GCL Mafia 115: (March 31, 2013)
Jimmy Okolica
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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
mith
mattbcha1
tscook
Thesp
Butterfly0038
cferejohn
touchstonethefool
fdubois

So, let's see who reads the header before the items and who posts questions in the first item about what's going on... The theme for this week is how well do we know each other. I'm stealing this from another GCL (maybe Meatballs, I don't remember for sure). Since we can't seem to arrange a mass Mafia Meetup, maybe we can start making individual road trips. What would you do if another Mafia member just dropped in on you? Since we're all good hosts, we'd offer them a drink of something followed by a game. Which game in your collection would you choose? Is it the one they'd enjoy the most? the one they most need to learn? For each GCL member, pick the one (or two or three) game in your collection that you'd first reach for if they dropped by your house for an evening of gaming. Assume you'd be able to round up a couple of your friends so that player count wouldn't be an issue.

Try to play fair and post your answer before reading other people entries (or reading the GCLers Top 10 or past GCL entries )


Please add an item to represent your gaming life for the week of March 25-31, 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 Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:2287]
Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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Rishi A.
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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2. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:2287]
Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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3. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:2287]
Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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4. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:2287]
Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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Mc Jarvis
United States
Arlington
Virginia
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5. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:2287]
Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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Philip Newman
United States
Richardson
Texas
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6. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:2287]
Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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Matthew C
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7. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:2287]
Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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N/A
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8. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:2287]
Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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Robin Levins
United States
Round Rock
TX
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Rolling dice and taking grains!
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9. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:2287]
Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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Jimmy Okolica
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10. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:2287]
Jimmy Okolica
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Washington Township
Ohio
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Chris Ferejohn
United States
Mountain View
California
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Pitying fools as hard as I can...
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11. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:2287]
Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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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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"Aint that just the way"
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12. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:2287]
Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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Fabrice Dubois
France
La Garenne Colombes
Hauts de Seine
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13. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:2287]
Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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One last question... if we did have a GCL Mafia meetup and you could only bring games that could fit in your one carry-on along with your clothes, what would they be?
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14. Board Game: Mage Knight Board Game [Average Rating:8.11 Overall Rank:20]
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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3 Coup
Alhambra
Get Bit!
Mage Knight Board Game

I played Alhambra on boiteajeux and loved it. I never get this game to the table and forget I own it, so it's great to play it again. I was doing great and had a high score, but miscalculated the impact of second place scores for the last round, and lost by just a few points. I was the leader in points and the clear leader in half of the colors (the cheapest as well as the 2nd and 3rd most expensive).

After bible study on Thursday, we played a few quick games. 3 games of Coup, and 1 game of Get Bit! I lost every game.

I also played a solo game of Mage Knight. I read through the entire walkthru (save two pages in the end), and played through the game. Now I gotta work my way through the rulebook, and start working this game into more regular play.
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15. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:2287]
Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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We still love you Chris...

Chris
United States
Ronkonkoma
New York
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Who else am I forgetting?
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16. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:2287]
Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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Christopher M
United States
Goleta
California
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Awesome Possum
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17. Board Game: Qin [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:1287]
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Qin* 3
FITS 1
Fleet 1
PitchCar Mini 1
PitchCar Mini Extension 1
PitchCar Mini Extension 2 1
Scrabble 1

Qin is sort of new. These were my first three plays with the physical copy of the game. Previously, they were all on iOS where the "easy" AI beats the crap out of me. I really enjoy the game. It gives me the feeling of Carcassonne or Tigris & Euphrates. It also plays well within 30 minutes or so.
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18. Board Game: Outpost [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:1606]
Mc Jarvis
United States
Arlington
Virginia
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Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age 2
Outpost 1

Yet another light gaming week for me. Starcraft has stalled out at level 3//gold league, but that's because I haven't been playing much due to easter festivities.

In terms of boardgaming, I got to play Outpost again. Whatever I saw in this game the first time is now gone, and I felt pretty disengaged from it. I think the issue is there are one or two strategies you can pursue--- but the thing that counts the most is who is currently making the most money. There's no real way to combat the snowball, so the result is kind of just watching the end game happen. I probably won't ask for this again.
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19. Board Game: 1817 [Average Rating:8.69 Overall Rank:1997]
Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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This was a great week!

