GCL Mafia 489: The Return?
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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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.

Current Roster: (next poster in bold)
Dolus
ecargo
Epsilon_Balls
captainraffi
touchstonethefool
cferejohn
jshufelt
ambierona
LouieSTFU
Necroblaster3000
Thesp
fdubois
charlest
Annowme
mith
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1. Board Game: Pack & Stack [Average Rating:6.44 Overall Rank:1927]
Board Game: Pack & Stack
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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Many states and counties are looking to reopen and return to a new normalcy.

Where is your locality in the process of reopening and where are you personally on a reopening or new normal?
 
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2. Board Game: Doughnut Drive-Thru [Average Rating:6.12 Overall Rank:7698]
Board Game: Doughnut Drive-Thru
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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Top 5!

What are your top 5 new hobbies/activities that came out of the stay at home?
 
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3. Board Game: Gloomhaven [Average Rating:8.82 Overall Rank:1] [Average Rating:8.82 Unranked]
Board Game: Gloomhaven
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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More Gloomhaven updates.
We've retired another character last night and started up the last character nobody's played yet. Now we're at needing 4 prosperity to reach prosperity level 9, and needing to retire 2 characters to add their events to the deck. We unlocked the last random scenario last night. There's one more from a road event and several more from city events. 7 currently unlocked for us to run through. We are quickly approaching the end of Gloomhaven.

I've been playing Diviner as a normal character. After I retire the Diviner, it'll be available for somebody else to choose for the Forgotten Circles campaign, after we do these Gloomhaven quests.
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4. RPG Item: Arcana of the Ancients [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
RPG Item: Arcana of the Ancients
United States
Yay Area
California
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It’s very hot out and it was a busy week so I didn’t really do gaming.
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Super Kirby Clash: The grind is real, at this point I’m just logging in daily to get a minuscule amount of experience and free apples. I’m level 70, max level is 100 as far as I can tell. It’s still fairly fun to smash things with the kirby hammer, and it’s more of a short break game which is nice.
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Avatar: The Last Airbender - We finished the series. Overall it was okay. I had actually already seen the final fights before because I like to just watch out of context anime fights on YouTube. We’re actually going to go ahead and do a little book club and read all the canon comics.

SPOILER:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
I think Azula spiraling in the final episodes seemed like an odd choice. I felt Aang regaining his Avatar state because getting hit in his exact injured spot was more wack than the energy bending. Katara/Aang felt weird in a very trope, the hero gets the girl, type of way. Other than that I’m fine with how it ended.
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Speaking of out of context YouTube fights I went down a rabbit hole of watching some people react to anime fights. Before I knew it I was just watching them react to the whole series. It was entertaining in that they seemed genuinely engaged and were getting really enthusiastic during the fights.
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COVID 19 - It appears that some of the restrictions in the bay area are being lifted. While I was out I saw a lot of people lining up at non-essential stores. The lines were huge. Not sure at what point I’ll feel comfortable doing that.
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5. Board Game: Nika [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:9182]
Board Game: Nika
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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Board Game: Tussie Mussie
Board Game: Tussie Mussie: Flower Shoppe
Board Game: Mandala
Board Game: Pandemic
Board Game: Pandemic: In the Lab
Board Game: Pandemic: State of Emergency
Board Game: Nika
Board Game: Ganymede
Board Game: Ganymede: Moon
Board Game: The Bloody Inn
Board Game: The Bloody Inn: The Carnies
Board Game: Android: Netrunner


Tussie Mussie x7 NEW! + Tussie Mussie: Flower Shoppe x4 NEW!
Mandala x3 (10 all-time)
Pandemic x2 (27 all-time) + Pandemic: In the Lab (7 all-time) / Pandemic: State of Emergency NEW!
Nika NEW!
Ganymede x2 (6 all-time) + Ganymede: Moon NEW!
The Bloody Inn (18 all-time) + The Bloody Inn: The Carnies (6 all-time)
Android: Netrunner x2 (193 all-time)

Online Games

Hive
Potion Explosion NEW!

