Cardboard Crucible

We are Justin and Lauren Schroeder, and we love Jesus, board games, and an overly hoppy IPA. We don’t actually play a lot of board games, but the board games we do play, we play a lot! We have also started designing our own games (mostly Justin) and painting miniatures from popular board games (definitely only Lauren). We created Cardboard Crucible to share with you some of our adventures in gaming, from playtesting to playing games with a 3-year-old. We hope you enjoy our blog, and please contact us if you have any questions or comments!

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Terraforming Mars Week, Day 5: What does the future hold?

Justin Schroeder
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Let me just say this: if you're still following this series, and the phrase "Terraforming Mars Legacy Game" doesn't get your pulse racing, then what are we even doing here?

Terraforming Mars Week
MONDAY: What makes the base game great
TUESDAY: Answering common complaints
WEDNESDAY: Expansions ranked and discussed
THURSDAY: Ares Expedition spin-off
FRIDAY: The future of Terraforming Mars

What I would love to see in the future

1. A legacy game: My wife and I very recently completed our first two legacy games: My City and Pandemic Legacy Season 0. We loved the competitive nature of My City, but it was a very light and quick experience. And we loved the storytelling of Pandemic, but the cooperative gameplay was, frankly, quite boring. I have been dying for a really great competitive legacy game, so rumors that one of my favorite games of all time might get the legacy treatment sent my head spinning. Is this actually true?!??! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!

In all seriousness, what could we expect from TM legacy? My guess is that it would share some DNA with Clank! Legacy; namely, that players would develop the game board with stickers as they play, and several cards will enter or leave play based on the results of each game. I suspect each player would have a single corporation that they also develop from game to game, possibly creating one majorly overpowered corp by the time the campaign is done. I hope that by the end there are at least a handful of items (e.g. a new game board, some new corps, and a couple dozen project cards) that could integrate with the original game.

2. Some Ares Expedition expansions: I talked a little bit about this in yesterday's post, but I think AE is ripe for some expansions. Adding milestones and awards should be the first priority, along with providing an alternate main board that looks more like this. After that, the Martian sky is the limit. Prelude? Seems like a no-brainer. Alternate ocean tiles, including a rule that makes their placement matter? Yes, please. A simplified area control battle with a corresponding sixth action card? I would love the added interaction it would bring. I haven't heard any rumors that expansions are actually in development, but I have a hard time believing there won't be any. Don't let us down Stronghold/FryxGames!

3. A luxurious dice game: This game has been in the BGG database for a while, but there hasn't been any news in a long time, so let's speculate on what it might be like. First of all, I hope this turns TM into a deluxified game with chunky dice and sturdy tiles, just like Roll for the Galaxy did for Race for the Galaxy. I want loads of big, colorful dice and deluxe resources and tiles. I want this to be more of a medium/heavy euro dice game, not a quick and simple roll-and-write game. I want this to channel some of what makes Seasons great while maintaining the unique theme and feel of TM. I want tile placement to matter, even if the planet ends up being a lot smaller. I almost always prefer retail games over Kickstarter, but I want this game to be funded on KS with all the bells and whistles I've come to expect from that platform, including oodles of promo cards/tiles/dice and unnecessarily lush upgrade options!

4. Award and Milestone tiles: This wish is quite a bit less complicated than the others, but I would love one more expansion for original TM that includes all the awards and milestones from all the boards (including fan-made expansions!) as tiles a la the Venuphile and Hoverlord tiles from Venus Next. I totally understand why the game boards aren't fully modular, and I appreciate the ease of setup with the way the boards are now, but one extra spice I would love to see is the ability to play with a random collection of awards and milestones each game.

