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Every Man Needs A Shed :: Training Day

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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It was a rather gloomy start to Wednesday courtesy of low, grey clouds Sunday driving across the heavens; there was hope, however, as I could see - if I leaned perilously out of the bedroom window - a glowing patch of lit-up moorland in the North and a generous ellipse of bright-blue sky (mind you, I would do - and have done - the Railway Walk in all weathers, so it was academic anyway). Akin to herding cats, getting everyone out of the house by the mooted 10AM was a struggle and we almost did it:


We're off (10.15AM)!


Ian and I spent an hour-or-so, last night, planning a bijou Live Roleplaying scenario to accompany the 90 minute walk through the woods, becks and cinder paths of Goathland to Grosmont: there was a riddle encounter where they earned healing spells and a magical dagger that may prove useful later (!).


The Kids are Alright


There were a couple of dim-witted robbers barring a bridge, a nimble stepping stones river crossing and a couple of Boss Fights which ended up - after The Demon Skeleton Lord had been vanquished - with young Arthur (who was really getting in to his character: custodian of the possibly-important magical dagger) being possessed by evil and teleporting to another dimension.


The Long, but not winding, road


It should also be noted that Benedict and Peter played Bards 'Garry' and 'Barry', quite the most irritating pair of musical adventurers since Brave Sir Robin's troupe! Armed with a sleep-charmed +5 Ukelele, Barry (or was Benedict Garry?), would suddenly pipe up "What was that? Somebody wants a SONG?" and then launch in to an improvised 'Wonderful World' or a made-up strummed ditty about "having a big sword not a small sword". It was relentless, tiresome and utterly hilarious!


Crossing a bridge...the HARD (LARP) way!


Before we knew it, the journey was coming to it's end with the North Yorkshire Moors Railway facilities hoving in to view:


Engine Shed ahoy - our destination is almost upon us


And then, after the short hill climb in the increasingly hot noon sunshine, we had arrived at my favourite place; my soul's ease:


THAT view! Grosmont nestling in the valley


Despite allocating an extra 30 minutes to the estimated travelling time, we were STILL too late to catch the 12.30PM train to Pickering - it chugged passed pulled by a flaky-painted diesel - so the happy band nipped in to the old School for lunch and caught the 13.30 train instead:


Grosmont - 1



Grosmont - 2



Sustenance@Grosmont - 3



Through the Tunnel - 1



Goathland Revisited - 1



Goathland Revisited - 2



Goathland Revisited - 3


Yes. I spent the entire 70 minute journey with my head stuck out of the window: wind in the hair, grit in the eye, joy in my heart!




Towards Levisham - 1



Towards Levisham - 2



Towards Levisham - 3



Towards Levisham - 4


A wander around Pickering for an hour garnered cakes, books and other treats then it was back to the station to catch the last train (4PM):


Picking us up at Pickering - 1



Picking us up at Pickering - 2



Picking us up at Pickering - 3


At Goathland, we still had a mile or so of walking to the house so picked up some energizing double-scoop ice-creams on the way; feet aching, and brows glistening with sweat, we flumped in to the sitting room armchairs seven (7) hours after we'd left. Bliss.

Oh, and Ziggy had a great day too:

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Thu Jul 28, 2016 6:40 am
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It Beats Watching The TV :: Cows on Roads and Moths on Heads - Games for a Laugh 26th July

Stuart Burnham
United Kingdom
Abingdon
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Red hot gaming action taking place at GFaL this week! Mrs B came along; Terry made a rare appearance, Gareth teased his freshly arrived copy of Scythe and then didn't bring it with him.
How could anyone stand the breathless and excited pace....?

This is what fun looks like people!



After the usual dance of "this game, that game?" Mrs B, Terry, David and I went for a play of the newly crowned KSDJ Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King. Terry seemed to really enjoy the simple bidding and spatial puzzle elements of the game - David, I'm not so sure... Mrs B and I are big fans of the game and always have fun playing it. In this game we have some synergy of goals with points for completed landscape features of at least 3 tiles and completed features of any size, along with points for every sheep and 2 points for each cattle that could be taken by road to the castle (Terry got quite excited whenever he saw a tile with "A cow! On a road!")
I became cattle rancher in chief, and with scrolls for some extra points for cattle and whisky my game plan was clear. It all worked out very nicely.
Certainly a deserved winner of the KSDJ, given the publicly stated criteria - do try and read it please before sniping about the award being "irrelevant" now after this and Broom Service winning. I love, love, love Pandemic Legacy: Season 1, I rate it a 10 and think it deserves its place in the BGG rankings but the KSDJ is not a "gamers" award, it's an award for families who play games.
And Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King is perfect in that sense.



Billy had packed one of his favourite games, Suburbia and quickly found James willing to take up the offer. John joined them and they happily planned out desirable little suburbs with Billy, naturally, running out winner. Anna would be very proud I think...!



Gareth and Helen played her p'n'p version of The Networks which even in this form looks really good. I look forward to having a play in the near future, it seems like a good mix of light/ medium strategy in a decent play length. I'm not sure if she's awaiting a full copy, but there's bound to be one in the GFaL group before too long.



