GCL Amoeba 124 - A Family Affair (2013-06-13)
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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Welcome to this week's Game Chat League Amoeba discussion group!

Visitors are welcome and encouraged to post constructive comments, but please leave posting new items to the members. 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!) For more info on GCL and the Amoebas, please use the links above.

Current hosts:
Eric (Eric Brosius) mb
Carlos (Sprocket314)
Jevon (cadavaca)
Jens (fizzle)
Joshua (Joshuaaaaaa)
Mikko (msaari)
Doug (Phrim)
Larry (larryjrice)


mb It's Father's Day here in the United States. In honor of that, this week's list is about gaming with your family. mb
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1. Board Game: Founding Fathers [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:1034]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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Do/did you game with your father, your mother, or anyone else from the previous generation? How has your relationship with the hobby affected your relationship with your parents? Do/did they really understand why you spend hours and hours playing board games?
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2. Board Game: Beat the Parents [Average Rating:4.56 Overall Rank:15322]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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For those with children of any age, how important have board games been in your relationship with them? If you have young children, do you hope to "ramp them up" to the more complex games that you enjoy, with hopes that they'll be just as into it as you are? If you have older or grown children, how have you been delighted or disappointed by their involvement or lack thereof in the hobby?

If you don't have children, what would your plan be for introducing your hypothetical children to board games?
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3. Board Game: Crocodile Pool Party [Average Rating:4.36 Overall Rank:15579]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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Are board games a part of your family get-togethers? If they are, is it just party-style games, or do more strategic games have any chance of coming out? Have you "converted" any of your family members into avid board gamers? (Have they converted you?)
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4. Board Game: Family Business [Average Rating:6.10 Overall Rank:2443]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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Light Eurogames are often billed as "family games". How appropriate is such an appellation in the context of your family? Do you think that many families enjoy light Eurogames, or is that a myth?
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5. Board Game: Wyatt Earp [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:837]
Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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On Saturday, my daughter and son-in-law had a cat warming party at their house. They have just gotten a new cat. The honoree made himself scarce, as there were too many people for his comfort, but we played games. At one table, my son-in-law was running a playtest for one of his designs, a cooperative space combat game. The rest of us played several shorter games.

_4_ Numeri -- Andy brought over this game from the Schmidt Spiele Easy Play Line. It was originally a frog-themed game under the name Fröscheln, but it is now themeless (it seems almost ridiculous to have taken the theme out of a game with a theme as light as that of Fröscheln!) It's a lovely, colorful game, but there are way too many turns during which you have no decisions to make. I have now played the game 4 times (most with Joe Huber) and it's harmless but definitely not appealing to me.

_8_ King of Tokyo -- For our second game, we played this delightful "king of the hill" game by Richard Garfield. My wife played what seemed to be a reckless strategy, letting her health run down into the 3 or 4 range regularly to grab a bit more notoriety. We were sure she'd go down by the end of the first reel (following the Japanese monster movie theme,) but somehow she kept retreating from Tokyo and rolling hearts when she needed them, and she made it to 20 while she still had 2 hearts remaining. As Andy commented with a smile, "that Richard Garfield is a pretty good game designer!"

_5_ Hey Waiter! -- Our third game was one I hadn't played before. Andy suggested that we play the partnership version, in which players are assigned to 2-player teams and face their partners across the table. He was right---I'm sure it's better this way than with everyone playing solo---but it's still not much of a draw for me. In particular, the end of the game is dominated by a rather formulaic process, something like bearing off in Backgammon.

We returned from my daughter and son-in-law's house, and I finished writing up a teaching guide for 1849: The Game of Sicilian Railways, a game I have played just once (and then not an entire game.) I recently obtained a copy and it looks interesting. I have also recently finished a teaching guide for 18Ruhr, a game I'm enjoying after 4 plays.

On Sunday afternoon, my daughter came over for Father's Day. We mostly talked, but we did play one game.

_9_ Wyatt Earp -- We played this game a lot as a family when the children were still living at home. My wife also enjoys it, so it's a shame that we don't play it much any more. I played it 52 times from 2003 (when I got it) through 2006, but I've only played it 20 times since then.

_6_ 1886 -- On Monday night, Kevin and Joe Rushanan and I played 1886, a print-and-play 18xx game that I hadn't played before. Kevin used the files available on BGG to make up a very attractive copy. He and Joe had been part of a game on Thursday night, but they weren't able to finish, so it would be the first complete game for all of us. The game is very much a modification of 1830: Railways & Robber Barons with a new map and some new rules. In particular, there are 11 companies in the game, including a government railroad, and it is possible to merge two companies together or have one company acquire another (reducing the certificate limit in the process.) It's also an incremental capitalization game in which companies float at 60% but the treasury shares are the only ones that put dividends into the company when it pays out in full.

