GCL Phoenix 106 - Why Do I Always Have To Be In-between All The Creative Ones? (13 Jan 2013)
Nicolai Broen Thorning
Denmark
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Welcome to the 106th installment of the Phoenix Game Chat League. If this is your first visit or you just want to know more, check out the general Game Chat League information hub.

We welcome regular lurkers and strangers alike, but please refrain from posting any items to our regular members. Feel free to comment and join in the discussions and banter that should hopefully ensue.

Our roster comprises of:

Benny D
Bruzza
chally
Eeeville
Dormammu
enzo622
Hawkeye77
indigopotter
JohnRayJr
Judoka
leroy43
Lowengrin
Mr_Nuts
ravenskana
rynelf
Taibi
tjshields (up next)
topherr
Yokiboy

I sometimes feel like the odd kid in class as I always have to work hard to come up with something deep and knowledgeable about our hobby (at least that is how it seems in my head). So I always revert to something light and good-natured which is what I will do this week too.

meeple

PS: Curious about the long header, if it will break anything...
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Nicolai Broen Thorning
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Reviews are one of the prime resources on the site in both written and video form. Personally I enjoy both media and unconsciously seem to have found a few I always read when pertinent.

What/ who are your favourite reviews/ rewievers?
- anyone you feel have flown under the radar?

What makes a review interesting to you?

Do you participate or just read them?
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Nicolai Broen Thorning
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This is an area I have yet to really explore in terms of content, though I have written a few myself, mostly for games I enjoy which seemed to be lacking content.

What/ who are your favourite session reports/ writers?
- anyone you feel have flown under the radar?

What makes a session report interesting to you?

Do you participate or just read them?
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Nicolai Broen Thorning
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Bloggers and blog posts seem to have taken hold of our community at large. The Geek have recently celebrated the top posts for the year 2012 and we are perhaps all familiar with many of them - but are we missing someone - here on the Geek or elsewhere?

What/ who are your favourite blogs/ bloggers?
- anyone you feel have flown under the radar?

What makes a blog interesting to you?

Do you participate or just read them?
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4. Board Game: Missing Links [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Nicolai Broen Thorning
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This topic might become redundant based on responses above, but do you have any gaming or related links you want to share? How do you keep abreast of all the latest movers and shakers in the boardgaming industry?

Feel free to ignore based upon your response elsewhere - or add here too for a links collection - I will strive to add them to this post for an overview.
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5. Board Game: Ruhrschifffahrt 1769-1890 [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:2108]
Jon
United States
Urbana
Illinois
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Games Played:

_7_ Vikings x1 New!
My two sons helped me learn Vikings with an interesting ending. Spending most of the game very cash poor and with one goldsmith, my youngest son won with 70 in the end due to a colleciton of nobels, having the most islands, and tieing with me for largest island. My own score was 54 and my oldest son was 48.

Some thoughts on Vikings: I noticed that all of the tiles were used in the game, which allows one to figure out what will be in the sixth round once the fifth round is revealed, or keep track of how many start tiles are left, etc. I then realized the same was not true for the Vikings being pulled out of the bag -- with 13 of each and 12 being pulled each round, that left 6 left in the bag that would not get played. Glancing at the rules, I now see the reason for this is the Progress version, where 13 are pulled out each round, but one is kicked out of the game by the player who wins the auction. I think for future plays of the base game, I may remove one of each viking from the bag at the start of the game to have the same kind of perdictive ability one has with the tiles.

_7_ Ruhrschifffahrt 1769-1890 x1 New! Cult!

With the help of a video and a rewritten rule set and still some confusion and headaches, my boys and I plowed through to learn this, taking about three hours in all to play. I won the day with 49 points due to getting warehouses in all cities, while my youngest son eschewed cities for building in coal mines and ended with 30, while my oldest son struggled a bit and ended with 23. The good news is I have a handle on this now so a future play won't take so long to teach.

The main thing to know about this game is that it really is about working out your techs than it is pick up and delivery. There's "standard" techs that each play can earn that can be used again and again, then there's "one shot" techs that are limited so now all players can get them, and a few that are "end game" techs that are really potent.

The production of the game is really well done, and the "narrative arc" of the game feels really solid to me -- it also feels a bit too long, but I suspect that's because I was going over each step and trying not to screw things up. This could go up a bit with more plays if I get them done in the near future to take advantage of what I have learned. I commented a ton on this in the last list.

