GCL Mafia 498: The Only Exception
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Paramore : The Only Exception

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)
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Thesp's GCL Games Played Tool (you already know what it is)

Paramore : The Only Exception

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, pictures of muffins, recently made nachos, 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. Gifs are always encouraged.
• Members can post additional items as they see fit.
• Please refrain from adding items if you are not part of the current roster.

Paramore : The Only Exception


Current Roster:
fdubois
charlest
mith
Dolus
ecargo
Epsilon_Balls
Happymrdave
captainraffi
touchstonethefool
cferejohn
jshufelt
ambierona
LouieSTFU
Necroblaster3000
Thesp

Paramore : The Only Exception
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1. Board Game: UNO Bingo [Average Rating:3.00 Unranked]
Board Game: UNO Bingo
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Games you ended up liking despite having a central mechanism that generally makes you a pass on those types of games.

AND/OR same question but the reverse

Games that you ended up disliking despite having several factors that made you think you would love it (designer/theme/mechanisms etc)
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2. Board Game: Uno: Burger King Edition [Average Rating:5.25 Unranked]
Board Game: Uno: Burger King Edition
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Since we always end up on food, same-ish question but with food. Food you were surprised you liked? surprisngly disappointed? (either a certain type of food, or a specific dish ordered at a restaurant, or interpreted however you want)
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3. Board Game: Hot Death Uno [Average Rating:6.48 Unranked]
Board Game: Hot Death Uno
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Any board game or non-board game related stories where the outcome was mostly assured except for this one exception that ended up happening?
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4. Board Game: UNO Attack! [Average Rating:5.44 Overall Rank:19169]
Board Game: UNO Attack!
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Top 5 Trap Cards in Board Games

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5. Board Game: Santorini [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:151]
Board Game: Santorini
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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2x Gloomhaven: Forgotten Circles
Santorini - Tabletopia
Stuffed Fables

Gloomhaven: Forgotten Circles
We've now played 3 scenarios. I now see how this is like Gloomhaven, but also wildly different from Gloomhaven. It's the Gloomhaven game, but it's much more complex and puzzly than Gloomhaven is.
We've had our last class retire (Lightning bolt) and start up a Scoundrel at level 1. He didn't like being a front-line fighter with the health of a lvl 1 character (two of us are level 9), so he's not auto-leveled to level 9.

Also, any item that
Spoiler (click to reveal)
gives flying
is way overpowered.

Santorini - Tabletopia
I played this with my co-workers. My first time playing multiplayer. One player was able to place domes anywhere and was having fun trying to block us in. Although I realized this gave one player almost free reign to build up alone in the corner squares to victory. That second player also had the ability that when he went up in a turn, nobody else could move up. So I had to try hard to sneak my worker in there across a diagonal to effectively block him, as well as myself, to stop him from winning. Meanwhile, I was building up in another corner until I could finally force two towers 3-high and put my worker adjacent to both for the victory.

Stuffed Fables
We've started the second scenario with Maddy. We haven't finished it, yet, but we got to the final page of the scenario and paused there.
Spoilers for Scenario 2:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
I've been letting Maddy make his own choices, whether they be good or bad. Although sometimes you don't expect them to be bad. Shortly into this scenario, you end up in the "sewers" under the bathtub. He immediately ran out down the waterflow to one of the points of interest, putting him something like 4 squares away from the edge of the board. Jennifer and I then drew enough black dice that he was washed off the board completely and we all had to follow suit to rescue him. This took us on a different path than we'd been on before.

I'm having fun with the game and fun playing with Maddy. I'm glad we're doing this. Oh, and he did get in trouble for blatant cheating, too. "I want these colored dice" and looking in the bag for them or pulling out a big handful and choosing the ones he wanted. When called on it and not changing his behavior, we stopped the game, which became a tantrum, and he was sent to a timeout / nap to cool down. After calming down, when we came back to play, he was behaving much better and listening to the directions again.
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6. Board Game: Babylonia [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:2116]
Board Game: Babylonia
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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Board Game: Ride the Rails
Board Game: Ride the Rails: France & Germany
Board Game: Marco Polo II: In the Service of the Khan
Board Game: Spicy
Board Game: Android: Netrunner
Board Game: Babylonia
Board Game: Fantasy Realms
Board Game: It's a Wonderful World


Ride the Rails + Ride the Rails: France & Germany NEW!
Marco Polo II: In the Service of the Khan (2 all-time)
Spicy NEW!
Android: Netrunner x2 (199 all-time)
Babylonia x3 NEW!
Fantasy Realms x3 (34 all-time)

Online Games

It's a Wonderful World NEW!
Ride the Rails
El Grande (forgotten from two weeks ago)
6 nimmt!

