R.I.P. Out4blood: Tim's Tops (In Memoriam)
Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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This geek list is dedicated to the memory of Tim Seitz, who died quite suddenly Saturday (12/01/12). It was a total shock to us all. He was a great friend. You may know him as Out4blood.

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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If you ever played a game against him, you know he was well named. He wasn't cutthroat. Instead he was amazingly analytical and knew the value of a move with impressive speed. You could see that in his posts as well.

I'm going to start with his "10" games and include his comments about them. If you played a game with him, talked strategy with him, or just have something to say, please share your experience.

Update:

Tim's family could use some help after their unexpected loss. Tim was just beginning to get back on his feet after being unemployed for two years due to the recession. Check out this auction if you are interested in games, or perhaps have one to donate. Check again later because more items will be added.

Tim Seitz (out4blood) Memorial Fundraiser Auction

Also people may make direct donations to aid the Seitz family with funeral expenses and immediate as well as future living expenses. They can use PayPal to send money directly to the "Tim Seitz Memorial Fund" using this email address: timseitzmemorial@yahoo.com
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1. Board Game: Chess [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:412] [Average Rating:7.09 Unranked]
Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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Tim's Comment: "I played a lot of chess growing up, but didn't really get "serious" until firstie year at West Point. That year I played a bunch of quads and octagonals at the Marshall club on weekends and would drive to some others and sleep in my car. After graduating in 1989, I won a class prize for $1,000 in Buffalo, and went on what I called my summer chess tour, going to the National Open in Vegas, and the World Open and Action Chess Championship in Philly. I played a little bit in the Seattle area, but slowly stopped playing tournament chess.

I do play a lot of blitz, and have recently been playing Crazyhouse, which is a Chess/Shogi hybrid.

Nothing beats a few good games of speed chess."
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2. Board Game: Crazyhouse [Average Rating:7.30 Unranked]
Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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Tim's Comment: "Such a fantastic game. I really do love it. There's so much tension in the game and dramatic comebacks are far too possible. I'm crazy for Crazyhouse!
-----
Perfect combination of Chess and Shogi for 2 players. I much prefer this to speed Chess."
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3. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:43]
Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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Tim's Comment: "Bam! Easy 10. Scales perfectly well from 3 - 7. It really does only take 30 minutes and there is plenty of strategy.
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How is this game not #1? It's easy to teach, fast to play, engaging for all skill levels --even us hardcore mega-gamers, and more versatile than anything out there. Best with 3, 4, 5, 6, or even 7! I should stop buying other games and just play this more. Heck, Wifey even likes it!! Shoot, based on that I may need to adjust everything else down a notch."
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4. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.02 Overall Rank:17]
Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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Tim's Comment: "Wow. I never thought I'd see a better Euro-game than Caylus, and then along comes Agricola! It's got Caylus worker-placement fun, only now you have to house AND feed the the workers you have. No more slave wages of 1 denier. Ingenious. And the cards make it a new game everytime you play. "What card is that?!"

Encountering new and powerful combinations of cards and getting into play means this game continues to be fresh every time."
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5. Board Game: Caylus [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:46]
Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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Tim's Comment: "Caylus is the Granddaddy of Worker Placement games and one I encourage anyone who is likes, or is even mildly interested in, that genre to experience at least once. If not a couple of times.

Compared to the other worker placement games, Caylus is pretty pure in its mechanics, as there is not much more to it than the tactical placement of worker tokens. Yes, there are some strategic elements revolving around whether to pursue favors (you generally need to) and which favor tracks to pursue (developing your strategy), and there are the occasional brinksmanship decisions when building castle components or when moving the provost, but the bulk of the time and the decisions are where to place your workers.

