossword type puzzles or anagrams, and there are quite a few of those.

Edit: Oh, I guess I won the first online game of Incan Gold so... best implementation ever. Especially on mobile.

On My Mind
- Roy might be allergic to peanuts. We'd been giving them a little bit of peanut butter for the last couple weeks and they both liked it and were fine with it, but this last week after lunch (with peanut butter) I noticed Roy had some red spots on his face. I emailed the doctor and she said it looks like hives and it's likely a peanut allergy, so we should hold off on giving him peanut butter.

- Toby launched 18xx.games! Here's his thread with more info on it: Introducing 18xx.games: An Online 18xx Platform. I feel like I should play it at some point.
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6. Board Game: 51st State: Master Set [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:290]
Board Game: 51st State: Master Set
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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Board Game: San Juan (Second Edition)
Board Game: Age of Industry
Board Game: 51st State: Master Set


San Juan (Second Edition) (13 all-time)
Age of Industry NEW!
51st State: Master Set NEW-ISH!

Online Plays

Dragon Castle
Perudo
Haggis
Diamant
Keyflower
Tokaido
Race for the Galaxy

Finally knocked out Age of Industry with my regular gaming partner, and it was interesting. The economy felt really restrictive since links cost iron and coal as well as money, and overbuilding felt really important as it was often cheaper than trying to link out to open cities. The game also has the "difficult" kind of loans where you can take as much as you want and potentially hamstring yourself if you're not careful (I carelessly took out 4 of them at the beginning of the game and was on the back foot the whole time), and while the restrictions on building were pretty much the same between this and Brass, AoI felt a lot more restrictive.

For all that, though, the game being controlled by the deck (which didn't seem to change size based on players) meant that we were able to build almost all of our tiles by being choosy about drawing cards. Our hunch was that the game would potentially open up/be more interesting with more players, though we also played with the Germany board which didn't include Ships (which may have opened things up as additional market/coal spaces). I'm still on the fence with this one, but want to try it again, and definitely with more players.

51st State: Master Set is not technically new to me as I've already played both the original 51st State as well as The New Era, which were the material we played with in the Master set. Playing this solidified my opinion that 51st State is much preferable to Imperial Settlers as it's a lot more streamlined, though the herky-jerky resources-to-actions-or-VPs conversion chain has always felt awkward, albeit very thematic.

It's been long enough that I'm not sure what rules tweaks were added to the Master Set (though I do like that the scoreboard isn't printed on the back of the box anymore!), but it felt similar enough that they must have been minimal. It did feel like it was a lot easier to get resources than it was to get the contact tokens that let you actually use cards (which also felt pretty generous between the draft, the auto draw you start with for production, and the sheer number of cards with Production or Deal icons that let you draw more cards). I certainly was throwing away a lot more unused resources by the end of the game than I remember throwing away in my previous plays, though again that was many many years ago.

In any case, I enjoyed myself well enough. 51st State certainly still holds up and offers a unique engine building experience that really feels like sifting through scrap in an apocalyptic wasteland. But I also found that I really prefer much smoother engine building experiences like Race or The City. I'll never turn down a play of 51st, but I'm in no hurry to own a copy.
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7. Board Game: Cyclades [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:173]
Board Game: Cyclades
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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Board Game: Love Letter
Board Game: Cyclades
Board Game: Patchwork


Love Letter
Cyclades
Patchwork

Cyclades

Had been too long since I'd played this and was excited to get it to the table. 4p game, no expansion. I jumped out quick, using Ares 2x in a row to get a 7 gold income pretty quick and held that amount for a while. Got the first Metropolis and 2 philosophers so was just hoping for things to line up as no one could come after me at first.

Matt, Tim, and Chris were in various shades of 2nd with Chris way in the back, but then in what ended up being the final round everyone had a 1-turn or 2-turn path to victory. We get Ares, Zeus, and Poseidon, along with Pegasus, Medusa, and the Minotaur. The Pegasus was the big one for me because it was the only way that my Metropolis could be attacked. I immediately started trying to do some math, figure out how much I could spend, etc. I grabbed Ares and walked a troop back to my metropolis (it had been completely undefended for a couple turns). Then I goofed, and got so focused on Ares being the only way it could be taken that I completely forgot about Pegasus; I should have bought the minotaur or sent a couple additional people back to the metropolis. I decided to bank the extra cash to ensure I could buy Athena next round and...whoops.

Tim bought Pegasus and came in with 3 troops, snagging my Metropolis and also building 1 himself. Nuts.

It was a great last round though. Despite being near in the last place, Chris could have Pegasus'd me and then been 1 turn away from building a Metropolis or have bought philosphers. Matt was in a similar boat, and I was just holding on for some philosphers.

It was a fun game to illustrate the various ways the economy can work as well. I was aggressive with Ares and had a lot of land worth money, but few priests. Matt went heavy on priests early and enjoyed hella discounts all game. Chris humped Apollo all night and had cash since he was on 1 island most of the game.

