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ABX Boardgamers' Group (What we're playing)

A weekly AAR for what we've been playing at our weekly Boardgame Day at Augusta Book Exchange in Augusta, GA. http://comics-n-games.com/backlot/

Archive for Mark Bakke

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AAR for 27 Jul 2015

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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GenCon this weekend!

Firefly: The Game
Three of us played using the Blue Sun expansion and without using the Piracy/Bounty rules. The story was Niska's Holiday. Players had to pass a big Fight check, complete four Niska jobs and return to his HQ with $12K. I took the Bonnie Mae w/Corbin in command. I easily collected enough Fight points and cash, but fell behind in the race for the necessary jobs and had to watch another player get finished first.

Progress: Evolution of Technology
Four-player game. This one turned out to be a real nail-biter to the finish. I had a very nice Research engine going on with 3 Tech capability only needing 2 blocks per Tech. But, I took a beating on the bonus VP tracks and had to settle for second place.

Sons of Anarchy
Another game (along with Firefly) likely to be a feature for Gale Force Nine at GenCon. I took the Mayans gang and set off to ride for glory and cash. One turn of getting forced out of a lucrative spot was all it took for me to come in just a few dollars behind the winner. The player that everybody thought was winner ended coming in last. But, that's what happens with all the secret information and resources in this one.


Other games played today included: Dice Masters and Dragonball Z...
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Tue Jul 28, 2015 4:40 am
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AAR for 20 Jul 2015

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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First landing on the Moon (Apollo 11) happened on this day in 1969. Am I old? I still clearly remember watching the black-and-white ghostly TV images from the Moon on an old rabbit-ears TV set.

Dice Masters
Quite a few friendly games played this afternoon in anticipation of the evening's Dice Masters Tournament featuring the new Age of Ultron set.

Roll for the Galaxy
We did find some time for another dice-rolling game and broke out one of our old favorites. Two games were played with three players each. I won the first one with a big score of 46 VP, but lost the second when one opponent managed to get a combo that allowed him to Settle 3 worlds each turn and rush his way to 12 tiles very quickly.

Dice Masters Tournament
This time, our event was a fully-constructed event using all four Marvel/DC sets. The catch, however, was that each player had to have both a Hero team and a Villain team. An initial die roll determined who would get their choice of team for the game and the opponent had to play his adversary team. Strangely enough, the event turned into a complete rout in favor of the Hero teams. There were 15 games altogether and the Hero teams defeated the Villain teams all 15 games! I played Villains for all five of my games since I was determined to be the one who broke the shutout. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. But, it was great fun trying out the new set of cards.
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Tue Jul 21, 2015 5:28 am
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AAR for 13 Jul 2015

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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All-Star Game week in Major League Baseball!

Progress: Evolution of Technology
Three-player game including the Age IV deck plus all of the small expansions that came with the game. The Age IV deck proved to be plenty of fun, but the other expansions could probably just as well be left out as they seemed to have little impact on game play. This game was a runaway for one player who seemed to be getting 3-5 free expansions every turn and built up a tremendous tableau. He ended up with more bonus points than anybody else had *total* points.

Subbuteo
This is one of those famous old games that I've known about for *MANY* years, but have never before had the opportunity to see or play. Subbuteo is a dexterity game about big-time soccer. The playing field is a large felt mat and each player has ten player figures (plus a goalie) on rounded bases that slide across the mat when you flick or push them with your index finger. When you flick one of your players, you must make contact with the ball and move it any distance down the field without having it hit an opposing player's figure. The defender then gets to flick one of his player figures to attempt to block the offense from making further contact with the ball and continuing his offensive actions attempting to score a goal. If the offense fails to make contact with the ball or sends it into a defensive player, he loses possession and the defender now becomes the attacking player. Play goes back and forth for a prescribed period of time for two halves and whoever has the highest score wins. There's a great deal of strategy involved in positioning your players properly to continue attacks or mount defenses. And, of course, poor flicking will undo any amount of good strategy. I got to play two games today and, even though I lost both by 0-2 scores, I had a great time and would love to play again!

Blood Bowl Team Manager
Four players took to the pitch and we used both the Sudden Death and Foul Play expansions for the first time. I played the Nurgle team and, as such, was spreading disease and rot all over the place to advance my cause. But, of course, my normal spectacular display of inept dice-rolling kept me from making several key Tackles that would have set me up quite nicely for key Matchup victories. At one point, I made six rolls and failed *five* of them when the odds were about 75% in favor of making each of those rolls. Oh, well.... The new expansions were a lot of fun to play, though.


