GCL Meatball Division: Gaming Influence
Brad N
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Madison
Wisconsin
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This is the weekly geeklist for the Swedish Meatball GeekChat League! Only members are to add items (please add your weekly games played), but civil comments from non-members are welcome.



Rotation:
NateStraight (next up)
Patrick Carroll
ellephai
johnbandettini
Osirus
ldsdbomber
cymric
fateswanderer
rarevos
qwertymartin
Sorp222
lacxox
aaarg_ink
Jugular
bnordeng

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Gaming Influence
This week's list is an opportunity to share how you first started gaming and who got you started. Let us know how your gaming habits have changed and how different people have influenced them. How have you impacted other peoples' gaming world? Did you introduce friends and family to games or get them to move to more advanced games? Have you made new friends through gaming?
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1. Board Game: 1st Newbury [Average Rating:6.40 Unranked]
Brad N
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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Your days as a newbie...

When did you first start playing the types of games that you play today? Who got you started on them or how did you discover them on your own? What new games did you start playing because of those who introduced you to the hobby?
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2. Board Game: Step by Step [Average Rating:5.65 Overall Rank:11876]
Brad N
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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As you started playing more...

Were there other, new people that you met as a result of gaming? Did you learn new games or styles of games because of them? Did you make new friends through gaming?
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3. Board Game: Family Business [Average Rating:6.10 Overall Rank:2445]
Brad N
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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Bringing it home...

Did you bring games home to introduce to your family? Did you or do you play games with your spouse or significant other? Did you or do you play games with your parents or your siblings or your children or your cousins or anyone else in your family?
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4. Board Game: Share And Share Alike [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Brad N
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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When you became a gamer...

Did you or do you introduce other people to games? Did you or do you get friends and/or co-workers to play? Did you or do you host game nights?
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5. Board Game: Geeks: The Convention [Average Rating:4.66 Overall Rank:14253]
Brad N
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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Conventions and other get-togethers...

Have you or would you go to a gaming convention or other gaming get-together with people you don't know? If you've done it, what was it like? Was it as you expected? If you have not done it, why not? Are you not interested or nervous or is there some other reason why you won't go?
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6. Board Game: Respond! [Average Rating:5.90 Unranked]
Brad N
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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When non-gamers ask you about your hobby...

How do you (or would you) respond when someone who knows nothing (or very little) about games asks you about them? Would you show them your passion for games and why you like to play them? Or, would you avoid the subject and try to talk about something else?
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7. Board Game: Spouse-ology [Average Rating:4.26 Unranked]
Brad N
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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What about your spouse or significant other today?

I was talking about this list with my wife today and she said I should ask a question about whether you have "over-gamed" your spouse. So I'm taking George's lead from last week by adding this question... if you have a significant other, how have games influenced your relationship or vice versa?
 
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8. Board Game: Twilight Struggle [Average Rating:8.34 Overall Rank:5]
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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A quiet gaming week, but an interesting one in other ways. I had an interview to train as a physics teacher at a nice high school near Bristol on Monday, including having to prepare and deliver a 20-minute lesson for eight 13-year-olds. It must have gone OK, because they offered me the place later that day, starting in September.

Wednesday: 2p gaming with Adam

Equinox - I've taught this to six different people now and they've all liked it. I managed a rare win this time.

Twilight Struggle - Adam was keen to learn and I was happy to teach. I gave him USSR, slightly easier for beginners, but had a dream turn 1 hand that put me in a nice position. He came back into it well in the midgame though and we ended up going all the way to Turn 9. At that point a Chernobyl headline to stop him fighting back in Asia let me score a domination for the knock-out blow. Great to get a game in, I hope we'll do it again soon!

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9. Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:105]
Brad N
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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.NA. The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game - 2 Players
.NA. Unpublished Prototype (Go Big) - 2 Players (x4)
_9_ Pandemic - 2 Players
_9_ Terra Mystica - 4 Players
_7_ Age of Industry - 4 Players
_7_ Innovation - 2 Players
_7_ PitchCar Extension - 3 Players
_6_ Magical Athlete - 4 Players


My younger brother expressed interest in designing a game. So, he and I decided we would and sent some notes back and forth. A recent, bluffing/deduction game contest was posted on BGG and we figured we'd enter. One night this week, he was telling me about something that inspired a new game idea and the two of us put a card game together in about 90 minutes (using some of the ideas we had discussed before). For me, it was really great to be able to throw out ideas and have them shot down or responded to in some other way. Plus, he has all kinds of great ideas I never thought of. We really worked well off of one another and a game was born.