My Button Shy order came in about a week ago, and I dove headfirst into Tussie Mussie (mainly solo with Tussie Mussie: Flower Shoppe). As a solo experience it's decently challenging, but the game is also very, very light. The solo game is essentially all hand-management and the 2p game is almost all bluff, which is a little strange but seems to work OK. The draw is how compact the game is, and I could see this being a good way to kill a few minutes in a cafe. I think I was more impressed by how much it was able to accomplish with so few cards than I honestly enjoyed it, but I think it's worth checking out.

My regular gaming partner and I finally broke out a few modules from Pandemic: State of Emergency, which I've owned for a while but hadn't gotten to the table yet. We played with the new roles, Quarantine Tokens, and Hinterlands. They were all perfectly fine but didn't seem to add much to the game, though the Hinterlands in theory added the most interest: giving players an additional connection between cities and a spot with relaxed trading rules, but with a random infection potentially occurring in them during each infection phase. If On the Brink and In the Lab didn't exist, I'd say that it would be a pretty good expansion, but both the others offer either the same or more interesting material. We played a second game with In The Lab to cleanse our palates and had a great time.

I was happy to get Nika on sale from EGG as it had piqued my interest (but not enough to pay full price), and was very happy to find it very dynamic and fascinating. Having to fight a two-front battle while trying to sneak your units to the other side of the board was a really neat challenge. Unfortunately my gaming partner couldn't get his head around the theme-ing and wasn't all that impressed. I think there's something really interesting here, and would love to play it at 2p and even at 4p again in the near future.

After a re-introductory game of Ganymede, we played a second game with the Ganymede: Moon expansion. It adds a few new interesting twists that expand the decision-space without overwhelming it, and while I appreciated the extra gubbins to play with I also found them a little distracting from the main game. Still, they provided some variety to what I could see might get a bit repetitive, so I'm glad I own the expansion. If you like the base game it's an easy recommendation.

And finally, I played an entirely new-to-me game online with my work group, Potion Explosion. It was cute and the combo mechanic was fun, it reminded me of a more laid-back Gizmos but with a higher chaos element (we played with a full set of 4p). As such it did do the thing that I hate where the game state changes so drastically between turns that there's no reason to pay attention until it's your turn (I imagine this is mainly an issue with more players), but it was cute and mostly inoffensive. I've certainly played worse games.
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6. Board Game: There and Back Again [Average Rating:5.57 Unranked]
Board Game: There and Back Again
Dave K
United States
Austin
Texas
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Board Game: Dominion: Menagerie
Board Game: Watson & Holmes
Board Game: Nova Luna


 9   Dominion: Menagerie x2
 5 competitive 8.5 coop   Watson & Holmes
 9   Nova Luna x2

No new games this week, but some good times regardless.

Our games of Menagerie were more interesting than the last time we tried it.

Nearly done with Watson & Holmes - only two more cases.

Nova Luna continues to be a great 2p game. I do think the much higher chaos factor with more means I prefer it with 2, but it's much more ... approachable? with more. With more you just try to set up opportunities on your board and hope you can make things click, but it's hard to predict whatever will be possible. With 2 you have a lot more control, and can also try to bait/mess with your opponent, but it's much thinkier because of that. That's a good thing for the most part but it does make it more intense; with 4p it can kind of be a filler game since the mental gymnastics are much more lenient.

Almost done with Final Fantasy 7 Remake. I've greatly enjoyed it.
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7. Board Game: The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine [Average Rating:8.05 Overall Rank:70]
Board Game: The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine
Ambie
United States
San Mateo
California
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Board Game: The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine


 N/A   The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine x3

Toby and I played a few more missions 2p, and bet them all on the first try. Still too easy at 2p. So now we've done missions 1-9 and 50. 40 missions to go. We're gonna try to complete the whole campaign in just 50 plays, but we'll probably mess up on mission 49 or something.