As I categorize action selection mechanisms, Caylus has:
* Player-directed, dynamic action set - players build the additional actions
* Multiple, sequential open selection for personal actions – openly place multiple workers, one-at-a-time, in turn order for your own use
* Exclusive usage – no one else can use the selected action
* Conflict resolution is moot - only one player can place on an action slot.
* Pay per placement – pay as you place, as opposed to per worker, or per activation mechanisms
* Post-placement resolution – resolve after all placements, not as you place (like Agricola)
* Player-driven, uncertain activation – through player movement of the Provost, not all actions will activate
* Certain action value

This game plays much heavier than other worker placement games like Stone Age because the VP conversion values of actions is not as straight forward as it is in the lighter games. But if you like worker placement games and want something heavier, this is the game to try.

While it plays anywhere from 2-5 players, Caylus gameplay changes dramatically based on the number of players. I recommend this game with 2-3 players. 2-player is zero-sum, so there are a lot of options to deny your opponent rather than to push your own agenda. 3- and 4-player games are enjoyable and emphasize taking your own path, which changes viability of many strategies, but it can run long with 4. I don’t enjoy the 5-player game because it becomes too chaotic, and it’s difficult to adopt a strategy; control just goes out the window."
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6. Board Game: Eclipse [Average Rating:7.97 Overall Rank:33]
Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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Henrico
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Tim's Comment: "Salo had some Eclipse comments that were so spot on, all I can do is copy them, and add my comments:

Quote:
* Tech Tree: random tech draws give variability between games. It's fairly open what you can develop, but if you have researched a tech in a particular field already, it's cheaper to develop new ones in the same field. The result is a simple yet elegant tech tree that nudges you in certain directions but is not too restrictive; highly efficient.

You can gain efficiency in building up with primitive techs first and getting to advanced techs later, but you don't have to do that. If you do get advanced techs first, you can't use the full discount on the smaller ones. Pretty ingenious. The randomness of the tech tree creates quite a bit of variability in the game, apart from the explore and discovery tile draws. It also makes turn order fairly important since you might want to pass first in the hopes a good tech comes out.

Quote:
* The Resource System: using Through the Ages's idea of removing cubes on your player board as you expand your empire without that earlier game's fiddlyness; a wonderful design solution to the problem of bookkeeping.

I've worried over the fiddliness of Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization for quite some time, and I cannot develop a more efficient system of tracking economic impacts. Increasing population has several impacts in TtA: consumption, happiness, and new population costs. Similarly, expanding your population in Eclipse impacts your economy, science, and materials. It may be fiddly to setup, but it completely streamlines the remainder of the game. No need to count planets or anything.

Quote:
* Building your Ships: my favourite part; you can upgrade your own ships so that each player's ships are individual and each player can develop their own military doctrine, so to say. This is all done in a way with ship blueprints and tiles that removes any form of bookkeeping.

This is the cool part of the game, and there is a lot of room for strategy about what to get, when to get it, and how to best attack whoever. that's it's tied into the economy, tech tree, and victory point system makes it even better.

Quote:
* Action System: a brilliant method of action selection, whereby taking actions and expanding use the same resource (action disks--which like the other resources you remove from your board, exposing the increasing upkeep costs as you use more disks), thereby balancing how much you can do and how much you can expand.

Another neat innovation. I can't think of another game that does it quite like this. The larger your empire, the more your actions cost you. A smaller empire can actually afford to take as many or more actions simply because they have fewer influence discs managing their sprawling empire. This forces some nice choices about # of actions and rate of expansion. However, this is somewhat mitigated by the bankruptcy mechanism, which I am not sure I care for. I take that back. I am sure I don't care for it. Bankruptcy should have a harsher penalty, IMO, such as losing permanently losing an influence disc, or something more drastic. You should be able to use it as a way to get influence discs back on your board.

Quote:
* Incentive to Fight Early On: the method of awarding VPs for combat (which you draw from a bag and choose the best) give you an incentive to attack early on, as the chances are that at the end of the game only the low value chits will be left.

Related to the reputation VP scoring, this neatly solves the turtling issue that most 4x/economic games suffer from.

