GCL Swedish Meatball Division - Welcome to Rory's
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
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The Swedish Meatballs are a division of BGG's GameChat League. It's a semi-open discussion group, and civil comments from non-members are welcome, but only members should add items (usually your weekly games played or anything else you find interesting to add).

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aaarg_ink - up next
Jugular - welcome back!
bnordeng
Bolger
NateStraight
Patrick Carroll
ellephai
johnbandettini
Osirus
ldsdbomber
Maarten
fateswanderer
DarrinWilliams
baditude
rarevos
qwertymartin
Sorp222
lacxox


I've told many bedtime stories to my children using Rory's Story Cubes, and after Christmas even with Rory's Story Cubes: Actions and Rory's Story Cubes: Voyages. These are sets of 9 dice and... that's it. Practically it's up to you what you do with them; I've met buddies who tell 20-second "stories" (more like depicting some strange scenario) using 9 dice but it may work as some kind of social activity as well; I use them for bedtime stories but also they work fine when I ask my son to tell me stories. At age 4 he's not a great storyteller (yet) of course but what he associates to is really telling a lot about him.

So, here you are, some combinations using Rory's Story Cubes. It's up to you what you do with them.
a, Tell me a story/depict a scenario using all the dice
or b, tell me something about each dice in the images
or c, tell me the most interesting story or thought that comes to mind when looking at any one of the dice in the images shown
or d, tell me something that comes to mind when looking at the collection of icons overall
or d, feel free to do what you like.

Of course it's also possible that everything you write is in connection to board games but you are also free to comment anything else.

As it's up to me to make my bedtime stories interesting, now it's up to you to make this geeklist interesting. Have fun!
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1. Board Game: Rory's Story Cubes [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:1892] [Average Rating:6.37 Unranked]
Laszlo Molnar
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The basic set.
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2. Board Game: Rory's Story Cubes: Actions [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:2746] [Average Rating:6.46 Unranked]
Laszlo Molnar
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The set with images depicting verbs.
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3. Board Game: Rory's Story Cubes: Voyages [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:2515] [Average Rating:6.63 Unranked]
Laszlo Molnar
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The set that is most full of adventures.
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4. Board Game: Rory's Story Cubes [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:1892] [Average Rating:6.37 Unranked]
Laszlo Molnar
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My son also likes it when we mix two sets.
This is the basic set mixed with Actions.
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5. Board Game: Rory's Story Cubes: Actions [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:2746] [Average Rating:6.46 Unranked]
Laszlo Molnar
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This is the Actions set mixed with Voyages.
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6. Board Game: Rory's Story Cubes: Voyages [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:2515] [Average Rating:6.63 Unranked]
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
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This is the Voyages set mixed with the basic set.
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7. Board Game: Rory's Story Cubes [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:1892] [Average Rating:6.37 Unranked]
Laszlo Molnar
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On the second day of Christmas I told a bedtime story using 27 dice - yes, all the dice of all the sets. So now I show you all 27 dice. Comment whatever you want to...

although I thought this might also work as a cooperative storytelling experience. Start the story using the first die, then someone continues and so on. Or just do what you did at the previous items. Or do both.
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8. Board Game: Blue Moon City [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:524]
Laszlo Molnar
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And now, all the weekly plays.

Monday, 31st December:
visited our stepson's family for New Year's Eve party. While the kids were awake we played with them -
What's rubbish is a simple set collection spin and move game for pre-schoolers; it also has some hidden information and even memory element, also different aims (trash bins) for each player. It's nothing special but not bad for this age.
Quoridor Kid was great - it's the smaller (7x7 instead of 9x9) version of Quoridor with some cute theme. We played with the kids once and five more plays without them. I haven't played Quoridor before but it has moved to my wishlist.

