GCL Meatball Division: Love-Hate Relationships
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Welcome to the Swedish Meatballs' weekly list. We're one of the divisions of BGG's GameChat League. You can access the subscription list here and the wiki page here. Only members are to add items (please add your weekly games played), but civil comments from nonmembers are welcome.

Rotation:

ellephai - Lori, you're up next
johnbandettini - backup, in case Lori's list doesn't turn up
Osirus
ldsdbomber
cymric
fateswanderer
DarrinWilliams
baditude
rarevos
qwerytmartin
Sorp222
lacxox
aaarg_ink
Jugular
bnordeng
Bolger
NateStraight
Patrick Carroll

I'm always overthinking and second guessing. People say that with me, everything is a catch-22 and I have a love-hate relationship with all games. I'm not entirely sure what a love-hate relationship is, but nevertheless that's what this GeekList is ostensibly about. The theme, should you choose to stick to it, is aspects of games and gaming that you have mixed feelings about or are torn over.

At the end of the list, add your games played this week, as usual.
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1. Board Game: Games to Grow On [Average Rating:3.00 Unranked]
p55carroll
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Expanding and Deck Building

How do you really feel about ever-expanding games? Or about games with deck building (or some other such preparation phase)? I know I'm conflating two things here, but somehow expansion and deck building seem to go together. They often show up together anyhow. (Maybe "customizing" is the word I'm looking for, but I'm not just talking about games like M:tG; I'm including games like Arkham Horror with all their optional expansions.)

Love it or hate it? Or do you love it in some games but hate it in others? What makes you feel the way you do about it?

A side discussion of Dominion, a couple GeekLists back, inspired this entry. Here's a chance to repeat yourself or say something new.
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2. Board Game: Free Choice [Average Rating:6.20 Unranked]
p55carroll
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Variety

How much variety in gaming do you want or need? How much is too much? Do you ever get tired of learning new games and wish you could just stick with games you already know? Is your game collection too big or too small? Does your compulsion to buy or try new games ever get in the way of enjoying your tried-and-true favorites? Or do you have the opposite problem, where gaming gets stale and you need something new to spice it up?
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3. Board Game: Lex Complex [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
p55carroll
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Complexity

Complex rules can make a game interesting to learn and play. Then again, you have to face that learning curve and get other players to do it too. Is it often worth it? Or do you sometimes feel simpler games are best? How thick a rule book can you tolerate?
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4. Board Game: Tradition [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
p55carroll
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Traditional Games

Gustav Mahler said, "Tradition is merely an excuse for slovenliness." To some, "traditional" equals "boring." Yet, some traditional board games have survived through many generations, been popular in various cultures, and still have a wide following today. Do you tend to love, hate, or ignore traditional games?
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5. Board Game: Math Magic [Average Rating:6.45 Unranked]
p55carroll
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Mathematics

What about games that require doing the math? Games that call for calculators, games that involve a lot of counting, games that have players doing some kind of analysis that's actually mathematical or borders on being mathematical?

It has been said that all games are essentially math exercises. But some games conceal that fact, while others don't. Do you like one kind of game better than the other? Do math-based games pull you in or push you away?
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6. Board Game: Word Power [Average Rating:4.57 Overall Rank:14569]
p55carroll
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Word Games

What about games that focus on words? Love 'em or hate 'em? Or do you have mixed feelings and find yourself torn?
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7. Board Game: Abstracts [Average Rating:6.35 Unranked]
p55carroll
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Abstract Games

Does the lack of "theme" in a game turn you on or off? Do you feel abstracts are plain, bland, and colorless? Or are they minimalistically beautiful? Do you end up feeling something is missing? Or are you impressed with the stark simplicity and elegance?
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8. Board Game: Diplomacy [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:511]
p55carroll
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Negotiation

What about games where players make deals with each other? Is that a plus or a minus for you? Does it matter to you if it's secret negotiation, as opposed to open trading or deal making?
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9. Board Game: Pachisi [Average Rating:4.46 Overall Rank:15648]
p55carroll
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Roll and Move

Are roll-and-move games something you automatically avoid, or play only with children? Or do you begrudgingly accept Backgammon as a decent roll-and-move game, though the only one? Or do you actually like the mechanism of rolling dice (or spinning a spinner or whatever) and moving your pieces accordingly?
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10. Board Game: Theme Park [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
p55carroll
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Elaborate Theme or Simulation

