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What else to discuss in addition to gaming? Food!

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Summoner Wars, 2018 Favorites, & Cinnamon Rolls

Christy
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Happy New Year everybody!

Summoner Wars Miniseries Report

Ben and I had some time off in December and we played several Summoner Wars matches to add to our spreadsheet (winners in bold):

d10-1 Selundar v. Mad Sirian
d10-2 Demagogue v. Glurblub
d10-3 Immortal Elien v. Queen Maldaria
d10-4 Demagogue v. Marek
d10-5 Frick v. Oldin

Ben won the series 3-2.

From gallery of cmarie


We love grabbing base decks out of our massive Alliances box and just hitting the ground running regardless of how well we know the deck. There's so much meat in the alliance and second summoner factions that we haven't explored yet. It would take YEARS for us to play all of the combinations, and we agreed that we want to play a bunch more matches in 2019.


2018 Favorites

2018 was a busier year than most, but I did discover a few favorites. Azul was hot at IndyCon this year. We have a copy, although I don't find myself reaching for it often. Reef is fun to teach newer gamers, and I don't feel like I'm done playing it yet. Its awesome components and accessible gameplay really draw people in. (Please pardon the washed-out photo!)

From gallery of cmarie


Thanks to my friend Mike and his early copy, I was on the Welcome To... bandwagon prior to Origins and was able to pick up my preorder at the con. Meeting up with my friend Sarah, her husband Will, and two other gamers was a highlight of the con. I love roll-and-writes! Welcome To is a chewier bite than Reef, but it plays smoothly once everyone groks it. My copy is laminated and ready to go at a moment's notice. Thinking back to Origins, this was also the Year of the Meeple Dress:

From gallery of cmarie



At Gen Con, several of us locals really enjoyed Drop It. To be fair, I was playing with extremely fun people and we would have made the most out of just about any game. But Drop It really exceeded expectations over many plays throughout the weekend. Plenty of opportunities for trash talk, fancy plays, unexpected changes in board state, etc. I would love to pick up a copy at some point.

From gallery of cmarie


You can also read my Gen Con 2018 geeklist HERE.

Other games I enjoyed playing in 2018 include The Quest for El Dorado, Illusion, Pyramid of Pengqueen, That's Pretty Clever!, Symphony No.9 (in which I still want to buy back my furniture), and Coimbra. (And whatever happened to Herbaceous Sprouts? Seemed like it went straight from hasn't-come-out-yet to forgotten history.) [edit: see comments below]

You can find photos of all of the above games and more on my Instagram account.

I got a copy of Paperback for Christmas and look forward to playing it soon! Ben and I also need to figure out if our 2p campaign of Gloomhaven is ever going to get off the ground. What are you looking forward to playing in 2019?


Food

This holiday season I ended up making not one, but two pans of Alton Brown's overnight cinnamon rolls. These things are BOMB. They are a fair amount of work, but the flavor is so pure and the dough is amazing. Ben said he liked these more than any of the cookies I made, and I agree with him.

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Also, 2018 was the Year of the Instant Pot. We've made so much good stuff in ours. It really does do a variety of things well. At one point we played some roll-and-write games and enjoyed this flavorful coconut tandoori chicken. I got an Indian Instant Pot cookbook for Christmas, so we are planning to branch out in 2019.
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Tue Jan 15, 2019 1:18 am
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Fall '017 Gaming Smorgasbord, Custom Raxxon Tokens, & Chicken Bacon Quesadillas

Christy
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Welcome back for some more gaming potpourri with Point Salad. We've gone pretty meta over here, as this post itself is bursting with salad-y goodness in the form of blurbs about lots of different games. Grab your salad fork and let's dig in.

meeple Game Photos & Bite Size Reviews meeple

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Note: The photo shows Level 3 cities in non-mountain terrain, which is against the rules.

Bunny Kingdom - Such a compelling drafting game. I LOVE this one. Don't be fooled by the theme of cute woodland critters. The groans begin about halfway through the game as you encounter one agonizing Sophie's Choice after another. (That's how you know it's an excellent game.)

You draft cards to put out bunnies in a grid on different types of terrain, get resources, build cities, and score points at the end of the game. Several times throughout the game, everyone will score their fiefs ( = adjacent bunnies of your color who hopefully have a combination of resources and cities). At the end of the game, you throw in your secret bonus points and see who has the bunniest kingdom. meeple

Only real beef is the board size and the amount of visual clutter that accumulates as you play. Iello made the board basically the minimum size that everything will still technically fit on, for some reason. Luckily they are coming out with a playmat (time frame/availability TBA).

Despite that one drawback, HIGHLY recommend. Plus I made a charming Melodice playlist for it. Lately, though, I've learned that if enough people skip particular tracks (possibly in conjunction with the "wrong song" feature), they can get removed from the list. I've already had trouble with the Bunny Kingdom tracks disappearing, probably in part due to my social media promotion of the list.

