Newlywed Gaming

A blog about a recently married couple who have rediscovered board games in their lives.
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October 2012 Recap

Matt Dawkins
United States
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For this month's session reports we have Android: Netrunner, Power Grid, Ticket to Ride, and Airlines Europe. This month's initial impressions include Poison, Wits & Wagers Party, Agricola, Summoner Wars, Mr. Jack, The Resistance: Avalon.

Most Played Game of the Month: Android: Netrunner (16 plays)
Favorite New Game of the Month: Agricola ()

October Additions to Our Collection:
Mr. Jack
Space Alert
Summoner Wars: Master Set
Wits & Wagers Party




Android: Netrunner

Total Plays This Month 16
Total Plays All-Time 34
#1 in Matt's Rankings
NR in Katie's Rankings

Fun Facts
- Katie has a 5-2 record for a winning average of 0.714
- Matt has a 19-12 record for a winning average of 0.613
- Brian has a 3-4 record for a winning average of 0.429
- Katie is 3-1 as the corporation and her most-played faction is Jinteki (2-1)
- Matt is 11-6 as the corporation and his most-played faction is Haas-Bioroid (5-3)
- Brian is 3-2 as the corporation and his most-played faction is Jinteki (2-2)
- Katie is 2-1 as the runner and her most-played faction is Criminal (2-1)
- Matt is 8-6 as the runner and his most-played faction is Criminal (5-3)
- Brian is 0-2 as the runner and his most-played faction is split between Anarch (0-1) and Shaper (0-1)

Netrunner keeps chugging right along as our current favorite. It is our go-to two-player game now and has entirely replaced our usual sessions of Dominion, Memoir '44, and A Game of Thrones: The Card Game. After running a few demo nights for it myself, the Netrunner craze has begun to spread amongst our weekly board game group as well. As a result, our weekly LCG meet-up has increased from 3 regulars to 10 regulars in the span of a month, all playing Netrunner. As I record games with more of the regulars and they get over five games played, I'll start adding their statistics and fun facts along with ours. With new game night kits en route and tournaments scheduled for January, nothing can stop the Netrunner bandwagon.

Well, nothing except the new Star Wars LCG due out in December... devil


Power Grid

Total Plays This Month 1
Total Plays All-Time 2
#2 in Matt's Rankings
#9 in Katie's Rankings

Kyle and I played a six-player learning game of Power Grid a couple of months ago that just took us through Step One. We had been begging for a chance to play it ever since, and it finally came true a few weeks ago at board game night. We played a six-player game on the United States map with the northwest region blocked off.

We played with two veterans (Larry and Tony), two from our last game with just a half of a game under their belts (Kyle and myself), and two newbies who had never played before (Katie and Jordan). It was a fantastic experience and cemented this game's position as one of my favorites, despite a minimal amount of experience with it. Katie fell in love with the game as well (especially the auction portion) and it made it into her Top Ten list too.

I was second in turn order at the building phase and chose the cheap northeast. Apparently, everyone else thought this was a good idea as well, and I ended up sandwiched between Kyle and Katie with little room to expand in Step One. Being able to expand just a bit and save up what money I had, I exploded into Step Two and was right on the tail of the two leaders, Larry and Tony. Believing there were two turns left in the game, I bought the 50 plant and maxed my other plants' capacity to force the resource price up on others. Unbeknownst to me, Larry and Tony had both been stashing their money and went for the win a turn earlier than I expected. This put me in a tough position, quite short of the amount of money that I needed to compete for first.

Larry and Tony both finished with 15 cities, all 15 powered. Kyle and I both finished with 13 cities, all 13 powered. The tie for first was broken when Larry beat Tony by a single elektro (7-6), and the tie for third was broken when I beat Kyle by 12 elektros (20-8). Katie and Jordan, our first-time players, brought up the rear with 10 cities and 8 cities, respectively.

I think we have already discussed at length (see our last initial impressions post) just how much we love this game already, but I will continue to profess our love further. Power Grid has a new home on our dining room table, along with some Robots, where Katie and I play a few turns each night after she gets home from work. No session reports on this game yet, as we have not finished (a week-long trip to Tennessee delayed our game indefinitely), but it will be up at some point in the future. For those wondering, the robots are a great addition for two-players, but we suggest starting with just one robot, not two! The rules suggest each player control a robot to create a four-player environment, however there are a lot of nuances to watch for on the robots and starting with two for the first time can be a bit overwhelming. While in Tennessee, I also got in a great play with my dad and brother-in-law, so that'll be in next month's recap.


Ticket to Ride

Total Plays This Month 1
Total Plays All-Time 2 (10 plays for all TtR games/expansions)
#1 in Katie's Rankings
#26 in Matt's Rankings

Fun Facts
- Katie is 0-1 in the original Ticket to Ride game, while Matt is 1-0
- Katie is 5-4 in all Ticket to Ride games/expansions
- Matt is 3-6 in all Ticket to Ride games/expansions

Katie could not make it to board game night on the day that we played this, which is a shame because it is her favorite. It was a five-player game on the original United States map board with no expansions. This was actually my very first time to play without the USA 1910 expansion, and man are those cards tiny. Despite being blocked in a few spots, I found ways around and completed all of my tickets while maintaining a continuous route, finishing 30 points ahead of 2nd place. After starting 0-6, I have now won the last three games of Ticket to Ride that I've played.


