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ABX Boardgamers' Group (What we're playing)

A weekly AAR for what we've been playing at our weekly Boardgame Day at Augusta Book Exchange in Augusta, GA. http://comics-n-games.com/backlot/

Archive for Mark Bakke

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AAR for 26 Jun 2017

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Waiting for new summer Con games and Kickstarters to come in!

A Feast for Odin
Finally got to play this highly-rated game. Any game with 61 possible actions that players can take has *got* to be worthy, right? The game offers tons of variety, obviously, but also turned out to be quite easy to learn and play. You're trying to manage and combo several different food and goods resources to place tiles on your Home board in a manner reminiscent of Tetris. It's not easy given that there are only seven turns in the game, but all three of us managed to do it. You can also get VP for many other actions. In the end, we ended up with an amazingly close finish ending up with two players tied at 84 pts and me coming in at 82. This game was a blast to play and I'm already looking forward to more.

Terraforming Mars
Five players this time with two newbies. As usual, the new players picked up the game quickly. I went with a Titanium focus and tried to buy as many good VP cards as I could. This enabled me to overtake the leader during Final Scoring and win with 66 pts. This is one game that might just be best with five players since it becomes more of a race to get the Global Parameter increases that bump up your Terraform Rating.

Nations: the Dice Game
We finished off the day with a four-player round of this one. I took Egypt and totally stunk most of the way through the game. Even though the final totals were pretty close, I was still firmly at the bottom of the rankings. Oh, well....
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Tue Jun 27, 2017 6:10 am
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AAR for 19 Jun 2017

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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97 degrees outside and it's still "Spring"?

Great Western Trail
This one saw plays with multiple groups today. My game had four players and ended up being a terrific battle. The combos and inspired plays were flying hot and heavy and all players were involved in it. One of the few times people have said that this was one of the great games they had ever played while it was still being played. I came out on top with an excellent 121 points. This game really deserves the hype it gets.

Quadropolis
Three-player game this time. I got stuck taking the last turn in all four rounds and it cost me a couple of turns where I couldn't legally take a tile. That ended up costing me badly in the end as I had a couple of key holes in my city that would otherwise have brought a nice pile of points.

Hero Realms
We had two four-player games with two new players getting involved. We played the basic game first to teach the game and used "First Blood" as the scenario. In the second game, we played the same scenario, but each took one of the unique characters. I survived in the first match and got defeated in the second.

Pandemic: The Cure
Two five-player games to end the gaming day. I was the Researcher in the first game. It looked like we had things well in hand. Then, the Outbreaks started cropping up and we ended up losing just before the Scientist could cure the fourth and final disease. In the second game, I had the Dispatcher. This time, we were in trouble right from the very start and ended up getting obliterated when *five* Outbreaks happened during the same Epidemic. Ouch!


Other games played today included: Terraforming Mars...
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Tue Jun 20, 2017 4:31 am
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AAR for 12 Jun 2017

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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School's out and more people are finding more time for gaming! Excellent!

Great Western Trail
We had two two-player games today. I never really got a cohesive strategy going in the first game and went down to an 87-102 defeat. I got it going rather better in the second game while playing for a quick end to the game. This helped me get an 80-59 win.

Evolution: Climate
We had six players for this one. A couple of Carnivores showed up on the first time, but ended up starving when all of the herbivores got up solid defenses. It looked to be a race to build up large and numerous herbivores until a Meteorite strike wiped out all of the food and prevented more from showing up. Two turns of scrambling and starvation ended the game. I squeaked out a 1-point win with only 37 points total, largely on the basis of having Migratory and Hibernation traits to save my species from going Extinct.

Terraforming Mars
Three-player game this time. I took the Thorsgate corporation and played a strategy of acquiring large discounts for my cards. This allowed me to get several high-cost and powerful cards into play for very little investment. In the end, I got a fairly easy victory with 91 points.

Nations: the Dice Game
Two-player game. I took Egypt and ended up acquiring a lot of extra dice. Unfortunately, you still have to be able to roll them successfully and that is not one of my strong suits. I got beat when my opponent managed to construct *seven* Wonders.


Other games played today included: Chinatown, Red Dragon Inn, and Smash Up...
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Tue Jun 13, 2017 5:28 am
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AAR for 05 Jun 2017

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Tomorrow is the 73rd anniversary of the D-Day Invasion.

