GCLMafia 104: Looking for needles
Jimmy Okolica
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Washington Township
Ohio
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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 7-13, 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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1. Board Game: Where's Waldo? Waldo Watcher Card Game [Average Rating:4.43 Unranked]
Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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So, the conventional wisdom is that games in the top 100 are the best. However, we all have our favorites that buck that trend.

What's your favorite rated between 201 and 500 and why?
What about between 501 and 1000?
between 1000 and 2000?
2000+?

Is there a point below which you just dismiss games (besides just released/pre-released games). If so, is it a rank or a rating?
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2. Board Game: Behind Closed Doors [Average Rating:1.00 Unranked]
Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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There have been several interesting discussions lately on open versus closed games where open games are games where the designer has laid a basic framework but the players fill it in. Closed games are more puzzly. Closed games often have one or more stronger strategies and the challenge to the players is to discover them and then employ them most efficiently.

Which sorts of games do you prefer? What are your favorites in each genre? Why?

Do you find open games to fragile with your game group? What open games would you like to play but find just don't work with your group of players?
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3. Board Game: Geeks: The Convention [Average Rating:4.66 Overall Rank:14589]
Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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so, my last question is a personal one. Last year I went to Gencon and Origins and was underwhelmed. There were lots of great games, but the play space was limited (particularly at Gencon) and the overall feeling was overwhelming. I had played with the idea of going to Essen this year, but on reflection think that it will only be more of the same (except, perhaps, on an even larger scale). So, now I have zeroed in on World Boardgaming Championship in Pennsylvania or BGG.con in Dallas. For those people who have attended both, which do you prefer? Why? Which would you say has better opportunities for gaming? Which feels less crowded/overwhelming?

For those of you who go to conventions, why do you go? What are you looking for at conventions? Do you prefer longer or shorter conventions? Do shorter conventions mean you get to go to more?

For those of you who don't go to conventions, why not? Have you ever considered starting a convention/multi-day gaming event locally?
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4. Board Game: The Wheel of Time Collectible Card Game [Average Rating:5.34 Overall Rank:14796]
Philip Newman
United States
Richardson
Texas
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Weekly Plays:

Dominion - 10 (all isotropic, I think, maybe one goko)
7 Wonders - 1 (play by forum)
Terra Mystica - 1

Light gaming week, as I have transitioned from playing Heavy Rain to reading the last Wheel of Time book. This coming week will probably be about as light, despite DGM on the schedule, because the MIT Mystery Hunt is also this weekend and I will probably be spending most of my time remote-hunting.

Only my second game of Terra Mystica, but another comfortable win. I had the Darklings, which are scary at first as you need Priests to terraform... but then you get some priest production and they're amazing. This game, I tried out burning mana (or whatever it's called) to reduce my pool to a point where I could cycle all of it each round... I don't know that the cycling made much difference (in the long run, it should be about the same, just the difference between small amounts more regularly vs. big amounts less often), but it certainly didn't hurt so the extra tempo from burning was critical in getting up to speed.

Not much Dominion this week, though I'm running an unofficial losers bracket and will be playing another very highly ranked player through that on Sunday. Anyway, not a lot to pick through:

mith 28-24 Gypsy Soul - DoubleJack is fast, winning on turn 12 against a Embassy/Chapel opening (which is also super-fast).

ajbqc 12-36 mith - I've pulled off a KC/Masquerade pin once, but without a discard attack (and might have been fortunate that my opponent resigned at that point, as they still had KC/Masq to hit me back). Here, I wasn't excepting to go this route at all, with all the junk from IGG and Swindler, but Scrying Pool is viable here anyway, and once that engine is drawing Steward trashes all the non-actions very quickly so I'm drawing and playing my whole deck. Then I see Cutpurse, for that added bit of pin - KC/Masquerade on their own "only" reduce the opponent's hand size to two, and leave you vulnerable to their Masquerade hitting something important (though I wasn't worried in this case, as I had enough redundancy by that point). Cutpurse isn't 100% at first, as the opponent may not have coppers in hand - but since you're trashing three non-coppers from their deck per turn, it's not long before the pin is complete. Anyway, once I demonstrated the pin, I didn't bother dragging things out to trash the whole deck, as I can buy out the Provinces in two turns anyway.
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5. Board Game: Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:184]
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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Old:
2x Dragon Dice
The Resistance
Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization

New:
Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game
Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 1 - Team Asia & Legendary Asia w/Ticket to Ride: Alvin & Dexter
Unpublished Prototype


Through the Ages
We played TtA online with cferejohn and Jennifer. This was my second play, and first time playing with aggression and warfare. I made several mistakes because I misunderstood/misremembered a few rules from my first play, and I had no idea how wars/aggression worked initially. But over time, I started doing better. I once attacked Chris with an army of strenght 62 (could've been 65). That would've been great had I used it with War on Culture. I do feel proud of how well I did in the end, and look forward to another game. I managed to get over 200 points, for whatever that is worth.

Ticket to Ride - Team Asia
We played this with Alvin & Dexter. I don't care for Alvin and Dexter, but I actually liked the Team Asia game. It's a new way to play, and where you sit makes a big difference. I was able to set up my partner frequently, so it's no surprise that he ran out of trains quickly and I still had a big pile. We didn't take many bonuses, but we won by a hefty margin.

Civilization: The Board Game
This was new to me, and while we did a few things wrong, we didn't do anything significantly wrong to ruin the game. I was the Chinese, so culture was my obvious path to victory. Though I nearly won on Tech as well. At the end of the game, Jennifer made herself a powerhouse as the Germans, and was close to taking the game, as well as the person who brought and taught the game. She was only a couple techs away from a tech victory, while Jennifer was about to win a major battle for a military victory, and I was a turn away from a culture victory. The host didn't want me to win, because I was "mean," so she flung all of her forces at the fourth army to weaken him to help Jennifer win. Then this fourth player took their turn, marched into the host's capital, and basically won by default because she had used up all of her units in battle.