Tuesday, 1st January:
Midnight arrived fast but we played some games before going to bed.
First (while everyone was doing the fireworks in the neighborhood) we played Hanabi 5-player; even with lots of untold but well-guessed information we got only to 17 points - not bad but I'd like to see 20+ results in the future.
Then we played Dixit where I played just like I usually do - when I was the storyteller I told too simple or too hard to guess stories. Nothing in-between. Still I like this game very much.
Finally we ended the day with 6 nimmt! where, until the last round, I had the lowest score which unfortunately changed then...
The kids woke me up 3 hours later, I read them for more than an hour then they watched animated movies. And I played a little more, but only children's games:
Okavango is a game I have never heard of, but is actually fine for a children's game: it's like Pachisi meets Labyrinth with some "animals and islands" theme. More thinky than Pachisi, less thinky than Labyrinth, and maybe more exciting for this age group.
Finally I played Geistermühle with my son. It's another game using the power of magnets hidden under the board - it seems 2-player it's too simple, 4-player is almost impossible, so 3-player is the best for this fun dice-roller.

Thursday, 3rd January:
While I went to the hospital for a checkup my 70-year-old mother was babysitting. After I came home and put the kids to bed we played a little - we played Qin two times (of course I won by far but by the end of the second game - the lion side of the board - she started to get the basic strategies). Then we played Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 3 – The Heart of Africa where I failed to complete 3 of my 5 tickets - she won 120:61... I think this is a game where her strategy of collecting all wild cards pays off. But my wife usually doesn't collect wild cards and she had the same great results during Christmas... I don't know. I'm sure the way I usually play Ticket to Ride is not compatible with The Heart of Africa map. So I like it.

Sunday, 6th January:
We played! Well, at least we played one game (my son was awake in the last 15 minutes so he was sitting in my lap) and my wife chose Blue Moon City which, as always, we played with Blue Moon City: Expansion Tile Sets 1 & 2. It's been a long time since we played it the last time and it was even longer ago when we had this typical endgame (she ended the game and won; in the next move I could have done the same).

In the evening it was her who put the kids to bed so I had some free time - and I don't know why, but now I felt I should try some of my unplayed (and low-rated) Knizias against myself, just to get the hang of them. So I played Cthulhu Rising once and Looting London twice (but I don't record plays against myself). They are good for what they are, definitely better than their ratings suggest, but of course they are not really memorable games. Cthulhu Rising would have a lot better reputation if it didn't have the stupid horror theme attached to it (Twilight Creations has done this to a handful of Knizias) - it's a tricky little numbers game, something like a double-board Prisma with some fun tug of war scoring. And Looting London is a Ticket to Ride-like (which means Rummy-like in a way) card game which clearly has some predecessors in Knizia's ludography (Marco Polo Expedition the board game and King Arthur: The Card Game) combined with some "tricky scoring" which is actually quite usual for him since his earliest years (Modern Art and Tutankhamen both feature this idea, more or less). And I guess this game works best with 2 or maybe 3, but I'll see.

+during the week, some further plays with my son - games like Magician's Kitchen (3x), Spooky Stairs (1x), Kunterbunte Autorelli (1x), Cheeky Monkey (1x), Hisss (1x) and, of course, Rory's Story Cubes (1x), Rory's Story Cubes: Actions (3x) and Rory's Story Cubes: Voyages (2x)
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9. Board Game: FlowerFall [Average Rating:6.04 Overall Rank:4026]
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Just the one session, but it was a fantastic one! As I knew I'd have quite a bit of spare time over the holiday in Cincinnati, I investigated the possibilities for doing some 'real' gaming. One of the replies to a post I made about games clubs was from:

Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
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who's a GCL Mafia member and geekbuddy of mine, who turns out to live about an hour's drive away. We arranged to get together at Sarah's parents place on Wednesday and I sent him a list of requests from his collection. We ended up gaming for 7 hours. Jimmy is a really nice guy and I had a blast - I hope we'll be able to do this again next time I'm in town.

_10_ Pax Porfiriana (rating just increased!) - Jimmy had already played a few times so we could get straight into it. Fun game which I won with a strategy I'd not seen before.

_5_ Keyflower - Jimmy wanted to teach me this. It is certainly clever and I do like the way the actions and auctions are all mashed up together. But there's still way too much resource conversion for my tastes.

