Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Beware! You've found my semi-hidden blog. So that I have an idea of how many people have made it here, please recommend the list. (I like this recommendation feature - now I can see who y'all are... B^)

Unfortunately for you, all that's here is a bunch of random ramblings.

I'd just as soon this list not be publicly announced if possible - thanks!

(Note - this is no longer active. And recommendations are now thumbs, but who's counting...)
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226. Board Game: Graenaland [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:1529]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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I tried the third Czech Board Games release last night - and have gone 0 for 3 with them. Graenland is similar to a mix of Settlers and Lost Valley - there is resource collection, as with Settlers, and building of generally beneficial items, as with Lost Valley. But there's no exploration, no dice (each resource split is done by vote), no ability to go off on one's own (even somewhat, as can be done in Lost Valley), and a silly endgame rule (allowing players one last chance to do something with _no_ effect upon the result). The game isn't really awful, but it's annoying - moreso for the fact that there are some good ideas in there.
 
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227. Board Game: Space Dealer [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:1073]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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I got to try Space Dealer last night; I enjoyed it quite a bit, but worry that there's not enough to it to hold up well in the long term. That said, I think it will be good for a few plays.

I'm clearly not used to playing Fresh Fish with other groups, since it shocked me that the game was about to be played with Angela's errors. We did play with cash being subtracted from scores, which I don't care for but don't mind, but we did end up playing with Friese's rules. Very enjoyable, as always...
 
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228. Board Game: Die heisse Schlacht am kalten Buffet [Average Rating:6.32 Overall Rank:3031]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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OK, I've finally done it - I now have added at least a basic comment to every game I've rated. If there are any you find particularly useless, please let me know and I'll try to update them.
 
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229. Board Game: Avalanche [Average Rating:5.79 Overall Rank:6333]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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I didn't get in a lot of gaming over Thanksgiving, but did get my owned but unplayed game pile down below 10 by playing Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (some nice ideas, but the character elimination creates interesting choice elimination) and Avalanche (which my sons really enjoy; it's not bad, if too predictable).

I'd like to get the list down to 5, but fear that the arrival of Essen releases will make that difficult...
 
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230. Board Game: Bridge [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:286]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Not much gaming other than some Bridge lately. The most interesting hand...

S: xxxx
H: AQxx
D: x
C: xxxx

Dealer, on my left, opens 1S. Partner bids 2C, RHO bids 2D. I try 2S (I think I should have bid 3D instead, as showing the shortness would be most valuable in helping partner to place the contract; will have that discussion...). LHO bids 4S, which is passed out, making 5. CHO really should bid 5C; among other things, it makes, even though we're short on points - partner has:

S: x
H: JTx
D: xxx
C: AQJxxx

Both round kings are onside (and the club is singleton). 6C is also a fine sac against 5S, of course, and we're always setting 6S.

I now have 3 or 4 packages of games heading to my door. Specifically...

From Adam Spielt I'm getting Der Baumeister von Arkadia, Factory Fun, Space Dealer, Der Elefant im Porzellenladen (copy for work), Kannibohne, Salamanca, and Koala.

From 12Spiel I'm getting Ur, the Verflixxt expansion, Mr Jack, Manimals, and Die Saeulen der Erde, plus a few spares for trade. I went back and forth on pillars, but finally broke down and ordered it. This is my first order with 12Spiel, tried to see how things go, since Milan Spiel no longer ships to the US.

From Tanga I'm getting Ra. This is the one order I'm somewhat regretting; I will add them to my trade pile, and see what comes of it.

Finally, I managed to get in on the bag of trash from Tanga. I'm hopeful that this includes one interesting boardgame, but we'll see. I fully expect it to include another Lucky Loop and a snow globe, but that's fine...
 
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231. Board Game: Schützenfest [Average Rating:5.72 Unranked]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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November ended with only 47 games played; nothing to complain about, to be certain, but the lowest total for a month for me since January 2005, and I haven't played less than 47 games in a month since Fenruary 2002 (36). I did play 12 new-to-me games during the month - Essen releases, mostly - but after a good start to the month at Lobster Trap didn't get much regular gaming after that. December looks somewhat, but only somewhat, better.

Played Schuetzenfest - the Hallo Pauker edition - at lunch yesterday; it's a fine game for 3 or 4 that should be better known. We followed with Elefant in Porzellanladen, which was popular once again. It will definitely make my top 10 for 2006.

Then today I played Axis & Allies for the first time in ages; I played Japan, and neither the German player or I had any dice luck until the contest was already decided. Still, great fun.
 
