GCL Meatball Episode: The Cone of Silence
Darrin Williams
United States
Allen
Texas
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Welcome to the Swedish Meatballs GCL. . . Well, sort of.

This week, I'm not publishing the list. It's hidden.

Actually, I decided to publish it since it seemed to be causing some trouble.

I sent a geekmail to everyone on the list below. If I missed anyone, please let them know where it is. Here's the link:

[geeklist=149455][/geeklist]

Why did I hide the list? Well, I want to talk in private. This week is like a confessional, or a therapy session. (I've never been to either, so it's only like that in theory.)

Much like the Isla De Muerta, this list can only be found by those that know where it is. Even if someone is subscribed to you, they can't tell when you post here. It's like a hole in the fabric of time and space.

Now, here's the standard info: (as if we need it)


Game Chat League Info
We are a group of game enthusiasts and confirmed babblers who've been taking part in a semi closed discussion group for some time, with our list members producing a weekly geeklist to serve as a focal point for discussing some aspect of boardgaming, and our weeks play of games. Lurkers are welcome to comment on items in the list, but are kindly asked not to add items directly. Also, please note that we do not welcome disruptive contributions to the list so please stay on topic and remember that we are by definition a friendly group of geeks who've come together to share their enthusiasm and occasionally argue in good spirit, but nobody here is interested in seeing this list devolve into pedantic petty squabbling and passive aggressive bullying. Or at least, we don't want anyone else adding to it

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here is our subscription list if you want to keep track
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/71988/gcl-meatball-div...

here is our WIKI for more information
http://boardgamegeek.com/wiki/page/GCL_Meatball

and here is the hub for all the chat leagues
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/72083/item/1822304




This week, I just want some advice. Here are some things that happened to me recently. I need to know what I should have done.

Now, on with the show!
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1. Board Game: Awkward Moment [Average Rating:5.78 Unranked]
Darrin Williams
United States
Allen
Texas
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Situation: A moderately annoying guy visited my local gaming group recently. What should I have done?

It's a public group and visiting the first time can be tough. After all, everyone's got their standard gaming companions and getting into a game can be tough. He was looking for a game of Settlers or Ticket to Ride on the day that the new Essen stuff had just come in. He was loud and a little annoying, but not in a mean way.

This really happened, so I won't tell you what I did just yet. Please tell me what I should have done, what you would have done, or guess what I did.





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2. Board Game: Don't Give Up the Ship [Average Rating:6.39 Unranked]
Darrin Williams
United States
Allen
Texas
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Situation: 3 turns in to a game of Terra Mystica (an 8 turn game), one of the gamers declares that he's "totally screwed" and there's no way he can win. When I look over, I realize that he's the Witches and simply needs to build his Fortress to solve his problem. What should I have done?

The options that came to my mind at the time were to suggest that he might find another game more fun and offer to continue without him, to offer to re-start, give him either game advice or life advice.

What did I do? What Should I have done? What would you do?


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3. Board Game: Numbers Up [Average Rating:5.30 Overall Rank:13140]
Darrin Williams
United States
Allen
Texas
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Situation: We were about to start a 3 player game when a random player asked if there's room for a 4th. The game plays 4 OK, but it's better with 3.

What should I do? What would you do? What are some games that that you'd avoid playing except with a certain number of players.


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4. Board Game: Music Mania [Average Rating:4.90 Unranked]
Darrin Williams
United States
Allen
Texas
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Situation: A friend likes background music during games. Recently, during a game night at my house, he pulled out his phone and started playing appropriate background music. It made it difficult to concentrate and derailed the game into quotes of various sci fi movies that I've not seen often enough to quote, but it was well received by another gamer.

What should I have done? What did I do? What would you do? Are you a Movie Quoter?


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5. Board Game: Last Word [Average Rating:5.38 Overall Rank:14939]
Darrin Williams
United States
Allen
Texas
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Situation: I received a bad game from my Brother-in-law for Christmas. He said, "If you've already got it, I've got the receipt." I don't already have it because I have no desire for that particular game.

What should I do? What did I do? What would you do? Is this reason enough to stop celebrating Christmas?

