Great Lakes Gaming - GLG 10
Joe Pastuzyn
United States
Midland
Michigan
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We had a terrific long weekend in Auburn, Indiana celebrating the tenth anniversary of Great Lakes Games. Dave Vander Ark, his family and friends put on a great convention once again. This would make our third visit and these are the games we played.
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1. Board Game: Saboteur [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:871] [Average Rating:6.61 Unranked]
Joe Pastuzyn
United States
Midland
Michigan
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We arrived on Friday by about 10:30 and brought this out with Neil, Beth, Chuck, Suzie and John. We threw in the expansion as well and with seven players it got pretty interesting. It turned out to be a fun game to get started. Neil (a close gaming friend) took the game with 13 points. I think he secretly wants to be a geologist.
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2. Board Game: Troyes [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:67]
Joe Pastuzyn
United States
Midland
Michigan
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Neil returned from a European family vacation that included a trip to Essen and he brought us the expansion for this game, Troyes: The Ladies of Troyes. This was played by Neil, John, Suzie and Grace. There were a couple of strong military activity cards that proved to be a devastating combo. Neil jumped on early and drove them to the win. Conversation afterwards were around the integration of the expansion into the original game (one of our favorites). We'll have to continue to play and see how it works out.
 
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3. Board Game: Power Grid: Northern Europe/United Kingdom & Ireland [Average Rating:7.93 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.93 Unranked]
Joe Pastuzyn
United States
Midland
Michigan
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Oh yes, we are Power Grid fans. While Troyes was going on we played this new map from Essen. I was joined by Chuck, Dave Vander Ark and Beth. It had been a while since Beth played the game and she only played the USA map. She jumped in, though since she really liked the game. We had a slew of nuclear plants come out early and it didn't look like a winning strategy given the replenishment rate; nuclear fuel would quickly run out. Dave opted for some hydro power plants and Beth went deeply into coal. In the end Step Three came quite a bit earlier than we expected and we got a couple of rounds in that step. Beth was able to build 5 cities at once and I built 3 to bring us both to 15 ending the game. Beth's frugal purchase of coal brought her the win with $43 in cash to my $15, Dave powered 14 and Chuck 13. This was a great map and the new power plants were fun.
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4. Board Game: Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 1 – Team Asia & Legendary Asia [Average Rating:7.72 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.72 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.72 Unranked]
Joe Pastuzyn
United States
Midland
Michigan
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We were looking for a "light" game prior to dinner, so we broke out this game as Chuck and I battled Suzie and Grace in the team game. Chuck and I seemed to have a telepathic connection as we placed cards on the rack between us that quickly got used to complete destination tickets. We raced into India to get to Rangoon and innocently cut off our spouses from making a cross Asia connection. They had to reroute through the Himalayas as Chuck and I completed tickets. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth, but the ladies made it work on the last round. When all the points were tallied they won through the completion of fewer very long routes to our plethora of smaller routes, 163 to 157. Our "light" game turned out to be a nail biter, so we headed out to dinner with a story to tell.
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5. Board Game: Belfort [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:361]
Joe Pastuzyn
United States
Midland
Michigan
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Grace, Chuck, Suzie, Rick and I played this when we got back. It is one of our favorites and Rick wanted to learn the game. We were happy to oblige. As is usual, Grace got out to an early lead and was in the 5 gold tax region with the rest of us five or six VP spaces behind. Not sure how she does it, but the four of worked hard to pull her back. Alas, Grace got the win with adroit use of turn order with 31 points. Rick had 29 (huge build in the last round); Suzie 28; me 27 and Chuck 23. We made a new gaming friend in Rick and maybe we'll see him next year.
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6. Board Game: Factory Fun [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:887]
Joe Pastuzyn
United States
Midland
Michigan
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Saturday started with this game after breakfast. It was Chuck, Suzie, Grace and me. We did a rules read through and started into it. This is a quick reaction spatial reasoning game that has great art work. Both Chuck and I work in manufacturing and the theme also had appeal. This game was split between the guys and the ladies and would only appeal to those who can make quick decisions by mentally reorienting pieces before grabbing them.
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7. Board Game: Airlines Europe [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:303]
Joe Pastuzyn
United States
Midland
Michigan
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Bill Kellogg is a gaming friend from Lansing and we played this game with him last year. He asked for a rematch so Grace and Suzie were happy to oblige with him and his son, Justin. Bill would not let Grace run away with Abacus Airlines. Bill got his revenge with a final score of 89 to Suzie's 83 Grace's 82.
