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GCL Phoenix #59 - The Beauty of Flowers, the Agony of Pastel Camels
Christopher Rao
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Q:When I say "lawyer" what pops into your head? A:Someone who designs games about penguins." - Dormammu
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Welcome to our Chat League. If you're not a regular member, check it outhttp://www.boardgamegeek.com/wiki/page/GCL_Phoenix



Art is the unceasing effort to compete with the beauty of flowers - and never succeeding. - Gian Carlo Menotti

How do you like your game art?

Phoenix Roster:
chally
Eeeville
Hawkeye77
indigopotter
JohnRayJr
Judoka
leroy43
Lowengrin
Mr_Nuts
ravenskana
Rynelf
Taibi
tjshields
topher
yokiboy - next week's fearless leader
Dormammu

Emeritus
Bruzza





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1. Board Game: Utopian Rummy [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:3934]
Christopher Rao
United States
Seattle
WA
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Q:When I say "lawyer" what pops into your head? A:Someone who designs games about penguins." - Dormammu
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Fashion Board game art is only the attempt to realize art in living forms and social intercourse. - (paraphrasing) Francis Bacon

Read more: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_art4.html#ixz...

Read more: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_art3.html#ixz...

Game art is a form of industrial design, as it aspires to both beauty and utility. Which of these statements best captures your views?

1- UTILITY of game play is paramount. No aesthetic is ever worth sacrificing clarity.

2- UTILITY is more important, but I mildly prefer not looking at an ugly board for 90 minutes.

3- UTILITY and BEAUTY are equally important.

4- BEAUTY is important. I'll happily put up with some initial confusion in game play to have a board and cards that I'll appreciate for years.

5- BEAUTY is paramount. I'll play a mediocre game if it has great art, and I'll avoid a great game if the art is lousy.

6- BANANA
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2. Board Game: Lord of the Rings [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:498]
Christopher Rao
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Seattle
WA
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Q:When I say "lawyer" what pops into your head? A:Someone who designs games about penguins." - Dormammu
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What game or games has art so beautiful it belongs on a wall?



I'm a fan of maps (not to mention XX's). So other than Dixit, my vote goes to 1865: Sardinia - but some XX players don't like Cory's amazing cartographic detail. You can't really see it on any of the uploaded photos, but the coastline is so expertly drawn that it looks like a friggin' nautical map!



Does anyone actually have game art up on their wall?
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3. Board Game: Glory to Rome [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:91]
Christopher Rao
United States
Seattle
WA
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Q:When I say "lawyer" what pops into your head? A:Someone who designs games about penguins." - Dormammu
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I've never really had a hobby, unless you count art, which the IRS once told me I had to declare as a hobby since I hadn't made money with it. - Laurie Anderson

Do you have a favorite game artist?


Yeah, I know it's my game, but I gotta say, five years down the line, Dave Linder's art still knocks me out. It was a privilege to work with him.

If not a favorite artist, do you have a favorite style of game art?

Personally, I'm pretty tired of the generic pastell-y euro art, and really appreciate more interesting historic styles, such as Biblios:

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4. Board Game: Titan [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:531]
Christopher Rao
United States
Seattle
WA
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Q:When I say "lawyer" what pops into your head? A:Someone who designs games about penguins." - Dormammu
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Murals in restaurants are on a par with the food in museums. - Peter De Vries

Read more: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_art6.html#ixz...
What is the best game that has terrible art? Or, to put it another way, what game is just crying out for a reprint with all new art?

What is your vote for the worst game art period? My vote is MegaCorps - sadly the game play isn't much better:

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5. Board Game: Through the Desert [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:318]
Christopher Rao
United States
Seattle
WA
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Q:When I say "lawyer" what pops into your head? A:Someone who designs games about penguins." - Dormammu
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I don't have pet peeves, I have whole kennels of irritation. Whoopi Goldberg

Do you have any pet peeves when it comes to graphic design, layout and/or art?



Yeah, I'm colorblind. And no, I will never ever play this game again
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6. Board Game: Gloom [Average Rating:6.43 Overall Rank:1082] [Average Rating:6.43 Unranked]
Christopher Rao
United States
Seattle
WA
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Q:When I say "lawyer" what pops into your head? A:Someone who designs games about penguins." - Dormammu
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Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun. - Pablo Picasso

Finally, what is the best integration of art design into a game that you have seen - not necessarily the best art, but the most clever use of art?

My vote goes to the necessarily translucent Gloom cards, with Gorey-esque art:



Have a great week, everyone!

Well he was only 5'3"
But girls could not resist his stare
Pablo Picasso never got called an asshole
Not in New York
- Jonathan Richman
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7. Board Game: Planet Steam [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:407]
Ben
United States
Washington
Dist of Columbia
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Games Played:
.10! Twilight Struggle
_8_ Planet Steam New!
_7_ Prêt-à-Porter New!
_6_ Puerto Rico: Limited Anniversary Edition New-ish!
_6_ Risk Legacy (x2)
_6_ The Climbers


Gaming Notes:
Planet Steam - Planet Steam gets the nod as the respresentative game this week by virtue of being the best game played at yesterday's DC Gamers game day. In an pleasant twist, both Planet Steam and this week's runner-up, Prêt-à-Porter, are fairly long (particularly so counting pre-game rules explanations and the assorted mid-game distractions that invariably arise) and involved economic Euros, leading to a very enjoyable game day experience for me overall (occasionally these events result in an excess of mediocre fillers as people struggle to reach consensus on game selection and player count). Of course, I also took my fair share of ribbing for last week's Ora et Labora (_3_) review. For example, Larry Levy said that, if he hadn't met me previously, he would have concluded that I'm the sort of person he would never ever ever want to game with.