Quote:
* Expansion: the explore action is cleverly handled so that you quickly expand, bringing you into conflict with your neighbours very soon. There is no long build up before you get your empire onto a war footing.

Also, the wormhole system allows you to try and manipulate avenues into your territory.

Quote:
All in all, a wonderfully designed game that is a lot of fun to play; you will end up thinking the game a lot after playing it.

Agreed!"
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7. Board Game: Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization [Average Rating:8.02 Overall Rank:28]
Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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Tim's Comment: "2008 Funagain

My kind of game. Our first play was with 4 new players (1 had played once) playing the full game. I probably wouldn't recommend that. We did it primarily as a learning game, knowing we would not finish. Also, since the rules differ between the three types, it's just easier for us learning the whole thing all at once. At 4 players, I think the game can be a little too long. The cards don't cycle through fast enough. It seems with 2 that they cycle too fast. 3 sounds just about right.

Update 9 -> 10. It's pretty much all we are playing right now - even more than my REAL favorite: Agricola! :-("
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8. Board Game: Hansa Teutonica [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:109]
Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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Tim's Comment: "Great little engine-building cube-pushing eurogame. And I say that with all fondness. Like Caylus, it has some slight randomness (in the bonus markers), but other than that, there is no luck present; just your strategy against your opponents' strategies.

I have not spent enough time analyzing to be confidence in knowing if some or most of the seemingly endless variety of strategic paths are viable or not. There's a lot you can do in this game, and you can spend your time spinning wheels or you can spend it being productive. It's hard to see which is which without giving it some thought.

Upgrading to a 10, as this game has clearly entranced me."
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9. Board Game: Hansa Teutonica: East Expansion [Average Rating:8.05 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.05 Unranked]
Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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Tim's Comment: "I was a little hesitant at first when this was announced, as I was worried how they could possibly improve what I consider to be a near-perfect game. They couldn't. The new map does not so much improve the game as it makes it play differently. The action and bag cities are still the focus, counter-balanced by having three routes into what is now a kontor-less city. Because of this, actions and bags are much easier to get, and less likely to be dominated for points. The more valuable routes require more privilegum to control and the privilegum skill (as well as liber sophia) are out in the hinterlands."
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10. Board Game: Antike Duellum [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1028]
Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
United States
Henrico
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Tim's Comment: "An innovative 2-player version of Antike. Antike has always been a favorite with me, but it doesn't see much play largely because I prefer my civ games 2-player, and that game doesn't seem to end well. Well, now we have a strictly 2-player game that returns to the original distillation of the rondel mechanism.
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Update: This just moved into the 10-spot for creating unbelievable tension throughout the entire game. The actions are quick, appropriately limited, and generally easy, leaving all the thinking to the strategic aspect: Do I build a temple now, or another couple of cities? Do I recruit more troops and get a technology? Do I follow behind to gather event cards or try to win by force?"
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11. Board Game: Glory to Rome [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:149]
Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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Henrico
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Tim's Comment: "What they have been saying is true. It really is better than Race for the Galaxy. Much more vicious and interactive. And of course, the art is TERRIBLE."
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12. Board Game: A Few Acres of Snow [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:245]
John Sizemore
United States
Richmond
Virginia
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I have really been digging A Few Acres of Snow; I think it's a very innovative system. I have been introducing it as "Dominion, where estates are actually useful". Pretty much all of my games except my first have been games where I was teaching it to someone new, so the actual games have been a foregone conclusion, and more of a demo game than the man to man intellectual combat I crave.

The current dominant strategies for both sides have all revolved around deck thinning, followed by building up a large bank, splurging on military and going to war. I expect that taking any of the game-ending locations would be extremely difficult against experienced opponents.

This game reminds of Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization in that military is not required... unless your opponent goes military. In a game where both players go the military route, it will be interesting to see who has the advantage.

