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 08 Feb 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Super Bowl is over. Peyton Manning's great career is likely over. And, we can only hope that "The Dab" is finally over.

Peloponnes
A game I picked up on clearance at this year's Siege of Augusta. This is a worker placement game of city-building in ancient Greece. It has an interesting auction mechanic for acquiring new tiles each turn and the Knizia-style scoring method where there are two ways to get VP and you win by being the highest in the lower of the two methods. Decent strategy and planning are a must in this one or you'll end up losing buildings you can't pay for and losing population you can't feed. We had two games today, one with two people and one with three. The two-player game gave us a good handle on the game play and the three-player game, as a result, ended up being quite good. The game plays very quickly and looks to be one that could get several plays in the same day.

Automobiles
The third game in the series by AEG that started with Trains and Planes, so this one was a given. It's a racing game where, in a unique twist, you improve your car and your strategy as the race is in progress. You start with basic cubes representing movement abilities and basic actions and you acquire better ones to flesh out how you want your car to perform. Cubes are drawn from a bag each turn and that functions pretty much as a hand of cards would in a deck-building game. We had two three-player games. The first was using the Daytona Beach track with the suggested standard setup for a first game. After that, we flipped to the Monza track and played a five-lap race using the "Fine Tuning" setup. Both games were quite good with the wheels really grinding in search of the perfect mix of cubes. Fun!

Viticulture
We keep getting new people into this excellent worker placement game. Three new players today in a four-player game. Everybody caught on quickly, as usual. I was able to work a strategy of getting a couple of VP each turn and eventually pulling away to a victory with 24 points.

Champions of Midgard
Another four-player game with a couple of new players. The new players had previous experience with Lords of Waterdeep, so they caught on to this one quite well. I pulled away during final scoring by having a little bit of everything.

7 Wonders Duel
With less than an hour remaining in the gaming day, two of us broke out this one for a quick throw-down. This one was pretty close, but a couple of late pick-ups of high-scoring Blue buildings led to my getting a 71-63 win.


Other games played today included: X-Com: the Board Game, Arcadia Quest, Boss Monster, Roll for the Galaxy, The Grizzled, and Splendor...
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Tue Feb 9, 2016 5:43 am
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AAR for 01 Feb 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Finally, the primaries are beginning and we might be able to weed out at least some of the nonsense.

The Cards of Cthulhu
Just got the new "Beyond the Veil" Kickstarter expansion for this cooperative card game from Dan Verssen Games and got it to the table. Two separate four-player sessions today and everybody roundly approved of the updates. New in this expansion are Investigation cards, Cult Power Cards, and just plain more of all of the other types of cards from the base set. The deck has nearly doubled in size and has more Horrors, more Gates, and more problems along with the good stuff from Followers, Items, and Spells. We were holding on by the skin of our teeth in the first game as the Gates stacked up early and we were drawing many more cards than we could deal with at one time. Finally, we managed to wear it down and squeak out a win. In the second game, we kept the mess down early and never let it build up on us, so it was just a matter of riding out the storm until the Cult deck ran out. Great new addition to the game that I foresee getting a lot more plays.

Roll for the Galaxy
Several games in different groups. I got in two plays, each with four players, and came in 2nd both times. The first game was pretty much a speed run of building and, not surprisingly, ended up fairly low-scoring. Only 37 points were needed to win that one. The second game was more Produce/Shipping and gained a lot of VP. This time, I scored 49 points, but came in 2nd to another player's total of 53.

Dice Masters tournament
The latest in our series of constructed events had the stipulation that, in honor of Valentine's Day, every character you used had to have been romantically involved with another character in your army in any of the comics storylines. I was able to use several cards from my primary Elite army and add in their bf/gf. So, with Green Lantern, I had Carol Ferris. I had Black Widow with Hawkeye, Professor X with Mystique, and Angel with Psylocke. This worked out pretty well as I went 5-0 in our round-robin event.

Other games played today included: Viticulture...
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Tue Feb 2, 2016 5:31 am
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AAR for 25 Jan 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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We survived the "Great Blizzard of 2016" in Augusta.... somehow...