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6. Board Game: Chess [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:412] [Average Rating:7.09 Unranked]
Darrin Williams
United States
Allen
Texas
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Situation: I was getting ready to teach a game to a couple of eager new players when the other player started explaining it instead. He was making a mess of the explanation. I could tell the new players weren't understanding the basic flow of the game.

What should I have done? What do you think I did? What would you do? Wouldn't it be simpler if we just played Settlers over and over so nobody has to worry about learning new rules?


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7. Board Game: Ginkgopolis [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:320]
Darrin Williams
United States
Allen
Texas
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Here's what I played this week:

Suburbia - Got to play this again. (Tzolkin and Ginko were already in use.) It's still a fine game. I managed to play the entire game without a single lake, and I always had plenty of money. That got me a bonus, but it wasn't enough for the win.

Dominion: Intrigue - Played a quick game of Intrigue/Prosperity while waiting for Matt to get free for Ginkgopolis.

Ginkgopolis - I finally got to play this one. It's a really good game. The artwork's weird, but the game is good. I need to play it again to try out some actual strategy rather than just looking for legal moves.

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8. Board Game: Android: Netrunner [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:42]
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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A good week, with three substantial sessions.

Monday: LoB

Three friends who've been to LoB a couple of times before made another visit. Unfortunately (and maybe appropriately to this list), this time they drank a couple of bottles of wine between them and became somewhat difficult to teach!

First up was Love Letter, which turned out to be harder than I expected to teach to non-gamers (and the wine hadn't kicked in yet). They did get and enjoy it after a couple of games though.

Skull worked pretty well (wine may actually help here) though it does seem that the game can drag a bit if everyone screws each other over instead of actually trying to win.

Their favourite 'game of ours' so far has been Condottiere so I brought it along again. We had one quick, enjoyable game, then they asked for another, which went on... and on... and on. It was one of those situations where everyone wanted it to be over, but no one was quite prepared to let someone else win. And my friends became more and more likely to forget it was their turn or play the wrong card. I wasn't entirely upset that they went home after this one. To be fair, they did all mention to me the next day that they would drink less wine the next time they come!

I still had time to get the night back on course with a quick game of Liar's Dice, another round of Love Letter and then a few hands of the excellent Sluff Off!, which I hadn't played in far too long.

Friday: first session in a while with my main 2p opponent Matt

He bought Android: Netrunner recently and we were both keen to try it. Unfortunately neither of us knew the rules already, and the rulebook is horrid. The game may be asymmetric, but I found having different thematic terminology for 'draw deck', 'hand' and 'discard pile' for each of the players inexcusable.

Once we finally got going, I found the game surprisingly simple, though Fantasy Flight did their usual best to conceal that under a layer of unnecessary chrome. The asymmetry is really neat, and I like the mind games. I enjoyed the game, and would like to play again, but I do feel like most of the point of it will be getting in really deep with the deck-building and expansion packs. I wasn't interested enough for that to be a possibility.

Next I introduced him to my Pax Porfiriana obsession. As we play Innovation together regularly, I thought he might be into the crazy variability and highly tactical nature of Pax, and I was right. We played a second game straight away and he requested a third, but it was 11.30pm already. We've just been chatting on IM about it and he's keen to play again soon. Hurrah!

Saturday: last-minute decision to go to one of the LoB weekend meet-ups.

Two of us were waiting for a bigger group so I pulled out Medici vs Strozzi. This game doesn't get much love but I liked it more than either of its parents. It's very similar to Medici, with a few added decision points, and the once-around bidding turns out to work really well in a 2p-only game.

We then ended up as six, and the only available option was I'm the Boss! No complaints from most of us, but it wasn't a good choice for the new player who'd just arrived. She was really out of her depth, and it's hard to stop and explain things in a real-time negotiation game! She did seem to get into it a bit by the end, but I felt bad.

Next up was one of my recently-arrived Seiji Kanai card games, Mai-Star. Like most of his other games, cards have suits and numbers as well as special powers. In this one the main aim is to shed your hand, but the more powerful a card is, the more demanding the requirements to put it into play. Hard to rate after one play, but pretty enjoyable.

We played three rounds of Love Letter, several of Loopin' Louie and two of Coup - all great fun.

