GCL Phoenix 122 - Eleven Squared Plus One (5 May 2013)
Max Maloney
United States
Portland
Oregon
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It's unseasonably warm and beautiful outside. There's no way Tom is gaming. And I have to mow the lawn today. But board games still happen and we are here to log and discuss them.

Welcome to the Phoenix Game Chat League
Don't know what this GeekList is? Find out here: Gamechat League: Phoenix Division!

If you're visiting, thumb the list so we know you stopped by. Feel free to chat along with us, but please leave the posting of list items to members only.

Roster

BennyD
chally - next week's host
Dormammu
Eeeville
Hawkeye77
indigopotter
Lowengrin
Morganza
Mr_Nuts
ravenskana
rynelf
Taibi
tjshields
woodnoggin

This weeks topics for discussion:
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1. Board Game: Innovation [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:287]
Max Maloney
United States
Portland
Oregon
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"If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason." -Jack Handey
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Numbers and math

Last week's list was #121. 121 is 11 squared. When I read Rich's discussion topics, I found myself thinking, "how funny that he didn't comment on 121 being a perfect square!" But of course, why would he?

How do you see numbers? Do you look for patterns, or even see them without trying? When you see a scoring category in a game that goes 1, 3, 6, 10... do you think, "Hey, triangle numbers!" or merely, "So I get 6 points for 3 pieces of stuff? OK."

Is math in a game appealing or a turn off? I have a favorite gaming buddy who says that the closer a game is to being a spreadsheet, the happier she is. Do you like doing calculations, hate it, or is it a non-factor?
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2. Board Game: Magic Realm [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:969]
Max Maloney
United States
Portland
Oregon
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"If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason." -Jack Handey
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Old games

What are the oldest games that are a part of your gaming life? I don't think any of us are big traditional abstract players, so we'll call stuff from the 70s and early 80s old.

Are there any you play regularly or have been re-exploring recently? Are there any that you haven't played in a while but have been wanting to get back to the table? Are there any that you've heard of and wanted to play but never had the chance?

If you do play them, do you have original copies or modern reprintings? Or perhaps you're playing Magic Realm online a bunch? (You know who you are...)
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3. Board Game: A la carte [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:1507]
Max Maloney
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Food

I am cursed with poor taste buds and an abnormally high percentage of food is unappetizing to me. But as I sit here in the warmth eating some tasty chicken, beans and rice, I am thinking of food.

Let's not talk about "my favorite food," but what's happening with you today, this week, or this month.

Are there any recent favorites you've been eating a lot? Have you learned to cook something recently? Is there something you haven't had in a while that you've been craving but not gotten around to eating?
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4. Board Game: The Cottonwood Contest [Average Rating:5.17 Unranked]
United States
Wurtsboro
NY
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The Cottonwood Contest's entry was approved today!
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5. Board Game: Terra Mystica [Average Rating:8.22 Overall Rank:9]
Bryan Maxwell
United States
Burtchville
Michigan
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Flash Point x 6

MOAR FLASH POINT. All 3-player games with my Hanabi peeps. We've gotten into a routine where they play the CAFS Firefighter and Generalist, while I play as Something Else, like the Structural Engineer or Rescue Specialist. They focus on the fires while I rescue and/or repair stuff.

I think my favorite role is the Fire Captain, or the Driver/Fire Captain combo, but I really enjoy exploring the less obviously useful ones. Don't care for the Hazmat Specialist. I hope they add new roles at some point (I think Extreme Danger will have some new ones). The 2nd Story expansion should be here this week.

Innovation x 1

Taught this to Angie. She liked it despite it not being Her Kind of Game.

Innovation w/Figures in the Sand x 2


A rare dud of a game with my wife. She had her mojo and I didn't. I never managed to get anything productive going, just kept searching and flailing until she put me out of my misery.

Then on Sunday night:

Just stole one from Kat with Figures in the Sand. She was up the entire way, I managed to crawl back into contention thanks in large part to Peter the Great (If you tuck a card with an industry, you may also achieve your bottom green card if you qualify; Inspire: Tuck a card). I achieved 3 cards this way. Still, she had me teetering. I got ahead in cards and score by getting ahead in science, then using Evolution.

