Geek Chat League Gelato 6 - Make it a Triple, with a diet cone.
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GCL Gelato

What is a Geek Chat League?:

A Geek Chat League is a weekly discussion-group format for people who love gaming and enjoy talking about games. It is intended to foster depth and familiarity, producing engaging content and worthwhile interaction. Members get to know one another, establish shared interests, and generally develop a friendly and productive environment.

Of necessity, each division of GCL is kept relatively small (typically between 12-16 members, though individual divisions may incline one way or the other). A tight-knit discussion group tends to function more smoothly than a free-for-all. It allows individuals to be heard and understood, and for each participant to keep up and enjoy multiple topics as the week progresses. The format is geeklist-based, and lists are not published to the BGG front page.

But GCL divisions are not (and never will be) closed-off for the sake of exclusivity. If you're a lurker or have otherwise discovered GCL Gelato, feel free to read along with us and see what the members have to say on everything under the sun. If you have a constructive comment or something else you think would add to the discussion, consider posting it — if it's helpful, respectful, and polite to the discussion group as a whole, as well as to its individual members.

King Arthur:
"L'état, c'est moi."
Canada
Vancouver
BC
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Roger's Reviews: check out my reviews page, right here on BGG!
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Caution: May contain wargame like substance
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Knights of the Round Table:
Matt Robertson
Canada
Regina
Saskatchewan
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Life is Short; Play Games!
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Check out www.saskgames.com for gaming clubs, stores, and events in Saskatchewan.
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Cole Wehrle
United States
Austin
Texas
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designer
"Work as if you live in the early days of a better nation"
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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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Australia
Sebastopol (Ballarat)
Victoria
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That's Karl on the left. Eternity on the right.
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I love Melissa, but don't tell her. It's a secret if she can find this. Shhhhh....
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James Mckane
Australia
SYDNEY
N.S.W
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designer
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Kris Moulton
Canada
Halifax
Nova Scotia
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Rusty McFisticuffs
United States
Arcata
California
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"L'état, c'est moi."
Canada
Vancouver
BC
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admin
designer
Roger's Reviews: check out my reviews page, right here on BGG!
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Caution: May contain wargame like substance
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Carl Paradis
Canada
Ste-Thérèse
Québec
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Marco Arnaudo
United States
Bloomington
Indiana
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"My spoon is too big!"
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N/A
Dan
United States
San Francisco
California
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I must think over my position and how I may improve it.
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Pete Belli
United States
Florida
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Lance
United States
Moorhead
Minnesota
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The coolest best thing I have ever done in my life is being a father
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The Dread Pirate Caleb!! (age 2)
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N/A


editted: Could someone please PM me or comment on how to make the usernames above appear in rows instead of a column. Do I need to add "inline" or some such code? Thanks Matt!
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1. Board Game: Winner's Circle [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:510]
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This week we're going to look at a few questions that may create some apparent paradoxes. At least for me the answers seem to! So without further ado...

Is winning important to you?
Do you always play to win?
Do you want to win at all costs?
Are there times when you don't care about winning?
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2. Board Game: Love it or Hate it [Average Rating:4.30 Unranked]
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I love Melissa, but don't tell her. It's a secret if she can find this. Shhhhh....
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We often talk about what we like...

What character "traits" in your opponents lower your enjoyment of a game?
What drives you balmy?
Have you ever gotten so upset you left the table?

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3. Board Game: War of the Ring Collector's Edition [Average Rating:8.61 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.61 Unranked]
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And finally...

Are you a player, collector or trader?
Do you buy games just to collect them without any intent on playing them?
Do you trade maniacally and only hold on to a few precious titles?
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4. Board Game: No Retreat! The Russian Front [Average Rating:7.85 Overall Rank:430]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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_8_ Hanabi 2
_8 _ Caylus Magna Carta 1
_8 _ No Retreat! The Russian Front 1

Sigh, another light week for me unfortunately, though I'm very happy to have tried No Retreat. Gonna be light for me for the time being as I'm down one friend to a bike accident, and another two to recent busy-ness, the holiday, and Origins next weekend.

Hanabi was addictively delightful. We played twice but I could've played "just one more!" It was three of us and I look forward to introducing the rest of my group to it.

