GCL Amoeba 115 – So forget all your duties oh yeah! (2013-04-16)
Mikko Saari
Finland
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Welcome to this week's Game Chat League Amoeba discussion group!

If you found us randomly (via subscription, perhaps), you're welcome to join in with constructive conversation -- we're friendly symbiotes in real life, though vicious competitors at the game table. (Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most dangerous predator on earth!) Read the links above for more info. (If you're shy, just thumb the list so we can see who's stalking us :-) )

Current hosting rotation:
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Jevon
Jens
Joshua
Mikko
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It's finally cycling season in Tampere, so let's ride a bike.



(And here's the more fun – and NSFW – version.)
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1. Board Game: Rallyman [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:730]
Mikko Saari
Finland
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Let's talk about racing games. What's the best racing game? What makes a good racing game?

I've got a friend who really likes racing games, but he's still looking for The One Racing Game that would work the way he wants. Nothing qualifies so far, including some of his own creations. I'm not sure what he is after.
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2. Board Game: Eurorails [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:1077]
Mikko Saari
Finland
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Then there's the other kind of race - the one where you don't directly race a track to a goal. There's a goal, and you want to reach it first and there's usually very little you can do to hinder your opponents, but it's less literal. What are your favourites in this kind of racing games? Or do you just dismiss these kinds of games as having too little interaction - I know some people do.
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3. Board Game: Blood Race [Average Rating:5.91 Overall Rank:11805]
Mikko Saari
Finland
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Race games usually have low interaction. Do you have any favourites in the genre that offer a higher level of interaction? Or does high interaction in racing game always mean meaningless and chaotic brawling?
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4. Board Game: Terra Mystica [Average Rating:8.23 Overall Rank:8]
Jens KH
Germany
Karben
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Games played

_8_ Terra Mystica
_7_ Tinners' Trail
_7_ TZAAR
_6_ Dixit
_6_ The Boss (new!)
_5_ FITS
_4_ Bankraub (new!)
_3_ Sushizock im Gockelwok
_1_ Power Soccer (new!)

Yay, a new one!

And the week began so nicely with Terra Mystica. Most of us played a very shoddy game, however, and by the end the winner was ahead of second place by almost 50 points. It was still kind of a success for me because, after coming dead last in every single Thursday game for the last three weeks I was second-to-last in this one. Hooray!

It did apparently show the road to recovery, however, because I followed that up immediately by becoming the Kingpin The Boss which seemed like a nice enough light bluffing game but is possibly a bit too balanced for its own good. After the regular 5 rounds we had a complete tie for first in which case the rules call for an additional round. After that one I was in front by 1 point but we had a tie for second. Not sure if that was just an anomaly or whether that's normal, though.

Bankraub is the new game that's gone through German crowdfunding platform Spieleschmiede. The first game, Express 01, was apparently a steaming pile of poo, so I was a bit apprehensive when this was brought up. It's a game about robbing banks, obviously, but the actual robbery is only a simple card drafting phase. Most of the game is in the escape from the bank to one of four predetermined hiedouts on the board. The robber must get there before the other players catch him (and then either make off with the loot themselves or pocket a reward for thwarting the evil-doer). Spieleschmiede operates with publishers behind those games but Bankraub feels very much like a self-published game from a first-time designer regardless (development-wise; the material is fine). The rules are often imprecise and riddled with holes, and the game was clearly designed with the theme as the guiding rail - unfortunately without proper support from mechanisms or rules. I won the game by being the first to run a comparatively lucrative job successfully, and then starting (and botching) as many small ones as quickly as possibly just to run the game clock down and not give anyone else a chance to do anything themselves...

In Tinners' Trail we had high prices during the first three years but in the last one, copper unfortunately crashed which meant I couldn't actually operate half the mines I had left (not with a profit, anyway). It was a very close game, however, with less than 10 points between first and fourth.

And then came Power Soccer. I didn't actually expect a good game, I think, but I did, in fact, expect a game. So you roll a die and it tells you whether you can keep rolling or your attack has failed or you've scored a goal. And then your opponent does the same. And you do that until a predetermined amount of time has passed or somebody has scored a predetermined number of goals. And it doesn't even simulate a soccer match well. Something like every second attack ended with a red card! There's exactly one decision to be made here, and that is not to play. It's a little like they wanted to cash in on the overwhelming success of Kamasutra dice but didn't understand that nobody likes those for the die-rolling part...
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5. Board Game: Das Kleine Gespenst [Average Rating:6.10 Overall Rank:7460]
Mikko Saari
Finland
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2 x _8_Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation
1 x _9_Gulo Gulo
1 x _8_Bunte Runde
4 x _8_Das Kleine Gespenst
1 x _7_Click Clack
1 x .10!Dominion
1 x _6_Labyrinth
1 x _7_Maskenball der Käfer
2 x _7_Kraken-Alarm
2 x _7_Fleeting Foxes
1 x _8_Nile DeLuxor
2 x _7_Richard Scarry's Busytown: Eye found it! Game
1 x _6_Engine, Engine No. 9
1 x _8_Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper
2 x _7_Da ist der Wurm drin
2 x _7_Colorpop
1 x _7_Trick of the Rails
1 x _5_Zapp Zerapp
1 x _6_CLACK!
3 x _7_Indigo
2 x _7_The Hobbit
1 x _8_London
1 x _7_König von Siam (new)
1 x _8_Android: Netrunner (new)

