Gelato GCL 430 - The Twilight of the West
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What is a Game Chat League?

A Game Chat League is a weekly discussion-group format for people who love gaming and enjoy talking about games. It is intended to foster depth and familiarity, producing engaging content and worthwhile interaction. Members get to know one another, establish shared interests, and generally develop a friendly and productive environment.

Of necessity, each division of GCL is kept relatively small (typically between 12-16 members, though individual divisions may incline one way or the other). A tight-knit discussion group tends to function more smoothly than a free-for-all. It allows individuals to be heard and understood, and for each participant to keep up and enjoy multiple topics as the week progresses. The format is geeklist-based, and lists are not published to the BGG front page.

Policy: If you're a lurker or have otherwise discovered GCL Gelato, feel free to read along with us and see what the members have to say on everything under the sun. If you have a constructive comment or something else you think would add to the discussion, consider posting it — if it's helpful, respectful, and polite to the discussion group as a whole, as well as to its individual members.


The maddened poet
Microbadge: Ezra Pound fan leroy 43 (Roger)

And the aspiring versatile verse writers
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1. Board Game: Avec Infini Regret [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:7821]
Board Game: Avec Infini Regret
Julia
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DISCLAIMER: This list is meant to be thought-provokative, not political. Engage as you please meeple

The first time I've heard the name of Ezra Pound in my life was due to a hyper-right Italian political party called "Casa Pound". I was very young, and I've immediately identified the name "Pound" as something bad (not really a righ-wing extremist here, sorry in case I'm deluding my readers).

Growing up, I learned a bit of who Ezra Pound was, and I've learned that he also wrote poems. Some of them of marvellous beauty, that had a grasp on me like very few other things had in my life. It's been possibly my entering into a different world, of different (and more evolved) books and poetry, and a key to find an outside match for my interior landscape.

But when I say I like Ezra Pound, sometimes I get the stink eye, because he was (apparently) a fascist and a mad person (he also wrote poems, but this is not so important for many)

So, the first question here would be: have you ever liked something (books, verses, movies) crafted by someone who's not "officially approved" by the masses, or who has a view of the world that is the total opposite of yours?

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2. Board Game: Racial Wars: Flight over the desert [Average Rating:6.68 Unranked]
Board Game: Racial Wars: Flight over the desert
Julia
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The way we relate to what we see around us is the key to so many elements of our life. It's not only the question raised at the previous point, i.e. looking at something that might be against our view of the world with (curious) interest in a space that's occupied only by ourselves; it also interests the whole structural society around us.

In the last few months, we've seen a lot of new voices being (rightfully) heard, but also a lot of more extreme ideas bringing a sort of culturarl revolution. We've seen polemics targeting movies such as Gone with the wind (removed from some streaming networks to only be reinstalled later with an additional commentary contextualizing the movie), but also some Disney shorts shot in the 30s being drastically removed from catalogues because of "sympathies" with "some totalitarian ideologies of the '30s".

What's your position on this? Do you agree that movies and books and shorts portraying a different version of the world, in antithesis with what we now deem to be the "right" values should be removed / revised? Or does this feel very close to the pyres of books done in the past?

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3. Board Game: The Teachers Game [Average Rating:3.00 Unranked]
Board Game: The Teachers Game
Julia
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Always in this cultural revolution context, we constantly hear about this or that individual committing acts against the common values (most recently also on FFG's website we had a statement about Noah Bradley, but this originated a long time ago, guided us through the whole Weinstein debacle, and kept going on many different fields). Said individuals, for their personal misconducts, they get banned from the marketing world and from their job positions, in a sort of "social justice" where companies and employers decide to keep distance from these people by not granting them a job any longer.

Which is something that never happened in the past (I don't see people go burn Picasso's works, and he wasn't exactly a good person; and I don't see people stop buying HPL-inspired games despite he being a racist and a mysogynist), and for me it's quite curious: crimes should be covered in court, and punishment issued accordingly, so that employers put their foot down and decide "no more with them" feels quite a change.

What do you think about this? Should a person be removed from their position because they miss-behaved outside of the working environment? Do you endorse this type of social justice, or do you think we should mantain private life and job opportunities distinct?

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4. Board Game: Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:392]
Board Game: Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia
Julia
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The future holds a question that I feel greatly. Part of me loves thinking that we'll all become more aware. More aware of the problems of the planet we share; more aware of the social issues, of the inside racism, of the cultural unbalance we've all been growing in for too long, and we'll finally be able to change. More opportunities, more equality, more integration, more understanding of everyone.