Other games played today included: Heroscape, Love Letter: Batman, Quarriors, The Builders: Middle Ages, Art of War, Splendor, Android: Netrunner, and Hull Breach...
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Tue Jul 14, 2015 5:23 am
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AAR for 06 Jul 2015

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Pretty good weekend... US Women's Soccer wins the World Cup. Dale Jr wins at Daytona. Finn Balor wins the NXT title in Japan. Of course, there was some dipstick who killed himself trying to launch fireworks off the top of his head. Oh, well....

The Builders: Middle Ages
People have suddenly flocked to this game. We played four times today, twice with two people and twice with four. I took one of the four-player games and managed to win while building only four buildings. Just hit everything perfectly. Not so much luck in the other games. First time playing with four and it was a pretty good battle.

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game
My first time playing this one that so many others have found enjoyable. I'm not much of an RPG guy, but this game impressed me. I played a priest/cleric name Alahazra. I thought I would mainly be a supporting member of the party with healing spells and whatnot, but it turned out that I had a couple of strong fighting spells that came in handy to clear out some annoying monsters and help close a few locations. In the end, I had plenty of good Spells to hand out to give extra dice to other players for their combats and our party ended up winning the scenario.

Progress: Evolution of Technology
Four players this time and that started stretching the available card resources a bit thin, so more strategic play was required. I got hung up for a couple of turns in the middle of the Age II deck and that may have cost me in the end as I came just one VP short of the eventual winner. Time to throw in some of the expansion stuff for the next games to see how they play.

Spy Alley
A bit of four-player fun. I was the French spy and ended up being the second player that was guessed correctly and knocked out.

Splendor
Final games of the tournament were played today. Three more games with three players each determined the final standings. Congratulations to Chris Fowler for being the overall tournament winner!

Sun Tzu
Finished up the day with a little head-to-head tussle. The turning point of the game came when I had a big 2nd scoring round and jumped out to an 8-point lead. From there, it was just a matter of holding on to enough points to prevent any possible comeback.


Other games played today included: Dice Masters, Android: Netrunner, Forbidden Stars, and Hull Breach...
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Tue Jul 7, 2015 5:18 am
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AAR for 29 Jun 2015

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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WOW! It was actually under 100 degrees today! Time to break out the long underwear.

Bring Out Yer Dead
A new game from Upper Deck with the theme of trying to get the most prestigious spots in the cemetery for your dearly-departed loved ones and not having their caskets dumped into the river. Players choose three cards from their hand secretly at the start of each turn. These cards give them the ability to load caskets onto the cart or take other actions to improve their standing in the graveyard. There are two separate sections that the first player (the gravedigger) can choose from each turn and each has its own strategies for optimal placements. After a maximum of eight rounds, whoever has earned the highest number of VP wins. Not anywhere near as zanily morbid as an older game called "Plague", but still a light-hearted treatment of the theme. Interesting strategies for game play can make each turn critical. We played one two-player game and could easily see that the game could be a real battle with 4-5 players.

Progress: Evolution of Technology
Another new game that is reminiscent of "Civilization", but features only the tech tree. There are three Ages to play through. Players try to acquire and develop a series of interconnecting technologies that increase their skills and bonuses and VP levels. We had a three-player game and found that this one plays smoothly and quickly with plenty of planning certainly being necessary for success. We didn't use any of the advanced options, but they look like fun.

Nations: The Dice Game
Four players for a quick round of this one. I took Greece and the game evolved into a two-player race to see which one of us could get the best final turn. I settled for 2nd place after watching a 5VP Wonder get built.

Splendor
Continuing with the ongoing tournament. There were three games today with three players each. One more week to go in this one. Players need to play at least three games to qualify for prizes and all players so far have done that.

Roll for the Galaxy
Three-player game that came down to the very last turn to determine a winner in a very close race. I would have won if there had been one more turn, but, such was not the case.

Spy Alley
Three of us did our best to bluff and deceive our way to potential victory. One player acquired *two* Wild Cards, but got successfully guessed before he could win. I thought I was going to sneak in the back door and win, but I also got guessed at the last possible moment.

Sun Tzu
Two-player strategy game using the backdrop of the historical wars of Sun Tzu. Players compete for control of five provinces whose VP values change with each scoring phase. Scoring is done after Rounds 3, 6, and 9 and is a simple differential total. You play one card face down for each of the five provinces each turn and, when they are turned over, battle is resolved with the winner receiving armies and/or taking away opponent's armies according to the comparative values of the played cards. Lots of clever strategies here as some cards are powerful, but can only be played once each game. Other cards continue to go back to your hand after each round. Our game was decided by only 1 VP in the very last round.