_7_ Cheaty Mages! x1
My oldest son turns 13 this weekend and he had over a couple of his friends to celebrate. I talked both my boys and the two visitors into playing this. My son's friend K. and I both scored 8 after three matches, while friend R. had 10, and both my boys tied (making the same bets all three times, which was weird) with 12.

_5_ Giro Galoppo x1
After Cheaty Mages, I took the four boys and my daughter with me to the Urbana Free Library gameday. The four boys found the library's copy of Wiz War and played that, while my daughter and I set up Giro Gallopo and got three people to join us, including our friend Gina who had played with us before. My daughter came in second and I was probably fourth out of five. The two people new to the game commented on how nice the parts were. I was hoping for another kid my daughter's age to show up, but that didn't happen until later so they didn't get to play together.

_5_ No Thanks! x1
After Giro Galoppo we lost one player, then the four of us left tried No Thanks. My daughter did ok but wasn't really paying attention and she ended up with 75. Gina got stuck with 67, because I sacrificed myself to take a card that would have brought her score to the 40s. My own score was 42 and Irene won with 41.

_6_ Mare Balticum x1
This was the last game at the library with the same cast as No Thanks. Halfway through this game my daughter started losing interest; she had seen this game once before but it had been awhile and four players and this may have been too much for her doing three games in a row. She only scored 12 while Gina had 20, Irene 24, and I was a bit ahead with 27. This game got a lot of good comments for its look and people wondering what it was. I'm hoping to get this played a bit more in the future with my daughter as I like it quite a bit for what it is.

_7_ Forbidden Island x1
Won a game with both my boys and their friend, which was first play for him. He liked it.


TRACK:

Tabled: 24 unplayed.

Removed: 00 removed.
Acquired: 01 acquired. (Vikings)

Cultish: 01 worthy / 01 played.
Kudos: 01 achieved / 02 progress.

2013 TRACK - Tabled, Removed, Acquired, Cultish and Kudos
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6. Board Game: Plague & Pestilence [Average Rating:6.14 Overall Rank:4140]
United States
Wurtsboro
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We played two games of Suburbia last Sunday, before we got into bed and stayed there. Today is the first day of classes for Sam, so this week will be busy. Road trip to Syracuse this coming weekend; hoping to rope Ryan into a quick boardgame or two.
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7. Board Game: God's Playground [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:1407]
Ben
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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Games Played:

_9_ God's Playground
- It has been more than seven months since I last broke this out, so I was quite rusty and ended with a disappointing last-place finish despite teaching the game to one new players. I still love the game. The new player was not impressed. I'd like to play more frequently so I could learn from my mistakes. In particular, I am not managing my estates effectively. I finish most games with the fewest Estate points.

_5_ Wits & Wagers (x4)
- Yes, it's been that kind of week.

_2_ The Manhattan Project New!
- Just when I thought I was becoming a big 'ol softie, I get to play something that is so far outside of my general gaming preferences that I have decide whether to break out the dreaded _1_ rating. I'll spare it for now.


In other news, I did transfer my Il Vecchio review over to BGG (with some tweaks), and my next Opinionated Gamers review is scheduled to go live tomorrow.


meeple
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8. Board Game: Tribune: Primus Inter Pares [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:482]
Bryan Maxwell
United States
Burtchville
Michigan
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Innovation x 16

I feel like a real Mark over here, logging all of these digital plays. They were all against live opponents, including a few against Benny. The online implementation is pretty well done, but it's no substitute for The Real Thing.

They added Echoes of the Past yesterday, and I got to play a single game with that. I have to re-learn how the latest drawing rules work, because I still play by simply mixing all the 1's together and dealing out 9, etc. - and that really works well. It's simple and quick, and doesn't unbalance the game in any way that is noticeable to me. I mean, it's Innovation. It's not a homogenized, carefully balanced work of art. It's a wild beast, a brilliant and unwieldy monster. And a work of art. Anyhow, it felt like it was taking us forever to get through the age piles in the online game.

Escape: The Curse of the Temple x 1

Nice 5-player game with 2 new players at the table. I'm ready to up the difficulty on this game.