Kemet
This is a tactical combat game set in ancient Egypt. Players maneuver their armies to gain VP from winning battles, capturing Temples, and other quests. Much of the game revolves around the acquisition of Power Tiles that add strong abilities to your forces. We played two games, one with two players and one with three. We found out quickly that attacking normally leads to good things, but every players needs to be attacked. I won the two-player game fairly handily. In the three-player game, two of us jumped on each other and the third player was left alone to build up freely. That let him combo many good tiles and take an easy win.

Roll for the Galaxy
Two games today, both with three players. I got some nice final VP totals in both games, but came up just short in each.

Thunder Alley
Five-player game of this great stock car racing strategy game. We played on the road course this time. The first lap was finished in only two rounds, but it took us fully *five* rounds to complete the second lap as there was very little helping going on along with an ill-timed green flag pit stop. I was fortunate to keep my cars in line for most of the race and that led to a cooperative finishing move that allowed me to win the overall team total by one slim point, 117-116.

Miskatonic School for Girls
This is a deck-building game with a Lovecraftian theme. Players are trying to collect Friends cards that will help them fight off the evil Teachers and preserve their sanity. I played this one a few years ago for the first time. Each player is doing his best to undermine the efforts of the other players, so there is plenty of hilarity as the "screw your neighbor" ramps up. In our four-player game, two of us went out on the same turn and watched the player in the lead end up having a horrible turn seeing him lose *9* sanity in one fell swoop and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
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Tue Jan 26, 2016 5:38 am
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AAR for 18 Jan 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Great time at this year's Siege of Augusta!

Viticulture
I took on the difficult Automa solo play mode in two separate games. I got destroyed in the first game, but did much better on the second try -- coming up just short in a 19-20 loss. I'll get that thing yet!

Dice Masters tournament
The latest in our continuing series of unusual format constructed events mandated that, in honor of the Martin Luther King holiday, all teams must contain only characters whose names begin with either "M", "L", or "K". I found a set of characters that all came from the War of Light set and put together a team based on creating lots of direct damage using the Lantern Ring. It ended up working pretty well and I lost out on a chance for 1st place when I needed to roll just *one* Shield on six dice and failed.

Other games played today included: Guild Ball, Relic, and Yedo...
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Tue Jan 19, 2016 3:44 am
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AAR for 11 Jan 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Lou Saban wins his 5th National Championship and North Dakota State wins its 5th *straight* FCS National Championship. Good weekend for college football.

Viticulture
This game is growing rapidly in popularity for the depth of its strategy and just enough "screw your neighbor" flavor. We had two games today, one with two players and one with four. The two-player game scaled nicely and played quickly. I drew an almost perfect set of cards and was able to reach 20VP very quickly. In the four-player game, we went into the last round with one player looking to run away with it before stalling out at 19VP. That gave me a chance to pull a couple of key cards and fill two orders to get to 20VP and squeak out the win.

7 Wonders Duel
A quick game that ended up being short on good resources. The game was won on the last play of a military card that gained my opponent five extra VP and gave him a 62-59 win.

Progress: Evolution of Technology
Haven't played this one in a little while, so it was good to get it back to the table. Two player game using the Age IV expansion. Very close all the way and ended very quickly after the Age IV deck was opened. Close final scoring ended up in my favor due to winning two of the three VP tracks.

Champions of Midgard
Four-player game. I took Dagrun this time and the game ended up extremely close. Buying two extra Favors on the last turn turned out to provide the margin of victory for me in a nail-biting 93-91 final.

Blood Rage
Four of us contested this one, which will be a feature at my Boardgamers Corner during the upcoming Siege of Augusta this coming weekend. This one was a wildly high-scoring contest as everybody was springing nasty combos right and left. I managed to pull off getting +20 Glory on all three stat tracks, but still came up on the short end of a 209-190 final.

Pandemic: The Cure
We ended the gaming day with a four-player attempt to save the world. We started out OK, but a couple of failed Cure rolls when the odds were strongly in our favor ended up delaying us long enough that we finally got overrun by Outbreaks.
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Tue Jan 12, 2016 5:43 am
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AAR for 04 Jan 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Looking forward to a great New Year of gaming!

Legendary
With the release of the new Secret Wars, Volume 2 expansion, we had to sit down and try out the new goodness. Unfortunately, the game treated us rather rudely, but we still had a great time with it. Three games altogether, one with two players, and two more with four players each. We started by taking on Shiklah and the Secret Wars scheme. Then, we tackled King Hyperion and the Mark of Khonshu scheme, and ended with Spider-Queen and the God-Emperor scheme. We went down to brutal defeat in all three games. Hyperion helped many of his Khonshu cohorts Escape and the God-Emperor simply got too strong for us to take down. But, we did get a chance to look at every new Hero/Villian/Henchman/Mastermind in the game to see what they all did. Next time, for sure!