The rest of this week's gang played Small World, which is another game I really like but don't play very often outside of my iPad. It's another good game group game, easy to teach and play, a nice mix of interaction and variable powers - a good choice. They went on to play Gloom which was doing the see through card overlaying thing long before whatever it is that's getting so much buzz from some podcasts of late... I know it gets a bit short shrift from gamers but I really had fun with my one game of it and would happily give it another game. Good opportunities for hamming it up around the table as well.



As other people drifted off and with us on an early deadline as Mrs B needs more rest these days we decided to have a few rounds of another Billy fave, Mogel Motte or "Uno with card dropping and throwing" as Terry summed it up. It was good fun and certainly gets everyone laughing, especially spectators who get a good view of some of the very blatant (except to the watching guard bug it seems!) cheating going on.
Terry even managed to throw a card straight over Billy's (guard bug at the time) head, although Billy did one-up that by balancing a card on top of his head without Terry noticing when he was the watcher.
Oh, and Billy won. On each of the 5 or so games that we had!



And that, was that. A short and sweet night for us this week, but it was very enjoyable, everyone seemed to be in good spirits and having fun. Bigger games to come over the next couple of sessions it seems, but one of the beauties of this game group is the variety from week to week.
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Thu Jul 28, 2016 6:30 am
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Miniature Games Construction Yard :: About growing Oak Warriors, and cloaking Wood Elves.

Toco
Belgium
Vlaanderen
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My Wood Elves have been waiting on the shelves for too long. Time to start painting the army. I will do a speed painting technique called TOTTEK on the core Glade Guards. (More about TOTTEK below.)



The regiment above will be the only Elves (Eternal Guards) with a different color. Instead of spraying them green and brown, I'll go for the color scheme by Donald Kueker. He used red, yellow and blue for the Elves in HeroQuest: Elf Quest Pack. The included unit filler is a bear from World of Warcraft Miniatures Game.







My Dryad regiment will be in their Oak aspect. They are Mage Knight miniatures with a fitting name: Oak Warriors laugh





Here's more about TOTTEK speed painting:



http://geekylouis.blogspot.fr/2012/07/ravage-article-tottek-...
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Thu Jul 28, 2016 6:00 am
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Board Gamer Girl :: MONTH IN REVIEW 21/06/16 - 26/07/16

Ashlee Cramb
Australia
QLD
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Sorry I've been MIA, I've been overseas in Europe and didn't have computer access.
Heres my "month in review" of what was posted on my instagram in the past month: https://www.instagram.com/boardgamergirl/

Sorry its a massive post


21/06/16 - TRAVEL GAMES
These were all the games I contemplated taking with me on my holiday. I ended up taking Zany Penguins, Tiny Epic Galaxies, and Dead Mans Draw which ended up being all great choices. Perfect travel size, light and easy to learn, and lots of fun! My only regret is that I didn't take a party game with me to play with non gamer friends, so we ended up playing heads up a lot which is just like a celebrity heads with your phone.





22/06/16 - SUTAKKU
Sutakku, a push your luck dice stacking game by Smirk and Dagger.
It's harder than you might think and the push your luck mechanic really shines through in this one. Lots of fun and I love the Japanese theme!





23/06/16 - BETRAYAL AT HOUSE ON THE HILL
You can tell I love Betrayal at House on the Hill because the box is pretty beat up... It's a sign of a well loved game...right. But seriously this is such a FUN game!!! The idea is that you're all exploring a haunted house, on each persons turn a new room tile gets laid out, then certain events happen based on what's on the tile. The game will get to a point where a "haunt" will happen which will trigger a certain story to play out, and will reveal the end game trigger. With literally dozens of scenarios this game is always fresh and exciting. While not without its problems I'll tell you this, the game is popular for a reason... It's awesome.
I am soooooooooooooo excited for the expansion that is coming out later this year!! This has been such a great gaming experience and I can't wait to see what the expansion will add.





24/06/16 - SHERIFF OF NOTTINGHAM
Sheriff of Nottingham understands that blue cheese is the best kind of cheese. HAHAAA apparently I'm the only person who seems to like blue cheese, at least amongst my followers on instagram, everyone ridiculed me for liking blue cheese lol
I need to come up with a few new tricks to get my contraband through the sheriff with sweet cheese like this.





25/06/16 - FURY OF DRACULA
Annnnd the hunt is on.
I still haven't had a chance to play as Dracula yet, but I think I'm finally getting the hang of being a hunter... we almost beat Dracula this time haha, but he always seems to loose us in the sea.





26/06/16 - HOLIDAYS
What better way to let everyone know I was headed overseas to London. Luckily this wasn't my Pandemic Legacy board or I would have been headed into a hazardous zone hahaa... at this point London is a write off for our game.





27/06/16 - SURVIVE - ESCAPE FROM ATLANTIS

I have decided that the meeples in Survive are my favourite from any game, and also the cutest!! You can't beat that giant squid, it's just a bundle of cute wrapped up. The components in Survive really are fantastic.