She shared Empiricism, and I correctly guessed Purple/Yellow - I got to splay my purple cards up, immediately giving me Empire (3 of each icon) and the game (7-6).


Trajan x 1

Taught this to my neighbor and he beat the hell from me to the tune of 143-97. Woof.

Ascension x 1

Breaking the cards into 3 balanced groups is working well. We both went for runes this game and used card effects to banish things from the center, so the game went longer than usual with me winning 98-89. He definitely likes this more than I do.

The Phantom League x 1

Play log:

First play of this. I had the Lucky pilot and the Cargo Cube, and ended up winning. I explored a bit, lucked into an Alien card that gave me 2VP but said I couldn't attack (which was cool with me). Teamed up with Carl and got an easy VP for him killing a pirate with me.

Jimbob went the slave trade route and got lucky for a while with the bust cards missing him, but he eventually lost a huge haul (there are a LOT of cards that take your narcotics/slaves away).

I won. Didn't care for it. Between the missions, dock events and hyperspace events, there is way too much luck in the game for me. For example, near the end I tried to dock in the Center. Drew a dock card that says "Your shit stalls and you can't dock this turn." Okay. Next turn I dock and draw "The market is closed today, no trading/purchases possible." Okay.

I liked Merchants & Marauders much better (and I sold that off).
There was talk of "we need to play this again next week and see how we really like it now that we know how it works."

No. No we don't.


King of Tokyo x 2


I'm really enjoying this as a nice 5-6 player, end of the night filler. Not my kind of game, but really fun.

Terra Mystica x 1

2-player learning game with Kat. Not too difficult to learn in terms of rules, but a lot of choices and a lot to take in. Kind of so-so as a 2-player. We were near each other, but at no point was I really concerned with being blocked or unable to expand. She led by a lot (20-30) the entire way and won 104-93 (I was ahead in 3 of the 4 cult tracks and had the largest settlement).

Not sure how I'm feeling about this one, I obviously need to play it with more people. The resources and everything felt a bit samey to me; trading coins/workers/power/priests around and around, building buildings and putting them back and siphoning up little bit of VP here and there. I'm not writing it off, and definitely will try to play it on Wednesday with more players. I'm hoping a more crowded map will add some tension, because this kind of felt like "we'll each do our own thing and see who won". The main impetus for playing it today was to learn the rules and flow, and we did that.



At the moment I'm allowing myself to enjoy unemployment. I've spent a lot of time outdoors with the kids this week, and I finished one book (Just a Geek by Wil Wheaton) and started another (Selected Writing from Carl Jung). I should hear about the upcoming summer job this week, and that will determine whether I start job hunting shortly or not.

A former coworker texted me about a job for HP working in tech support about an hour away. I declined. I finally have a path I feel comfortable on, and that's where my focus has to be.

I met with the advisor at the college and learned that my ancient credits from 99/00 are still good, so I already have 18 credits toward my degree! I also learned that I can pick up an Associate's Degree in Liberal Arts easily with what I'll already be taking to get the BA in Psychology (because an Associate's in Liberal Arts is where ALL of the hot jobs are, right guys?).
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6. Board Game: Age of Industry [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:483]
Jon
United States
Urbana
Illinois
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Games Played:

_7_ Keltis x1
Turns out I'm not very good at this.
My wife won with 29, my daughter had 16, I had 14, and my oldest son earned 5 points.

_9_ Age of Industry x1 Kudos!
After a long time without a play, got to play the New England map. Amos had requested it for game night as he had recently played Brass and wanted to compare the two while the former was fresh in his mind. Dave had played before but not in quite some itme, while Nick was completely new to the game. I concentrated on getting out all of my ships and taking one of the two spots for coal, dabbled in iron, and make plenty of rails to control the iron / coal supply while mostly ignoring cotton and packaging.
Jon 42
Amos 35
Dave 32
Nick 29

_7_ Peloponnes x1
Got my new copy opened and organized and taught the boys, using only the base game and sea tiles. Youngest son scored 15 on population, oldest son 24 on population, and I won with 27 on population. Not a lot of bidding manipulation in this game as people mostly managed to choose things no one else wanted, but a few collisions on bidding happened so they understand the system. Game took a bit longer than it should have due to teaching.