Airlines Europe

Total Plays This Month 1
Total Plays All-Time 5
#20 in Matt's Rankings
NR in Katie's Rankings

Fun Facts
- Matt is 4-1 in Airlines Europe, Katie is 1-3 in Airlines Europe
- Matt has averaged 83 points per game, Katie has averaged 74 points per game
- Besides ourselves, nine different people have played this game with us; none have scored over 72 points in a game

Another day that Katie couldn't make it to board game night. I won this game mostly on another player's efforts to pump up the value of an airline that he thought he had the majority in... an airline that I actually held the majority in, and waited late to play its stocks into my portfolio. I ended up with sole majority in the most valuable airline as a result, and split majorities on Air Abacus and the second-most valuable airline. I probably would have landed somewhere in the 70s with the next three highest scorers, had another player not spent the entire game buffing my airline.





Total Plays This Month: 1
Total Plays All-Time: 1
#35 in Matt's Rankings
NR in Katie's Rankings

This is a card game that was designed by Knizia back in 2005, and it served as a suitable light filler while we were waiting for folks to show up for Power Grid.

It's a slight twist on typical trick-taking card games, with cardboard cauldrons on the table to play potions (cards) into. Your goal is to have the least amount of points at the end of the game. I won this one in our brief first game. It was quite entertaining, and probably one of my favorite fillers, though it does not quite compete with my favorite trick-taking card game (Spades).


Wits & Wagers: Party

Total Plays This Month: 2
Total Plays All-Time: 2
#34 in Matt's Rankings
NR in Katie's Rankings

This was our very first time playing any of the Wits & Wagers games, and we will probably be adding the others to our collection as well. We liked the wager component with the poker chips a lot, and would probably prefer the original rules with chips being placed on any question (as opposed to just the final question in the party version) and the mat with variable odds (as opposed to 2:1 odds on every question in the party version). We would also probably prefer the questions from the family version, which remain off-the-wall but have more questions we're somewhat familiar with. We played two games at a friends' house, and the girls each won a game.



Total Plays This Month: 1
Total Plays All-Time: 1
#11 in Matt's Rankings
NR in Katie's Rankings

Yay, we finally got around to trying Agricola! This is my favorite new game that I played this month. We played a four-player game, and clearly enjoyed it a whole lot. We are looking forward to getting more plays in the future, since multiple members of our group have copies now.

As for this particular match, I made a couple of key mistakes in the last few rounds, which led to a narrow one-point loss and second-place finish.

Because Agricola is already prominent in our group, we probably will not be picking it up ourselves. That said, I think Katie and I will be adding All Creatures Big & Small to our collection, as it should be a great two-player experience for us, judging by our enjoyment of this one. We are also going to have to experiment and invest in some worker placement games in the near future, since this appears to be a game mechanism that strikes both of our fancies. I am also quite interested in Rosenberg's other games, so Le Havre and Ora et Labora have hit my watch list.


Summoner Wars: Master Set

Total Plays This Month: 1
Total Plays All-Time: 1
#18 in Matt's Rankings
NR in Katie's Rankings

We were promoting a two-player game night at our FLGS, which really just gave me an excuse to pick up a few two-player specific titles that I had my eye on for a while. The Summoner Wars: Master Set was one of those games, and despite only playing it once, I really am enjoying it.

I took on Brian's Benders with the Mountain Vargath in a match that went back-and-forth and seemed to be pretty even for the most part. Towards the end of the match, I got the better of his troops with the assistance of some hastily dropped walls and rushed some cheap commons into the fray, surrounding his Summoner and taking him down for the win.

I love deck-building in most of my card games, but this is one game that the deck-building has not drawn me in and I really do not plan on customizing these decks at all. I really like the idea of adding additional factions, but there's no interest there for expanding the existing decks I have. Probably a good thing, what with multiple LCGs already hoarding my attention.


Mr. Jack

Total Plays This Month: 4
Total Plays All-Time: 4
#32 in Matt's Rankings
NR in Katie's Rankings

Another two-player game that I had my eye on and picked up last month. I played a learning match against myself, two matches against Brian (we each won once, the Detective player winning both times), and one match against Katie (the only win for Jack thus far, escaping her Detective).

It is a really simple and easy-to-teach deduction game, with variant strategies that appear to be difficult to master over time. As it plays quite quickly, I imagine this will be a go-to game for Katie and myself when we are not looking to pull out a 30+ minute game.


The Resistance: Avalon

Total Plays This Month: 3
Total Plays All-Time: 3
#9 in Matt's Rankings
#10 in Katie's Rankings

Finally, this brings us to a new take on an old favorite. Avalon maintains the core gameplay from The Resistance, while adding in specific roles that change up the game a bit.

The loyal servants of Arthur replace the Resistance and the minions of Mordred replace the Spies, but the main game here is quite intact. The primary additions are Merlin (a loyal servant who knows who the minions are) and the Assassin (a minion who is granted an assassination attempt on the player he/she believes to be Merlin at the end of the game). If the Assassin can successfully pick out Merlin at the end, the minions win the game (even if the loyal servants won 3 of the game's 5 rounds). This prevents Merlin from flat-out saying that he's Merlin and who the bad guys are, as such a move would cost the good guys the game.

I found it to be an entertaining variant, and an interesting way of bringing over the idea of a Sorceror/Fortune Teller character from the Werewolf games. There are also additional roles to add more depth to Avalon, though we have not had a chance to try them out yet.

I remain undecided as to whether or not I prefer vanilla Resistance or Resistance: Avalon, though I thoroughly enjoy both. The variety is much appreciated, though I am not certain that it makes for a better game. I look forward to playing both variants in the future, so I suppose I will not pick out a favorite between the two, yet. Katie prefers the original Resistance (with no plot cards) over Resistance: Avalon, and she prefers Avalon over the original Resistance with plot cards.

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