GCL Meatball Division: Some statements
Henrik Lantz
Sweden
Uppsala
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Here is newest addition to the geeklist heaven that is the Swedish Meatball Geekchat League! Only members are to add items (please add your weekly games played), but civil comments from non-members are welcome (and encouraged even!).

Rotation:

NateStraight (up next, hope I didnt steal your idea this time)
Patrick Carroll
ellephai
johnbandettini
Osirus
ldsdbomber
cymric
fateswanderer
DarrinWilliams
baditude
rarevos
qwerytmartin
Sorp222
lacxox
aaarg_ink
bnordeng
Bolger

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Is it only me, or has it become really difficult to think of something new and relevant to make a GCL list about?

This week I have totally given up trying to find some common denominator for the items in the list, and will rather just post some statements for you to comment on. I have tried to be a little bit controversial, just to stir you up a bit, but note that I do not necessarily agree with the statements myself. I hope there is some small grain of truth to all of them though, and I think that I have seen similar views expressed at the geek at some time.

Do you agree or disagree with the statement, or perhaps somewhere in between? Does the statement overly simplify something that is in reality quite complex? Or couldn't you care less?
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1. Board Game: The BoardGameGeek Game [Average Rating:6.04 Overall Rank:4327]
Henrik Lantz
Sweden
Uppsala
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"The geek has become too large. The really good stuff has become buried in an avalanche of fluff, and getting noticed is just too hard, with few items surviving on the main page more than a few minutes."
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2. Board Game: Outburst! [Average Rating:5.78 Overall Rank:4923]
Henrik Lantz
Sweden
Uppsala
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"Gaming is about to explode. TableTop with Wil Wheaton is just the start, we will soon see plenty of quality boardgames in every supermarket and toy store. People are getting fed up with solitaire gaming in front of the computer screen, and want the social interaction inherent in boardgames."
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3. Board Game: One Bad Apple [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Henrik Lantz
Sweden
Uppsala
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"In a few years, we will not be playing "real" boardgames any more. All will be electronic, with people gathering around a large tablet to play games".
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4. Board Game: Innovation [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:287]
Henrik Lantz
Sweden
Uppsala
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"Gaming has peaked. It is highly unlikely someone will come up with something truly innovative, like Dominion did with deck-building. The next years will only see new combinations of old mechanisms."
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5. Board Game: Grade Up to Elite Cow [Average Rating:4.57 Unranked]
Henrik Lantz
Sweden
Uppsala
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"BGG has become too elitist. Simple but fun games are scoffed at, and a lot of time is spent finding flaws in games. It should be ok to like any game, but it doesn't work like that now."
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6. Board Game: Battle for Germany [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:2303]
Henrik Lantz
Sweden
Uppsala
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"Germany might have been the leaders of eurogames, but that is no longer the case. The most influential designers, like Knizia and Kramer, are now tired and just keep rehashing the same old ideas. Many of the newer designers, like Michael Rieneck, Inka and Markus Brand, or Günter Burkhardt, stick too closely to "the German mold" and rarely bring something new to the table. The best eurogames are now made in countries like France, Italy, and the US. Or Finland even, just look at Eclipse."
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7. Board Game: Dominant Species [Average Rating:7.85 Overall Rank:52]
Henrik Lantz
Sweden
Uppsala
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This weekend was a all gaming weekend with the guys. I have probably gained several kilos, and my hope of becoming a liver donor is now crushed, but we had a lot of fun! These are the games that were played, all of them picked for playing well with five players.

Dominant Species was the biggie. It took us somewhere between five and six hours, and this follows fairly well the description on the box which says one hour per player. I played the spiders, and since the insects were not in the game this made me the leader in initiative most of the game. I focused heavily on having majority on the tundra, and this gave me loads of points until the last round when I realized that in the final scoring those tiles would only give me 1 point each... Well, I came second, and the game was fun, but even five hours is stretching my patience nowadays. In particular a thinky game like this tends too feel too much like work at some point, and six hours of work is not what I want a Saturday. So, a wonderfully designed gamed, but too long for me.