Viticulture
We started the day with a two-player game of this old favorite. I was able to break open a close game with by filling two orders and getting all the way to 24 points from only having 6 points two turns previously.

Terraforming Mars
First time that we've had a full five-player game. It turned out to be a real dogfight where every point mattered. In the end, we had a two-way tie at 58 points that was broken by the winner having a scant two MegaCredit tie-breaker advantage.

Lords of Vegas
Five-player game that featured a raging battle for a massive casino in the "C" block. The casino changed hands three separate times and paid off multiple times for each owner. In the end, we had a remarkable three-way tie that was broken by the player with the most money on hand.

Fury of Dracula
My first time getting a chance to play this deduction game that has many similarities to a big favorite, Letters from Whitechapel. Dracula is trying to evade his pursuers, but is able to launch attacks against them during his flight. I played the Dr. John Steward character. Unfortunately, Dracula managed to evade us until nearly the end of the game. Once we finally caught him, he had his defenses well-established and was able to defeat our last-ditch effort at combat.
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Tue Jun 6, 2017 5:54 am
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AAR for 29 May 2017

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Memorial Day... 'Nuff said.

Great Western Trail
Full four-player game with one new player. This time around, I decided to try out the "Engineer" strategy where I would speed my train along picking up as many train stations as possible. It worked quite well, but I ended up needing one more station to get the win. My 95 VP final total fell short of the winner's 102 and one more station would have gained me another 8 points. As always, a terrific game!

Dark Souls
Back to the dungeon for another crack at this boardgame version of the popular video game series. I played the Assassin character and managed to acquire two one-handed weapons that let me roll both orange dice (the best ones) to attack along with launching ranged magic attacks that would not be stopped by physical armor and kept me far enough away from the bad guys to enhance my survival chances. We went down a few lives early, but rallied to get through to the final Boss -- which we ended up dispatching with surprising ease to win the scenario.
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Tue May 30, 2017 6:26 am
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AAR for 22 May 2017

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Memorial Day weekend coming up. Be safe and play a *lot* of games!

Mystic Vale
Two games today, one with two players and one with four. In the two-player game, we used everything in the new expansion and keep finding out how good it really is. I scored a great total of 58 points to take the win. With new players in the four-player game, we left out the Leaders. This time, I got horrifically buried as I couldn't put anything useful together.

Terraforming Mars
Got another new player into this excellent game. I got an excellent set of plant/animal/microbe cards together and used them to end up scoring 104 VP to take the win. We have more people wanting to get in on this game and there will certainly be even more in the future.

Nations: the Dice Game
Just enough time left in the day to get in two quick three-player games. I took Egypt in both games and was lucky enough to win the first one while getting stomped in the second. With all three of us being experienced players, we were able to knock out full games in 20 minutes.
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Tue May 23, 2017 5:45 am
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AAR for 15 May 2017

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Can't be "Mothers Day Hangover" keeping people at home today, can it?

War of the Ring Collector's Edition
Today saw only one game played, but what a game it is! This one came up in conversation on Saturday night and I decided to bring it in. The game is selling for enormous prices on the aftermarket right now -- and deservedly so. So, it was nice to be able to bring it in for a couple of our regular gamers to see and play when they might not otherwise get the opportunity.

Despite the 80+ page rulebook, the game is very easy to teach and learn. I took the Free People against Erik and Mary's Shadow forces. Immediately, they sprung an attack from Dol Guldur against Lorien. Fortunately, I was able to get Galadriel and Gandalf into the fray. After retreating to the Stronghold, my ability to reinforce helped whittle down the Shadow army until they eventually retreated.

Unfortunately, I was having a hard time moving the Fellowship against a bucketload of dice in the Hunt Pool and Mary's blazing-hot ability to roll 6's any time I moved. I had to slow down to heal and even that wasn't enough. By the time I got to Mordor, there was very little chance of the Shadow forces winning militarily, but I was already at 8 Corruption.

But, up the Mt. Doom track I went until running into an Eye tile with five dice in the Hunt Box. Nobody was left to sacrifice who could absorb that much damage and keep me alive. So, the Fellowship fell to the Corruption of the One Ring.

Great game, as always. Of course, it drew plenty of attention as it was being played. That's why it's my centerpiece game at the Siege of Augusta convention each year.
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Tue May 16, 2017 4:46 am
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AAR for 08 May 2017

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Isn't saying "No Comment" actually *making* a comment?