1812: The Invasion of Canada x 1

I was the American Militia in a 5-player game using the 1812 full game scenario. It was an odd one; I was pretty aggressive, and my dice knew it - I probably got more kills than my American Regulars partner. The "American Milita's hit results count as TWO hits in all battles this turn" card really worked for me, too. I started 3 battles, played the card and laid waste.

The result was the game ending in a 3-3 tie after the 5th round. As I mentioned in last week's list, this feels like a win for the Americans. I feel like the game is not quite balanced, and that the Canadian Axis of Evil has a pretty decent advantage. They have 3 players to the US' 2, so they get more turns, more movement and can play more cards. The US gets more troops per faction, but that doesn't quite balance it out. The other issue with more turns is it's more likely that they'll get 2 or 3 turns in a row, and 3 (or more) turns in a row is a real bitch - particularly at the end of a round.

All that aside, I still really enjoy the game. I don't mind playing the side that has a disadvantage. A US win feels like a Human win in Battlestar Galactica - very satisfying.

Tribune: Primus Inter Pares x 1

My first 4-player game of this, and the first play for everyone else at the table. The game went over very, very well - we played one of the short 4-player games because it was coming to the end of the night.

For the uninitiated, Tribune is a worker placement game that revolves around placing workers on the board to claim cards, and those cards are used to vie for control of different factions (Senators, Gladiators, Vestal Virgins, etc). Each faction grants you a goodie when you first take it over, and a goodie for whoever controls it at the end of each round.

The victory conditions vary depending on which card the players decide on at the beginning. Each player is given a shopping list with, say, 6 items on it. When a player has collected 5 of those items, he announces it and the game ends after that round. If only 1 player has fulfilled their shopping list, that player wins. If multiple players have done so, those players tally up their various stuffs and the game is determined by points - there is a scoring chart. Oh, and everyone's shopping lists are identical.

We fell into the habit pretty quickly of, at the end of each round, going around the table and each player announcing how many things on the shopping list they have. The game has some fun competition over the various actions on the board, and a lot of managing your cards and money, knowing when you need to make a run at a particular faction and how long you want to hang onto it, etc.

It took us about an hour to play, and everyone was enthusiastic to play it again - hopefully on Wednesday.



This week I'll be hopefully gaming on Wednesday night. My birthday is Sunday, so if I don't have to work I may try to have people over for some gaming then as well.

I (like Jon) have 2 games up in the current Math trade, the results should be available later this morning.
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9. Board Game: About Nothing [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Ben Draper
United States
Seattle
Washington
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Games played

None
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10. Board Game: Rolling Stock [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:3315]
Dave Peters
United States
Belmont
California
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Powers:Coleridge:Milton: Faith...must be, if anything, a clear-eyed recognition of the patterns and tendencies, to be found in every piece of the world's fabric, which are the lineaments of God.
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That's Tim Powers' fictional Samuel Coleridge "quoting" John Milton in _The Anubis Gates_.
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Scorecard for the Week/Month/Year as of 12Jan2013:

6/12/12 plays of 5/10/10 total games, with 0/2/2 expansions employed.
Plays with 12/13/13 distinct opponents.

0/1/1 games acquired (plus 0/0/0 expansions.)
1/1/1 games ordered - Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar, (plus 1/1/1 expansions - Power Grid: Northern Europe/United Kingdom & Ireland.)
Orders for 12 games and 3 expansions still outstanding.

With Paul from the Wednesday Night gang:
1x _7.7_ We the People New! - Much like the feeling of Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage, but a bit shorter, simpler (and, sadly, a bit less clear. Here the territorial borders are hard to see, and the color coding is obscured by the control markers.) Still, the game was engaging and quite delightful. I'd be very happy to play again.
1x _8_ Rolling Stock - Again, the game isn't supposed to "work" with 2; but the mechanics are sound, so we ran through a (complete, Training) game as a learning experience. I'm particularly amused at how bad my intuitions of "value" are in this game: when I stop to calculate things, I discover that my gut feelings are incorrect.
As an aside, if any of you have tried to create a copy on printerstudio.com I'd be delighted to hear if the README (in the archive of card images on rabenste.in) helped (or, indeed, if I could be of any further assistance.)