3 x Lords of Waterdeep This is the latest game that really has clicked with all of us in the gaming group. It plays quickly (around 2 hours), and feels fun and tense all the way. We would all rather play three two hours games than a single six hour games now, and this game fits perfectly in a rotation of games like that. I won two of the sessions, feel pretty good about that.

1 x Airlines Europe We still enjoy this game a lot. I tried to get majority of the Abacus shares by myself, but two other guys caught up with me in the last scoring round, and this made a fourth player win. Funny thing is that we three that shared the same number of Abacus shares also got the same number of points in total, and as the tie-breaker is number of Abacus shares we all shared the number two spot. Unlikely, but it happened.

1 x Endeavor We played this a lot around two years ago, and we had become a bit rusty, but it was still very enjoyable. One more of those games that take around two hours and give the satisfaction of a longer game. I came last, having completely forgotten how important it is to increase the "gold bag" line early. My workers got stuck on the action spaces, and I lost traction. I also wish I had started with the building that gives you two bricks.

1 x RoboRally Always insane, always fun. We played a short course, but with the beer we had been drinking, lets just say we didn't always take the shortest route and it still took us well over an hour. Fun, fun, fun!

2 x Ca$h 'n Gun$ An enjoyable filler if there's alcohol around, and there was. I like the special powers, makes for a lot of laughs.

2 x No Thanks! Always bring this one, always good.

3 x Pickomino One more of our standard fillers, evil and fun. Never play it with more than five players!
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8. Board Game: Homesteaders [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:521]
Brad N
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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I8.5I Homesteaders - Matt, Justin, Jack
_.8_. Flash Point: Fire Rescue - Ivory, Azalea, Dane
I7.5I Blue Moon City - Mo, D, Marie
_.6_. Mummy's Treasure - Dane


I didn't see this halt in game-playing coming, but it's here. I squeezed in a game of Homesteaders on Friday which was good. I hadn't played in 2 and a half years, but thought I did okay. We finished something like 58-57-54-52... I was third.

Blue Moon City was okay... it's a decent game, but I'm losing interest as the ending always feels a bit blunt. It's also a game I've won practically every time I've played it which makes it less interesting to me. One difference this time was that all other players had 2 and 3 donations before I made any, so mine were expensive. But, I made 4 consecutive donations and won.

Dane kicked my butt in Mummy's Treasure. I Nordenged myself out of contention in this one... I need a better handicap in this game.

My kids and I lasted a long time fighting the flames in Flash Point and we found all of the false POIs, saving 4 victims along the way. Eventually, the building collapsed on us.
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9. Board Game: Assyria [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:1331]
Johannes cum Grano Salis
United States
Finger Lakes
New York
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Assyria (2p)

Just the one game, new to me.

Eurogames are starting to remind me of those American chain restaurants where steak, wood-fired pizza, burritos, organic vegan panini, mozzarella sticks, buffalo wings, lobster rolls, cheesecake, dollar cheap beer pitcher specials, and local craft beer all try and live on the same menu. The result is an utterly sterile place more concerned with Offending Nobody than with Attracting Somebody, and the menu overwhelms you with too many unrelated choices, because everything can't possibly be good, and it usually isn't.

I'm not sure what to think of Assyria. On the one hand, it's a pretty familiar-feeling & tame Eurogame with about six unrelated mechanisms, a bunch of ways to get points, the standard "score now or score later" conundrum, and a tenuous connection to its theme.

On the other hand, it has shared competitive space on the board, and I really like that you need to remove your huts from the food symbol after each turn; that you can't "bank" a hut means you are forced to do the "two steps forward, one step back" that I so enjoy in games. It's ready-made tension, particularly when you're trying to build something that needs to be partially destroyed.