5. Digital player boards: Generally, I loathe the idea of app-assisted board games. But thanks to The Search for Planet X and the auxiliary app for Dune: Imperium, I am beginning to see their value, especially if they simply enhance the actual physical experience of playing a board game. What if you could get a digital version of your individual player board as an app for your phone or tablet? When it comes time to produce, all you would have to do is click a button and your inventory would be filled with the appropriate cubes. Add another button for spending each resource, and suddenly you have completely eliminated the need for all the cube pushing that some people (AKA former me) abhor. Now, admittedly, I get a lot of satisfaction from grabbing half a dozen gold cubes and plopping them down in my megacredit inventory, but something like this might cut down on playtime by 15-30 minutes, giving you more time to enjoy the heart of TM. Anyone up for the challenge??

* * *

It's been a pleasure exploring the existing world of Terraforming Mars this week, and while these five are the first wishes that came to my mind, I think I would love anything new in the TM universe. Thanks for joining me on this journey, and please post your own personal desires for TM in the comments below!
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Fri Nov 26, 2021 10:44 am
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Terraforming Mars Week, Day 4: Ares Expedition spin-off

Justin Schroeder
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Ah, Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition. The card game version of a card game. When this game was crowdfunded, I had no interest. We already had (and loved) Race for the Galaxy, and our obsession with the original Terraforming Mars was still in its infancy. But then we found ourselves in the games aisle at Target this summer, drawn to the nearly cube-shaped red box with familiar letters on the cover. We didn't hesitate to make the purchase, and we have definitely not regretted that decision. Come join me for a quick look at some key points you should know about Ares Expedition, or check out my full review for a high-level overview of the gameplay and components.

Terraforming Mars Week
MONDAY: What makes the base game great
TUESDAY: Answering common complaints
WEDNESDAY: Expansions ranked and discussed
THURSDAY: Ares Expedition spin-off
FRIDAY: The future of Terraforming Mars

What you need to know about this version

1. The cards are a huge improvement: All new artwork and linen finish make these cards a huge improvement over the original (which I already liked!). When you splay the cards sideways, you can see all most of the relevant information at a glance. I do wish they had made icons for all of the card effects (i.e. including one-time bonuses and end-game scoring), but I realize they were working with limited space. Overall, I love the look and feel of these cards!

2. Race for the Galaxy on steroids: I've played both of these games this week, and in some ways Ares Expedition feels like a bigger and longer Race for the Galaxy. I know part of RftG's appeal is the tightness imposed by the limited tableau size---and I do love that game---but the ability to really build up your tableau with 25+ cards makes Ares Expedition highly enjoyable as well.

3. Hit and miss with production choices: I've already mentioned that the cards are a hit with my family, but I also adore those pearlescent cubes. In fact, I want cubes like that for all of my games! But there were also some really questionable decisions related to the main game board: all the tracks are too small, and the ocean placement is meaningless. This was definitely a missed opportunity in my book.

4. Plenty of room for expansions: While Ares Expedition captures a lot of what I love about original TM, there were some notable absences that I hope will be addressed by future expansions. First and foremost, I would love to see some variable Milestones & Awards introduced for AE, and I think you could easily include some Prelude cards like those in TM. Aside from those, I hope some kind of fix is made for the main game board, and I'm curious to see if another planet like Venus sneaks into the game somewhere. Of course, they could also decide to go a completely different direction to further differentiate this from the original. Either way, I hope some expansions are already in the pipeline!

5. Same enough to buy, different enough to keep: Ares Expedition is clearly the child of Race for the Galaxy and Terraforming Mars, but the biggest question seemed to be, is it different enough from those to justify owning it. After a dozen plays, I can happily say that this does a good job of incorporating some great elements from both parent games (action selection and using cards as currency from RftG, engine building and theming from TM), while sitting comfortably in the middle of those two concerning size and length. We usually finish a game of Ares Expedition in about 60-75 minutes, making it double RftG but half of TM; in other words, the perfect place to be!