Mystic Vale
Playing with the new Vale of the Wild expansion. The new cards are good additions to an already excellent game, but the Leaders are really breaking the game open. There is potential for some really combo-licious stuff there. I played two two-player games today with the first exploiting a few new cards and the second taking great advantage of my Leader abilities. The first game revolved around cards that gave my extra VP at game end for having the most Decay symbols in my deck. With three of those cards, I ended up gaining a total of 19 VP and getting a 41-39 win. In the second game, my Leader allowed me to take VP from the box for every Decay symbol in my Field. I put a lot of Decay cancellation Advancements in my deck and was eventually playing it all out and scoring between 5-7 VP per turn. We agreed to concede the game when it became clear that the VP pile on the table would not be touched while the box was being emptied into my coffers. Doubtful that this could be pulled off in a four-player game, but we'll have to find out.

The Cards of Cthulhu
In our three-player game, we went for the Epic and used the entire deck of cards, both base set and expansion. Unfortunately, we pulled several early Powers cards that made attacking and clearing the various boards very difficult. Then, a slew of Gates and some untimely Investigation failures led to drawing up to 13 cards at a time. In the end, I ended being killed off by a Horror while there were five Minions on one board. And, so we went down to defeat at about the halfway point of the deck.

Nations: The Dice Game
Four-player game. I took Greece and we ended up with a very close game with three of us being tied behind the player who won it all. I thought I would end up much worse given that I was only able to acquire one extra die in the entire game.

Lords of Vegas
Brought out an old favorite for a new player and we had a real barn-burner (casino burner?) of a game. The end came down to a wild series of Reorganization rolls in two different seven-tile casinos. Amazingly, I had a total of *four* different "sixes" and ended up losing them all in re-rolls. Then, the next card from the deck was the color of one of those casinos and gave the Reorg winner the eventual game win in a very close finish. Great stuff!


Other games played today included: Jim Henson's Labyrinth...
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Tue May 9, 2017 4:34 am
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AAR for 01 May 2017

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Good grief! Is it really May already?

Castles of Burgundy Card Game
As the name implies, this is the new card game version of the highly-rated board game that is a favorite of mine. In this one, your primary goal is to build "triples" of the seven different types of empire improvements, such as building, mines, castles, ships, etc. The "dice rolls" come from playing cards out of your hand and selecting one of two cards to use for your turn's action. Game play is very familiar and easy to learn. A few little twists to fit the card format, but nothing that doesn't make any sense. We had a three-player game to try it out for the first time and it went quite well. I ended up getting a close win with 28 points to 26 for the runner-up.

Mansions of Madness, 2nd Edition
Finally got a chance to play this revamped version that now uses an App to play the Overseer. There were two games played today, one with three players and one with four. I was involved in the three-player game and it proved to be a lot of fun. We barely eked out a win with only my character not being seriously damaged by game end. This was played on a low difficulty level. The higher difficulty scenarios are likely to be brutal. Can't wait to try one!

Great Western Trail
Got two more new players into this great game. As expected, they picked up on it quite quickly and the game moved along with its usual speed and engaging play. When the dust had cleared, I ended up falling just one point short of victory.


Other games played today included: Frostgrave and Dice Masters...
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Tue May 2, 2017 5:05 am
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AAR for 24 Apr 2017

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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North Korea's lunatic leader is yapping. My neighbor's runty little dog is yapping. I can't tell the difference.

Great Western Trail
Finally scored a copy of this one, which was nearly a consensus "Game of the Year" pick for 2016. Tried it out for the first time on Saturday, and we had two games today, one with two players and one with four. The theme of the game is the historic cattle drives from Texas to Kansas City. In game terms, you try to accumulate a hand of cards representing breeding stock that will be worth the highest possible amount when sold after reaching Kansas City. Along the way, you'll visit and construct many different buildings, brave hazards, and take numerous various actions depending on your choice of movement. There are 11 different ways to score victory points and almost everything in the game strongly interconnects to help you score them. Multiple strategies are available to win. In our two-player game, I got smoked badly, but did better in the four-player game, where I finished a scant five points behind the eventual winner. This game lives up to the hype!

Legendary
The store got in an Organized Play kit for this great superhero deck-builder, so we had an eight-person tournament today that took two rounds of play to complete. I did rather badly in the first round and got knocked out of the competition early, but we had enough prizes that everybody still got something. We played with core set heroes and used Loki and the Cosmic Cube scheme.
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Tue Apr 25, 2017 4:32 am
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