"Ameritrash" games are known partly for their gaudy themes. Wargames can be detailed, elaborate simulations of battles or campaigns. Do you find such attempts to build a lot of "realism" into a game appealing or disgusting or what? Do you care enough about the Cthulhu mythos to tackle Arkham Horror? Or enough about the Battle of Gettysburg to play Terrible Swift Sword? Or do you think it's cool but not worth the time and effort?
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11. Board Game: All the Winners [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
p55carroll
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Minnesota
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Winning

How can anyone have a love-hate relationship with winning? We all want to win, don't we? Well ...

Bruce Pandolfini gave up tournament Chess because he discovered he didn't like winning. When he won, he saw the agony of defeat on his opponent's face, and he couldn't help but empathize. So, he became a Chess teacher instead. He says that requires opposite skills: To win tournaments, you have to want to kill your opponent; to teach, you have to want to help your opponent.

Anyhow, when winning becomes everything--when the goal becomes so important that all the joy gets sucked out of the process of playing and learning--how much do you like winning then?

But then again, do you really want to just play casually all the time, pulling your punches and not trying hard to win? Or is a game more satisfying when you can play it to the hilt, putting your all into it?
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12. Board Game: Relationship Tightrope [Average Rating:6.19 Overall Rank:3020]
p55carroll
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Minnesota
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Your Love-Hate Relationship

OK, what are you torn over when it comes to games? What game or game-related phenomenon do you have mixed feelings about? What are you attracted to and simultaneously repulsed by?

Bonus question: What game are you most at peace with? I.e., which one do you have the fewest complaints or reservations about? (Maybe this is just another way of asking which is your favorite. But some people have reservations about even their favorite games. One of mine is Backgammon, but I don't love that pieces are confined to a track, or that the game gets lopsided sometimes (making some think it needs a doubling cube), or that it's a gambling game in some circles, etc.)
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13. Board Game: The Rivals for Catan: Age of Enlightenment [Average Rating:7.76 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.76 Unranked]
Seth Brown
United States
North Adams
Massachusetts
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Got a review copy of this recently, which excited me, as I haven't reviewed a board game in too long. Didn't know what to expect, as my last bucket of Catan games to review was decidedly a mixed bag (one bleh, one meh, one good). But so far, Debbie and I are both quite impressed with this expansion. We've played 3 games with it, and I want to get at least 1 more (and possibly 2 more) played before I write up my review. But that will hopefully happen this coming week, and then I'll link you all to it. Debbie really likes it, and that might remain the case even if she didn't keep kicking my butt at it.

Had a game of Barons against a player who hadn't played before. It's actually a pretty cool game that we should play more often. Unfortunately, he ignored our suggestion that he start by playing some land, preferring to pour all his eggs into building a few buildings instead, and I sort of crushed him mercilessly. Which I felt a little bad about.
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14. Board Game: Homesteaders [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:504]
Andrew
Japan
Tokyo
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I played both Hansa Teutonica and Homesteaders this week so I'm pretty happy.

Well, I lost by 2VP in Hansa Teutonica to my nemesis, so I'm not that happy. The game was extremely short due to the bonus markers being vacuumed up by both him and me - I learned my lesson about leaving them to him from last week, unfortunately I got all the bad ones and he got the +action and +upgrade ones, and managed to string a few of them together in the last turn to end it slightly early. He and the newbie did discuss ways to screw me in the mid-game, so I assert a tainted win.

My competitive days of Homesteaders seem to be behind me - I just built whatever, grabbed the Meatpacking Plant and held on for the ride. I actually had negative income in the last 3 rounds and only just managed to win the Charity 6VP tile when one of the newbies dropped out prematurely. I won by 1VP, but I'll need to play the game more to get my mojo back. And I'd probably better study the City tiles too.

I played a bunch of Can't Stop on my phone and was amazed by the amount of strategy in it (to be fair, I originally thought that there was next to nothing).

After a bunch of Stone Age on my phone I decreased my rating for it - it seems a bit too straightforward. Can a game be too simple if you can't win it consistently? I don't need to answer that here because the AI was easy pickings. I found the 4p game really dragged (heck, it was nigh unplayable) due to the glacially slow and redundant animations.