With family:
2x _7.7_ Big Boggle - Between the two sessions, each member of my family was playing. Son #1 and I managed the moral victory in the first game (our combined score was greater than the solo score achieved by my lovely wife.) While the two youngsters and I didn't do so well in the second game.
1x _5_ Express 01 New! - It's a funky weird thing. While I think this has the potential to work slightly better, my first reaction was that it reminded me of Irondale (and, to a slightly lesser degree, of Fealty): it's a cool-in-concept cardgame that suffers dramatically from volatile state changes and lack of clarity in presentation. I suspect this would be more pleasant in a machine-assisted environment (where questions of momentary feasability and potentialities could be easily and trivially calculated.) But without that information (and, short of a massive bunch of rote work, one is typically without that information) I think the game is distinctly less interesting than it could be.

With the back-on-Fridays-for-2013 folk:
1x _6.3_ Mermaid Rain New! - Cute theme; play interesting, but possibly flawed by the randomness of blind pickups.
Let me back up: In this game, one is collecting five different kinds of treasures. The first of each treasure acquired protects one from a -5VP penalty, while each treasure past the first is compared with the holdings of one's opponents. To be the only player with a second treasure of one type provides a huge collection of points - but the difficulty is that some treasures are collected "hidden"; so one can't see how things might play out. In the end, the entire game is a kind of blind bid of collections: with all the randomness in final execution that implies.

Owned-and-unplayed: 16 (+0/-1) Yes! We the People was played. It's quite lovely (even though, as a foreigner, the American Revolution theme isn't particularly compelling.)

Outlook for the week: A perhaps vain hope that we have more than 2 on Wednesday; gaining momentum on Friday Noons (we might have two simultaneous games this coming week!); and GameDay is this coming Saturday: I'll try to attend. I didn't manage a game each day last week, though: so that's not a mark to try to retain any more.
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11. Board Game: Innovation [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:279]
Judit Szepessy
Canada
London
Canada
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Innovation x 7
Hanabi x1


Innovation
was two games with my younger son, one with my friend and the rest online. Thanks to Bryan advice, I do not seem to be kicked out from the online game anymore. Innovation continues to be a tense and exciting brain burner, to me it is more of a brain burner than GTR. I have make more use of tucking and splaying.

Hanabi was a pleasant two player affair with my friend. This was the first time for her to play the game, and we did quite well, scoring 20. I wish we had more time to play another game.

I started another online game of 1989 with Ted. The game plays faster now, we finished two rounds and had two Power Struggles in Poland and Hungary. The outlook is not very bright for the Democrats, that is me. We will see, I might be able to change the course/curse of events.

Life is busy and I am not sure how much gaming we will be able to fit in. I played Glen More today, that's all.
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12. Board Game: Pax Porfiriana [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:378]
Daniel Kenel
United States
New London
Iowa
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Games Played:
Lords of Scotland x3
Love Letter x4
Elements x4
Coup x2
Biblios x2
Condottiere x1
China x1
Metropolys x1
San Marco x1
Pax Porfiriana x1
Terra Mystica x1
Brass: Lancashire x1

Week in Review:

Lords of Scotland

I’m keeping a GL on my list of unplayed games and this was one of them. Tori and I dusted it off for a best-of-three match one evening after work. My quick notes after we played:

Plays quick and is decent enough to keep around the collection. Allows for some clever play and hand management but certainly will not break into the upper tier of our favorite 2-player games.

Love Letter

Got in a few more games with Tori and my oldest daughter. We took the suggestion to only play to 2 tokens of affection for the win and enjoyed it a lot more as it doesn’t feel like it overstays its welcome.

Khmer

Tori joined me for another new title. Tom has already described this game so I don’t think I need to cover the same ground. Tori beat me in 3 out of 4 games. She just owned me and obviously the game clicked for her in a way it hasn’t yet for me.

At this point I’m not really sure what to think of this little game. It’s so simple and elegant. I’m not sure if it is a brilliant game that has yet to click for me or if I’m understanding all it has to offer and just feel like it’s decent but not great game.

Biblios

A long-time favorite that Tori was eager to play after a lengthy absence. I got a bit of revenge from our Khmer games earlier in the week and quickly won both games. I have the old Scripts and Scribes version and just love the look of it. Always a favorite and it holds a special place as a couples game with Tori. Kurt I can’t help but think you might like this one.