At the same time, part of me is afraid. Afraid that some might see this just as a way for "propaganda" without any actual change happening; afraid that we'll be pushed through a series of upheavals and reprimends ending in a lot of blood and tears but no actual change; and finally there's a part of me that's afraid that this change will just capsize our world upside down, sorting an opposite effect, but still away from real integration.

So, I think this could be summed up as:

What do you think the evolution of the current cultural revolution (if there's any we're actually living) would be?

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5. Board Game: Summer Storm: The Battle of Gettysburg – The Devil's To Pay [Average Rating:7.90 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.90 Unranked]
Board Game: Summer Storm: The Battle of Gettysburg – The Devil's To Pay
Julia
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In hot summer have I great rejoicing
When the tempests kill the earth's foul peace,
And the lightnings from black heav'n flash crimson,
And the fierce thunders roar me their music
And the winds shriek through the clouds mad, opposing,
And through all the riven skies God's swords clash.

(Ezra Pound, Cantos)

In all of this... what are your plans for the summer? We need to end in a silly note, right?

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6. Board Game: Oh Hell! [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:2077]
Board Game: Oh Hell!
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Board Game: Oh Hell!
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 7   Oh Hell! x2
 8   Euchre x5

Slow week for me.

Food higlights: On Friday we ordered delivery from a new (to us) Thai place, called "Tuk Tuk Thai". If you go into the restaurant (pre-COVID times), some of the the tables are situated inside of adapted old tuk tuks (motorized rickshaws, in essence)

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Most of the main entrees come in what they call "Lotus Boxes", which are expanding cardboard containers in lotus shapes and colors on the outside (inside shown, in this borrowed image from the internet):

External image


We shared a few appetizers which were good quality if a little on the small size, but decent value compared to price at least.

I had a Pad Thai lotus box (neon pink!) with shrimp and chicken (and all of the other standard goodies normally in one) and my wife had "Swimming Rama", which was grilled chicken breast pieces in peanut sauce over a bed of fresh spinach leaves, served with coconut (or jasmine) rice. In a bright green lotus box.

Our friends ordered "Devil's Chicken" (chicken in an extra spicy curry, lemongrass & turmeric sauce, seasoned with lime leaf & chili) and a Massaman Curry consisting of chicken, broccoli, baby corn, bamboo shoot, carrot, & cauliflower in Thai red curry; both with coconut rice. And a Green Papaya Salad.

Everything was super tasty and fresh, and got enthusiastic thumbs up from everyone.

*

Today I just had a Cuban Sandwich for lunch, and a Cuban Lunch for dessert. Allow me to explain.

The actual sandwich (homemade and grill pressed) had a bun spread with spicy mustard, cheese, dill pickles, salami slices, and leftover pork tenderloin that had been BBQ grilled after a Cuban marinade-- orange juice, cumin, mint, garlic-- sliced very thin and warmed up in the microwave first.
Awesome goodness there, and the reason why I always make "too much" pork tenderloin when I BBQ.

The dessert is a modern take on a discontinued chocolate bar (candy bar), possibly only sold in Canada, from the 1960s and '70s. It used to be milk chocolate and whole roasted & salted peanuts, in a small, thick rectangle shape.
Nothing else; pure simplicity. They got too expensive to sell after a while, is my guess. I remember buying them for 25 cents in the early '70s and even then I knew it was the best value going.

A local candy company recently revived them, right down to the distinctive red wax-paper wrapper on the bottom, improved the quality of the chocolate to a dark/ more cocoa solids, and with plenty of salted peanuts. The price hovers around $3.00-- triple what a commercially available chocolate bar typically goes for-- but it's worth it for the nostalgia and for the better quality ingredients.

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7. Board Game: Wingspan: European Expansion [Average Rating:8.49 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.49 Unranked]
Board Game: Wingspan: European Expansion
"L'état, c'est moi."
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Once upon a week:
Board Game: Terraforming Mars
Board Game: Wingspan
Board Game: Ogre


 10   Terraforming Mars x2 (112 all-time) Online
Jonathan, Sean, Marty and I decided to play asynchronously on the app.

The app has a lot of bad coding in it, as there is binding based on turn order which means that even if I go in and choose my cards, say, it won't "take" until the person before me has done so and confirmed, which makes the experience not as quick as it could be. Still, it's letting me play TMars when I otherwise wouldn't so I won't complain too much.

 7   Wingspan x2 (15 all-time) TNC and ww
On Thursday, the TNC played on Tabletopia, and I eked out a three point win, which was very satisfying.