But you're stuck with me now, Larry. No takesies-backsies! devil

The game itself is actually quite a bit like one of my 2010 favorites, Key Market (_9_). In both games, a communal spatial element is maniupulated to produce various kinds of resources that are then either invested in additional resource-producing infrastructure or sold in a constantly shifting marketplace. More importantly (in terms of the games' feel), both games proceed through very structured phases that simultaneously allow and require considerable advanced planning. The market in Planet Steam
is less fluid, but more predictable and (I think) more interesting. It is harder to crash the market between players' turns, but the relationship between price and supply is less linear. Additionally, the resources tend to be more scarce and the infrastructure upgrades more essential, making each player's market decisions more critical (a wrong move could be devastating to one's final score).

 

The only thing that keeps me from rating Planet Steam higher (aside from my general disinclination to fawn over new games) is the turn-order-special-character auction. I can't yet say whether our game was representative, but it seems that the importance of turn order and the related special character powers means that the auctions must be approached with a level of intentionality and precision that is very difficult for first-time players to recognize. In a game among experienced players, this might not suggest a problem, but with new players this led to a lot of reound-and-round posturing as the new players attempted to deduce the value of the actions from the bids of the more experienced players (which, for the most part, benefits the more experienced players who can either feign a price ceiling to stall out the price at a bargain or drive up a price unreasonably before hanging a new player out to dry). A similar thing happens in games of Power Grid (_8_) with new players, and it's one of the things that keeps me from rating the latter game more highly as well. Perhaps I'm just spoiled by Modern Art's (_9_) once-around auctions, which I think encourages more accurate pricing (although with some additional turn-order implications).

I look forward to trying this one again soon.


Prêt-à-Porter was pleasantly punishing, although I think it would become less so as we all gained familiarity with the available cards and symbology. I think that the game lasted about one season too long (it is twelve rounds divided into four seasons). Not only was the last show a massive points infusion, dwarfing the gains of the prevous rounds, but the accumulation of buildings, helpers, and contracts, each contributing their various special powers, made it increasingly hard to track the relative strengths and positions of each player (we played with four).


Puerto Rico: Limited Anniversary Edition is still Puerto Rico. The components are quite nice and make the game worth owning, but I think my experience with Race for the Galaxy (_6_) has diminished my enthusiasm for this game (only because the thought processes seem too familiar).


meeple
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8. Board Game: Last Will [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:233]
"L'état, c'est moi."
Canada
Vancouver
BC
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This is the week that was:
Last Will 1
Seega 1
Ticket to Ride 1
Twilight Struggle 1

A pretty light week over all. The TS game is on ACTS.

It's been a crazy busy week at work, and I had two 10+ hour days at the end of the week, so not a lot of gaming got done. Maybe this week will be better.
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9. Board Game: Space Alert [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:78]
Christopher Rao
United States
Seattle
WA
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Q:When I say "lawyer" what pops into your head? A:Someone who designs games about penguins." - Dormammu
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Typical week for me: One game of Space Alert, followed by an epic 6-hour play of 1848: Australia.

We were teaching Space Alert to a guy who's not really a gamer (and is going through a really hard week) and had it set, of course, to highest difficulty. So we told him not be stressed, because there was no way we were going to survive anyway. We didn't.

The 3-player 1848 game was the usual nail-biter. It was nip and tuck down to the wire, with Jonathan beating me by $9,896 to $9,860 - yup, $36. The equivalent of losing a euro 99 to 98.6. Many of our games are like this lately.

The group I'm in is way fun, and a bit obsessive. The week before I played 4 XX games, the most I'd ever played in a week, including two on Saturday. The last game ended well past dawn. I spent time with my family on Sunday, only to later learn that after a few hours sleep my buddies went and played another game Sunday. Crazy stuff, the kind of stuff that helps blot out a stressful week.

Last week was much better, and included a work triumph that had me smiling for days.
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10. Board Game: Innovation [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:202]
Nicolai Broen Thorning
Denmark
Ebeltoft
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Games Played Week 7:
3x Innovation
2x Eminent Domain
1x Agricola
1x Glen More

Game of Choice:
This has been our go-to game this week and I have enjoyed great success. It is starting to click and the decent number of plays overall is increasing our awareness of the different combos available to us. I get less frustrated now because I know what alternatives I have, if I seem to be stuck in a rut.

The Week in Review:
So, despite having 3 days off with the kids and 1 day with V too, we did not get a whole lot of gaming done. Instead the kids and I spent Monday watching Pirates with Mr. Depp, Tuesday re-organizing their rooms and Wednesday watching the 2nd of the 3 Lord of the Rings movies.

V. and I did get to play Glen More on Monday, but I seem to have lost the knack for this game and came in 2nd.

On Tuesday we played a game of Eminent Domain, which I dominated with my colonize strategy. V. tried to copy it, but I got off to the better start, getting 3 of the 4 advanced colonize action cards through research.

Then Innovation took over and I scored a hattrick of wins, before we sat down to play Agricola today (without the expansion). I think I am done with this game. Playing the game without the expansion makes for fewer decisions to make, perhaps making the game less, but also a bit faster. That said, the whole process just does not excite me, in fact I begin dreading the ordeal, though this may in fact be more due to my own fixation on having to win every game I play with V. which then sometimes makes me turn against games that challenge me, but also frustrate me.

