GCL Mafia 105: Sport!
Chris Ferejohn
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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 14-20, 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: Scene It? Sports powered by ESPN [Average Rating:5.14 Overall Rank:14205]
Chris Ferejohn
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Mountain View
California
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Let's talk sports.

Do you follow any professional sports? Which ones? What are your favorite teams? How did you get into the sports that you follow? What makes your interest in those sports you follow increase and decrease?

If you couldn't care less about sports, do you have an idea why? Or perhaps just a rambling screed about why sports are a giant unfathomable waste of time?
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2. Board Game: Magical Athlete [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:2418]
Chris Ferejohn
United States
Mountain View
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Are there any sports that you've seen in passing (maybe in the Olympics, maybe on ESPN 2 during a bout of insomnia) that you thought were particularly fascinating/hilarious/unfathomable but that you never really got into watching?

Alternately (or in addition) - describe an imaginary sport that you would actually sit down and watch, if only out of curiosity.
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3. Board Game: High School Drama: Varsity Edition [Average Rating:5.98 Overall Rank:11908]
Chris Ferejohn
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What sports do you play (or did you used to play) personally? Did you play in an organized league (such as in school?). Were you any good? Did you ever have a moment of triumph in a game that you still remember?
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4. Board Game: Sports Franchise [Average Rating:6.52 Unranked]
Chris Ferejohn
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What are your favorite sports-themed board games? Are there any sports for which you wish a game (or a better game) existed - what is lacking about any games that currently exist about said sport?
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5. Board Game: Puzzle Strike [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:1390]
Philip Newman
United States
Richardson
Texas
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Weekly Plays:

Dominion - 27 (all isotropic)
Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization - 2 (boardgaming-online with Grace/James and Travis/James/Chris F)

I should have some actual face-to-face plays coming this week. This past weekend's DGM conflicted with the MIT Mystery Hunt, which I participate in remotely (along with several other GLers on a 100+ member team). It ended up being the longest hunt on record, and I felt pretty useless for most of it (though whether that's because I was tired or distracted or the puzzles just weren't well clued, I don't know).

After getting knocked out of the main tournament, I moved to the losers bracket I'm running, and because of the way we had it set up (adding whoever wants to join each round and reseeding), I got paired with the best remaining seed, ranked 4 on isotropic when we played...

mith 4-1 Rabid

(I also won yesterday in a brutal 8-game series, and we're down to the final four. I'll wait and talk about those on the next list.)

Other games of note:

mith 3-12 redwings 1340 - 4 plays of Saboteur on some turns, but if you can't do it consistently it's just not good enough. Still, had to be tried...

mith 3-resigned mgallop - An extreme example of how absurd shuffle luck can get. From the same Silver/Silver opening, I get $5 twice after the first shuffle and the second (Witch/Inn both times), while both of his Silvers hide at the bottom of the deck the first time around.
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6. Board Game: Myrmes [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:407]
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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New
Myrmes

Old
Nuns on the Run w/ Monk Expansion

Uneventful week for me. We started our 4-player Myrmes game online, but I thought it was moving slowly so I started up a 2-player game with somebody. I learned additional rules while playing. One that cost me 12 points. Oops, oh well. I still managed to win 75-73. I really love this game and it's escalating high on my wish list. I think I'll try to pick it up soon.

I also played a Nuns on the Run PBF with the Monk expansion. Due to my key/wish location, and where the monk starts, I decided to give up getting caught right away for getting a key right away. Otherwise, I would've been running around for several turns before I could even have an opportunity for the key, and I'd still be risking capture even then! This ultimately got me caught 3 times, though. The third time I was on the same space as another novice, so that was 4 of 5 captures. A couple of turns later, another novice managed to win before the nuns could. I would've felt bad if I was that 5th capture as well!


In other news, I've participated in the two most recent math trades. I picked up:
Warrior Knights: Crown and Glory - expansion I should've jumped on before when I had the chance.
Glory to Rome - from Grace who's getting the Black Box Edition
Merchants of the Middle Ages - I played Die Handler and loved it
Rise! - I feel a little bad about this. The only thing I got in the last math trade, and apparently Jennifer got it for me for Valentine's Day.

And I might be picking up a copy of Puzzle Strike 2nd Edition with the Upgrade Pack.

Also, my Magic: the Gathering collection is down from 6k+ cards to 16 cards. I'm pleased with myself, but this also means I might not be participating in Math Trades soon. At least, not until I go through and start thinning out my collection.
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7. Board Game: Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:63] [Average Rating:7.81 Unranked]
 
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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ZÈRTZ 6
Medici 2
Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game* 2
Belfort 1
A Game of Thrones: The Card Game* 1
Glory to Rome 1
Lost Cities 1
Mice and Mystics* 1
Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 3 - The Heart of Africa 1

I'm putting plays from Monday on here BECAUSE I CAN (and because Matt and I had a mini game day on Monday that I feel is just easier to talk about now).

Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game was fun, but took us awhile as we learned the game and were just doing the dogfighting, not the missions. That said, I am a terrible pilot. TERRIBLE. I lost in the first play as the tie fighters and in the second play as Luke with the X-Wing. I look forward to trying out the missions and giving our Y-Wing and Advanced Tie Fighter a try too.

AGoT: TCG was good, but I think it would be better with its full compliment of players. Also, I give the game some credit for feeling fairly thematic.

Mice and Mystics was good, and I enjoyed the story, but I don't feel the need to own it. Matt and I won the first chapter fairly easily. I'd be interested in doing a campaign, going through the storybook and keeping the same character(s), but again, no need to own it.

