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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 02 May 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Great time during International Tabletop Day this past Saturday!

Castles of Burgundy
Two-player game with another experienced player got things going today. We both went out to big leads at one point and kept hauling each other down until we were only one point apart going into final scoring. I got nosed out on bonus chits and ended up going down, 197-206, in an excellent game.

Android: Mainframe
The latest in a series of games based in Fantasy Flight's Android universe. The centerpiece, of course, is Netrunner. This new game represents one "run" against a compromised banking system with 2-4 runners trying to grab as much as they can in the time they have available. Each player plays one of the runners from the Netrunner factions and tries to run both generic and unique programs to place partitions enclosing their own access points in order to score. Available points are few and far between so there's plenty of player interaction and screwage going on. The game plays easily in 30 minutes and keeps you thinking all the way. I took Andromeda in our 3-player game and did rather poorly, as I finished with only 7 points. 11 points was the winning total.

Peloponnes
Three-player game getting yet another new player into this one. As so often seems to happen, we must have taught the new player too well as he went off and stomped a mudhole in us with a great final score of 27.

Favor of the Pharaoh
Three-player game of this one, which recently earned a Mensa Select award. I grabbed the Queen first with seven 3s, only to watch that get beaten by seven 4s. But, on my final turn, I was able to hit seven 5s and pull out the win. "MVP" was the Entertainer tile that let me flip dice to their opposite sides and gained me three extra 5s by flipping over three 2s.

Dice Masters
We had a Rainbow Draft event using the Uncanny X-Men set. I ended up going 4-0 to take the top honors with an army that featured Toad "Tongue Lashing", which forces all the opponent's non-Sidekick characters to attack every turn and, on the burst side, inflicts two damage to them when they attack. This kept my opponents from building up any significant force and allowed me to build strength until I could deliver a hammer blow.

Baseball Highlights: 2045
We finished the gaming day with a two-player game of this favorite of mine. I took New York vs Boston and won the mini-series, 2-1 to gain home field advantage for the best-of-7 World Series. We each were able to purchase a high number of Free Agents, so our teams were pretty strong by the end. This led to some tough battles for most of the World Series games. When the final inning had been played, I managed to take a 4-2 win.


Other games played today included: Firefly Fluxx and Firefly: The Game...
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Tue May 3, 2016 6:03 am
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AAR for 25 Apr 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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This coming Saturday is International Tabletop Day! Get in on the fun!

Legendary
The new Captain America 75th Anniversary Expansion hit the table today and one of our most-played games gets another nice addition. This one combines Captain America and friends from both 1941 and 2016 with a "Man Out of Time" keyword to allow double uses of certain cards. Two new Masterminds are Zemo and Arnim Zola. Two new Villain Groups and four new Schemes round out the 100-card set. So, three veteran players sat down to try out the new goodness and we had four games in total. Game #1 was vs Zemo and the Unbreakable Enigma Code scheme. Unfortunately, we lost this one right on the cusp of victory as the final Scheme Twist was drawn before that player could make the winning attack against Zemo. Game #2 was a replay of our loss and, this time, we did much better and took the Baron down. Game #3 brought in Zola and the Change the Outcome of WWII scheme. This one required a bit of learning how to deal with Zola's "Ultimate Abomination" ability, but we figured it out in time to win. Game #4 was against Zola and the Brainwash the Military scheme. The Maria Hill cards in the Villain deck eventually got to 9 Strength, but we didn't have any problems keeping them from Escaping the city and we pretty much walked away with an easy win. Good new set with a couple of fun new abilities for the Heroes.

Star Realms
Played the new Colony Wars stand-alone expansion with a new player. As usual, I taught him too well and he thrashed me rather soundly. This new set is a nice improvement in an already-great game.

Viticulture
We had two separate 2-player games during the day trying out the new Moor Visitors expansion that adds a new set of Summer and Winter Visitor cards to the game. Many of these cards have some strong abilities on them and throw a few new wrinkles into the game. In the first game, we had a wild race to 20 points that I just barely lost. The second game was a bit slower, but I put together a nice combo of VP scoring cards and pulled away strongly in the final turn to take a fairly easy win.

Firefly Fluxx
The latest in the numerous variations of Fluxx. For our group, of course, the theme is enough to spring for a copy of the game. Two of us tried it out and we got in four games in total. As usual in all versions of Fluxx, some games were over inside of five minutes and some took almost the entire deck to complete. Several nice combos and inspired play brought the wins. I won 3-of-4 games and pulled out a couple of them with last-turn gambles that paid off.