Unpublished Prototype
My cousin made another board game for GameCrafter's current challenge. Building a board game that has a modular board. Either built randomly or explored as you play. He's even thinking of demoing it in April at a local small game convention. It's kinda fun as a quick, light filler.
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6. Board Game: War of the Ring: Lords of Middle-earth [Average Rating:8.53 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.53 Unranked]
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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"Watch, but do not govern; stop war, but do not wage it; protect, but do not control; and first, survive!" - Cordwainer Smith
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New Games

Farkle x1
10 Days in Africa x2
War of the Ring: Lords of Middle-earth x1

Old Games

Big Points x2
Pickomino x1
The Resistance x1
China x1
San Juan x1
SET x1
Dark Moon x1
War of the Ring (Second Edition) x1
Merchants & Marauders x1

Farkle wasn't bad for a push-your-luck dice game (that's been around for thousands of years in some form or another). The upshot was that I now understand Cosmic Wimpout a heck of a lot better.

10 Days in Africa is good for its weight. It was a bit too luck-based for my taste, but it plays quick and is a fun optimization exercise.

I've written most of my thoughts on War of the Ring: Lords of Middle-earth in the comments below, but it's a damn fine expansion to a damn fine game
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7. Board Game: Star Wars: The Card Game [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:474]
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Unpublished Prototype 2
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game 1
Lords of Vegas 1
Medici* 1
Star Wars: The Card Game* 1
Suburbia 1
Tichu 1
Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 3 - The Heart of Africa 1
Zooloretto Würfelspiel 1

LotR: TCG was not a new play, but it had been nearly a year since I played that I had to relearn practically all of the game again. I ended up not finishing the game. Plus, I was losing horribly and Philip would be ashamed of me. It did come in handy to have as a solo game and I am wanting to try it again.

Medici did not last 2.5 hours for us. (Sorry, James. Having now played it, I don't know how it possibly could have endured that long. I feel very badly for you having to sit there. I definitely would have choked some bitches.) Despite its absolutely hideous board (I think I have the first edition), it was a nice auction game and not a bad acquisition from a math trade.

Star Wars: TCG was a good 2-player card game. It had some of the asymmetry that Netrunner has, but not to the same extent. I did like it and threw it into my CoolStuffInc** order.

Zooloretto: TDG was my first time playing with four. I liked it. It's a nice filler.

** Things I'm getting from CSI (once the pre-orders are in):
Star Wars: TCG
Le Havre: Inland Port
Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Myrmes

Latest Math Trade results:
I'm dumping Love Letter, D-Day Dice, and Empires of the Void. I'm getting ZÈRTZ, GtR: Black Box Edition (NIS!), and $40 gift certificate.
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8. Board Game: Ruhrschifffahrt 1769-1890 [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:2190]
Mc Jarvis
United States
Arlington
Virginia
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Blue Moon City 1
El Grande 1
OddVille 1
Outpost 1
Ruhrschifffahrt 1769-1890 1
Web of Power 1

Plays which count towards my pledge are bolded.

Ruhrschifffahrt was a teaching play, and I was pleased that Carrie liked it more than any other game we played that game day. While having many rules, she commented on how it felt much less complicated than other games we've played, such as Container. I think she's right on this mark: the more interaction a game has, the more chaotic it can feel at first blush.

Notably, she hated El Grande due to the chaotic feel of the game. (Hate might be a strong word here.)
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9. Board Game: CO₂ [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:570]
Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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3x CO₂
1x 1889: History of Shikoku Railways
1x 1860: Railways on the Isle of Wight
1x Suburbia
1x Race for the Galaxy

It was a good week of gaming. I had a chance to explore CO2. Most of my comments are on last week's GCL. The short of it is that it is an ok game with 4 players. I'd be happy to play it but I wouldn't ask to play it. I also had a chance to play Suburbia. It was better than I expected. I don't think I need to own it, but it is a good medium-light Civ building game (medium-light by my definition, most others would probably just call it a medium weight game).

While I still enjoy 1860, I'm a little irritated at the opportunity for companies to catch up late in the game. With the opportunity to move up 4 spaces with good routes, stock value for the first 90% of the game is relatively unimportant. That may just mean that I'm discovering another element of 1860 that I need to incorporate in the future.

1889 was a good game, but I suspect my favorite part of it was that my gf asked to play it over any other game and that she then turned around and won! It's a solid game that I am enjoying as a 2 player game. Unfortunately, my gf has decided she's got a winning strategy by focusing on only the western part of the island. I may need to change her mind next game.
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10. Board Game: What's My Word? [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:2884]
Mc Jarvis
United States
Arlington
Virginia
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I'm getting married today. Grace told me I'd be in trouble if I was caught on BGG or gchat afterwards, so here's my post for the day.

What's the word I'm looking for? I'm excited. I'm in love. But mostly, I'm really anxious to say goodbye to family and get this ceremony over with. Disney World, here I come!
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11. Board Game: Android: Netrunner [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:42]
Fabrice Dubois
France
La Garenne Colombes
Hauts de Seine
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_8_Endeavor x1 (FTF at my gaming club)

_8.5_Serenissima x1 (FTF at my gaming club)

10 Myrmes x8 (online)

10 Android: Netrunner x4 (FTF against my buddy
Patrick Jamet
France
Paris
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12. Board Game: Black Vienna [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:2464]
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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I just learned that you can play Black Vienna online!

Anybody interested in a game, GM your email address. I'll need to submit that so we can play. Rules are on the website as well.
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