28/06/16 - SMALLWORLD
Hahaa this is a comic from upto 4 players, I felt it was quite appropriate because I was catching the tube every day during peak hour.




29/06/16 - MEMOIR 44

I know I'll get some hate for saying this, but I don't like 2 player games. I like games with minimum 3 people, but prefer 4 or more because I just love the social element of games. That being said there are very few 2 player games I actually enjoy, and Memoir 44 is one of them.
Memoir 44 is a light-ish area control, historical strategy game. Players verse each other in historical battles from world war 2, and you get to use little army men as your troops. Memoir is one of the only 2 player games I'll play, it's relatively straightforward and quick, and has amazing components.





30/06/16 - DOMINION SEASIDE
I wanted to do a post on one of my all time favourite games, good old Dominion. This one is the expansion as I've learnt my base copy out to a friend, but honestly this game is just the best!! Dominion is probably my biggest gateway game into the hobby, it's so simple but still so strategic and for that I love it. When I played Dominion for the first time I was in awe of how amazing deck building was as a mechanic, it got me so excited I wanted to find out what other unique mechanics were out there. Seriously if you haven't checked out dominion you need to






01/07/16 - DRAUGHTS LONDON
I was lucky enough to check out Draughts in London, a big board game café, and it was just amazing!!! We played Formula D, Camel Cup, The Resistance and Spyfall, and had lots of beers, wines, cocktails and tasty tappas like foods. I love seeing board game venues so packed out with everyone enjoying themselves so much. Thank you Draughts for a fantastic night. HAHA my friend had a great line "This is a board game cafe but I wasn't bored once".





02/07/16 - FORMULA D
As mentioned above I tried out Formula D at Draughts cafe in London for the first time, and was surprised at how fun it was, and how cute the components are!! I haven't played enough racing games which is a shame because they seem to create this very competitive and hilarious atmosphere which I crave in games. I only played the easy version of Formula D, so I'd like to play again with the extended rules, but so far this game has a massive tick in my book. Plus the theme is very cool





03/07/16 - DEAD MANS DRAW
Dead mans draw unboxing.





04/07/16 - MACHI KORO
So I ended up going back to Draughts and taking some more friends with me, what a great venue with so many games to choose from, I talked to some of the gaming gurus all of which were very cool. I taught my friends how to play Machi Koro which I maintain is a great gateway game which I can't get enough of. I guess what I really like about it is how easy it is to teach and setup, plus I also love the artwork. These particular friends really like Catan so I knew they would love Machi Koro, to me the games are very similar.
If it wasn't for Suburbia this would be my favorite city building game.





05/07/16 - MISSION RED PLANET
I can't get over how amazing this game is!! Seriously its soooo beautiful and just a ridiculous amount of fun. Sadly I haven't been able to play it much because my boyfriend thinks we've played it too many times hahaa, but there's a good reason for that. It's easy, fun, super unique, and MASSIVE bonus for me is that it goes upto 6 players. This remains one of my absolute favorites, I'm so glad the Dice Tower guys have talked about this one so much that it really got on my radar.






06/07/16 - THE BLOODY INN
Little do these travelers know they're soon to be victims of the bloody in Mwaahhhaaaaha!! Actually I kinda wish I had brought this game along with me on my trip, its small and so fun. Only downside I've found is that people struggle with the concept of the cards as currency, but personally I love the uniqueness of that. Very kooky artwork but I think its fantastic.





07/07/16 - KARUBA
Now while I was rooting for Codenames to win the Spiel Des Jahres this year (And YAYYYY!!!), Karuba is still a game I ADORE and is a very close second in my mind. So simple yet so fun, all about tile laying to find the treasure and beat your opponents. While some people will argue it's too solitaire I actually don't agree, I think it has a lot of tension because it's essentially a race, and you're constantly trying to beat your opponents.






08/07/16 - CASTLES OF MAD KING LUDWIG
Throwback photo to when I played this last year. While I still think I prefer the gameplay of Suburbia, I much prefer the theme of Castles of Mad King Ludwig! I'd love to play the expansion and see what it adds.





09/07/16 - DIXIT
My favorite cards from Dixit!! My number one card would have to be the fish, sooooo cute but seriously I can NEVER think of a good clue for it.





10/07/16 - SPLENDOR
Beautiful Splendor components. I love the simplicity of this game!





11/07/16 - FIVE TRIBES
Five tribes, one of my favorite games!!! There's 2 things unique about this game for me personally. First off from everything I'd heard about it, I thought I wouldn't like it, and it's ended up being one of my favorites. Secondly we played a pretty major rule wrong for 2 games before realizing we were doing it wrong hahaa. The rule we got wrong was basically that we treated every claimed tile with a camel on it, as a blocked tile that you couldn't move meeples through, much like the abyss tile in the expansion. As you can imagine this changed the game quite a bit and I thought it was a funny story to share, I'd love to hear anyone else's stories of when they got a rule horribly wrong?
Many of my instagram followers noted that they often got a rule in Elder Signs wrong, not sure of the exact rule but several people mentioned it haha.