Coup

Got in a couple of 6-player games at the Iowa City game day. This one is failing to impress me. For some reason, even after a few games, I’m having trouble internalizing the roles and what they do. I don’t expect the game to shine unless everyone at the table has done so. Having to keep reading your cards and the player aid is just a distraction from cracking open the real game.

Condottiere

I was thrilled to get in a 6-player game of this old favorite. A very enjoyable session that saw multiple people with a legit chance to win and some rather delightful, tension filled moments. I hope we get it played again soon.

China

We played a quick 4-player game with all experienced players. It continues to be a favorite 20-25 minute filler with a bit of meat to it.

Metropolys

A 3-player game to start off game day at Iowa City. Joel played a very nice game and pulled off a big win. His ending of the game was a complete surprise to me. I just loved it despite being poised to make a huge run and likely win the game.

I recently managed to acquire the 4 expansion cards for this game and will be curious to try them out the next time we play. Metropolys has a loyal group of local fans and I hope they offer a nice change for everyone.

San Marco

A game that I’ve long wanted to try out but it seems like every time it hits the table at a game day that I’m in another game. It was a 4-player game with the 3 other players having several plays under their belt.

I really like the “I cut, you choose” mechanic, which is the focus of this game. I’m not certain how I feel about the random flipping of turn order and the way scoring happens in the game. I ended up being a bit less impressed than what I anticipated. I’d certainly like the chance to play it again and cement some thoughts on the game.

Terra Mystica

This was the big title that we had planned in advance to play. A 4-player game that had all rookie players. As a result we got off to a very slow start as there are lots of different things to cover in this one. Nothing complicated at all, just a lot of different stuff going on.

I understand the hype this one is getting but it failed to hook me like it has so many of my geekbuddies. I enjoyed the session and see how it has a ton of replay value in the game but it didn’t keep me thinking about it much after we finished really. My buddy Joel really summed it up very nicely in his comments.

"Only one play in, Terra Mystica feels like a middle-weight Euros pushed to the extreme. This sounds like it might be a great thing, and I think it some ways it is. However, I wonder if it's enough to compete with the heavy-weight economic games that have more compelling player interaction. Many games that have fairly one-dimensional player interaction feel like you spend some time creating a grocery list of stuff to do/buy in the beginning of the game and then the rest of the game is just about doing the work of proceeding down that list with minor adjustments when the store is out of what you wanted. If Terra mystica can't be played fairly consistently in under two hours with 4, the actual more boring part of the game (the execution of your list) will begin to eclipse the more interesting part (the creation of your list). To be really enjoyable, thought, I think it'll need to clock closer to 1.5 hours. This could go up a little, but could also drop a point to where I won't actively recommend playing it."


Pax Porfiriana

After an 11-hour game day, Joel and I decided it would be a good idea to run to his house for a late night game of Pax Porfiriana. Tom was on the phone with me and offered his full support for this plan.

Now this is a game that grabs me and has me thinking about it long after a session has ended. I love how a story develops and how wide open the game is to explore. I’m in love.

This session ended rather abruptly after just the 1st topple. I got lucky and made a mad grab for an outrage win that worked out. Joel had a huge economy cranking but no VP. If my quick grab for the win had failed I was likely doomed.


Brass

An online game with Tom, Martin and Matt. I was taken to school in a big way in this one. I might need to head back to the shallow end of the pool for a while before I can take my Brass floaties off again. modest
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13. Board Game: CO₂ [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:554]
Albatros
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Games Played

_8_ First Train to Nuremberg x4 New to Me
_7_ Ascension: Storm of Souls x1
_8_ CO₂ x1
_7_ Peloponnes x1


Expansions Used

_5_ Ascension: Immortal Heroes x1


The Week in Review

S and I spent the first half of last week playing First Train to Nuremberg and nothing else. Like a number of medium-weighted Martin Wallace designs, it works for us, though I am a bit concerned about replayability with just two. However, I think it is a game that we could play with L&C (based on the success we had with Snowdonia a few weeks back).

Before I move on, I just want to quote Ben (from his comment on the game).

chally wrote:
...the game forces you to record "profit" only to later convert them to VP instead of just taking these VP at the same time you take other VP. The only reason that the two-step process employed by the game isn't entirely superfluous is the arbitrary +5 and -13 caps. So the game forces you to do some extra bookkeeping just so it can create artificial constraints that don't do anything except make players think about how to efficiently navigate the artifice. That's the sort of thing I hate in games (FELD!! :arrgh: ), so I am hoping to find some function for the constraints.

