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Bobby's Games :: Games Played in June 2015

Bobby Warren
United States
Glendale
Arizona
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I did get to play a few games of Warmahordes in June, though not as many as I hoped to get played because real life sprang up and interfered with fun and games. But that is the way it should be, even though we might not want it to be.

It was also nice to get some of the games from the last decade on the table and played and I hope to do more of that in the coming months.

I played 22 games (counting Warmachine and Hordes as the same game, logged separately) a total of 49 times and five expansions logged 13 plays. Three of the games were new to me. I played nine of the games and two of the expansions in May.

Those things played in June were:


Caverna: The Cave Farmers
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 1/2014
My Rating: 6

Beware! Weaponized dwarves live in this game!

This was painfully slow getting started because no one had referred to the rules to refresh our memories before we jumped into to playing with the copy Nico bought while we were at the store. He and I had played before, me just once about the time it was released, and I think it had been a while since he had played. Michael hadn't played before, but is quite familiar with Agricola.

Still, we managed to muddle through the game and everyone seemed to enjoy it. Michael focused on exploring with his guys, I focused on farming and family growth, and Nico played with a mix of the two strategies.

I did enjoy playing it again and Nico will likely bring it the next time he shows up to play on a Saturday so we can play it again and, hopefully, commit some of the differences between this and the parent game to memory. He also is thinking about ordering an insert/organizer from The Broken Token because this is one game that really needs organization.


Dead Men Tell No Tales
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 6

An average cooperative game with really dark art and a pirate theme. I thought it was okay and would play again, but it would not be the first choice when I wanted to play a cooperative game.


Deus
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 5/2015
My Rating: 8

Nico brought this along and we played a four-player game with Arjun and Narani, who hadn't played before. Nico played first, placed his army and moved it into the board two spaces, then I played on the opposite side of the board. Narani played right by Nico's entry space, then Arjun played such that his army was between their pieces and stole VPs from each of them.

This meant that I had the inside position on the win after everyone took their first turn. I did end up winning, but the game was closer than I thought it would be with Nico and Arjun being within a few points of me. Narani was blocked off from placing early on and was unable to draw cards of the type she was looking for. I suspect that if the four of us play again the results would be quite different.


Diamant
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 5/2015
My Rating: 9

Snakes and death everywhere.


Dominion
Times Played: 6
Last Month Played: 7/2013
My Rating: 9

Expansions Played:: Prosperity and Cornucopia, each for three games.

I brought this along one Saturday and Nico and I whipped through a few games mixing Prosperity with the base set. Three games and not once did the Market show up! It's always fun to play and I still remember the cards from the original set, but need to carefully read the ones from other sets because I don't remember them quite as well as the originals.

A few weeks later I had it with me, this time with Cornucopia. Michael was there and suggested it, so he, Nico, and I whipped through three more games with them mixed in. My tastes have changed a little over the last couple of years, and maybe it is because I am not playing Dominion as much as before, but now I do enjoy the cards from Cornucopia and think I might mix them in using Prosperity as the base set some time. I have also bumped my rating up from a 5 to an 8.


Dungeon Dice
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 5/2014
My Rating: 7

Nico and I struggled through a game of this, coming in cold after not playing in a long, long time. He had a hard time finding things in the rules and I couldn't roll worth a darn, either as the monster or myself and he easily won.


Flash Point: Fire Rescue
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 4/2015
My Rating: 9

A three-story rescue that we won.

Obviously, Dave wasn't playing because we would have lost if he was.


Fresco
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 3/2012
My Rating: 8

The worst part about pulling this out to play is removing all the expansion bits from the mix before setting up the game with what came in the box (including the three "expansion" modules) so we can play with just that. I'd like to play with the expansions, but the game doesn't come out enough and I always end up having to teach someone how to play, or it is a complete refresher game for at least one of the players. It doesn't seem right to add in the expansions to this.


Geschenkt
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 5/2015
My Rating: 9

Even after more than 10 years this is still a simple and elegant design which is an addictive blast to play!


Great Heartland Hauling Co.
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 11/2013
My Rating: 6

With Isle of Trains being popular, Mike pulled out this older game from Dice Hate Me. I still find it to be okay and will play it, but it is not something I would ask to play all that often.


Heckmeck am Bratwurmeck
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 2/2015
My Rating: 8

I pulled out the mini version of the game when Dave, Patty, and I went to dinner and we played most of a game which Dave was winning when the food arrived.


Hordes
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 3/2013
My Rating: 8

I played this late in month against Nick. I played the Trollbloods all-in-one (which is why I logged it as Hordes) and he played the Cygnar all-in-one. You'd think after I have spent so much time looking over the nine army lists released so far and coming up with my strategy hints that I would remember simple things, like transferring damage from my warlock to a warbeast. I didn't. Nick beat me and I went into a little detail in this linked battle summary.


Isle of Trains
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 5/2015
My Rating: 8

This will definitely be seeing play for a while. Clever, compact, and it scratches the San Juan itch. Who knew something so clever could come out of Tucson?


Keltis: Das Würfelspiel
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 5/2015
My Rating: 7

Mike, one of his daughters, and I played a game and I managed to win even with the luck of the child working against my superior strategy and die-rolling skills. shake


Machi Koro
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 4/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansion Played: Machi Koro: Harbor Expansion.