It's not quite an "everything gets you points and it's impossible to fail" Eurogame, though it's close. You *can* make some bad choices in the game: spend your camels on intrigue figures where you can easily get beaten by another player, claim food cards that don't get you a well, lay huts in a way where you are denying yourself well configurations, or putting too many huts on the river and not in a higher-scoring area, etc. But you mostly are making *suboptimal* choices instead of avoiding *bad* choices, so the game doesn't allow for very much difference in scoring between players. And despite the shared competitive space, there isn't a whole lot of direct player-to-player conflict, since the card draws dictate whether or not you can even try for the same food spaces.

Big Boos All Around for the brown, yellow, orange and red player colors, as well; on a light brown board, this is just about the least helpful combination of colors out there. I also didn't like how the positioning of the hut within the hex is important, because it's pretty easy to knock the board or drag a sleeve or something, thus rendering the hut placement a bit iffy; a little jiggle of the board and suddenly that quarter-inch repositioning of a hut has actual game consequences.

Anyone who says this is like Through the Desert is just being lazy. That's like saying since I made a baby with my wife, I also want to make a baby with the guy across the street because he has long hair, too.
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10. Board Game: Basari [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:1413]
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Another fairly quiet week. Our relatives left on Wednesday, so of course I arranged a games night at a friend's place.

Waiting for the 4th player to turn up, 3 of us played Artus. I still quite like it, but it always seems to provoke excruciating AP in at least one player, and I think I've seen everything it does now.

A quick round of Las Vegas went down well again - first time with 4 and it's probably my favourite count. I sneaked a win in the last round, with everyone thinking another player had already destroyed us.

Then the main event: Tigris & Euphrates. It ended up being an odd game which I won fairly easily despite having zero treasures. I built an early monument and it didn't get taken off me for far too long. That plus a couple of failed attacks was enough for me to take one my most passive victories.

Winding down, we played my first game of Basari in ages. I'd been thinking of putting it up for trade, but I enjoyed this play enough to hang on to it. The bartering is the highlight, as long as the players realise how to manipulate it.

Finally, the new-to-me Angkor, which I wasn't impressed by. It's a quick tile-laying game, with each player placing good tiles on their own board and bad tiles on other players'. I'd rather it had a common board; as it is, your score is too close to just being the sum of the good tiles you drew minus the amount the other players screwed you.

That was it, besides a 10-player session of Spot it! at a dinner party on Saturday. A bit of a stretch but seemed to be enjoyed by all.
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11. Board Game: Neuroshima Hex! 3.0 [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:213] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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"Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My word's but a whisper, your deafness a shout."
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Android smartphone version.

When I first downloaded it, I thought the AI was impossible to beat, even on the Easy setting. Since then, it has become my lunchtime game of choice, and today I won three four consecutive decisive victories (destroying the enemy base) on Hard level.

I've also had some fun with a new smartphone install:
Levée en Masse. Not the most fun game I've ever played, but it's certainly challenging. I've yet to achieve anything better than a substantial defeat, even on Easy level.

Meanwhile, World at War: Eisenbach Gap continues to gather dust on my table. I started into a scenario a month or so ago, and I just haven't found the motivation to get back in and finish it. I was enjoying it when I left off; it just seems like too much of a bother to sit at the table and play.
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12. Board Game: Dominant Species [Average Rating:7.85 Overall Rank:52]
Darrin Williams
United States
Allen
Texas
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Just one game this week, but it was a long one.

I played Dominant Species and actually won.
I played the Amphibians and refused to evolve. I just put water all over the table, and cruised to victory. I got lucky with the resources coming out, but I think it's a reasonably good amphibian strategy.
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13. Board Game: Durak [Average Rating:6.26 Overall Rank:6564]
Justus
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
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Lets start with the last one first. I tried and succeeded in getting a game of Durak in (though I still want to play a 2P vs 2P partnership game). Its surprisingly light, as one player said, its a traditional party game. And as you can see in the representative BGG photo, I guess a lot of gamers agree with it! And I really can't disagree, but I still contend its an interesting mechanism worth checking out. Hmm...maybe even have a decktet game designed for it!