I broke Ride the Rails out again with my mom and dad, and switched things up by using the France map from Ride the Rails: France & Germany. There's no transcontinental bonus on this map, but Paris gives out a chunky $10 bonus for every company that connects to it. The twist is that each of the hexes surrounding Paris a) can only accommodate a single locomotive, and b) companies can only occupy one of the 6 hexes, meaning once they build in, they can't continue to build out in another direction. This forces switching tracks to a different company if a player is moving a passenger through Paris, and forces players who are building track to weigh that bonus against expanding rail lines elsewhere.

The map also has the impassible estuaries ported directly over from Paris Connection (and also re-supplies the Paris hex with a fresh passenger every round if it gets used), but other than that is the same Ride The Rails you know and love. I liked the variety this map gave and am happy I own it. 3p is definitely showing itself to be a little fragile (I played 4p on TTS and it was a lot more dynamic, but also a learning game), but it's still something my parents like.

I'd gotten Spicy in my most recent MM order, and with some trepidation gave the 2p game a try with my regular gaming partner. While it obviously wasn't at it's best at that count, it was a lot more entertaining than either of us expected. Being able to call bullshit on either suit OR number gave the game the flexibility it needed to be a fun bit of filler, and I'm definitely going to break it out on TTS this week with my regular game groups. This would absolutely have been a dark horse game during convention season in a regular year, but I can see it sinking very quickly due to COVID stuff, which is a shame. Worth a look!

I had been very curious about Babylonia, but wasn't quite ready to plunk down import costs for a copy from Funagain last year at BGG.CON. Luckily it finally showed up at my FLGS for a better price and I took the dive. I was initially a little worried as most commentators have said that it shares most in common with Samurai (which I am on record as disliking as stodgy), but aside from "players have their own reserve and hand of pieces" the game is almost nothing like Samurai. If Blue Lagoon is the point-salad-ization of mostly Through the Desert with a hint of Fjords, Babylonia is a giant blender of old Knizia ideas on the same template. And blow me down if it doesn't work like a charm!

I don't want to go too deeply into the rule-set as it's weirdly awkward to internalize (briefly, players have farmers and three types of nobles, and there are three different scoring pieces on the board that interact with some or all of them), but once players got it the game plays remarkably smoothly and quickly. My gaming partner and I knocked out 3 games in about an hour and half (which is a little cheating because we both tend to play quickly), but that bodes well for larger player games. I think the thing I like about it most is that, unlike Samurai, your pieces on the board can still be useful once their immediate scoring goal is reached. I liked the choices made in Blue Lagoon, but I think I like Babylonia a lot better.

For new online games, I dove back into TTS with my regular gaming group and was taught It's a Wonderful World, which had a pretty slick implementation. It's a neat twist on the usual drafting formula with a sort of snowball building chain that ramps up nicely. It seems like the designers worked the random order that the cards come out into the design setup (I saw the "basic" building cards in hands throughout the game), but all the same we did feel it was odd that cards weren't organized into ages. I suppose being able to see high cost buildings early in the game helps players to build toward them, but I've got so much of 7 Wonders in my blood any slight deviations from that formula always feel a little strange. All-in-all it was pretty pleasant and I'd be happy to play it again.
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7. Board Game: Magic Maze [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:475]
Board Game: Magic Maze
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Board Game: Magic Maze
Board Game: Crokinole
Board Game: Can't Stop
Board Game: Flatline
Board Game: Tuki


 10   Magic Maze (165 all-time)
 8   Crokinole x12 (16 all-time)
 7   Can't Stop (53 all-time)
 7   Flatline (5 all-time)
 7   Tuki (6 all-time)

FereCON - I was able to jump into one game of Can't Stop, but also hadn’t done my reading for book club so had to do that instead unfortunately.