(1) Unpublished Prototype (Go Big) - We played this four times and both of us were a bit surprised at how much we enjoyed it. It's a short, simple card game (54 cards) that involves some bidding, bluffing and good timing. The changes we made over our first 4 play tests were quite minor but definitely made it better.

(2) Lord of the Rings - This was on my "want to play" list and now it's been played. Again, with my little brother. I liked it and find that games like this and Mage Knight and others in that style don't seem to fit real well with me. I'm not in love with the theme, but I like it.

(3) Pandemic - With Dane (4 yr old son) and I'm impressed with his ability to make his own decisions that help us win the game.

(4) Terra Mystica - My third play and I still really like this game a lot and want to play it more even though I was trounced in this round.

(5) Age of Industry - My second play and before this round it was described as "like Brass but not as good." After this round, I totally agree. I did win in a nail-biter 36-35-34-28, but the game just wasn't nearly as interesting as Brass.
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10. Board Game: The Palaces of Carrara [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:547]
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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As my previous week lasted until Monday evening, this week was shorter. Most of the time when I was not working I was taking care of the kids and my wife after her operation so I didn't have time for going to gaming clubs (and this week is not going to be different).

But on Tuesday evening (the day when the Spiel des Jahres nominees were announced, my predictions weren't totally crap at least) the kids were at the grandparents so we had time to play. She didn't feel very fine so probably it was a bad idea to play The Palaces of Carrara, expert version with her. It's been a few months since we last played the game so she had to re-learn the basic rules as well; the added complexity of the advanced tules were just too much now (especially as she couldn't even really focus because of her pains). So she got confused and said she can't focus on so many scoring aims at the same time. I could clearly see she didn't really like the experience... Maybe I should stick to the family version with her until she feels really comfortable with the mechanism, then move to the advanced version again.


Fiday - Memory 2 times with my son.


Saturday evening - I tried Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small against myself. Seems to be a solid title, probably even good for replaying it about 10 times before the expansion would feel really necessary.


Sunday morning - it was Children's day here so we opened a game that's good for all the children in the family (which means at least 3 including me). Well, I must say I think I enjoyed PitchCar the most, but my son and my wife also liked it; also sometimes my daughter just took the pink car in her hand and moved it around the circuit (not flicking it, only holding it in her small hands). So everyone enjoyed it but I enjoyed it the most; I think it's a fun racing/dexterity game.
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11. Board Game: Anchorage [Average Rating:6.79 Unranked]
George Leach
United Kingdom
Godalming
Surrey
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Turns out it was a great week of gaming this week. I hadn't really noticed!
Online
------
4x Go - Not much online this week but four more games of Go. Steadily improving. I did a few rounds of GoGrinder too to sharpen my skills.

Abstract Mondays
----------------
3x Splits - This was rubbish. The idea sounds great but the implementation is boring.

3x Shogi - Wonderful to play some more of this but unfortunately Stephen is quickly becoming a far better player than I.

1x Bauwerk - A decent little game, it seemed slightly more of a dexterity game than I initially thought it would be and it was ok.

1x The Colony - Quite a nice mancala variant. I don't often like those but in this case there were few opportunities for a turn around. I probably made a poor opening.

1x Flower Power - A simple little bluffing game, iterated prisoner's dilemma essentially. It didn't work very well with two but it proved a discussion point.

1x Hnefatafl - After my recent exploration of this game Stephen was no match for me and I easily stopped his King's escape. I'm still interested to know how deep the rabbit-hole is though. I'm not sure I'll ever find out though.

1x Kamisado - Surprisingly enjoyable game though I'm not convinced about the advanced game. Ridiculously over-published though.

1x TWRS - Eve nmore ridiculously overpublished game. We struggled to remember the rules since it's similarities with Amazons mean it takes a little time to unlearn those rules. It's a different beast in play though and is really quite interesting. A shame it's so ridiculously over-produced.