_8_ Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small - In return I taught him ACBAS, which I don't think he was particularly keen on; a bit light for a lover of original Agricola. He took an interesting tack though, denying me wood and expansions and forcing me into a small intensive farm with three Stables. He ended up edging me by a couple of points, just as I'd narrowly beaten him at Keyflower.

_9_ Kingdom Builder - Sarah joined us for one we all like. Jimmy and I mirrored each other's scoring in each category almost to the point. I think I won one category by 2 while he won another by 1, giving me the narrowest of wins.

_8_ FlowerFallx2 - Sarah stayed on for this filler, which was brilliant! If you haven't seen it, it's an area majority dexterity game in which you drop cards on to a playing surface from head height. One side of each card has flowers of your personal colour; the other side neutral green flowers. The cards form contiguous areas and you score points for the number of green flowers in each area that you control by having the majority of your own flowers. Sarah dropping her last card perfectly to connect another card of hers into the big field and win was a highlight of the evening.

_7_ 2 de Mayo - this was one I'd requested Jimmy teach me and I liked it a lot. It's an asymmetrical cat and mouse game with very simple rules and a lot of psychology. Keen to play again and see how differently the French play to the Spanish.

_9_ Metropolys - we both love this game and we had a tense match in which I spent almost all my towers before Jimmy got control and had a long run of his.

_10_Race for the Galaxy - I hadn't played Race face-to-face for way too long! Even with all expansions in play, it wasn't as fiddly as I remembered. Jimmy made things interesting by building the world that let him see my action choices on the first turn. But an Improved Logistics-assisted rush let me close out a win in 5 turns.

If you're reading this Jimmy, thanks for a great evening!
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10. Board Game: Bananagrams [Average Rating:6.35 Overall Rank:1577] [Average Rating:6.35 Unranked]
Johannes cum Grano Salis
United States
Finger Lakes
New York
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Bananagrams (2p)
San Juan (2p)
Tigris & Euphrates (4p)
18GA (4p)
Through the Desert (2p)


Two Three games against my wife, two online.

Bananagrams was a gift. I probably hadn't played it in a few years, and last time we played it was with another couple (4p). This is still not my idea of a word game, but I'll play this over Scrabble every single time. I remember liking it more at 4p than I did at 2p. Despite it being a simultaneous turn game, 2p lasts a while with all those tiles.

San Juan was against my wife. Frankly, I want to work her up to Glory to Rome, and so I started with this. It took her a little while to get the game, but said "that wasn't bad" afterward, so I'll count that as a win. Her Indigo-Sugar combo wasn't producing much during the game, and I very husbandly dropped a Triumphal Arch as my twelfth building to cap my three monuments. Final score was 34-21.

T&E was Lee's last hurrah. Laszlo and Martin were the other two players. I had the opposite of a "No Red Tile" game, and my personal highlight was when Martin started a conflict with me and I used one more red tile than I needed just to flush my hand; he lost and immediately started another one, and I had enough red left over to beat him there as well. I finished fourth so this wasn't a game-changing event, but it was still funny.

18GA was a 4p Rails/Dropbox game. 18GA is a 6-company, small map version of 1830. It's a fine learning game, but it's not as exciting as 1830 or 1889. Still not bad, but despite having a half-finished PnP copy in the works, I'll probably never finish it and only ever play it online. In real life with 3 hours of 18xx to fill, I'll pick 1889 every time, and I suspect 1846 and 1812 will be options in that timeslot as well. One funny thing from this game (I mentioned it in a GeekList already; forgive me if you've already heard this story) was that my last-ditch effort in the second-to-last Operating Round saw me buy an 8T (they rust the 4Ts) and doing so forced two other players to buy trains out of pocket. To afford their trains, they sold stock in my companies, so my value dropped. Whoops. Didn't expect that. In the end, I was looking at finishing third before my 8T purchase, and my Hail Mary resulted in me finishing...well, third still. But the game wound up being handed to the guy in fourth, who only had one company, it had a 6T, and he didn't have any of his stock sold to have the new 8Ts funded.