Just once with The Harbor. Alex tried going without rolling two dice and buying cards which pay off on a 1 to 6. He did well, but my 'skill' still won the day. I guess living in Okinawa as a kid really does help me with this!?!? :shake


Nations: The Dice Game
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 6

Better than I thought it would be, though I didn't enjoy it as much as Mike and Nico. I suspect that having turn order is quite powerful and think I planned to play to go first as much as I could the second time I played it.

In that second game, Arjun decided to go book-heavy early on and ended up winning because no one challenged him on the book track.

The third time I went blue-die (book) heavy and made sure to grab as many dice as possible. Early on it looked to me as if I was behind, because I wasn't the only one really looking at books and I didn't get out to the front until round three. I did manage a win, though. The moral seems to be to make sure you don't ignore the books and let one person run away with them. If you are in the race for them, you should be able to be in contention for the win.

I noticed how lopsided the dice were. If I was thinking about buying it, I wouldn't because the dice are not at all square and I wonder if it would be possible to get some really malformed dice. I don't know how an experienced company comes out with such low-grade components?


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game 2.0: Skull & Shackles
Times Played: 6
Last Month Played: 5/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansions Played: Island of Empty Eyes for one game and The Price of Infamy for five games.

Six scenarios down in the campaign at Mike's with Damiel, Jirelle, Seltyiel, and Oloch and five more to go. Then we can sink out ships, drop out microphones, and walk off stage to start the next adventure.


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game 3.0: Wrath of the Righteous
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 8

The first time playing was with four players. None of us were strong healers and we lacked the cards to be able to cycle through the decks so we lost the first time playing the first scenario. I was playing Imrijka the Inquisitor and turned in the recommended starting spell for Cure after the loss. We did manage to win the second time we tried the scenario, but it was more because the Henchmen showed up earlier in the decks than our play. Still, it is always tough starting out a new adventure path and this one is supposed to be harder, so let's see how it goes as we advance.

The second time was so I could get the promo character at free RPG day, and a whole lot of thanks goes out to Alex and Nick for indulging me and playing.


Qwixx
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 5/2015
My Rating: 8

It's currently the filler I recommend when we're undecided on what to play or looking to play something short while waiting on others.


Roll for the Galaxy
Times Played: 6
Last Month Played: 4/2015
My Rating: 6

Nico and I played six games during the month.

I am interested in seeing how they will expand this and hope the announced expansion makes it out before 2020.


Saint Petersburg
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 9/2013
My Rating: 8

We played this and Jayson was even along for the ride. I was able to corner the market on the nobles and come away with a victory. Everyone I know, including me, who owns it has the original version which is enough for me.


Taluva
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 5/2015
My Rating: 8

Two two-player games with Nico who picked up a copy of the original version as we played last month.


Warmachine
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 5/2015
My Rating: 8

Nico and I played a game which was his first in a year. He also had never played anything more than a 15-point game so it ended up being a refresher and major learning game. He played the Cryx and I played the Khador all-in-one boxes. I summarized the game here.
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500 Miles in 2015 Challenge :: Progress Update #14- 500 Miles in 2015 - Mid-Year!

Jason "J.T." Taylor
United States
North Highlands
California
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How's it going?
As of the EOD yesterday - I've gained 327.37 miles.

What am I noticing?
I'm noticing that the walking gets a little tougher when it is hotter. So I have to do it more in the mornings than afternoons.


Monthly Progress of 2015
January - 43.79 miles (1.41 miles per day)
February - 53.3 miles (1.90 miles per day)
March - 56.49 miles (1.82 miles per day)
April - 65.97 miles (2.20 miles per day)
May - 58.26 miles (1.88 miles per day)
June - 47.71 miles (1.59 miles per day)


Stats as of EOD yesterday
Days of the year: 182/365 or 49.9% of the year complete
Miles Achieved of goal: 327.37/500 or 65.47% of the goal complete
Avg Miles Per Day vs Pace Needed Per Day: 1.80 / 1.37
Highest Day: 6.67 miles on 2/20!!!

Last note: I can't believe I let this much time going by without posting. Must get better!
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BGG Figyelő (HU) :: Spiel des Jahres 2015 - Szavazás

Istvan Koszegi
Hungary
Fót
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Hétfőn hozzák nyilvánosságra az idei Spiel des Jahres és KennerSpiel des Jahres győzteseket. Itt egy kis összegző.

Spiel des Jahres jelöltek:



The Game
Gyors, kooperatív kártyajáték
Aktuális BGG helyezés: 2272
Játékosok: 1-5

Machi Koro
Városfejlesztős kártyajáték
Aktuális BGG helyezés: 401
Játékosok: 2-4

Colt Express
Vadnyugatos, vonatrablós játék
Aktuális BGG helyezés: 374
Játékosok: 2-6
Read more »
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Thu Jul 2, 2015 11:54 pm
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Breacher18 Boardgame Blog :: SPYFALL

Breacher18
England
Nottingham
England
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BY ALEXANDR USHAN

USEFUL INFO:
No. of players: 3-8
Play Time: 15 mins
Age: 12+

For the review and pictures go to...http://breacher18.com/all-review-list/spyfall
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Thu Jul 2, 2015 11:29 pm
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Kriegspiel: Brutally Honest Wargame Reviews :: For The People - Civil War Classic Long Endures

John Goode
Falkland Islands
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There are few conflicts that interest me less than the American Civil War. The only one that comes immediately to mind is the war on drugs in Columbia, i.e. Andean Abyss. The ACW just always seemed like the most foregone of conclusions and most games on it tend to focus on the meatgrinder aspects. GDW’s A House Divided was an exception, but as a simulation it's in the same class as War at Sea.