2x 1817
1x 1880: China
1x 1861: The Railways of the Russian Empire
1x 1830: Railways & Robber Barons
1x Baltimore & Ohio
1x Twilight Struggle
1x Cavum
1x Hanabi
1x Walnut Grove
1x Jenga
1x Shuttles

Although it was the last of my gaming this week, it deserves to e described first. Friday after work, Amanda and I went to the CABS Spring Fling, which was just Friday night and Saturday gaming (till 3am). The plan was for me to play an 18XX by myself Friday night while Amanda did some work in the hotel and then Saturday, we'd play one 18XX and then switch to Euros for the rest of the day. Friday went as expected with me getting there just after a 4-player of 1817 had finished the initial auction (they graciously agreed to restart and then 15 minutes later one more player showed up and we re-started one more time)). I think I ended up in third (barely). This was my first chance to play with Bruce Beard and it was a treat. He and Mike Coyne dominated the game, but the game was relatively quiet with only one company getting massively shorted.

Saturday morning, we started at 9am with me, amanda, Joe, Mike, and Bruce the only 18XXers that chose to get there that early. We wanted to do something relatively quick and they suggested 18XX. As I always say, I have never seen a bankruptcy in 1830 and figured, particularly playing with Bruce, there was a decent chance this would be my first. However, my streak continues, 12 plays of 1830 and 0 bankruptcies. What was amazing about the game (other than the fact that Amanda was competitive during most of it) was that we finished in 2.5 hours. No banruptcy at a 5-player 1830 in 2.5 hours... incredible.

I figured at this point we'd switch to Euros but Amanda was good with another one. After I confirmed she really was happy to play another, we broke out 1880 (no slow introduction to 18XX for Amanda). 4 hours later this was done as well (I couldn't believe it). Although I didn't care for it, several people told me to try it again since it's one of those games that grow on you over time. Once again Amanda was competitive (and I think this time beat me). What's even more surprising was that she really enjoyed 1880 and keeps telling me it's the next one I should buy (I may end up trying to sell or trade 1841 for it since I can't get any love for 1841).

It was a little after 4 at this point, so we broke for lunch. Amanda said she was still up for another one and so, when we got back, there were several more 18XXers there, so we split things up, with Bruce going to play a second game of 1880 and Mike staying with Amanda and I for a game of 1861. I foolishly thought I was close to Mike for most of the game. He humored my thinking before finally growing up his third and fourth minor company and showing me the error of my ways. We finished with a clear separation between him and me and Amanda. This was Amanda's least favorite (she struggled understanding how the minors worked/grew up) and was done at that point. However, she was fine with me playing one more 18XX since she was pretty much done with gaming period at that point. Oh, Mike made a point of saying that we had played 1861 at a leisurely pace and the game was usually quicker. It had take us 4 hours.

So, we finished Saturday night with a 3-player game of 1817 between Mike, Bruce, and me. I knew I had lost when I sat down. I just didn't realize how badly I had lost. Not only didn't I know what was going on, I couldn't even figure out how they were making so much money so quickly. I was quickly left in the dust, had my two companies shorted and was clearly out of it when we called it about 2:30am. Bruce had a commanding enough lead that Mike figured the positions were fixed between us and the CABS people wanted to be out by 3:00 anyways. So, in a 36 hour span of time I played 5 18XX games including two games of 1817 and one game of 1880. Unbelievable!

With all that said, you might think my early week would have been quiet... you'd be wrong. I played Twilight Struggle with Amanda on Monday night, Hanabi and Walnut Grove with her on Tuesday, and Jenga and Shuttles with my kids on Wednesday and Thursday. Also, on Thursday I played a two-player game of Cavum with my advisor, Bert, and a 3-player game of Baltimore and Ohio. TS was another nail-biter with Amanda playing USSR and being very close to taking over Europe several times. B&O was myeh; as I've been told before, it's an 18XX light that takes as long as an 18XX without the fun. With 3-players, the C&O was was able to grab all but one of the coal mines and the president ran that for an eventual win. Cavum was fun and reminded me of how great this game is with 2. I'm not a fan of it with 4 and have yet to play with 3, but with 2, it is an excellent, network/route-building brain burner.
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20. Board Game: Lords of Waterdeep [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:53]
Chris Ferejohn
United States
Mountain View
California
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A pretty decent amount of gaming for me this week. Let's see if I can keep it up.

King of Tokyo x3

3 games of King of Tokyo at 2 different events - one at a friend's birthday, one at a Game of Thrones premiere party. I tend to like games that accomplish what they set out to accomplish, and I think King of Tokyo does just that. 20-30 minutes of dice rolling and "oh my god I can't believe you killed me."

Side note: I really like how that picture came out. Thanks Instagram hipster filters!

