GCL Mafia 101: Wrapping Up Christmas
Grace P.
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Welcome to GCL Mafia Division's weekly list! If you stumbled onto this list by accident (or on purpose!) and want to know more about the Game Chat League concept, please see the wiki. If you want to look at past GCL Mafia lists, go here: GameChat League: Mafia Division Subscription Thread.

Our current roster in order of preparation (next week's poster in bold):

Rishi
Dolus
ecargo
McJarvis
1awesomeguy
mith
tscook
Thesp
Butterfly0038
cferejohn
touchstonethefool
fdubois

The first few items are intended to foster discussion.

Please add an item to represent your gaming life for the week of December 17-23, 2012. List any games played along with any other information that you deem appropriate. Also, feel free to give life updates, fun facts, or any other super exciting and utterly interesting thoughts you may have.
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1. Board Game: My Precious Presents [Average Rating:6.16 Unranked]
Grace P.
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What did you get for Christmas? Was it what you wanted?

If you do not celebrate Christmas, what did you do on that day instead?
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2. Board Game: Give a Dog a Bone [Average Rating:3.56 Unranked]
Grace P.
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What was the best gift you gave this year? (This does not necessarily have to be for Christmas.)
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3. Board Game: Family Vacation [Average Rating:6.12 Unranked]
Grace P.
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What have you been up to this week? Did you have to work? Were you traveling? How long are you (or relatives) staying?
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4. Board Game: Say Anything Family Edition [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:3801]
Grace P.
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If you're with family, what is the most annoying thing someone has done so far? Or, if you rather not complain or have nothing to complain about, what is the best part of hanging out with family so far?
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5. Board Game: Happy New Year [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Grace P.
United States
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What are your plans for New Year's? Is this a tradition/typical for you?

(I apologize if this question is moving in on next week's poster/list.)
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6. Board Game: Rush Hour [Average Rating:6.18 Overall Rank:6639]
Grace P.
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What game(s) do you want to get played before the end of the year?
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7. Board Game: Flash Point: Fire Rescue [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:256]
Philip Newman
United States
Richardson
Texas
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Weekly Plays:

Dominion - 27 (all isotropic)
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – The Massing at Osgiliath - 7 (all solo)
Brass: Lancashire - 1 (orderofthehammer)
Flash Point: Fire Rescue - 1

CouncilRoom.com is back up, which means Phoebus' favorite GCL feature* returns! mith's interesting games of the week!

mith 10-10 lespeutere - Notable because I got to Develop a Curse into a Duchy (using Highways) on my last turn along with buying a Province, before my opponent finished off the Estates to three-pile and tie.

ehunt 27-5 - Opponent's 5/2 on a Witch board was probably gg, but he put me away in novel fashion, with a crippling barrage of Noble Brigands.

zahlman 35-56 mith - Less interesting game, more name-and-shame: my opponent whined after the game how I was able to make all my terminals work together without villages, and how well my Ventures drew. Look at our builds to see why this amused me.

chwhite 37-19 mith - Super fun King's Court/Governor/Black Market game. Opponent needed 4 Provinces on his last turn, and got there by remodeling a Gold and getting two extra buys through BM cards to finish it off. I think my deck was better suited for the big game-ender, but unfortunately he only gave me one shot at it and my deck stalled. Looking back, buying the Province on turn 13 is incorrect for me, after pulling the Bridge from the BM - at that point, my deck is better prepared for a big game-ending turn, and I only really need to worry about him getting there first (even down 5-1 on Provinces, my deck had the extra buys at that point to catch up with Duchies). He might have been able to pull off a 5 Province turn anyway, but nothing I can do about that.

I put together some theme LotR decks in case I have opportunity to teach it to someone. I initially had six, but two of them didn't work out... the current set: a Fellowship deck (Lore-Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas) with Eagles; yet another attempt at a Secrecy deck (Spirit-Glorfindel, Frodo, Theodred) which is still struggling with not enough allies; a re-tooled version of my Dwarf deck (Dain, Nori, Ori); and an Elf deck (Elrond, Elladan, Elrohir). The latter two have at least one of every Dwarf/Elf I have, and in general I've tried to limit myself to one of any unique cards and two of other cards (with exceptions made for Istari, and particularly key cards to the goal of the deck - e.g. Vilya for the Elf deck). Anyway, I've been testing them against one of the most difficult scenarios that isn't Dol Guldur... none of them are really fine-tuned for solo play - especially the Secrecy deck - so no big surprise that I've lost every attempt (though I've come very close in four of the seven). I'm going to try them out two-handed next.

Brass Madness 7 Final - I put up 161 with all my L3/4 Ports flipped in the canal phase, but not quite enough to keep pace with Smitz0. I still haven't placed worse than 2nd in any of the 12 Madness games I've played, so there's that...