I also played a bunch of Tigris & Euphrates on my phone - it's actually pretty nifty, but I think the AIs are weak.
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15. Board Game: Chinatown [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:365]
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Just the one session at LoB again.

_7_ Chinatown - I enjoyed my second play of this but I do have reservations. The real-time negotiation is fun, but there's something wrong with the overall arc. The decisions get more calculable and less significant as the game goes on.

_9_ Liar's Dice - fun as ever.

_8_ Divinare - a tight 3p game. Well, tight between two of us - the final score was 20-19(me)-3.

_9_ Love Letter - introduced some new people who were mostly keen. John not so much

_9_ Hanabi - an impressive 5p effort reaching 22.

_7_ Kakerlakenpoker Royal - still fun but I am rubbish at it. And Lloyd can spot liars a mile off.
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16. Board Game: Mage Knight Board Game [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:20]
Brad N
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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.N/A. Mage Knight Board Game - 3 Players
I8.5I Troyes - 4 Players
_.8_. Glen More - 4 Players
_.8_. Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers - 2 Players
_.8_. Stone Age - 4 Players
_.8_. Dominion - 2 Players (x2)
I7.5I Louis XIV - 4 Players
I7.5I Pick Picknic - 5 Players
_.7_. Caves & Claws - 2 Players
_.7_. Gulo Gulo - 3 Players
_.7_. Sorry! Sliders - 2 Players
I6.5I FlowerFall - 3 Players
I6.5I Nefarious - 2 Players (x2)
_.5_. RattleSnake - 2 Players
_.4_. Cloud 9 - 2 Players (x1); 4 Players (x1)


A nice week of games along with another very long work week. Now, everything is slowing down to a relatively normal pace and I will be taking some time off of work during the next few weeks...

(1) Mage Knight - I hosted a game night for three and one of the guys showed up with this. It's a game I wasn't sure if I'd like or not, but I felt like I had to try it at least once to see. I can definitely see the quality of the design here and the interesting deck-building and hand management that plays out. It's just not a theme that I'm excited about at this level of detail and I'm realizing that Vlaada's games usually aren't my cup of tea - I'm okay with fiddly and small, hard-to-read symbols, but c'mon man. I'll keep trying some of them, but I'll not be actively seeking them out much.

(2) Troyes, Louis XIV, Glen More - Triple header with three other gamers. This was a perfect period of gaming with three quality gamers who are good guys and fun to game with. And, I really like all three of these games.

(3) Dominion, Nefarious - My younger brother and I split two hands of Dominion (with just Intrigue) and then tried Nefarious two player. I'm liking Nefarious less and less the more I play it and it really isn't meant for two.

(4) Pick Picknic - Lately, I've noticed that I've been adjusting my ratings downward after playing games. I rarely move ratings up anymore. After this play of Pick Picknic with my whole family, I bumped it up to a 7.5. This is an extremely short, simultaneous selection game of second guessing that creates some great situations. I've played it with kids and adults with great success. It lasts 20 minutes and has always brought fun to the table. If you are looking for a family game that spans ages (kids as young as 4 or 5 and adults) then I highly recommend this one. It really works best with 5 or 6 players though.

(5) Cloud 9 - Picked this up in a trade. I'd read that it is push-your-luck without much to go on. That's true. The kids liked the excitement the game brings, but there just isn't much to think about so I doubt this one will stick around very long.
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17. Board Game: Rondo [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:3013]
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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After learning two heavyweight Essen 2012 BGG sweethearts in the past two weeks, this week was about games that last no longer than 30 minutes and are all lightweight.