Malarkey

Malarkey (Malarky? whatever) is kind of a cross between Balderdash and Wits and Wagers. Players get an obscure trivia question (e.g. "What is the difference between flotsam and jetsam"). Then everyone gets a folder, one of which has the real card/answer in it. Players go in a circle saying their answer (they can't "read" it, so the person with the right answer has to kind of summarize), then you vote for who you think had the right answer. There's a little wonkiness when someone happens to know or guess the correct answer, but a pretty fun spin on the Balderdash/Dictionary theme. I think Beyond Balderdash is still my favorite (I particularly like the one where you are given a date and have to come up with what happened on that day), but this is pretty solid.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
"Jetsam" is the stuff that has been jettisoned from boats. Flotsam is stuff that came to be in the water by other means/


Lords of Waterdeep x2

Played two games of everyone's third favorite worker placement game (not that I have a 1 and 2 in mind - I just feel like most people think this game is ok but not great). I came away feeling like this game is...ok but not great. It doesn't usually bother me when a game is disconnected from it's theme, but it kind of does here. I think what bothers me more though is I expect to be able to craft long term plans in worker placement games and the amount of random stuff (what quests and buildings will be available, what intrigue cards you will get) kind of makes that difficult. I don't mind a random setup (e.g. Agricola) but the way that quests/buildings that are useless later in the game keep showing up later in the game strikes me as something that could have been improved.

Ca$h 'n' Gun$

Played a 5 player game of this with 3 new players. We managed to get none of the really interesting roles (no Kid, Cunning, Insane, or You Won't Be Needing This), but it was still fun (though not fun enough for the new players to want to play again as they preferred the breakneck excitement of Lords of Waterdeep).

Actually that's kind of unfair as I enjoy a contemplative thinky game more than most, but that one just doesn't water my deeps.
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21. Board Game: March Madness [Average Rating:6.27 Overall Rank:7800]
Philip Newman
United States
Richardson
Texas
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Weekly Plays:

Brass: Lancashire - 1 (orderofthehammer)

Yup, that's it. Other than the first round Brass Madness game starting, and watching a lot of college basketball, the closest I came to gaming was being at the DFW Hyatt for a different annual convention.

Lots of good gaming conversation going on in the GCL Madness threads, though. I'm enjoying reading, even though I haven't had much time to comment myself.
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22. Board Game: CO₂ [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:567]
Fabrice Dubois
France
La Garenne Colombes
Hauts de Seine
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Another light gaming week for me

We played CO₂ for 3 player during our weekly gaming night (on Friday in my buddy
Patrick Jamet
France
Paris
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's flat in Paris). The third player was a newbie....but he beat me !

We played with this variant : 240 PPM at the beginning (6 coal power plants). This is supposed to bring more cooperation between players.

I decided to play for the scientists : i managed to get my 4 scientists into play. But i didn't play efficiently as i was the guy with the fewer income at the end of the game (18 vs 22 and 24).

I think i have some issues with the transition from "cheap" power plants to more advanced ones (Solar, Forestation). This was dramatic as :
- almost all ONU cards had Forestation/Solar goals
- i could not end up to propose Solar/Forestation in the last decade because i didn't want to open the game for my fellow opponents. They could have installed/built them and taken the benefits before me (not only tech cubes and CEP but also ONU cards).

In fact, this is my biggest complain with the game along with the freeze/game of chicken in the last decade. Since you can't make big coups in this game, it is really hard to catch up the leaders in the last decade. But this is certainely due to me as i am usually always behind in these 2 technologies.

I should have focus more on CEP in order to reduce the gap in points.
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23. Board Game: Bora Bora [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:158]
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

Bora Bora x1

Old Games

Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization (F2F) x1
Can't Stop x1

Not a whole lot of games this past week. I got to try Bora Bora last night and found it very Feld-ian. It felt a bit more mechanically cohesive than Trajan though roughly as point-salad-y as The Castles of Burgundy. It was pleasant in the usual manner that Feld's games are, though this first play through seemed to exhibit a bit more worker-placement screwage than is present in most of his other games. I got totally effed-in-the-a for turn order (extremely important with the dice placement mechanism) for the second half of the game which saw most of my plans (and backup plans, and backup-backup plans) get utterly shredded by my fellow players.

As such, my initial impression is that the passive-aggresive screwage is a bit high for one of Feld's multiple-paths-to-victory designs, as poor rolls all around lead to the downward spiral of one player picking their second best option because their first got taken by another player, and in taking it cheat the next player out of their first best option, who then goes and takes their second best option which cheats the next player etc. Being on the bottom of the turn order is incredibly punishing, and maybe more punishing than it should be. However, I'll definitely cop to the possibility that I just wasn't optimizing well and prioritized the wrong incentives. That said, the various goals of the game are disparate enough that I wouldn't count out luck (and the other players) of being a sizable influence in how things turned out.

All in all, it's another solid Feld design. If you like his other games, chances are you'll like this one, it certainly has the usual number of things going for it considering it's pedigree. I'll certainly try it again to get a better idea of what I think of it, but I see no need to add it to my collection.
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