I think if the game was set in Ancient Rome I would feel more favourably towards it, but as it is, it just cannot get my juices going.

The Week Ahead:
B. might actually make it tomorrow. No sports games on tv, no school obligations for V. and we might make it a first for 2012 in which case we will introduce her to Ticket to Ride: Europe and perhaps Glen More or Eminent Domain.
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11. Board Game: Greentown [Average Rating:6.11 Overall Rank:5435]
Jon
United States
Urbana
Illinois
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Another Games This Week Playlist Solely Based on Gamesday Event:

_9_ Outpost x1
Played with my oldest son, and Dave and his youngest son, borrowing Aliza's copy during Gamesday!
Dave dominated with titanium and won with 87, while again I did ok until midway through the second era, ended up getting nothing worthwhile in the third era and ended last with 36. Meanwhile, both kids acquitted themselves well, with Dave's youngest son scoring 52 and my oldest son scoring 56.

A very enjoyable game, and my son is now even more excited about picking this up now that he has a play in rather than just watching as he did last time. I think this will get a lot of plays in our home.

_7_ Greentown x1
Played with Dave, JC (clearclaw), and Scott.

An interesting game that has a few quirks in the rules but nothing too bad. It's neat and really engaged my spatial thinking abilities. The theming is light and non-threatening, but there are interesting decisions to make. If I had to guess, I'd say it was a Cwali game based on my experience with Powerboats and Sun, Sea, & Sand (and my research into Factory Fun) as far as the graphical design and presentation. The theming is sort of related to Sun, Sea, & Sand too, with you in charge of running tourists around a town showing them sights and getting points for doing so, while also giving points when showing others sites and losing points for failing to meet expected requirements.

I managed to pull off the win and I enjoyed the parasitic plays where you can score points but sometimes have to toss a few points to someone else too in order to make things work out. Reminds me slightly of Cavum, and I'd certainly play this again, and I think it would go over ok with my family. I also liked in reviewing the rules there's a few different starting layouts, which would be interesting to try. Also of note is the designer intended money to be secret. We played open, which didn't bother me, but I usually go with what's in the rules and could play this either way. I'd pick up a copy if one came along my way.

_6_ Fresh Fish x1
Played with JC, Aliza, and, sorry, I forgot the fourth player. I lost horribly with -10 at the end due to pushing my luck a bit too much thinking I could get a good placement and took the maximum loss instead when the road went out of my way. My other three positions weren't bad though. While I would certainly play this again, I suspect of the two new games to me this week, Greentown would work better in my home. They make an interesting contrast to each other. I may write more comparing the two of them later in the week as it is an interesting mental exercise for me.

Thanks to clearclaw for teaching Greentown and Fresh Fish!
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12. Board Game: Glen More [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:191]
Judit Szepessy
Canada
London
Canada
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The week in gaming

Ark of the Covenant x1
Shapes up x1
Arena x1
At the Gates of Loyang x1
Glen More x1

Ark of the Covenant: again, I went for middle sized cities and rivers, and it paid off while my younger son concentrated too much on his big city.

Shapes up: You have your own board that is divided into shapes and the aim of the game is to complete your board with various shapes - not a bad game, but very much luck dependent because you throw the dice and the dice roll will tell you what shapes can you place on your own board. There is a clever twist in the game in that you can steal a piece from other players if you have a particular die roll. The puzzle aspect of the game reminded me of Blokus, and now I think we should really have Blokus in our collection.

At the Gates of Loyang
was a two player market affair, and despite of having high and low swings in money, we both did quite well. The kind helpers made things smoother along the way.

Glen More : I mainly concentrated on chieftains and villages, and my son concentrated on whiskey and green production tiles, and butchering.
I still love Glen More, the games are always different and I love the artwork on the tiles. It packs some challenging decisions each time in a shorter time frame.

The week ahead: I am very excited to receive the games I ordered. Last Will arrived at germanboardgame.com and with that one I finalized my order. I have been reading rules and reviews for these games so that when they come we can get them on the table sooner.
Oh, and tomorrow we have Container scheduled as our game for Family Day.
I wonder how our boys will like the game.
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13. Board Game: Washington's War [Average Rating:7.68 Overall Rank:259]
Max Maloney
United States
Portland
Oregon
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"If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason." -Jack Handey
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Games Played

_9_ Magic: The Gathering 26
_8_ Yggdrasil 1
_7_ Olympos 1
_7_ London 1
_6_ Washington's War 1 New!
_5_ Agricola 1

Week in Review

Much of this week's Magic was playing a very fun (and quite popular) variant, which allows for more than 2-players and a much higher amount of card variety. It's a creative and fun format for play that has a huge playspace to explore.

Yggdrasil was played with the newly-available Vidar promo (a new player power). I'm not entirely sure why I love this game, but why worry about it when I can just play it. We marginally increased the difficulty from our last play and lost for our efforts when the great snake Nidhogg stormed the Hall of Odin and we could not push it back.

I've only played Go against a computer AI, and only once or twice. I detest abstracts and it didn't immediately indicate I would like it any more than others. It's likely I'd rate Go around a 2. So is it surprising that Washington's War comes in at the midpoint between that and 10 (my rating for Twilight Struggle)?

Washington's War felt like Twilight Struggle with less sophisticated card play and an irritatingly abstract underpinning. Laying your color marker and trying to surround and cut-off the opponent's markers had an undeniably Go-like feel to it that did nothing but distract me from the historical theme. That the cards were events or ops (rather than both), took away the beautiful tension of TS's play. It's not a bad game: it only suffers mightily by comparison to a giant.