Viticulture
Five of us sat down to try out the new Essentials Edition of this worker-placement game themed around wine production. The topic seems a bit dry (no pun intended) at first glance, but the game has a lot of strategy in the timing and sequencing of your Action choices each round. A nice twist is having to allocate your workers between two different "seasons" (Summer and Winter) without being able to use them in both. As such, there's a lot of planning that must go on. Players build up infrastructure early in the game and then it all comes together in a blizzard of Victory Points as the game approaches its end. We had a lot of fun with this one and will certainly be playing again.

Dice Masters
We had an "anything goes" Elite constructed event tonight. With a few of our players planning on going to the upcoming Regional event in Orlando, this game them a good chance to test out what they're planning on bringing. I put together a "control" deck this time that was designed to shut down several of the more popular army builds. It performed better than I expected and earned a 4-1 finish. Zombie Magneto shut down all the 2- and 3-cost cards and their combos and a Storm/Toad combination rerolled characters off the field while delivering damage in the process and also forced non-Sidekicks to attack into my prepared defenses. My one loss was to a Guy Gardner team when I failed to roll my Zombie Magneto into the Field. In a rematch, I got him out and shut down the opposing army so I could wear it down and then stomp on it.

Roll for the Galaxy
Five-player game with a couple of new players. Again, we seem to teach the game too well to new players, as one of them walked off with the victory. I had a big VP turn set up, but never got a chance to pull the trigger as the winner built his 12th tile and ended the game one turn too soon.


Other games played today included: Champions of Midgard...
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Tue Jan 5, 2016 4:58 am
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AAR for 28 Dec 2015

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Last Monday Game Day of 2015. 80 degrees in December? WTF?

Champions of Midgard
Two different games played today of this wildly-popular Viking-themed game. First game with three people. I played Gylfir and everything broke perfectly for me as I ran off to a comfortable win. In the second game, with four players, I took Svanhildr and saw my fortunes turn just as bad as they had been good in the previous game. But, I'm having a great time trying out different strategies and risks to see what works well and what doesn't.

Thunder Alley
Four players in this one. Racing without dice! Gotta love it. We played on the 4-lap short track and, surprisingly, didn't lose any cars to being lapped due to fortuitous yellow-flag pit stops. We even had a Green-White-Checkered finish. I had three of my cars lined up and pushed them all across the line with one Pursuit Movement card to take 2nd/3rd/4th place. Since you win the game by having the best team total finishing points, rather than by having one car cross the finish line first, this ended up giving me a 157-152 victory.

Legendary
We played with the Secret Wars Volume 1 expansion in anticipation of breaking out the new Volume 2 expansion next week. "Dark Alliance" was the Scheme and Madelyne Pryor was the Mastermind. The Scheme brought out Nimrod as an additional Mastermind. This one turned out to be an amazing game! Things looked pretty rough at first as Nimrod kept getting stronger and Madelyne adding several "goblin" cards to protect her. Finally, we got our power combos rolling and started wearing them down, but we had drawn six Scheme Twists, with the seventh one being the one that would cost us the game. I came up one Fight point short of putting the final whack on Nimrod and had to wait until the game came back around to my next turn. I had the winning cards in my hand, but the seventh Scheme Twist was flipped before I could play. BUT!!!! The last Villain that was defeated, Colossus of Future Past, had an effect that prevented drawing a card from the Villain deck before the next turn. So, that Scheme Twist was *not* drawn after all, and I finished off Nimrod to get the amazing win!


Other games played today included: Star Wars: Armada...
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Tue Dec 29, 2015 5:48 am
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AAR for 21 Dec 2015

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Nothing quite says "Winter Solstice" like a predicted high of 78 degrees for December 25... :-)

The Grizzled
Just picked this one up and it saw several plays over the weekend. This is a cooperative card game set in World War One. 2-5 players are the remnants of an infantry squad that is trying to get out of the war alive. Players take turns playing "Threat" cards into No Man's Land or "Hard Knocks" cards on themselves. You want to avoid having three matching Threat symbols in play or having four Hard Knocks on yourself. Players can Withdraw and Give Support each round, but don't want to do so too quickly so as not to carry over too many cards into the next round of play. After several rounds of play, players are trying to get rid of all of the cards in the Threat deck and from their hands before the Monument deck runs out and they all die. We've played with two and three players so far, but the game looks like it may be more difficult to win with 4-5 players. Lots of tension as the play and the game story unfolds.