I'm not sure what the function of the +5/-13 constraint beyond maybe capping a runaway leader's VP or stopping a free-fall, but I actually like having to work within it. Does that mean, I should run out and buy a bunch more Feld games? I don't know. While there's something very freeing about playing a game with no constraints, an open sandbox, there are other times that I like some constraints, some boundaries to have to navigate efficiently.

Which gets me to the three player game of CO₂ that P, L and I played yesterday afternoon.

This game begins with only a few constraints and most are pretty easily dealt with so the sandbox is pretty wide and open. Expertise is the biggest limiter in the early game as to which green projects you can construct, but after a decade or two, it's no longer an option. In fact, the biggest constraint (and opportunity) soon becomes the other players as every project is a three-stage affair and anyone can do any part of it. Often your action leads directly to another player's benefit and vice versa. It becomes quite brain numbing so much so that I find myself blanking out on something as simple as seeing if I've built projects that match one of the ten sets of projects on the bonus UN cards. I mean, it's a moronic set collection mechanic - match (usually) three symbols on the card with three symbols on your projects scattered around the board. A six year old could do it better than me.

The other thing that bothers me about CO₂ is that it's got a lot of little things going on with the rules. The player cards are really helpful in this regard, but do I ever look at them when I'm playing? No.

After yesterday's game, which was mine to loose in the last decade and I did (P won 107 to my 103 to L's 90-something), S asked somewhat guiltily if she'd ruined the game for me. But the fact is, she'd lost her patience with the fiddly rules before I did. I still want to like Vital Lacerda's CO₂ and I think I can IF THE OTHER PLAYERS ROUND THE TABLE KNOW THE GAME AT LEAST AS WELL AS I SO SOMEONE CAN REMIND ME OF THE RULES AND I DON'T HAVE TO EXPEND SO MUCH EFFORT ON REMINDING THEM OF ALL THE RULES.

Peloponnes continues to amuse S and I. My main gripe about the game is that it plays too quickly and it feels like my evening game with S is over before it's begun (like Carcassonne).

Last night, I removed all the cards from the Ascension: Return of the Fallen expansion from Ascension: Storm of Souls deck and then added all the Immortal Heroes cards into the Storm of Souls deck. S won 70-something to 50-something.

When we cleaned up, I noted that we only drew seven of the Soul Gem cards during the entire game. As I've mentioned, I don't like these cards because they add even more randomness to what I feel is already a chaotic enough game. I've even contemplated pulling every card that calls for a Soul Gem to be drawn out of the deck and mixing the Ascension: Return of the Fallen back in. But I'll play it a few more times first.


The Week Ahead
I have Suburbia and Sentinels of the Multiverse on order, but I doubt they'll be here before next week (as they haven't shipped). I'd still like to get The Great Zimbabwe played as a three-player (or more) and if I can convince P to come over this week, that will be the game I suggest.
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14. Board Game: Magic: The Gathering [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:154] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
Max Maloney
United States
Portland
Oregon
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"If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason." -Jack Handey
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Games Played

.10! Hanabi 3
_9_ Magic: The Gathering 6
_8_ Letters from Whitechapel 1

Week in Review

I almost didn't game this week, but I ended up getting a little bit in at the end of the weekend.

Part way through our Hanabi session, we realized we were missing a clue chip. I don't know how long I've been playing with only 7 clue chips or how much harder it makes things. Has it been 2 games? 10?

I have been working a lot on my Magic cube and I got a chance to test it with three other people on Saturdays. More feedback was obtained; more changes were made. I like how it's shaping up.
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15. Board Game: Mage Knight Board Game [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:20]
Nicolai Broen Thorning
Denmark
Ebeltoft
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Games Played Week 2:
1x _7.8_ Merkator
Monday kicked off the week for us with a game of trading. I enjoy this game as a quick 30 minute affair that gets my brain working but doesn't fry it in any way.

Looking up my rating, it might be a tad high, but we will see about that going forward - if ever I decide to re-evaluate my ratings and add some comments.

1x _7.5_ Kingdom Builder
Just the one game to round out the evening. I got locked into a hole early on. Still trying to get a feel for the gameplay and how best to utilize the cards and bonuses. It has potential.