I didn't log an official play of it, but I taught my neighbor Age of Steam by playing half a two-handed game on the Rust Belt map. He was hooked before I was done with the rules. My guess is we'll give some of the 2p maps a spin one of these days, as well, but it looks like I'll have some at least 3p Age of Steam played at my house sometime this month, and that'll hopefully be the first of many.
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11. Board Game: Flash Point: Fire Rescue [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:264]
Andrew
Japan
Tokyo
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A quiet week this time.

I played two rounds of 3p Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm - seems this particular group never goes past Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs Imperium so I won't be seeing prestige. First game was awful; the other players followed the same strategy, and I simply couldn't draw what I needed. Second game I was once again the strategic odd-man-out but the cards were kinder to me, and I ended up with a crushing score (for the first expansion) of 62.

We then played Flash Point: Fire Rescue, which was okay but resulted in me missing entering a game of Hansa Teutonica. The game suffers from the same tactical fixation of most co-ops that makes them disinteresting to me.
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12. Board Game: Verräter [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:1395]
Justus
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
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This was a lightish game night. I fell in with a group of new gamers so I played a lot of light games, but I was able to get a play of Verrater, in part cause I was really, really insistent on doing so. Many thanks for those who took the shot in the dark to join me.

Train of Thought ran a bit flat for us. It felt that the randomness of the first word just meant that it made it an exercise of using two good word clues. I might have to try it again, though given the ticking nature of my game night opportunities, it will most likely not be soon.

Bohnanza What a cute game. I saw it at the table when we were looking for games to play and I remembered liking it when I played it about a year ago. Well I still like it. A cute little superfiller. But there is definitely game there

Mamma Mia Not as much game as bohnanza but just as fun.
I think I enjoy this game like other people enjoy looking at paintings. I just love the cleverness of the design and I just savor the experience of being in its presence. In heavier games you are wrestling with the opponents/game system which is of course the primary way I enjoy games, but this is one that I just let happen in front of me and I just ride the flow. Uwe is just awesome.

Dixit Along game with a 1+2 deck but plenty of fun. Great for lighter gamers, though I have to say that I am realizing that I can overplay this game....maybe every other week or once a month at most, but still that's quite a bit I guess (its #2 after Tichu in most played and most likely close to overall hourse played since Dixit runs longer.)

Verrater After my previous experience with Meuterer, I had to just try this game and I pushed exceedingly hard to get this played. And fortunately my gaming friends put up with my stubbornness and we ran a game of it. It uses a lot of similar mechanics as Meuterer but it is not at all the same game. Funny how just a few changes here and there and all the sudden you have a new game. If pax truly is a 60-90 minute game instead of the epic extravaganza that I played, then Verrater (at half the box size) likely still owns the "most game per cc" belt then (traditional card deck excepted of course). Its a heavier thinkier game than Meuterer -- which may or may not be a good thing depending on your preferences, but both these games are well worth checking out. I believe Games Surplus is getting a shipment of these in over the next couple months.

Ra So my famed run of good luck with this game has come to an end. I have done incredibly badly my last few games. Bummer...but a fun game night all around!
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13. Board Game: Crappy Birthday [Average Rating:5.67 Overall Rank:8735]
Darrin Williams
United States
Allen
Texas
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I didn't make it to DGM this week , but I got to play a few (mostly light) games with friends .

Beyond Balderdash - On New Years Eve, one of the ladies broke this out. I used to like this game, but I have no patience for it anymore. There's too much down time and not enough fun. thumbsdown

Crappy Birthday - When Balderdash fizzled, I brought out Crappy Birthday. Great game for the crowd. I casually included the BGG expansion with the picture that I submitted. cool

Trivial Pursuit: Classic Rock Edition - I'm not a big Trivial Pursuit fan, and I'm not a big classic rock fan, but at least we got to play without the board.