_7_ Maka Bana x1 New!
Oldest son started poorly but caught up and won with 24 points. Youngest son played fine but didnt make chains so scored 13, while I was attacked in the final rounds to en with only 12 points.

_5_ Giro Galoppo x1
Quick game with daughter and youngest son. I won quickly followed by my son and then by my daughter.

_5_ Way Out West x1 New!
Finally learned this with my boys. It was ok. We all liked Carson City better though. No reason to keep this. Scores: Oldest son 28 , youngest son 20, while I had 18.

TRACK:

Tabled: 10 unplayed. (-Maka Bana, -Way Out West)
Removed: 23 removed.
Acquired: 24 acquired.

Cultish: 07 worthy / 08 played.
Kudos: 03 achieved / 16 progress. (+ Age of Industry)

2013 TRACK - Tabled, Removed, Acquired, Cultish and Kudos
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7. Board Game: God's Playground [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:1433]
Dave Peters
United States
Belmont
California
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Powers:Coleridge:Milton: Faith...must be, if anything, a clear-eyed recognition of the patterns and tendencies, to be found in every piece of the world's fabric, which are the lineaments of God.
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That's Tim Powers' fictional Samuel Coleridge "quoting" John Milton in _The Anubis Gates_.
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Scorecard for the Week/Month/Year as of 4May2013:

3/3/184 plays of 3/3/95 total games, with 0/0/22 expansions employed.
Plays with 5/5/59 distinct opponents.

0/0/10 games acquired (plus 0/0/1 expansions.)
0/0/3 games ordered (plus 0/0/0 expansions.)
Orders for 6 games and 1 expansions still outstanding.

Wednesday Night:
1x _8_ God's Playground - We all managed to defend Poland for a few decades this time out: normally we see a lot more self-serving and destructive play, so that was amusing of itself. We might have made three decades of defence had we not seen some statistically unfortunate battle results, too. I find this particularly charming - and I'm even willing to claim we played it correctly!
1x _7.3_ Innovation - I managed to teach the game, then lose to a(n admittedly talented!) first-time-player. Takeaway: I'm not very good at it. I found myself musing as the game wandered along how much more thematically satisfying I find Pax Porfiriana - which is probably not a good sign for Innovation.

Friday Afternoon:
1x _7_ Finca - This is pretty cute: I've quite enjoyed it each time Richard has brought it - but still probably wouldn't buy a copy, since the Friday Lunch bunch is my only viable set of opponents.

Owned-and-unplayed: 14 (+0/-0)

Outlook for the week: Exchange student goes home this Friday, so I might see a bit more of daughter #1 next weekend. I'm playing a Terra Mystica game against Dave E and a couple other folk on Juho's moderator (and it's amusing.) I've now played several games against the Particularly Terrible TerraMysticaAI - which has actually been a lovely education: I've got a much better handle about the various parts interact now.

Not on call this week, so hopefully there'll be a bit more gaming than last week saw.
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8. Board Game: 1846: The Race for the Midwest [Average Rating:8.08 Overall Rank:504]
Burster of Bubbles, Destroyer of Dreams.
United States
Sunnyvale
California
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Yes, I know a proper 18XX tile should have a tile number.
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I think I'm the only one here silly enough to play THREE games of 1846 back to back.

Details of my week to follow.

Wednesday night I head off to Geekway to the West.


Summary:
Sunday April 28th, Hawk and Bill's:
Spades (two 4p games)

Monday, April 29th. Y!:
Battlestar Galactica 5p (when there's no 18xx or other high-powered gaming at SVB I often drift into this)

Tuesday, April 30th, SVB:
Primordial Soup with JC, Eve, Shelby

Thursday, May 2nd, Dukefish:
TransEuropa 5p
Power Grid: Belelux 3p
The City 2p
Peloponnes 4p

Saturday, May the Fourth be with you, GamesDay:
1846 5p
1846 4p
1846 4p

Sunday, May 5th, my place:
Power Grid: Quebec plus a VERY competent robot, which we mismanaged so thoroughly that it won. Endgame controlled by a coal shortage.