12/07/16 - TINY EPIC GALAXIES

In love with the game mat for Tiny Epic Galaxies!! I've never had a game mat before and now I want one for every game I have haha, they are soooo pretty and just add an extra flare to the game. The TEG game mat is so colorful and bright, and I love how it has a place for the dice, and has the important rules on the mat.





13/07/16 - TICKET TO RIDE
Another throwback photo, I really enjoy ticket to ride but unfortunately I rarely get to play it because my friends think its too simple. I keep telling them that we've only tried base ticket to ride, and there's a heap of expansion which I know add so much to the game, but they still refuse to try it. I'd really like to try the UK edition, but any advice on which ticket to ride I should try would be awesome.





14/07/16 - ABOVE AND BELOW
Ok so I think I've come to the conclusion that I'm obsessed with Ryan Laukat's games. Above and Below is quickly becoming one of my favorite games, and I seriously cannot even deal with how amazing his artwork is in his games!!! I honestly want to say that Above and Below is my favorite artwork of any game ever, I just LOVE it. I'm debating whether or not I should back the Near and Far game on kickstarter, I've actually never backed a game on kickstarter because I'm so impatient, and figure I'll just wait for the wider release when the game comes to stores, but I'm really thinking about backing this one.





15/07/16 - DUNGEON BUSTERS
Dungeon Busters unboxing...





16/07/16 - BATTLESTAR GALACTICA
My favourite character to play in Battlestar Galactica haha... only problem is that Gaius Baltar was so dodgy in the show everyone always suspects me of being a cylon.





17/07/16 - ITALIAN GAMES IN SIENA
I stumbled on this cute little store while in Siena, Italy and found it very amusing seeing the Italian names for all the games. My favorite was probably Imperial Assault, which was so stereotypically Italian.





18/07/16 - COSMIC ENCOUNTER

A friend of a friend has an older copy of my favourite game "Cosmic Encounter".... I would love to play this!!! As far as games go I haven't played many earlier or first editions, and I'd really like to.





19/07/16 - SPEIL DES JAHRES
Congratulations to the wonderful CGE on their 2016 Spiel Des Jahres win (Game of the year) for CODENAMES!!!! This is such a great game for everyone, and I really think it deserved the win. I'm really looking forward to codename pictures (and the sneaky after dark version too hahaa).





20/07/16 - VITICULTURE
Who else thinks the papa cards from Viticulture look like Tom Hiddleston? Such a handsome chap
PS I've just been to Tuscany and I have to say that thematically Viticulture nailed it!! Such a great thematic game





21/07/16 - SUBURBIA
Suburbia components, this is my personal favorite city building game!! The best way to explain it is basically Sim City in a box...without the tornado's and freak occurrences that destroy your city haha.





22/07/16 - ALIEN FRONTIERS
Alien Frontiers, I love this game for sooooo many reasons!! Firstly it's sci fi which as you probably know is my favourite theme ever, but the biggest reason is that it's the first worker placement game I played that I actually enjoyed. Before I played Alien Frontiers I couldn't stand worker placement, then I played this and I loved it so much It showed me not to give up on the mechanic! In Alien Frontiers you compete against other players to colonise a planet, and you use dice as your workers. Great game which I can't recommend enough, I love the artwork too.





23/07/16 - QUADROPOLIS
The construction site in Quadropolis. At its core Quadropolis is a game of set collection and tile placement. I'd highly recommend this one as a gateway game, it's lots of fun and quite simple to pick up.





24/07/16 - ZANY PENGUINS
Obsessed with this artwork, yes I'm a sucker for anything cute





25/07/16 - MYSTERIUM
This is a throwback photo, and also I was missing my puppy overseas and wanted to show him some instagram love.





26/07/16 - BANG THE DICE GAME
One of my favourite party games at the moment!





******************************************************
MISC

I don't have too much more to add because I've been so MIA from the boardgame world the past month while on holidays. Now I'm back I've been watching some reviews/ podcasts and videos on what to expect from Gencon. The games that are currently on my radar are and I'm hoping to play ASAP:

- Isle bound
- Seafall
- Dead of Winter the longest night
- Pandemic Reign of Cthulu
- Sushi Go Party
- Mystic Vale
- Near and Far
- Scythe
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle

If anyone has any suggestions of games that should be on my radar coming out soon then please let me know

Until next time xox
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Thu Jul 28, 2016 4:51 am
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Too Many Games!!! :: Operation: Kindergarten (One Couple's Review)

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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Back in September of last year I made a post Gen Con/Pre-Essen list of games I was excited about and this game was on the list. Essen came and went, and I kind of forgot about this game. That was until it popped up in a recent coolstuffinc.com sale. I wanted to buy the new Mysterium expansion anyway, so I got several items from that sale. My wife and I were both really looking forward to trying this game. So did it pass with straight A's or does it need to get sent back a grade?

Game Overview
In this game each player is a teacher who is responsible for keeping the kids under their care safe and getting back to the classroom to be picked up at the end of the day. The game is played over six turns, and each turn has multiple phases.