Wednesday, gaming club:
What a hellish nightmare it was. After 18% of my colleagues were fired in the past two months and some new colleagues arrived I decided it’s time to restart the gaming club (that ended when I went to hospital). But organizing a gaming club for colleagues is harder than organizing it for gamers and wannabe gamers. These people arrive with very different expectations, very different tastes and even in different times so making them all happy is not that easy. For example there is a girl (sorry, a 24-year-old woman) who does not like games with a complexity of more than 5 sentences but even then she wants these games to be fun. Then there is a guy who prefers some meat to his games but can’t learn new rules at all (he even has problems understanding those 5-sentence rules) and he even knows it, but when he wants to open a box of a heavier game and I say it’s not really for him then the woman above looks at me like as if I said “You are stupid”. Then there is his wife who prefers even more meat to her games and is the only person I met face to face who objects playing Dixit (which would have fit the others fine). Then we started to play Vegas and others kept arriving every 15 minute and their arrival was very badly timed so we could not even form a group of more experienced players to play something meatier (but Dixit also could not be played). And even the owner of Ticket to Ride and Dominion didn’t want to play his own games…
So what did we play (at 3 tables at the peak) in the end?
Vegas 3x – as everyone enjoys this one. I got a bit bored by the end (especially as these were 5-player games and everyone insisted we should play 5-round games) but I just could not participate in anything more interesting. Once I even had to participate simultaneously in Vegas AND in another game that I had to explain AND play.
Cheeky Monkey– was one of the games I didn’t participate in, I gave it to beginners who played it completely randomly so didn’t enjoy it in the end.
Qin– is not a complex game but I taught it to the same group, unfortunately, including the guy who has problems understanding 5-sentence rules (it would not be a problem for a complete beginner but he is also the owner ot TtR, Dominion, Tikal…). So even though it’s a 20-minute game it lasted more than 30 minutes and it seemed the players just had no idea what they were doing. So in the end I was helping them position their tiles so much that I finished last. Then this guy said it’s a very random game as he didn’t really get what he was doing but still almost won…
Rooster Booster– I liked the idea, the game seems to be really something between Relationship Tightrope/Yin Yang and Category 5 with some interesting Knizian touches – but I have to replay it with people who don’t play like they haven’t played any cardgames before. They had no idea what they were doing and this completely random play and card placement destroyed the whole point of the game.
And there were people playing Kakerlaken Poker at another table.

On Thursday evening I played Rondo with my son.

Today I told a 27-dice bedtime story (Rory's Story Cubes) to the kids when we put them to bed for their daytime sleep. It lasted more than half an hour.

As soon as he slept, I played Rondo with my wife, two times (on the two sides of the board). It was definitely more interesting to play it with an adult and focus on my moves instead of focusing on the moves of both of us. It’s still a very light game that would fit the Easy Play line of Schmidt more – for a big box it’s very shallow and simple. Still, there are some things to learn it seems; in these kind of games my wife usually easily wins but not now; I had the experience of 3 games with my son so I easily won both games. I think this game is going to work fine to teach some timing and evaluation to the kids as the options you have during game are deceiving. When it’s your turn you either place as many chips as you like (and can) on the board, possibly scoring a lot (when you place several same-colored chips on a 5) and then draw one chip, OR you draw two chips. It’s easy to think hoarding 5 chips and scoring a lot is better than the placement of 2 or 3 chips but I believe it isn’t; also it’s not a bad move to cover 5s with only one chip so your opponent can’t score big there. So however light, even a bit bland this game is, there are some interesting things to learn and I think I might learn some more from repeated play.

Finally, in the afternoon I played Beppo der Bock with my son, for the first time with the real rules; it's a nice little "dexterity and move" game with an interesting and fun dexterity element (including a metal ball, a magnet and a goat that jumps to the direction the ball hits it to) replacing dice rolling.
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18. Board Game: DC Comics Deck-Building Game [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:700] [Average Rating:7.02 Unranked]
Darrin Williams
United States
Allen
Texas
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The Marathon was this weekend, so I played a bit.

DC Comics Deck-Building Game - This is the most Polarizing Game I've seen since I've been going to DGM. I see a lot of people playing multiple games and hear other people saying vile things about it like it was strip poker at the retirement home. I thought it was fun enough with the right crowd, and the theme is good, but it won't make my top deck building games list.

Atlantis Rising - I played this with a group who'd never played it before. We missed a ton of rules. The basic mechanics are interesting, but I have no idea what the difficulty is since we were unclear on a lot of the rules.

Carson City - I Won !!! I should never play this game again. Best to just retire on a high note.

Xanadú - Good game. The card quality is a little lacking, and it would be nice if a major publisher picked it up. The game itself is pretty good.

Mississippi Queen - Got to play this for the first time in years. It's still a good race game with some of the best pieces around.

