A gaming visit with Blott and the family - Part the Sixth!
Jason Lott
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Cheverly
Maryland
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It has been a tough year for me to get personal time to travel, since we had saved up for a big Italian vacation. But at last, it was time again for me to fly up north to Michigan to visit my brother -

Ben Lott
United States
Mason
Michigan
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- and the rest of the family for as much gaming as we could squeeze in a holiday weekend. Thus follows the saga of the Lott family gaming. As usual I would try my best to learn a lot of new games and try to beat my sister-in-law at them!

NOTE: This is a follow-up to my fifth marathon geeklist. Yes, this is how I spend time with my family. Whenever we can. I am so lucky!
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1. Board Game: The Dwarf King [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:1553]
Jason Lott
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Day 1: Friday

In anticipation of my visit, Ben and his wife had graciously taken the day off, so we could enjoy an afternoon as a family before they headed off for a Good Friday service.

Our first game was a natural choice. You have to understand that trick-taking games are raised to an art form in our family - we are always looking for a new twist on an old favorite. So you'll see not 1, but 3 trick-taking games this time!

The artwork was silly but the unique goals for each hand are what made this a fun experience. We all spent several hands just trying to maintain a non-negative score.

Result: In the end I dominated with 17 points (Mom was next with 8), using up a dose of beginner's luck.
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2. Board Game: Zero [Average Rating:5.82 Overall Rank:7559]
Jason Lott
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A good party game is also always a good option with our family as well - and Ben had mentioned this surprisingly clever one recently. We continually tried our best to give the least popular answer on the card, while also trying to make sure our answers were on the card at all!

Dad and I did especially bad - cruising to the finish line well ahead of the rest of the crew. You'd think I'd be bitter, but it was actually a lot of fun, and I'd be happy to try it again sometime.

Result: Ben won.
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3. Board Game: Magical Athlete [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:1670]
Jason Lott
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For something on the sillier side, I had to try this, as Ben has mentioned how much fun they've had with it. I took the Siren, the Necromancer, the Prophet and the Conjurer. There were a few bumps along the way, but once we were into the third race, there was much hooting and laughter as our die rolls tried desperately to keep Ben's crazy Martial Artist under control!

Result: It was to no avail - Ben won with 11 points, and Rikki took second with 7.

P.S. I'll avoid the Prophet in the future - my predictive skills were laughable.
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4. Board Game: Dragonheart [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:962]
Jason Lott
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Maryland
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While dinner was being prepped, Ben and I had about 20 minutes, so I suggested Dragonheart, which I'd brought in my luggage. As I've found in the past, the rules were easy to grasp once you get into it, and soon we were grabbing point cards as fast as we could lay them down. Right on time, we finished with the 3rd set of boats.

Result: I confess I forgot to write down the score. IIRC, I beat Ben by just a few points.
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5. Board Game: Dominion: Prosperity [Average Rating:8.36 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.36 Unranked]
 
Jason Lott
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Day 2: Saturday

Our second day was pretty open - no plans until the extended family was going to join us for dinner and fellowship. Ben suggested we get started with Dominion, as he knew I was more interested in it now that I've played the iOS app incessantly. Per my request, we threw in cards from all the big expansions (Intrigue, Seaside, Prosperity and Hinterlands) along with the Governor promo card just for kicks.

The cards drawn were pretty heavily slanted to Seaside, but I really got a sense for how Prosperity opens up the game with more money and the Colony victory cards. We all were helping each other figure out clever strategies and were most excited to see Mom try a Tactician turn! My own favorite discovery was the Cartographer (from Hinterlands) played just before the Wishing Well (from Intrigue). Look at your deck, arrange it how you like, and then "predict" the card you know is there!

Result: Ben won with 57, one Colony ahead of Rikki with 47.
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6. Board Game: Cluedo Super Sleuth [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:6179]
Jason Lott
United States
Cheverly
Maryland
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Another tradition for Ben and I is trying just about any variation on Clue. It was a favorite classic board game, and you don't want to be around us when the movie comes on. So Ben managed to get this through our geekbuddy Grimwold.

It become apparent very quickly (especially to Rikki), that this version had serious faults. Halfway through it was clear that if we continued to play by the established rules (which require you only to direct a suggestion to one player), we'd never get to play another game that day. So we switched to the classic rule (a suggestion passes around the table until a clue is shown) and tried to end it quickly.

Result: So quickly, in fact, that everyone else made a false accusation, and I won by default. (If I'd guessed, I would have been out also.)
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7. Board Game: Tin Soldiers [Average Rating:5.87 Overall Rank:5682]
Jason Lott
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To make it up to Rikki, it was agreed that we should pull out one of her favorites. Ben had a shiny new copy via Tanga, so we broke it in. I think Dad was too burned by Cluedo to want to play for awhile!

Result: Rikki likes this game because she's good at it! She slaughtered us with 126 points - I was closest with just 86.
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8. Board Game: Keltis [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:1027]
Jason Lott
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OK - the truth is we did not play the actual Keltis - but Ben has Lost Cities: The Board Game, which provides rules for how to play the official Keltis way.

And that was our goal, because Ben and I have launched on an insane challenge to try every one of the Spiel des Jahres winners. This was our first step for the weekend.

The result was pleasant - it was immediately apparent to me how this game was superior to the Lost Cities card game. There was much agony and tough decision-making near the end.

Result: Mom got her first win here with 140 points - edging out Ben's 135.
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9. Board Game: Dominion: Hinterlands [Average Rating:8.08 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.08 Unranked]
Jason Lott
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Rikki and Mom asked for a little break, so Ben and I reached for Dominion again - why not? This time we focused on just Prosperity and Hinterlands so I could get more flavor from those sets.