Flash Point: Fire Rescue - Played the beginner game of this. It was a little too vanilla. I'm sure the advanced game is better, but I'm not really a co-op guy, so I may never find out. caravan

Suburbia - It turns out, this was my most played game of 2012. I finally got my own copy Friday, and promptly played it on Saturday. Fun, as always. bluetaj:

Timeline: Diversity - This is a good filler, but some of the cards seem a little vague. We had to guess what they meant on several cards. I think the vagueness added to the fun, though, and reduced the trivia aspect of the game that I'm not so wild about. clove

Kill the Overlord - Played this with 4 adults and 4 kids. It's about as good as any game could be with that particular group. Kids just love executing each other. zombie zombie zombie zombie

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14. Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:110] [Average Rating:7.63 Unranked]
Seth Brown
United States
North Adams
Massachusetts
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Two new games this week, both owned by a friend who I'd always talked about gaming with but never gotten around to it until this year. First, X-Wing Miniatures, which seems like a fairly standard vehicle miniatures game about flying around and trying to get in position to shoot each other with dice. We played the beginner skirmish, 2 Tie Fighters against 1 X-Wing, and each side won one game. A pleasant enough diversion, but not really my cuppa.

Lord of the Rings Card Game, conversely, was pretty dang awesome. Long ago I had the LotR co-op game from Knizia, and found it sort of dull and uninteresting, so I traded it away. But this one is somewhat more robust, pretty damn cool, and in spite of the 32-page rulebook, actually not that hard to pick up. We played two games, botched a few rules, but I'm hoping to play again tomorrow because I liked it a lot.
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15. Board Game: 1817 [Average Rating:8.69 Overall Rank:1964]
Nate Straight

Covington
Louisiana
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We rung in the new year of gaming with great gusto yesterday, with a full play of the 18xx equivalent of "the new hotness". It took a little under ten hours, including a bit of explanation time.

It's hard to really describe this kind of gameplay experience to someone who hasn't played an 18xx title before. It's an immensely engaging game system that demands a lot of attention from players.

I still feel like a complete n00b (we have probably about a dozen and a half plays now sprinkled throughout the series), so this play in particular was more of a riproaring good time than a competitive event.

Relatively speaking, this is a fairly straightforward and intuitive ruleset in the series. There aren't as many artificial limitations, and there aren't as many distracting special powers or game phase effects.

The chief addition to the series is the ability of both players and companies to borrow against future performance (in highly speculative fashion). This is very tempting, but can also be incredibly crushing.

The game is even less about "running good companies" than standard 18xx fare as compared to track-building titles like 1853 or Poseidon. For a large part of the game, it seemed, companies are heaving masses of liability.

That liability is balanced by productive assets, of course, but they are fragile and never quite as productive as you hoped. Figuring out how to strike the balance between liability / vulnerability and productivity seemed key.

The short sale mechanism is particularly interesting, giving you as player a massive influx of cash with which you can finance new operations, but putting you on the hook both to close the short position and to pay off any dividends earned in the meantime.

About halfway through the game, two players (myself one of them) attempted a short sale to cut the legs out from under a very productive company with aging assets. The goal in such a ploy is for the shorted company to become insolvent so that the shorts are simply washed out in liquidation, or at the very least do not appreciate before you can close the position.

This did not happen. The shorted company was already in debt a fair bit, so we had hoped to kill its trains and leave it unable to make interest payments. Unfortunately, it was able both to use the remaining allowable debt and a fateful "suitcase" train purchase from a newly founded company by the same president to buy up its treasury shares (preventing depreciation) and to keep the trains running (which paid dividends on a ton of treasury stock, netting enough to pay interest and begin paying back the loans).

This meant that the other player and I were on the hook for all the dividend payouts, as well as two full rounds of appreciation, which ended up about two or three steps higher than what we had shorted for. This was disastrous, and while we each avoided bankruptcy, we were far behind the rest of the pack by the endgame.

We did manage to pull off a better timed and better executed short sale later in the game, which actually involved a company losing all its trains and potentially being liquidated. Unfortunately, before they rusted another of the president's companies was able to (yet again!) "suitcase" one of the dying trains out from the shorted company, giving them enough cash to clear all their loans.