If you want to just check it out casually, try my YouTube playlist. That way you can skip around to your heart's content. As for the Melodice one, someone else added some Alice in Wonderland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to it.


From gallery of cmarie

From gallery of cmarie
Circle the Wagons - Incredibly solid 2p wallet game from ButtonShy. You select terrain cards from a circle (kind of in the vein of Patchwork) and build a boomtown. Creating large orthogonally-adjacent swaths of the various terrain types always scores you points. There are also three scoring objectives that change every time you play (on the backs of the cards! so handy!).

I am really impressed by the amount of game that's in this TINY package. Carried it around with me every day of Gen Con. Looking forward to trying the solo scenarios (!!!) at some point. [Mike you should totally borrow my copy and give it the Solomode Games treatment!]

As for Mint Julep, I tried it once at Gen Con and it fell a little flat. However, I'm not sure we had all the rules down correctly, so I'll have to check the rules forum/FAQ and then try it again sometime.


From gallery of cmarie

Codenames: Duet - The latest 2p version of Codenames is a big hit in our household. My Codenames strategy needs some serious rehab, however. I'm 0-5 on recent games of Duet, and they often seem to end with my partner guessing one of the bombs. I wonder how that happens. Silly them.


From gallery of cmarie

Fabled Fruit - Andrew and Ben and I recently finished our 3p campaign of Fabled Fruit, with a total of 22 games. It was really fun to take this out on a Friday or Saturday and see what types of actions would come up next. Typically I would associate campaigns with games that are much more involved: Pandemic Legacy, Legends of Andor, Mice and Mystics. So it was really cool, refreshing, and fun to kick back with a filler but still experience that longer arc over a period of several months. We are now looking forward to Fabled Fruit: The Lime Expansion.

From gallery of cmarie



From gallery of cmarie

Flamme Rouge - This is not so much a mini-review like the others, but more of an anecdote. In Flamme Rouge you play cards to advance your cyclists in a bike race. There are certain rules that apply for uphill and downhill segments of the track. Our group wanted to experience that aspect of the game, so we built a track with nearly all terrain segments. We didn't notice until later that there were suggested track designs that came with the game. So there were certain cards that never really got used because there was never any point (like why play a 9 if you're going uphill and can only go 5 anyway). But we had a good time with our very hilly track!


From gallery of cmarie


Import / Export - I backed the KS at the print-and-play level a while ago and had my copy about 90% done for the longest time. Dave D's request to play it before Essen gave me the kick in the pants I needed to finish it, although now my ships are unintentionally different sizes so yay.

Import/Export is basically Glory to Rome with ships. Biggest differences I noticed:

(1) The pool isn't quite as communal. Instead you have ships in your color in the "pool", and you need to try to get cards off of those ships so you can get them back and ship out more stuff. You can still take stuff off of other people's ships, but you might not want to since that will help them. There's also a supply island where everyone can get stuff.

(2) One of the actions involves bidding on cards.

(3) There is no stockpile. That whole part of the card workflow has been eliminated.

Import/Export doesn't "kill" Glory to Rome for me (prefer GtR), but I'm looking forward to more plays for sure.


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Magic Maze - Magic Maze is SO GREAT. Escape: The Curse of the Temple for introverts. heart heart heart It's a real-time co-op in which you move pawns around in an attempt to navigate each one to a particular spot (there is a fun fantasy-character theme pasted on) and then to the exit before time runs out. But each person can only do certain actions, and you can't talk! (There is a big red pawn that you put in front of the other person when you want them to do something.)

All the pawns are equally everyone's responsibility, so you have to keep an eye on several things at once. Luckily you can buy yourself more time if you go to one of the timer spots, but it's not always as easy as it sounds.

Ben and I love how QUIET Magic Maze is -- it lets you think. Being able to get more time makes it less frantic and stressful, but not too leisurely. The rulebook leads you through the rules of the game in seven scenarios called the "Initiation Campaign". There is a campaign to learn the rules of the game!! After that, the game offers ten more scenarios to play through. They're not story-based, so you could easily pick the ruleset you like best and play with that most of the time.

The tranquility and humor of Magic Maze is especially awesome for me because **drumroll** Ben likes it!! (This is significant because I loved Escape: The Curse of the Temple, but he didn't and so I eventually traded it away.) Yay!! Highly recommend for the right personality type. (It's not the right fit for everyone.)

(Note: Despite my love for the multiplayer version, the solo mode was a pretty frustrating experience. You're constantly flipping through a whole stack of tiles [one-handed] and it's just information overload. Not for the faint of heart.)


From gallery of cmarie

Near and Far - Near and Far has a lot of good stuff going on in it, but I actually don't like the combination. On your turn, you're either in town doing various things to improve your ability to quest, or you're out adventuring, doing said quests. Improving your board/abilities is fine, and the narrative aspect of the quests is fine. The game does a good job of creating a sense of adventure. However, I tried to like it several times and just did not enjoy the strategy and questing put together.

