Geek in Training 2012 (Year 2)
Sara Grace
United States
Berkeley
Ca
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This was my first full year of board gaming. So there are a lot of gaming adventures to relate! Lets jump right in. [Note I like to count the year from Christmas 2011 – Christmas 2012, starts things off with a lovely haul of new games!]
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1. Board Game: Twilight Struggle [Average Rating:8.34 Overall Rank:5]
Sara Grace
United States
Berkeley
Ca
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Christmas 2011!

Santa was very generous to this new hobbyist. Received – Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs Imperium/Race for the Galaxy: The Brink of War, Twilight Struggle, 7 Wonders, Arkham Horror, Ticket to Ride and Dominion: Hinterlands.



We celebrated a “Cold War Christmas” by playing Twilight Struggle, seeing Tinker Tailor Solider Spy, & ordering Chinese food (nominally related to our theme?). Sadly I must report that the US (me) lost TS very early by failing to recognize the importance of the Middle East and Asia. Rookie mistake. Further, we haven’t actually picked TS up again this year mostly because of game length, Arkham Horror fever, and a base gaming group that went from 2 to 6. Though I am hoping to get in some plays over Thanksgiving weekend.
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2. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:43]
Sara Grace
United States
Berkeley
Ca
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This game has seen intermittent play throughout the year. It is good one for a night when you have friends over but not a ton of time or interest in playing something longer. I never say no to playing it but I rarely suggest playing it.
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3. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:49]
Sara Grace
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Berkeley
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Played this pretty steadily throughout the year. We actually never played the expansions I got for Christmas. I taught Race four times, once at the after party of a wedding reception. Overall, it has been a big hit.
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4. Board Game: Thunderstone [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:539] [Average Rating:6.98 Unranked]
Sara Grace
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Berkeley
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In February, we made our annual pilgrimage to Maryland for the Oscar Party/games weekend. That weekend I played Thunderstone. I really enjoyed it but haven’t played since. I am asking for Thunderstone Advance: Towers of Ruin for Christmas. We also played the card version of Alhambra: The Card Game which was fine but not a must have, and Wits & Wagers which is always good fun with a group.


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5. Board Game: Dominion: Intrigue [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:59] [Average Rating:7.76 Unranked]
Sara Grace
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Berkeley
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As always, we played a fair amount of Dominion. It eventually fell out of favor as a two player game because (sorry honey) I was beating my husband about 90% of the time which is really boring.

In July a whole pack of our friends moved out to the Bay Area. Since we all enjoy board games that significantly increased my game playing and variety. Especially since my friend Mike and I both have medium sized game collections with virtually no overlap!

We end up playing Dominion often because it is a couple of people love it. I am still happy to play, particularly if I don't have to be part of the card selection process and if *most* of the games don't have Pirate Ship in them.
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6. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:239] [Average Rating:7.31 Unranked]
Sara Grace
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Berkeley
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This game saw a little early action where I taught myself the rules and played some solo games. Over Valentine’s Day I convince my husband to play a game with me but that ended in semi-disaster. We have since learned that we do not play 2p co-op games well together. I know this is the bread and butter for some gaming couples, but for us it devolved quickly into “Stop bossing me around!” Luckily competitive games are our sweet spot.

After our gaming group expansion in July, we were able to get everyone interested in AH and it has seen a fair amount of table time since then. I am over-the-moon happy about that! Almost, ready to start poking around the expansions…
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7. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:127] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
Sara Grace
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Berkeley
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I collected Ticket to Ride (board game and iOS) this year. I still enjoy this game but two things have happened to derail it (...see what I did there) from seeing much table time.

1. For a light a game with not a ton of depth, it is a little on the long side.
2. The iOS version has made it hard for me to introduce this game to new people. The more familiar I got with game play the harder I found it to hold back when things are going well. When teaching two friends how to play I ended up completing 13 tickets! That is definitely breaking one of my cardinal rules of game teaching - Don’t brutalize the new players!
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8. Board Game: No Thanks! [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:392]
Sara Grace
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Berkeley
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Almost all my friends from college met up in Montana for a wedding in June. There we were able to fit in a fair amount of gaming. What was really nice about that experience was that several “generations” (high school, college, and post-college) friends were able to hang out over games even though we don’t really know each other. Behold the unifying power of games!

We played:
- No Thanks! (Enjoyed. Has some interesting choices for such a light game)
- Zombie Fluxx (I don’t like this game. One of the few were I end up play cards simply to alleviate how bored I am. Winning the game eventually becomes secondary to making it end.)
- Pass the Pigs(I also don’t like this game. “Let’s play Yahtzee with pigs!” This game is a lot less fun than just plain Yahtzee, honestly.)
- Race for the Galaxy (♥)
- Word on the Street (Fun game for a group but actually played ok with two as well.)

We also did a lot of hiking around Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons!
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9. Board Game: Zombie Dice [Average Rating:6.23 Overall Rank:1714]
Sara Grace
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Berkeley
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After Geek and Sundry started up their youtube channel, I confess, I watched a few of the Will Wheaton reviews. I this case Felicia Day/The Guild was my gateway drug. I know a lot of people really dislike Wheaton but I am pretty ambivalent toward him. I only watched some Star Trek Next Gen as a kid and I don’t watch Big Bang Theory so his “star power” is a little lost on me. Overall, the games they have reviewed have been pretty mediocre. I gave up after watching part of the overview of Gloom.