* * *

Have you played both the original TM and Ares Expedition? If so, how would you compare them? Do you plan on keeping both, or do you strongly prefer one over the other? In this case, both games are so good that I don't think there are any wrong answers!
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Thu Nov 25, 2021 9:40 am
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Terraforming Mars Week, Day 3: Expansions ranked and discussed

Justin Schroeder
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Stronghold and Fryx Games have really tested the old adage that "you can never have too much of a good thing." Terraforming Mars was already a fairly big game, but now with five expansions available you can get a good workout just carrying the box from your shelf to the table. We own and play regularly with four of these expansions mixed in (I'll explain more below on why we don't own the fifth), so I'd like to share my thoughts on each one's pros and cons and how they compare.

Terraforming Mars Week
MONDAY: What makes the base game great
TUESDAY: Answering common complaints
WEDNESDAY: Expansions ranked and discussed
THURSDAY: Ares Expedition spin-off
FRIDAY: The future of Terraforming Mars

A definitive ranking of all TM expansions

1. Prelude: If you knew anything about the expansions, then you probably already guessed which one was going to take the top spot. Prelude is super easy to integrate, increases player asymmetry right from the get-go, and helps you get your engine up and running even quicker. There are no cons to this expansion. If you own TM, then this is the easiest recommendation to make: go buy Prelude today!

2. Hellas & Elysium: If you've read my previous Terraforming Mars Week posts, then you know how much I love the milestones and awards. This expansion consists of nothing else besides a new double-sided game board, but the new milestones and awards on each board offer some much-appreciated variety from game to game. Once again, this expansion is super easy to integrate and is highly recommended for all TM fans.

3. Colonies: If the first two expansions on this list were lean sirloin steaks, then Colonies is a big, fat, juicy cheeseburger. It can be quite messy and might make your lunch hour run quite a bit longer than expected. But it also offers some amazing flavor combos for those who are looking to excite their taste buds. This is the one expansion I wouldn't necessarily recommend to everyone, but it's also one we'll never play without. The Colonies are something that you can safely ignore if you have other things you would rather do, but they also provide an alternative source of the some of the resources if you find yourself in a pinch. This one requires the most rules overhead of all of the expansions that we have played, but again it's something you can simply ignore if you're feeling overwhelmed.

4. Venus Next: This expansion falls under the category of "more of the same". Here you have an additional global parameter tied to the terraforming of Venus, and there are several cards and a standard project that interact with Venus's terraforming track. Everything works very similarly to how they do with the various tracks on Mars, with the only exception being that Venus does not need to be fully terraformed to trigger the end of the game. This expansion is ranked so low mostly because it doesn't really offer anything new to your experience. But if you already love what TM has to offer, you can't go wrong with this expansion either.

5. Turmoil: This ranking should probably be "N/A" rather than #5, but after thorough research I've deemed it's the only expansion not worth getting, so I guess putting it at 5 is fair. Turmoil adds a whole new dimension to TM, including global events and a political realm with some light area control. While I tend to love area control in general, this expansion seems to add a ton of fiddly-ness, and from what I hear it's not super great with just 2 players. Since we play 95% of the time with just my wife and me, it doesn't make sense to add this expansion. And really, this is probably only for the die-hard fans who play regularly with their gaming group of 4 or more.

* * *

While I'm pretty sure that Prelude is the consensus number one expansion for all Terraformers, I'd be curious to see how others rank the remaining four. But regardless of how you rank them, I think we can all agree on one thing: more Terraforming Mars is always a good thing!
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Wed Nov 24, 2021 2:13 pm
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Terraforming Mars Week, Day 2: Answering common complaints

Justin Schroeder
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Terraforming Mars seems to be a very divisive game. I know that well, because I have been on both sides of the aisle, swinging wildly from "This game is terrible!" to "Wow this game is amazing!" I myself had many concerns and complaints about TM, only to see most of them vanish once I actually, you know, played the game. So I feel somewhat qualified to address some of these common complaints, and I hope that anyone who has been holding off on TM because of one of these fears might be encouraged to give it a shot.

Terraforming Mars Week
MONDAY: What makes the base game great
TUESDAY: Answering common complaints
WEDNESDAY: Expansions ranked and discussed
THURSDAY: Ares Expedition spin-off
FRIDAY: The future of Terraforming Mars

Why the haters are wrong!