Elysium
We tried out a two-player game using Apollo, Ares, and Hermes to see what they could all do. They added quite a bit of new wrinkles to play and had the effect of boosting scoring pretty dramatically. I won with 76 VP against 68 for my opponent.


Other games played today included: Forbidden Stars...
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Tue Jun 30, 2015 4:13 am
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AAR for 22 Jun 2015

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Spring gave us a lot of Summer. How about if Summer repays the favor?

Star Realms
Played shorter games early today since there was a Dice Masters tournament scheduled for the evening. Four game of Star Realms is always fun. I won three of them. I can't imagine getting tired of playing this one and there are still new goodies for it to be released shortly.

Baseball Highlights: 2045
Introduced a new player and he took to it pretty quickly. Beat me in the mini-series, two games to one and then jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the World Series. But, in an amazing comeback, I managed to win four games in a row to take the Series, 4-3. Great game!

Dice Masters
Another in our series of Dice Masters tournaments. This time, the format was Marvel/DC only and players could only use *female* characters along with actions. This made people do some thinking and they put together some very interesting armies using characters that might not otherwise see much playing time. I enjoy exploring the possibilities of new characters and, every now and then, I find some that had been overlooked and are actually quite good. My army featured Stargirl and other characters that pumped up and worked off maximizing my Sidekicks. I went 3-3 for the five games of the tournament plus one additional friendly where I got "revenge" for an earlier defeat. My army was pretty good, but I made a few glaring mistakes playing it that cost me a couple of games. But, as usual, it was a fun tournament with good people.

Spy Alley
We had two four-player games to finish the day on a lighter note. I was close to winning the first game, but got guessed correctly when the last player before me took a flyer and hit it. I had correctly called out another player earlier and survived a subsequent attempt to guess me.


Other games played today included: Werewolf, Forbidden Stars, and Boss Monster...
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Tue Jun 23, 2015 5:26 am
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AAR for 15 Jun 2015

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Hey, weatherman! You *do* know that it's still "spring", right? So, what's up with this two weeks of 99+ degrees?

Legendary Encounters
Today was not a good day to take on Alien lifeforms, it would seem. We played three games today and got horribly beaten twice. Our first two games played the second movie scenario and were each with three players. The Combat Zone filled up quickly with high Strength aliens and we all took "Death by Strike" in short order. So, we reset everything and tried again. This time, we were able to survive and defeat the Queen thanks to some timely Coordinate cards and the help of the Sentry Guns in the Airlock. We added another player and moved up to the third movie. I quickly went down to a Chestburster and the other three players were methodically hacked to pieces by Aliens.

Splendor
Many games of this were played today as we're trying to get enough people involved to be able to run an 8-player tournament in the near future. I played in six games altogether with various groups of two, three, and four players. Looks like the tournament could be a popular event.

Elysium
Four people vied for the favor of the Greek pantheon. I didn't do a very good job of coordinating my effort and ended up settling for a distant 3rd-place finish. This game is quickly rising up the list of favorite games for me.

Nations: The Dice Game
Quick three-player game introducing two new players to the game. I put on another spectacular display of inept dice-rolling as I *never* rolled more than one Gold on any of my turns. That made it rather difficult to acquire many good tiles and led to my taking a nasty drubbing.

Spy Alley
Another quick three-player game introducing new players. I was the German spy and was doing fairly well, but the French player hit his roll exactly heading for his embassy and had a Wild Card in hand to help give him the win.


Other games played today included: Dice Masters, Android: Netrunner, and Relic...
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Tue Jun 16, 2015 5:06 am
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AAR for 08 Jun 2015

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Summer gaming convention season is underway. Origins is first. GenCon to follow. Looking forward to all the new goodies!

Splendor
Getting interest ramped up in this great-looking and quick-playing strategy game in anticipation of running a tournament event in conjunction with Asmodee's new tournament series for their popular games. Three games played today with three players each. I won the first and last games and had the card in my hand to win the 3rd game, but wasn't able to play it before another player hit 15VP and I didn't have another turn available. This is one of those games I thought was a bit ho-hum at first, but the more I've played it, the more it's growing on me.

Elysium
Another popular new game gaining more players with repeated exposure. Three players this time and, for once, I didn't completely suck! I was able to Transfer the entire Zeus family set on my last turn for 11 VP and ended up winning the game by 9 VP.