Some shenanigans of passing trains back and forth kept the company alive, and it was actually able to merge into another more productive company, eventually giving them an 8 train and a ton of tokens between them (after taking back some more loans). This ran profitably in the last operating rounds.

At least, that's my best interpretation of what went down. We clearly made a lot of mistakes, but at least interesting things happened, and that's really about the point that I'm still at with the 18xx. I think I'd prefer to keep my focus on continuing to learn basic good play with 1830 or 1870 before revisiting this, but it was hella fun.

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16. Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:38]
Brad N
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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_.9_. Pandemic - 2 Players (x1); 4 Players (x1)
_.9_. Ra - 4 Players
I8.5I Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar - 4 Players
_.8_. Castle Panic: The Wizard's Tower - 2 Players (x2); 3 Players (x1)
_.8_. Tobago - 3 Players
_.8_. Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small - 2 Players
_.8_. Flash Point: Fire Rescue - 3 Players
I7.5I Escape: The Curse of the Temple - 2 Players (x3); 3 Players (x2); 4 Players (x2)
I7.5I Forbidden Island - 2 Players (x1); 3 Players (x1)
I7.5I Clue: The Great Museum Caper - 4 Players (x3)
I7.5I Duck, Duck, Bruce - 2 Players
I7.5I Ingenious - 3 Players
_.7_. Word on the Street - 6 Players
_.7_. Family Feud - 6 Players (x2)
_.7_. Magical Athlete - 4 Players (x1); 5 Players (x1)
I6.5I Jaipur - 2 Players
I6.5I Tsuro - 4 Players
I6.5I Dixit - 5 Players
I6.5I Tumblin-Dice - 2 Players (x2)
_.6_. Card Sharks - 6 Players
_.6_. Abandon Ship - 3 Players
_.6_. FITS - 2 Players (x2)
I5.5I Mummy's Treasure - 2 Players
I4.5I Scattergories - 6 Players

I was still on vacation and the kids were still on break and many games were played, especially kids games. Also, a lot of party games on New Year's Eve with my parents and brother and his wife. The parts to talk about...

(1) Pandemic, Forbidden Island, Flash Point, Castle Panic, Escape - I know they aren't necessarily very popular in our GCL, but I am clearly a cooperative game junkie. I think they can be really good to play with kids and family and so I do. With the expansion (The Wizard's Tower), Castle Panic went from a somewhat dull game with not a lot of tough decisions to something I look forward to playing with my kids. I still wouldn't recommend it for gamers, but if you know a kid who likes to play games and wants castles and monsters then this should do the trick (with the expansion).

(2) Family Feud, Card Sharks, Word on the Street, Scattergories, Tsuro - New Year's Eve always makes our family think party games. And, I grew up playing game show board games, so playing the 1976 version of Family Feud was a blast. I was even able to get a free "feud buzzer" app on my phone that let us see who tapped in first on the toss up question. I definitely rate these games higher due to memories.

(3) Tobago - This was a pleasant surprise when I played it with my 7 and 9 year old daughters. It's a good family game with enough little things going on to keep some gamers interested. I think it would be a nice game to move on from to Ticket to Ride for the person who isn't ready to jump into the gaming hobby with both feet.

(4) Duck, Duck, Bruce - Played it for the 99th time. One more play and a review will be coming. I know you are all on the edge of your seat...

(5) Tzolk'in - I was finally competitive in this game (2nd) and I'm appreciating it a bit more now. Before I played this game, I was certain it was all gimmick. I'm finding the gears not much gimmick at all... it really works and the game seems pretty well designed if you like worker-placement like this. I like the starting tiles and how they give you the opportunity to choose your path from the start of the game (from a limited number of options).
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17. Board Game: Snowdonia [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:356]
John Bandettini
United Kingdom
London
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I have not posted any weekly plays the last couple of weeks as I did not really play any. But with Christmas and New Year over it was back to LoB last Wednesday.

