GCL Mafia 103: Achievement Unlocked
Robin Levins
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Round Rock
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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 January 1-6, 2013. 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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Robin Levins
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Videogames have really cornered the market in using arbitrary challenges to giving additional incentives to play games on top of their endgame goals. Why can't boardgames have this as well? This year, we shall. I've linked to a Geeklist which contains a variety of boardgaming achievements you can earn throughout 2013. Check them out - you may have already earned one or two of them by now. Add more if you like.

GCL Boardgame Achievements 2013
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2. Video Game: Achievement Unlocked 2 [Average Rating:6.33 Unranked]
Robin Levins
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Round Rock
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For those of you who play videogames, it's clear that achievements are pretty widespread at this point. Do you notice or play for achievements? Why or why not? Are they good for gaming?
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3. Board Game: Lord of the Rings [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:714]
Robin Levins
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Round Rock
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Some boardgames come with a score log to record scores and/or winners in them. Lord of the Rings does this. Risk Legacy does this, albeit indirectly. (I know I've seen one that even includes achievements, but I cannot recall what game it belonged to.) Do you use these logs? If all games included these logs, would you use them? Why or why not?
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4. Board Game: Risk Legacy [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:236]
Robin Levins
United States
Round Rock
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As you likely know, Risk Legacy is a game where victories and actions in previous games affect future games. What other games might benefit from similar treatment?
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5. Board Game: The Hobbit: The Defeat of Smaug [Average Rating:4.82 Overall Rank:15597]
Robin Levins
United States
Round Rock
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There was a most excellent thread on Reddit recently:
What three completely unrelated movies can you put together that if the story lines continued would make a good trilogy?
As an example, this was the top rated response:
yellowbricktoad wrote:
- Titanic, where Leonardo DiCaprio ends up lost at sea, but you never see him die.
- Inception, where the movie starts with Leonardo DiCaprio being washed up onto a beach, and ends with him wondering whether he is crazy or not, and whether he is imagining reality.
- Shutter Island, a film where he starts in a mental institution, and is about whether what he sees is real, or whether he is just crazy.


Are there any 3 boardgames that could be strung together to form a narrative trilogy in some form?
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6. Board Game: Pizza Box Football [Average Rating:6.30 Overall Rank:2755]
Robin Levins
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Round Rock
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Who are you rooting for in the NFL playoffs?
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7. Board Game: Mage Knight Board Game [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:20]
Robin Levins
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Round Rock
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Games Played 12/31/12 to 1/6/13:
Mage Knight Board Game
Paris Connection
Goa
Alea Iacta Est x3

I plan on doing a big catch-up post at some point, and I'm halfway through with a geeklist detailing my BGG.Con exploits (which were AWESOME), but in the interest of at least getting back in the swing of things, I offer you my games played this week!

Mage Knight was a co-op played with Kristen on New Year's Eve. This is one of our favorite games, and AnnaMarie has reached the age where it is increasingly difficult to play it with her around, so we planned on doing this when she went to bed. AnnaMarie helped by going to bed promptly at 8:15, and we did the City Conquest co-op scenario. We ramped up the difficulty some and I was initially a bit nervous about it, but we won without difficulty. Then we flipped the TV on to an arbitrary channel a few minutes from midnight, watched a Moon Pie drop (?!) and went to bed.

Paris Connection is a new acquisition after having played it at BGG.Con. It served its task well as a gamer's filler, played while waiting to see who would show up to Game Night. It ended abruptly with a train set making it down to the blue city at the bottom (!) because one player wasn't paying close attention. It went over well, and will likely see more play in its role.

It was good to get Goa to the table again. I had some breaks go my way and ran away with a solid victory, and had each column on the 6-point row or better. laugh

I think I finally have all the correct rules on Alea Iacta Est. We played a 5 player game without the male-female rule (and without the third player in the straight-house getting anything!), but everyone enjoyed it. Kristen and I played a pair of two-player games of it, and I admit I didn't have a lot of hope for it at that player count, but was pleasantly surprised. This may be my go-to dice game besides Kingsburg, and will likely see more play than Kingsburg due to its significantly shorter play time.
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8. Board Game: eBay Electronic Talking Auction Game [Average Rating:5.97 Overall Rank:5605]
Mc Jarvis
United States
Arlington
Virginia
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eBay Electronic Talking Auction Game 3
Myrmes 3
Alhambra the card game
1860: Railways on the Isle of Wight 1
Blue Moon City 1
Keyflower 1
Locomotive Werks 1

San Juan 1
Terra Mystica 1
Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar 1

Plays which were required for my resolution bolded. 226 plays left, give or take. The first thing taking this pledge has revealed is the hidden gems that my collection contained: Ebay was a game which drew critical glances when I brought it to a game day, and then people wanted to play it three times over the course of the day. It's a clever little auction game which resembles games like Ra and Metropolys, but also only takes twenty minutes. (And in turn, has much randomness in it-- but it manages to make it fun in the process, so it gets a pass)
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9. Board Game: Suburbia [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:94]
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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This was an interesting gaming week, so I'm going to talk about each of my plays and you will all love it dammit.