Finally, I got my second play of Sleuth - my favourite new-to-me game of last month. My notation system still needs a little work, but I must be doing something right because I was first to the Green Opal Solitaire.
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9. Board Game: Crash Tackle Rugby Board Game [Average Rating:7.68 Overall Rank:3824]
Paul Lister
United Kingdom
London
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My gaming this last week is irrelevant- England beat the All Blacks for the first time since 2003, by a record margin and for only the seventh time in 105 years. New Zealand had not lost a game in Europe for 10 years, are the world champions and had not lost for 20 games until Saturday. It was simply amazing and the best English performance I can remember.

I managed three games of All Creatures Agricola and 2 of archipelago

And gaming is irrelevant this week

RIP

Tim Seitz
United States
Glen Allen
VA
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Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him. 2 Sam 14:14
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10. Board Game: Haggis [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:694]
Andrew
Japan
Tokyo
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I just played some Haggis on my phone. Gotta be better than Ascension: Deckbuilding Game right? I've found Ra to be excellent on the train too. Just wish they hadn't messed Dominion up so badly...

Work has picked up, and this week the game nights had work-related stuff on. Hopefully this week will be different...
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11. Board Game: Mousquetaires du Roy [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:1896]
Brad N
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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.N/A. Mousquetaires du Roy - 3 Players
.N/A. Seasons - 3 Players
.N/A. Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small - 2 Players
.N/A. Parade - 4 Players
_.8_. Flash Point: Fire Rescue - 4 Players
_.8_. Crokinole - 4 Players (x2)
I7.5I Survive: Escape from Atlantis! - 5 Players
_.7_. Magical Athlete - 3 Players + a fish (x2)
_.7_. Finca - 2 Players
_.7_. Wits & Wagers - 4 Players
_.7_. Hey, That's My Fish! - 2 Players
I6.5I Max - 2 Players
I6.5I Castle Panic - 3 Players
I6.5I Where's My Water? - 2 Players (x2)
I6.5I Loot - 4 Players
_.6_. Big Boggle - 2 Players
_.5_. Martian Dice - 2 Players (x2)

I tried Mousquetaires du Roy (2 vs 1) last week and I like it. There are a lot of rules up front what what seems like an uncomplicated game, but once things were underway all was good. Well, except for the part where us Musketeers were getting knocked out on turn one... eh heh.

Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small is a hit with my wife who has grown to detest the original. We really like the fast play and simplicity... those tend to be good 2 player games for us.

I learned Seasons where I did not plan well against two people who knew the game and was beaten by over 100 points. It seems okay, but I wasn't enamored with the game. I learned Parade with my parents and wife and we all really liked it for a quick, simple filler. It's very clever and my dad and I finished tied.

Dane, Azalea and I were crushed by the monsters in Castle Panic when we tried to make the game harder (we've won it lately). Azalea and I revisited Finca (without the bonus tiles) which really is a nice, simple game.

Two games with the whole family (wife and 3 kids) this week (PitchCar, Loot) which is always fun. We let Dane flick twice per round and the girls flick twice every other round to even things out a bit. The grown ups finished last (with me in 5th).
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12. Board Game: Triage [Average Rating:4.67 Unranked]
 
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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What started as pneumonia and pleurisy was just the surface. Two days later it became apparent that I got some serious thrombosis. I went to the hospital two weeks ago where it became apparent that the thrombosis caused pulmonary embolism with multiple clots and this is what caused the first apparent signs - pneumonia and pleurisy.

So, two weeks in the hospital. Meanwhile I didn't really play board games; I played Brain Trainer on my phone and when my son visited me I played The Little Orchard once amd Hisss twice. That's it.
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13. Board Game: Blackout [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Johannes cum Grano Salis
United States
Finger Lakes
New York
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I played nothing this week, but will nevertheless still accept your thumbs.
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14. Board Game: Zero! [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:2173] [Average Rating:6.97 Unranked]
Henrik Lantz
Sweden
Uppsala
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Nothing played! But this week is already looking better.
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15. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.02 Overall Rank:17]

Lacombe
Louisiana
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Suddenly a shot rang out! A door slammed. The maid screamed. Suddenly a pirate ship appeared on the horizon! While millions of people were starving, the king lived in luxury. Meanwhile, on a small farm in Kansas, a boy was growing up.
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Last-minute game-day this past Saturday in which we toted along Linus and played for as long as he would let us. I don't think our fellow players minded too much since he was well behaved for most of the afternoon and there were only the two of them there besides us, so they would have been playing 2-player stuff all afternoon which, for a game-day, is just never as fun [I don't think].