Saturday my wife and I played, and we added the European expansion, which we both liked a lot. I like what the new birds bring to the table, and really liked that some of the bonuses are based on game elements (number of cards, say, or number of brown powers) rather than just board state elements.

I liked what Shut Up & Sit Down said about it in their podcast, namely the passion for the subject matter really shines through, and the game makes you say nice things.

I'm already looking forward to the Oceania expansion. Emus! And hopefully cassowaries.

 7  Ogre (10 all-time) solo
I was writing about Ogre: Battlefields and needed to refresh my memory about a few things, as well as try a few things out.

What's Going On: I'm back at work on Tuesday. I'm enjoying the last few hours. More later.
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8. Board Game: Draftosaurus [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:800]
Board Game: Draftosaurus
Melissa Swanson
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Bothell
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Board Game: Limes
Board Game: Can't Stop
Board Game: Finca
Board Game: La Granja
Board Game: La Granja: No Siesta
Board Game: Roll for the Galaxy
Board Game: Catan
Board Game: Hive
Board Game: Draftosaurus


 N/A   Limes NEW! I'd heard so many wonderful things about this game I finally bought it. Only one play in, but I feel I'm missing something.

 N/A   Can't Stop x8 BGA, my win/loss percentage is running ~55%, pretty ok.

 N/A   Finca Yucata, I think I prefer this at 2p.

 N/A   La Granja BGA, still digging into this and working out my best plan of action. I like it, I really like it.

 N/A   La Granja: No Siesta NEW! Got this from an auction because I like the full game so well. It plays well solo, but I feel I must have been doing something wrong given the high score I got. whistle

 N/A   Roll for the Galaxy BGA, def plays better at higher player counts. You need more people to get more placement options.

 8   Catan x8 I downloaded the app. shake I've won a couple solo-mode games and have done respectably in multiplayer games. I still need to work on my initial placements.

 N/A   Hive BGA, I need to work on thinking several moves in advance.

 N/A   Draftosaurus x2 NEW! I received this from a mid-year game exchange. Very cute, very quick. Struggled to comprehend the 10 yr old who doesn't want any of the dinos to be alone in their pens, even if it means more points that way. laugh

Friday was an exceptionally bad day. My SIL had say final farewells to her akita dog who had become increasingly and dangerously aggressive. She tried everything to place him instead, but there were no options available. I'm rarely fearful around dogs, but he gave a couple of growls that sent chills down my spine, even while he was wearing his Hannibal Lector muzzle. It was a terrible thing, a hard thing, the right thing. After I went to my car and got kisses from Hugo.

The rest of the weekend went swimmingly. Walkies with Hugo, sewing, cooking, hanging with the fam.
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9. Board Game: Talisman Timescape [Average Rating:5.92 Unranked] [Average Rating:5.92 Unranked]
Board Game: Talisman Timescape
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GAME WEEK

 10   1880: China (12 all-time)
A PbF game on Board18 in which also Eric participated. I made last place, because of some bad choices during the game. I also do struggle with the format of forum games; they are so disrupted … every once in a while it's your turn and you've totally forgotten what you wanted to do or even what's going on in that game. But that's no excuse … I know that I'm not the best 18xx player – I just love it.

 8   Doors to Darkness NEW!
 9   Call of Cthulhu (7th Edition) (7 all-time)
Our keeper finished the scenario we started a couple of weeks ago and we emerged victorious with no casualties (although it was a close call this time). This game is pretty deadly and you should not develop too much love for your character as he quickly goes insane or simply dies. We also had some issues raised – when we faced the baddies in the scenario's climax, I surprised them by firing my shotgun at the driver of one of their cars; in the following fight, we dealt with a few henchmen and the head of the gang. Now for the issue of shooting the driver … I got some flak for it, as one player claimed that Cthulhu is a real-world setting and this was simply murder. Mmm … made me thinking. We play in a fictive city, magic and monsters are all around, parallel universes and Gods exist. The gang we eliminated were dealers in a dark and sinister drug that came from the Dreamlands and some students who took it were already dead. My claim was this is still a fantasy setting and I have no troubles of shooting these guys, as I have no troubles killing marauding Orcs in a “classic” fantasy setting.