The initial auction was odd. Joe as first player bid $45 on the C&StL clone and Kevin bought the SVRR clone. I then bought the D&H clone, Joe bought the M&H clone, Kevin bought the C&A clone, and I bought the B&O Private clone. In total, we paid only $5 above face for the lot of them. I didn't mind so much because the B&O equivalent is a pretty good company in this game, with four stations and direct access to Nagoya, the NYC equivalent.

Joe started two companies in the first SR, including the Government RR. The latter floats at 20%, builds track cheap and fast, can only half-cap and cannot pay out full dividends until substantial track has been built. Since half-capping leaves your stock price where it started, this meant his share value would be stuck for a long time. Kevin opted for a lot of cheap shares, while I mostly opened companies to funnel more trains into my juggernaut. At one point I was running 3T, 4T, 5T, 5T in my company (the train limit goes up by one for each company you absorb via merger or acquisition) and at the end I was running 5T, 5T, 6T for $80 a share. Kevin got the only Diesel, largely because it took a long time to sell out the shares and he had stock in his treasuries earning money for the company for a long time.

The timing worked out perfectly for me as my stock value moved to the top right corner of the chart on the last OR (and that last step is from $425 to $500---quite a jump.) I wound up about $600 ahead of Kevin, who was about $600 ahead of Joe. We concluded that the Government Railroad is not a great company to start early unless you have a real need for track.

My preliminary rating after just one play is _6_. The mergers seem to be all-purpose problem solvers, though I'm sure there's lots of finesse in knowing when to use them and when not to use them. We did no acquisitions, which seemed like a missed opportunity. Also, the lovely art on the tiles makes it hard to tell the yellow tiles from the brown tiles---not an insurmountable problem, but an annoying one. The art looks better than it actually works.

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6. Board Game: Mice and Mystics [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:220] [Average Rating:7.41 Unranked]
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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d10-6 Mice and Mystics 2
d10-6 Qwixx 2
d10-7 Atlantic Star 1
d10-8 The Castles of Burgundy 1
d10-8 Container 1
d10-4 Doomworks 1
d10-6 FITS 1
d10-9 Ginkgopolis 1
d10-6 Nefertiti 1
d10-5 Saint Malo 1

New to me:

Only one new to me game this week in Doomworks. I'm fine with playing it again but it isn't something I'll suggest or look to play. A friend had just received it from Kickstarter and wanted to play.

Other comments:

I'm not sure Mice & Mystics will be long for my collection. I enjoy the concept, but the execution is rough. This game needs to be approached more lightly and in a less "gamery" approach most likely.
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7. Board Game: Viticulture [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:122]
Mikko Saari
Finland
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http://www.lautapeliopas.fi/ - the best Finnish board game resource!
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1 x Unpublished Prototype
1 x _7_Viticulture

Another one of those quiet weeks. Well, playing Viticulture (which I got as a review copy) was interesting. I'm not sure how much I like it, but as far as worker placement games go – and I'm not particularly fond of the genre – it was nice. The game has cards, which seem very powerful, but are they powerful in a game-disruptive way or in an interesting way? That remains to be seen. I hope to play the game again this week.

The unpublished prototype was a game a friend of mine is working on, based on the public transport in Tampere. Players bid for bus lines and try to run them profitably. That's hard – I think I was the only player in our four-player game to actually make profit. Interesting. The game still needs work, but it has potential.
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8. Board Game: Reef Encounter [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:496]
Jens KH
Germany
Karben
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_8_ Clippers
_8_ Reef Encounter
_7_ Frank's Zoo
_6_ Anno Domini: Sex & Crime
_6_ 6 nimmt!
_6_ Hanabi
_6_ MarraCash
_6_ Schätzen Sie mal! Reich & Schön
_5_ Catan
_3_ The Mob (new!)

MarraCash (4p): Not a good day on the bazaar for Omar. Leyla gobbled up all the interesting stalls. Anfa abducted all the potential customers. And by the end of the day he had lost his voice from all the shouting at Ali. All for naught.

Frank's Zoo (7p): After the almost-done-after-the-second round game a couple of weeks ago, we really did it this time. I was much happier about the results last time, though...

Reef Encounter (4p): Played with three new players. Went on longer than usual (and not just because people were playing slowly). In the end, I eeked out a win but just barely. I had eaten the most corals but for some reason people were always trashing my stocks.

Capone (5p): Uahh! Take-that mayhem with player elimination (but not really; a family game can't have that so we'll make them crawl for the rest of the game. Brilliant!

Settlers of Catan (5p): Hadn't played since 2009 and didn't miss it. The dice didn't work well for me, and when 3 players were already at 9, me and another were still at 6 and it didn't look good. I did have one great turn right then, though, building a city (+1) and two roads for the longest road bonus (+2) and playing a development card for the final VP.

Clippers (5p): Also with 3 new players and it showed at least in part. Very heavily skewed towards building in the east, and Australia and New Guinea were both connected by three of the shipping lines at the end. As a result we had an unusually large spread in points but the winner was decided by a single VP. And yes, I was France again.
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9. Board Game: Travel Blog [Average Rating:6.13 Overall Rank:3803]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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I was in NJ for Father's Day this weekend. Managed to get in a couple games with my siblings and my brother's fiancee.