Caylus Magna Carta was enjoyable as usual. One guy got the buildings I wanted out before me due to luck of the draw and turn order but I finished at 42 points to his 44 so I don't blame the cards. That said, I wouldn't mind a variant whereby you picked one card you wanted at the beginning of the game before drawing another 2. The game allows a mulligan already, though, so maybe not needed. Nonetheless, a solid play that doesn't take as long as Caylus but still offers a meaty game.

I talked about No Retreat! in detail on my other GCL last week list. I'll just copy it here. I give the game an 8 rating for now which could go up as I adjust to the cards.

Quote:
@Roger: Yes, I do like how the counterblows work. It just took a bit of time to grok the rules when reading them ahead of playing them. Very novel aspect to battle (at least for me) and adds another dimension to the situation. Big thumbs up.

As to the card wackiness, IF I have a problem (and I don't think I ultimately will), it would be that the game is very thinky in forcing you to consider attacks vs supply position so it can take several minutes to work things out but only then to have your work undone by an opponent's card. I don't like sitting there knowing it doesn't matter whether or not my opponent does something b/c I'll just undo it. I have this urge to say, Dude don't bother b/c I'm going to play this card anyway.

For example: he was making sure I couldn't reach his city with my 6 movement points on my next turn. He spent time checking different paths and determined that I could not. When he was done, I played a card to move all my units 1 space regardless of movement points which then allowed me to get to his city on my next turn anyway. Next time he'll know that he can't assume I won't have extra movement due to the cards, I suppose, but that time checking was wasted.

In other case, I spent time carefully arranging my units for the maximum effect attack and deciding whether or not to spin a unit off or keep it in the attack, etc. At the end I had 3:1 odds. When I was finally satisfied with the position of my units my opponent played a card to make the battle an auto-exchange. All that time to configure my units for naught.

So to answer your question, some times the cards render the time you take carefully deliberating your moves -- which the game requires you to do -- rather pointless. Is it a thinky game or one where you don't agonize over your moves too much b/c the card play may undo it. It seems to want to be both. Take your time b/c board position is critical but some of your careful deliberation will be undone by surprise card play and since you don't know where/when it will happen, you have to put maximum effort into all your moves.

Perhaps we'll get faster at calculating board position and the come to accept a certain amount of undo-age by our opponent.

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5. Board Game: Vegas Showdown [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:274]
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Twice this week we "entertained" couples, so I got in a number of 4-player games this week:

Colossal Arena x3 - My wife seemed to get into this, so we played it both nights.
Vegas Showdown - I think this is a really solid game. I think it's major backlash comes from people who think it will be a betting game or a serious auction game. It is neither. One of those "under-rated" games which is why I used it as my representative game.
Acquire - Always good fun. I finally lost this one as I was majorly pipped at the post. Mel played a super game and cruised home with a huge victory.
Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 1 – Team Asia & Legendary Asia - We like the team game which we play against experienced TtRrs.
Samurai - The Knizia one. Used as a light way to end one of the nights.

My PBEM gaming was reduced to Baltic Gap and Twilight Struggle as my computer woes continue to plague my No Retreat! game.

No B-17: Queen of the Skies mission last week as heavy losses in our previous sortee bought us a 5-day leave pass from Lt. Col Pfalzstaff as we waited for replacements to arrive. A fifth tour has been confirmed, so anyone wanting to join, it is now a great time to express your interest! (Check out the BGG Play by Forum thread for B-17)

On the solo table is Scenario 6 of Panzer Grenadier: Grossdeutschland 1946 which is a German walk-over and almost finished.

edit: Whoops, missed 1 2-player game of Agricola
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6. Board Game: Twilight Struggle [Average Rating:8.34 Overall Rank:1]
"L'état, c'est moi."
Canada
Vancouver
BC
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This is the week that was:
Glen More 3
Citadels 1
Innovation 1
Legends of the Ancient World: Wolves on the Rhine 1
Small World Underground 1
Twilight Struggle 1


I bought a Phoenix GCL member's copy of Glen More, and it came with little barrels from a model ship company, and those little barrels really make the game a whole lot aesthetically better. I know it's just a little thing, but it's surprising how just something little like that can make a huge difference.

Anyways, I've played it three times this week - at lunch on Wednesday when a friend dropped by, Wednesday night with my wife, and then last night as a 5-player game at gaming night to finish the evening. We all really enjoyed it and I'm glad I finally have a copy of this.

I also played Small World Underground on Thursday. I liked it better than the original, and the fact I won helped of course, but it's still a game I'm happy to not own and have no great need to play all that often.