Other games played today included: Dice Masters...
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Tue Apr 26, 2016 5:49 am
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AAR for 18 Apr 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Income Tax Deadline Day... Shall we all observe a moment of silence?

Fire & Axe
Three of us sailed out of Scandinavia to trade, raid, and plunder all over Europe for fun, profit, and VPs. I tried a strategy focused more on Settlements and was doing OK until I hit a stretch where I managed to fail *four* consecutive Settlement rolls that all need only 2+ to pass. Four consecutive "ones", I rolled. Oh, well... I ended up with a nice total of 174 VPs, but that was only good for 2nd place.

Munchkin Marvel
USAopoly licensed the Munchkin system from Steve Jackson Games to make this version. It's more of a superhero game than a goofy fantasy adventure game, but it still uses the Munchkin mechanics along with its own thematic twists, such as Powers and Affiliations. The game has a good feel to it and doesn't turn into the farce that many "regular" Munchkin games devolve into. Two more expansions are planned for this one and they look like they'll need to be picked up. Three of us played and one player ran off and could not be stopped by any means or schemes.

Dice Masters
We had a "DC-only" tournament tonight that was a four-game round-robin event. I put together a team based around Superman from the new World's Finest set and ended up with a nice 3-1 record. It was a strong defensive team whose focus was to set up the discounts available to buy and field the strong Superman dice. Worked pretty well, but could use a bit more tweaking.


Other games played today included: Firefly Fluxx...
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Tue Apr 19, 2016 4:22 am
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AAR for 11 Apr 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Got home on Sunday just in time to see Jordan Spieth's first shot into the water on 12. Then, he did it *again*. Must be *my* fault... ;-P

Star Wars: Rebellion
Jumped right into the heavy stuff today. My first time playing the Imperials and they are quite a change from playing the Rebel side. I decided a strategy of a three-sided advance to try to locate the Rebel base quickly, but, as luck would have it, it ended up being in the 32nd of 32 possible places that I could look for it. So, the game came down to a win-or-lose ground battle on Ilum and that battle came down to a single roll between my AT-ST and a Rebel Speeder that each had one hit on them. I missed. The Speeder did not. Game over. Big fun, though!

Roll for the Galaxy
Still out in space, but much calmer situation this time. Three of us vied to build the best space empire in the shortest time. I scored a couple of big planets and VP totals late in the game and ended up taking the win with 40 VPs in a close game.

Fire & Axe
This is the reprint edition of an old favorite of mine. Players outfits longboats with crew and goods and sail around the European coast engaging in trading, raiding, and settling for fun and VPs. Rune cards let players mess up the plans of their opponents and Saga cards provide the immediate goals and targets of opportunity for voyages. We had a three-player game and I finished 2nd, but still took a pretty brutal drubbing in the final VP totals. With a full five players, this game gets really fun as there is nowhere near enough stuff to go around and the conniving and backstabbing reaches epic proportions.

Star Realms
Got another new player into this great 2-player deck-builder. We played two games using the new Colony Wars stand-alone expansion. I was able to win both games, but they were each pretty hairy towards the end. The increased speed of the new expansion really lets you get into the serious action more quickly.


Other games played today included: Dice Masters...
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Tue Apr 12, 2016 4:56 am
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AAR for 04 Apr 2106

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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WrestleMania last night and the Masters here in Augusta the rest of this week. Nice!

Imperial Settlers
Got a chance to try this one for the first time and see what all the buzz is about. Players represent various civilizations/tribes and try to chain and combo building projects and other actions for fun and victory points while exploiting the unique abilities of each side. We had a two-player game to test this one out. I played the Barbarians against the Japanese. One of my strengths was a robust supply of workers and I was able to take good advantage of that. By turn 3 in the five-turn game, I was able to construct a combolicious series of buildings that racked up VP in bunches and made the result a bit of a foregone conclusion. Neither of us attacked the other and that may have changed the outcome somewhat. Looks like there are many strategies available here, but one will prosper by putting together chains of actions to outdo the opposition.

Mission: Red Planet
Been a while since this one hit the table. We had two games today, one with four players and one with three. In the four-player game, I was unable to put anything together and got drubbed even though I had the 2nd-best VP total in the end. In the three-player game, things went *very* much better and I ran off and hid with a massive 70VP final score.