Cousin’s family visited again

Little cousin #1 is only interested in Magic Maze and I’m 100% fine with that. I tried teaching him other games and he either lost interest quickly or was unable to really grasp the rules since he kept getting distracted (Crokinole / Flatline). He also doesn’t play well with his sister (little cousin #2) because he is a petty child and didn’t want to play with her. So I played Tuki with his sister while he went off to go play his Switch.

Other

Avatar Book Club - We read the last big book in the series “Imbalance” it has a very noticeable art change, but past that it’s a fairly mediocre story. I felt the other books brought up issues that seemed plausible in the events after the show and this one brought up an issue that didn’t seem like it was an actual thing. We decided to rank the books, this is my ranking:

Smoke and Shadow (spoopy content is good content?)
The Rift - The Search (tied I just like spirit stuff)
The Promise - North and South (NS was more recent so it feels better but both were fine, lots of politics decided by bending at each other because why not)
Imbalance (as mentioned trash)


Work - Last week was bad. As mentioned a system was down which backed up a lot of work but some parts still didn’t function so I was approximately 2 days behind with no extension of our deadline so not ideal and in my few emails with other coworkers I could tell they were also stressed. It was a frustrating mix in the first two days of not being able to do any work while knowing we were swamped so just sitting at my desk waiting to get the "all clear" notification. On the positive all that is over and I guess it’ll mostly be back to normal with some meetings discussing the repercussions.

External image


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8. Board Game: The Game of Life [Average Rating:4.29 Overall Rank:19524]
Board Game: The Game of Life
Ambie
United States
San Mateo
California
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Whoops, didn't play any board games last week. I did stream on Twitch though. But it was Animal Crossing, not a board game. I made a silly intro and outro song for streaming.

On My Mind
- Kevin and Roy like walking around now (using hand holds). I guess they'll be toddlers soon. Roy also likes crawling really fast, especially when it's time for a diaper change or a nap. He looks at me, smiles, turns around, and crawls away from me. Then he pauses and looks back at me wanting me to chase him. It's pretty cute, but sometimes annoying if he's in a super playful mood when it's diaper change time.

- Started watching Umbrella Academy Season 2. I'm used to just watching anime, so the episodes feel really long! But I'm enjoying it so far.

- Toby and I have started getting some back into cubing. We've been learning a new method that didn't exist back when we used to cube because it involves middle slices (turning just the middle layer), which wasn't really possible with old cube technology. Kids these days have it so easy.
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9. Board Game: The Prep Game [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: The Prep Game
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated NEW!

---

Hey, look! A game! And a new one at that.

Matt and I played the first game of Clank! Legacy and it was really fun. I think I just enjoy any game that gives me a book with passages to read. The gameplay is still very much Clank! and the legacy / board-changing parts do halt the flow, but otherwise it does seem to work pretty smoothly. Looking forward to the next games.

---

On My Mind:

Matt and I finished season 2 of The Umbrella Academy. I enjoyed it. The pacing was good and only one episode was dragged a bit. Looking forward to season 3.

I did a few meal preps for a colleague who just had a baby. It was nice to do some cooking projects. And I kept some of the food for myself. Patting myself on the back for the chicken fried rice and breakfast scramble.

Other than that, same ol', same ol'. I'm a bit stressed trying to get prepped for the start of the semester. It's a huge workload to take existing courses and turn them online, which requires much more plan in advance than winging a lecture prep the night before.
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10. Board Game: Toy Story: Obstacles & Adventures [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:4110]
Board Game: Toy Story: Obstacles & Adventures
Chris Ferejohn
United States
Mountain View
California
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A couple weeks since I posted a list (was on vacation, and posting here is what I do to avoid work, not avoid vacation). So time for my usual stream of consciousness rambling:

Toy Story: Obstacles & Adventures
This is very similar to the Harry Potter deck builder, but Alistair has seen all the Toy Story movies, but not any Harry Potter, so thought it would be a better fit. The game is solid if you like cooperative deck builders - it gets quite hard in the later chapters. The rules are a surprisingly hot mess, especially given that it's an iteration on an existing system. There are so many rules that are unclear or just literally left out. The designer, to their credit, is very active on the rules forum, but I just can't imagine the later scenarios were blind playtested, like, at all, because there are just really obvious questions left completely unanswered. All that said, we're still enjoying it, and I might even take the hit and write up an unofficial FAQ for the forums once we get through the game.