On My Mind
- Roy finally got a tooth! Last Tuesday I noticed his bottom left tooth coming out. So now he has a little tooth. No sign of his bottom right one yet. No teeth on Kevin yet either. They both had trouble sleeping last night though, so I hope that was due to teething.

- I've been able to kinda cook some for lunch and dinner some days. It involves letting Kevin and Roy roam around in the family room and kitchen, but when it gets close to meal time they're still fussy even when they're in the same room as me. Probably cause they're hungry. Today I'm gonna make burgers and baked fries for dinner, so I did a bunch of the preparation during their nap. I think that's how I'm gonna have to cook if I do anything complex.

- I hadn't crocheted in a while, but since Kevin and Roy have been liking my stuffed animals recently, I decided to crochet a playset for them! I had saved this Hungry Catterpillar playset pattern for later so I'm gonna try to make that. And if I don't make the whole thing they'll at least have some food items to play with.
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8. Board Game: Redline [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Redline
Joseph
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Yesterday I was working on a post that ended up being very lengthy. I spent about 6 hours on that post. I did more on that post than I did work.

It was basically the beginning of an autobiography filled with some very raw and unfiltered thoughts about identity politics, my own history and interactions with racism, physical and sexual abuse. My own experiences of how fundamental christian groups shaped me, defined me, and betrayed me. My own history and upbringing within poverty. My frustrations, failure and successes of how I was raised, and how that defines my relationship with my parents and family. My growing disgust of the country I had loved, and the people within it.

Then the computer crashed.

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No games. Work sucks. Illness has come to our household somehow.
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9. Board Game: Am I a Banana? [Average Rating:5.32 Unranked]
Board Game: Am I a Banana?
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Cartographers: A Roll Player Tale 1 NEW!
---

Cartographers: This was alright. It does what it does well, but I guess I was expecting something a little more novel considering its SdJ nomination. It's got that Tiny Towns type scoring where there are different categories of cards and you only use one per game. ~ RePlaYabILiTy ~ It is a nice after-dinner type game and I do want to give the skills cards pack I got a try, so I can see at least a few more plays of it.

Also, drawing the terrain types is fun for the first two cards and then it just gets tedious. I can see why people suggest using colored pencils instead.

---

On My Mind:

I made Chrissy Tiegen's banana bread, which tastes great but the baking was off. She said to do 325, but that sucker still wasn't done after almost an hour and a half. I think I'll try 350 next time instead. (My oven might be off because I've had an issue with another recipe that requiring roasting chicken at a lower temperature and when I went up 25 degrees, it worked perfectly. I might buy one of those oven thermometers.) I also just went with her emphasized six bananas instead of measuring it to the two cups that the recipe also said. So, once I finally decided to stop baking it, about half was still banana mush. I cut those sections off and have been enjoying the rest for the past few days.

Here is Simon's 10 months picture (almost two weeks later):

From gallery of ecargo


I decided to turn one of the rooms in my Animal Crossing house into a coffee shop, loosely modeled on the one I used to play board games at in Missoula. I'll post a picture later with the most intentionally hipster outfit I could find.

From gallery of ecargo


It's still a work-in-progress. I need more hipster-y shoes. Also, shoutout to Matt for hooking me up with the espresso machine. I'm tempted to turn all the rooms into my house into extensions of the cafe.
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10. Board Game: Nemo's War (Second Edition) [Average Rating:8.02 Overall Rank:275]
Board Game: Nemo's War (Second Edition)
Fabrice Dubois
France
La Garenne Colombes
Hauts de Seine
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 10  Nemo's War second edition x6 New!
 9  Maracaibo x3 New!

On Nemo's war second edition : After reading the rules, watching Ricky Royal videos and reading the priceless & argumented replies from Wes Erni (one of the playtester), i managed to grab a second hand copy of the last KS edition, hence with all expansions. Nemo's war is the right balance between complexity & playability; strategy & tactic; control & adaptation. The narration is there and the game is just so beautiful and fun.

ATM, i am digging the Explore motive, especially the Explorer-Torpedoes strategy (6 games and no success so far).