And the other nice discovery this weekend was finding a computer version of Briscola Chiamata. It was interesting to play, and I suspect it may also be a bit light for hardcore gamers, but I think it is one that would reward longterm play as a nice easy game that can have considerable skill. Unfortunately that description above means that it will get a couple plays and never see the light of day, since gamers don't traditionally go for something like that. In any case, I think it is definitely something worth looking into if you want a good 5P game that uses a traditional deck (latin so its 2-7,JQKA). I'm curious how it plays with both point bidding and card rank bidding in person.

Not as nice a discovery was Tournay. Its an interesting game, but I'm not a card combo type of guy. I think I prefer Troyes even though I manage to win my game with Tournay. It just reminded me of planning ahead in a non-fun way ala St. Pete. I'm not sure, but it just didn't hit me. I don't hate it like St. Pete, but I think I just don't like games where its a leap in the dark with card draws. That said, I guess the win did affect my opinion of the game more than I initially thought. If I had lost badly, then I would have certainly thought it boiled down to drawing powerful cards. As it is, I took a very pedestrian route (which I thought guaranteed last place) but all the little VP's I picked up along the way did make a big difference in the end.

A nice rediscovery was Ticket to Ride. We tried a long/short route variant. The variant does NOT work. It killed the whole route drawing action until the very end of the game. I pulled off a 1 point victory or 1 point loss but none of us were in the mood to triple check our scores. That said, in spite of the lackluster variant attempt, it reminded me how good TtR is. Its just a clean pure game. I'm thinking about getting it played next week, correctly.

But then again, there are my other games I'm always trying to get played which didn't get played (In the year of the Dragon, Container, Troyes) so who knows. The fillers this week were fun, a run of No Thanks, Pass the Pigs, Tsuro and the ever awesomeZendo -- its too bad that it is a game that is easy to end quickly, I could imagine a long night of this game where it would just get better as the night continues, but we always end up breaking out another game after a couple rounds.

We'll see what I get played on friday. I've decided to try learning the Kung Fu/ Tai Chi saber, so I really can't spend too much time gaming (or BGGing). For those keeping track of my fluid hobbies, the harmonica has kind of fallen off since the Vegas trip, but that will still be there in the future, but if we move back "home" I want to get a basic foundation in these forms with my current teachers.
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14. Board Game: Ascension: Deckbuilding Game [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:518] [Average Rating:7.03 Unranked]
Seth Brown
United States
North Adams
Massachusetts
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Two games of Ascension with Debbie, and I won both of them, first through Mechana Construct overload, second through my all-fight deck.

Also a playtest round of a game I've been working on, which was so dreadful, everyone demanded to quit before we were even halfway through, so I'm planning on scrapping most of the design and starting over with a different approach.
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15. Board Game: Pyramid of Pengqueen [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:1358]
eryn roston
United States
San Diego
California
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Well it's been a while but I actually managed to play a bunch of games this week! This was because my mother and 6-year old nephew (Eli) came to town for about 5 days. The less we speak of the overall quality of this visit the better. Probably the one good thing was all the gaming. Playing against my nephew wasn't the most rewarding experince in terms of competition, but it was easily the highest quality "family interactions" of the week.

Eli's favorite thing to do when I was setting up a new game is to interupt my explanations with guesses as to how the game worked. I know adults who do this and it's infuriating. Eli is only a small child which made it only mildly annoying (and mostly sorta cute.)

