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Bobby's Games

I will be posting monthly recaps of my gaming which I have been doing in GeekLists. I'll also be commenting on games on occasion, though I can tell you that I will be behind the curve because I just don't get to play the new games as soon as some people do.
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Games Played in July 2011

Bobby Warren
United States
Glendale
Arizona
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July was a month which saw me playing a lot of games for the firt time. I played 30 different games a total of 68 times and logged plays of six different expansions a total of 19 times. Eight of the games and 3.5 of the expansions played this month were new to me. One of the games and one of the expansions were the same, so I guess you could say that 8 and 3.5 equals 10.5?

10 Days in the USA
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 4/11

Michael and I played a quick game with his young daughters who got help from their dad.

7 Wonders
Times Played: 10
Last Month Played: 6/11

Expansion Played: Leaders in all but one of the games.

The newness starts here with the Leaders expansion. It was included in every game I played this month and I really like the addition of the leaders. They add an additional level of choice to the game and steer the strategy during the game to match the leaders played.

It might be a while before we see all of the leaders in play, which is a good thing since it adds some more variety to the game.

I did play one game without the Leaders. One of the players was not interested in adding them, and I was okay with it. I would prefer to play with them, but it is not a make or break proposition.

Airlines Europe
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: New to me

What was once old is new again (for the second time)!

I guess I will be getting rid of my copy of Union Pacific, because this scratches the itch of the that game without ambiguities from the variations different people want to use when playing it.

The orange planes really needed to be a different shade, with much more yellow in the mix, because they are hard to distinguish from the red ones.

Alhambra
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 12/10

In a month of newness, it was great to get this classic back on the table.

Hilary, Mike, and I played and it was a really good game. I started off by locking myself in on three sides, but wasn't too worried because all I needed was a tile without walls or just one wall and I would open up my options. The initial scoring came up really quick (Mike had the high score at 10 or 11), and both the others were able to build on to their complexes while I kept watching tile after tile I could not place become available.

Once I was able to start buying tiles, I was able to catch up. After the second scoring, I was in a solid third place (of three, remember). Near the end of the game, it was Mike who was unable to get useful tiles and he finished last. Hilary won the game but I finished a mere two points behind her. Hopefully, we play this a little more regularly in the future.

Arkham Horror
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 5/11

Expansion Played: Curse of the Dark Pharaoh (Revised).

The half-new expansion is the revised Curse of the Dark Pharaoh.

The gates appeared fast and furious as Cthugha and his minions broke through to our world despite the best efforts of Joe Diamond, Tommy Muldoon, and Norman Withers.

The next challenge also moved along at a quick pace, in part because Yig was behind things and he has an easier time breaching the barrier between the dimensions. Carolyn Fern, Michael McGlen, and Kate Winthrop organized the defense and blew Yig's head off with a well-place shotgun blast.

Ascension: Return of the Fallen
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: New to me

It could be argued that this is both new and not new.

Mike and I played this as a two-player game instead of mixing it in with the original set. It's more of the same with some effects which help cycle through the cards. I'm still not sold on getting it and adding the cards to the mix with the original game, which I am leaning towards trading away.

I do like the Fate mechanic and this might be a better buy than the original for people looking for a two-player game.

Attika
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 5/08

Not new, but older. Kevin and Anne wanted to pull this out and play it since it was one of the Euros they played a lot when it came out. I don't think they knew how much I really liked this, so I was happy to have it played. It took a little to remember the rules, but then it was smooth sailing.

While I do like it with any number of players, I still like it best with two.

Battleship Galaxies: The Saturn Offensive Game Set
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me

It's a fairly simple starship combat game that really is kinda fun. Mike and I played the introductory scenario and I really screwed the pooch on the resource management and lost one of my ships because I never had the available resources to launch it from the big battleship. If I had launched it, I might have had a chance.

Carcassonne: Wheel of Fortune
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 12/10

I wanted to play this with The Phantom, but Ben had not played Carcassonne (except on the XBox), so I didn't want to introduce an expansion.

Cinq-O
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 11/10

I picked up a couple copies of this at a really good price on e-Bay and gave one to Mike and Hilary. I was surprised that Mike had never played it or even owned it. I taught them how to play and all my skill and experience failed me and Hilary cruised to a fairly easy win.

At some point, the game must have gotten really hot in an arid area because as we were playing, the paint from inside the numbers on the dice started falling out.

The other copy went to Kevin and Anne and we played that one right away.

If you're looking for a fun, portable dice game, look for a copy of this. It's inexpensive and you'll always have five d6 with you in case of a gaming emergency.

Cribbage
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 4/11

Mike and I played a game to end the evening. I almost skunked him, so it was a successful game.