 10   Trivial Pursuit: Genus Edition (353 all-time)
Just to proof that you are all doing great in our Gelato game: We answered 54 out of 100 questions correctly. meeple

 10   Talisman (66 all-time)
And a classic game of Talisman 2nd Edition with all expansion sets, including the PnP expansion The Pyramid. We had two characters from the Timescape (Scientist and Astronaut) and Andrea had the Ranger – it was so close; Andrea won it by confronting the Dragon King just a turn before the Astronaut, and my Scientist was also close on their heels. Awesome. Here are two images of setup and the finale:
From gallery of PzVIE

From gallery of PzVIE


 9   Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of Ashardalon Board Game x3 (23 all-time)
We tried Adventure 11 three times and lost three times. Wow, we really got beaten here! The following images chronicle our failure … in the first, Ashardalon himself arrived to breath a little fire onto us while his minions gave us the rest; in the second, you can see three dead heroes who foolishly ventured into the dungeon under that mountain … soblue
From gallery of PzVIE

From gallery of PzVIE


 9   Zombicide: Black Plague (30 all-time)
On Sunday we pulled out good old Zombicide again and continued playing through the Wolfsburg scenarios. It was the 11th of 12 scenarios in this expansion, and to our surprise, it was more or less a cakewalk although the scen is supposed to have a “hard” difficulty. Sure, tons of zombies ran around, with Necromancers and Abominations, but we mostly ignored them and concentrated on our objective, fighting only if we had to. Well, we all were down on our last hit point, but we made it and won. At least, victory!!! meeple

Board Game: 1880: China
RPG Item: Doors to Darkness
RPG: Call of Cthulhu (7th Edition)
Board Game: Trivial Pursuit: Genus Edition
Board Game: Talisman
Board Game: Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of Ashardalon Board Game
Board Game: Zombicide: Black Plague


OTHER NEWS

Currently Jupiter and Saturn are standing next to each other and are very close to Earth. So we went up onto the roof deck yesterday and did a little star watching – the comet Neowise should also be visible these days, but due to light pollution and some clouds on the northern horizon, we weren't able to see it. But the two giants from our solar system compensated us! Jupiter is currently the brightest light in the night sky. What a sight!

I hope you all had a great week too! meeple
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10. Board Game: Fantasy Frontier [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:6436]
Board Game: Fantasy Frontier
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Do you have any thoughts about representation in genre fiction/gaming? I mean I do, but that's probably as a result of being not entirely white.

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Unsurprisingly I'm all for it. Representation matters, not just as role models, but as normalization. Growing up, watching american media (either from the 80s-90's, when i moved here, or from the 50s-70s because that's what they had translated in switzerland), seeing mexican americans as either a. drug dealers/gang bangers b. Law enforcement or c. Sexual objects (the cabana boy or latina firecracker) sucked. A lot. Ricardo Montalban got me through those times via fantasy island, I think, but that was probably because his raw sexuality transcends race. I think it goes a long way in making kids think that they matter, and can be anything. And to paraphrase a fight I've had elsewhere- oh so you can believe in dragons, but black people are too fantastical for this setting? In a historical sim or wargame, sure, I dont' think it's as important, but anything outside of that, I believe it's entirely fair game. If the presence of someone outside of your perceived appropriate ethnicity ruins a game for you, buddy, you've got some problems. Outside of myself, very few people play felds for the theme.
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11. Board Game: Twilight Struggle [Average Rating:8.30 Overall Rank:9] [Average Rating:8.30 Unranked]
Board Game: Twilight Struggle
Lynn
United States
New Mexico
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My Plays Since June 8!

Board Game: Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers
Board Game: Roll for the Galaxy
Board Game: Targi
Board Game: Hey, That's My Fish!
Board Game: Terraforming Mars
Board Game: Dominion: Menagerie
Board Game: 1846: The Race for the Midwest
Board Game: Las Vegas
Board Game: Carcassonne: Winter Edition
Board Game: Völuspá
Board Game: The Rose King
Board Game: Roll to the Top!
Board Game: Glass Road
Board Game: Azul: Summer Pavilion
Board Game: Adventure Land
Board Game: Twilight Struggle
Board Game: Carcassonne
Board Game: SteamRollers
Board Game: Cottage Garden
Board Game: Saint Petersburg
Board Game: Rallyman: GT
Board Game: Kingdomino
Board Game: Herbaceous
Board Game: The Quacks of Quedlinburg
Board Game: Space Base
Board Game: Santa Monica
Board Game: Railroad Ink: Blazing Red Edition
Board Game: Dice City
Board Game: 1889: History of Shikoku Railways


 8.1   Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers (4 all-time)
Yucata with Melissa. My first play of the game on that platform.