Agricola is still meh for me. I did play it with some new gamers (Magic players who I learned are early into their exploration of the board game side of the hobby), and playing with people who love it made it more fun. I might play some more and try to improve my skills (I suck at the game), but I can't ever imagine my rating for this game going above 7. Maybe I'll change my mind...

I'm scheduled for 1-3 gaming events today; more later.

[EDIT] Sunday

I played in a Magic event using Unhinged cards, which is a set of joke cards. An example of a card that I used to do very well is the Question Elemental, which is a powerful creature that requires its controller speak only in questions. If you make a statement and your opponent points it out before you do, the Elemental defects to their control. Another card calls for an arm-wrestling contest; another for a best of 3 rock-paper-scissors match. Many of the cards have bonus "Gotcha!" effects which allow you to claim the effect if the opponent does something specific (such as touching their own face with their hand).

It was good fun and I came in second, winning some prize cards and a statue of Tim the Enchanter from Monty Python's Holy Grail. The latter is cute, though it is basically house clutter.

I then went to the end of a board-game day at another friend's house and taught both Olympos and London. Olympos is such a solid game and the short play time works well to pack the decisions into a dense package. It's really a 7.5 and I'm very happy to have it.

London solidifies itself as no better than a 7 for me at this early stage (it was my third play). Some of the imbalances just irk me and I still think the burroughs are a failed mechanic. It's a bit too A Few Acres of Snow and not enough Brass for my taste; it doesn't feel correctly tuned. The other two players got the Omnibi and I ended the game with 4 unpaid loans. However, I eked out the win by drawing all five Underground cards. It wouldn't have worked if my two opponents weren't both new.
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14. Board Game: Power Struggle [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:555]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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It was my life, like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was to let it be.
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[7] Indonesia 1
[8] Peloponnes 1
[6] Pow Wow 1
[8.5] Power Struggle 1
[10] Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization 1


Power Struggle was a lot of fun and I was reminded how much more I like this than Tribune. My bribes ranged from $50 to $200K to $1.5M(!). Even though my bribe was declined for the Chairman (which would've given me my last main department), I was able to purchase one on the next turn and win. It was a teaching play for some so I'm happy to have more people who know how to play.

Indonesia was unfortunately disappointing. Part of it was that I actually had to work Saturday and I was very tired by the time evening came, plus I had a friend over who games occasionally and I was reminded how defensive she can be. She fluctuated between I know! You don't have to over-explain it to me! and You didn't tell me that! She swears I told her only money in the Bank was VPs and nothing else. Sigh. Anyway, this game, like Scepter of Zavandor, requires a group to play it a few times and all play optimally or the game can get off-kilter. That happened here (the off-kiltering) and three of the five players (me included) were obviously out of it from the B era on. It was a race b/w the other two players such that watching the last few turns was excruciatingly dull.

Afterwards I was asked why I like this game and I didn't have a good answer. Maybe I want to like it more than I actually do. I do think that until my group gets good at it, we should only play with 4P. I thought the game went too fast with five and didn't give people enough time to get up the tech tracks and for farther away companies to develop. I've bumped my rating down for now as I'm not sure it will get much traction in my group due to both games featuring de facto player elimination though I would like another play soon to wash this last one away.

Peloponnes with 6P was quite enjoyable and I think this will be a new six player option. Really enjoy how tight it is and the tension of the auction. Although I taught four of the six people and I was reminded of Ben's OeL experience in that I'm not 100% sure everyone did their resources and feeding correctly, especially at the end of the game.

There are always rules we forget when we play so I finally just hand wrote some notes for myself for the next time. It's so easy to forget that supply rounds happen immediately and that there is indeed a final supply round at the end of the game. This one can be annoying for me if played sparingly b/c of all the rules I have to cobble together. I have: 1) the original rules translation, 2) the rules for two expansions, and 3) a very detailed player two-page payer aid. Hopefully, my notes will help me next time.

Through the Ages was enjoyable as usual. I still enjoy this game very much and am still surprised I haven't come close to loving other Vlaada Chvatil games. I hope to get some more plays of this in preparation for my annual drubbing in the WBC tournament.

Pow Wow was ridiculous fun. You wear a headband and stick a feather in it that faces your opponents and which you cannot see. There are numbers and some special symbols on the feathers that range from -10 to +20. You go around the table either increasing the bid for how many points in total you think there are or calling. It's so funny how not being able to see just one piece of information makes it so hard for you to ascertain just what the hell is going on. I was second person eliminated but I still enjoyed watching the remaining shenanigans.
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15. Board Game: Chaos in the Old World [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:59]
Bryan Maxwell
United States
Burtchville
Michigan
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Chaos in the Old World

496014

Good week of gaming. Bad day of work. We really got our shit pushed in today. I'll add to this tomorrow.

Super Dungeon Explore x 1
Carcassonne x 2*
Thunderstone x 2
Kingdom Builder x 3
Chaos in the Old World x 1
London x 1
Innovation x 2
Race for the Galaxy x 5
The Castles of Burgundy x 2

Looking back, it was a week of highs and lows (though more of the former than the latter). We got some bills paid off and started investing (very carefully) into some stocks. At the moment I'm overwhelmed (I'm using eTrade) but feeling my way along. At the game table:

I inflicted Super Dungeon Explore on my neighbors in a 4-player 16-bit game. One of them rushed his spellcaster into danger (to use an AOE spell) and died for it. Things went quickly downhill for them at that point and I won as the monster-controller-guy. I spent my high school years playing D&D with these people, and this group was the target for this sort of game. Trash talking and bickering like it was 1995 again. It was fun, and I think it'll stick around for when I'm playing with people who are fans of dungeon crawlers.