This time Ben discovered his new favorite card from Prosperity - the Counting House. He practically hoarded Copper as he kept reaching for Colony after Colony! I caught onto this too late to take advantage. My preferred strategy had me buying a lot of Border Village cards. With each purchase I would then reach for a free Duchy and then get to grab a free Duchess as well. Not too bad, but not enough to match Ben's dominance.

Result: Ben beat me 81-43. And yet, I now confess I've grown to like Dominion more and need to revise up my rating!
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10. Board Game: Rattus [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:545]
Jason Lott
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Rattus is a game that Rikki boasted she is very good at. How could I not challenge that? Dad agreed to join us for a play, and we threw in the Pied Piper expansion for variety. We ended up taking the Bishop, Courier and Crusader from that set.

It became clear that the reasons Rikki does well are because - 1) she avoids roles except one, and 2) she's insanely lucky. Let's just say Italia must have had a double-rainbow hanging over it just because her cubes were there!

Result: As promised, Rikki won with 10 cubes; Ben was the next closest with 6.
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11. Board Game: The Hanging Gardens [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:844]
Jason Lott
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Maryland
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I've played this game more on Yucata recently, so was happy to suggest it, as I know it's a favorite of Rikki's. And maybe I could get her back!

Alas, Ben was not kind in taking the King I really needed to win. It's as if he was trying to win himself!

Result: And win he did - 50 points to my 45.
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12. Board Game: 6 nimmt! [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:466]
Jason Lott
United States
Cheverly
Maryland
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After the larger family had said their good-byes, my cousin David was still around, and was happy to join us for a short game. I'd requested this one, as I actually haven't tried any of the Nimmt series.

The rules were easy to catch onto, and this one caused a lot of laughter and agony. Trying to second-guess each other wasn't easy, but boy did we try.

Result: I won with 23 points - edging out Dad who had 30. It was just not Rikki's happy time, as she had almost 3 times as many points as me!
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13. Board Game: Enchanted Forest [Average Rating:5.78 Overall Rank:3887]
Jason Lott
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Day 3: Sunday

Easter Sunday was a beautiful morning followed by a Mexican feast. Hey - not everyone has ham! After that we all rested before another afternoon of games.

This time we just had to start with this SdJ winner. Or to put it more precisely - "get it out of the way." Why else would 5 adults be spending their time on what is clearly a kid's game?

Result: And not a very good game, as it was far too easy for Rikki to swoop in and grab the first 3 cards and end the game quickly.
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14. Board Game: Tumblin-Dice [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:474]
Jason Lott
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Next was my request - I knew that Ben had received an amazing custom-made Tumblin-Dice board from his BGG Secret Santa. It was really stunning - we spent time just admiring how nice it looked! He'll have to give you a link so you can see photos of it.

This really felt like Sorry! Sliders on steroids - light-hearted fun with plenty of laughter and taunting.

Result: Rikki dominated this early and ended up with 94 points, but Mom came close to catching up at the end with 90.
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15. Board Game: Heartland [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:1537]
Jason Lott
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Ben tried this at a game convention recently, and really enjoyed it. It turns out I enjoyed it as well - an unusual tile-laying game that adds vertical elements and multiple choices with every move. I think the family found it frustrating because they were so determined to win.

Result: I managed to win with 102, Ben came second with 97.
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16. Board Game: Tetris Link [Average Rating:6.07 Overall Rank:4039]
Jason Lott
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While Mom assembled a casserole, the rest of us blazed through this game. At this point I was actually cheering for Dad, who hadn't won a game yet for the weekend.

Result: Ben won in a tiebreaker over Dad! But we'll give Dad the sentimental victory on this one. (Just don't call it a pity win.)
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17. Board Game: Wacky Wacky West [Average Rating:6.32 Overall Rank:1704]
Jason Lott
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Our third and final SdJ game for this visit was WWW, which on its surface seemed trite. But as we got into it, we started to appreciate some of the strategy. It definitely wasn't as bad as Ben's first play of it.

Result: Mom beat me with 11 points to my 10.
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18. Board Game: Asara [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:566]
Jason Lott
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My turn to teach!

While Rikki assembled dessert and our parents looked at old photos, Ben and I did a fast run at this pleasant game (and recent SdJ nominee). Ben caught on quickly.

The clincher was the orange buyer I placed on the topper market in the final round - it screwed up both our plans before I realized what I had done! Still, our scores tracked each other very closely throughout.

Result: Ben won 93 - 91.
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19. Board Game: Survive: Escape from Atlantis! [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:174]
Jason Lott
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And to finish out the weekend, we tried Survive, which I'd given Ben as a Christmas (or was it birthday?) gift this year. Despite being a little burned out on it, Rikki was ready for the challenge and soon we were all gleefully devouring each other's tokens.

Result: I won with 19 points (some dumb luck there) vs. Rikki's 17.
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20. Board Game: Start Player [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:1824]
Jason Lott
United States
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Maryland
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And so it was. Clearly my luck was much stronger than in past times, as I won multiple games. Another family visit that I enjoyed very much! I learned a ton of new games (I'm going to make that NTY list cry, I'm sure) and got to share one of my own.

This trip of good times is brought to you by Start Player - getting you to playing the games you want that much faster! Buy a copy today!* Although truth be told we were using the Start Player app the whole time.

*(The author of this geeklist is not employed by Ted Alspach. But he may as well be, with the frequent promotion.)
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