Seasons - Played this for the first 2 times this weekend. I'm not wild about the drafing (9 cards is a little too much), but I really like the game. Someone suggested dealing 3 cards then drafting 6. I might try that next time.

Snowdonia - I finally got to play this. Good game, but I'm clearly not very good at it.
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19. Board Game: Kitchen Panic [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Paul Lister
United Kingdom
London
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My gaming is limited at the moment as we are having a new kitchen put in. Which means the Kitchen/dining/gaming table is in store. I have been playing some Power Gridon BSW. Most of the online regulars have played hundreds if not thousands of games. Some are also a little impatient with sub-optimal play. That's putting it politely I am enjoying playing with PG masters though - its unpeels whole new layers I and am enjoying focusing on one game rather than spreading myself thinly.

My limited face to face gaming has included 3 plays of Lords of Waterdeep. To my surprise I am enjoying it - partly because Donna likes it, partly because it is a rather forgiving 101 WP/Goods conversion design. Most games of this type are designed to leave you one short of what you need, LOWD is designed to give you one more. It means the game flows quickly, that you can concentrate on achieving things rather than solving equations. Is it a great game? No Is it a game I am going to suggest Martin plays? Noooooooo. Does it make me less inclined to play Caylus? Yes.
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20. Board Game: 1830: Railways & Robber Barons [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:172] [Average Rating:7.83 Unranked]
Johannes cum Grano Salis
United States
Finger Lakes
New York
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1830 (4p)
1889 (4p)
Cards Against Humanity (5p)
German Railways (5p)
Slither (2p, online @ Little golem)
Tigris & Euphrates (4p, @ BGG)

Rather than blather here about 18xx games no one (probably) cares about, I'll just point out that I try to write comments about my 18xx games so that I can document what went right/wrong, and so I can learn. At some point today I'll have my weekend writeups on those complete, and if you care at all, you can find them in my play log. Otherwise, I'll just share highlights here.

1889 was 4p, one new guy. He placed a distant fourth, I placed third (I was the perceived leader and ganged up on at the end-game), and less than 300 bucks separated me from the 2nd place guy. It was the first time I really worked Priority Deal well, so I was pleased with how I played, overall. We played it, with teaching, in 3.5 hours.

1830 was 4p as well, with one seat changing hands from the first game (the new guy played again!). I was almost totally thrilled with my play in this game, and yet I finished last. And the reason for that was that I was train tight and needed one guy to buy the first 6 and he never did (I dumped a trainless C&O with a $1 in its treasury on him earlier; it was beautiful). If he did, I would have bought the first Diesel, the two players running 3T/3T+4T companies would have had to pay out of pocket to outfit both of their companies, the bank would not have broken when it did (we would have gotten another set of ORs out of the game), and it would have been a two-player race to see who won. Instead, he never bought the 6T, the 3Ts were a permanent train, and my last-SR shenanigans where I avoided the stocks of the guys about to go belly-up through withholding and cash payouts were for nothing. By not buying the train, it basically handed the game to one of the other guys. Odd things happen in 18xx when there's no train rush. On the one hand, I was annoyed that my predicted behavior was wrong. On the other hand, I really formed a plan based on what this other player's actions needed to be if he wanted to win. After the game, he admitted he screwed up. But we had a great debrief session. I really enjoy playing these with the same group of guys each time.

Cards Against Humanity was with Train Group. It's hilarious with the right crowd for about 15 minutes. After that, I'd rather play something else...

...like German Railways! My first 5p game of it, and wow is it different from 3p or 4p. My comment on the game sums up what I take to be the pivotal moment of the game, but it boiled down to one player getting three actions in a row putting a Brown share up for auction, as he could then make two connections with it on his next two turns. Everyone dropped out of the auction except him and me, and I dropped out of the auction because it was pretty clear to me that I was falling on my sword to help the other players win. I decided to take my chances, cash in hand, in the last round. I finished third.

Slither was against George again, and it was my best game to date, 13x13. There are certain times when Slither requires patience despite the board looking like it's time to strike. I let it get away from me, I think, by getting impatient at the end and thinking I could outrace him. I couldn't.