1. The art: This is a very frequent complaint, and you know what? They're probably right. The art is not quite museum-quality, like something you might find in Everdell or Wingspan. But you know what else? It doesn't really matter! The art conveys the scientific theme well, and the vital information on all of the cards is clear and easy to find, which is of utmost importance when you are building a complex tableau consisting of dozens of cards. It's clear that Fryx Games spent their resources on developing fantastic gameplay rather than fantastic artwork, and that's a trade I'll take any day of the week.

2. The lack of player interaction: Is this a wargame? No. But is it multiplayer solitaire? Not even close! The race and tension between players surrounding the Milestones and Awards is legit, as those 30 points can have a huge say in who the winner will be. The drafting variant is a must and leaves a ton of room for denying your opponent the cards you know they desperately want. And you only need to have a Nuclear Zone dropped in the middle of your carefully crafted triangle of cities once to realize how gratifying/devastating the interaction on the main board can be. At the end of the day this is still a euro-style game, but it's definitely among the most interactive ones that I have played.

3. The cube pushing: This is the biggest complaint I myself had about the game, possibly fueled by SUSD's review. At the time I thought I generally disliked games with oodles of cubes, but truthfully what I dislike is the seemingly random conversion chain of "blue cubes --> red cubes --> green cubes --> yellow cubes --> points" that I have found in several games. Terraforming Mars is not like that at all; rather, you are simply getting loads of different resources and spending them all in unique and different ways. Yes, you will need to keep track of lots of cubes on your player board, and that can be quite difficult if you are using the flat player boards that come in the base game. But with any of the myriad third-party double-layer boards available on the market today, this six-sided economy brings immense pleasure as you fill your board with shiny metallic cubes of potential.

4. The game length: Many people say that Terraforming Mars takes too long, but of course that is going to depend on your taste. My wife and I really enjoy long games, especially ones that let you build up and run an engine a satisfying number of times. Many games are tight and fast and you feel like they end just as you were about to do something interesting. TM, on the other hand, gives you the time to build up a big engine and then says, "Let's see what this baby can do!!" But it's true, this game will probably take around 2 hours for experienced players, maybe even more if using several non-Prelude expansions. But if you're enjoying it the whole time, playing a game for 2 hours is not really a bad thing, is it??

5. The production quality: I think the complaint about production quality is simply born out of our KS-era obsession with deluxe components (a disease I readily admit I possess as well!). At first I was a bit let down after our unboxing of TM, but on second thought nearly everything is of a standard quality I have come to expect in euro games. The cards are solid if not glamorous, and there are loads of cardboard tokens. The player cubes are nice, and I love the way the differently-sized resource cubes look. Even with a bit of flaking, they look (and more importantly, function) great even after 50+ plays. The only real valid complaint here is with the player boards: a nice double-layer board is a must!

* * *

If you haven't played Terraforming Mars for any of these reasons, I strongly urge you to give it a try. There are some legitimate complaints, but if you are looking for a heavy card-based euro that spent most of its budget on actual game design (rather than artwork and components), you simply can't go wrong here.

P.S. If you have a different complaint about TM, I would love if you shared it down in the comments below!
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Tue Nov 23, 2021 6:50 pm
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Welcome to Terraforming Mars Week! (Day 1: What makes TM great)

Justin Schroeder
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November 2021 marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of the Curiosity Mars rover by NASA. What better way to celebrate than by taking a week to explore one of the greatest board games ever made: Terraforming Mars. My wife and I only started playing this board game in March, but we've logged over 50 plays in the past 8 months and have experienced four of the expansions and one of the spinoff games. I realize that that's just a drop in the ocean compared to more experienced players (four BGG users have logged over 1000 plays!), but I think it's enough to offer some insights on this game, especially to anyone considering taking the dive into the TM world. On the other hand, I'd also love to hear from anyone who's played this game many more times than I have and can offer a different opinion.