This is why I ignored the well-received The Civil War from Victory Games. And I would have ignored For the People too if a friend hadn’t wanted to play it so much he bought me a copy. Gaming etiquette therefore demanded I play it with him. Damn gaming etiquette! Grudgingly, I plowed through the rules, never feeling that little tingle you get in your stomach when a game seems like it will be particularly fun.

But it was a Mark Herman design, for my money the best in the business. And it had already gone through its trial by fire with a previously published edition. I’d received the first edition of FTP published by GMT and released in 2000 (FTP was originally released by Avalon Hill the day after Avalon Hill was sold to Hasbro in 1998).

Our experience was typical of first edition FTP play: We were largely stumped by the clunky in the extreme river crossing rules, and the CSA ran roughshod over the border states and crossed into Ohio. The CSA won, though through political means not military conquest.

In our second playing we found ways to defend against Panzer Division Robert E. Lee but still the CSA seemed a bit too powerful with its ability to park in border states and clobber the USA’s strategic will. The game seemed a trifle unbalanced in the CSA’s favor in its 2000 edition, though not overwhelmingly so. But FTP was a big seller and GMT republished it in 2006 with some significant rules changes, one being that border states no longer ding US strategic will.

Fixing issues with a game when reprinting should be a no-brainer, but it's a lesson lost on many companies -- yea I'm looking at you Decision Games.

The takeaway here being to make sure you are using the current living rules when playing FtP, not the rules printed with the 2000 edition. If you do that you’re in for a real treat.

FTP uses the simpler version of the card-driven mechanic, a la Hannibal. The cards can only be used as the event or for ops. Reinforcements are largely fixed and this where the Union manpower advantage manifests itself.

Though it’s a ‘parts bin’ game with all its major elements coming from previous titles, the whole thing just meshes. It completely erased my prejudice against the ACW as a wargaming topic. Not to say I’m jonesing for a go at Terrible Swift Sword, but FTP hits the table at least once a year now.

It appears your chances of agreeing with me that FTP is an A-grade game are inversely proportional to how much you think you know about the war of the rebellion/war of northern aggression (take your pick).

Translating a four year war into something playable in a day is going to require ample judgment calls and much condensing of information and events. The haters seem to have real issues with the former. Even 150+ later some folks are still fighting over some of this stuff and take great offense if you don't agree with their interpretation. It's a bit of a minefield for any designer.

So if you find any of the following terribly misguided you may be an FTP hater and may want to avoid the game.

1. Grant and Lee are complete equals militarily, though Grant appears a year later, in the Spring of 1963 (historically during the Vicksburg campaign). CSA’s Forrest and ‘Stonewall’ Jackson are also militarily equal to Lee/Grant.

2. Attackers win ties, which happen frequently, unless battling for a key objective, when they don’t. This tends to send the Rebs a runnin' more often than the Yanks.

3. General casualties can only happen during very successful combats.

4. Both sides could have reassigned their key generals to any theater without restriction, and further they would have performed similarly to their historical effort.

Since I came to FTP with a high school level knowledge of the ACW, point #1 didn’t bother me and #4 didn’t even cross my mind. Points #2 and #3 I can write off to design-for-effect, of which Mark Herman is a master.

FTP is certainly more game than definitive simulation. But it gives you all the interesting bits in the proper proportion. It’s also very well balanced, having gone through two full editions of playtesting by the gaming public.

Now haters are gonna hate, but unless you’re a card carrying member of the James and Walter Kennedy Fan Club, odds are that you’re gonna like FTP. It's in my top 20 of all time and induced me to reading several ACW books, including Grant's classic memoirs.




GMT is releasing this game again in 2015 with a mounted map. It also won the 1998 Charles S. Roberts Best Pre-World War II Board Game Winner, though that's the AH edition which is a fair bit different.


For the People
Kriegspiel Wargame Reviews
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Thu Jul 2, 2015 8:11 pm
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Taking it Hard to the Truth Hole :: Stinker Challenge #11 - fun with anagramming

Nick Bentley
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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To promote my new game Stinker (coming to Barnes & Noble on Aug. 1 - !!!), I'm posting little daily challenges on Twitter, and I'm posting the same challenges here at the epicenter of all Gamedom.

I'll be the judge, I'll select a winner for this one on July 3 at 2:15pm EST (if there are any entries), and the winner each day shall receive 1 very special geekgold (i.e. normal geekgold)

Enjoy



Previous challenges:

Stinker Challenge #1
Stinker Challenge #2
Stinker Challenge #3
Stinker Challenge #4
Stinker Challenge #5
Stinker Challenge #6
Stinker Challenge #7
Stinker Challenge #8
Stinker Challenge #9
Stinker Challenge #10
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Thu Jul 2, 2015 7:46 pm
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Board Game Vlog :: Board Game Vlog with Maggibot! Queen's Architect

Marguerite Cottrell
United States
Seattle
WA
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This week i show off the cuteness of Block Party! This is a party version of Set card game with chunky wooden blocks. Pretty darn fun and silly.