Kat and I have been enjoying Carcassonne on the iPad together. Carc, TTR and Ascension have all impressed me with their iOS implementations; I thought the Kingsburg app was sucky.

Thunderstone
was hit-and-miss this week. We had one of those plays that reminds me how fragile the system is. Monsters too strong to defeat, their abilities work against the heroes' abilities, the heroes don't work together, the items are a poor fit for the heroes, etc. Yuck.

Kat and I enjoyed Kingdom Builder, especially for the short (~20 minutes) playtime. I'm very interested in how this will play out as a 3 or 4 player game. I love variable setups in games, and I think this one will have legs due to the variable player boards, special actions and goals that change from game to game. Seems like a good closer for game nights.

Chaos in the Old World was a nasty, evil joy. The delicate balancing act each player has to make is such an interesting thing. We had 2 new players (both of whom played well) and saw Khorne win on points, which is crazy. Love this game.

Kat and I revisited London and loved it. It feels like an old friend, where we can go for long periods of time without seeing each other but pick right up where we left off. I tried a small city and lost, but not horribly so.

We had 2 plays of Innovation this week. One was interesting where I was on the verge of winning until Kat used Bioengineering to take my leaves away then won the game with it, and our second play was a lifeless 7-0 win.

We dusted off Race for the Galaxy this week and it was its usual wonderful self. Nothing new there. We're still playing with Rebel v Imperium.

We played 2 games of Castles of Burgundy yesterday (one in the morning and one at night). We're really enjoying it. The different player boards help mix things up, and I like the fact that you won't see most the tiles in a given game. This is one of those games where the points will come rolling in no matter what you do, and the devil is in the details. Still, we like it a lot. This seems like it would be a winner for Carol and Sam.

The upcoming week:

Cavum arrived last week, and Upon a Salty Ocean should be here soon. My buddy is planning on teaching Age of Industry on Wednesday. More Castles of Burgundy with Kat seems likely as well.


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16. Board Game: The Adventurers: The Temple of Chac [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:831]
United States
Wurtsboro
NY
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Ra: Dice 4
Yahtzee 3
Adventurers 1
Walnut Grove 1

Today we had a game day with Mr. and Mrs.

N/A

I had taught Mrs. WG Walnut Grove at our last game day, but Ryan had not had a chance to play yet, so we started with a game of it. As the only newcomer to the game, he was at a bit of a disadvantage, but he had good coin points and people points, and beat Mrs. WG (which is all that really matters, I think). I had obscene bonus points, with points for each building (4), points for each fence (4), and 2 points for each bonus tile (6), giving me a final score of 30. I had the fewest number of people (3, where others had 5), so my maintenance costs were low, and I could make lots of stone.

From there, we needed something with dice and danger (good name for a podcast!). Ryan asked about The Adventurers: Temple of Chac, a good choice. The setup is a little too long for the game, but we set it up, and decided to explain things room-by-room. Ryan took a racing strategy, whereas Mrs. WG studied things more and took more treasures (she had something like 7 cards at the end). Ryan was counting on us dying, and Mrs. WG very nearly did - she escaped out of the exit by the skin of her teeth.

They took us out to dinner (Indian food!) and headed for home. We just sat down to 3 quick games of Yahtzee, to wind down and spend time with each other.
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17. Board Game: Outpost [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:1045]
Dave Peters
United States
Belmont
California
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Powers:Coleridge:Milton: Faith...must be, if anything, a clear-eyed recognition of the patterns and tendencies, to be found in every piece of the world's fabric, which are the lineaments of God.
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That's Tim Powers' fictional Samuel Coleridge "quoting" John Milton in _The Anubis Gates_.
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Scorecard for the Week/Month/Year as of 18Feb2012:

10/31/60 plays of 9/21/37 total games, with 0/5/7 expansions employed.
Plays with 21/27/47 distinct opponents.

0/1/3 games acquired (plus 0/0/1 expansions.)

With son #1, son #2 and some youngsters from church:
2x _8_ Diamant - It's nearly totally trivial - so I shouldn't be amused by it. One of the participants likened it to blackjack: one pushes one's luck up to that point that the risk seems too large. That's true to an extent - though there are some subtleties here, I think. In any event, it was a good deal of fun. Easily my favourite Faidutti or Moon.
1x _7_ Animal Upon Animal - Most of the youngsters went home, leaving us rather overtired and perhaps in the best mental state for this one. Despite the taunting of her peers, S won.

With half of the I've been Diced! crew:
1x _7.7_ Bus - Oh, quite lovely. I'd only played it against my youngsters in previous outings, and it was a delight to play it against competent opponents. Much more sensible and tractable than I'd remembered.
1x _8_ God's Playground - Another pathological game: I think we lost all of Poland (except the Lithuanian holdouts) to the Ottoman Horde. Fortunately for me, I'd invested heavily in Lithuanian real estate... My first win at this one: in previous games, I've been badly outclassed by my esteemed opponents. But I really enjoy this one win or loss (and strong Poland or weak. It's very entertaining.)

With Jon, his son #1, and my son #2:
1x _8_ Outpost - I shouldn't like this. But I do: it's quite cute. Son #2 was much more enthusiastic about it than I'd ever expected, too: he wondered if we could get a copy! (Many thanks to Jon et fils for the game, too.)