Details:

BSGBSG Expanded:
Me (Saul Tigh, Admiral, second-card Cylon), Leon, Anush (sp?) (President, new opponent, first play, second-card Cylon), Jeff Shih (CAG), Chris.

This was an odd game. Jeff (Starbuck) was hedging his bets and Leon used his once-per-game to shoot him on the second turn. Jeff did come back as a human Adama Jr.

Anush didn't quite understand the Cylon rules and did a soft reveal just after second loyalty; I took the Presidency away from him and ended up as Admiral/President/CAG/Cylon (unrevealed) for a while. Used my Presidential tie-break power to flat-out kill Chris when we got to jump 8 and the token chits flipped, but waited one turn too long to reveal after that.

It came down to a nail-biter - a last-ditch jump with the humans down to 2 morale, 1 pop, 1 fuel.

Peloponnes
Me, Albert, Dante, Albert's friend Mike (first play for the latter two)

It turns out that Albert and I have been both playing turn order after a withdrawn bid incorrectly; it's quite unclear in the rules, but the designer has clarified in a forum post: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/855863/turn-order

Albert's version, which we played by, was quite harsh indeed (turn order determined by the size of the failed bid) and I got hammered hard by it, with failed bids on both turn 2 and 3. I still managed to come in second with 18/19 to his 21/more.

1846: The Race for the Midwest (raw notes)
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9. Board Game: CO₂ [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:568]
Lo
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Games Played

_7_ Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer x2
_8_ CO₂ x1


Expansions Used

_7_ Ascension: Return of the Fallen x2


The Gaming Week in Review

It really wasn't much of a week. All of two games of Ascension: Deckbuilding Game with S. The only real thing of note was it was our 100th and 101st plays using Ascension: Return of the Fallen expansion (in one form or another).

Saturday night did see a three-player play of CO₂ with the remnants of my old gaming group (P & L). As mentioned, it was a bit of a re-learning game as we'd last played it in January. It went too long (my mistake for not reading the end game triggering rules again) and I didn't find myself that drawn into it. In fact, after it was over, I got to thinking maybe I never needed to play it again. But that was yesterday and as I'm still thinking about the game, maybe I'm not ready to give up on it just yet.

I'm still playing RealmSpeak pretty much every day. As it generally takes less than thirty minutes to play a 28 turn game, it's pretty easy to sneak in a game - especially when many of them end after just a couple of turns.


The Gaming Week Ahead

I'm still trying to get Innovation to the table. As S and I are planning a little vacation in the not too distant future, it'd be nice to take along a small game or two. So I'm hoping Innovation will be a hit with the both of us.
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10. Board Game: Copycat [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:1218]
Max Maloney
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Games Played

.10! Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization 2
.10! Hanabi 9
_9_ Magic: The Gathering 10
_9_ Innovation 1
_8_ Dungeon Lords 1
_8_ Ginkgopolis 1
_8_ London (first edition) 1
_7_ Copycat 1 New!
_7_ Vikings 1
_5_ FITS 1
_5_ Muscat 1 New!

Week in Review

For some reason, I always notice my sixth play of a game. Half a dozen plays seems, arbitrarily, like a good number to begin to understand what is happening. This week saw my sixth plays of London, Ginkgopolis and Vikings. All are games I enjoy and it is nice to acquire familiarity.

This was the first time I played Dungeon Lords with anything beyond the base game. We used Dungeon Lords: Minions Bearing Gifts along with the content additions from Festival Season (ie, new traps, monsters and rooms but not major mechanical additions). This was a funny game in that three of the four players finished in a dead tie at 15 points. There is no tie-breaker in Dungeon Lords.

I had seen Copycat but not had much interest in it. Friese's non-Power Grid games have never generated much curiosity in me. I had no idea it was a board gaming meta-joke. As a mash-up of famous games' mechanics, this was actually pretty fun. My only objection was that my table played a bit slow. I think I'd enjoy this as a solid sixty minute experience. No AP, please.

I have the sense that I never win Innovation, but looking back I see I won it a lot in the early plays. Tom hammered me relentlessly when I played him and I've been hit-and-miss in recent plays. This was my first experience with Echoes of the Past and I was surprised to win against two veterans. I want to focus on the base game as I still don't know the game well, even after 20+ plays. I need to find a way to get focused plays in a short period of time so I can internalize it better.