Gaming with Kathryn
-------------------
2x Polarity - Kathryn commented it's been a long time since we'd played Polarity so I duly pulled it out and we played a couple of games. The mechanic is cool and the dexterity skills needed are indeed quite tough. There isn't a great deal in terms of strategic options though. Enouhg to keep it ocassionally interesting but I don't believe enough to actually bother getting good at.

UK Games Expo 2013
------------------
1x Unpublished Prototype - Two non-BGG'ed games played: Hydra and Vlaada Chvatil's new game. Vlaada's new game was what pushed Kathryn into 'over-gamed' for the week I think. Too many patterns and text on cards to be read. Hydra was a cute little connection game. Not a patch on Slither unfortunately. I beat the demonstrator much to her distress.

1x Zoom Zoom Ka-Boom!! - Andy Hopwood's car racing game from last year (Andy did Mijnlieff which is excellent). This is nicely done but something about it did quite click. I think there are too many different downsides to the damage dice that it started to feel cluttered. The ka-boom mechanic was also a little gimmicky. Streamlined to just the racing it made for a very good game. £25 was too much to ask though.

1x Anchorage - This is the game that is still ticking over in my mind. Mainly with thoughts about rules tweaks. It's a pick-up and deliver efficiency game with some scope for blocking. It's almost deterministic and only plays 2-3. I'm looking forward to playing it out.

1x Snowdonia - I tried this one for the first time. Unfortunately Kathryn was feeling veyr hungry before we started so halfway through she was famished and we had to abandon. I liked some elements of it but it reminds me of many other worker-placement games with perhaps a few too many similar sources of VPs. I'd like to try it again though.

1x Kingdom Builder - I wanted Kathryn to try this game out and I got the nod of approval, so now I can put it on my wishlist. Now I just need to find a cheap copy.

1x The Downfall of Pompeii - I played this old classic in the evening with a friendly guy and his two teenage sons. It turned out pretty horribly, I'm glad I never plumped for this when I had the chance. I'm over it.

1x Escape: The Curse of the Temple - Kathrny and I played this wonderful timed dice rolling game. I loved the simplicity of it all and will be looking for a played out or deep-discounted copy in a couple of years time £40 is FAR too much for a light dice filler.

2x RRR - Waiting for our lunch to arrive we played a couple of games of RRR. Truly a great game.
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12. Board Game: Five Points: Gangs of New York [Average Rating:6.21 Overall Rank:6405]
Seth Brown
United States
North Adams
Massachusetts
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Two rounds of this new game, 3p. (I won neither.) I will be posting a review as soon as I can find enough people to play a round with 4-5 players. (I'm torn because I want to post review now, but really feel like a proper review demands trying with multiple player counts.) But so far I can say this is a delightfully devious area control game with a lot of clever stuff going on.

2p Innovation - I started by losing the first three achievements, but then got some scorepile and board stealing cards, and took over to sweep to victory.
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13. Board Game: Safranito [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:1365]
Andrew
Japan
Tokyo
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A team game of Safranito started the night - it's a game I've wanted to try: the dexterity Euro, as opposed to Ascending Empires (the dexterity 4X) and Catacombs (the the dexterity dungeon-crawler). All up it's a fun game - about tossing chips rather than flicking them, and then auctioning cards for sets. Our team won due to a secret recipe.

I then moved to two games of Shadow Hunters (just the base game) and was reminded how much (silly) fun it is. Sure, it could do with a lot of tightening up, but the mixture of intrigue and silliness is perfect. The first game ended with Daniel winning, the second I won as the serial killer Charles (also making the Hunters win).

Finally there was 7 Wonders, which I tend to denigrate, but it's a solid game for its logistics. I came 4th in a 6p game.

I played Liar's Dice and Dominion: Prosperity, winning one of the two games of the former and losing the game of the latter. None of us read Peddler correctly so that game was tainted by incorrect play.

And I won my final game of Tigris & Euphrates on BGG against Lee, John and Jimmy. Not sure why, but I'll take a win against the veterans if I can get one!
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14. Board Game: 1860: Railways on the Isle of Wight [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:1344]
Johannes cum Grano Salis
United States
Finger Lakes
New York
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18GA (3p)
1860 (2p)
Flowerfall (6p)
Bohnanza (6p)
Cards Against Humanity (6p)
Qwirkle (2p)
Haggis (2p)


This is the last two weeks of games, but I'm too lazy to look through my play log and get it 100% right. There were Meatball games of T&E and Container in there as well.