Baseball Highlights: 2045
First time that I've lost this one to the game system in solitaire mode as I took a serious spanking in the World Series with a 4 games to 1 defeat.

Roll for the Galaxy
Quick 2-player round of this favorite as we waited for the Dice Masters tournament to begin. I managed to set up a nice Settle and Ship combo that raked in the VP. This led to a big 50-32 win.

Dice Masters
This Monday's constructed event required all players to use only cards costing 3 energy or less and prohibited any cards that had Global abilities on them. This led to some long games as the usual heavy hitters and nasty Globals weren't on the table. My team featured 5 Shield characters that all cost only 2 energy to field. Getting all those bodies in the Field provided big bonus Attack boosts for Guy Gardner and chances for unblockable Angels to add to the damage. I went 2-1 in the three-round Swiss bracket, with my only loss coming when I needed to roll just one single Energy on *four* dice -- and failed. I still like these special rules events that make you broaden your thinking about how to build and play your armies.

Firefly: The Game
Our three regular players finished off the day playing the "Down and Out" story, with the victory conditions giving the win to the first player to become Solid with five different Contacts. I took the Artful Dodger with Murphy in command this time. I thought I had the game locked up with a guaranteed successful last turn waiting to be played, but the player immediately before me managed to get his fifth Solid Contact before I could do mine. Doesn't get any closer than that!


Other games played today included: Ghostbusters and Castellan...
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Tue Dec 22, 2015 5:22 am
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AAR for 14 Dec 2015

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Good day today with several new players joining in on the fun...

Blood Rage
I took the Wolf Clan in our four-player game and tried out a strategy of enlisting a couple of the biggest Monsters to do battle for me. It caused a few worried looks among the other players, but they happened to have Battle cards that neutered much of what I was trying to do. So, I spent much of the game playing spoiler for the leaders and trying various wild ideas.

Champions of Midgard
Two different games today, one with three players and one with four. All the new players enjoyed this one quite a bit. I spent most of both games working on ideas for defeating lots of the biggest Monsters.

Nations: the Dice Game
Three of us played. I took Persia and ended being rarely able to achieve much of anything that I had planned to do. Of course, it *is* a dice game and Dice Hate Me... :-)


Other games played today included: Nightfall, Dice Masters, Eldritch Horror, Android: Netrunner, and Guillotine...
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Tue Dec 15, 2015 5:53 am
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AAR for 07 Dec 2015

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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74 years ago today.... The day that will live in infamy.

7 Wonders Duel
Three separate games with different people. For the first time ever, I lost one game by Military victory and another by Science victory. I was able to squeak out a 72-68 win in the third game played. This one is rapidly becoming a favorite.

Cult
We had ongoing play-test sessions today for a game being designed by a local gamer. This is a deck-construction card game where players are taking command of congregations of Cultists along with followers, items, spells, etc. in search of dominating the culture by destroying all pretenders and heathens. An unusual feature here is that players construct a personal deck and must also combine those cards with draws from a community deck called the "Hunting Grounds". Cards put into play must be retained in subsequent turns by paying Upkeep costs or the player may find his former followers turning on him. Cards can combo nicely for various effects. This, of course, includes combat against another player with the goal of reducing his Congregation to zero members. There's a lot going on in this game and, as such, will provide a rich and ever-changing environment in which to plan and plot your actions. Several suggestions were offered and discussed concerning changes and improvements in game play. This will be an ongoing project as the game reaches its Beta stage. Looks promising!

Dice Masters tournament
This time out, we played a constructed event with the requirement that at least two of your cards must come from the new Spider-Man set. This produced an interesting collection of new ideas. After round-robin play, I ended up in 2nd place with a 4-1 record. This coming Saturday will be the popular Rainbow Draft format with the new set.


Other games played today included: Castle Ravenloft...
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Tue Dec 8, 2015 4:23 am
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