The one non-solo face-to-face game of the week was with my parents. I figured Flash Point would work well with them, especially as my dad was a volunteer firefighter in Tennessee back in the day. We played the family game, and managed to get the fires under control after having the entire central room on fire at one point early on. We cut it a little close with damage cubes, but won and kept playing to rescue an extra person.

Picked up a copy of Risk Legacy through an Amazon lightning deal. Now to put together a group...

*Statements made in this post may or may not be remotely accurate.
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8. Board Game: Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 3 – The Heart of Africa [Average Rating:7.48 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.48 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.48 Unranked]
Grace P.
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No Thanks! 3
String Railway 2
Ingenious 1
Thunderstone Advance: Towers of Ruin 1
Ticket to Ride + USA 1910 1
Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 3 - The Heart of Africa* 1

TtR: Africa was lovely. I look forward to trying it out some more.
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9. Board Game: Smash Up [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:640] [Average Rating:6.84 Unranked]
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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"Watch, but do not govern; stop war, but do not wage it; protect, but do not control; and first, survive!" - Cordwainer Smith
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New Games

Hungry Hungry Hipsters x1
Smash Up x1

Old Games

Glory to Rome (Republic) x1
Lords of Waterdeep x1
Alhambra: The Dice Game x1
Worm Up! x3
Hornet x1
Mercurius x1

As stated earlier, I got a second(!) cold this season which completely screwed up my awesome gaming plans this past weekend. Instead, I get to wave sadly as Grace jets off down to San Diego with champagne and party hats to visit the Deans, while I sit here at my table with a lonely candle and some empty place settings.

I did manage to get a few games in between lying feverishly in bed and emptying my perpetually stuffed nose. Smash Up was OK, in that it basically was Arcana with less complexity and altered deckbuilding (in that you pick two pre-constructed faction decks to be yours rather than actually deck build as the game progresses). Despite picking some wobbly faction synergies, I was impressed that the game still managed to be close. While I was iffy about the fact that the main goals seemed at odds with each other (you want to manipulate the total strength of everyone's cards by "take that"ing your opponents' out of the picture, yet points aren't earned until the total strength reaches an upper limit, meaning you often *need* opponents cards in the mix), on the whole it seemed to work out well. Mechanically sound against all odds, I still don't think I'll ever ask for this one when Arcana is around.

I got to meet the designer of Hungry Hungry Hipsters while checking out a new game group (where I caught this wretched cold), and it's also a take that game that I feel has a much better complexity-to-weight-ratio than the aforementioned Smash Up. Essentially a hipster themed version of Gloom, you're playing modifier cards on foods to make them either more hip (i.e., "Free Trade", "Organic") or less ("Red Dye No. 5") and trying to eat/score them at the right moment when they'll earn you points. It's got the time-tested "score now or wait?" decision-space that marks all good push-your-luck games, and I had an absolute blast eating vegan free trade home cooked quinoa, and "ironically" scarfing frozen factory produced pizzas. A surprising, solid bit of game design!
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10. Board Game: Terra Mystica [Average Rating:8.23 Overall Rank:8]
Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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5x Love Letter
3x Terra Mystica
2x Poseidon
1x Container
1x Key Harvest
1x Pax Porfiriana
1x Metropolys
1x Puerto Rico
1x Power Grid
1x Steam over Holland

I had both a game day and got to play several other night this past week. Terra Mystica remains the most addictive game I own. It is a game that the more you play the more you want to play it.

Poseidon remains another interesting pseudo-18XX game for me. 2 more plays (both 3 player) has allowed me to nickel it. OTOH, we tried Steam Over Holland and none of the three of us could find anything interesting in it. This will get sold in my next auction.

I enjoyed my 2nd (3rd?) play of Container but it remains a hard one to play. Since it is played so infrequently, none of us play it well and it ends up being a race to the bottom. In fact, the player who ended up in 2nd, passed for probably over half of his turns, just accumulating cash. The final winning score was 70 something and second place was in the 50s.

I was really happy to get in a play of Key Harvest. While I like Keyflower and Key Market more than it. I really enjoyed our play and hope to get to play it more.
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11. Board Game: Metropolys [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:649]
Mc Jarvis
United States
Arlington
Virginia
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Glory to Rome 2
7 Wonders 1
Hanabi 1
Metropolys 1
String Railway: Transport 1
Terra Mystica 1

Much like others on the list, I like Metropolys quite a bit. We had a game night for playing Terra Mystica and ended up playing this as a chaser; I always forget the simply joy this auction game delivers on. It's one of the few almost-perfect information auction games I can think of which perform quite so well. (games like Ra have a significant element of luck, which I don't like)
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