_6_ Travel Blog (new!) - I picked this up in a trade thinking it would be an easy sell for my family. Unfortunately, Lauren isn't so good with the geography (even though we played on the US side), so she didn't like it very much. The speed element of the game was a little awkward, as people were bumping hands a lot. I thought it was enjoyable enough, and I end up winning by a few points. Might end up back on the trade pile anyway, though.

_4_ Monty Python Fluxx (new!) - Lauren actually bought this one. It's been a while since I've played Fluxx of any variety, and this play didn't particularly improve its standing. Possibly due to some poor shuffling, we all started with "Creepers" in our opening hands, which made it really difficult for anyone to win. You'd think that the Monty Python theme would work well here, but I didn't really feel it. We went through the deck once, and nobody was able to get rid of their Creeper to have a chance to win. I was starting to think it would go on forever, when Lauren thankfully got a goal that involved her Creeper and put us out of our misery. I wasn't sure how well the others liked this, but for me, ugh.
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10. Board Game: Duel of Ages II [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:995]
Jevon Heath
United States
Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania
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Credit to David J. Kelly
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This image is not mine – message me if you know who made it!
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2x Duel of Ages II
2x Yomi

Got in two games of DoA II last week. I think it's nothing but an improvement over the original. I miss some of the more baroque aspects such as the caves and the Field of Honor, but I recognize the value in the changes made. We played both games with just the basic set, and I definitely felt like the Basic Set is all you need to play. Plenty of replayability in there. I'm likely going to get in another game or two of this sucker today as well.

MVP for the first game was Devon Regal, who sat high atop the Wastes with his L-Wave Grenades and knocked three separate enemies (William Wallace, Suva, Grok) down to less than half health on three separate attacks. He never killed anyone, but that made it all the better since that meant he kept the grenades! Regal ended up tying up six(!) opposing characters for most of the game, and used all three of his one-shot abilities to great effect.

Second game didn't really have an MVP, but the LVP was definitely Quog, who sucked all game. His own vault got ransacked before he could arm himself with the plasma rifle, so he ended up slowly shuffling off to sandbag a labyrinth challenge before getting trapped behind a dome hiding from Pat Garrett's Teragun.
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11. Board Game: 18OE: On the Rails of the Orient Express [Average Rating:8.19 Overall Rank:2608]
James Ludlow
United States
Saint Louis Park
Minnesota
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Hi guys! I'm de-lurking for a bit.

Anyone have an opinion on this beast? Is it a real game or a circus stunt? Or both?

Having never played C2C, I'm not sure if these mega-18xx maps are for actual enjoyment or for the "we just played a massive 18xx game and wow did get some strange looks" factor.

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12. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.02 Overall Rank:17]
Joshua Gottesman
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
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Friday night, I got together with a couple of buddies (pulling me away from The Last of Us). We started off with, of course, a game of Pax Porfiriana which I loved and, as usual, didn't win. Then we played 2 games of Troyes, which hadn't seen table time in a while. Shannon won both of these, the 1st one very close (I think 5 points from 1st to last) and the second in a runaway. He got one of the "broken combos" in Troyes. They are available to all, however the dice didn't love me.

Saturday morning we played 2 games of Endeavor and its nice to see that getting more time on the table again. Then we played Agricola, which I won in a relatively tight game. I have more experience than the other players, which helped. This was an amusing game, as I had negative 10 from the 1st 6 or 7 scoring categories and made all my points on cards, family members and rooms. We wrapped up with another fun game of Love Letter.

For the evening group we played Agricola again, this time with 5, some of the decks from Agricola: The Goodies Expansion and now I was the guy with the least experience (except 1 brand new player). I thought I got smoked and I ended up with 36 points, better than I thought (2 players were tied for 2nd with 40 apiece), so I was happy.

Next up was, you guessed it, another game of Pax, teaching new players. We had a "psych-out" victory. I told one player he had to buy the topple to keep another player from winning (I would have done it on my turn, but the realization came after the next player had started his turn). The player who was going to win did all the calcs and showed us how he was 1 point short of winning, and the new player decided not to trigger the topple...which, of course, gave the win to the player who had an extra point (Outrage, I think) in his hand.

And after that, we wrapped up with Love Letter.

Monday I had 2 friends over. We started with Arctic Scavengers. My gut feeling is, "good game without a lot of staying power." Then it was another game of Pax, a tight one where I just couldn't find that last loyalty point to win, and a player snuck in with a command win when we couldn't counter. The funniest part was early on when another player seemed ready for a quick command victory, mostly on troops. In our turns, the other 2 of us used defections, assassinations and stealing troops to totally destroy his position. Okay, WE thought it was fun.

This will be a light gaming weekend. Looks like my Saturday AM group is canceled, so just gaming at the shop tomorrow night and maybe a get together on Sunday.
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