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March '19 Review - "The dead bowmen buried these many years / Are setting out again." -WSM (RIP)

Thoughts on games played in March 2019....

Games Played:
 9   Blood Rage (2 all-time)
 9   KeyForge: Call of the Archons x3 (14 all-time)
 9   No Thanks! x3 (42 all-time)
 8   Root (7 all-time)
 8   Scythe (8 all-time)
 8   Summoner Wars: Master Set (15 all-time)
 7   Animal Upon Animal (11 all-time)
 7   Chicago Express (2 all-time)
 7   Gloomhaven NEW!
 7   Hey, That's My Fish! (21 all-time)
 7   Mombasa NEW!
 7   Northern Pacific NEW!
 7   Star Wars: Rebellion NEW!
 7   The Mind x2 (8 all-time)
 7   Wildlands NEW!
 6   Attack on Titan: The Last Stand NEW!
 6   Deep Sea Adventure NEW!
 6   Gobblet Gobblers x3 (10 all-time)
 6   Hunt for the Ring NEW!
 6   Kingdomino (5 all-time)
 6   Onitama x3 (6 all-time)
 6   Tokyo Highway NEW!
 5   Catch the Moon NEW!
 5   Dungeon Derby NEW!
 5   Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia (2 all-time)
 5   Khet: The Laser Game (2 all-time)

I played a lot of new-to-me games this month. Here are some...
Brief comments, not very insightful:

Gloomhaven is as good as everybody says it is. I now understand why others love it. I only played the first scenario and already loved how delicious the decisions were when choosing cards and losing cards. The AI movement and combat was the best I've ever seen. If I were in a different life situation and could actually get away for a dedicated session of this every single week, then I could see my rating of this going higher. As it is, I have time for one game night a week, and I'd rather spend that time playing a variety of good games instead of Gloomhaven.

I've had a borrowed copy of Mombasa in my house for months. I finally set it up and learned the rules, then played a learning game with my three teenage daughters. They all enjoyed it, and my 15-year-old won by 15 points using a book strategy. It took us about 3 hours, but the game never seemed like it was dragging. I can see the play time coming down. I'm debating whether to pick up a copy. I'm going to bring it to game night this week and teach it to the group (including my friend who let me borrow it!), then I'll decide whether or not to pick up my own copy of it. I've got to play more serious Euro games more often with my girls.

Chicago Express got a mixed reaction from the game night group. I'm sure I could get it played again, but no one was raving about it afterwards. It's a tough game because it really does depend on all players valuing things correctly. I don't know. I'm still mixed myself on the game. I won this game pretty easily because I knew what I was doing, but also because one of the other players consistently chose actions that helped me more than they helped him; it was almost as if I got to take two turns each round, which felt both really great and kinda lame. We talked about it afterwards.

Northern Pacific was much more popular with the group. I can see it getting regular play as a filler after other stuff. The funny thing is that I wasn't as enamored with it myself. I felt like what little control I had over the outcome of the track laying just didn't seem to matter, always in the hands of what other players also decide to do, which is the point, I guess. I just wanted more control. We played with a full 6 players. I'd like to try it again with only 3 or 4. I think that 3 might be the sweet spot for me. Anyhow, this one will get a permanent spot in my bag right now, while Chicago Express is doomed to the every-so-often-rotation.

It took nearly 5 hours for a learning game of Star Wars: Rebellion. I was engaged and having fun the whole time, but that playtime means that I'm not likely to play this often as it involves coordinating schedules with the friend who owns this. Also, while I had fun, the truth is that I've got 5 hours to play a 2-player game, there are many more serious war games that I'd rather be playing. But Rebellion was fun. Who knew that drawing probe cards could be so exciting?

Wildlands is not a long game. It was probably an hour max, and that's with 3 of us learning the game. It was a fun light skirmish game with interesting card decisions each turn. The interrupt action is the most clever aspect. I wish it were a little cheaper to purchase, as I think my kids would have a blast playing this together.

I got a little bit frustrated with Attack on Titan: The Last Stand. The Yahtzee style dice rolling doesn't interest me all that much. Besides the dice hosing us, we were inefficient in our strategies with this one. It sometimes felt like a slog. I'd rather play the Attack on Titan: Deck-building Game.

Deep Sea Adventure is an okay push-your-luck game. I had a good time playing it with my 9-year-old.

I played Hunt for the Ring with my oldest daughter, who is a Tolkien nerd. I had a great time hunting down and destroying her Fellowship (it came down to a win on the last possible turn before she escaped), but really I was underwhelmed by the game. It seemed like an activity more than a contest. I don't know.

Tokyo Highway looks great and was fun enough, but it definitely felt pretty slight. It was nice to experience it, that's all.

Catch the Moon was a not-so-great dexterity game. I think I'm being generous with the 5 rating because I enjoyed playing it with my 9yo.

Dungeon Derby was disappointing as a race game AND disappointing as a betting game. Meh.

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Game Purchases
Way too many. Sigh.
Shogun Big Box
(I don't even know why I bought this. I played Shogun years ago and liked it, but sold my copy. I guess I was just getting the itch to try it again, to see if it's something I want to play with my kids now that they're older)
KeyForge: Age of Ascension + KeyForge: Call of the Archons – Archon Deck
(I pre-ordered a copy of the new starter set and bought a 2nd deck for my 9yo)
Age of Steam
(One of my favorite games. Even though I don't get to play it enough, backing this one was a no-brainer)
No Thanks!
(I've had the Z-man edition for over a decade. I've played it a lot and my kids have played it a lot. The cards are worn and the box is falling apart. I just bought the lovely new oversized Amigo edition. It's a great upgrade.)
Root: The Underworld Expansion
(More Root.)
Northern Pacific
(I kept seeing good things and the RGG edition is a nice edition at the right price.)
Irish Gauge
(Tom Russell. Trains. Ireland. Ian O'Toole. I pre-ordered this as soon as I got the email announcing that pre-orders were open.)

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Non-boardgame-related:

Albums
I listened to a lot of Will Oldham, Bill Callahan, and Colter Wall. So two old friends and one new one. I listened to a lot of other stuff, but none of it mattered.



Books
The best thing I read this past month was The Immortal Hulk v.2: The Green Door. I've been a Hulk fan for most of my life. There hasn't been a great Hulk story since Planet Hulk (already over a decade ago). There have been a few good moments, but mostly mismanaging and mangling. Immortal Hulk is something different, and it has me excited about Hulk for the first time in a long time. There is some pretty standard stuff in this collection (superhero team-ups, superheros fighting over stupid misunderstandings), but there are also horror moments that had me genuinely uncomfortable in the best possible way.

From gallery of trawlerman


Films
Best new-to-me film that I watched this past month is a tie between Fat City and Fort Apache, two very different films that each in their own way explore manhood, masculinity, and what it means to live and fight for something like life.



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