 8.5   Roll for the Galaxy x3 (45 all-time)
Once in person and twice on BGA. Newly discovered to be my game with the most in-person plays.

 8   Targi (8 all-time)
Yucata with Tommy.

 N/A   Hey, That's My Fish! (2 all-time)
Yucata. One bad placement and you're lost.

 9.5   Terraforming Mars (35 all-time)
I didn't note how we played it this time. We almost always use the Prelude expansion now. The play before this one we tried out Venus Next for the first time and found it OK but nothing exciting, but we may have given it a second shot. After this play I did sort out the Venus Next cards from the rest of the deck. It won't be a go-to choice for us.

 N/A   Dominion: Menagerie x2 (3 all-time)
We returned to Menagerie and tried out some of the different new things. Interesting new challenges.

 9.5   1846: The Race for the Midwest (8 all-time)
My second two-player game of 1846. It played quite differently this time and was an interesting challenge. I've got to learn to get better at track laying. The two-player game suffers from there always being a time when everyone is train-tight until at least one player makes enough money to float another company.

 N/A   Las Vegas (2 all-time)
Yucata.

We brought some games camping and played them all!

 8   Carcassonne: Winter Edition (6 all-time)
 7.9   Völuspá (5 all-time)
 7.5   The Rose King (4 all-time)
 N/A   Roll to the Top! (10 all-time)
 8.5   Glass Road (11 all-time)
 N/A   Azul: Summer Pavilion (2 all-time)


 8   Adventure Land (6 all-time)
Simple fun. We hadn't played in a while.

 N/A   Twilight Struggle x2 NEW!
I've had this game for years. Too many years. Somehow I never got around to learning how to play--until now. We played it twice and I think we actually got all the rules right by the end of our second play. We liked it and see that with experience it can be and remain a really interesting challenge. So glad to have finally played it!.

 8   Carcassonne x3 (47 all-time)
BGA plays, once with David to get used to the platform and twice with friends over Zoom.

 N/A   SteamRollers NEW!
Yucata with David to try it out.

 N/A   Cottage Garden (7 all-time)

 9   Saint Petersburg (7 all-time)
Yucata

 N/A   Rallyman: GT NEW!
BGA. I maybe, sort-of figured out what was going on by the end...

Some quick games for times of busyness:
 7.7   Kingdomino (8 all-time)
 8   Herbaceous (5 all-time)
 N/A   The Quacks of Quedlinburg (3 all-time)

Got some new stuff. We played each once on the first day and then had rematches of each on the second. Good games.
 N/A   Space Base x2 (3 all-time)
 N/A   Santa Monica x2 NEW!

 N/A   Railroad Ink: Blazing Red Edition NEW!
This was also new--I played it solo.

 N/A   Dice City x4 (8 all-time)
This game is OK but not great. Why did we play it 4x? I think we'd only ever played it far enough apart that what we should have done became clear at the end of the game. So we tried to fix that. I'm not sure it worked and that got frustrating...

 N/A   1889: History of Shikoku Railways NEW!
I tried this out on 18xx.games.

Other Stuff:

There's plenty of mundane stuff--cooking, gardening, making masks (and having sewing machine failures), dealing with cat allergies (as in the cats have the allergies and we get to go to the vet), work stress, and in-house gaming.

After blooming for a month, the zucchini plant is finally beginning to produce fruit! And we've got tomatoes on the vine. We managed to get the plants through the recent heat wave by creating all sorts of make shift sun shades. The pinon tree has sun-fried needles from the hottest day (I didn't think to protect it) so this was no small task.

We experimented with a few new recipes. My favorite was probably the Torta de Tamal. Basically this is a tamale casserole made in a slow cooker. It involves much less assembly compared to tamales, but tastes fantastic. Other taste experiments have revolved around the gin produced by New Mexican distilleries. (4 products, 3 distilleries) Good discoveries there as each has a fairly unique taste.

The work stress belongs to David. The short version is that we really hope the school isn't allowed to hold in-person classes for quite some time.

So far we've had two mountain mini-vacations. Only dispersed camping areas were open last month, but now we know that national forest campgrounds are open. Hopefully we can take advantage of that next week in our last little trip of the summer. I'll get some pictures together to share after that next trip. Until then, see my photo from our campsite in an earlier comment.

It is strange to me that school will start in just a couple of weeks. I grew up and then continued to live in the northeast US where we always started in September.

The heat wave broke last week and we have enjoyed the cooler weather. Yesterday we didn't even turn the A/C on AND we had some proper rain. Ah.


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