Terraforming Mars Week
MONDAY: What makes the base game great
TUESDAY: Answering common complaints
WEDNESDAY: Expansions ranked and discussed
THURSDAY: Ares Expedition spin-off
FRIDAY: The future of Terraforming Mars

What makes Terraforming Mars so great?

There is actually very little in TM that I would call groundbreaking or innovative. So why is it so popular? Why is it so good? On one hand I could simply say that, even though TM doesn't do anything new, it does what it does superbly well (or, I could just point you to my recently released review!). But as I dive deeper into the game, there are a handful of things that stand out to me as the pieces of the puzzle that take TM from being just another standard euro to being the best euro of all time.

1. The giant stack of cards: A few years ago I listed my top ten favorite features in board games, and the top of my list included things like hidden information, asymmetry, and implicit bluffing. While I still like those things, they have all been eclipsed by this one: I simply love a game that hands you a giant stack of (unique) cards and says, "See what you can do with that!" Engine building is the goal I'm really after, but it needs to be done by playing cards from a large and highly variable deck so that I never know exactly what's coming. A lot of games achieve a sense of "engine building" by forcing you to move up tracks or upgrade the actions available to you. These games have very little variability from one play to the next, because you always have the same options available to you. TM, on the other hand, gives you a near infinite number of paths to explore from one play to the next based on the cards you see and in what order you see them. With the expansions I have, there are over 2 quintillion possible combinations for just your starting hand, let alone what comes after. That's a 2 with 18 zeroes after it, in case you were wondering. This is the kind of variety I love!

2. The awards and milestones: Many games have common goals that players are racing to achieve (Race for the Galaxy does this particularly well with its first expansion arc), and this by itself is already one of my favorite features. But TM goes an extra step by forcing you to spend an action and some money to claim these goals. For the milestones, they are usually accomplished fairly early in the game, when money is tight and claiming a reward will likely cost the opportunity to play a card you would really like to play. And because only three of the five available awards can be funded, you are often encouraged to do that without being completely certain that you will actually win the award. The tension surrounding these decisions is fantastic and takes the goal system to a whole new level.

3. The double draft: First of all, I think you should always play with the draft variant. It probably adds 5-10 minutes to the length of the time, but the benefit far outweighs the cost. But even if you don't do the first draft, the second "draft" is still fascinating. Because once you have those four cards in hand in between each round, you need to decide if you're willing to pay for the right to add it to your hand. Once again, many games require you to buy a card before you can use it. But TM makes you pay just for the right to be able to pay for it for real later (and only then can you actually use it!). This decision can be absolutely agonizing in the early game, where you're often staring at four excellent cards and holding very little money in reserve, forcing you to figure out if it's worth it to throw away an entire round now just to be able to play these cards later. Thanks to this double draft system, you will have your fill of interesting decisions from start to finish in a game of TM!

4. The theme: No, "space" is not exactly a unique theme for a board game; I would guess that nearly a third of the games in our collection have a theme that is related to space. But most other games in this genre are highly fantastical, featuring futuristic space battles and highly sentient alien species. TM dares to take a different approach, giving you a highly scientific look at what it would take to live on Mars. Does this still qualify as "fantasy"? For now, certainly. But it still feels more real. And I know many people loathe the artwork, but for me it actually helps ground this as a more realistic (and more intelligent!) game. There are many games that put you in Mark Hamill's shoes and challenge you to take down a hostile Empire. But how many games put you in Matt Damon's shoes and challenge you to grow potatoes on a hostile planet???

5. The upgrades: Lately there's been a Kickstarter-fueled trend to make big expensive games with lots of investment into detailed minis, custom dice and storage solutions, but these games often fall woefully short in the gameplay department. I much prefer a game that has less-than-outstanding components but fantastic gameplay, and TM fits that bill to a T. No, I don't think the components are terrible, but they're certainly not flashy. The thing is, when you pay for this game, you are mostly paying for all the time that went into designing and developing the game, not piles of custom-molded plastic. If you love TM enough (like I do), then there are many third-party options for upgrades and improvements to the standard components. We currently have only card sleeves and double-layer player boards, but there are many others on our radar, including metal cubes, wooden tiles, and 3D-printed markers to track the global parameters and players' terraform rating. Whether it was a conscious decision or not, I really appreciate this anti-KS approach to producing board games, where the base game has simpler parts and a lower price point, but there are upgrades available for those who really enjoy the game.