Let's just say I played some games last week. Most of this was actually Saturday; I played games with the kids in the morning, then my brother visited and we played games with him, then I played some more with my daughter. My 12th best day of gaming ever, says the Extended Stats.

König von Siam is a strange game. It's pretty cool, really, with just the eight actions and all that. I could definitely play again, even if area majority is really not my cup of tea.

Android: Netrunner was a quick test with my brother – we used to play the old Netrunner quite a bit back in the day. It still feels the same. Pretty good, that is, and I could see this becoming a staple game for me to play with my brother. I'm pretty sure this wouldn't fly otherwise; I just don't have the company. But if my brother moves back to Tampere, I'm going to buy him a set as a house-warming gift.

I'm quite fond of Indigo. It's nothing much, but a quite pleasant game anyway. My daughter loves it, for some reason.
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6. Board Game: The No Game [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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No games for me this week. There weren't any game group meetings, and Anni was away at a work conference.
 
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7. Board Game: Yedo [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:460]
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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New to me were Yedo (think Lords of Waterdeep on steroids and much nastier), Salmon Run (less than great initial impression), and Eight Minute Empire (takes longer to teach than to play but solid filler although I question if it has legs).

Saturday, 4/13

Yedo

Three player game with one new to the game. We played the samurai version but none of the really nasty events were drawn. In fact, there were quite a few helpful events! J continually either tried to do too much, or drew poor cards, or something as he continued to fight the game/system and couldn't get anything going. I went out to a large lead in the mid-game but stalled after that as I couldn't get mission cards to fit my equipment or get equipment to fit my mission cards. However, I still won with 45 points or so with D coming in second with 40. J was far back with around 20.

Frank's Zoo

I had poor card draws in this game in three straight rounds and was happy to finish fourth with 15 points of six players. I never saw lions, orcas, and only a few elephants.

Salmon Run

Played with five and all the kickstarter expansions although the fisherman's board didn't come into play. Three of us got off to fast starts and had an opportunity to finish first if we would have had a good card draw. However, T went a side route where he constantly hit his head on the rock but kept going back and forth over the current spot so he kept kicking the other four of us out of range of the finish line. I think we literally spent 45 minutes on the final two boards going backwards more than forwards until someone finally crossed the finish line. Made the game go really long...painfully so.

========================================================================

Thursday, 4/11

Race for the Galaxy

Three player game with all the expansions. I won the tiebreaker with 8 cards after tying with Jim with 35 points.

Yedo

Five of us played a learning game at the samurai level. I kept hiring an extra disciple/worker to lose him to the stupid patrol right away...:-). There is a lot going on in this game, but most plays straightforward and is fairly thematic. Some of the event cards were nasty but we didn't hit any of the really nasty ones that get removed in the nicer game version. Several of us fell into gold shortages from time to time. I finished third with around 35 points, about 6 behind the winner. We went the full 11 rounds as J kept getting stopped in his efforts to assassinate the Shogun.

Eight-Minute Empire

Played a friend's PnP copy and enjoyed the three player game. Rules and setup might have taken longer than playing the game! I won with 16 points as I spread out on the starting continent and scored majority bonuses for nine regions and earned one continent point as well as 6 points from card sets. Second place had around 12 and third had 10.

Qwixx

Ended with two locks. I won with 61 while the other two were close behind in the mid 50s.

========================================================================

Wednesday, 4/12

Star Wars: Epic Duels

K and I were the dark side as Darth Maul and Palpatine but we lost when our good specials were at the bottom of our decks and the good guys specials were at the top of theirs. Oh well!

Love Letter

I got killed in this one! K won with 4, M had 3, T had 2, and I had none.

The Downfall of Pompeii

K got a ton of his dudes out but also saw over half of them end up in the volcano. T flew under the radar as he had the least dudes on the city and won when he got 10 of his dudes out of the city. M and I tied with 9 but I was third as I lost a bunch of dudes to the volcano as well.
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