Pyramid of Pengqueen
This was easily Eli's favorite game. We played first where I was the mummy and then twice more with Eli insisting to be the mummy both times. My nephew is fascinated by being sneaky and tricking people. He also loves to compare himself to adults (and to insist that he's much smarter/faster/taller than us). Pyramid was the perfect combo for him. He could sneak around and "Capture" all the grown ups. With the help of some sub-optimal play and timely dice resets, Eli managed to win this one once to his incredible, fist-pumping, delight.
(Eli's name for this game: "The Mommy Game")


PitchCar Mini
Eli was suspicious of this game initialy because it WASN'T Pyrmid, and his initial flicks were pretty dismal. But he stuck with it and eventually really loved this one too. I only played once with him but he suckered Auntie Trisha into setting up another game for him later.
(Eli's name for this game: "The Flicky Game")

Pinguin-Party
A fun little card game that works great for kids. Eli had actually played this one before. It still takes him a round or two to remember that penguins get stacked on pairs of other cards rather than right ontop of a single matching color.
(Eli's name for this game: "The Penguin Party")

King of Tokyo
We played King of Tokyo twice. I was initially a little concerned that the special power cards would be a bit too much for him but it turned out that was the only part he really got. He still loved the game and anyone who wound up in Tokyo was always thankful when Eli was rolling since he re-rolled anything that didnt get him more energy cubes. He never won, but always had way more power cards than anyone else.
(Eli's name for this game: "That Monster Tokyo Game")

Jamaica
On his last night here we played one game of Jamaica which really was a bit too much for him on his own. He and I teamed up against my mom and kicked her ass across the Caribbean. There was an interesting moment where we had our first ship-to-ship combat. We lost and had to surrender a stack of shiny gold coins to my mom. Eli was NOT pleased and complained bitterly about fairness. But he quickly got over it when we explained he could do the same thing to his grandma and got very much into the spirit of the thing.
(Eli's name for this game: "The Treasure Game")

Hey, That's My Fish!
My nephew loves penguins and was happy to play this one. While the rules were pretty easy to grasp, there's a lot of grown-up strategy in this one and my mom and I got more wrapped up in beating one another than helping Eli understand the finer points of fishes and ice flows. He still liked it and my mom got to grab a close victory.
(Eli's name for this game: "The Penguin Game")

Fleet
I did have one night where some friends came by for some "grown-up games". I let Eli join us for one session of "King of Tokyo" and then he went with Aunt Trisha to draw (where he wanted to copy pictures from King of Tokyo). We managed to get a partial game of Fleet in before one of my buddies had to leave. It was just a quick play-through to get a feel for it. Seems to have potential. The common complaint was that it was odd that the different fish didnt seem to be any different from one another once they were caught (A Lobster was functionaly identitcal to a Cod, shrimp, king crab, etc).

The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
The main even for grown-up games. I had been wanting to sit down and play a couple rounds of this with some proper 60-card, dual-sphere decks for some time. We played one game of the intro senario to refresh our memories on the rules, and then set off to try the second quest (which is a ride down the anduin river). We started off ok but the wheels fell off as my buddy was nearing the end of his threat dial and it was clear we were overwhelmed. We watched the whole thing spin out of control while he succumbed to the Sauron and goblin snipers picked me off from the edge of the river.

A lot of neat things going on in this game and the difference between the two quests and how they played was really enjoyable. I like the whole LOTR theme as much as the next guy and the story-telling aspect of the game is very much front and center. It feels challenging and the level of cooperation is really strong.

Are there any real tense decisions? Not sure. It does sorta seem to play itself, but the opportunity for deck-building and tweaking are rich, if you like that sorta thing (which I still do to an extent).

next week I would like to play the same amount of games but with more grown ups.
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16. Board Game: Legends of Andor [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:300] [Average Rating:7.28 Unranked]
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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Tuesday, gaming evening with colleagues:
First we played Hoity Toity, an 1990 game that was collecting dust unplayed in my cabinet for quite a long time. I bought it used and very cheap but since it arrived I never felt the need to try it… It seemed so old, so outdated. Still, it was a Spiel des Jahres-winner 5 years before Catan changed the board gaming scene (and it was a game by the same author) so as I knew that quite possibly we will be 5 or 6 I checked the list of my unplayed games to find something good with 5 or 6. I thought I give it a try then sell it. But I won’t sell it. It’s good!
I’m not saying it does not show its age – it’s probably a bit too long for what it is, also maybe a bit repetitive – but it also felt to be ahead of its time. Some bluffing (not a game for John), lots of tactics and lots of simultaneous action selection with well balanced and never obvious options to choose from. It worked fine, everyone enjoyed it.