It seemed like the point of Near and Far is to experience these fun story moments via the quests, but you really have to compete with your friends to get to the quest spots. That felt very unfun to me. Then when you do get there, there's a choose-your-own-adventure bit where you don't know what rewards you'll get for succeeding at one of the two skill checks. So the stuff may or may not be what you need to fulfill your cards, pursue your larger strategy, etc. Plus crappy die rolls can hurt you throughout. I know people who like Near and Far and are playing a campaign of it. Very imaginative game. Just not the one for me.


From gallery of cmarie
NMBR 9 - Nmbr9 is a Tetris-esque delight. One of my favorite recent fillers. Haven't gotten tired of it yet. You place tiles that are shaped like the different numbers, 0-9, as tightly as possible. Everyone plays from a deck of cards that determines which number tile will be placed next. Numbers on higher levels score more points, so timing can be a challenge, as you might want to try to save a good spot for a really high number.

Next I'm looking forward to putting two copies together and using twice as many tiles in a single game!! Calling all people with copies -- you know who you are. We have to make this happen! #megaNmbr9 And don't forget to look up Smooth McGroove on YouTube and play his renditions of Tetris theme A and B during your games.


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Unearth - This photo is what happens when Andrew helps with setup. (Ben and I will take the blame for the alignment issues in the upper left corner.)

Unearth has been popular with several friends lately. It's cards and dice, which I love. You roll dice in an attempt to collect cards that have buildings on them, but you can also take these little hex chits and build rings that get you points and/or abilities. There are also these little rule-breaking cards that you can play. The art is great and it's an OK casual game. I'm not quite as sweet on it as some folks.


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Valeria: Card Kingdoms - I'm lukewarm at best on Valeria Card Kingdoms, but wanted to share this better-than-usual photo.


From gallery of cmarie

From gallery of cmarie
Zooscape - New one for the Quiver! I recently needed a small game to fill out an online order, and Zooscape got the nod. The art is gorgeous. It's an I-cut-you-choose type of game, but I'm not sure I like the mechanics as well as Piece o' Cake.

Ben and Andrew and I played a 3p game, and our experience was that people kept fighting over stuff until it was gone. Zooscape is short, so it doesn't overstay its welcome, but the mechanic of picking over and over until you take a consolation prize could feel tedious to some players. I really need to play it some more though.


zombie Raxxon Tokens! zombie

Remember the whole Raxxon thing that happened this summer? Well, one of the characters introduces a memory element to the game. She can interview characters and flip them back facedown if they're bad. Except that I'm not such a big fan of memory elements in games. I'd rather just concentrate on the strategic and experiential aspects.

For a while I used colored Penny Gems to mark card types. However, their creator isn't selling them any more, and they're kind of generic to use in such a thematic game. Then I got the idea to punch some tokens out of sheets of polymer clay using 3D-printed cookie cutters. Lo and behold, Etsy came to the rescue: a shop in Singapore had the PERFECT designs available. I didn't even have to ask them for a custom design, only a custom size!

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After a coupon-laden trip to Michaels for a rainbow of clay, the cutters arrived and I was able to make the tokens. I made green and blue hearts for the regular survivors and hostile survivors; red, yellow, and purple biohazard tokens for the infected; and orange and white roadblock signs for the guy who does the roadblocks:

From gallery of cmarie


Then I picked out some of the best ones and sent them to Joe (the designer). I MAY have also stolen some letterhead from Raxxon Pharmaceuticals and written him a note on it. [I received a similar letter with my Raxxon evacuation kit.] Gotta get the full effect!

Here's what my copy looks like now:

From gallery of cmarie



meeple Kickstarter meeple


This fall I'm waiting for Gloomhaven to arrive. Ben and I recently got our Catacombs stuff, and we've been stickering ourselves to death this weekend. (Catacombs is a dexterity game with a bunch of stickered wooden discs. Think deluxe Orléans.) Looking forward to trying the actual game once we get everything ready!

Here's a cool project that's funded and still running for a few more days. It's called the Hobby Holder, and you can use it for painting and sculpting minis. My copy of Fury of Dracula has sat unpainted for the longest time now, and one of the reasons is that it's a pain to try to handle the mini while you're painting it. So I am stoked about this!

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From gallery of cmarie


Box Full of Air Series

On my Twitter account (@d6cmarie) I've started a weekly series running on Mondays called "Box Full of Air". I'm taking game boxes and condensing the components to show how much extra space is in the box. You don't have to look me up or follow me, just search for the hashtag #boxfullofair.

Box size has long been a pet peeve of mine. Think of how many more games our shelves and bags could hold if game companies didn't have to think about "shelf presence"! (It is for this reason that I am considering trying BitBox as a storage solution, but I'm just not 100% sold on it yet.)