On my Mind

Sourdough starter is definitely back to life and doing well. Made a great bread. I also finally found some yeast and started on traditionally raised bread. Made a white bread dough that I used to make a large roll that is delicious (killer breakfast sandwiches) and used some of the dough to make focaccia last night with the best steaks I've ever made. From a food perspective, I'm thriving in quarantine.
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8. Board Game: Keyflower [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:60]
Board Game: Keyflower
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Board Game: Diamant
Board Game: Keyflower
Board Game: 6 nimmt!
Board Game: Dungeons & Dragons Basic Game
Board Game: Libertalia
Board Game: Perudo
Board Game: Colt Express


 7.0   Diamant x4 (16 all-time)
 7.0   Keyflower (5 all-time)
 6.0   6 nimmt! x2 (5 all-time)
 6.0   Dungeons & Dragons Basic Game (18 all-time)
 6.0   Libertalia (3 all-time)
 6.0   Perudo NEW!
 5.0   Colt Express x2 (3 all-time)


Online Games - I played Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday so that was neat. Felt as social as you can be during these times.

Libertalia not my favorite, but I feel like others in my group enjoy it enough that I don't want to be a spoilsport by rejecting it. Also, tends to be a bit mean for my tastes.

Keyflower
did alright but waited too long to jump on the Keythedral bid, I had 5 blue and was hoping to take it but someone else bumped it to 5 blue so I was rekt, I wouldn't have won but would have put me obviously not so far behind.

D&D - I made a discord of some local friends and we mostly just watch movies together (remotely). During the week one of them said they were planning a D&D session on discord and if we’re interested he could definitely use the numbers. Overall it was a good time spent with friends. Got to try out the cleric class which was neat.

Comments: The DM ran D&D 5e. The one shot was a low magic, modern day manor murder mystery. So it seemed a bit odd to use D&D, it was very heavily interrogation based so maybe D&D wasn’t the best system for that format. Other than that I can’t particularly blame him for the other members not making characters but teaching someone the entirety of character creation just dragged a bit, we spent like 2.5 hrs on that. Overall a decent whodunnit but I think they got into a habit of expecting us to roll well in order to advance the plot so it was just 5 characters rolling an insight check one after another so one of us could catch the suspect in a lie. At one point we didn’t pick up on a clue so he kept just repeating the key phrase and none of us really understood it, so he basically just explained it and had the murder reveal themselves.

Pickled Onion Count: 4.5 onions
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9. Board Game: Trogdor!! The Board Game [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:2950]
Board Game: Trogdor!! The Board Game
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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2 games each of
Trogdor!!
Dragon Dice
Gloomhaven

Trogdor was fun as always. We failed the first one but then won the second. Though it took a while and for the first ever I was afraid of not being able to win before the deck depleted. I also realized I've missed the rule about knights repairing cottages. That kept messing us up. But I had an awesome item that let's me teleport but refreshes when a cottage burns. So basically I teleport, burn, teleport, burn, to finish off the cottages.

I played a couple of Dragon Dice games. It was fun. Our first online league is almost over. I have 1 game left. We're also starting up a 12-player league for 2v2 teams matches. I am the sole ref for that and all advanced rules are in effect. I am excited.

In Gloomhaven, we finished the final main quest, and now we only have side quests remaining. But we still have 9 active side quests! They're still piling up faster than we can do them and it's crazy! There are some exciting ones. I'm really enjoying the Tinkerer, but our time is coming close to an end.

And we've been playing a lot of Jackbox games and have picked up 4, 5, and 6. Party Pack 2 is still my favorite so far.
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10. Board Game: Quarantine [Average Rating:6.09 Overall Rank:4382]
Board Game: Quarantine
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization 1 (17 all-time) + Through the Ages: New Leaders and Wonders 1 (4 all-time)

---

In addition to Matt and my one Through the Ages (via app) one evening, I've been playing a ton of TtA with friends as well as the AI. I've also played a smattering of games online with some of you fools.

---

On My Mind:

Matt's hospital, a long-term acute care facility, recently admitted COVID patients. They said they weren't going to, but then ended up doing it. So, we decided that Simon and I should stay with my parents as a precaution. Matt hasn't been assigned any of those patients (yet), but it just being in the facility is reason enough to keep our distance since we thankfully have that option. Matt will hopefully be switching positions there (to something off the floor) soon, but the timeline is unknown. We're hoping within a month. In the meanwhile, I'm back to living with my parents like a true millennial. The extra help with Simon is nice, as are the meals and laundry benefits, but it's difficult not being around our own stuff.