Also, ZÈRTZ isn't technically new to me, as I had played it once before I got this copy from the math trade, but I want to mention how horrible I am at this game too.

Incoming acquisitions from the math trade:
Walnut Grove
Clippers
Robber Knights
$40 in Amazon gift certificates

What was dumped:
Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game
Quarriors! + Quarriors! Rise of the Demons
Leaping Lemmings (Finally! Took me forever to get this traded.)
D-Day Dice messenger bag
A bunch of old DragonLance books
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8. Board Game: Olympos: Oikoumene [Average Rating:7.38 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.38 Unranked]
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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New Games

Olympos: Oikoumene (with Olympos: Expansionnism) x1

Old Games

Escape: The Curse of the Temple x1
Innovation x1
Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age x1
Fury of Dracula (second edition) x1
Cambria x1
Elder Sign x1
Olympos x1
The Resistance: Avalon x2

I'd been meaning to get Olympos to the table with the expansion, Oikoumene for ages now. Though I forgot the rule that conquered people get an extra hourglass token as compensation (D'oh!), we had a great time with 4p and the expansion development tiles added some interesting changes. I snagged the "trading" dev early on (all my resource cubes counted as wilds) which allowed for some early tile grabs, but once again going all out for star acquisition proved to be a poor idea as I got bludgeoned militarily which set me back a few turns. I ended up finishing 3rd, which wasn't terrible, but I feel like I've played the game enough to have known better.

Currently, my thoughts on Olympos are much like my thoughts on Through the Ages: that it's primarily an engine/tableau building game (albeit on a much lighter scale than TtA) where military is a necessary annoyance that requires your attention so you don't get the cogs kicked out of your machine. Higher player counts easily foster the domino effect where one player attacks another opportunistically, which screws up their plans, causing an attack on a third player, which screws up *their* plans...Forgetting how easy it is to punch players in the VP-maker can be an invitation to lamentations (as Travis has no doubt found out in our online game of TtA, sorry buddy!).

While my initial reaction was distaste for higher player counts (where players are fighting it out for territories from the word "go" and the emphasis seemed to be more on face-punching and less on civ-building), I've come to see that it's just another facet of the game to be accounted for along with the resource-management and special-power acquisition side of things, much like spending time to keep your military strength up in TtA is a necessity. I'm still a big fan of Olympos in all it's incarnations and thinks it's amazingly underrated for what it is.
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9. Board Game: 1817 [Average Rating:8.63 Overall Rank:2038]
Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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2x 18EU
1x 1817
1x 18NY
1x 18Ardennes
1x 1846: The Race for the Midwest
1x 18MEX
1x Terra Mystica
1x Innovation

I got to go the Chattanooga Rail Gaming Challenge this past weekend and it was a blast! I have to admit to being a little awed playing with some of these people. Needless to say, I not only lost all but one game, I generally came in last regardless of the player count. My one win was a 3-player late game of 18MEX (we started at 10:30 and ended around 3:30). Everyone was very friendly and helpful. I think my favorite part of the con was getting to play all of the new games, including one prototype. I was taught 1817 by the two designers and 18NY (the prototype) by the designer as well.

1817 was a great game and not as difficult as I had been afraid of. There is short selling , loans, and the ability to change companies from 2-share to 5-share to 10-share companies; however, other than that, it's a fairly straightforward game with a definite end (the first 8 train sale causes an endgame and one train disappears every round). Luckily, I played with a fairly conservative crowd, so there was very little short selling (in fact, I think my company was the only one that was shorted and all but one share was closed one turn later). I had pre-ordered it before the Con and John brought it (along with '46 and '41) and I'm glad I've got a copy. My only concern is how well it will play with 3. Craig (one of the designers) says that it plays fine with 4 but it is a very different game since players have much more control over the game then they do in a 5 - 7 player game.

18NY was the other highlight for me and one that I can't wait to get. I had a chance to play 18EU just before the Con and then again during the Con and I think 18NY takes its best features and improves on most of them. Both games have minors companies but 18NY has privates as well which I like. The only plus for me with 18EU is the dutch auction option which makes for even more options and the much larger map. 18NY has a smaller map, but it is more expensive with every tile costing something like 1846 and most tiles hacing some landscape feature on them. To make up for this, there are coal mines at off board positions and little +1 bumps scattered throughout to encourage players to build track in such a way as to pick them up. Overall, I felt the game played very well and I can't wait to pick up a copy when it comes out. It's possible it will replace 18EU as my current favorite 18XX.

I played 18Ardennes as well (which is another game very similar to 18EU) and had a bad time at it. I got behind quickly, building off in a corner without any help and was not only completely out of it but without anyone that I could see to get back into it. As a result, I sat bored without anything to do for 3 - 4 hours. In hindsight, I should have just figured out a way to bankrupt myself and leave the game.

I got to play 1846 for the first time as well and that is another little gem. I can now see why it is many people's favorites and while I don't think it will ever be mine, I am glad that I got a copy of it and look forward to many plays of it. 18MEX was another game that I thought was fine but nothing special. It felt like an 1830 clone without anything new to it. 1846 at least had the variable major and minor companies which should provide a good amount of replayability.

Lastly, I was disappointed with 18Ruhr. It was not a bad game, but the train rush was ridiculous. In 18Ruhr, there are coal and steel companies as well as rail companies and they operate via capital improvements that are acquired by purchasing train cards. The result is a train rush like nothing I'd ever seen (to be fair, we played a 5 player game without adding in the optional trains). If I were to play it again, I'd ignore the steel and coal companies in favor of the rail companies. Again, not a bad game, but I'd rather play something else.
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