I reorganized my collection and did my quarterly cull. Unfortunately the newbie Queen's Architect got the axe. The mechanism of trying to keep the spinning plates of your workers working, getting to the right place with the right people.... wasn't enough to save the game. The act of doing that was really really fun though.l

The workaround of just using 'repairs' to climb quicker than the poor suckers moving their carriage all around town is too good.

they took away my fun worker toy and all i got was repairs :/ I dearly hope Ryan enjoys it more than my group or plays and passes it along as i did.


kay then bye!
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Thu Jul 2, 2015 5:22 pm
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Holtidő Blog :: JEM #28

saabee
Hungary
Atomváros/Budapest
Tolna/Budapest
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Talán a megszokottnál valamivel vékonyabb kiadással jelentkezik a JEM. Lényeg, hogy még nyáron sem maradunk olvasgatni való nélkül.

Játékismertetők:
Cacao
Attila
MammuZ
Carnac
Crazy Circus
Carcassonne – új kiadás
CO₂
Catan: Felfedezők és kalózok
Drunter und Drüber


Játék-elmélet:
Mi így játsszuk: Deus 1. rész


Társasjáték-tervező akarsz lenni?
Hogyan teszteld a prototípusodat?


Magyar nyelvű kártyák:
Firenze



A magazin letölthető: no.28
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Thu Jul 2, 2015 5:00 pm
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The Good, the Board, and the Ugly :: 24: Season 9, Board Games

Joe Sallen
United States
Boone
Iowa
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How long can I ________ for? It was this question that started the world's first actual marathon, the first Stanley Kubrick movie marathon, and this past weekend's 24 hours of gaming. The Ames Board Game Club celebrated its one year anniversary with a day long event, which a few dozen people attended throughout the day. The games played, just as the players I played them with, spanned familiar favorites to brand new hopefuls. All of the people, newly met acquaintances and old friends, were great company. The games, however, bring about a more scrutinizing discussion. Did I make it through all 24 hours? Read to find out. Or just scroll down and see where the list ends

The event started at 1 pm June 27th and was scheduled to end 1 pm the following day. The time I spent playing the games does not necessarily reflect the playing time of the game. (You may know how it can be deciding on the right game! )Here are the games I played, and the times I played them.

Hours 1-2. Keyflower



Quaint, cute, quotidian, blissful. Keyflower's facade reminds me of several children's books, namely one about a man selling hats. An idealized portrayal of the pilgrim's struggles at Plymouth Rock, Keyflower works its way through the four seasons of a year. Before Spring, players are given a home hex and a handful of keyples (Mayflower -> Keyflower; meeples -> keyples) of three colors. The game is at first glance an auction game, but there's much more too Keyflower than auctioning. Workers are used to bid for tiles in the auction, but there's a catch: bids are made in keyples of one color and that color must be used for all future bids. But that's not all. Keyflower is a layer cake of Euro-style mechanics. Instead of bidding, keyples can be used to activate tiles. Activations must be made in the tile's color, as well. These immigrants really don't want to mix with others. They are puritans, after all.

At the end of spring, all keyples used in winning bids are lost to the melting pot (a drawstring bag) and the winners must place the tiles in their township. Tiles have roads and pastures that must line up to each other, and they are used later in the game for transporting goods between tiles. The tiles are separated by their season: Spring tiles will most often produce one of the game's resources or enable players to trade in one of the base colors of keyple (blue, red, yellow) with a green keyple. Green keyples are sought after because of their exclusivity. Bids in green keyples discourage outbidding because those greenies are hard to get. Summer tiles also produce resources, but there's also a few resource-converting tiles thrown in the mix. Fall and Winter tiles provide points in different ways. Fall tiles require resources to provide points, which is accomplished by acquiring resources and using the transport function of certain tiles to move those resources to the Fall tile. You can procure resources by activating your own tile, in which case the resource is placed on that tile. If you activate another player's tile to get resources, those resources will be transported to your home. Winter tiles will never need transport, but will instead provide end game scoring for everything you could have accrued throughout the game. And here's the kicker: each player is given Winter tiles at the start of the game, and then has the choice of which one(s) to make available during the auction.

By definition, Keyflower is a "wolf in sheep's clothing". It's all adorable until you get outbid, or your prize tile that you were just hoping to use gets activated before your turn. True, that any workers used to activate a tile in your township stay in your cute little house for you to use in the next season. It's hardly recompense for having your long term strategy curtailed. Tiles can be activated multiple times, but each activation must use more keyples and they must be of the same color. This game system has all the fixings for an atmosphere of unease and tension. Every plan I make in Keyflower seems fragile. My eyes shoot around the table simultaneously hiding my own plans and reading my opponents', just like a poker game in a Spaghetti Western. I've thoroughly enjoyed every game I've played of Keyflower. After four rounds, I never feel like I can do everything I've planned. I'm never sure whether my winning bids are safe. It balances long term strategy with tactical maneuvering. By the end, I feel like I've built up my little borough. I didn't even mention the boats: They fill up with keyples, and you bid for the order in which you get to select the cargo from them. At end game, the boat tiles themselves are selected, with each one offering a different type of end game scoring or ability. Keyflower's progression from Spring to Winter feels like an evolution. I love this game every time I play it. I recommend it for anyone who things Eurogames need more player interaction. It functioned great as the premier of this season of 24.