I’ve had Snowdonia since a couple of weeks after Essen, but I had not managed to get it to the table since then. I was determined to give it a run out on Wednesday and I was able to find four other players willing to help me.

What we found was a very deceiving game. At the beginning of the game after going through the rules it looks like a fairly standard worker placement game. The players can excavate rubble, lay tracks, build stations, collect resources, convert resources (just lost Martin’s interest there), gain contracts (for end game scoring) or move your surveyor.

It looks like there is a lot to do and we settled down to play a lengthy game. What we did not count on was the event cubes. Part of the board is the stockyard, where players can collect Iron ore, stone and coal, in the form of coloured cubes. At the end of each turn the stockyard is replenished from a bag full of cubes. But as well as Iron ore, stone and coal the bag contains 5 event cubes. Now maybe our game was atypical but those event cubes kept coming out (they recycle to a degree) and triggering events. Three of the most common events remove rubble from cards, build tracks and complete stations.

We suddenly felt like we were almost playing a co-op game rather than against each other. We realised that the game itself was very much a player and rather than a long game with players steadily gaining points it was actually a race against the clock to grab what was available before the game finished.

Assuming it was meant to work that way I think it was all the better for it. The box say 30 to 90 minutes so I think it was supposed to play out how we found it so I am looking forward to my next play now I know what to expect.

Thanks to playing on my ipad I have got a renewed interest in Ticket To Ride so just before Christmas I bought all the map packs. I had played Switzerland online many times and I had got Legendary Asia on the iPad so the one I wanted to play most was Team Asia. Unfortunately I could not get enough people interested so maybe next week.

Instead I settled for another game of Seasons. I did not mind this too much as I really like Seasons. It’s been compared to Magic the Gathering and I suppose it is very slightly like it as it is a card based battle between wizards but it plays very differently.

The thing that really puzzles me about it is how much it polarizes people. A lot of people seem to be able to find something to hate about the game.

One player (the owner) had been player the game a lot online at boardgamearena and it showed as he wiped the floor with us.
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18. Board Game: Pax Porfiriana [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:382]
Justus
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
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OK New Years resolution.

After begging, and begging, and begging, and begging. I was shot down by the lady.

So no, I will not be purchasing Pax before we move to Vegas.

Though I would dearly love to, it shall be a game of the Southwest for me (and after I find a new gig).

Just thought I'd make it public so I don't sneak off and purchase it behind her back...at least without also incurring the wrath of the meatballs.

In the meantime, I have Caroom, Crokinole, Fzzt! Australia, and Chronicle waiting to get some extra plays before I bail out of town....
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19. Board Game: Keyflower [Average Rating:7.88 Overall Rank:44]
eryn roston
United States
San Diego
California
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Not a lot of plays this week but very satisfying gaming none-the-less:

Netrunner:
A while ago a co-worker of mine and I decided to dig out some old netrunner cards and throw together some haphazard decks and see if the game still hummed like we remembered. It pretty much did! It was only a couple weeks later that FF announced the reprint in a LCG format and I was salivating to get a hold of it.

I bought my copy as soon as I was able and of course it sat on my shelf un-played till this week. This is mostly because I changed jobs and the guy I was playing with at lunch no longer worked with me.

anyway I enjoyed the game very much. The prefab decks worked nicely and the addition of "personalities" is a nice touch. Great stuff.

Keyflower:

I was intrigued but not overjoyed by my first play of Keyflower. I got it to the table for another 2-player session over the weekend. I still am not sure 2 is the best player-count for a bidding game, but this round was positively delightful. With a better grasp of the rules and goals, the bidding was much more interesting. There was also a real palpable sense of timing and brinksmanship. Bidding early on one tile means you get to set the tone of that auction but you may miss out on the opportunity to take a vital action cheaply somewhere else. Do you spend that red worker now? or wait to see if you need it to bid back at your opponent later?

I also had some of Martin's comments in mind while evaluating the final scoring and (at least in this play-through) the Winter tiles were not the end-all of the scoring fest at the end. I won the game primarily on the combined strength of my spring and autumn tiles.