We played Agricola, which I ran away with handily after positioning myself quite well for a final turn plow-and-sow + renovate-and-fences combo. I had two cool cards that let me leech food when players took other common actions [one that was "whenever anyone sows, gain 1 food" and one that was "whenever anyone takes 3 or more food from an action, gain 1 food"... both 4+ cards; I rarely play with 4+, so it was cool to explore some of these options... made the game VERY different from the 2p experience]. I also had a card that let me use plow, plow-and-sow, and take-1-grain even if it was occupied. This was a pretty dang awesome combo of stuff and I leveraged it well.

Also played a hand of Monad, which was quite interesting. Kind of like Bazaar, yet completely different. Cat hates Bazaar, but enjoyed this one. I managed to manage my hand / resources well enough to pull off a most excellent turn to win the game in which I went from a hand that consisted only of 1s, 3s, 7s, and a single 16 to claiming 2 monads on a single turn! I was impressed.

I'm kind of regretting not backing that Kickstarter 3-game bookshelf-style Sackson bundle [I didn't even bother trying to convince myself to since I hate Eagle / Gryphon / Fred / etc], but maybe I'll just start looking for the old versions. That production sure is sexy, though.
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16. Board Game: Whales [Average Rating:2.00 Unranked]

Lacombe
Louisiana
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Suddenly a shot rang out! A door slammed. The maid screamed. Suddenly a pirate ship appeared on the horizon! While millions of people were starving, the king lived in luxury. Meanwhile, on a small farm in Kansas, a boy was growing up.
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Random question of the week:

Did anyone else first interpret Darrin's new avatar as Luther swimming with a bunch of narwhals?

No? Just me? Ok, I've truly lost it.
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17. Board Game: The Road to Canterbury [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:1778]
Justus
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
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A quiet weekend of gaming, just Road to Cantebury, Liar's Dice, Tichu and Ra.

Road to Cantebury is a fine little euro with a classic feel. It really does play well at 3P and I commend them for not trying to stretch it to 4P (which though conceivable would be somewhat chaotic).

And the rest ar classics, did well in Tichu, really enjoying the new passing convention and did awful at Liar's Dice (cause I somehow assumed there was 30 dice at the table but there were only 5 players, oops) and Ra (a rare occurrence, but well deserved this time).
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18. Board Game: Innovation [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:279]
Seth Brown
United States
North Adams
Massachusetts
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I know, I'd sworn off buying any games this holiday. But $13 shipped on Amazon, for a game I know I love, that is fast enough to see table time, and won't take up much shelf space? I couldn't resist.

Anyway, we played 2 games today, and both were one-sided affairs thanks to the Currency card. Whoever got it just rode those points to achievement victory, me in the first game, Debbie in the second. Clearly more play is required; expecting more games later in the week.
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19. Board Game: Terra Mystica [Average Rating:8.23 Overall Rank:8]
John Bandettini
United Kingdom
London
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That one not so much
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Ohh that tickles
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Just two sessions last week both at LoB.

26th November at LoB

My second try at Terra Mystica and I did a lot better this time. The first game it did not even occur to me that you could build multiple cities. I just built one big one and missed out on possible bonuses. I also did not take full advantage of my stronghold ability.

This time I built two cities (though maybe thing too small, should go for three). I did join up my two cities and got largest settlement bonus (or whatever it’s called) at the end.

Once again did not do as well on the cult tracks as I thought. Going into the last couple of times around the table on the last turn I though I had two of the tracks sown up and the others looking good for 2nd place. Finished up with 1 first and 1 second.

Came a credible 2nd by a handful of points. The winner won mostly by being very efficient every turn using the scoring tiles.

And then I played, nothing else. It’s a long game, five player it took all night.

27th November at LoB

Main course for the evening was Suburbia. A game I like but can never seem to win. I lost 30 points on the last round after I had taken my last turn. First one player took a lake costing me 20 points for most lakes, then the next player built a blue building costing me 10 points for most blue buildings.

Then a couple of short games before I had an early night.

Fairy Tale which I like and Get Bit! which I was pretty ambivalent about.
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