With some nice folk at the Los Altos Gameday:
1x _7_ Hare & Tortoise - My first time playing with the hare space random events. My friends at work play the "No hare spaces" rule - which, after this instance, I've got to say that I both customarily employ AND prefer. In this instance, my opponents were really nice and I came dead last: somewhat of a success.

With Jon, JC and one other at the same Gameday:
1x _6.7_ Greentown - It's a cool game. Even if I Don't Get It. Perhaps pathologically so: I made poor decisions early, and compounded them as the game went along. I think I managed half of the score of the player in third place! I believe I'd play better if I had another opportunity - but I'm not quite convinced I want one...

With the no-longer-on-Fridays gang:
1x _7.7_ Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde - Hah! I've been playing the scoring wrong for the past several games. Very embarrassing. But it's still a gloriously cool design, and one I'm extremely happy to play.
1x Corner Lot - Sadly, I'd never played before - and so I didn't notice when a couple rules were mispresented to us. Our game was a bit pathological - though perhaps slightly more edifying for further plays than a "normal" game might have been. Hopefully Richard will bring it again, so we can try it "correctly."

Owned-and-unplayed: 22 (No change, though I did add a couple games to my long-pending current order. I'll only count them owned when they arrive!)

As to Diamant... we play the "Treasure Chest" rule: the "1" card is treated as a 10-value indivisible treasure chest. It's only picked up when a single adventurer leaves the mine alone. On one turn (when the chest is in play), son #1 says to the others "I'm leaving now." They had the choice: leave the mine in order to block him - or allow him to collect the 10 points. It was amusing - and a finesse that doesn't have an analogy to a blackjack play.

Outlook for the week: Well, I got in a game of Phoenicia today against son #2 - I'd presented it to him as a relative of Outpost - and one that we owned. He thought it wasn't quite as interesting: he really liked the multiple currencies and the more forgiving hand limit rules. Who knows what else we might play?
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18. Board Game: Dungeon Petz [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:87]
Albatros
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Albatros
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Games Played
Dungeon Petz x3
Carcassonne x1
Ora et Labora x1

Representative Game
Three games of Dungeon Petz of which two were three-player. It's a solid game, but as I've said before, I'm just not really connecting with it. It's a bit too random and the theme (while cute) doesn't really pull me in. We'll see how many plays more we get out of it (especially since Last Will and Upon a Salty Ocean will soon be here).

The Week in Review
Besides Dungeon Petz, not a lot of other games got to the table this week. The old quickie, Carcassonne, was one. The other was Ora et Labora which turned out to be doubly disappointing because:

1. I thought I had won.
2. S thought I had won and wanted to toss in the towel.

Even though a few days has passed since the game, it has made me hesitant to suggest we play it again.

In other news, P asked about Letters from Whitechapel tonight. He wants to track down a copy. I suggested he just buy ours and S was only too happy to support me on the suggestion. It's a good game and it has great production values, but I'm just not that interested in exploring it further. Of course, should that change, a copy won't be too far away.
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19. Board Game: King of Tokyo [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:115]
Daniel Kenel
United States
New London
Iowa
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Games Played
Last Will x2
King of Tokyo x3

Week in Review
Between a couple of late nights at work and being sick as a dog Thursday-Saturday there wasn't a lot of time for gaming this week. Sadly plans to play Mage Knight solo and 2P wargaming (No Retreat, Sekigahara) for Saturday had to be called off. At least by Sunday everyone was feeling well enough to play a couple of games.

I taught my wife and oldest daughter King of Tokyo. It proved to be a big hit with my daughter. A very enjoyable filler that I think will hit the table often. Yoki has been leading the bandwagon on this one and I'm just a bit late on jumping on board. I'm with you Yoki.

Only other game played was a couple of 2P games of Last Will with Tori. I expected Tori would really enjoy this one and also be a bit of a natural at it. I was correct. She easily beat me in our first game. In our 2nd game I tried to go without any real estate the entire game just to see how it would work. We both ended up going bankrupt on the 6th turn but I managed to go about $15 more in debt for the win. I'm enjoying exploring Last Will right now but I really don't think it will have a lot of staying power for me. We shall see I guess.

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20. Board Game: 1812: The Invasion of Canada [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:415]
Tom Shields
United States
Tacoma
Washington
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Plays
1812: Invasion of Canada
Innovation
Ascension: Storm of Souls x2

1812 was an exciting and stormy - even hilarious - play. I played the Brits, their native allies, and the dubious Canadian Militia. I think my favorite tactics involved the native americans, their ability to penetrate enemy territory & melt away drove the mobile, sharpshooting Americans nuts & prevented them from fully exploiting their superior ability to cover ground and mass the forward line.

The Niagara peninsula was a see saw with initial massing & some big bloody fights, a temptation to the Americans as they made early progress but attrition kept grounding them to a halt. I chose small force flanking moves & penetration, surprise moves across the lakes with smaller forces, and a slow massing and crawling south of the heavy hitting Brits in the east. I managed to take both American recruiting points - to the west with Native Americans that had the good fortune to reinforce, and a slow mass of Brits that lurched their way to Albany. But the American Regulars are both heavy hitting and they can travel - I couldn't sustain either position, and I couldn't end the game when I had the advantage - and damn if those Canadian Militia kept fleeing the battlefield as the Americans regained (by a thread) the recruitment centers & pushed back to pull off a tie right as the game ended on rounds.