Week 1 of the series was Meteor. Basically a deck of cards in an approximately Codenames-sized box. (I left out the rulebook and card glossary this time, but for future photos I'll leave stuff like that in.) Haven't played this one yet, but I doubt the box is worth keeping long-term unless I plan to trade it away.

Week 2 was Magic Maze. The box doesn't look nearly as EMPTY when I leave the rulebook in, but I question whether it's fair to take it out. Open to feedback on this if anyone has an opinion. Week 3 is Quantum.


bacon The Food Part bacon

A few weeks ago Ben made chicken fajita mix in our instant pot. We had previously made a salad with bacon in it, and there was some leftover cooked bacon in the fridge. I decided to take some Monterey jack and make a quesadilla out of the chicken fajita mix, and then had the amazing idea to throw in some of the leftover bacon. Ben made fresh salsa, and I made some Sriracha mayo. The condiments and the bacon really made the quesadillas outstanding, with a restaurant flair. Next additions would be corn and/or black beans.

We also tried a meatless pumpkin chili that had walnuts in it, of all things. I didn't like it quite as well as traditional beef or turkey chili, but it was good enough to make again. Very different! https://pinchofyum.com/instant-pot-chili

What have you been playing or cooking lately?
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Sun Oct 29, 2017 1:45 am
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Gen Con Excitement, 10x10 Challenge Board Auction, Raxxon, & Instant Pot Bliss

Christy
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It's that time of year. Gen Con season.

Get ready for that dealer hall.

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For the first time, Ben has decided not to attend, so I will be a lone warrior.

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Not planning to buy much (I never really buy much at cons), but Century: Golem Edition is at the top of my list if I decide to pull the trigger on it. Kudos to Plan B for making that edition happen. (Do I need to worry about Ben finding a receipt from Gen Con that says "Plan B" on it?) I understand that it was upsetting to some of the people that bought Spice Road, but I think much of the backlash has been undeserved.

Here are the other games I'm interested in checking out (not sure if ALL of these will be there or if a few are coming out later this fall):

Splendor: Cities of Splendor
Codenames Duet (autobuy, just not right away)
Crystal Clans
Dead of Winter: Warring Colonies heart zombie
Ex Libris
The Fox in the Forest
A Game of Thrones: Catan – Brotherhood of the Watch
Fabled Fruit: The Lime Expansion
Photosynthesis
Potion Explosion: The Fifth Ingredient
Tiki Topple (reprint of a sentimental favorite)
Werewords
Whistle Stop

I have so much love for a lot of those titles already. Meanwhile Twitter is losing its collective mind over Twilight Imperium 4th ed. What games are you looking forward to checking out this fall (and/or at Gen Con specifically)?

At Gen Con I will be selling a 10x10 challenge board that I stained, sealed, and painted. 10% will go to a program in Uganda called Gamechangers. Auction geeklist is here: 10x10 Challenge Board Auction ends 8/13 (Gen Con pickup or U.S. shipping)

From gallery of cmarie


meeple


Lately I have really enjoyed running test missions to rescue survivors of the zombie apocalypse. It may sound strange, but the process is very compelling, and it's important to be prepared. I've been SO excited to receive my evacuation kit from Raxxon Pharmaceuticals (Raxxon) and spread the word about it (virally, heh).



The procedure involves cooperation and management of your available actions and the potential future consequences of those actions. In these test missions (1-4 survivors can practice), you will learn how to evacuate other survivors, quarantine and kill zombies, and negotiate with our Raxxon overlords. Wait, I've already said too much...go tksjd... **static** **static** **static**

meeple


Ben and I got an Instant Pot on Prime Day. We love it. It's a multifunctional pressure cooker. You can make crock pot-type stuff in it, but it cooks a lot faster. You can also sear meat in it, use it as a rice cooker, etc. It's nice in the summer if you're trying to avoid using your oven or standing over a hot stove with boiling water.

So far we've made rice, red beans & sausage, lemon garlic chicken, shredded beef for tacos and such, chickpea stew, and some kind of faux-lasagna thing. But my favorite by far was the Thai red curry with chicken. Loved the flavor, loved having some fresh basil on top, loved not having to stir fry/babysit at the stove. Instant Pots y'all.
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Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:35 pm
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Packing Light, Yokohama, Tabletop Game Talk, & Blueberry Muffins

Christy
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Packing Light

Almost a year ago, Ben and I packed up a bunch of games and went on an Amtrak journey. While we didn't end up playing as much that time as I had hoped, I still always think about what games to bring and how to pack them whenever we go on trips. Here's what we packed for a 6-day trip:

From gallery of cmarie


To play with family:

Kodama: The Tree Spirits - Ditch the scoreboard and throw the cards in a deck box. NEXT.

Sagrada - Ditch the glass tokens (generic). Put the regular cards in a deck box and the wide cards in an envelope, then in a hard plastic file folder along with the rules. Cardboard "windows" rubber banded and packed in the middle of a suitcase to avoid damage. Dice bag tied shut.