Castles of Mad King Ludwig
Another favorite game that just gets better and better the more that experienced players battle each other. We had two games today, one with three players and another with four. The three-player game ended up in a two-way tie at 88 points, but I won the "largest castle" tiebreaker. The four-player game saw a Bonus card runaway with a winning total of 104 points.

Nations: The Dice Game
Two games today with three players each. I played Greece both times, but this game has no differences between countries as does its "big brother" board game. I was able to win both times on the strength of high-VP Wonders and managing to stay ahead on the Books track for extra VP each turn. I did pull off the amazingly-inept feat of rolling four red/military dice three times and failing to achieve six swords on any roll to earn a 4 VP bonus when the average expected total for such rolls would be eight.

Core Worlds
An old favorite back to the table and featuring the new "Revolution" expansion. This one adds a deck of Hero Tactics card to enhance the shenanigans that your faction Hero (and others you may acquire) can perform. They also added a set of Advancement cards that can be acquired and attached to your controlled Worlds for more special abilities. Our three-player game saw one player get a brutally-efficient combo going that let him run away with the win.


Other games played today included: Dice Masters....
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Tue Jun 9, 2015 5:25 am
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AAR for 01 Jun 2015

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Good weekend... Kevin Owens beats John Cena clean. The Minnesota Twins are in 1st place. I finally won a Dice Masters tournament.

Legendary: Villains
Two tries to beat the Uru-Enchanted Iron Man and the Fear Itself plot. Three players for both games and neither one worked out in our favor. Iron Man drew too many Command Strike cards too early in the game for us to have much chance to take him down until it was too late and we got overrun by the Plot Twists.

Legendary: Encounters
Four players with a couple of newbies -- new to Encounters, but not to Legendary. We played the first movie and got off to a fast start. Then, I got *three* Facehuggers in one turn and got a Chestburster in my deck. Fortunately, we had "Look at the top card and kill it or discard it" cards to play and one of them got the Chestburster and saved me. One of our team went down on Strikes after pulling one for 5 damage. We got The Perfect Organism in the airlock on my turn and I was able to make 10 Strength after drawing a card, so we beat the scenario just as it was getting a little dicey.

Nations: The Dice Game
First time out for this short-and-sweet dice game version of the empire-building epic game, Nations. This one has its own strategy as you use and manipulate dice rolls to acquire building tiles, Wonders, Leaders, and colonies along with getting more and better dice. The competition has many ways to gain VP through building and resource management. The game plays in about 1/4 the time of its big brother, but is still quite fun. This will likely be seeing much more play as a filler and introductory game.

Dice Masters
We had a tournament using a constructed format and the Marvel/DC sets only. Eight people entered, so we played three Swiss-style rounds to determine standings for a final single-elimination bracket to a finish. I tried out an all-Lightning team for the first time. After dropping my first two games, I came back strong to win in each of the next four rounds and end up taking the tournament by upsetting the dreaded Sidekick-boost army for the tournament win. Hawkeye "Longbow" was my MVP, as it kept on shooting the key character of the opponents and cycling back around quickly. This slowed down what they wanted to do and gave me the chance to get my nastiness going.


Other games played today included: Castles of Mad King Ludwig and Smash Up!...
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Tue Jun 2, 2015 5:37 am
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AAR for 25 May 2015

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Slow day for gaming on Memorial Day as most people have all sorts of other things to do on this "first weekend of summer".

Elysium
First time out for this game based on writing legends based on Greek mythology and trying to appeal to the gods for a better place in the afterlife. Players acquire cards representing followers and deeds of five different Greek deities. These cards will be used to write legends, i.e., creating matching sets that will score victory points at game end. You acquire cards and Quest tokens using four different colors of columns that match icons on those cards. But, you have to give up one of those columns each round, so your options start getting more limited as the round goes on. It's easy to not be able to get the stuff you need. Opponents, of course, will try to help your problems get worse. We had three games today, one each with 2, 3, and 4 players. They all ended up being rather close finishes, with the three player game having to go to a "most Gold" tie-breaker. Plays in about an hour, but has lots of meaningful decisions every round.

Castles of Mad King Ludwig
One game with two players and another with three. I managed to win the three-player game by getting a ton of points off a nice set of Bonus cards. Nice to see this game win a Mensa Select award for 2014 as it has been a group favorite.

Star Realms
Broke in a new player today to what has become my favorite two-player card game. Between the card game and the Android app version, I've been putting in a *lot* of time playing this one. Even though the new player lost both of the game that we played, he enjoyed the game and wants a rematch.


Other games played today included: Dice Masters and Android: Netrunner....
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Tue May 26, 2015 4:12 am
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