1x _6.5_ Numbers League: Adventures in Addiplication
Tuesday I asked the kids if they wanted to do some math - they roared NO! Ok, I just thought we could play Numbers League - YES!

M. selected the bad guys and they were tough all requiring multiplication, which is still tough for them so we didn't finish it but called it short. Still, always great to get the kids to do math for fun.

1x _7.7_ Mondo
Thursday E. has a gymnastics class and in-between the rest of us played Mondo. I really enjoy this game, the puzzle aspect and the race against the clock just makes it click for me. Unfortunately the kids are not too fond of it, though M. agreed to play along. Shame really, but I think the puzzle aspect along with the spatial throws them off.

1x _8.5_ High Frontier Colonization (tentative rating)
Friday we began a playtest of this beast, which we finished on Saturday morning. I do LOVE my wife for letting me subject her to things like this.

There is a huge potential for FUN in this game and I can't wait to see how it all turns out. I am reluctant though on the time aspect as it seems to increase it quite a bit. Hopefully familiarity with the rules and modules will alleviate this.

1x _8.0 _ Mage Knight Board Game (tentative rating)
M. has wanted to experience this game for a long time, but given the amount of text on the cards and the somewhat complex nature of the game mechanics we have put it off. Saturday we sat down to play - boys agains girls.

E. quickly lost interest and asked if she could play Minecraft instead. M. soldiered on a bit longer, then accepted that it might be a few years before he can play too, even if we tried to involve them in the process of deciding what to do with the cards at hand and the board opportunities. He too sat down to play Minecraft and so V. and I battled it out instead.

Once again it was just the intro scenario, which we completed in less than 90 minutes. I think we are ready for bigger fare, but the games are many and the opportunities rare for such big games.

2x _8.4 _ Innovation: Echoes of the Past (rating for Innovation)
Sunday we had a double-header of Innovation with the expansion.

I have felt that some of the new cards are more powerful than the base cards, though perhaps that is just inexperience. Our first game was over quick with V. racing off into the sunset with all the points and advancing like there was no tomorrow.

The second game was more close fought. She had the early advantage. I clawed my way back only for her to claim a few special achievements at the end, when tied 5-5 as she reached Era 10 and I was only at 8.

My mind was fried afterwards and I had the same feeling I had a little over a year ago about the base game. We will persevere and thanks to Martin above I have now realized that we set the game up wrong. As I went back and read the forums I realized I already knew that, it has just slipped my mind. Certainly it will make it easier to get going.

The Week Ahead:
Very little gaming I expect.

V. is busy with school. I have an interview Wednesday. Movie alone today and with V. on Thursday. The weekend is booked with V. working Saturday and serving at a friends baptism on Sunday.

I do expect though that we will sit down Friday evening and play a game or two - most likely Innovation or Kingdom Builder though I am quietly hoping for another shot at High Frontier Colonization.
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16. Board Game: Pax Porfiriana [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:378]
Tom Shields
United States
Tacoma
Washington
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Pax Porfiriana x1
Brass x1
Locomotive Werks x1 (learning solo, full game)
Neos x12
Bios: Megafauna (on the table, rule reading)

I'm working through a mashup of Pax and Bios: Megafauna, whereas the combo play of the Catholic Church from the former and Tripod Stance from the latter solves and clarifies the trinity doctrine. And the short-in-stature Poncho Villa's charisma with women (a girlfriend in every town) is explored when one plays the Anteater Tongue mutation card from Bios to the Tereas Caranza card from Pax's cientifico faction, by which her 'Loyalty' prestige point is converted to 'Revolution' for a potential sudden Diaz topple.

This is what is meant by 'historical dialectic' in gaming.

Neos was salve for THAT football game, burying it in cobwebs of pastel 12 card melds such that it is now joined in my memory with the color 'peach.'

Brass with Martin, DJ, and Matt was profane.

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17. Board Game: Titan [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:806]
"L'état, c'est moi."
Canada
Vancouver
BC
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This is the week that was:
Dixit 1
Levée en Masse 1
San Juan 1
Scrabble 1

A light week, but at least I managed to get some gaming in! Whew!

I managed to get my best score ever in Levée en Masse - clearly the odds were ever in my favour - and I also had tremendous success in San Juan.