The board represents a playground with a sandbox in the middle and four play areas on the side (referred to as "danger areas"). For the first three turns there is a special phase, where the playground is populated. In the first round little children come out, then tykes, and finally the older kids.

The major phase of the game is when dice are rolled and assigned. Players will take turns assigning one die to multiple areas. Players can assign dice to determine what direction children will move in and ow many spaces. A die is assigned to move the head teacher, to determine each player's movement, and to select a "routine (a bonus action).

The head teacher then moves. His location determines start player and there is also a risk of losing more evaluation points. Next, the children move according to the assigned dice. The stacking limit is three, and if there are ever more than three children a collision occurs. This creates "boo-hoos" as kids cry and this will lower a player's evaluation.

After the children move in player order, the players take a turn where they can take an action (which includes movement) and take a reaction. Possible actions include ordering an adjacent child to move somewhere, regroup children from any adjacent space to another, clean up chaos markers on the board, remove "boo hoo" discs, or heal (remove) boo-boo cubes. After the first three rounds players are going to want to move their children back into their classroom, and the carry action is helpful for that. It allows a teacher to pick up three kids and then deliver them somewhere. The challenge is that the teacher has to start next to the kids.

After each player has had a turn, there is a chaos phase. During this phase the chaos markers on the board activate. This is stuff like scissors or poop on the playground, or noises like an ice cream truck. These chaos markers can create "boo-hoos". Each turn new chaos markers come out on the board.

Finally, players lose evaluation points for each boo-hoo marker and boo-boo marker they have on the board. If the head teacher is in the sector where the markers are then the player looses additional evaluation points. At the end of the sixth round players lose evaluation points for kids they did not successfully return to the classroom. Each player starts at 100 evaluation points and the player with the most points left at the end of the game is the winner.

Our Thoughts
As a reminder we rate games on our own 5 point scale. When our scores are added together, it is where we as a couple theoretically rate the game on the BGG 10 point scale.

My Rating: 3(It's OK)
My Thoughts: I love the theme of this game, and I find the game play to be very unique. If I were to describe this game to someone at my game group I would say it is like a "euro game version of Survive: Escape from Atlantis!." The game has the same vibe as players are trying to manage disaster around them, and get their people to safety. The dice allocation works well, and there is a deceptively high level of messing with each other in this game. I like the game, but I have a big complaint about it. Namely, this is a four player game and it really has no business being played by two. The two player game is a bit boring, and it really feels like half the experience is missing.

Her Rating: 3 (It's OK)
Her Thoughts: This might be one of the most fun themes of any game I have played. I especially liked that the theme really came through. I want to play this game again, but it would have to be with more players. This is not a good two player game.

Verdict
Combined Rating: 6
Publishers, look, I know you want to sell games. I get that. But if your game is not good at a lower player count, then do not put that player count on the box! We both want to play this game again at the full player count, because then we think we will get experience the game as it was meant to be played. We will probably hold onto the game for awhile until that happens, but this will not be a permanent addition to our game collection.
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Thu Jul 28, 2016 3:33 am
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Wheel Tapping :: 1822 The Railways of Great Britian

Tony Fryer
United States
Denver
Colorado
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1822 The Railways of Great Britain is a 2016 publication by All Aboard Games and was designed by Simon Cutforth. The game is for 3 to 7 players and is set in England (Scotland and Wales are represented as off-board locations).

I wanted to talk about this game next as it is getting a good bit of love out there. First of all, train games set in England seem really cool to me. I don't know why. I am not English. I just like the history of trains in England - even though I don't know a lot about that history. Every time I start reading something, I find more to read and suddenly, an hour has gone by. My friend Chad calls this "going down the rabbit hole". He's right.

The thing about this title that caught my eye was this excerpt from the game description on BGG: "There is a strong incentive on players not to spend all of their initial capital in the first stock rounds." Conventional wisdom is generally suggesting that unless you have some good reason, spend as much money as you can on solid stock investments. You may earn dividends and capital gains if the money is invested, but you certainly won't earn anything if the money is "under your mattress". Also, the game has the notion of minor companies and major companies and I enjoy games that have various flavors of companies. Finally, I am a lover of auction mechanisms and this game promised to have a lot of auctions - and it delivered on that promise.

In reading Mr. Cutforth's design notes, this was an awesome thing to read: "My overarching objective was to create a game that did not have a scripted start or a combination of "the best opening": I wanted to have a different opening with each outing." A lot of 18XX players revel in the perfect information and no luck environment. So, what's this? Variable game start state? Interesting! More on this in the article.