* * *

Terraforming Mars is one of those games that I think everyone should try at least once, but if something is holding you back from taking that leap, check back tomorrow when I will address some of the typical complaints raised against this game.

And if you have another reason for loving TM, let me know in the comments below!
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Mon Nov 22, 2021 1:14 pm
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Celebrate the finals of Cops America and Euro 2020 by writing your own underdog story in Pocket World Cup!

Justin Schroeder
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If you're a football fan (or soccer fan in the US), then surely you are looking forward to a couple of fantastic finals this weekend: Argentina vs Brazil on Saturday and England vs Italy on Sunday. While these will certainly be great matches, I personally find the Cinderella stories more entertaining. Enter Pocket World Cup: The Rise of Antarctica!

PWC is a solo football-themed game with a unique take on the underdog story: you are in charge of leading Antarctica's newly-formed national team to World Cup Glory! Here's the full description from its BGG page:

Quote:
Global warming has transformed Antarctica from a winter wasteland into a holiday hotspot. As visitors flock to this newly-formed island nation, the governing authorities are looking to make a splash on the global stage and entice people to take up permanent residence. What better way to showcase this beautiful country than by becoming a world power in the beautiful game? Take the reins of the national football squad, use a recruiting loophole to pick some of the best players from around the globe, and lead Antarctica to World Cup glory in this challenging card-drafting, dice-chucking game for one!

In Pocket World Cup, you will play the role of team manager leading Antarctica through three years of World Cup qualifying. Each year you will draft 3 new players to your team and face 3 opponents in an attempt to earn momentum. Games are resolved by rolling dice for both sides, with each player offering additional dice or the ability to manipulate the dice in play. The players will get better as you progress from one year to the next, but so will your competition. If you earn enough momentum after three years, you will qualify for the World Cup: a 24-team single-elimination knockout tournament.

For a greater challenge, you can play in Dynasty Mode: a campaign of four complete cycles of qualifying games and World Cups in which you earn victory points based on how far you advance each cycle. Earn enough and your name will be etched forever in the Antarctican Hall of Fame!
Ready to write your own story? You can find all the files needed to play in the Files section of PWC's BGG page.

Don't forget to check out the commentary (or leave your own!) on the WIP thread for the game, and while you're at it check out some of the other great entries in this year's 54-Card Design Contest!
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Fri Jul 9, 2021 5:38 pm
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Unmatched New Year's Round Robin Tournament: Final Analysis

Justin Schroeder
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For an introduction to this tournament (and links to the results), click here.

Analysis of Predictions

*Sinbad seems overseeded at #3; look for him to finish in the lower half of the table.

Nailed it! Sinbad had a woeful tournament, going 1-5 and frequently getting blown out.

*Alice nearly won the last tournament and seems like a dangerous 5 seed. Don't be surprised if she finishes in the top 3 again.

Yikes! I was waaaaay off on this one. After a runner-up finish in our first tournament and reaching the winners' bracket final in the second one, Alice plummeted to the bottom of the table and nearly went winless.

*We are still learning how to play well with Bruce Lee. I expect him to win a match he really should've lost and lose a match he should've won.

Nailed another one! Bruce Lee ultimately knocked Medusa out of the running with a surprise upset, but then turned around and lost to a winless Alice in the final round.

*Bigfoot will reclaim the title he lost to Medusa.

Half right? Bigfoot finished ahead of Medusa, but I never expected Robin Hood to walk away with the hardware.

*Most importantly, I will take the overall series 13-8 against my wife. That's a big margin, but I think that I like this game much more than she does, and usually that's enough to give me a leg up in the long run.