Now I hope that this week is a little more productive. I have a stack of reviews I want to write (and have been meaning to write) and I'm hoping to get at least one, and ideally two out this week. However, given the decline in popularity of the written review, I should probably just cave and get a video camera.

I picked Titan as this week's representative game because I just discovered it's available for iPad and have played over 40 games already in the past few days. It's a stark reminder both of how fun the game is while simultaneously entrenching in my the idea that I never want to play it on a real board again. Classic AT game with player elimination, lots of bits, lots of dice, awesome theme, and hours of watching people get knocked off one by one...
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18. Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:12]
Mark Johnson
Canada
St.John's
Newfoundland
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“Brothers, oh brothers, my days here are done, the Dornishman’s taken my life, But what does it matter, for all men must die, and I’ve tasted the Dornishman’s wife!”
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Ascension + Expansions (81)
Penny Arcade: The Game - Gamers vs. Evil (6)
The Castles of Burgundy (3)
Escape: The Curse of the Temple (1)

---

Sorry for the late entry!

A very light week of gaming for this time period. Mostly iOS gaming.

Ascension is still the iOS game of choice. While I like Penny Arcade it feels a little stale already. I think I'll still play it on occasion but I really feel like it needs the Rumble in Ryleh expansion already. I wonder when Immortal Heroes will drop on iOS. It's not a big deal for me however as the Soul Gem mechanism is a bust for me. I dislike it so much that it actually makes me consider whether I want to continue investing into Ascension, or just leave my collection as it currently is.

I have been playing a fair bit of Castles of Burgundy of late. I have both the extra boards (though we don't use the new placement rules) and the extra tiles. It's a decent 2 player board game experience. Since 90%+ of my two player gaming is card gaming I consider having a 2 player board game experience to be a good thing. I don't think the boards are completely balanced but I would rather have variety with some imbalance than the same board every time. I'm a little bothered that despite scores usually ranging from 170 - 210ish that most of the time the game is extremely close. Two times my opponent and I were within 5 points of one another. If scores were this high, I would prefer a bit more disparity in scores. I'm sure this will continue to see play throughout the year.

Another lackluster play of Escape, but again it was a two player game. I only played it again with 2 players because I wanted to see how much a particular friend would enjoy it. They didn't. Thankfully, even if Escape is lackluster it's only 10 minutes.

---

In Other News...

Even though it's only the 18th of January, I'm surprised I haven't bought any new games yet. I'm really considering backing BattleCON: Devastation of Indines + the Strikers expansion on kickstarter but shipping makes it really expensive ($80). I'm trying to convince myself not to. That said it's a card game with a fighting game feel (ala Yomi). Unliike Yomi, it has no randomness. It's also been getting a lot of good buzz. Yomi didn't work for me so I'm not sure if this would or not. I only have a few more days to decide.

The Mage Knight Board Game: The Lost Legion Expansion expansion arrived in the mail yesterday. it's all sorted away in the base game box. I really want to get back into playing Mage Knight soon. I'm going to start playing some solo games to get familiar with the rules once again. Then I think I'm going mostly going to play this as an involved 2 player coop. I really like the idea of the Volkare scenarios rather than just Cities. The fact that there are new coop Skills is also pretty awesome. I think the most appealing thing about coop for me in Mage Knight would be the fact that when you're puzzling out your turn you can get a friends help which should reduce the downtime or at least make it less painful.

I think I will have a lot more to chat about next week. I've already played a new game this week and also expect to play another new one or two today as I'm getting together with people to play games. I have to figure out very soon which new game of my collection I would like to play. I'm leaning towards Taj Mahal or Imperial 2030. With another new game played today, if it doesn't work out, I think I will have enough games to start a new auction.

I'm having a hard time figuring out what I want to do in my free time. Part of me wants to dig in deep to Netrunner on OCTGN. That would make me want to continue to collect Netrunner which would be kind of expensive from month-to-month. I probably shouldn't do this. I'm leaning towards focusing on some Mage Knight solo play since this won't cost me anything over the course of the year. Finally, I'm trying to get some of my video game collection played. I started with Final Fantasy Dimensions. I logged like 14 hours and feel like I should see it to completion, but I'm not very engaged at all. It's an old-school FF but the story seems less interesting than IV or VI but maybe I'm just looking at the past through rose colored glasses and I wouldn't find it as engaging these days either.
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