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8. Board Game: Le Havre [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:38]
Joe Pastuzyn
United States
Midland
Michigan
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This has recently become a favorite game and thought Chuck would enjoy it. We broke it out and got it going. About a third of the way through Chuck couldn't feed and took some loans. He was worried given that he has played Agricola, but I encourgaed him to go deep into debt and look for an end game play to make a profit. He took this to heart and started generating steel for shipment and was able to pull this off. He got his loans repaid and won the game with 196 points to my 192. This is a great game.
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9. Board Game: Ginkgopolis [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:320]
Joe Pastuzyn
United States
Midland
Michigan
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This was one of the new Essen releases making the rounds at the con. Bill and Justin taught Grace and Suzie and made their way through it. Feedback indicates an OK game and worthy of replay, but not necessarily an add to our collection.
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10. Board Game: Finca [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:544]
Joe Pastuzyn
United States
Midland
Michigan
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It was back to the Vander Arks with Jeannette and Dave gaming with Grace and Suzie. This a visual pleasing game with great bits. Jeannette (Dave's daughter) took the win on her first time playing it and thoroughly enjoyed it.
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11. Board Game: Hanabi [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:276]
Joe Pastuzyn
United States
Midland
Michigan
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Theresa Vander Ark, Grace, Suzie and some others joined in this "backwards" card game that is hard to describe, but mind bending to play. There were calls of "Trust us" from the table and people were trying to deduce which card to play. I heartily recommend this gem of a game to all. The team finished with 20 points.
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12. Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:37]
Joe Pastuzyn
United States
Midland
Michigan
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We met our friend Tom Rogers from last year and we offered this game. Tom had played it as had I so we went through the rules with Chuck and Neil. This is a visually stunning game that caused people to stop when they wandered by. There is just so much going on. At its heart it is a resource conversion eurogame with a unique theme and mechanism. We danced around the gears, but Neil had a strong temple engine going and proved to be unbeatable. Chuck came in second with Tom and I behind. A very good game that needs replaying to master.
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13. Board Game: Notre Dame [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:218]
Joe Pastuzyn
United States
Midland
Michigan
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Chuck, Suzie, Neil, Grace and I played this gem; we had played it at GenCon this year as well. Neil and Grace got out early and took a bit of a risk by lowering their money and influence cubes. A bad card draw and a huge number of rats set them back a bit. Chuck made a huge push at the end by getting all his influence cubes into play early and then transferring them to the VP sector enmass. He churned this several times for a lot of points. In the end, though, my money and some good forays into Notre Dame gave me the win with 58 to Chuck's 54. I could not have held him off if we had another round. It's fun to play a game everyone knows and with people who play it well.
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14. Board Game: Wizard [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:676]
Joe Pastuzyn
United States
Midland
Michigan
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What would a con be if we didn't play a trick taking card game? Tom had heard of this game and wanted us to teach him. We obliged, so we played with him, Grace, Neil and Jay. We used the "stick the dealer" rule, so someone was going down each time. Jay, Tom and I were at the short end of that stick and Grace was in her zone through expert bidding and clever card play. Grace ran away with the game with 300 points. We gave the game to Tom for his use since he enjoyed it so much -- we have a back up copy in shrink.
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15. Board Game: Frank's Zoo [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:1228]
Joe Pastuzyn
United States
Midland
Michigan
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It was late on Saturday (or early on Sunday) when we made this our last game of the day. Tom, Grace and I played as Tom had never heard of it. So, out came the elephants, hedge hogs, lion and orcas. Tom saw the strategy in the game and the benefits of card counting. He ended up with the win and we bid him adieu until next year.
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16. Board Game: Myrmes [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:407]
Joe Pastuzyn
United States
Midland
Michigan
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This was our early Sunday morning game as Grace, Suzie, Chuck and I played it. Grace and I had gotten through it two player, but the four player game has a good deal more interaction. This is a deep worker placement game with resource conversion, end game victory points and ways to mess with your neighbor. We thought the theme came through in a very rich fashion and winning the game took a good deal of planning and foresight. Chuck and Suzie finished with 77 and 75 points while Grace and I had 69 and 64. This is a real find from Essen and I would encourage any eurogamer to give it a go.

That wrapped up our third trip to GLG and we got in a good number of great games. Like any con, though, it's more about the people you meet or re-meet and the stories you share. Can't wait until next year.
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