I crossed 150 plays of Hanabi. There are now only two people on BGG with more recorded plays (both of whom are over 300). That I had so many, relatively, surprised me.
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11. Board Game: The Coming Storm [Average Rating:8.01 Overall Rank:4117]
Daniel Kenel
United States
New London
Iowa
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Games Played

None! Consider it the calm before the storm that is Geekway. I'm heading to St. Louis on Wednesday and will likely be off the net as much as possible during the majority of this week. I should be back next week with plenty to report.



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12. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.01 Overall Rank:19]
Nicolai Broen Thorning
Denmark
Ebeltoft
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Games Played Week 18:

Monday with my wife:
1x _7.4_ Agricola
The only play for the week and I won without breaking a sweat... ok, not true, it was touch and go for a bit but I pulled ahead towards the end and finished it off nicely.

In other news we had an office party on Friday which was a lot of fun. Afterwards I went to a late night (1.30 a.m.) rock concert with a favourite band of mine. Knackered and in bed by 4 a.m. I was still up at 9.30 a.m. to take the kids to the local amusement park for their opening day.

It was a hectic, but awesome weekend. I also completed my Coursera course.

The Week Ahead:
This is a short week as Thursday is a national holiday and then we have Friday off too. I hope we get to play some heavy games this week - perhaps even outside where the sun is starting to come out more and Spring seems to settle in.
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13. Board Game: Monopoly: Alan Turing Edition [Average Rating:4.89 Unranked]
Rich P
United Kingdom
Sheffield
United Kingdom
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Planning...
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Last week’s plays

-10- Agricola (x4) (+WM deck; Belgium deck)
|9.5| Race for the Galaxy (+all expansions)
|9| Ginkgopolis
|9| Himalaya (+5&6 Player Expansion)

Not much gaming last week. A couple of two-player Agricola games at home and a couple of four-player games with friends over the weekend. They're thinking of entering the tournament at UK Games Expo so we gave them some practice with the E-deck.

Every time we use the Belgium deck, a rules question comes up. This must be the worst expansion in terms of card wordings - some are so ambiguous as to be almost unplayable. It's a surprise from LookOut Games because Hanno is usually pretty good at that stuff - I believe at one point he worked on the German translations of Magic cards, which are renowned for their need for precise language. The problem, as far as I can tell, is that most of the new cards are created and tested through play-agricola.com, so perhaps Hanno's involvement is now restricted to just a publishing role. Anyway, this expansion feels rushed out in time for Essen and could have done with another round of proof-reading.

This time, the particular problem was the Occupation 'German by Choice', which gives you bonus points for having your fields and pastures built in a rectangular formation. The card gives examples of 3x2 or 1x3 as being rectangles, but our problem was that a square is technically also a rectangle, but the card doesn't tell you whether square formations are acceptable. Not only that, but it also doesn't specify whether the individual pastures needed to be rectangular, or the set of pastures as a whole, or both. Bah! I chose the option of not playing the card at all.

Our Bank Holiday weekend began with fun teaching games of Ginkgopolis and Himalaya on Friday night. I also went to an academic lecture on how the songs of Pulp were influenced by the architecture of their home city... Kate and I then headed south for the weekend, for some countryside sight-seeing and a trip to a canal museum.

We visited Bletchley Park on Sunday, Britain's World War 2 code breaking HQ. They have on display the homemade Monopoly board Alan Turing is supposed to have played on, back in the early 50s, including its hand-written rules sheet. I took the time to read the rules and noticed that there are no auctions in this version of the game. So even then, the word of mouth spreading of Monopoly rules had been affected by Chinese Whispers resulting in unintentional variants of the true game. No mention of extra money available on Free Parking, at least.

The museum itself was a bit hit and miss, with some interesting displays but also some glaring omissions that would have made the experience better. No opportunity to try out any code-breaking for ourselves, for example. In fact, I didn't see any examples of the sorts of codes they were working so hard on cracking. There was lots about the Enigma machines and the Bombes used to break their codes, much of it quite technical, and that was good to learn about. There were also displays around other aspects of WW2 and I enjoyed the personal stories, but there was a lot of reading and none of the interpretation panels summarised their content at the top, so you had to skim read each one to find out if it was something you wanted to read in detail.