Dominion
Times Played: 5
Last Month Played: 6/11

Expansion Played: Prosperity (x2), Seaside (x3).

After dabbling in Cornucopia last month, the first couple of games played this month were mixing the basic cards and Prosperity. The games felt more like Dominion should feel: they moved along and didn't get bogged down by too many different actions.

The second batch of games were mixing the basic cards and Seaside. The Treasure Map card is with multiple cards that let the players draw extra cards causes a straight-forward race with little decision making. It wasn't ideal, but the set-up still worked and was fun and other set-ups didn't pose a single obvious strategy and were also quite fun.

I still like the cards which have a duration the most of all the different types of new cards introduced in the expansions. I keep hoping we'll see more in future expansions, though I remember reading somewhere that Donald X. said there wouldn't be any.

El Alamein
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: New to me

If Tanto Cuore is Dominion with artwork fit for teenage anime wet dream fantasies, then what's this? The artwork really has nothing to do with the game, though I suspect it makes the cards easier to differentiate than black and white action pictures of different types of infantry might.

How's the game? Mike and I muddled through our first playing while not knowing the cards or what to expect from the game. It took about three hours all together, but this included interruptions by Mike's kids for whatever things kids ask for, and us trying to work through everything.

It's a deck building with a targeted focus. The players are generals under Rommel and are competing to be the first to capture Alexandria. They do this by acquiring cards which represent World War II German and Italian units in the North Africa campaign, as well as tactic cards. Some of the cards are deployed, which means they are in play and are not discarded at the end of the turn.

When a player feels they are ready, they attack the next targeted city. The base defense of the city is known, but once attacked a number of cards are drawn from the event deck. These can be events which reduce the attacker's forces or British troops which add to the defense of the city. If the player is victorious, they collect a number of victory point cards (which are worth one to four VPs). Either way, there is a cost: the attacker will have to discard some of the attacking units. The number discarded varies from one unit to half the deployed forces at Tobruk and El Alamein.

After the battle, it is possible that one of the drawn events triggers a British counterattack. If the player attacking the city is not able to fully defeat the counterattack, they will lose the last city they captured (and some random VP cards) and then the remaining counterattacking forces will move on to the next player who has captured a city, which will be repeated until the British are defeated or every player which has at least one captured city has been attacked.

I forgot to mention the other things which can be attacked. The British "Box Positions" which are attacked the same way as the cities are, but always have the same defense and there are no event cards and there is only one casualty after the battle. The player claims the Box Position and deploys it. it is worth one victory point, but it can also be trashed (discarded from the game) to eliminate two British infantry units in a battle or counterattack.

Mike said he thought the game did a good job of mimicking the costs of war by the casualties from attacking and the British counterattack and I agree.

So, we finished the game and he won because he was more aggressive than I was. I spent too much time the first game trying to build up a safe and powerful armored force and that strategy failed me.

The following weekend, we showed the game to Llarry. I felt like I had a better idea of what to do, though I was still learning the cards and how they interact. I tried being more aggressive in the second game, but lost several battles by one or two points and never was really in the game as Llarry and Mike ended up capturing more cities than me, with Llarry being the big winner.

Hare and Tortoise
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 12/08

Anne, Kevin, and Michael had not played this and I was happy to explain it. I won the first race and they wanted to play it again right away, which I was happy to do. This time I was really behind for most of the race, but still would have won if I hadn't made a calculation error and moved one fewer space than I should have on what could have been the penultimate turn.

It's too bad this gem is out of print. I suspect Michael would get a copy and Anne and Kevin might also be interested in acquiring it.

Irondale
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me

Nico often buys the games which fly under the mass-game store radar, and this was one of them. Too bad it wasn't a good one.

You play cards from your hand, but you have to have cards in your hand which are equal to the value indicated on the card. The only way to draw cards is expend what few victory points you have to draw them. In other words, it's a chaotic mess.

It reminded us as a mix of Innovation (which I despise) and Infinite City (which I like). Both of those games are better than this. At least in Innovation you can fish for cards which could help you, here you are subject to random draws which you have to give up VPs to make. The tiles in Infinite City are more readable than these cards are. Irondale's are nearly impossible to read from any distance across the table and there is no way to differentiate the text which applies when the card is played and which applies which a card is played next to it.

While I think Innovation, I would still choose to play this if I was being tortured and had to choose one of them.

King of Tokyo
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: New to me

Another game Nico picked up. This one I liked.

Simply put, this is a "king of the hill" dice game with a giant monster attacking Tokyo theme, and it is quite fun and fairly quick to play.

I'm looking forward to it hitting retail stores.