T&E was against Martin, DJ, and Tom again, and it was likely my best game of T&E. We figured out after the game that had Tom not ended the game with his double-discard, I would have jumped into the lead with my next move as Martin was tileless in the color I was about to start a conflict in. Exciting game, as it looked for a while that Tom's lead was commanding.
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21. Board Game: Mage Knight Board Game [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:20]

Lacombe
Louisiana
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Suddenly a shot rang out! A door slammed. The maid screamed. Suddenly a pirate ship appeared on the horizon! While millions of people were starving, the king lived in luxury. Meanwhile, on a small farm in Kansas, a boy was growing up.
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Only play this past week was an unexpected 3-player Mage Knight at our place. A local gamer buddy texted me around 12:30 yesterday afternoon to see if any gaming was going on, and since Linus has been going to bed pretty early and pretty well this week, we figured we'd try something in the evening. It made for a late night, but a good session, and Linus slept well despite some initial fussing and our continued ruckus across the hall.

This game has a lot of the same leanness of assets / opportunities that most of Vlaada's titles do [a prevailing theme of his designs that I didn't tackle in my recent blog post, to my memory]. It's kind of a weird design quirk. It's sort of perpendicular to the "not enough actions to do everything you want" dynamic. In Vlaada's games, there are often not enough opportunities to not have enough actions to do everything you want.

In most of his games, you'll make do for the bulk of the game with only 2 or 3 of any given VP-granting / opportunity-chasing assets. In Dungeon Lords, you really only maintain a stable of 3-4 monsters [if you're lucky], 2-3 rooms, and maybe just a trap or two over the course of a game. And then, you only use those things twice in the entire game. The game is a huge buildup of what amounts to relatively little in the way of infrastructure.

Same with Dungeon Petz, and basically with Galaxy Trucker, too. You get this huge tricked-out ship, but you might only manage to take advantage of a few planet cards and one space station before it all goes to hell. His games always present a wide range of possible resources and assets, and a pretty wide range of opportunities, but the combination of opportunities and the assets needed to rise to them always seems to be quite sparse.

It always feels well done, however. Any leaner, and you'd be moving into Pastiche or Manhattan Project territory where your entire score consists of essentially two [maybe three] "big" actions taken over the course of the game. Still, it feels weird when compared to something like Merchant of Venus or Traders of Genoa, for instance, where there's shit going on all the time and countless "things to do". Except for TTA, Vlaada's games don't provide that.

We haven't made it through a full 3-day game of Mage Knight yet, but I'm wondering if after we get better / good at the game how the longer game time is really going to provide enough "things to do". It seems like there is the potential, at least, for players to almost literally have "done" everything that the game provides. I trust Vlaada enough to believe that this will always be only tantalizingly close, but I'm not sure how that works out practically.
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22. Board Game: Axis & Allies 1941 [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:3412]
Justus
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
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Well we've landed in Vegas. Coincidentally with some cousins from China. And their 13 year old son who bought a copy of A&A-1941.

Not bad, still not streamlined to euro elegance, but not a bad tightening up of the game. I doubt I would want to play a much more intense version (ie the original) any more...though I wouldn't buy this for my own collection either.

And a couple plays of Crokinole.

Other than that....well it was 3.5 days of driving. Punctuated with a couple flat tires -- and additional tires that needed to be replaced. Budget did a lovely job picking us the crappiest truck to take to Vegas. But they also refunded us almost half the cost of the rental so I guess it evens out kind of...mainly cause our flats happened in Houston (yes before we even got on the freeway!) and in Phoenix...so the waits weren't too ridiculous in either case. Its a lot of driving.....
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23. Board Game: Terra Mystica [Average Rating:8.23 Overall Rank:8]
John Bandettini
United Kingdom
London
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Two sessions last week, both at LoB.

11th February Star Trek: Fleet Captains + Romulan Expansion

I have been wanting to play this three player since the game first came out and now at last with the Romulan expansion I could.

It’s always a bit of an epic game with lots going on. I drew the Klingons and then proceeded to draft a whole load of small ships. The usual Klingon bully boy tactics were out, so I played a much more peaceful scientific and influence style game. I did pick off one Federation ship after it was left looking very vulnerable, sitting right next to my main fleet.

But the Romulans easily cruised to victory. I hope that does not mean they are over powered. Probably not as something I have noticed about this game is that sometimes everything just goes right for one player. You draw mission after mission that you have either already completed or you very easily can and you keep drawing exactly the command cards you need.