Simon turns 9 months tomorrow. We had to do his photo a week early due to the above. Picture to be posted later.
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11. Board Game: Core Space [Average Rating:9.03 Overall Rank:2880]
Board Game: Core Space
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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Board Game: Reichbusters: Projekt Vril
Board Game: Zombie Kidz Evolution
Board Game: Outfoxed!
Board Game: Core Space
Board Game: The Great Barrier Reef Card Game
Board Game: Far Away
Board Game: Fantasy Realms


 6   Reichbusters: Projekt Vril (5 all-time)
 7.7   Zombie Kidz Evolution (24 all-time)
 7   Outfoxed! (2 all-time)
 8.3   Core Space x3 (8 all-time)
 N/A   The Great Barrier Reef Card Game NEW!
 7   Far Away (2 all-time)
 7.75   Fantasy Realms x2 (11 all-time)

A better week.

Fantasy Realms and The Great Barrier Reef Card Game were TTS plays. Fantasy Realms was exceptional. It had been at least a year since I last played and I greatly enjoyed it. The first game I thought I was doing very well and going to win, I didn't. The second game I had nothing comboing for most of it and thought I was going to lose, but I didn't.

The Great Barrier Reef card game is interesting. It's the first release from Travel Buddy Games, my buddy Josh's company (he works as lead developer for Grey Fox Games). It's a decent game for its size, reminds me very faintly of Chudyk, although it's more coherent and less opaque (and less interesting as a result to some degree). Pretty solid though for a $15 travel sized card game.

Reichbusters was enjoyable. Critically, it's a mess as my review indicates, but there's a charm to it that has me second guessing whether I should get rid of it.

Outfoxed was pleasant again and Zombie Kidz is still maintaining.

Core Space was the meat of my week in terms of dedication and time. I started up a solo campaign again and remembering why this game was my second favorite release of 2019.

For my crew I chose Jace as my captain, a gunslinger who I chose the Soldier career with, and MAC, a machine (robot) who can self repair and is physically strong but his health can't really increase like a normal character. I'm titling my campaign MAC and Me.

For scenarios I'm just playing through the campaign in the core rulebook. The first scenario was pretty standard and over relatively quickly. I got in and out with only a minimal amount of Purge - the robot enemy faction - showing up. I got some creds and scavenged some gear which helped, including a machine pistol for Jace which is devastating at short range. Got really lucky on that loot pull. MAC ended up getting a rifle and I'm using him as more of a support role while Jace does the heavy objective lifting.

Second scenario was more interesting. It involved confronting a hacker in the middle of the board, and convincing her with a persuasion check (representing aggressive questioning) to reveal which nearby computer terminal she jacked into and setup an ongoing hack. There are three possible terminals on the map and one of them is actively being used to download data from a corporation that put out the job.

Anyway, this felt like a scenario that should be more of a race, so I decided to include another crew that I played (doing the both sides solo thing, there are no AI rules for crew, only for civilians and Purge).

So I ended up losing the race to the hacker to the opposing team and conceded the objective to them. Instead I focused on looting and hit as many crates as possible.

The third scenario was intense. It involved tracking down an old crew member to recruit him to my team. I randomly drew a crew member from the large stack and it was Roykirk, a solid but cheaper shiphand.

I did not run another crew in this one as I could tell it was going to be difficult. Honestly, it would have been much easier with another crew if we would be working together (the game is semi-cooperative and you can fight or aid each other).

The approach to the bar where Roykirk was located required a weird trajectory down a long corridor out of the way from my entry. It meant getting to him and the extraction would be rough. And it was.

I ended up drawing lots of Purge to the station and even a Live One (the strongest possible Purge in the base game). I avoided the Live One as I struggled to take it out. I did get Roykirk out but MAC was obliterated in a withering hand to hand attack from an Assassin Purge.

I couldn't drag MAC to safety so I left him behind *gulp*.

When you leave a crewmember behind you can either heal a couple of points, restock ammo, and then head back to the map for a rescue mission, or you can leave it up to fate and roll on a couple of charts.

The rescue mission is ideal as you have the most control, but you head back into the same map in the same condition you left it. This meant I would be dealing with a huge amount of Purge. So I couldn't stomach it.

So I was left with a choice - either activate the emergency teleporter which is faulty tech and could result in MAC not making it and at the very least a 5/6 chance he'd lose his gear - which was pretty solid at this point. Or I could have him try to escape on his own and roll on this bigger chart with a wide range of results. This can lead to him being captured by local security and ransomed back, disappearing, etc.

I decided to teleport him. I rolled a six, the single best result which meant no adverse effects. Whew.

I'm stocked up now. Three crew members that are very well equipped. I have armor on two of them, solid rifles, and Jace has two machine pistols which he can unload with simultaneously once or twice a game if I'm feeling like blowing a bunch of ammo.

Core Space is better multiplayer for sure, but it's still a very enjoyable solo game.


On My Mind
Not much. Still watching a lot of TV.

Haven't seen many good movies lately except for the Netflix Spanish film "The Platform". If you're into social commentary thrillers it's worth a watch.

Gears of War Tactics (Think Gears of War meets Fallout Tactics or Final Fantasy Tactics) comes out tomorrow and I'm excited.
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