I started with immortal Drow, got beaten down so put them into decline on turn 3, picked up the martyr Kraken which I promptly put into decline on turn 5, and then rode out the game with the mystic Liches, earning 15 points/turn on 6 and 7 with the help of the Kraken lying undisturbed in the water until game's end.

Citadels and Innovation were at the pub with my wife while our daughter was in her art class. The last time I played Citadels I'd said that I was done with it, save the possibility of perhaps playing it 2 player, but I don't think even the two player version is salvageable for me.

I'm not 100% sure what to do about Innovation. I like the idea of the game. It's also a fine two player game, but I just don't play it enough to really remember all the card synergies and there's a pretty long list of games my wife and I like playing better.

Inspired by Marco, I've cracked open my box of Dark City Games microquests, and tried out Wolves on the Rhine, which is historically based (loosely) on the Roman legions on the border with Germania. The plot is reasonably entertaining, and it's tough because there's no magic to help out. Best with a 6 character crew though I would think (the eventual replay will tell).

Ongoing games:
My 1989 game with Marco, where I'm losing badly, but the current power struggle over East Germany may stem the tide. I also have another one with a friend in Phoenix.

I'm in three Virgin Queen games, all in the early stages.

I also have three games of Twilight Struggle on the go.
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7. Board Game: Friedrich [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:275]
Cole Wehrle
United States
Austin
Texas
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"Work as if you live in the early days of a better nation"
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Things started getting back to normal this week and I managed a handful of games.

Yomi (8.5) x3
Eclipse (9) x1
Attack Sub (~) x1
Tammany Hall (9) x1
Friedrich (~) x1
Mage Knight Board Game (8) x1

It's been nice to play more couples games and I'm happy to report that this week saw a further expansion of our repertoire. Yomi continues to amaze. I've started gravitating towards particular characters and getting a real sense of the game's tempo.

We also played a game of Mage Knight, our first full scenario. We came in full of enthusiasm...and got creamed. This game is hard. Hopefully I can play it again soon.

Outside of that somewhat grim experience, I managed to convince Cati to give Eclipse a try. It's been a big hit here in Austin, and I'm a huge fan. Though I've done my share of three player games, I hadn't tried the two player and found it pleasantly interesting. Cati got a kick out of it, despite disliking its emphasis on war--though, once she got her customized dreadnaughts into combat, her attitude seemed to shift. She even started attacking me towards the end! Maybe there's hope for command and colors after all!

Sunday saw the first actual game day in weeks. We did a little double header, Tammany Hall followed by Friedrich. I hadn't planed on playing the latter, but folks requested it and I refreshed the myself on its peculiarities as we were playing Tammany Hall (one of my favorite games from last year). As it turns out, that's the wrong way to go through rules, and I did very bad in Tammany Hall and poorly taught Friedrich.

Friedrich has sat on shelves in four different houses in as many years and somehow never gotten play. I've read the rules and admire the design, even to the point that I asked for a copy of Maria last year for my birthday. It was high time that it get setup. For whatever reason I assumed it would be harder to get people into the game than it was. Despite messing up some rules, the game is so easy to teach and plays quickly. The other players at the table seemed to mostly dig the game, with the exception of the zany, pinball style retreats (which I liked, hah).

This coming week marks a shift into a more regular summer schedule. I'll be teaching a class in American fiction at UT and I'm pumped about the reading list (Melville and Cormac McCarthy ftw!). I'll also be teaching in the mornings at a private school up north, mostly test prep and US history, but later in the summer I'll give them some help with their English classes too. Added to that I've got a couple of article submissions that are within 40 hours of completion so it should round out to a pretty normal 7-5 work schedule. A pleasant thing.

As far as games are concerned, I'm hoping for some Mage Knight and more Yomi. Also, I just snagged a copy of Union vs. Central. With any luck I'll have it by next weekend. It's been a long time since I was this excited about a game but it looks incredible and I hope it delivers.

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8. Board Game: Silent War [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:1184]
Marco Arnaudo
United States
Bloomington
Indiana
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This week I started an epic campaign of Silent War. My last entry in the "Silent War log" which I post on Facebook says:

March 1942, beginning of week 1. Gameplay so far: 11 hours. Total sunk: 30 ships for 81k t. Total lost: 3 subs, all in transit. This session saw no major war event, but it was plagued by an inordinate series of technical problems that prevented combat in a variety of occasions. Still, we had some very lucky kills! Grayback sunk the first 10k ship of the campaign, only to be damaged in the process and then lost at sea while trying to reach a base.