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232. Board Game: Bolide [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:1762]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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The downside of enjoying trying out a wide variety of new games is the occasional dry spell. I'm definitely in the middle of one, as the three new games I played for the first time yesterday did nothing for me; the last game I played for the first time that I actually want to play again is Space Dealer.

The three games were Bolide (a good game that I didn't enjoy at all), Iliad (which I really don't understand the positive comments on) and Shazamm! (which I enjoyed less, but at least understand the positive comments better). From the ratings here, I might have expected to enjoy all three, which just goes to show once again that user ratings, in the collective, are really no more than a vague hint for any given gamer.
 
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233. Board Game: Take it to the Limit! [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:1969]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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I got to play two games last night, Jenseits von Theben and Take It To The Limit. Take It To The Limit is an interesting variation on Take It Easy, adding multiple additional scoring options - and pitfalls. It was nice to play a new game I enjoyed - quite a bit, even - along with a favorite.
 
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234. Board Game: Wyatt Earp [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:590]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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I wasnt sure which game to use here, since I have a bunch of random thoughts today.

I chose Wyatt Earp because I realized something this weekend - in spite of BGG showing no games when I ask for those rated but without comments, there were still ~50 such cases. I've now corrected those, in alphabetical order, so the very last game (hopefully) I had rated but no comment for, Wyatt Earp, now has a comment. I'd like to go through and improve the comments; if you have any particular requests, please add a comment here and I'll focus on those first. There are a lot of games I played once five or more years ago, however; no promise I can improve those comments substantially.

I played Through The Ages again last night, having been spurred to reconsider it because of Larry Levy's raves and the clarification of Michaelangelo (which was one of my biggest concerns). I did enjoy it a bit more - playing 2 player, we finished the advanced game in 2:30 - but I'm still not sure about it. Which is odd; usually three plays is plenty to make up my mind.

I also played Hellas for the first time in a while, and still enjoy the game quite a bit. It's nice to have a German-tinted wargame around; I wish I had more opportunity to play the wargames I enjoy.

And speaking of wargames - I picked up Hammer of the Scots in the most recent math trade. It looks like a good fit for me - not too long, and a reasonable rule set; I prefer games with depth of choices, and then depth of play, moreso than depth of rules. I have a large number of games on the way, which is likely to hurt my goal of finishing the year with fewer than 10 owned-but-unplayed games. I'm particularly looking forward to trying a few of the games that were largely ignored at Essen, such as Koala.

In the current math trade, I'm trying - not very hard, but still trying - to get a copy of Rocketville. Tanga's recent sale didn't convince me to part with $13, but did convince me that I want to see the game. It seems odd to me that Garfield would put out a game as bad as Rocketville's reputation; I don't necessarily need to play the game, but would like to read through the rules. I'd have bought it if the components looked interesting enough to justify - that's why I bought Oasis, and wasn't unhappy with Lucky Loop, after all - but they don't look of interest.
 
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235. Board Game: Take a Number [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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It's getting close to the end of the year; time to look through things and see what I'd like to - but will likely fail to - do before the end of the year.

(First, just to note - these goals are mostly made up, but reflective of more general intents.)

Goal: play 1000 total games.
Progress: 840 played.
Chance of reaching goal: 0%.

Hasn't looked likely for a while.

Goal: reach a total of 2000 happiness.
Progress: 2107 happiness units.
Chance of reaching goal: 100% (negative happiness is possible, but this lead is safe).

Goal: Play 40 different games 5+ times.
Progress: 35 such cases.
Chance of reaching goal: 1%

There are 11 games I've played 4 times, but only a few of them (Ark, King Lui, Louis XIV) I'd be really interested at getting in before the end of the year. On the other hand, 7 of the 15 games I rate a 10 made my 5+ list...

Goal: 365 different games played.
Progress: 361 different games played.
Chance of reaching goal: 90%

Not a gimme, but not unlikely, either.

Goal: Play every game I rate 9 or higher.
Progress: 40 of 47 played.
Chance of reaching goal: 0%.

There are too many new releases likely to be available to get in all of the old favorites in just 4 or so remaining gaming opportunities. What I'm missing: Botts & Balls, Elfenroads, Flaschenteufel, Extrablatt, Santa Fe, Time Agent, Ursuppe.

Goal: Play all of the games I have at work.
Progress: 64 of 75 played.
Chance of reaching goal: 0%.

This used to be a slam dunk, but having 75 games at work now it's quite tricky. The games I haven't played in 2006: Der Untergang von Pompeji, Warhamster Rally, Clocktowers, Nodwick, Give Me The Brain, Schwarzarbeit, Zirkus Flohcati, Flaschenteufel, Bongo, Banditos, Phantoms of the Ice.
 