Hour 3. Geek Out: Tabletop Edition





Geek Out doesn't deserve all too much of a write up here. The title says it all. The winner is the person that makes themselves look like the biggest geek by claiming they can list the most nouns of a certain realm of geek-dom. Examples include most fictional rabbits, most Magic the Gathering creatures, etc. There's two things guaranteed for each prompt: One person at the tables knows way more about it than everyone else, and one person at the table knows virtually nothing about it. I guess that's what being a geek is all about. From the outside, geeks come off obsessive. I suppose I am one, apparently that's not always the case. Many topics create an atmosphere of geeks vs. normal people. The most fun is definitely when there are several geeks and fewer normal people. This results in bidding wars, as each player counts down a mental list of all the Star Trek Technologies they can name. But when your list stops after "the Beam-me-up-Scotty" thing, your eyes just glaze over in awe as you hear familiar words in an unfamiliar context.

Geek Out's simple trivia-esque structure folds under the weight of modern party gaming expectations. There's a simple auction and a prompt. I want more from my party games than asking me to list a certain amount of geek culture mainstays. I expect some intrigue, some way to place a bet, someone lying through their teeth. With Geek Out, either you know it or you don't. If your favorite memories involve the time you won the 7th grade test review game by naming all the parts of a cell for your team, I recommend this for you. I guess since the topics are all entertainment based and niche, the game is trying to make everyone feel solidarity. I just felt like I'd played better party games.

The Tabletop Day edition offers an extra deck of cards. We tried playing with this deck and found it rife with impossible prompts, along the lines of "How many times does Wil Wheaton say "Actually" in the Shadows Over Camelot episode. I made that one up, but some of the ones we read were just as banal and specific as that one. It's as though they forced someone to make a Tabletop Day deck. That person sat down, watched all of Tabletop, and had to write 100 questions. They came up with 50, and then had a quota to fill. I surpassed my quota for Geek Out after the third sentence. It was a bid of a mid-season drag, but keep watching. Things are bound to pick up in the next episode!

Hour 4. Pictomania



Vlaada Chvátil has designed great games, and they're listed on the cover of Pictomania. But Pictomania seeks to please a different crowd, the crowd that prefers their games take less than 2 hours and keep the brain in its current molecular state as opposed to leaving it a melted pile on the floor of a dungeon or a blob floating in outer space. In Pictomania, Vlaada adds his signature rock-solid mechanics to the formula established by Pictionary. He does this by doing away with teams and instead making all the drawing and guessing happen simultaneously. There are 42 words displayed for all to see, 7 words on 6 cards. Each person is dealt a card identifying a column and row of the word they are to draw. Then, a frantic rush to draw and guess begins. Guesses are made by turning in the card with the correct number of the column the other player's drawing is representing. When finished, players grab a bonus tile from the middle of the table, signifying the end of their participation in the round. Once the penultimate person has grabbed a bonus tile, the round ends. Points are rewarded for correctly guessing other players' drawings, earlier guesses are rewarded more points. Negative points are incurred by players whose drawings were not correctly guessed. There's a complicated system to dissuade random guessing, but aside from that, it's simple. Draw and guess as quick and as good as you can.

Everyone that's done a review of a drawing game always must confess their drawing abilities. Except I have no real confession to make. Some of my drawings impress me, the vast majority inspire minimal feelings, and some repulse me. I communicate better in other ways, I suppose. But I truly enjoy Pictomania. It offers constant engagement, and I love the structure of the cards in the game. These cards are usually alike in their topic. It fairly accurately divides topics into four levels of difficulty. The first level is generally easy nouns, the fourth and hardest is full of abstract concepts like "here" and "it". Starting with an easy set of cards and ending with a hard one offers variety and a feeling of progression, not something you come to expect from a party game or a drawing game. I would recommend Pictomania to fans of drawing or party games as well as fans of the heavy Euro. Vlaada has taken on the task of designing games outside of what one would believe is his comfort zone. Many designers focus on making their games a storytelling experience; others focus on making it perfectly balanced. Vlaada makes sure of one thing: his games are fun. Pictomania is no exception.

Hours 5-6. Dungeon Lords



A two-part special! We'll call this part The Return of the Vlaada. Dungeon Lords is a hard-hitting heavy euro dripping with theme from all the adorable fangs on the imps you will command. The premise of Dungeon Lords represents the antithesis of the formulaic tabletop RPG. Instead of controlling adventurers raiding a dungeon, you will manage a dungeon and try to defend it from adventurers and manage its inner workings. You will build your dungeon up over the course of two years, equipping it with traps and stationing monsters to defend from adventurers that will attack at the end of each year. The game consists of worker placement, but the spots you will take on the board are frequently dependent on choices other players make. Each of the 8 spots has three levels, each of which have unique costs and benefits. Some spots will cost you food or money or make you more evil. Each level has pros and cons, and you'll normally hope to get a certain one. However, there's very rarely a guarantee you'll get that spot. Each player programs three actions per turn, and then reveals their programmed actions. If all three players program and action, that leaves no space in the case that the last player wants to do that, too. Tough luck. There's a little more going on to keep this from happening too often. The last two actions you program are made unavailable for the next round, and all players' unavailable actions are viewable. That means that I will look around to the unavailable actions before I program any of my actions.