Las Vegas - Cardboard tables unnecessary, esp. when you have cards with dice on them anyway (see below). Pack dice sets for expected players, and add cards to deck box.

From gallery of cmarie
To play on our own:

The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game - (Can use the cards with big die faces on them as tables for Las Vegas.) Say what you want about the game, the sideways fit in this deck box is dead sexy.

Red7 - Sharing a deck box with Kodama. Still haven't tried the advanced rules yet.

Tides of Time - Cards and rulebook in an envelope within the big file folder. Leaving the "these are the cards I'm keeping" tiles at home.

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective - Boy there are a lot of BGG entries for this. I don't even know which one is right. Anyway, we packed a few key items pertaining to our unfinished case from last summer. Ben says he "just wants to know the answer" but I want to take a little more time to review the situation.

Note: There is a cost to packing this way. It's super efficient and you don't have to lug around tons of unnecessary components, but on the other hand, your games do get a bit mixed up. Our Tides of Time cards, for example, weren't in the Quiver OR in the Tides of Time box. I had to think for a minute before rescuing them from the Strife: Legacy of the Eternals tin, where I had put them at Christmas in a very similar fit of efficiency-minded game packing.



The file folder is a key component in the whole endeavor. You can put all the rulebooks in it, plus any cards that are too big to fit in a deck box, player boards, etc.

Games that didn't quite make the cut because of components: Splendor, Concept, Santorini


Yokohama

Although I missed the Kickstarter, I had two opportunities to play Yokohama recently, and had so much fun both times. It's visually overwhelming, but the Istanbul-esque nature of the movement (your president can only go where you have an assistant) constrains the decision space. It really helps IMO, because you might only be thinking about two or three tiles for your upcoming turn.

Board Game: Yokohama


I love the advance planning in Yokohama. By placing your assistants, you're forecasting what you might do on a future turn. There is just the right amount of blocking -- not so much that it's annoying, but enough that there are a few funny moments. There is a lot of downtime with 4, but you can do a fair amount of planning ahead when it's not your turn. It's really satisfying to get your buildings on the board and try to chart an efficient path through the tiles.

Obviously the deluxe copies are hard to come by right now. A few might be sold at Origins. If not, or if prices are just too high all around, I plan to get a regular copy and then go rogue with a bunch of my own customizations. meeple


Other games I've played and enjoyed recently:

Escape from the Aliens in Outer Space - An aliens-vs.-humans hidden movement game where everybody gets to participate in moving around secretly and trying to catch each other! Our group of 4 played three different maps in an evening (in addition to a more sedate game of Sagrada). You can play with optional secret powers that really bump things up a notch. The beginner map was my least favorite because it was too open-ended; the others were more fun. (Apparently some people were playing this at IndyCon? If so, I missed it.)

Sagrada - Just what I like about Roll Player without a bunch of the stuff I could have lived without. Excellent (except I don't recommend the solo mode).

5-Minute Dungeon - I kept hearing about Troy's "5-minute dungeon" game and didn't pay much attention, but boy was this fun! You play as a character with a deck of cards. Most of the cards just have icons on them. Then you cooperatively play through a dungeon in real time, playing your cards to defeat enemies and obstacles! We had a blast, but sadly this game is impossible to find unless you are willing to resort to a flipper on eBay. (My least favorite thing about Kickstarter unfortunately.) Here's Patrick's video of us playing (thanks Patrick!):



Fabled Fruit - Playing through a 3p campaign. We get a game played most Friday nights. I think we're about halfway through the deck. Through a series of wins, cutthroat moves, and pseudo-cheating, Andrew (dotKeller) has established himself as Public Enemy #1. angry (Those of you who have played Bohnanza with him will not be surprised by this.) These games are VICIOUS, people.

If you like LOTS of negotiation, and don't own enough games with camels in them, check out Merchants of Araby. It was a solid game, although not really my kind of thing. Somehow I won despite complaining a lot and misunderstanding a bunch of stuff, and Hahn thought that we hated him. (But I introduced him to Melodice so it's all good!)


Tabletop Game Talk

One of my favorite podcasts, Tabletop Game Talk, recently did an episode based on a topic I suggested: Tricking Out Your Games. Chris, Kitty, and Josh do a fantastic job responding to listener comments and questions. They announce the topics in their BGG guild before recording so that you have a chance to actually be a part of the conversation, and then they talk about what you write.

When they put up the discussion thread for this episode and asked about component upgrades, mini painting, inserts, etc, I went nuts and wrote a huge reply. Input on Ep 37: Tricking Out Your Game Then they used my reply as the format for their episode, which was awesome and hilarious. Listen HERE

Also, for those of you who are either done with Pandemic Legacy or don't intend to play, they did an exceptionally great summary and recap of their Pandemic Legacy experience. I would highly recommend it unless you're currently playing/intending to play and it would spoil you. Pandemic Legacy episode HERE


Blueberry Muffins

I looked at several of the top Google results for blueberry muffins and couldn't decide. Then I remembered the cardinal rule of baking: always go with Smitten Kitchen. I used this recipe with a couple of adjustments: 1/4 tsp Princess Cake & Cookie emulsion instead of the lemon zest (its most prominent note is citrus) and a little added cream because I was a little short on the yogurt. They turned out great!