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236. Board Game: Master Labyrinth [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:1593]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Well, that didn't take long. I've now played 365 different games this year.

Game #362 was Rainbows. A very useful play; I discovered that I've played the game enough, and no longer need to own it.

Game #363 was Pitch, in the form of Pitch 6. Pitch isn't a bad game, but not one that really compels me to play it more, either.

Game #364 was Flaschenteufel, knocking off three of the categories listed above in one shot.

Game #365 was Master Labyrinth, played at the request of my younger son tonight.

I'm heading to Fort Collins tomorrow, and thinking about bringing Time Agent along. It's probably overly optimistic, but I still might do it if I have room.
 
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237. Board Game: Fun Dive [Average Rating:6.33 Unranked]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Wow - there are actually 53 of you reading - or who have read and moved on - this blog-as-geeklist. Or who have admitted to reading it, I suppose. Thank you all for noting your readership; I never expected this many people to actually follow (at whatever pace) my ramblings. This is now tied for my 4th most "popular" geeklist, behind two humorous lists and one tricky to get to list I intentionally let wander onto the front page.

So who are y'all...

2 BGG admins.

9 designers with badges. I suspect most of you got here when I included one of your games on this list; hopefully I haven't offended too many of you. But please feel free to take any pot shots you'd like at my designs, regardless...

16 folks from outside the US. Which I really appreciate, since I wish BGG wasn't quite so US-centric. Of course, my own attempts not to be so US-centric often fail, so who am I to complain?

.....

Played three games last night, in my third-from-final gaming session for 2006. (I may play a game or two on other occasions - I expect to with my family, in fact - but I'm just referring to planned gaming sessions.)

First up was my second play of Factory Fun. I enjoyed it again - perhaps a bit more - but am not sure as to its long-term viability. Which seems a bit odd - there's nice variability in when the components come out - but there you have it. I now own a copy, and I'm sure it will make 5 plays before I decide.

Fun Dive (#366) took only one play to make a decision - but I did enjoy the play. The company was great, which always helps. And the game is quite pleasant, which can make up for a lot.

Salamanca (#367) is a better game, but I'm not certain it's going to make a third play. There's a chance, certainly, but it's not the most engaging of games; in many ways, it reminds me of Attila, for good and bad.

We also attempted to try Space Dealer, only to discover before starting that it's completely unforgiving for those who are color-blind.
 
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238. Board Game: Snowstorm [Average Rating:6.28 Unranked]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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I'll be home for Christmas - but just.

I was scheduled to head home tomorrow morning, DEN-BOS, but flights through noon tomorrow are cancelled, and the first flight they could book me on is Sunday afternoon. So long as I get home Sunday, I won't complain. OK, I'm not sure I'll have any reason to complain - or anyone to complain to - even if that doesn't happen. I do wish I were better at not projecting my frustration at folks who don't deserve it...

Let's see, how do I tie this to games... well, I am hopeful of getting together with Sheila & James tonight, assuming I can get out of here. (If I can drive a hundred yards to the main road, I can get there - but the former is not a given, or at least wasn't when I checked a couple of hours ago.)

I'm seriously thinking about trying BSW for the first time...
 
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239. Board Game: Koala [Average Rating:5.19 Overall Rank:9300]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Twas the night before Christmas and I was stuck on a plane
Just hoping to get home where I could play a game
My carry-on stuffed in the overhead tub
In hopes that I could soon be playing Rummikub

I squeezed into my seat and brought out my book
Wishing I could play By Hook or Crook
And mamma in her ‘kerchief waited home with the kids
Probably playing something like Pyramids

When outside the plane there arose such a clatter,
I looked out the window to see what was the matter.
I openned the shade in no more than a flash,
While thinking about my next game of Marracash.

The sun on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave a glare on the screens showing the safety show.
When, what to my wondering eyes should fade out,
But the gate where we'd ever so long waited out.

With a little old pilot, so lively and quick,
I wanted to invite him to join in on Hattrick.
More rapid than eagles we flew 'cross the sky,
The guy in the next seat suggested Battle Cry.

"Now Jackson! Now Grant! Now Grey Cavalry!
On Sherman! On Bragg! On Blue Infantry!
To the top of the hill! To the sides of the wood!
Now fire away, fire away - and please aim good!

As dry games that before the fans of theme fade
When an abstract gamer arrives, their day has been made
As across the snow covered plains we now flew
We played Gipf once or twice, and Ingenious too.

And then, in a twinkling, we heard on the speaker
"We'll be landing soon, please put away Codebreaker."
I packed up my bag, and headed toward the front
Ready, willing, and eager to play Baggage Hunt.