This is a very unique game - epic in scale, microscopic in management. Yes, because you do control an entire submarine fleet hunting for Japanese convoys, but you manage individual subs fighting against individual enemies. It's surely a lot of work, especially for a game that will probably last between 150 and 200 hours to complete (unless I lose much earlier) and will require 1000s of encounters to be set up and resolved. I know some people use Vassal to simplify the procedure but not this gamer here, sir no sir, because the physicality of playing a board game to me is a key component of the experience. I DO play Vassal, mind you, but only as a necessity to play with people far away, never to avoid drawing chits, rolling dice, pushing counters, and the like. Anyhow, so far I am enjoying the game a lot, even with all the (historically accurate) frustrations that the player is forced to face due to the flawed torpedoes the American subs were using at the beginning of the war.

I also played In Magnificent Style, a VPG solitaire game where the player leads the doomed Confederate attack in Pickett's charge. It is an interesting reversal of the States of Siege system, where you are the hopeless attacker instead of the hopeless defender. The premise seems hardly exciting (push forward, take devastating fire, move more, die. The end.), and YET the design turns out to be very enjoyable. It is basically a push-your-luck type of game with an interesting theme and a very strong narrative feel. I loved it! I hope more games are made in this system in the future. Consider me ready to pre-order a similar game about the Charge of the Light Brigade, if one will ever be down the pipeline.

Meanwhile, I started an email game of Virgin Queen. This being my first try at this very complex game I chose to play the most straightforward side - the Ottomans. This way, I can concentrate on some basic and some fun stuff (cavalry! piracy!) while getting a sense of the whole game by following the others doing diplomacy.

My email games of 1989: Dawn of Freedom with Roger and The Caucasus Campaign with Ania are continuing, and they are both reaching very exciting points. In 1989, an endless series of power struggles are creating large fluctuations of power across Eastern Europe; in The Caucasus Campaign, my Germans are now facing hordes of determined Russian defenders, ready to stop the final advance of the Germans toward victory and even to try and capture some locations now under German control (the audacity!! the simple audacity is dumbfounding!!).
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9. Board Game: Here I Stand [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:83]
Dan
United States
San Francisco
California
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_8_ Here I Stand x1
_9_ Biblios x1
_9_ Through the Ages x1

Here I Stand went off without a hitch this weekend. We played a 4p game with me as the Haps/Pope and three newbies playing the other roles. Remarkably, they had little trouble acclimating to the rules. The French had never played anything more complex than Small World! This was a teaching game and we called it quits after roughly 6h and three turns. My Hapsburgs were within a key of an auto win, but the protestants, who had not managed to have the Schmalkaldic League form (despite taking all 6 electorates in the first turn), were hot on my heels.

Mostly, I will remember how much fun we had goofing off. We bought many thematic beers from City Beer Store (another great place to visit in SF). The Pope served Ruination and Damnation; we had an English porter; I was lame and served Sculpin (maybe the best IPA available?); but the most fitting beer was the French's La Fin du Monde. In turn 3, he agitated the English who promptly sacked Paris. I, then, took Lyon and managed to take another key with treachery.

I brought a great deal of birthday luck. The Ottomans threw 12 dice in a naval battle and hit once. My six dice hit four times. In the subsequent battle, he again only hit once on 8 dice.

Even though I love Here I Stand, I think it may be a PBEM game for me. The Ottomans and French didn't have enough to do. I can't imagine staying attentive in a 6p game. 3p might be just right for f2f, but I imagine it's much harder to broker HUGE deals.

Biblios may be the best thinking man's filler out there. I have difficulty explaining why I like it so much. It's short (+), tense (+), has a lot of open information that helps you make predictions (+), while retaining some hidden information (fog of war) (+). I love it!

I played my 80th game of TTA via the website against an old college buddy. He has my number punched. I don't think I've beaten him in 15 games. And I'm no slob. With games like Brass and TS, I immediately grokked the strategies and was playing competitively after only a few games. Eighty games later with TTA and I feel like I've only reached blue belt. I struggle to answer my sensei when he says, "how were you beaten?"