I hate it when museums charge extra for a guide book, especially when that's the only way to get a map of the place. So, after refusing to buy it (the entrance fee was expensive enough), it took us some time to work out which buildings we were supposed to go into and what would be in them. The guided tour was essential and gave us much more background. We learned some strange things: the 30-odd pigeons who were specially recognised for their important roles in the war effort by being awarded the Dickin medal; the double agents who received both a Victoria Cross from Britain and an Iron Cross from Germany, one for their work, the other for their "work"; the capture of an Enigma machine due to a cocky U-boat commander's lack of respect for the rules; and the role of stage illusionists in faking sabotage damage so it would appear from the air that the saboteur had been successful!
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14. Board Game: Dark Moon [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:772]
Mark Johnson
Canada
St.John's
Newfoundland
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“Brothers, oh brothers, my days here are done, the Dornishman’s taken my life, But what does it matter, for all men must die, and I’ve tasted the Dornishman’s wife!”
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"Oak and iron guard me well, or else I'm dead and doomed to hell." - Andal proverb.
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Digital Gaming:

Race for the Galaxy + Expansions (71)
Ascension + Expansions (52)
Carcassonne (7)

F2F Gaming:

Ra (2)
Amun-Re (1)
Brass (1)
BSG Express (1)
Can't Stop (1)
Piece o' Cake (1)
Troyes (1)

---

A lot of RftG on Goko. I'm still not really satisfied with how the game is competitively played but when I lose a lot against the AI, I tend to be stubborn and try to get to at least a 50% win rate again the hardest AI. Maybe I would be more satisfied with the game if I didn't play the 2p advanced game as it would definitely slow things down quite a bit. Part of my exploration of more competitive RftG has made me wonder more about Prestige and the Prestige Leader mechanism. I previously thought that whoever got the Prestige Leader would rarely lose it and be at a huge disadvantage. Now that games are speeding on by maybe the Prestige Leader mechanism wouldn't be so bad. I don't think I will necessarily add it back it, but if/when it becomes available digitally, I would definitely like to give it a go. Ascension is still Ascension which is basically the go-to game to play on my iPhone. I try to break free but it just usually doesn't work. As for Carcassonne, I have stopped playing both I&C + T&B. I&C just doesn't work with the AI. I am definitely getting better at this and am winning a lot more. Still probably only 50 - 55% but that's an improvement.

Finally got to try BSG Express. This is a lighter version of Basttlestar Galactic which uses dice to replace Skill Cards and Crisis Cards. I was actually really surprised with how many other elements they managed to keep or at least feel similar to the normal board game but boil it down to about an hour. I think this game would be a good stepping stone to playing the full game. It was an interesting game, but it has the same problem I had with The Resistance: The game is pretty quick and thus I don't feel as invested in figuring out who the bad guys are. Also both this and the Resistance are mechanically pretty easy and as someone who doesn't mind BSG after all the Cylons have been revealed is another reason why it doesn't grab me. I'm wondering if I'd play it more, it would grow on me, but I don't think I'm going to give it the opportunity as it's player cap is 5 and with that number I would rather play the full game. It's hard for any traitor game to be compared to BSG when it's my favorite game.

Amun-Re is one of the games that's been in my collection the longest, but sat unplayed for many year. It's not that I wasn't interested in it, but more the fact that 5 player games are hard to get to the table and when they do, it's almost always BSG. This is a highly regarded auction game played in two phases. It kind of reminds me of Brass in that respect that some things get cleared off the board after the first phase and others remain in the second phase. The difference is that the things that are left on the board in Amun-Re belong to no one and will be fought over in auction. Amun-Re was the innovator in games that use the "you've been outbid so you have to bid on a different item" that's been found in Cyclades and Homesteaders. I enjoyed that aspect of the game and the asymmetrical regions that players bid on. I found the end game point cards and the randomness of the card to be of an annoyance to me. Yes me, the card gamer, is complaining about card draw. It was really annoying that after a person wins an auction that contains few/no farmer fields that I draw into a 9 farmer bonus point card or if I focus on getting the temples the, I draw no +/- 3 power cards. Another disappointment in the cards is that you can go through the whole deck of cards and then be screwed out of getting point cards in phase two. Overall, this is an interesting game, that could get better in my eyes with repeated plays but I'm not going to keep it, because with 5 people I would much rather play BSG. Probably even El Grande, or perhaps Game of Thrones.