Then the ladies left and we were suddenly two; we played Spectaculum. For the first time I decided to teach the basic game instead of the advanced version – and it worked a lot better. Suddenly everything was right: the game lasted 30 minutes (with a newbie who likes thinking, so I guess it would not be much longer 3- or 4-player either) and there is enough meat in the game for 30 minutes. I quite like it. It felt too luck-dependent and shallow when it lasted 60 minutes. For half the length it’s pretty good.

Then, at 10 p.m. a colleague arrived from a meet-up so we were 3 again: we played Jäger und Sammler which just won the family-oriented Hungarian Board Game Prize just the week before (I think it’s one of the examples of Knizia still designing fine games – even if they are family games). Everyone liked it and the finish was very close (124:122:99)

Wednesday, gaming club:
The night was about Legends of Andor. We played legends 2, 3 and 4. I just found out I forgot to record my first play with the game the previous Friday so I also didn’t mention it in last week’s GCL list. Now that I have played the final (5th) game on Monday I can talk about the game.
This is a quite unusual and at the same time rather usual fantasy cooperative adventure game. What’s unusual is how the story unfolds. Well, in legend 1 it’s also how the rules unfold: you don’t have rulebooks here, everything is written on the legend cards, so you learn the rules and the basic tactics in the first half of legend 1 – like in the tutorial of a PC game – and then try to solve the situation that is in front of you on the board, as you’ll already need quite a bit of planning, cooperation and strategy to win this legend. If you got used to rulebooks this might feel a bit too fiddly for you but I find it a quite nice introduction to the genre: it is invented especially for those players who tell you “okay, let’s start playing” in the third minute of rule explanations. Missions and enemies appear during the game and you have to adjust your strategies to them. So I’m not sure it’s something most GCL members would really enjoy; I had fun playing all the five legends. I think artist-to-first-time-designer Michael Menzel did a surprisingly good job here; the tension was high during the games. Also there are a few nice ideas including the card-driven storytelling or the Euro-ish solution that you had to fight enemies only when it was really necessary – each defeated enemy brought the end of the game closer.
I’m thinking of getting this game for my family and friends, although the kids are certainly too small for this right now (well, but I think if there is a gamer explaining, this game might be even enjoyable for 6- or 7-year-olds, although I’m not sure). What’s sure is that there will be lots of gently used copies up for trade soon as many buy the game because of the quasi-hype and will sell it right after successfully playing the last legend. Yes, there are replayability issues, although I think levels 3, 4 and 4 offer quite a bit of controlled randomness in the set-up so these missions can play quite (but not very) differently each time. I’m going to buy this game as I know I would have fun with my family and they would enjoy quite a few replays at the right age – I don’t think it would be collecting dust before reaching at least 20 plays and they would have lots of fun until then.

Saturday, at home:
We gave a little present for the nameday of my son (it’s commonly celebrated here), Hisss. It’s basically a domino-like but pure luck game of making rainbow-colored snakes out of cards depicting two-color snake parts or tails/heads. Nothing extraordinary but it’s fine for the intended age (4 years) – Miska really enjoyed creating these long snakes. So we played it on Sunday as well and also we played Kids of Carcassonne – he still can’t really feel the tactics here although I tried to show him. Well, it's a 4+ game but the thinking required is more like what you can find in 5+ games.
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17. Board Game: Rolling Freight [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:2079]
John Bandettini
United Kingdom
London
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Two visits to London on Board and one lunchtime session at work.