This weekend also marked the end of the school year for me. Hallelujah!
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10. Board Game: Memoir '44 [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:88] [Average Rating:7.53 Unranked]
Pete Belli
United States
Florida
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"Lasers Over Laredo: a Fortress America scenario for Memoir '44"

(Comrade Mrs. Belli is unhappy with this recent aggression by the southern invader, because I promised to clean up the game room before starting another scenario. I'm probably on my way to the Gulag.)
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11. Board Game: Mage Knight Board Game [Average Rating:8.16 Overall Rank:8]
Lance
United States
Moorhead
Minnesota
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Mage Knight x3
Ground Floor x2
Dungeon Lords x1
Dungeon Petz x1

A good week of gaming all things considered. I played Mage Knight with my friends, training a couple of them on the beginning scenario in preparation of playing the full co-op scenario that comes with the game. That session took about 4-5 hours to complete and it was exhausting, but fun.

Ground Floor was played so I can get a review done - I highly enjoy the game and I think they have a winner there. I should have my review up later this week if you want a more thorough look at it.

Dungeon Lords was found by me as I was going through my collection and picking out things to sell in an upcoming auction. One of my favorite Vlaada designs, I had to set it up and play with my wife who enjoys it as well. We played Dungeon Petz afterwards as it seemed like the right thing to do. I don't know how we got both our kids to sleep for 3 hours at the same time, but we pulled it off.
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12. Board Game: Twilight Struggle [Average Rating:8.34 Overall Rank:1]
Matt Robertson
Canada
Regina
Saskatchewan
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Last week was an interesting week for gaming with a wonderful gaming highlight with my oldest daughter...

Alhambra
Played a very interesting game of this with my wife Kathy. She requested a game of Alhambra, so we cracked a bottle of Red Wine and off we went. We played with the following expansions in play:
Bazaars, Currency Conversion, Coins, Camps. Enjoyable game with high scores. She beat me handily. I enjoy trying different combinations of the expansions from the big box version of the game.

Twilight Struggle

Our oldest daughter, (26), saw Twilight Struggle on my game shelf a couple of months back and proclaimed that she would like to play it. She is not an avid gamer and enjoys an occasional game of Alhambra, Catan, or Carcassonne. I explained that this game was a little more "meat and potatoes" and she flatly proclaimed "so what, I am interested in the Cold War era and I would like to give it a try." Music to my ears. I set up two boards of Twilight Struggle. My daughter Krystal and I played one game, and my wife Kathy played Bob, a friend of ours. Bob played a partial game about a year ago, and Kathy had not played the game before. I went through the rules, and off we went. Krystal caught on to the game very quickly and got an early lead with some scoring cards. Once I was confident she had the mechanics of play under her belt, I set out to give her a tough go. Too late. She kept pounding on me and I never did rally back.

Krystal (USSR) vs Matt (USA) - She won by getting 20vp in Turn 4.
Kathy (USSR) vs Bob (USA) - Bob won by getting Europe Control at the end of the game, Turn 10.

I am pleased as punch. Fun times!!

Battle Line
Since Krystal made quick work of me in Twilight Struggle, we had time some other games. Played 2 games of this. This is a great two player game. This is a game Kathy and I enjoy a fair bit. We have sleeved the cards to make the game "pub proof" so we can take it on our travels.

Tsuro
Introduced this to Krystal as well. Played 1 quick game. It is ok with two, but is much better with 4+ players. Quick filler material.

Kogworks
Krystal and I played three games of this to end the evening while Bob & Kathy finished up on their game of Twilight Struggle. This is a cute/unique little abstract game that has great components. It is fun to put this on the table every once in awhile.

Poker
I run a poker league for friends. I played in a League game on Friday night and placed 6th out of 9 players. I am currently in a slump in my poker play, so it is time to mix it up a bit. I like the deep stack format for our tournaments and the group is awesome to play with. Getting knocked out of the tournament means that I have to set up RockBand and Loopin' Louie in the Loser's Lounge...

Loopin' Louie
Once you are knocked out of the poker game, you are invited to stick around and visit the "loser's lounge" where you can play Loopin' Louie or RockBand. Loopin' Louie has been such a hit with people that we have ordered in 7 more copies for people. Fun times. Got to love games designed for 4 yr olds.
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13. Board Game: Start Player [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:1824]
James Mckane
Australia
SYDNEY
N.S.W
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I have not played a single game for ages. I think this is the longest drought I've ever had. I've just had other commitments and I must also apologise for my absence here too. None of my other commitments were of the entertaining sort either, but these things happen sometimes and I should be back up and running with some gaming next week.
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