If you like citrus flavors in baked goods (esp. sugar cookies and the like), get thyself to a specialty baking store and grab some Princess. Trust me.

From gallery of cmarie


Also I'm participating in the 2017 Taco de Mayo challenge: eat 31 tacos in 31 days. Here goes! Item for Geeklist "2017 - TACO DE MAYO"
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Fri May 5, 2017 4:53 pm
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April Showers Component Extravaganza

Christy
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From gallery of cmarie


Welcome back to the Component Extravaganza series!

In February and March I ran geekgold contests to name as many of the bits as possible. This month I'd like to do something a little different. Instead of having an official contest with secret answers and a deadline, let's just have a freewheeling conversation about what's in the picture.

I will leave the use of spoiler tags up to your discretion -- use them or don't use them as you wish. Just beware of spoilers if you scroll down from here!

In this shot I used multiple raindrops from two different games to fill in space and make the rain look more thematic. So your mind isn't playing tricks on you if you see some identical pieces!

Thanks as always to
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for his sublime photo editing skills! meeple
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Fri Apr 28, 2017 8:23 pm
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SeaFall, Gloomhaven, Inis, Vast, Beer Mac & Cheese w/Bacon, & Blackberry Cobbler Waffles

Christy
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Lately I've had the opportunity to try several games on my want-to-play list! It's been a while since I blogged about actual GAMES since I've also been doing the component arrangements.

SeaFall - Last you heard, we had named our starting islands after the Spice Girls and were sticking with it. Well, we bailed about 8 games in. I don't even know how well I could articulate why, but basically we were playing these long games with slow-moving action and then all of a sudden someone would win in a very swingy ending.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
For example, some of the milestones led directly to getting other milestones, making it tough on the rest of the players.
It just wasn't strategically rewarding. So we eventually decided to call it and had a blowout night where we just did stuff without rolling dice, paying costs, whatever. We'd explore a thing and just read the corresponding thing out of the book. Worked pretty well. There was one really really cool thing that we discovered, and nothing else made us regret quitting early.

Then I tried to sell my copy at the IndyCon flea market. Item for Geeklist "2017 IndyCon Flea Market" Imagine my shock and dismay when nobody wanted it!

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Gloomhaven
- The 21-lb. beast. We don't have our own copy but we're lucky enough to know someone who does. We tried a 4p game with the Brute, the Spellweaver, the Scoundrel, and the Mindthief. I advocated for easy mode, but we tried normal and got our butts kicked. It was our first time playing and there was a lot of setup and card reading to do, but even with that taken into consideration, I still came away feeling like biting off 4p Gloomhaven is just more than I would want to chew on a regular basis. Just a personal preference thing. Lots of cross-party card interactions, enemy movement, modifier cards, etc. I could see playing it 2-3p and enjoying it more when there is a little less data to compute.

I tried entering a few contests to win a copy, but none of them panned out, so I'm greatly looking forward to the reprint and it sounds like Isaac is really on top of it. The Titanic picture was one of my entries in the Blue Peg, Pink Peg contest with the theme "21 lbs of game".

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Inis - I know that other people's session reports aren't always the most interesting thing to read, but BOY did I have an epic game of Inis with Dave and Patrick on St. Patrick's Day [note: there is a TLDR below]. Inis is area control, but it's all card-driven, so you can only do what the cards let you do. There are three different victory conditions and you're trying to establish at least one of them. The twist is that when you accomplish that, you have to do this "Uno" type thing where you warn everyone that unless they do something to mess you up, you'll win at the end of the current round.

So Patrick said he'd be my friend and then the three of us jockeyed for position over several rounds, and then this is what happened: I fulfilled a victory condition (1 person in 6 different regions). Then on his turn, instead of messing me up, Patrick fulfilled a different victory condition (sanctuaries). Dave followed suit by completing the third victory condition (majority over 6 clans). So we were all "winning" but I controlled the capital, and that would have been the tiebreaker if the board state hadn't changed.

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Dave then moved a BUNCH of people into the capital (not shown in the photo, that's from earlier in the game) and we had a battle, but I won thanks to a card that everybody had seen earlier in the game but had forgotten about. So I knocked Dave out of contention for the win, defended my territory, and was poised for the win...until Patrick played a card that moved a couple of my clans around, destroying my win condition!! I was all burned out on cards and couldn't counter with anything. Patrick won and it was AMAZING. Inis is on my wishlist now for sure. thumbsup

TLDR: We all fulfilled victory conditions at the same time and then Patrick epically stabbed me in the back.