ENVIRONMENTAL VARIABLES
What are the game’s basic elements?
• The bank size is 12,000.
• In every stock round, until they are gone, 4 minor companies, 3 private companies and 3 major company concessions are sold at auction.
• There are 15 private companies in the game with various abilities.
• There are 24 minor railroad companies, each with a predefined starting location.
• There are 10 major companies, each can be fingerprinted early in the game by acquiring the concession.
• Minor companies can merge into major companies when connected, offering the opportunity for players to gain more stock in a major as compensation for the minor's value.
• Up until Phase 6, major companies are incrementally capitalized through the purchase of stock. Major companies started after this point are fully capitalized after the sale of 50% of their stock.
• Loans are available in the game for players that are short on cash when forced to do an emergency train purchase. The interest rate is 50% per stock round, so it is best to avoid this situation.
• The map is pretty large. It uses a smaller hexagon size than most games. There are terrain costs for building track over waterways, mountains and wetlands.
• The stock market is a 2D type with a yellow zone. When a company's stock value is in this zone, stock certificates of that company do not count against a player's limit.
• There is 1 operating round between stock rounds until the first 2 train is bought and there are 2 operating rounds between stock rounds thereafter.
• Small stations (towns, whistle-stops, dinks, doinks, whatever) count against the distance a train can travel for most trains.
• The game has "Pullman cars" that collect revenue for small stations when attached to trains. Pullman served trains cannot be sold between companies and do not count against the train limit. They also do not count as a train for the purposes of mandatory train ownership.
• The game has E trains that service only stationed cities and doubles the revenue of those cities.

IMPORTANT MACGUFFINS
What MacGuffins are in this game that are necessary to understand before continuing with the description?

Variable Game Start State
Essentially, the order in which the major, minor and private companies appear to be sold in the auction is randomized before the game. Each deck is shuffled and placed near the map. However, there are three constants: the London & Northwestern major company concession is always for sale in the first auction. The Swansea and Mumbles minor company is always for sale in the first auction. The Butterly Engineering private company is always for sale in the first auction.

The order of the remaining major, minor and private companies is what is randomized before each game. Players are free to examine the order of the cards at any time. There is even a private company with the ability to move a card to the top of the deck or to the bottom. I view this as "variation" not "randomness" since it has an equal effect on all players and is well-known prior to the start of play.

The Auctions
As mentioned before, in every stock round, until they are gone, 4 minor companies, 3 private companies and 3 major company concessions are sold at auction. Each item up for bid is individually placed in special "auction boxes" on the game board. The boxes have a track printed around them with monetary values printed in each box on the track. Players use colored cubes to indicate their bids. Each player gets a limited supply of the cubes and thus they must choose which auctions they will participate in. As an action on their turn in the stock round a player may place a bid. The auctions can often get quite intense and lengthen the stock round. One thing players can do to speed the play is to use a variant (I believe started by Bruce Beard) that allows a player to place up to 3 bids on his or her action.

By the way, following the auction, each minor train company not sold in the auction will cause 1 L train card to be removed from the deck. This really serves to drain the supply of L trains if minors are not getting snapped up by the players. Also, if the minor company that is the auction slot marked #1 is not sold, it will remove an additional train card. However, this train card is whichever is the next available. This can even cause a phase change. This is a small but interesting twist.

The Acquisition of Minor Companies by Major Companies
Normally, a player is limited to owning up to 60% of any one major company through purchases made at the stock market. A player can acquire shares, and go in excess of 60% ownership, when they merge a minor company into a major company. The value of the minor company is paid to its owner through a combination of cash and/or stock. Of course, the major company receives all of the assets of the minor company.

L Trains
L trains and 2 trains are available at the same time. In fact, these 22 train cards are double-sided showing an L on one side and a 2 on the other (yes, that's a lot of train cards). An L train can only service 1 tokened city and up to 1 small station (essentially they would be represented as a 1+1 train in some other game titles).

When a minor company begins its operation, it may buy an L train from the bank (if any are available) at the beginning of its turn. This means that the company will be able to operate this train and earn revenue on its first operating round. Of course, the option is there to not buy an L train and not earn any revenue and then buy a different train. In fact, after all of the L trains are gone, this is the only option for new minor companies. Minors can upgrade an L that they own to a 2 train by paying some cash, so this is a cool option.

L trains rust when the first 3 train is bought.

Conversion of Major Company Concession to the President's Share
During the auctions, a player may acquire one or more major company concessions. These concessions pay 10 pounds per operating round to their owner (much like a private company pays revenue). During the stock round a player may convert the concession to the president's certificate. The concession counts as a 100 pound credit towards the purchase of the president's certificate. This action floats the company for operating and the company will be further capitalized through the sale of their stock. When Phase 5 hits, any unconverted concessions are lost without compensation.

PRELIMINARY
What things happen in the game before the stock and operating rounds commence?
Really, just the setting up of the variation in which private, minor and major companies are in which order for the game.

STOCK ROUNDS
What happens in the stock rounds?
Essentially typical of many 18XX games. A player may sell shares of stock and may pay down any loan balance they have. In addition, the player may purchase 1 share of stock or convert a concession into the president's share or make a bid on an item that is up for sale in the auction.

Notes Regarding Atypical Stock Round Rules
Players can pay back loans. Loans are tracked on paper and any amount can be paid back. At the end of the stock round a 50% interest is added to the outstanding balance.