---

The core of the game is pretty simple. It's a deck-building wargame. But that description belies the intricate dance of delicious strategic possibilities that rarely seems possible in anything other than an RTS computer game against a competent and human opponent. Because of the deck-building nature of the game, even the seemingly simplest decisions have long-term strategic consequences that you will rue for turns afterward, with only the occasional raid/ambush tactical decision giving you some relief.

It's still in discovery mode, meaning I can't be sure at any given point what the best move is for either side -- is rock better than paper or scissors?* Unfortunately, my most reliably likely opponent is not quite as passionate about the game as I am, and I may never have the opportunity to completely spelunk the wondrous depths I remain convinced this game opens up to its devotees.

---

Okay. Rating heavily downgraded. The game as published has serious balance issues: British can easily force a win. We can balance the game with some heavy rules modifications, but this exposes an even worse core gameplay weakness: The optimal strategy in the game is essentially fixed. Unless we also houserule some variability to the empire decks or the starting locations, the optimal path just plays itself out, with only minor decisions required. (Imagine Dominion with only a single set of 10 kingdom cards.)

Dominion is like Lake Pontchartrain: Very shallow. You can figure out a given set after 1-2 plays, but there is so much of it, that you could swim around it forever without seeing same thing twice.

Chess and Go are Lake Baikal: Extremely deep. You can see across it, but you can never swim to the bottom.

AFAoS is like my community pool.
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13. Board Game: The Great Zimbabwe [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:339]
John Sizemore
United States
Richmond
Virginia
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Tim never got around to rating this one. This was the last game I ever got to play with him, just 9 days before he died.

Our first plays were three games at Euroquest, and I (incredibly) won all 3. Sometimes Tim's analysis engine took a few games to get rolling, so he was never more vulnerable than when he was first playing. This is true of most people, I suppose, but any chance to beat Tim at a game was something not to be missed.

He was convinced that the game was determined by play order. I'm pretty sure, if he'd had the time, he could have proved that it could be determined by player order, but that he was still unbeatable regardless of whether he fought for turn order or not.
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14. Board Game: 1960: The Making of the President [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:158]
Terri K
United States
Richmond
Virginia
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Females play board games too!!! ;)
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I am bad... adding this without a story. Sorry! I will edit one in soon but after Tom brought up the idea of a memorial Geek List for Tim, I knew this was the game I wanted to add.

Tim will be missed!
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15. Board Game: Colonial: Europe's Empires Overseas [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:1579]
john guthrie
United States
silver spring
maryland
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Euroquest 2011 - i can still picture tim sitting at a round table with his homemade copy of Colonial. it seemed like every time i walked by he had roped in a fresh bunch of 5 opponents to play, and i never had the good luck to be on the spot when he was recruiting. he was loud, boisterous, and opinionated, but in that way that made you want to sit at the table with him for a few hours.
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16. Board Game: Age of Empires II [Average Rating:5.81 Overall Rank:12405]
Christopher Bartlett
United States
Marietta
Georgia
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First of all, this post has nothing to do with the AoK CCG. Instead, it's about the Age of Empires PC game.

Before Out4Blood was a name in board gaming, it was recognized in Real Time Strategy (RTS) computer gaming circles. Tim was responsible for the nerfing of cavalry archers almost to the line of pointlessness, as I recall.
This is where I first met Tim... Playing the Age of Empires series where we engaged in play and conversation.

I was very surprised and delighted to meet him face-to-face when my job took me to Richmond. In fact, one of the last games he and I played together was another RTS - StarCraft II. As everyone will tell you, he was a patient teacher and he always did his best to raise the level of everyone's play. He could be brusque in his teaching on occasion, but his heart was in the right place.

I noted before that Tim and I had different goals for our gaming time, but his attitude and personality were so infectious that you were often swept along on his path anyway. I will miss his enthusiasm, his sense of humor and his insights into strategies.