In addition to the 3 other motives of the base game (Anti-Imperialism, Science and War!), one expansion is adding 2 new ones (Humanist and Adventure). Also, there are 12 Nautilus upgrades and each motive allows you to start with a different one (ex : Explore allows you to start with Hydro-drive). The board (aka oceans) is painted from drawing marus and warships form a bag, there are lots of dice rolls, lots of treasures drawn from a bag, around 70 adventure cards (you select around 30 cards to form the draw pile) : there is a lot of interplay variability out of the box. And i am glad that VPG will enhance the experience with another 9 expansions.

On Maracaibo : As a Pfister sucker, i love it and my son too. We didn't play the campaign yet as we want to master it a little bit more before. I have a read that an expansion will come in Q4 2020 but is this game ever need an expansion ?

2020 10x10 solo challenge :

01) Grand Austria Hotel 10/10
02) The Castles of Burgundy - The card game 10/10
03) Expedition to Newdale 17/10
04) Black Angel 10/10
05) Through the ages: A new story of civilization 10/10
06) Teotihuacan 04/10
07) Nemo's War second edition 06/10
08) Cooper Island
09) Fields of Arle
10) Roads & Boats
11) Mage Knight
12) Arkham Horror LCG
13) On Mars
14) Dungeon Lords

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11. Board Game: Charterstone [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:272]
Board Game: Charterstone
Chris Ferejohn
United States
Mountain View
California
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Only real board gaming this week was a few more games of Charterstone with Hilary and Alistair - I believe we're 5 games in now. Last game I really showed off how the quota track is important and pretty much crushed everyone. Not sure how much people care about Charterstone spoilers at this point but:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
The addition of the sky tiles that have you eliminate 2 buildings at the beginning of each game presents some really good opportunities to screw people, especially with cutting off the ability to get just created minions, but I felt like doing that would really upset Alistair, so I'm kind of playing "nice" with that mechanic.


TV and movies
We're slowly plugging through season 2 of Killing Eve - we've got 2 episodes left. I find the characters and acting more than compelling enough to compensate for the somewhat weaker plotting than season 1 (particularly moving Eve from being morally ambiguous and confused to more or less a straight up psychopath).

Also watched a few more episodes of Star Wars rebels, which continues to be enjoyable. I hear that Clone Wars gets quite good eventually too, but having watched a bit of the first couple episodes with Alistair, it certainly seems like it takes its time to get there.

First couple episodes of Agents of Shield season 7 have been super fun. I've always liked that show more than others, but as much as any show I can think of it really has improved year over year.

Video games
I'm heavily invested in turnip futures, to the tune of 2 rooms in my house being full of them. Fortunately I'm on a discord with some friends (and friends of friends), so I should be able to at least turn a profit.

Finished Luigi's Mansion, and I have to say, sometimes it's nice to play a linear puzzlebox and not have to try to grapple with an open world. The last two boss battles were a pretty difficult, but not impossible - they started to feel slightly tedious, but not as tedious as, say, the very first intro fight in God of War. Will be breaking out Mario Odyssey soon.

What I'll be playing a year from now
Kickstarted Tiny Epic Pirates (my first Tiny Epic game), as well as The Whatnot Cabinet, which I think my extended family will like, and also I like the art and Ed Baraf was a parent at my kid's school (though after the redistricting they moved schools now).

We're in a bubble
We've decided to bubble with our neighbor, who has a kid 1 year older than Alistair (who is a friend). It's made slightly more complicated by the fact that they recently got divorced (the mom lives nearby as well), so we're kind of bubbling with 2 families (but really just 3 people). The parents still get along just fine – it seemed pretty unacrimonious from where we're standing. On his way out of his first playdate, the neighbor kid gave me a high five, which made me wonder that last time I touched hands with someone other than Alistair or Hilary. Pretty sure it was a reluctant handshake when we bought our car in early March.

OMM
The world has become a weird combination of overwhelming dread and surprising inspiration and hopefulness. It's making hard to concentrate on work.
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