COMPANY CHARTERS
What kinds of companies are there? What are the flotation and financing conditions?
Minor companies can lay some track and run a couple of trains (later in the game, they can only run 1 train). The also pay a 50/50 revenue split as a dividend.

Major companies are started early through concessions. But can be started directly (without a concession) later in the game. Until phase 5 the companies are incrementally capitalized and the sale of 50% of the stock floats the company. After phase 6 begins, companies cannot operate until 50% of their shares are purchased and at that point the company is fully capitalized and the shares remain in the IPO. Major companies begin the game with 3 station tokens. They can acquire up to 3 more station tokens through the process of acquiring minor companies.

Major companies have destination cities that when serviced get a station token placed and count as double the revenue value.

STOCK MOVEMENT TRIGGERS
What actions and events trigger a rise or fall in a company’s stock prices?
• Being sold out (wholly owned by players) at the end of a stock round will increase the value of the stock.
• The sale of stock will decrease the value of the stock, the value is decreased for each share sold.
• Paying a dividend that is at least equal to the value of the stock will increase the value of the stock.
• Paying a dividend that is at least equal to twice the value of the stock will increase the value of the stock two spaces.
• Not paying a dividend or having no revenue will decrease the value of the stock.

OPERATING ROUNDS
What happens in the operating rounds?
• Acquire private company from (willing) player. There is no compensation to the player for the acquisition of a private company.
• Lay or upgrade track.
• Place one station token.
• Run train(s) and calculate revenue.
• Pay, split, or withhold dividends (minor companies must split earnings).
• Buy train(s).
• Acquire a minor company from (willing) player, or from phase 5 onwards, from the bidding boxes (major companies only).
• Issue or redeem corporate stock.

END GAME
How does the game end?
The game ends when the bank runs out of money or when a share value reaches the 700 pound mark (presumably less in shorter scenarios).

MY PERCEIVED VALUE OF THE TITLE
In my opinion and in accordance to my tastes and sensibilities, what value do I derive from this title?

I am really enjoying this game. Yes, besides the auctions. I feel like this is a really solid game. Playing time seems to come down with repeated plays, as is typical. I have heard of players completing a game in 6 to 7 hours. The last game I was in was about 6 hours long and we called it with about an hour to go because the winner was apparent (Mike is an excellent XX player). If it interests you, the designer is publishing scenarios on BGG for shorter games.

At the time of this writing I have only played twice and I have only played with 4 players. I feel like I would like to avoid 3 players (but of course, I'd play) and I'd really like to try with 5 players.

I really enjoy the semi-epic scale of the game too, there's a good bit of distance between the north and the south. It feels epic and it looks epic too as little minors all over England lay track and things start to get connected.

All Aboard Games has done a good job with the production of the game as well, and makes it title readily available to 18XX fans. The tiles and tokens are of the smaller type but are completely manageable (1831, by the same publisher, uses this tile size. I believe this is also the same or similar tile size used in 18OE published by Designs in Creative Entertainment).

Now, again, I have only two plays at this time, but, I think that the players can control their own exposure to volatility in this title. If you aggressively acquire minor companies you must get them merged into your major companies before they don’t have trains and become liabilities for you. If you don't acquire enough minors to keep money flowing and to increase your ownership in your good majors I don't think you'll have a chance to win. Oh, you'll still have a helluva fun time though! There are only 3 5-trains and 3 6-trains in the game, so there is some train pressure.

For me the primary value of this title seems to be a really fun game with some neat variance. I would be worried about making this game a new player's first game - given the length of play, if they get lost in the current early in the game, they may not have a good experience. There are better options for noob teaching. By the designer's own notes, there deliberately is no balance in the companies. It all just depends on what the order of availability is and what synergies are possible and if you can win the auctions. The designer does believe that "instability in the random start packet" is managed "by allowing the players to determine the value of each item in the start packet based on the specific combination of privates, minors and concessions available".

Right now, I feel like this is a really good game too. Time and community will tell and I am not an expert on the topic.
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Thu Jul 28, 2016 1:38 am
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The Semi-Amateur Gamer :: Three Plays Series: Conquest of Speros

Adam Daulton
United States
Indianapolis
Indiana
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Krista (my wife) and I have committed to playing games three times together and then I (or she) or both will post here about the games. We rotate picking games, they must be playable as 2-player games, and then we'll finish with our ratings as a 2-player game.



Game Overview
Conquest of Speros is an area control card game. Players are running different factions and sending minions out on the battlefield to take control of cards that come in different types of terrains. There are 3 to 5 spaces on these cards for your minions. On your turn you discard a card, which activates its text, and then take an action. Mostly when you are taking an action you mostly are putting minions out, trying to prove you have the most on a location card, which then lets you gain control of it. The game keeps playing this way until you get all your minions out or the deck of cards run out. Players then score points based on each location card they control, each minion they have out, each minion they have on their own player color (each faction takes kindly to a specific terrain), and then also each set of crystals (location cards have different colored crystals on the bottom) get you some points. In addition to this there are individual bonus objectives players can score, a master object that you try to beat out opponents on for more points. You add up all these points and declare a winner! Note: In addition to the location cards you can fight over, there are some other special cards that can be contested, we didn't play with any of these for our games, so I'm going to not talk about them.