On the gaming side of things, I regret that I never had a chance to discuss Eclipse with him in any depth. On the personal side, I will miss him shouting my nickname as a greeting whenever he and I found ourselves in the same room. On the important side, I face a sadness whenever I think of his very young family, two girls and a boy, just like mine. This last thing breaks my heart.

Tim was a smart player, an enthusiasm engine and a good man. His absence will be felt for a long, long time in the Richmond gaming community, and here on BGG. I will think of him often, and I am thankful for knowing him.
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17. Board Game: 1830: Railways & Robber Barons [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:172] [Average Rating:7.83 Unranked]
Michael Aldridge
United States
Nashville
Tennessee
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Warehouse 13: The Board Game
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I was his Secret Santa last year. After carefully looking at his wishlist and posts, I decided to get him 1830: Railways & Robber Barons. So I teased him with this question from Santa:

Santa wrote:
out4blood wrote:
Santa wrote:
What method of transportation will Santa choose for your package?
a. boat
b. car
c. spaceship
d. train

That's a tricksy question, Santa. Everyone knows you deliver gifts in a sleigh!

I never asked what method will I use to deliver your package. ninja laugh


Tim's reply after receiving his gift is still posted on his profile:

out4blood wrote:
Thank you Secret Santa for the awesome gift! Now I get all of your subtle little hints. You weren't talking about your sleigh at all!

I am crying with tears of joy... or maybe they are tears of anticipated misery as I try to wrap my head around this game!

thumbsup


As he and I are both followers of Christ, he and I (as Santa) discussed Scripture a little. Tim never found out who I was, but I hope to meet him someday in Heaven. Rest in peace, brother.
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18. Board Game: New Amsterdam [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:1250]
Amy O'Neal
United States
Mechanicsville
Virginia
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I don't know if he ever played this game, but I would definitely guess that it would rise to the top of his playlist if he had tried it... It's definitely what we would call a "Tim game"... I'll have to play this in his memory when I get a chance to play it...
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Murray Fish
Australia
Canberra
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They explained everything in detail and at great length. After they finished I sat, despondent, contemplating a bleak and empty future. "I’m glad you’re depressed" said one. "It means you’ve understood the situation.”
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I never met, let alone gamed with, Tim.

I did, however appreciate the way he ordered his thoughts and expressed himself here on BGG.

After seeing his critique of my non-fanboi review of Manoeuvre I started to follow some of his postings.

My default position was that if Out4blood is posting then it's worth paying attention.

Vale, mate. I'm sorry I never got a chance to meet you on the table of honour.
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20. Board Game: Mahjong [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:631]
Jonathan Ham
United States
The Colony
Texas
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I never spoke with the man myself, but I do recall reading his posts on the Mahjong forum promoting the Japanese Riichi ruleset, which was his (and my) favorite. And after reading through this list about him I understand why - it is focused more on skill rather than luck.

out4blood wrote:
Personally, I prefer Riichi (Modern Japanese) Mahjong. There are a lot of online resources that support this version. Also, the various Mahjong anime series use this ruleset, and that's what got me interested in the first place. It eliminates all of the seasons, flowers, and wilds you might find elsewhere. The scoring is sometimes hard to learn, but it works. I have not tried Zung Jung.


He also made a geeklist about anime series that featured board games. Boardgame Anime Otaku
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21. Board Game: StarCraft: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:345]
Mc Jarvis
United States
Arlington
Virginia
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This heart is meant to convince you that I feel.
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Tim was a really great Starcraft 2(The video game, not the board game) player (the last time we played, he was rated diamond.) We played on Monday nights up until I had to move cross country and my schedule was thrown into turmoil: he always had to take 60% strength units just to let me be competitive

My favorite part of playing with him was the smack talk. He often derided me for "letting" him amass an army unscouted or "letting" him destroy my entire army without taking casualties.

He viewed actions, even mistakes, as choices. This is a lesson I've taken to heart and tried to apply to my board game plays, never letting myself be content or complacent in my analysis.
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