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Vast: The Crystal Caverns - Missed my chance to get a photo of the "board" (cave tiles) of this game because Dave (the knight) killed me (the dragon) and ended the game when I was away from the table. So this is my personal board -- RIP Trogdor. Vast is the ultimate asymmetrical game because everyone plays as their own creature with their own rules. The goblins want to kill the knight, the knight wants to kill the dragon, the dragon wants to wake up and escape from the cave, and the cave wants to collapse on everyone. That's what makes it fun, but it also makes it really hard to have ANY clue how well other people are doing.

The dragon wants to explore event tiles, eat goblins, and find treasure. When she does these things, she can move cubes to the wakefulness track and improve her armor and hand size. I was able to wake up, but surfacing and getting out of the cave was a huge problem. The knight just got too many hits on me. I would LOVE to play Vast again but it seemed like nobody else wanted to (for Dave and Denise it was not their first time playing).


Bite-size updates and fun things:
d10-1 Andrew and Ben and I are a third of the way through our Fabled Fruit campaign. We really enjoy it as long as Andrew isn't being SUPER annoying about moves involving bananas.
d10-2 Even though the shamrock contest was less popular than the valentine one, I am undeterred (at least for the moment) and there is an April component shot in the works!
d10-3 Finished painting my Santorini minis (pic below). Their eyes are a little wonky and I was hoping to get by with less detail work overall, but I'm happy with the end result.
d10-4 If you are looking for a new gaming podcast, try Tabletop Game Talk. I've been enjoying their stuff lately.
d10-5 I have been eyeing the KS for Dinosaur Island (those dino meeples look awesome). But at $80+shipping with the Gloomhaven reprint on the horizon, I'll probably pass.

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FOOD - I found this killer-sounding recipe for mac & cheese and Ben made it. That was a few weeks ago. Then we revamped it by using sharp cheddar instead of mild (way better) and adding bacon (duh). Pretty great. Beer Mac & Cheese (I'm assuming I don't need to post a photo in order to sell you on that.) We also recently made blackberry cobbler waffles and white chicken chili. For the waffles I did my first-ever Instagram "story":

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Tue Mar 21, 2017 2:56 am
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Shamrock Contest Answers

Christy
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Indianapolis
Indiana
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From gallery of cmarie


Here are your answers! Starting on the left and working to the right:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
1. square tile - London
2. sheep tile - Ora et Labora
3. Hex tile - Castles of Burgundy
4. tree piece - Krosmaster Arena
5. donkey - Roads and Boats
6. caterpillar - Lotus
7. skinny leather/hide tile - A Feast for Odin
8. question mark - Robinson Crusoe
9. Green 1 card - Red 7
10. gem/crystal - Escape the Curse of the Temple, Compounded, Spyrium, Quartz
11. chunky die with star & plants - Seasons
12. plant meeple - At the Gates of Loyang
13. airship - Steam Time
14. top hat - Last Will, The Prodigals Club
15. rectangle (brick) - The Palaces of Carrara
16. pawn - The Palaces of Carrara
17. meeple - Thebes
18. curvy piece - pepper from Goa
19. d6 - Luchador! Mexican Wrestling Dice
20. camel & rider - Through the Desert
21. 3 token - Ashes
22. column - Elysium
23. thyme card - Herbaceous
24. O - Pirate's Cove
25. person (darker green) - Finca
26. person (lighter green) - Patchistory
27. d6 - Biblios Dice
28. chunky pawn - Emerald
29. wine thing - Viticulture
30. train - Ticket to Ride 10th anni
31. round tile - Gold West
32. fruit/veggie piece - mango from Blend-Off (bigger and with a more rounded end than a Scoville pepper)
33. chunky piece - Discworld
34. car - Monza
35. Artemis’ Feat card - Omen: A Reign of War
36. person tile - The Ancient World
37. snake - Animal Upon Animal


Our winner, actually the only entrant, is Wisegy84 with 26 correct answers. Way to go Don and THANKS for playing! thumbsup

Thank you to Denise and dotKeller for contributing bits to the photo, and to dotKeller for photo editing. Couldn't have done it without you two!

The number of entries went way down this time and I'm not sure why (too much to ask for a numbered list? didn't release the photo at the right time? harder difficulty not appreciated? feel free to weigh in here).

Next time I'm thinking of just opening it up for discussion right away and letting people just shout out the ones they know, rather than structuring it as a contest. I can put it up on Twitter, BGG, and Instagram and then wherever people encounter it, they can just post away and chat about whatever is in the picture. Would that be more fun?

In case you missed it last time, here's the geeklist I made for future component photos (handy for subscription purposes): Component Extravaganza Bit ID Contest Subscription List
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Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:57 pm
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Shamrock Component Extravaganza (Contest for GG) !!!

Christy
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From gallery of cmarie


Thanks to dotKeller for editing this photo!