Suburbia* (3x): Finally got this to the table. Matt and I played it twice 2-player and a third time with four. I think I enjoy it more with two, but it plays just fine with four. It's a very well done game and rather enjoyable. It takes about 90 minutes, which is a decent length. Not quite a filler, and longer than Ticket to Ride, but not as heavy and long as something like, say, Through the Ages. Overall, a very solid game. It's likely not for everyone, but in general, I would recommend it.

Tichu (1x): We taught this to our friends who come over on Sundays to play games. They had bought it and hadn't gotten to play it yet, so we were happy to pass on our newly obtained knowledge from Travis and Jennifer. It was a Tichu pay-it-forward. They enjoyed the game and I think we will definitely be playing this regularly with them.

Container (1x): Thanks to Jennifer, we were able to teach Container finally. Our friends enjoyed it and it was a good game, albeit a little lengthy. (Maybe 2-2.5 hours?) Through some kind of random happenstance, I won (with $110), getting some pretty perfect combination of shipments through the auctions.

Fzzzt!* (1x): I got this for free when I bought The Manhattan Project from Gate Play a few weeks ago. It's actually a pretty cute little bidding/set collection game.

Haggis (1x): After our Tichu excitement, I wanted to give Haggis another try. We were let down. Perhaps it plays better with three than two? Or we were on such a Tichu high that this fell flat, feeling not as exciting or dynamic as Tichu. I think our next step will be to give Big Two (or Lectico?) a try to satisfy our 2-player trick-taking/ladder climbing itch.

Tiki Topple (1x): There's kind of a backstory to this game but to keep it short, my brother and I bought this years ago at a Toys R Us before we knew the wonderful world of Euro games existed. We played the crap out of it with family. It was one of the first few games I played with Matt. He hates this game and claims that I always win. So, for my birthday, he made me a coupon for one game of Tiki Topple. We played. I won. I decided it'll now be a tradition that we play the game once a year, on my birthday. As for the game itself, it still holds a kind of dear place in my heart and it's a cute, light, quick little game.
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10. Board Game: 1889: History of Shikoku Railways [Average Rating:8.04 Overall Rank:1209]
Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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3x FlowerFall
2x Kingdom Builder
1x 1889: History of Shikoku Railways
1x Terra Mystica
1x Pax Porfiriana
1x Keyflower
1x Metropolys
1x Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small
1x 2 de Mayo
1x Santiago de Cuba
1x Villa Paletti
1x Race for the Galaxy
1x Jenga
1x CO₂

It was a good week. I played a couple of games with my kids (Kingdom Builder, Jenga, and Villa Paletti). Kingdom Builder was a little beyond them but I'm hoping I can get them to play it a few more times until they get it.

I also got to start the New Year with a 7 hour game meetup with
Martin G
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Bristol
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. He had come to Cincinnati for the holidays and we were able to meet up at his in-laws one day after work. Although I usually play heavier games, it was a nice switch to play lighter games (I don't think any of them took much over an hour). As a result we got in 9 plays in 7 hours including Kingdom Builder, Flowerfall (x2), 2 de Mayo, Keyflower, Pax Porfiriana, Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small, Race for the Galaxy, and Metropolys. Although the games were fairly short, some of them had a bit of heft to them. It made me appreciate playing the shorter games that I've been avoiding recently. I may end up trying to play some more of them in the future. Interestingly, Martin taught me Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small and I won. I taught him Keyflower and he won and both of us were left thinking that although the game we had learned was alright, they weren't something that we needed to play again (despite the fact that we won). Metropolys, RftG and Pax Porifiriana were the highlights of the evening for me and I really want to try to get more consistent plays of these games.

I had pre-ordered Santiago de Cuba last year and at the last minute pulled it from my cart and added Vanuatu since it was taking too long to arrive. A year later, I finally saw it for cheap ($13 + shipping) on Amazon and picked it up. While it is a fairly innocuous game, I enjoyed it and would play it again. I will probably hold onto it for a little while as a relatively compact filler.

Finally, I had a surprising request from Amanda to play an 18XX (apparently she got bit by the bug during our last 1830 play with Kelly). I suggested either 1889, 1860 or 1825 and she asked for 1889 since the ruleset is so close to 1830 (although floating a company in 1889 only requires 50%). I ended up winning by $800 (10.0K to 9.2K) but she felt engaged the whole time and I'm hopeful she may request to play again.

(note: C02 was a solo play; although the rules have a solitaire option, I probably won't play it again solo. hopefully, I'll get a multiplayer game in this week)
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11. Board Game: Libertalia [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:304]
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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2x Martian Dice
*Bakong
The Bottle Imp
Container
El Grande
*Libertalia
Tichu
*Tsuro

*new to me

We taught Bottle Imp and Tichu to our pastor and his wife when they came over for dinner. They were both partial games, as we didn't have much time.

We went to a new meetup group this past Sunday, one that my cousin attends which meets every other week at a bar. I played Tsuro and Libertalia for the first time there, as well as Bakong.