This system makes the programming phase of every round interesting, as you must at least attempt to predict what other players will do. It's a combination of leaching and blocking that invigorates the worker placement formula. At the end of four rounds of planning, the adventurers will attack, and it's up to you to send the right monsters to keep as much of your dungeon unconquered as possible. The adventurers have special abilities that will make the combat deeper and sometimes frustratingly difficult. As mentioned before, you can become more evil by taking certain actions or hiring certain monsters. The most evil Dungeon Lord takes on the hardest adventurer. Furthermore, if you become too evil, you will have to deal with the Paladin, a beefy adventurer with all of the special abilities added together. He's a beast. Trust me. At the end of two years, you'll receive points for your monsters, defeated adventurers, rooms you've built, and the titles you achieve. These are all bragging rights type awards, such as biggest dungeon, most evil, etc. If you score positive, you win! But the one that scored the most positive is the winningest, of course.

Dungeon Lords creates a puzzle throughout the year by letting you see the adventurers available and plan according based on which you think you will attract. This combat puzzle is what keeps me coming back. Rounds are tense, and occasionally you will get much less than what you hoped for. During one round I had no gold to take 2 of the three actions I programmed. The interaction is high, but never direct. Once all the actions are laid out, Alea Iacta Est or what's done is done! I enjoy this level of interaction. Direct confrontation upsets balance for future turns, but this type of interaction makes me feel screwed but also responsible for it. What elevates Dungeon Lords to the next level is theme execution. The game is full of complicated rules, but each is thematically defended in the rulebook. This makes rules bind in your memory. This is more than a mechanically solid game; it's thematically rich, as well. It's more than that. It's thematically solid. You really feel like you're working your tail off trying to make ends meet just to have adventurers come and try to tear down all that you built. But with more experience and a sound strategy you'll meet with something worth the rough start. Taking out an adventuring party efficiently offers a rare gem of accomplishment in board gaming. I didn't just score 6 points by knocking them all out; I knocked them all out! I did that! Who's the (wo)man?! This becomes even greater when you take out a Paladin with all your adventurers. Everyone in the store knew that I took out a Paladin. And they knew it by heart by the time I finished talking about it

Dungeon Lords has another achievement to its credit. It is one of the best rulebooks I've ever read. There is commentary to help explain and reinforce game concepts provided by two characters. One of them makes an appearance in the second year monsters. I've never experienced this sort of flirting with the fourth wall in playing games. It's not just the technique, though; it's the execution. The rulebook is worth reading, even if you never get the chance to play the game.

Humming along quite well with some help from a designer you can count on to entertain! Now for the next one: the longest game by far:

Hours 7-11. Roads & Boats




Roads & Boats is from the game designing group Splotter Spellen, a game designing group from the Netherlands renowned for grandiose, complex undertakings that they develop themselves. Their games are available pretty much by popular demand as I understand, and they usually only keep a game or two in print. The demand for their games is pretty limited to two distinct groups. People who enjoy playing the fiddliest of fiddly games, and collectors competing for most game components owned. Roads & Boats works very well for the latter group, with the base game comprising 1,238 pieces of wood and cardboard. The former group will enjoy picking up and placing small pieces of cardboard once per round all over the place.

At its heart, Roads & Boats is a civilization building game focusing on logistics. Basically, you get to be UPS and build and civilization doing it. You'll start out with a few resources, which you can use to build primary producers, which will produce every round. You'll use a starting fleet of donkeys to move your resources around. Donkeys move slow, but they don't require roads, which are one of the improvements you can build. When you build roads, you draw them on the board with a marker (not the real board, the plastic overlay, silly!) You'll also research certain advancements, such as oil rig manufacturing, or ways to build extra shafts in your mines. Research is done by having a couple of geese (an interesting touch, but representative of quills for writing) and paper on a certain tile. The end goal is simple: have the most money. Money is achieved through raw gold, worth 10 points, currency, which is worth 40 and must be made from gold, and finally stock certificates, worth 120 and made from currency. The big catch is that you don't specifically own anything except that which is on your transporter. This means that if you have the transporter, you can go steal things you need from your opponents. This also means that you might have a sort of uneasy agreement to mutual benefit by making certain buildings common. You can prevent opponent transport by building walls, but walls also set you back a bit in your production line. In general, resources are scarce, but if you find yourself with a surplus, you can use them to get points by building the wonder. Essentially, the wonder is a game timer that players can contribute to to make the game end faster and procure a few points by doing so. Once the wonder is build, the person with the most money and wonder points is the winner.

Four hours. Let's think for a minute what all you can accomplish in four hours. Writing 3,036 words took me significantly less than that. How many games could you play in that time? At least two good ones, right? Well, Roads & Boats makes 4 hours fly by. This is mainly done through simultaneous play. There is virtually no down time, as all players are acting simultaneously, first producing materials, next moving them about, then building, and finally contributing to the wonder. This cycle repeats until you realized that you just spent 1/4 of the time normal people spend awake in a day playing the same game. Playing roads and boats makes me feel a bit like I'm in the center of a room filled with model trains. The transporters bustle about, and I imagine the squeak of the wagon wheels and oars stroking the water of the sides of the raft. The name of the game here is about creating a system and managing it. I find that the strategy in Roads & Boats is fairly early, and most of the game is spent doing housekeeping and making sure you produce on all your producers and deal with the few irregularities that may arise. It seems like it would be extremely simple if it were made into an online implementation, as you spend 60% of the game time simply making sure you do what you have to. I'm excited to continue playing it, though. So far, I've only been in games that use a prefabricated map from the scenario book. I'm looking forward to playing with a group of seasoned veterans so that the best means of exploiting the map aren't so clear cut from the start. Roads & Boats has held up magnificently since 1999, when it was first published. I'm still in my beginning stages with the game, but I've already spent half a day playing it and look forward to the possibilities future plays will unveil.