Lord of the Rings
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 4/09

We played (and lost) this for the first time in a couple of years. Afterwards, Hilary wanted to play Pandemic. Stay tuned for how that turned out...

Navegador
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 4/11

Mike and I played this for the first time back in April. He had played it again after that, but this was the first time I had played since then.

First-timers Kyle and Nico finished a close first and second with just a little over 100 points, while the experienced Mike and I both ended up with a little over 70 points. This game is obviously all luck!

Nightfall
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 5/11

Expansion Played: Martial Law.

One playing against Mike. There still seems like there is something missing with the game and I don't know if this is going to be a keeper. I guess I will decide when the rules and spoilers for Blood Country start showing up online.

Palazzo
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 11/09

This is one of those rare auction games that works really well for two players as well as scaling up to the maximum number of players.

The game Mike and I played ended one turn too early for my needs. One of the quarries was set up to add a fifth level to two of my buildings and a fourth level to another. If I had managed to get those up for auction, I would have likely won the bidding and the game. The builder ended up one quarry short when the game ended.

I was thinking about the game when driving home and realized that I really do like all six of the games Alea medium box series and I am looking forward to trying the newly-released-in-the-U.S. Artus. Sure, Witch's Brew is a pretty light game, but it is still well done for what it is, and fun.

Pandemic
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 6/11

After Sauron captured the ring, Hilary wanted to save the world from a viral Armageddon. Whoops, that didn't go as planned!

So I joked, "Pick another game we can lose." She chose Witch of Salem and the results of that can be seen below. (Ain't it convenient that these three cooperative games were played in alphabetical order?)

The following week we played a couple more games. One was a very quick loss and we followed that up by beating the diseases into submission.

Pastiche
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 5/11

I thought I had come up with some secret way of breaking the game, and then I read the rules after we last played and discovered my dastardly plan wouldn't work. Curses!

I did manage a win in the second game we played. I tried being aggressive in trading to improve my hand and to have more cards for flexibility. I ended up saving several turns by getting colors I needed, or could turn into something I needed, from trades (while still helping the other person I traded with).

I still find the game to be dry and soulless, but don't mind playing when the fans of the game ask to bring it out.

Shanghaien
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 6/11

Mike and I were looking for a quick two-player game to play while waiting for Hilary to finish an errand, and I suggested this since we had played it last month. Once again, he stomped me.

Small World Underground
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me

I was not thrilled by this new version of the really good game. There is just too much chaos and wild point swings possible because of the available combinations and random effects appearing on the board when the monster spaces are defeated.

I do like the River and impassable spaces on the board and think there were some clever ideas, but overall I would classify this as a "fail". Oh, I'd still play it if asked, but I much prefer the significantly superior original Small World.

Summoner Wars
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 3/11

Mike and I played a different set of races this time. He played the Guild Dwarves and I played the Cave Goblins.

Tanto Cuore
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 6/11

Expansion Played: Dokidoki Vacation (x2)

After El Alamein, we had time for something short and decided to teach this other Japanese import to Llarry, so we played the game with just the cards from the original set.

The next couple of times I got to play we mixed the cards from Romantic Vacation, and the expansion cards mix well with those from the original game.

Tanto Cuore: Dokidoki Vacation
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: New to me

I made some quick and dirty paste-ups for this and we played a couple of games using just the cards from this stand-alone game/expansion. I like a lot of the cards, and the new Reminiscence cards are a nice addition, but the set doesn't work as well as the original. I was ready to mix the cards in with the original game, which worked a lot better. Mixing the cards into the base game proved to be a great addition to the cards available for the game.

Thunderstone
Times Played: 11
Last Month Played: 6/11

Expansions Played: All the available ones were in the mix for all the games.

It's slowly approaching being a game that is too big to transport, thus not being worth keeping because it won't get played. Unlike Dominion, There is no logical/theme way to divide the game into modules which can be transported and played separately.

Troyes
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 5/11

Michael and I played a two-player game. You would have thought that I had an advantage since I had played, but I didn't.

I had a hard time explaining the game because it had been six weeks since I played and at least a month since I read the rules.

A few weeks later, we played again with others. Nico had read the rules so we set up and started playing. Just as we were getting under way, Greg arrived, so we reset the game and gave him an overview. Nico ended up winning.

I still like the game, but am beginning to wonder if it is something I need to keep. It's just too chaotic and it takes a lot of work for a game that isn't that deep. We'll see what future playings hold.

Witch of Salem
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 3/11

Ahh, Hilary suggested this as the finishing leg of the trifecta of cooperative losses. But a funny thing happened on the way to R'lyeh. We managed to defeat the Necron's plan and won the game.

Inconceivable!
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