Wingspan
Reprint finally came through. Played a 2-person game with my wife, and she liked it enough that I went and got the expansion which was available at a bookstore up where we are (Mammoth Lakes) that has a surprisingly up-to-date game inventory, and we played that. Then we tried it with Alistair (given how much he liked Empires of the North, he seems to have a penchant for engine builders), and he liked it too. He was unable to focus on all of the point sources (though honestly I don't think I was either the first time I played), but he picked a couple and optimized them and enjoyed that.

Gloomy Graves
Alistair saw this at the aforementioned bookstore and asked if we could get it, and it wasn't very much and comes in a small box, so we did. The theme is...weird, but it's basically a tile laying abstract. It reminds me a bit of Herbacious with how you play cards to your own private area as well as a public area. The biggest knock is that it's quite a table hog for such a "small" game. Part of that was paying attention to their setup instructions of laying out all of the scoring cards, but really those should have been made as small tiles. Anyway, this might end up being one of those games that I like, but that I don't like well enough to actually pull out but that's a small enough shelf presence that I don't bother to get rid of it.

FereCon
Sorry for the last minute invite, and thanks to Julio for dropping by. I'd done a couple of games online with audio, but this was my first time doing a "game day", and it worked really really well. We played exclusively on board game arena (I still haven't tried tabletopia or TTS), but that worked fine. We played Downforce a couple times (I got stomped in both), Can't Stop, a really close Puerto Rico game that I won by one point, Perudo, Saboteur, Libertalia, and 7 Wonders. I really like the experience of playing online games with audio when the game has rules enforcement (it makes 7 wonders a breeze). I'll definitely be doing more of these, and I'll definitely try to give a little more advanced notice if y'all want to join.

Marvel Champions: The Card Game – Doctor Strange Hero Pack
We got the Dr. Strange pack not long before leaving for vacation and tried it out with Alistair as Dr. Strange and me as Thor. The word on the street is that Strange is maybe too strong, and I think that's right, though I'm curious if he has more trouble against Ultron since he doesn't have any good ways to "sweep" small minions.

KeyForge: Call of the Archons
Alistair and I played most of a Keyforge game, but the matchup we had basically was going to lead to a really really long game that it looked like I would win (though who can really say), and Alistair eventually conceded rather than play it out.

Vacation
As alluded to earlier, we are in mammoth lakes (my parents have a condo) for a couple of weeks - on vacation last week, and just working from here this week. It's nice to have a change of pace and to get winded by walking up 4 stairs (it's 8000 feet up). We haven't done a lot of hiking because Hilary broke her toe like a week before we left (she can walk, but it starts hurting after a mile or so), and also because we are lazy and would rather play video/board games.

Paper Mario
Speaking of video games, I beat Paper Mario, which was quite long, but very fun and clever, and with a couple of surprisingly emotional moments. I think I really prefer this kind of somewhat more linear game to open world things, in no small part because if I stop playing for a while, it's not hard to jump back in.

School
School starts Monday. I'm the PTA president. Most of what the PTA has done...we can't do. So figuring that out has been a challenge, but not a bad one.

All right, I'll probably edit or add on as I remember all the things I forgot, but this is probably long enough.
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11. Board Game: Color Brain: Disney Edition [Average Rating:6.32 Overall Rank:9373]
Board Game: Color Brain: Disney Edition
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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Board Game: Color Brain: Disney Edition


 6.4   Color Brain: Disney Edition (4 all-time)

I got this game a little over a year ago and enjoy it quite a bit. Better yet, my family loves it being Disney fans. It's one of the few games Emilee will happily play.


On My Mind

Despite intending to do more solo gaming, it didn't happen this week. Work is still pretty busy and I'm heavy into another project after completing my last.

Playoff hockey is great. Watching a very tense game right now.

I was a fan of Penny Dreadful although I didn't love it. The new series set in 1930s LA piqued my interest, and I got around to starting it. It's decent and interesting. Best part is Natalie Dormer who is the central antagonist (Margaery Tyrell in GOT).

One thing which isn't working in Penny Dreadful: City of Angels' favor is that I'm also watching the reboot/reimagining of Perry Mason which aired on HBO. This show is fantastic. Very grimy 30s detective thriller, reminiscent perhaps of Seven combined with LA Confidential. Not as good as either, but still pretty damn enjoyable. I really dig Matthew Rhys who was fantastic in The Americans.
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