This is a contest to name as many of the bits as possible. Geekmail me your answers with "Shamrock Contest" in the subject line, but be sure to read through the rules below. The deadline for submitting your answers is Saturday, March 18 at 10pm EST.

We have some new rules this month! Thanks to those of you who contributed suggestions for how I can run this.

1. Tip this post 3 GG (or more) to play for geekgold. You are welcome to just play for fun! I will split up the GG among the top 3 who tipped and announce winners all around.

2. To be eligible to win (either for GG or for fun), you must submit your answers in the form of a numbered list. For example:
Quote:
1. Mystery Date
2. Clue
etc.
3. There are 37 bits representing 36 games (like last time, two of the bits are from the same game, and they are right next to each other in the photo). You may submit up to 40 guesses. No points will be deducted for incorrect guesses! You just get a few freebies!

Note: If you think it's fun to submit guesses for specific bits (e.g. "the meeple with the hat is from _____"), you can do it that way and it's fun for me to read those, but it's not required. You can just submit a list of game titles as long as it's numbered.

UPDATE: I have created a geeklist that you can conveniently subscribe to if you want to be notified of future "bit ID" contests: Component Extravaganza Bit ID Contest Subscription List
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Sun Mar 12, 2017 5:43 pm
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Hodgepodge Post: Upcoming Shamrock Contest, Play Logging, Dead of Winter 2p, IndyCon Report & Geeklist, Import/Export Poll

Christy
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Lots to share! I will put the more mainstream topics first.

d10-1 Thanks again to everyone who participated and contributed to the Valentine Component Extravaganza! (It was even featured in the BGG Geek Weekly, which I was thrilled about!!) I am happy to announce that there will be a Shamrock Component Extravaganza happening later this month. You will be able to play to win GG for an entry fee of 5 GG, OR play for fun. I have also received some more input on rules, so the scoring system will be revamped and more clearly described next time. Looking forward to it, start thinking about those green bits!! For those of you who like contests, I also recommend checking out the monthly Meeply Feud at: Meeply Feud Subscription Thread

d10-2 I invite readers of this blog to weigh in on the topic of play logging. How do you log plays? Is it something you enjoy or more of a chore that you do so you can have stats at the end of the month/year? I have fallen behind lately, partly due to inconsistency of method (SPLU logger on BGG vs some newfangled iPad app) and will have a tough time catching up at this point.

d10-3 Ben and I recently tried a megagame of Dead of Winter + The Long Night by controlling two "players" each for a four-player game (starting with 8 survivors). We used the bandit module and played on co-op mode, which abolishes the personal objectives and just has you do the hardcore side of the main objective card. We won somewhat easily but Ben rolled a tooth on his FIRST roll of the game. Playing with this guy is just DANGEROUS.

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d10-4 Here in Indianapolis we recently enjoyed IndyCon, a local 3-day gaming convention. Many of you have seen my annual geeklist already and for the rest, I know that somebody else's con geeklist is not always the most exciting thing. I do my best to give it some universal appeal by adding photos/videos/GIFs and general commentary on most of the games. cmarie's "Spring" IndyCon 2017 This year's highlights included Concordia (always), Roll Player, and Mysterium.

d10-5 There are a couple of Glory to Rome-inspired games on KS right now. For those of you in the Indianapolis area OR people with whom I might play a game at some point in the foreseeable future (Gen Con, Origins, IndyCon), please vote in the following poll:

Poll
1. If I preordered Import / Export (described as "Glory to Rome meets Container"), would you be interested in playing it with me?
2. If I backed Food Truck Champion on KS ("A family-friendly food game inspired by Glory to Rome. Hire staff, stock your fridge, prepare beautiful dishes, and upgrade your truck!"), would you be interested in playing it with me?
      13 answers
Poll created by cmarie


I hope the poll is not off-putting to readers living in other areas -- I'm just trying to avoid acquiring more games that never get played.
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Thu Mar 2, 2017 10:36 pm
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Valentine Component Extravaganza!!!

Christy
United States
Indianapolis
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Microbadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level IV - The journey of a thousand crits begins with a single roll...Microbadge: Follow me on InstagramMicrobadge: The Five By podcast fanMicrobadge: Twitter userMicrobadge: Golden Geeklister
From gallery of cmarie


Thanks to dotKeller for editing this photo!

This is a contest to name as many of the bits as possible. Geekmail me your answers by Friday at 10pm EST and I will pass along all tipped geekgold to the winner! BC Indy has graciously offered to donate some, and dotKeller has kicked things off already! Thanks guys! (P.S. I'll throw in 10 GG after the fact, but can't tip my own post.)

Hint #1: One game has two different bits representing it.

Hint #2: Don't miss the d6 sitting on top of the "7" card (the one with three pips showing). It kind of blends in. If you have already submitted answers and you missed this on your first pass, feel free to submit a guess for that one.

I will post answers and declare a winner this weekend! Have fun! meeple
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Wed Feb 15, 2017 3:14 am
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