Hours 12-13. In the Year of the Dragon



After traveling the long road from donkeys to Wall Street (and building it, too) in Roads and Boats, I was able to convince 4 other gamers to go through a gauntlet of punishing trials and tribulations. And then after that restroom break we played a game. I'm kidding; the game was the gauntlet. Not the bathroom. Ok, so...in Roads & Boats we spent four hours building up, but for the next game, In the Year of the Dragon, we would spend less time building up and more time watching what we had built get destroyed by the tests of time. Whoever best manages their palaces through an onslaught of negative events and comes out on the other side with the most points is the winner. You start out with 2 subjects living in 2 palaces, each 2 stories high. You'll score a point per palace per turn, so building palaces is great. However, you'll also have to feed each palace during the drought, or you'll starve a person in each palace you can't feed. You'll also deal with a Mongol Invasion, a contagion, taxes, and the worst of all, a firework show (nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!) For real, the firework show is the only event after the first two rounds that doesn't have the potentially to leave you down one or more people. The people in your palaces will help you take actions. For example, farmers help you harvest rice for the drought, etc. You get an extra person once per round, except in the last round. Each person gets an identical hand of 11 cards, 2 of which are wild, the other 9 are 1 each of the 9 different people in the game. When you play a card, it's gone. The people you hire will not only give you special bonuses; they also move you up on the all-powerful person track. This track determines player order. This might not seem like much, but there are very limited spots, and once a spot is taken it costs 3 yuan to go there. That's a lot! Trust me. You want to go as close to first as possible. I've seen many people try to play low on the person track, but I've never seen anyone make it work. Anyhow, at the end of 12 rounds and usually twice as many f-bombs or tears, the game is over.

In the Year of the Dragon lives up to its titular animal. The game itself is constantly spitting fireballs in the faces of the players. The people in front can usually duck out of the way in time, but those towards the end get torched. Games should involve a constant fight for first place. If a single player ever ends up at the front of the line with no contest, you may as well end the game. This is balanced in the game, however, by providing "veteran" people. The rookie farmer lets me go up 4 places on the person track, but the veteran goes up just 1. But he harvests twice as much grain! Same with many of the other people in the game. Do I take the person with more person points or the better ability? It makes every person you play feel important and interesting. The action phase, in which players each place 1 worker, with blocking (that just sounds rough, doesn't it?) usually is much less interesting. The guy in first has his way with the board while the rest just watch and wait for his sloppy seconds, and thirds, fourths, and (hopefully not for you), fifths. The events in this game helped me add a touch more theme than I normally expect from a game by Stefan Feld. I like that you can see all of them at the start of the game. It provides for more strategic depth than I am accustomed to in a normal Feld game. This game has a nice bit of long term strategy to balance out the tactical person-playing phase (and to a certain extent, the action phase). I'd put it as one of my favorite Feld games. I really do like a lot of his games, I find.

Now that we gamers are coming out of In the Year of the Dragon looking like Bruce Willis at the end of Die Hard. We're headed into the finale...

Hours 14-15. The Voyages of Marco Polo



Before we get started, let's have a little flashback scene:

A Brief History of Dice

Dice were originally developed from discarded throwing stones in the Indus River Valley. The story didn't quite make it into the bible, but it goes that a reluctantly unathletic warrior known as Trumpurabi first won money off his fellow soldiers by rolling some of the stones too boxy too throw, claiming that if the golden side came up they would win (there was no golden side; it was a rock). Trumpurabi made the startling realization that, while you could kill crush a man's skull with throwing stones, it was dice alone that could crush a man's dreams. What started as a simple money making ruse became a cultural phenomenon after the develpment of the game of craps, which was originally titled as such because a haphazard spec of ass manure (the beast, not the body part) on the side of the dice was integrated into gameplay. As always, the house always won, and the devil himself, or so the story goes, purchased dice from Trumpurabi in exchange for eternal damnation. Like I said, the house always won. Dice have continued to rear their ugly head throughout history, in such works as Dante's Inferno (the tricksters on circle 3 are forced to flog themselves with dice bags for eternity) and National Lampoon's Vegas Vacation. One thing, and one thing only has been constant throughout the history of these little cubes of Satan: they are engineered to bring about heartache and despair.

Back to The Voyages of Marco Polo

Ok, so I admit I can be a bit turned off by dice. Hyperbole aside, I think dice can be integral parts of an amazing game design. Castles of Burgundy I like, Seasons is great, Blueprints is an amazing design, and so on. I also observe more flagrant abuse of dice than another other single component in modern board games. Why do we have to leave the ultimate decision of victory to a numbered cube? Why are we so uncomfortable with responsibility for wins and losses. I digress. The Voyages of Marco Polo uses dice to select action most closely like Kingsburg. Dice are rolled at the start of the turn and are used either by themselves or in groups to take action on the board. The central action in The V of MP is moving about the board to drop trading posts in cities you visit. This is where the game adds an element of Ticket to Ride to the Kingsburg formula. There are also resources you can obtain with your dice as well as contracts you can queue up and fulfill for points as well. Players start the game by choosing two destination tickets (they're not called that, but come on) and a special ability. The special abilities really change the game. One of them lets you teleport around the board. Another allows you to have an extra person so you aren't so limited by moves. Other special ones start you off in the ultimate destination, Beijing. But the one I got did something greater than anything you can possibly imagine. It let me decide my dice. I never rolled, I just made the values what I wanted them to be. Actions felt carefree because I didn't have the resulting chaos of a dice roll to have to work around. I was able to pull strings all over the game board simply by making my dice all the highest numbers. This was most evident in my outright abuse of the market. I could turn sixes into a veritable boatload of resources by dropping them down on the market. I could make acquiring contracts profitable by dropping sixes down and taking the rightmost contracts and the gold or camels that came with them. I was freed from the bonds of the dice roll.