1860 immediately becomes one of my favorite 18xx titles. It wasn't nearly as fussy once we got going, though I absolutely see why it has the reputation of being a terrible entry point to the series. I played it 2p on 18xx Day, and lost by a fairly large margin. I could not tell you how or why, as I totally controlled the early game after a series of hostile track lays. It's a very compressed board, and the brown tiles are really strange looking. I have no idea how to use some of them. I really like the 1830-style stock market, but 1860's worked perfectly fine. (As an aside, I have a PBEM Cyberboard game of 1846 going on right now, and the jury is still out on that stock market).

18GA was 3p after the 1860 game wrapped up, and I won by $49. I am not a lost cause, so hooray for that. First 18xx win ever, and it only took about 20 plays.

Train Night again did not feature a single Train. But we had a good time, and I can finally say I played Bohnanza. That game was terrific fun, way more interactive and hilarious than I was expecting, and my concerns about not being able to absent-mindedly shuffle my cards were a little unfounded. I only did it once, but could easily reconstruct the order. Phew. I have to say, though, that 6p Bohnanza is INCREDIBLY long.

My wife wanted to play Qwirkle, so I made her a pretty strong White Russian, opened a beer for me, and off we went. She beat me pretty badly, so the drink wasn't strong enough, I don't think.

Haggis was one night against my neighbor, which was nice. We don't play together nearly as often as we'd like to anymore, and it was nice to play again. We played Haggis, and I won overall thanks to a big bet. At one point I was up by some seemingly insurmountable number of points. He killed me over the next four or five hands, though, was ahead points going into what was our last hand. We both crested 350 that hand, and my big bet put me out front. Crazy swingy game.
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15. Board Game: Innovation: Echoes of the Past [Average Rating:7.59 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.59 Unranked]

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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Quite a few plays over the weekend. Linus was at his grandparents' for a good while, and we managed to pull a few guys together for a 4p game night.

Jambo, Innovation: Echoes, and Tooth & Nail: Factions with 2, then a LoBster approved Basari, Tammany Hall, and Cosmic Encounter with 4.

I still think Jambo is just fine. I'm actually starting to ponder how it would be with 3, though, and that that might be better. I play with a few variants and almost all the expansions.

Innovation:Echoes was neat. We used the nonrevised drawing rules... those erratad rules sure are ugly, and I fear wholesale changes like that after a game's been developed under a whole othe ruleset.

Tooth & Nail sure is quirky. Your deck only has 6 different cards, repeated 5 times each. This makes for a very bizarre feel, and surprisingly much larger of a decision space than you would think.

It's sitting a little better for me than Blue Moon ever did, which I always really liked in theory but never greatly enjoyed in play... that damned chicken mechanism just isn't right for a fighting game.
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16. Board Game: Pax Porfiriana [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:377]
Justus
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
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Not much to say about Saturday's gameday....

Interesting game of No Thanks with noobs, some really odd payments, but hey why not.

Pax Porfirana was awesome.

And one other game...oh yeah Tichu. I really don't like playing it with noobs, but without an established Tichu base in my local store I guess I need to help develop it! This game really sings only when you've got skilled players.
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17. Board Game: Ginkgopolis [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:321]
John Bandettini
United Kingdom
London
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Two visits to London on Board last week and one game played at home.

20th May at LoB

Ginkgopolis


Well know lurker Rich P offered to teach me Ginkgopolis,
after I mentioned on my recent Geek List about my favourite games from 2012, that I had not played it. I quite enjoyed it and would be happy to play it again but I did not feel the need to rush out and get a copy. It’s a little fiddly, with drawing extra card, lots of moving the board around and keeping track of your cubes.

It seemed to be a game that would reward experience, but the results did not show that. An interesting city building game but not as good as one I played later.

Thebes: The Tomb Raiders

Really enjoying my plays of this. It manages quite a lot of game in a small package. Similar enough to the original to seem familiar to experienced players, but different enough to stand up on it’s own right. It helps that I have won it the last couple of times I played it.

Suburbia

Another one of those games that I love and I am nearly good at. I struggled all game to get a good economy going, if not for my investment marker on my waterfront property I would have finished well last. Instead a late snatch of one of the common goal tiles from Rich, left me not too far behind him in second place.