His suggestions for filler games seemed pretty solid, so I picked up Zombie Dice and Tsuro. So far Zombie Dice has been a huge hit with my non-gaming friends. Tsuro is fine if you are waiting for people to arrive for a game night.
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10. Board Game: King of Tokyo [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:228]
Sara Grace
United States
Berkeley
Ca
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Sometime over the summer I went a little Bits & Boards crazy. It all started because was looking for filler games for our group, specifically King of Tokyo. Somewhere along the way I might have gone a little off track…. I ended up with King of Tokyo, Biblos, Ultimate Werewolf, Scripts & Scribes Dice, Game of Thrones, Castles of Burgundy, Battleline, and Troyes.

We have really enjoyed King of Tokyo for pure fun/shenanigan gaming. The easy choice for when we want something light and are more than 2 players.

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11. Board Game: Biblios [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:293]
Sara Grace
United States
Berkeley
Ca
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This game had such great buzz I snatched it up immediately when the reprint was released. We have really enjoyed it. With game play this easy to learn and a number of paths to victory this game was tons of fun in the beginning. While I still enjoy it quite a bit, the number of times it makes it to the table has dwindled significantly in our group. I do still take it to pub trivia sometimes since it transports so well.
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12. Board Game: Storage Wars: The Game [Average Rating:5.94 Overall Rank:8912]
Sara Grace
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Berkeley
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Mid-summer we ended up in a bit of a storage battle. My game collection had completely out grown the top closet shelf that had been housing it. I could no longer reach most of my games.

My husband suggested that maybe I had too many games and I reminded him that he has an entire shed full of tools. We went back and forth on this point for a bit... In the end, I won and he used that shed full of tools to install some shelves in the coat closet for games.

Victory meeple



(I may have promised not to get new games before we had played the ones we already have.)
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13. Board Game: El Grande [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:57]
Sara Grace
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Berkeley
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One play. (The next set of games we only played once and I am inclined to reserve judgement until I can play them a couple of times more.)

Preliminary thoughts: This was my first area control game and I underestimated how much diversifying/second place matters in this game. I think I also misused the Castillo. I wasn't a huge fan of the "gang up on the leader" aspect of end game.
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14. Board Game: Shadows over Camelot [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:322]
Sara Grace
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Berkeley
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One play.

We played this without the spy for simplicity. I feel like this game has a lot of potential. It was a pretty good first playthrough. We won.

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15. Board Game: Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game – Pegasus Expansion [Average Rating:7.81 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.81 Unranked]
Sara Grace
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Berkeley
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One play.

We played BSG with Pegasus expansion. I had really been looking forward to trying this game, but my first play through was pretty flat. The rules explanation that I got had some huge holes in it, I didn't have time to read the rules myself, and I spent most of the game just trying not to make terrible mistakes while people got upset about the pacing of the game.

I think with a smaller, more patient group this could be fun.
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16. Board Game: Troyes [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:67]
Sara Grace
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Berkeley
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One play.

We tried to take on Troyes with four players and no one having ever played before. Even with those barriers it went pretty well. I certainly enjoyed it and will try to get it back out soon.
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17. Board Game: Seasons [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:161]
Sara Grace
United States
Berkeley
Ca
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After my run away game acquisition from Bits and Boards in the summer, I made a rule that I wouldn't buy any new games until I had at least played all of my current games.

When I saw Season was going to be popular for Christmas, I decided to snatch it up anyway in case it became totally unavailable. I have been hunting for lighter games to draw in non-gamers and I didn't want Seasons to become another Dice Town or Drum Roll (i.e. completely sold out and stuck at the top of my wishlist).

We have played it 3 times or so. It certainly is easy to learn and play and we haven't added in the "advanced cards" yet, but overall it is starting to feel a little flat already. Not a great sign...
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18. Board Game: The BoardGameGeek Game [Average Rating:6.04 Overall Rank:4227]
Sara Grace
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Waaay back in January, I saw a list where someone was offering enough geek gold to get an avatar. All you had to do was post that you both wanted one and show that you didn't already have one. Did I follow up on my post/request? No. Did I spend the whole year lamenting that my user id was so lame? Yes.

Anyway, in late November I went to check on how much geek gold I had and there it was! That beautiful 30 gg! Yay, now I have a picture!

Many belated thanks to
Tim Robinson
United States
Reno
Nevada
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19. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.02 Overall Rank:17]
Sara Grace
United States
Berkeley
Ca
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Earlier this year I checked Agricola out through our local game store's lending program. I really enjoyed it but my husband was lukewarm about it.

Jump forward to mid-year where I inherit this game from a family member who is culling his collection to make way for a new baby. Armed with a new gaming group, I was able to get everyone interested in learning Agricola! Now we play it almost every time we get together in groups of two or more.
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20. Board Game: Le Havre [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:38]
Sara Grace
United States
Berkeley
Ca
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Just as our new found excitement about Agricola was wearing a bit thin, in comes Le Havre!

We have managed three full plays of this game and I *think* we are finally getting the hang of it. If the choices in Agricola are tough because of scarcity, the choices in Le Havre are tough because of abundance. It is so hard not to get distracted from one task to go after that huge pile of fish! So many interesting decisions...

This game closes out the year nicely.

_____________________________________________________________________

Here is a picture of all the games I got this year:



Up closer:


[Not pictured: (Right) Dominion Dark Ages, King of Tokyo, Biblios (Left) Battleline]

So the games on the left are games I purchased or received this year that I have played. And the stack on the right is of games I haven't played yet (otherwise know as my stack of shame).



Looking forward to 2013!
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