How We Obtained It
I know there was a bit of a kerfuffle on how long this game took to come out, but we picked it up at Gen Con 2015. Aaron Belmer, the designer, is a really cool guy who really welcomed me to Geekway to the West my first year out there. I wanted to be sure to support him when this came out and so made sure to pick it up from Grey Fox Games.

Our Games
Since I always play green and Krista always plays red, we stuck with the exact same factions for our three games. We played only with Bonus Objectives for the first two games, but then added in the Master Objectives for the third game. Here are the results.

Game 1: Adam 28 Krista 21
Game 2: Adam 19TB Krista 19
Game 3: Krista 30 Adam 28

Our Thoughts
Generally good thoughts about this game. Krista did bring up a couple things she was not a huge fan of though. First, she really felt that Aem'ar of Gildwood (green) has a much better power than Torrimar, The Iron Eye (red). I'm not so sure, but she is. Second, each player gets three Bonus Objectives, but has to choose only one at the end of the game. She wants to be able to get all three of the objectives. Finally, both Krista and I think the area control is pretty non-existent in a two player game. A card goes out, you win it, and then move to the next card. Now though on to the things we really liked. I love the discard-a-card-to-get-its-text-ability-but-lose-the-card-itself mechanic! Makes for some juicy decisions. We also love that in a two player game the time to play clocks in around 20 minutes, but you get a feel like you did a little something because of the text on the cards which after a game or two you don't even read anymore. In the end, I enjoy the game, glad I own it, but do prefer it with three or four players over two players.

Final Ratings:
Adam: googoogoogoogoogoogoo
Krista: googoogoogoogoogoo
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Thu Jul 28, 2016 1:03 am
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Games of the Week :: 25th July 2016

Tom Heath
United Kingdom
Staffordshire
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Wed Jul 27, 2016 11:32 pm
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Nuking the Fridge :: Events at THE KAHN!

A. B. West
United States
Beech Grove
Indiana
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In case you missed my crazy enthusiasm for the biggest game convention in the US, go check that out first right here (I'll wait).



Now I'm recording some events that are of great interest to me - to fill the countless hours of THE KAHN.

Open Board Game Room (ICC : 102) This is the event where I used to volunteer. In fact, I've been a volunteer there for the last several years until this year. This year, I'm taking a break from teaching games. Instead, I'm going to be a full time game player! I hope to get in there in the evenings (and maybe the mornings) to just sit down without guilt and play whatever comes to mind. Like some of the games from my KAHN bag (games bought during Gen Con). Super fun. If you've not been in this room before and you like pick up board games - you need to go!

BGG Hot Games Room (Hyatt : Cosmopolitan Blrm B : HQ) This one is new this year and it sounds very nice indeed. Maybe it's my chance to get the feel of the famous BGG Con - at least the Hot Games part. I'm not sure how the ticketing works because it's $2 per hour - so do you buy enough to play a long game or what? Very strange. Do they check you in and out? Dunno. I'm going to check it out and report back I think (assuming I find time to do this).

First Exposure PlayTest (ICC : 107--110 : HQ) I've walked in and watched games here before, but have never bought tickets to play test some games. I'd really love to do it! I'm always up for giving the new guys a shot and giving some feedback. So this year, I'd like to get there at least once during the KAHN.

That's it for now for events for me. I'm avoiding specific events of one game so far - thinking I have plenty to keep me busy in the vendor hall, in the publisher's rooms, playing with my friends (at various tables) and then these general events above. But we'll see!

Are there some great 'general' events I'm missing? Let me know!
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Wed Jul 27, 2016 10:49 pm
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What's in a Game :: HELP! Idea for Company Logo Needed

M.J.E. Hendriks
Netherlands
Arnhem
Gelderland
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I'm currently on holidays and though I've been writing a huge post on Cooperative games and have in the meantime even decided to split it up into two posts (cooperative games in general and cooperative games on Kickstarter), I have now in a moment of frustration decided to once again call on your help.

I have asked a graphic designer who seemed to have produced some good work in the past to come up with some nice ideas logo of my new company, as voted on and consequently decided on here in this blog. Sadly, though, the name Chronicle Games is proving to be a bit of a bear with regard to finding a good image for its logo.

Here I would like to ask you, the knowledgeable BGG crowd, what you think should symbolize my game company Chronicle Games in a logo. It will need to have or be all the following things:

- family friendly
- games
- chronicle
- story telling
- adventure

Let's see if we can come up with something that works. Thanks ever so much in advance!

EDIT: On another note, what do you think of the fact that there is a (Indonesian or Malaysian) company called Chronicle Games already? It deals with apps, but that is what people find when they search for the name, so I've been heating this a little too much.

It shouldn't get in the way as far as I can understand, and I have the domains chronicle-games.com and .nl, which apparently are better for the search engine than the regular name, but it still worries me somewhat. What are your thoughts on this 'situation'?
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Wed Jul 27, 2016 9:48 pm
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