I put on my coat, and headed toward my car
My baggage dragging behind me; wish it wasn't so far.
A bungle of gifts had loaded it down
When I paid for the parking I couldn't help but frown.

The road, how it moved - the traffic was missing.
Soon I would be home and my wife I'd be kissing.
The toll booth attendant was perky and chipper
I gave her a copy of MR: Jack the Ripper.

The door was held open and soon I was through
Before heading to bed we played a game of Clue.
Mr. Plum was accused in the Den with the knife
I knew that was wrong, and now so did my wife.

After Clue we collapsed, and slept through 'til dawn
When the boys woke us up I could not help but yawn.
But soon we were openning gifts 'neath the tree
And there, just for me, Leonado da Vinci!

I spoke not a word, but laid it out on the table
Soon we were playing instead of watching cable.
And then we played Ticket To Ride for good measure
Ah, a Christmas day filled with nothing but leisure!

I offer this poem as a gift to my readers
I know it's not much, you'd rather have Squad Leaders.
But I wish you all, ‘ere I drive to the airport,
"Happy Christmas to all! Next time let's play Passport!"
 
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240. Board Game: Dragonology: The Game [Average Rating:4.33 Overall Rank:10714]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Just a bit of gaming this week...

I would recommend avoiding the Dragonology game, no matter how much your favorite son/daughter/niece/nephew/etc. enjoys the book. The game offers few choices, and luck built upon luck.

I still enjoy Fiji - it's not a great game, but it's different, and utilizes blind bidding in a very effective and interesting way.

My owned but unplayed list ballooned when I returned home with the arrival of multiple packages; that said, there's still a chance I'll end the year with fewer than 10 games on the list, which sounds good to me.
 
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241. Board Game: Arkadia [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:459]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Too much gaming of late to cover it all sufficiently...

I got to play four new (and by new, I mean NEW) games on Saturday - UR, Die Baumeister von Arkadia, Koala, and R-ECO. UR is bone-dry and forgettable, but works. Arkadia I enjoy quite a bit, and have already played a second time. Koala was great fun - once. R-ECO was good enough to play a second time on Saturday. The other games I played on Saturday - including That's Life with the expansion, Space Dealer, Factory Fun, and the last games I played in 2006, Der Elefant im Porzellanladen, were _all_ either 2006 releases or games with some other 2006 connection (expansion, re-release, etc.).

Speaking of Der Elefant, I also completed a review of the game for Herb Levy last week.

I've played 5 games to start of 2007, the first being Salamanca - which also became the first game I got rid of in 2007. The second game was Fiji, which is growing on me. The first game I _watched_ played in 2007 was Wedding Reception, the game I hope to be my entry for the Game of the Afternoon competition. For a first play, I was pleased - lot of useful direction. Third up to play was the aforementioned Baumeister von Arkadia. After a few hands of Bridge, I played Factory Fun at lunch. The game continues to grow on me - I wasn't expecting it to do so as much as it is. And it makes a nice first impression...

In spite of the big kick to end the month, it was still my thinnest month for gaming since February 2002, with only 42 games played. I played 866 games in 2006, the fewest since 2001. I played 151 new games in 2006, tied with 2003. I played 372 different games in total, the fewest since 2001. I also had only 9 games with 10+ plays, and 26 with 5+. But, as I've noted before here, at least it was a good set.
 
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242. Board Game: Detroit-Cleveland Grand Prix [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:1143]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Lunchtime gaming has been good this week...

3 plays of Factory Fun, which I really enjoy.
1 play of Detroit-Cleveland Grand Prix, which I was glad to try again. Not sure how long I'll keep it, but I did enjoy it.
2 plays of Geschenkt.
1 play of Der Elefant im Porzellanladen.

I've still yet to play anything new to me this year, but I'm sure I'll solve that before too long.
 
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243. Board Game: Vegas Showdown [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:265]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Phooey. The new moderation system means that I can no longer see who's reading. B^P

Played three games last night, but Vegas Showdown's the only one which is published. I again created a "casino" with no gambling, again without great success. I think that with a different theme, I might actually enjoy this game reasonably well. As it is, I'm willing to play it - my way.
 
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244. Board Game: Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization [Average Rating:8.21 Overall Rank:3]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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OK, I can still find out who is reading - it's just trickier at present.

Played two games last night - Travel Blokus (still pleasant), and Through The Ages (still - for all intent and purposes - just pleasant). It was my first two player game of Through The Ages, and it holds up _reasonably_ with just two. But I still am bothered by how fiddly the game is, and am leaning back toward my plan after two plays - making sure it's in Joe Rushanan's collection, so there's still the possibility of an occasional play. But if it occurs every few years, I think that's just fine.
 
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