Tsuro had been on my list for a long time as something I wanted to play. I heard that the game was beautiful and a lot of fun. I finally played it, and I really enjoyed it. About halfway through the game, I looked at the board and realized that of my three tiles, two that force me to go straight and one that turns me right or left, I wanted to play a straight tile. Otherwise I would probably die. Then the players before me put themselves into an opportunistic position, and I forgot my resolve. I turned right, which crashed them into each other. But I drew a third tile that only went straight and crashed myself on my next turn.

Libertalia was something that I've noticed, but hasn't reached my Want to Play list. Though I've been curious about it. It's a pirate-themed role drafting game where you'll randomly draw amongst a deck of 30 roles which roles are available, but the pool of roles available will be the same for each player. In other words, one player will draw 9 roles randomly for the first round, and everybody else goes through their deck looking for those 9 roles. We found that the roles were far more beneficial than the booty we collected with the roles, in terms of making more money. I think I utilized this the best in the first round, but probably not so much in the next two rounds. I won the game, but Jennifer would've overtaken me had she successfully collected 3 map pieces in the last round, which somebody narrowly stopped.

Bakong was interesting, and I could play it again, but I could pass on it again as well. The board is randomly created out of hexes in a line. It's a roll and move, where you can collect equipment, jewels, flip tiles as you move to reveal different effects, be stopped in spaces if you don't have the right equipment, etc. There were enough interesting decisions to keep it interesting, but it was still very random.
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12. Board Game: Bakong [Average Rating:5.53 Overall Rank:12524]
Jennifer Dean
United States
California
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New:
Bakong 1
El Grande 1
Libertalia 1
Tsuro 1

Old:
Martian Dice 2
The Bottle Imp 1
Container 1
Tichu 1

Bakong
Interesting little game, although I think it needs a little tile variety. I found that I could predict that a tile with something good on it often had something bad on the reverse. I think this could benefit from more tiles included, with a few left out each game.

El Grande
I was a little bored with this one as an area control game. I don't often like games where actions feel random each turn, either.

Libertalia
I enjoyed this quite a bit for what it was. With a deck of 30, I feel like each game could be interesting in how the cards play out, especially in how each role relates to the others. One interaction feature which I think is interesting is that even if you play a pretty powerful crew member, you can't be assured of victory on a given round because lesser crew members can screw you up.

Container
Another enjoyable game, this time three players. I pulled off the win quite handily because of some high bids for my ships. (143 to 121 to 101 I really was trying to watch for what the others were putting on the island and in essence predetermine what would be on both their ships and mine. That made things interesting against Travis's strategy of having the mostest on the island. I'm excited for how this game will change over time as we become more experienced players.


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13. Video Game: Heavy Rain [Average Rating:7.89 Overall Rank:109]
Philip Newman
United States
Richardson
Texas
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Weekly Plays

Dominion - 49 (2 goko, the rest isotropic)
Innovation - 2 (both isotropic)
Myrmes - 1 (boiteajeux with Fabrice, Travis, and Mike)

Isotropic now has a beta of Innovation up, for those interested. I think I've posted pretty much all of the interesting games of Dominion in this batch on [listitem=2447316]last week's list[/listitem]. Myrmes hasn't really gotten going yet. And no offline games, pah.

I spent most of the weekend playing Heavy Rain, which is an excellent "interactive movie" posing as a video game. Highly recommended if you like psychological thrillers and don't mind some pretty awful stuff happening (/being responsible for some of it).
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14. Board Game: Caligula [Average Rating:6.04 Overall Rank:6838]
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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New Games

Santiago x1
Caligula x1

Old Games

Hive x1
Alea Iacta Est x1
King of Tokyo x1

Two new ones with the usual Tuesday group:

Santiago was a "yeah, why not" moment for me: I'd heard a lot about it and that it was pretty darn good, so we sat down to a 5p game as an opener. The tile placement/irrigation reminded me a lot of Aquädukt, though there seemed to be a lot more interaction in this game. I dug the great check/balance thing that was going on with the overseer, in that a) the person who bid the least became the next one, b) they determined where the next canal went and could accept bribes from other players and c) they had to pay one more than the highest bribe to place the canal wherever they wanted. It reminded me a bit of Container in how remaining solvent often required working *with* other players. Overall, the game impressed me with it's interaction-to-complexity ratio, and I'm really glad I finally got to play it.

I'd been meaning to get Caligula to the table for months now, and managed to muscle it in as the larger game of the night. I was really taken by its blend of card manipulation and hand management (and my requisite like for Roman themed games), and was eager to see how it played with 3+. It was a bit awkward to teach, as the rules and mechanics aren't all that intuitive, but by the end we'd all grokked it and were sufficiently intrigued. I'm finding I'm a bit fan of the idea of "shifting allegiances," and the semi-collusive nature of the conspiracies (where all players first bid cards, poker-style, to be part of/lead the assassination attempt, then play cards to boost/wound the sitting emperor) opens the door for some fascinating metagaming. Everything coheres after a play, but the whole mechanical construct doesn't lend itself to easy grasping of strategy. I really liked the game, but I'm a bit worried about it seeing repeated play due to it's initial learning curve.
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