24th September at LoB

Briefcase I have been getting in a lot of plays of this one and I am really enjoying it. There is a fair bit of luck in the game which might spoil it for some but it’s OK by me.

I feel like I stole the win, scoring 7 of my 15 points on the last turn to win by 1 point when I looked dead in the water.

Kingdom Builder Played this a few times before as well. Played the game with another veteran and a newbie. The newbie said he learnt an awful lot seeing the battle between the two veterans and realised the people who thought the game too restrictive and too simple just did not know how to play it well.

I finished a couple of points behind my rival. He was sitting to my right and what seemed like nearly every turn when I was planning to do something, he did it before me.

Fairy Tale I have been sitting on this for several months now so I was very pleased to finally play it. Like 7 Wonders but simpler and quicker. I enjoyed it a lot and will not leave it months to play again.

26th September at work

Biblios After last weeks 1830, something a little easier. Everyone enjoyed it so much we played it twice. The first game one player really did not get it. He ended the game with only one artefact in his hand the rest was all money cards. He did better the second game.

27th September at LoB

Rolling Freight Just the one game played. A four player game which took all evening, but was enjoyed by all. Had a couple of debates about the rules but we resolved them with common sense.

I see this already as a game I will really enjoy playing a couple of times a year but not one I want to play all of the time.
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18. Board Game: Endeavor [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:208]
Maarten D. de Jong
Netherlands
Zaandam
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I've been rather lax in adding played games to the lists of late; other matters took precedence and will probably continue to do so for a good while to come. For now I wish to briefly discuss two games I played yesterday (at the time of writing) as part of my still ongoing Alphabet Challenge. We've arrived at the 'E' now!

Endeavor — An interesting game, because I won using a strategy I've been working at for quite some time now. I strongly emphasised shipping in conjunction with getting lots of action disks (and being allowed to reclaim them, too). I had three shipyards and one dock at one point, I think. Seeing that because of this I was bagging all but one gouvernor card, I upped the card holding track; and mostly ignored the building track because I had little need for it (save its points). It worked beautifully; the other players had lots of discs but could not reclaim them having neglected that particular ability, and since I was mostly active on shipping tracks I was immune from warfare too.

Endeavor is truly an insidious game because although there is some room for initiative, you have to be very aware of what your other players are up to, of the shipping lanes, and the cards in the draw decks. My opponents made the error of trying to do everything, and studiously ignoring the payer aids I'd printed out listing the abilities of each and every card. These are damn useful, much more so than those silly VP chips noone ever uses. Perhaps when I have a proper scanner again I'm going to beautify those aids, they make the game far more interesting. Too bad that the expansion Carl and Jarratt were working on seems to have been shelved for now.

Tigris & Euphrates — This was a nasty game for me. I was doing very well for myself until I began to notice that one player was creating a landmass of tiles and a temple which netted him in total, on average, 1 VP per turn. (1 VP = 1 set of cubes, not just 1 cube.) My position in two colours was somewhat weak and I decided to leech some more from my temples, and then deal with that quiet collector on the other side of the board. Unfortunately for me that collector had set his eyes on the last treasure cube (in order to end the game) and created a connection between two kingdoms where just me and another player were present, with me in the weaker kingdom with some backing even. The result was a massacre where that other player must have gained 4 full VP or thereabouts, leaving me without any board presence to speak of, and cutting off the tile with the treasure in the process so that the collector's initial plan fizzled out. He hadn't exactly foreseen the consequences, but admitted to really liking them just the same, the bastard. Play continued for a few more rounds until the tiles ran out. The collector won by 15 points; I had 14 and so did the VP-gainer. (We didn't bother finding out who between us won—I think it was a tie.)

Moral of this sad, sad story: be careful with one's distribution of leaders, and don't let people sit quietly in a corner of the board. But gaining lots of VPs is so... well, addictive meeple. Once you start leeching from temples you want more to the point where you become blind to an uneven distribution of tiles to defend yourself against hostile takeovers.
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