This game is fun. The first play prompts a desire to try different ideas & time a risky maneuver against the unusual randomized turn order system. There's no real supply system, so you can end up in some hilarious (and impractical) positions, so it must be approached as a game rather than a simulation, and a willingness to go with the vagaries of the die. But the distinct quality of each faction - the cards, the recruitment system, and the unique dice - combines simplicity & drama in a way that's easy to get to the table. As DJ said, the turn order mechanism is the real prize of the game & caused as many moans as having your militia flee the battlefield.

Innovation - it is so rare to have a slam dunk runaway win in this one between experienced players. But this is the second time I got away with riding Clothing all the way into a score pile hitting 30 points while the opponent kept a negligible tableau trying to draw into a Masonry. Then it was achieve/achieve/achieve, turn out the lights.

Ascension: Storm of Souls really has changed the game for the better. Much better. Effective deck manipulation and a much more responsive array of tenable choices. Like Mark said, monster killing is viable now, and damn you can thin a deck quick (I had mine to 8 cards in one game, and I got there quick) whereas in the base game the mechanics were hardly as nimble. We played 2 games & the were both distinct & interesting affairs. The games grown some pop. The artwork remains a killer, supreme drawings with a humor that doesn't undermine it's mythos. I don't own this, but I'd buy it for the family table without hesitation.

I should mention that my play of Last Will last week wasn't terribly exciting. I hold back judgement from a first play and I'll be curious how it unrolls for those of you who love it off the bat, but I didn't see enough breadth to the choices in the cardplay, and as far as the board (turn order & card drafting machinations) it felt too easy for everyone to slide out of a competitive tempo. I keep open to try this with gamers rather than a family table to see if it wakes up.

Also, we played Discworld with the kids and it was a hit for the family table. When the kids beat the adults, and the adults are trying, and there's lots of psychological maneuvering, I think it's a fine liftoff for a mixed, non-gaming table. I'm not sure there's a ton of plays in it, but the kids loved it so I imagine it'll beat Last Will to the family table. The cards are hilarious, and the artwork, so I need to find a Discworld novel for each of the kids and feed the experience.

Well, I have to go back to reading Shogun. Man is it a page turner.
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21. Board Game: Kick it: Das Spiel [Average Rating:10.00 Unranked]
Yoki Erdtman
Sweden
Södertälje
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Games Played: (Links to play details, with my ratings in color.)
_.9. Zulus on the Ramparts! x5
.10. Kick it - Das Spiel x3
_.9. Julius Caesar new!
.10. Tier auf Tier: Das große Abenteuer, play #2, and play #3 new!
_.6. Rat-a-Tat Cat, and play #2 my 20th play!
_.8. Hüpf hüpf, Hurra! my 15th play!
_.8. ...aber bitte mit Sahne
_.4. Hungry Troll and the Gobbos, play #2, and play #3 passed 50 plays!
.10. Tier auf Tier 23 my 45th play of Tier auf Tier titles!

New Games in My Collection:
You know that you're perhaps a tad much into gaming when each week I must do a search on various online databases to recall my new purchases.

It seems that apart from some free PSN titles, including Far Cry 2, I actually didn't add any games to my collection.

Week in Review:
For once I actually played a fair number of games, and I'm so very happy and excited about it! Not only did I revisit Zulus on the Ramparts!, but I improved its components by laminating the cards and the board (now I must figure out what to do about the tokens). Only Lars showed up for gaming night, but with a quick game of Kick-It, followed by a fantastic first play of Julius Caesar the evening could only have been improved had we had time to finish the latter. Friday I slept for some 14+ hours, and woke up feeling better than in many long months, and had a play day with my daughters. Dang was it fun and refreshing!

Edit: I neglected to mention that I spent Saturday and Sunday pulling all my games off their shelves and reorganizing the lot. Even after throwing out a dozen plus expansion boxes and otherwise, I still couldn't fit everything in an orderly fashion. I should go furniture shopping.

Representative Item:
This was a tough choice, but I elected to go with Kick it - Das Spiel as I want more people to learn about this fantastic dexterity game. It plays very quickly as each game is played until one player has scored 5 goals, but I have never played just one game of this, everyone wants to make it at least a best-of-three series.

Plans for the Week:
Hopefully more gaming! I'd love to get in a complete game of Julius Caesar, but that's only if there are just two of us for game night. And apparently I'm up in next week's GCL rotation good thing I read the header each week, so now I must come up with some ideas for a list.


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22. Board Game: Glen More [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:191]
Железный комиссар
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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Games Played

Glen More
For Sale
Aton

Week in Review

Glen More was fun, but not quite as interesting to me as my session a couple of weeks ago. Scores were lower because players were jumping farther ahead and ejecting a lot of tiles from the game. I tied for the win with 39 points, so I felt like I played well, but that the gaming environment was unusually rocky.

For Sale was even more entertaining than usual because cards kept coming up in hilarious sets (2, 3, 5, 29, for instance). I taught Aton to a friend I hadn't seen in a while and that seemed to go well. Such a fast-moving game. He picked it up quickly but let me get a clear majority in the fourth temple, all four blue squares, and a majority in black, which is hard to beat.
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23. Board Game: Luna [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:285]
Mark Johnson
Canada
St.John's
Newfoundland
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“Brothers, oh brothers, my days here are done, the Dornishman’s taken my life, But what does it matter, for all men must die, and I’ve tasted the Dornishman’s wife!”
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"Oak and iron guard me well, or else I'm dead and doomed to hell." - Andal proverb.
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Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer + RotF (65)
Ascension: Storm of Souls (2)
Blood Bowl: Team Manager - The Card Game (1)
Luna (1)

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More Ascension (both iOS and f2f), which is always great fun. On Monday I received almost all of the available promo's. I also printed up proxies for the ones that are not currently available. I'm not sure if I should add them to Storm of Souls or if I should add them to CotG + RotF when I receive CotG in the mail.