Let's just...pretend I didn't say this, OK? After jumping out to a 10-7 lead, I lost 4 of the last 5 matches to finish dead even at 11-11. I'm pretty sure my wife doesn't read my blogs, so let's try to keep it that way!

Other Observations

*If there were an MVP award for this tournament, it would definitely go to the Outlaws. Robin Hood's sidekicks did a superb job protecting their boss, often boxing his opponent in so they couldn't even get to him. The only loss he suffered was against Medusa, a ranged fighter with a very similar style.

*King Arthur felt much more competitive. As pointed out by
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, we'll have to fix his Excalibur buff a little bit so he's not a sitting duck for Sherlock, but overall these minor changes made him a lot more fun to play.

*It's time for some fresh meat! We really enjoyed this tournament, but after three iterations with these characters, we are eager for some new faces. In a dream world, we would be able to get the Raptor set, Cobble & Fog, and the For King & Country Marvel set. Unfortunately, Unmatched is not available anywhere near my home, and the sets that are finally reaching Europe are the ones we already have. Hopefully this will change soon!
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Mon Jan 18, 2021 12:15 pm
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Unmatched New Year's Round Robin Tournament: Round 7 & Tiebreaker

Justin Schroeder
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For an introduction to this tournament, click here.

ROUND 7 (Sherwood)

Alice def. Bruce Lee: It took 6 matches to do it, but Alice finally found her footing, giving Bruce a masterclass in managing her size on the way to her first win of the tournament.

Robin Hood def. Sinbad: Needing a win to stay in contention, Hood delivered an impressive showing, actually eliminating Sinbad while on defense. He will await the winner of the final game in the tiebreaker playoff.

Bigfoot def. Medusa: In what amounted to a semifinal match, both fighters started very timidly, and little damage was done during the first dozen or so turns. Bigfoot eventually built a sizable lead, but he spent a lot of cards in the process. Medusa's war of attrition started to pay off, and Bigfoot was forced to go down to one health when he ran out of cards to draw. But then a last-ditch Larger than Life blow took all 6 of Medusa's remaining health, and Bigfoot claws his way into the final with a dramatic victory!

TIEBREAKER PLAYOFF (Marmoreal)

Since Robin Hood won the regular season matchup against Bigfoot, he enters the playoff needing a single victory, while Bigfoot needs to win twice in a row to regain the title belt. As it turned out, he would not get that chance!

Robin Hood def. Bigfoot: A well-deserved victory for the man in Lincoln green! As was the case throughout the tournament, he effectively used his Outlaws to keep his opponent at bay while wearing Bigfoot down from a distance. Bigfoot made a bold late play that backfired, leaving him defenseless against Hood's final onslaught. A shocking title (and 2-0 sweep of Bigfoot) for a guy who came into the tournament with only a 38% winning percentage against his chief rival!

FINAL STANDINGS

1. Robin Hood (6-1, 1st title)
2. Bigfoot (5-2)
3. Medusa (4-2)
4. Bruce Lee (3-3)
5. King Arthur (2-4)
6. Sinbad (1-5)
7. Alice (1-5)
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Sun Jan 17, 2021 2:50 pm
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Unmatched New Year's Round Robin Tournament: Rounds 5 & 6

Justin Schroeder
Macedonia
Gostivar
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Microbadge: ChristianMicrobadge: Plays Games with SpouseMicrobadge: Math GeekMicrobadge: Level 03 BGG posterMicrobadge: Copper Reviewer
For an introduction to this tournament, click here.

ROUND 5 (Sarpedon)

Bigfoot def. Sinbad: Wow. Not even close. Bigfoot got Sinbad in his clutches and wouldn't let him escape, feinting multiple attacks in a row before pummeling a defenseless Sinbad into oblivion.

Bruce Lee def. King Arthur: Don't ask me how, but Bruce ended up adjacent to his opponent with 2 actions, a full hand of cards, and no defense cards for KA. Arthur dropped from 18 health to 2 in one turn. Game over!