Another new game I got to play this week was Piece O Cake. First off, the English name of the game sucks. These are more like pies than cakes. The German name makes way more sense given point scheme: "...but please with Cream." This is one of the few games that features one of my favorite mechanisms: I split, you choose. The game is extremely easy, you randomly make a pie of 11 pieces which will have different pies. Each pie has a number. This number tells both how many pieces of the pie are in the game and what having the majority of that pie type is worth in points at the end of the game (ties mean both players get the points). Pies also have cream dollops. The higher point pie types have more cream dollops than the lower point ones. So, after the pie is split, the player left of the splitter and then clockwise will choose a portion of the pie. They have two choices at this point: (1) Discard that point and eat all previously acquired pieces of pie of one type, or (2) Keep the portion of pie and deciding which pieces to acquire and which to eat. Eating a piece gives you points equal to the cream dollops. To win, people will usually have to do a mix of eating and acquiring for majorities. As I previously said, I love the splitting mechanism. There are a few oddities to this game for me however: (1) it seems very rare that you would choose to discard a portion in favor of eating, (2) It almost feels as if 5 rounds isn't enough. Maybe I would find 2 sets of 5 rounds better or maybe I just want this to have more substance than it actually has. That said, this is a great little filler.

I've also managed to get some of my favorites played: I was much more satisfied with my game of Brass this time around but I did make a stupid mistake which cost me the game: I had block other people from being able to make a connection to Birkenhead, so that I could eventually build a boat. I forgot that I actually needed to build the connection there for some stupid reason and then didn't have the time. The points from the boat would have been enough to give me the game. I have decided that Troyes is my favorite Euro. With the expansion, I don't feel any other Euro has the variability that this one has. It also isn't as long as some of the heavier Euros that I enjoy like Brass and Ora et Labora but still has a lot of tough choices. I'm also happy to say that Ra has also been getting some play. I would play this one a lot more if the AI was better on iOS, but at least it's getting table time.

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In Other News...

I'm down to only 11 unplayed games in my collection!! Yeah it wasn't that much higher months ago, but I have had a few game acquisitions lately. Though, looking at things, some of the games I've acquired are games that I had previously played: Blue Moon, Resistance (though I guess Avalon is technically different), Notre Dame, and Macao. It's still very exciting as many of these are simply card games that I'm hoping should be easy to get to the table. Here's the full list:

Die Sieben Siegel
Tichu
Hornochsen!
11 Nimmt
Pax
Palastgefluster
Guildhall
Rune Age
Taj Mahal
Louis XIV
Imperial

I have a lot of trouble with Taj Mahal, Louis XIV and Imperial because I almost never have 4 people. It's usually 3 or 5. This number thankfully doesn't look to be going up that fast either. Most of what I'm interested in coming up is just expansions (Seasons expansion, Pandemic expansion, RftG expansion, and BSG expansion). I was really interested in Trajan and had considered ordering it and Terra Mystica for revisiting but a friend ordered both of them. He also ordered Tzol'kin. I don't think I ever would have bought Tzol'kin myself, but I'll happily try his copy. I think the only 'new games' that are on my periphery are Pax Porfiriana and Carson City. Pax Plopplopfizzfizz is pretty popular amongst the Phoenix GCL and their vistors but then again, this seems to be amongst the people that love Innovation, which I don't. I like Ginkgopolis and Troyes quite a bit, so I feel like I should try Carson City with the expansion. That said, Caylus didn't last in my collection and I'm not sure if the different role mixtures themselves would be enough variability. Maybe the spatial element helps too.

I'm thinking of abandoning buying video games. I just don't play them. I bought Fez, I have Heart of the Swarm installed and I just don't play video games. In times that I would spend playing video games, I browse BGG and tend to play RftG on Goko. If it wasn't RftG, it would probably be other digital board games on various websites. I'll still have a crapton of video games to play on steam, should the need ever arise but I definitely feel the need to stop buying them.
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