Blood Bowl continues to be fun. There was recently a FAQ released which basically eliminates some of the upgrade cards from the game (except as an optional variant. At this point I could be complaining about how this is another example of how FFG doesn't properly test their games before releasing them, but I find this one to be so fun that I'm not so concerned if it's 100% balanced. It will be interesting to see how the game plays with the cards removed but it does remove an avenue to victory. It's currently contested whether it's an OP path to victory, but regardless I'll give the new config a try.

Luna...

Luna is a game of worker placement, action selection, timing, and a hint of area majority. Using the workers has a variety of functions such as: making new actions available, augmenting always available actions, increasing area majority tiebreaker standings which also give you points, avoiding negative points while possibly also trying to inflict them on others, creating more workers, moving your workers, and a variety of other things. The graphic design/artwork is nice and there is no hidden information or cards. The tempo of the game from round to round is in the hand of the players.

While this all sounds good and interesting, I didn't really enjoy the game. As I've only played one game and at what I would probably consider to be the worst player counter (3) I'm probably not the best one to judge the game. Here is what I didn't like about it: I didn't like the two types of targeted player attacks. There are 7 islands and a character that will cause negative points to all players that have workers on that island. You can use worker actions to move this character. You can protect yourself against this targeted attack by having available workers to move the character again, but it wasn't something I enjoyed having to keep in mind.

The second type of targeted attacks come from the temple. Workers in the temple provide points from round-to-round. When new workers are added to the temple, they can potentially kick out opposing players workers. Not only does this gain you points per round, but you also stop opponents from gaining points per round, you gain an immediate point per worker kicked out, and essentially create a situation where opponents need to use special actions to use the workers again otherwise they'll be sitting on wasted potential. Protection from being kicked is available through special actions and careful planning. Overall, I can say that this was a big turnoff for me as in a 3 player game someone can be hit by these attacks from both opponents which can essentially can put a player completely out of the running. Full disclosure: that was me in my game played.

This is essentially a euro in that you are optimizing the use of your workers and actions to try and get the most points. I didn't really like the type of player interaction involved for a game of this type. I don't mind this type of interaction for the area control type of euro games but that's not the type that Luna is despite having a small amount of area majority included within it. If you ever wished that you could destroy your opponents fences in or kill opponents livestock in Agricola, Luna may be the kind of game you're looking for.

---

Sorry again for updating so late. I think today is the first day I've felt mostly normal from being sick so I appreciate your patience in my getting my entry up. What's on the horizon? Wednesday I will be playing my first game of Mage Knight. I'm really looking forward to playing this and think it will has potential to fire War of the Ring 2nd edition before I've even played it. It will be a 3 player game with everyone being new to the game. I'm debating between the intro scenario and the "Blitz Conquest" scenario. Could anyone that's played Mage Knight please explain to me me what this means:

"Whenever you cross a line on the Fame track, you get 1 extra Fame."

I've looked up various information on the Fame/Reputation board and I don't know what this means. When they mean a line, do they mean when you gain a level and are starting in a new row? I've never read anything referred to as a line in either the walkthrough or rulebook.

Anyway, what else? Well, as you all know my Resolution at this point is thrown out the window! So, I decided to get Rex: Final Days of an Empire. This is despite the fact that I probably won't have 5 - 6 players to get it to the table anytime soon and despite the fact that if I can get 5 - 6 players I should probably be playing BSG instead! Oh well! At least Jesse has a favorable opinion of it so far.

So, this is what I have coming when the CE expansion arrives in a week or so:

Rex: Final Days of an Empire
Wiz-War
Gosu: Kamakor
Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer 2nd Edition
Cosmic Encounter: Cosmic Alliance
War of the Ring: Sleeves & Box

If Mage Knight turns out to be amazing, I may cancel the WotR Sleeves/Artbox as I don't think I'll see a need to keep both games. Even if I do keep WotR, when the eventual expansions are released the extra cards are not going to fit in the box which is pretty lame. So, with removing that I may add one of the following to my order:

Carcassonne: The City
The Castles of Burgundy
Eclipse (89.99 language independent French edition)
Arcana

I think I would like a copy of Carcassonne kicking around (for a newbie 2-3 player game) but since I have the game + expansions on iPad I figured the City might be a good alternative.

I shouldn't get Castles of Burgundy. It's Feld. It's a dice-based euro and I don't think it will be able to compete with Troyes except perhaps in the 2 player department. Sadly, I have way too many games that are great with 2 players already. I still can't deny wanting to try it however.

I shouldn't get Eclipse. It's probably best with 5 - 6 which will compete with BSG and Rex. I hate those generic space ship minis (way too overused... Galactic Emperor/Eminent Domain). Probably about a 4-ish hour game which generally tends to be a bit too long. It's expensive if I don't like it and it would probably be hard to get rid of the French edition.

I probably shouldn't get Arcana as I have waaaaaaaaaay to many card games and that's not even including the 2 kickstarter games I'm waiting to arrive. It does have really purdy artwork though.

Carcassonne seem the most likely.
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