Medusa def. Robin Hood: The marquee match of the round was almost over before it started. Medusa delivered a boosted Second Shot to open the affair with 6 damage to Hood, and a Gaze of Stone finished the job in only 2 attacks!

ROUND 6 (Marmoreal)

King Arthur def. Alice: A terrific battle came down to the wire. Both sidekicks got knocked out halfway through, then King Arthur found the Holy Grail with only a single health point remaining, reviving him just enough to knock out Alice after being reduced again to a single health. A completely meaningless match that will probably end up being the Match of the Tournament!

Medusa def. Sinbad: A relatively disappointing battle that nonetheless provided the Moment of the Tournament: Sinbad went on a voyage that let him look at his opponent's hand, so he knew Medusa had two attack cards, one of which was Gaze of Stone. Sinbad only had one card in hand (a defense card). Does he play it on the first attack, or save it for the second one? After staring down his opponent with a steely gaze (while inwardly panicking), he held onto his card...and his life! But the mini victory was short lived, and Medusa easily finished him off a few turns later.

Robin Hood def. Bigfoot: After falling flat in his matchup with Medusa, Robin Hood came out ready to fight against Bigfoot. He deployed his Outlaws in an annoying good defensive strategy, building up a big card advantage that he used to finish off the big fellow and stay in the title chase!

STANDINGS

Medusa (4-1)
Bigfoot (4-1)
Robin Hood (4-1)
Bruce Lee (3-2)
King Arthur (2-4)
Sinbad (1-4)
Alice (0-5)

We go into the final round with a three-way tie at the top! The winner of Medusa-Bigfoot is guaranteed a shot at the title, while Robin Hood needs to beat Sinbad to force a tiebreaker. What more could you ask for?!?
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Sat Jan 16, 2021 12:24 pm
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Unmatched New Year's Round Robin Tournament: Rounds 3 & 4

Justin Schroeder
Macedonia
Gostivar
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Microbadge: ChristianMicrobadge: Plays Games with SpouseMicrobadge: Math GeekMicrobadge: Level 03 BGG posterMicrobadge: Copper Reviewer
For an introduction to this tournament, click here.

ROUND 3 (Yukon)

Bigfoot def. Alice: Terrific game ends as Bigfoot runs away from Alice with both players out of cards. What a coward!!! (I'll give you one guess which character I played...)

Bruce Lee def. Medusa: Medusa was cruising, halfway to victory, when suddenly Bruce Lee drew her in and unloaded 16 points of damage in 2 turns. A massive upset shakes up the standings!

Robin Hood def. King Arthur: A very swingy affair saw Merlin clobbered early, followed by Arthur dealing some boosted blows to Hood's head. Finally Hood went defensive and let his Outlaws finish the job while he was sitting on 4 health and KA was holding Excalibur!

ROUND 4 (Sherwood)

Medusa def. Alice: For some reason this just seems like a really bad matchup for Alice. Medusa eliminated the Jabberwock early and was in control throughout. Alice managed to make it respectable before being turned to stone.

King Arthur def. Sinbad: After butchering the shield strategy against Bigfoot, Arthur employed in to perfection against Sinbad, keeping both he and Merlin alive until the end. Once Sinbad used up his Feints, KA took control and finished off the impressive victory.

Bigfoot def. Bruce Lee: Pinned down early, Bruce was reduced to 3 health before breaking the stranglehold and eliminating the Jackalope. He made a game of it by dealing 9 damage in a single turn, but Bigfoot responded with a Larger than Life blow to knock Bruce Lee out for good.

STANDINGS

Bigfoot (3-0)
Robin Hood (3-0)
Medusa (2-1)
Bruce Lee (2-2)
Sinbad (1-2)
King Arthur (1-3)
Alice (0-4)

A surprise loss to Bruce Lee means Medusa probably can't afford to lose again, Alice loses two more to continue her downward spiral, and we'll get to see if Robin Hood is for real or not after he plays Medusa and Bigfoot in Rounds 5 & 6.
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Fri Jan 15, 2021 8:18 pm
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