Star Wars: Rebellion
Some of the biggest hype since Blood Rage has been for this new release, so it was great to see it finally come in and hit the table. This is an expansive, galaxy-wide, epic game where the Imperial forces are trying to locate the hidden Rebel base among 32 possible star systems while the Rebels are trying to earn enough Reputation points to shorten the game and outlast the ever-growing power of the Empire. Both sides compete to gain Loyalty or subjection over systems in order to gain their resources and build new units. Players can also recruit new Leaders from a large pool of classic Star Wars characters. Each turn, both sides try to complete various Missions, move their forces, and engage in combats using the multi-purpose Leaders. Planning is essential. The Rebels also have to be good at bluffing so as to keep the location of the Rebel base hidden for as long as possible. In our game, I took the Rebels and had the Empire's forces successfully bottled up for a few turns until he managed to surround the location of my hidden base. I needed one more turn to score another Objective card and end the game on time, but the base fell after a massive and brutal combat sequence. This game is *HUGE* fun and is very tense during game play. Fantasy Flight should have a big winner with this one!

Dice Masters
Taught a couple of new people how to play Dice Masters and they have bought in and may be joining our tournaments in the future.


Other games played today included: Terror in Meeplecity and Viticulture...
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Tue Apr 5, 2016 6:07 am
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AAR for 28 Mar 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Turnout was pretty light today. I can't imagine people were hung over after Easter... :-)

Quartermaster General
This is a 2-6 player game billed as "World War 2 in an evening". The actual battles are rather abstracted. Your job is to play cards to produce armies and navies, maneuver them on the board, and set up situations and combos to improve your position. There are three Axis sides (Germany, Italy, Japan) and three Allied sides (US, UK, and Soviet Union), so with two players, I took the Axis. Some similarities to Axis and Allies, but nowhere near as involved. But, the simple play belies the strategies involved and the trouble you can get yourself into with careless play. Our game raged back-and-forth for the entire 20 turns, with each of us putting the other into difficulties at various times. My Axis forces had a slight lead when the US managed to gain a supply base in China and I was unable to remove them. The extra points they were earning each turn accumulated until they provided the eventual margin of Allied victory. I also got my Italians stuck in a situation where they couldn't play any of their cards for any advantage. In the end, it was 231-219 for the Allies, but I thoroughly enjoyed the game.

Xenoshyft: Onslaught
Two of us teamed up to try to hold off the Hive horde. We had a bad 1st turn, losing 10 of our 30 base points, but we came back strong over the next several turns and were looking pretty good at the beginning of Wave 3. Unfortunately, I got my two best troops burned in Round 7 and that left me unable to hold my own in Round 8, where we took enough damage to be reduced to 0 and lose the game. One of these days, we may actually survive nine rounds and win this game.


Other games played today included: Dice Masters...
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Tue Mar 29, 2016 6:09 am
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AAR for 21 Mar 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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The first day of Spring is 20 degrees cooler than the last day of winter? Really?

Star Realms
Introduced another new player to the Colony Wars expansion and, as normal, I taught the game too well and got stomped.

Quarriors
The predecessor to Dice Masters hits the table one more time. I picked up two Dragons fairly early, but could not seem to ever roll them. Still, the game came down to whether or not I was going to get one more turn for the win -- and I did not get it.

Abyss
The game of choice for a birthday girl in the group today. I didn't think I was doing very well, but somehow I seem to have counted my in-progress VP total wrong and surprised myself by taking a strong 2nd place finish.

Dice Masters tournament
This was a Rainbow Draft event using the new World's Finest set that features Team Batman vs Team Superman with enough Villains thrown in to keep it interesting. In the draft, I managed to grab 19 Team Batman cards out of my 24 picks, so I was able to put together a half-decent team. I ended up losing a close final-round match to finish in 2nd place overall.

Automobiles
We had a three-player game on the Daytona Beach track to close out the gaming day. It was pretty close right up to the final drive for the finish line, but I came up just short and settled for 2nd.


Other games played today included: Elysium...
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Tue Mar 22, 2016 4:58 am
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AAR for 14 Mar 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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All of us geeks and nerds should remember that Wednesday is "Pi Day" (3/14/16). Of course, geeks and nerds shouldn't have to be reminded, right?

Peloponnes
We started the day with this current favorite and just kept adding players. One game with three players, one with four, and one more with five. I got drubbed horribly in the first and last games playing with Arkadia and Messene, respectively. But, I was able to put it together well in the second game and win with Petras and a nice 27VP total.

Lord of the Fries
Got a couple of new players involved in a five-player game. I got off to a good start, but a bad Day Three cost me dearly.