Labyrinth:
I've never managed to get this to the table against a human opponent and I pretty much never feel the need to play a full solo board game of anything when I can just play a video game instead. BUT. Something made me pull out Labyrinth and set up the solo game and see what it was like. It was like a much more difficult version of Pandemic. The flow-chart business (to handle your opponent's actions) seems like a necessary evil. It's a little unwieldy at first but I don't see any other way around it really. I got creamed by that axis of evil. I still don't think I like playing these games solo much but it did give me a good idea of how to play it face-to-face which was useful.

In other news my copy of Pax Porfiriana arrived on Monday! I set it up and went through a couple turns solo-style and it looks pretty damn cool. I offered to clean the whole house tonight if my wife would agree to play it with me and I think I may have set the hook!
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20. Board Game: Hnefatafl [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:2414]
George Leach
United Kingdom
Godalming
Surrey
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Plays for January to today. Here's what I played from Xmas up until last week.

Carson City with two characters from the Gold & Guns expansion. I've played this a number of times before and I really like it. This time I played at LoB, unfortunately two of the players decided it was an AT game and decided to collect cowboys to increase their firepower simply to battle each other for small fry VPs. I'd take the $2=1VP space on the first turn and jumped to an early lead but with little capital left wasn't able to develop my income. This left the two remaining opponents free to maximise their additional money into VPs and I was just squeezed into second place in the last turn. still a great game and one I need to get to the table again soon.

Hnefatafl x2 - I received a beautiful Hnefatafl set ([geekurl=http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/51023/hnefatafl]this[/geekurl] one in fact!) for Christmas from my sister-in-law, and in so doing gave me my first opportunity to play this wonderful game. I've read some of Moshe Callen's Review review series which has really intrigued me but never had an excuse nor a copy to hand. these two games were against my wife and all the more enjoyable because she's starting to 'get' abstracts. She gave me two nicely fought games and I'm looking forward to some more.

Kakerlakenpoker Royal - This new version is quite nice but it's a gamery version of a party game. It's now too complicated for a non-gamer and too light for most gaming situations. Good game nevertheless.

Kingdom Builder - I got to try this on John's Ipad. I'm now looking forward to playing it in person. It's nice to finally get to play what you lot have been going on about for the past two years.

Love Letter - A great game I played with Scott, Tagore and Matt after their 18XX game at LoB. Made myself a copy out of some old business cards and played with Kathryn recently too. I give it 18 months and we'll never hear of it again.

Nicht die Bohne! - I was given this by the very friendly and generous
Clem Fandango
New Zealand
WELLINGTON
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while we were in Christchurch, NZ. we were introduced to his gaming group and made some more wonderful friends. We played the game with the in-laws for the first time and it was very successful. It's has an unusual auction mechanic where the first player offers a card and everyone 'bids' secretly and then reveal simultaneously, the first player chooses one he likes, the player who played that card chooses any card other than the start players and so on until the last player must take the start player's card. Throw in some set collection scoring mechanics and it's a really interesting 'pain' game. Worth a look but slightly more chaotic than Sticheln and less chaotic than 6 Nimmt!

Pass the Bomb Junior, The Magic Tooth Fairy Game - Played these with my cousin's daughter. She had lots of fun!

The Resistance: Avalon x4 - Panning out to be a fantastic sequel to Resistance and I can only hope that I'll find another good group for regular play.

Word Squares x2 - Introduced this to a family who really loved it. They played it a few times over Christmas and so I taught it to the in-laws and we got to have a couple of nice games.

StreetSoccer x3 - Still playing this little beauty on LittleGolem. Still my preferred dice-rolling abstract.

Oh and after enjoying Hnefatafl I thought I'd pull together my Top10 abstracts list:

Slither
Santorini
Lines of Action
Go
Shogi
Arimaa
Connect6
Hnefatafl
Amazons

You'll note there are only 9 but I can't decide what my 10th might be. I think I might make a geeklist of it.
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