22nd May at LoB

Our usual venue was double booked, but following a flurry of phone calls an alternative venue was secured. It was a bit further for me to get to, but I found it OK.

Libertalia

I only got this at lunch time, but it seemed fairly straight forward, So managed to play it. Got a couple of the cards wrong, they were a little ambiguous leading to inflated scores, but it was good fun. Martin called it advanced 6 Nimmt! and that might be a good way to look at it.

Snake Oil

A quick round of this, that went down as well as usual.

Mississippi Queen

I’m on the verge of getting rid of this as I find it so average. It’s fun but I just have a lot of games I prefer. Several people have said it really needs to the Mississippi Queen: The Black Rose expansion to shine. So, do I spend more money in the hope of this game really blossoming or do I cut my losses?

25th May At Home

Fauna


My daughter and her boyfriend came over for dinner. After dinner while my wife and daughter were chatting Rob and I managed to play a game of Fauna. I only got it in the mail that day so I was quite keen to try it. It was OK with two but I think it's a much better game with more players.
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18. Board Game: Trajan [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:71]
Maarten D. de Jong
Netherlands
Zaandam
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Two games this week: Trajan and Go.

Trajan got played as part of the weekly get-together, but as we had all returned from longer holidays we were more talking about those than preparing for a game. So when eventually the question of a game popped up, my SO expressed a desire to play Egizia, but as we were all hazy on the rules, we decided to play something we all knew, and Trajan it became. I was paying attention to my Mancala wheel for a change, with the result that I could create a string of useful combos which furthered my strategy—military power with occasional bursts on the senate to secure a good bonus tile—considerably. My SO was attemtping a old favourite, harbour plus senate, but for some reason she couldn't get her wheel up and running easily so settled for massive brute card force. She got a good deal points from that. The host was mucking about, which is definitely not the way to play this game if you want to have a shot of winning... But he was enjoying himself nonetheless. I won in the end, with my SO ending up second at a still somewhat surprising delta-VP of about 15 (surprising because of the small amount). The host was a distant third at a delta-VP of about 40.

Despite the simplicity of the Mancala wheel, making it do what you want is not easy, especially if you want to keep landing on the same action. It is almost always easier to interleave that action with another, but chosing the right one is sometimes difficult to decide upon. For the longest time I wanted to add some Trajan tiles to the wheel to improve my action efficiency, but I just couldn't figure out how to fit in a semi-regular stopover on that particular bowl. So I didn't bother after a while, and just hammered the actions I'd chosen in the hope it would be sufficient. In this particular case, it was.

Go then. As this is my first week of watching over my little kiddo, I haven't looked very hard at the meeting schedule of the Amsterdam club yet. I have begun re-reading a little book on the game, and fired up Godroid on my SO's smartphone on several occasions. For the moment I play only at 9x9, but I find that even on low levels without komi, I'm not able to grab that AI by his stony balls and lovingly grind them to digital dust. (Yes, I know, I shouldn't be relying on AI players because they don't play like humans, but for now it will suffice.) I can push the AI into something of a corner... at the cost of leaving my own territory open to invasion, which invariably occurs. After a few moves it becomes obvious my own stones cannot withstand the hammer-and-anvil attack from the AI, and after a few more moves I lose without honour.

What it tells me is that my moves are far from efficient: I waste too many stones in the attack early in the beginning, neglect to build up something of a more long-term structure, so that I run out of steam before the game is done after which I'm forced into the defense. Figuring out how to improve that is causing me to scratch my head a lot for the moment. But I'm in no rush.
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19. Board Game: La Loire [Average Rating:6.20 Overall Rank:7390]
Lori
United States
Durham
North Carolina
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Belfort*
Black Vienna
Core Worlds*
Deduce or Die
Dominion x2
Hanabi x2
Hex Hex x4
The Little Prince: Make Me a Planet*
Love Letter
Merchant of Venus
Parade x2
Piece o' Cake
Qwirkle Cubes
Sleuth x3
Techno Witches* x2
Thurn & Taxis
Tsuro of the Seas*
Two Rooms and a Boom*
Witch's Brew
Zendo x7

*These were new to me.

And we didn't actually play La Loire, but played a little bit of a 2p game. We had to leave off because the person who owned the game needed to leave, but I was really glad just to get to try it out a little. I'm very keen on this game.
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