Xenoshyft: Onslaught
Two separate games today, one solitaire and one with two players. But, each had the same outcome as the good guys lost in round five during Wave 2. This game is really brutal and it will be fun to finally figure it out and grab a win.

Automobiles
Three-player game with a new player. We used the suggested starting setup and had a very close game. It came down to whether or not I would draw one more movement cube after playing a purple cube. I drew a Light Grey and that was just enough to get me over the finish line first.

Lords of Vegas
The day ended with an old favorite brought back for a well-deserved encore. Three of us took the roles of mob bosses building and taking over casinos in Las Vegas. We were pretty spread out at the start, but once the lots started connecting, the wheeling and dealing starting happening. I made all sorts of deals and, with a bit of cunning, managed to get control of an eight-tile casino, which promptly paid off on three of four card draws right before the "End of Game" card was pulled. That allowed me to take the win with 40 VP.


Other games played today included: Batman: Escape and Abyss....
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Tue Mar 15, 2016 5:42 am
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AAR for 07 Mar 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Group's getting bigger. More games are getting played. Gaming life is good!

Xenoshyft: Onslaught
I played this one last year shortly after its initial release and just now scored myself a copy along with two of its expansions. This game is very reminscent of XCOM in its theme. It's fully cooperative with players banding together to ward off the alien invasion of a mining planet. There are nine turns divided into three increasingly-difficult Waves. Each player has to deal with his own group of aliens, but can help the other players with soldiers, equipment, and abilities. Good teamwork can reap excellent rewards. I played a solo game first to get the rules down and got horribly mangled. Then, we had a 4-player game that went much better. This is a difficult game to win, but we were doing well up until one bad turn at the beginning of Wave 3 where we went from a base strength of 30 all the way down to 2, so we had to concede. The game was thoroughly enjoyable and really got the players working together to survive.

Elysium
We have some new gamers in our group who want to see some of our favorites from the last year or two in order to make buying decisions. So, this one came back to the table for a four-player game. The Greek mythology theme is very nice and the game play has enough chances to get in other players' way to keep a little edge to it. I started off fairly well, but got a couple of key cards sniped out from under me which ruined my grand plans.

Francis Drake
Another request - and one I was glad to fulfill. This is an excellent game of provisioning ships and voyaging to the New World for plunder and profit. In a four-player game, there aren't enough provisions to go around and not enough available targets of opportunity for everybody to get what they want. So, the competition gets very interesting. I screwed up on my second turn and was unable to upgrade my ship so as to go fight the Galleons and that cost me in the end. The game ended very close with a 92-91 final score between the top two players.

Lord of the Fries
Four of us opened up own diners and went about attracting customers by being the most efficient at filling orders. Lots of goofy silliness in this game, but plenty of subtle strategies as well. Our four-player game produced a runaway winner with the rest of us being closely bunched, but very far behind.

The Grizzled
We finished up the day with a quick three-player round of this game set in WWI. We won the first several Missions, but took one nasty beat-down of a turn and ended up having to try to play 12 cards on the final turn to avoid losing. Needless to say, that didn't happen.


Other games played today included: Abyss, Splendor, and Viticulture...
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Tue Mar 8, 2016 5:31 am
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AAR for 29 Feb 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Leap Year Day! How many people stumbled around thinking this was March 1st?

7 Wonders Duel
The day began with teaching a new player this fine two-player version of the classic 7 Wonders. I caught a lot of good breaks on the card draws and waltzed off to a fairly easy win, but the game was still given a thumbs-up by the new player.

Viticulture
Two separate games today, one with three players and one with a full complement of six. In the first game, it came down to a very hairy finish where a last-card single VP proved to be the margin of victory and I settled for runner-up. In the second game, we had what must have been the best game we've ever played in this one. Three players were within a couple of points of hitting 20, but I managed to put together an awesome 15-point final turn to go from 10 to 25 and eke out the victory.

Champions of Midgard
Still not running out of new players who want to try this great Viking-themed game out. We had a three-player game and I thought I was safely in the lead until the final scoring phase where another player made three big Destiny cards and shot past me to take the win with a 91 Glory final total.

Peloponnes
Two quick three-player rounds here. In both games, first with Arkadia and second with Sparta, I managed to get my Population nearly wiped out in the final Disaster/Supply rounds and, given the game's scoring system, I ended up with miserable final totals.

Automobiles
Three of us played the Monza track using the "Rainbow Road Warrior" setup over a 5-lap race. A tight race was broken open on the last turn with the winner nearly lapping the entire track on his final turn. The combos in this game can get crazy at times!
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Tue Mar 1, 2016 5:40 am
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