I wonder to what degree my opinion of the V of MP was based on the elation I felt in working around the whole "dice" element in what was essentially a dice game. The main gripe most people have about dice-rolling Euro games is that rolling higher usually puts you in a better spot. The V of MP tries to balance this by making certain actions only need to be high dice in certain circumstances, but high rolls were clearly better. The only down side to a high roll is that you have to pay more when you're placing on occupied spaces. Your action is usually that much better, though. Anyway, I enjoyed playing the game. I liked moving around the board, though it could be quite costly. I liked that you could place on top of other dice so your space being occupied wasn't game-ending. I enjoyed the special abilities of the different locations on the board that you could later on activate with dice. This combination of familiar mechanics played smoothly and I want to play it again. It was my first and only play, but I got a good enough feel for it to know it's worth a second look. There really aren't that many things you can do with your dice, which helps keep the game focused. The destination cards breed long term strategy, while the changing board state requires on-the-spot decision-making. The character abilities seem really game breaking, but it's my understanding that they're all that way. The artwork on the board reminds me of Camel Up while the wooden pieces recall Hawaii, both of which are great component compliments. It seems to have a decent amount of variety packed in an attractive package, with a playing time that shouldn't overstay its welcome.

Hour 16: Driving home and logging plays

It's not a game. It's what I did

Hours 17-24: Sleeping, waking up, etc.

You get the picture. My wife and I did try an escape chamber the next day. Was great until we ran into the old PC adventure game esoteric puzzle solution that neither of us could figure out. Anway, that's all the games I have for you for now. Thanks for reading. Comment, please. I'm subscribing to this and I hope to read them and respond.

-Joe
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The Geek Weekly :: Board Games on the Move - The Geek Weekly Issue #71

Brad Cummings
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GameNight! Spiel des Jahres Special
The GameNight! team has been hard at working playing all of the Spiel des Jahres and Kennerspiel des Jahres nominees. Be sure to watch the videos to get a closer look at these games. This will give you a better idea of who you want to win.
Read On...


GenCon 2015 Preview is Live!
Wow, GenCon is coming much quicker than I expected. It is now time to start getting hyped for the many, many games that will be released at the show. Be sure to check out our preview for full details on what is coming.
Read On...



BGG@Sea 2016
Did you have a chance to join the first ever board game convention at sea last year? If not, don’t miss your chance year. Pricing and full information has been posted for BGG@Sea 2016!
Read On...





Moving a Board Game Collection
Have you ever had to move your board game collection before? I recently just experienced a cross country move (part of why there was not post last week) and my meager collection made it intact. This thread details the move of a much larger collection and all the effort required. If you are on the move, be sure to consult this helpful thread.
Read on…


Reverse Recommendations
A common question in the BGG forums is what game should I get next (usually based on some unique criteria). This thread is going the opposite way asking, “What game should I remove from my collection?” Games are awesome, but sometimes we just need to pare back what we have. Moderation in all things as they say.
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Non-Gamer Children
I have a dream. When my daughter grows up (and my new son) we will be a tight little gaming group, playing several times a week. Or, they could have no interest whatsoever. This geeklist is about one father’s attempts with his daughter. She offers some funny opinions on his favorite games.
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Shoebox Limited
Magic the Gathering is a landmark game and one that holds a special place for many. Most of us find it too expensive to keep up with it as we grow older. This blogpost details a method to play with a limited pool of cards, so basically by once and enjoy for a while. This sounds like a good option for those wanting a taste of the game without a full dive. Be sure to check out the detailed instructions.
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Dice Versions of Existing Games
Taking a popular gaming and building a dice version of it is nothing new. We’ve seen it for some of our favorite games. These versions can have a lot of the flavor you love with simpler rules and shorter playtimes. This geeklist catalogs dice games and their big brothers. This is handy guide if you are looking for an extension of a favorite game.
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Battalia: the Creation Review
While not the current hotness, deck building is still a growing and popular genre. New this year is Battalia. This detailed reviewed has great shots of the game and goes through both the highs and lows. Be sure to read the review for more details on this gorgeous game.
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Posted by: tonyotan7775
Image Discussion Thread






Video Discussion Thread





Labyrinth: The War on Terror Game Engine
This head to head card-based sequel to Twilight Struggle is known for its tight gameplay. The file this week is an automated engine to help you play the game. This latest version features an AI ability, allowing you to play solo. If you want to try this game with some extra automation, be sure to check it out.
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Poll
At what age have you started playing board games with your kids (or other people's kids)?
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I don't play with kids, they smell funny.
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The Geek Weekly(TGW) is a weekly roundup of interesting things happening on BoardGameGeek.com. Every day hundreds of comments and posts are made on BGG; it's impossible to keep track of it all. That's why we've created TGW as a way to highlight great content from around the Geek.

We do our best to provide a varied and diverse look at BGG each week. Found a post that you think should be featured? Shoot us a Geekmail



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