It is a lot of fun and it does really feel like Star Trek, but it is a game with quite a lot of luck in it.

12th February

Terra Mystica is my favourite game from 2012, but so far I have not been able to win a game. Although this time was no exception, my 4th, 2nd place finish in a row. Only 3 points in it, I am so close. I thought I had it won, but one of the players had been planning for the last turn. He was the race that gets a VP every time they use a spade. He had got his spade cost down to 1 worker and stockpiled workers and the bonus VPs on the last turn were 2vps for every spade you used. He spent the last turn just performing terraform action after teraform action and managed 60 points on the last turn.

Martin cornered me after that and made me play Love Letter. Much better than R or Coup. (Not that, that is saying much) I’m sorry though I was pretty underwhelmed by the game. Draw a card and try to guess what the other players might have. Repeat a handful of times and the game is over. I was still waiting for it to begin.

Last game of the evening was my first play of DC Comics Deck Building Game. Apart from anything else, what a terrible name. It really is like they could not be arsed to come up with a proper game title. At least the Marvel version is a Legendary game.

If you have played Ascension you are 80% of the way there as it’s pretty obviously an Ascension clone. It’s not exactly the same. It only has one currency for purchasing cards but it does have attack cards you can use to attack other players. Each player is also a Super Hero so has a different special ability. As well as a tableau of five random cards in the middle of the table that can be bought there is also a stack of Super Villains. These need to be defeated in order. They are worth a lot more vps than other cards and also help a lot in your deck. (Yes, every card you beat goes into your deck)

In the end it’s probably different enough to Ascension to enjoy in it’s own rights as long as you enjoy that kind of deck building game. For Comic book fans it’s a couple of points higher. It does stick to it’s theme pretty well. Though some fans have complained that it’s just not right allowing Green Lantern to drive the Batmobile and Aquaman to have Wonder Woman’s Lasso etc.

I enjoyed my first play but I think I need a couple more to really make my mind up.
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24. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:72] [Average Rating:7.66 Unranked]
George Leach
United Kingdom
Godalming
Surrey
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Lots of gaming with my wife this week. Things are looking rosy.

LoB
Cosmic Encounter 1 - I had to endure this to start. Ick.
Kosmonauts 1 - Played the advanced version of this. Still needed some polishing before publication but some lovely stuff in here too.
RRR 4 - All against one player. He seemed to enjoy it and I enjoyed proseletizing it. I've got it with me for today (if a space opens at LoB).
Puerto Rico 1 - Managed to fit a 40 minutes 4p game of this in at the end of the night. Great game at this speed.

Travel games
Indian Chief 1 - Played this on the train to Liverpool (and once at home so maybe there should be two plays!). If you haven't tried it yet, you should. The only hassle is the reshuffle after every round.

Dining table games
This week marked the beginning of my new regime we will leave two games on the dining table which will be the preferred spousal gaming choices after our evening meal. Kathryn chooses replacements and after 3 plays a game is eligible for replacement.
To Court the King 1 - Unfortunately I still haven't tried to use the variant for the +2 dice guy. Otherwise he's too powerful. Kathryn won this almost entirely due to this advantage.
Bali 1 - Fun game and I enjoyed it. Mentioned many a time over the past weeks. I think it could do with a tweak or two though. Bali cards =0, word fragments remaining at end game count -ve, allow one word to be scored at the start of your turn (without refilling the column).

Online games
Lines of Action 1 - Played Lines of Action with Russ and he just lost out in a pretty close game. Fun to play in near real time. Big delays mean taking a while to re-read the board which can be a little frustrating.

Slither 1 - Played russ at Slither (am I missing out a game with John that finished last week... not sure). He pulled off a win in an epic game. One of us should probably make a session report but neither of us can be bothered.

Dominion 4 - Dominion has made a comeback in my life. I had for a long time ignored the online implementations because it would 'ruin' the game for me and Kat. However I just don't see her getting into it as much as I am already so why don't I just enjoy it on isotropic. Maybe one day I'll find a regular opponent and we can partake in some tight games. I wouldn't mind spending the time getting good enough to compete in tournaments. Sorry if that disappoints people.
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