Geek Chat League Gelato 62 - Eras
Kyle Seely
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ABOUT GCL mb GELATO DIVISION mb SUBSCRIPTION THREAD

What is a Geek Chat League?


A Geek Chat League is a weekly discussion-group format for people who love gaming and enjoy talking about games. It is intended to foster depth and familiarity, producing engaging content and worthwhile interaction. Members get to know one another, establish shared interests, and generally develop a friendly and productive environment.

Of necessity, each division of GCL is kept relatively small (typically between 12-16 members, though individual divisions may incline one way or the other). A tight-knit discussion group tends to function more smoothly than a free-for-all. It allows individuals to be heard and understood, and for each participant to keep up and enjoy multiple topics as the week progresses. The format is geeklist-based, and lists are not published to the BGG front page.

Policy: If you're a lurker or have otherwise discovered GCL Gelato, feel free to read along with us and see what the members have to say on everything under the sun. If you have a constructive comment or something else you think would add to the discussion, consider posting it — if it's helpful, respectful, and polite to the discussion group as a whole, as well as to its individual members.

Our Leader:

leroy 43 (Roger)

And our Memberlist:

ad79 (Stig)
Capt_S (Jon)
cmontgo2 (Chris)
Cole Wehrle (Cole)
cscottk (Skippen)
DocStryder (Doc)
HarlemMimeSchool (Andrew)
itsmarty (Martin)
krismoulton (Kris)
leroy43 (Roger)
licinius (Carl)
marnaudo (Marco)
oeolycus (Dan)
pete belli (Pete)
PzVIE (Ron)
scoutmom (Cindy)
Sluggonics (Kyle)
wifwendell (Wendell) ***



Favorite Historical Eras!

I love history. I'm not sure why I'm not a history professor, honestly. It was my minor in college. I've been obsessed with it since I was a kid. I read books about it constantly. The majority of my gaming is based on it.

My obsession started when I was 8 years old, and, while at my grandparents' house, found an old copy of Time Life Books' Great Battles of the Civil War. The book was full of evocative paintings of the battle and dozens of maps. So many delicious maps!


That was, naturally, the start of my Official Civil War Buff Status, but also set me on the course to study the rest of world history as well.
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1. Board Game: The Victorian Gamer [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
Kyle Seely
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While my favorite historical topic has always been the American Civil War, one of my favorite periods in history to read about is the Victorian era, specifically late-Victorian London.

There's something so thematically and aesthetically and texturally rich about that era of London. Not only have I read plenty of non-fiction, but it's also the setting of my favorite fictional works - Sherlock Holmes, of course, and the Pitt series of mystery novels by Anne Perry. The works of Rudyard Kipling (late Imperial), Charles Dickens (early Victorian era). The Jack the Ripper mystery! Zulus, redcoats and pith helmets! Imperialism! Inequality! Social injustice!

If you could step back in time to explore any era in history - what era would it be? Where would you go? Whom would you want to see?
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2. Board Game: Cartographer: The Card Game [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Kyle Seely
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Being a student of history, and particularly of military history, I've developed a love of maps. Especially historical maps. Maps from different eras do so much to connect us to those eras - they show us where things WERE, and are as important for helping to visualize ancient landscapes as any other historical source.

I posted a map of 1890 London at the top of the geeklist as an example of the sort of map I could sit and gaze at for hours. The more detail, the better!

As a kid, I used to draw all kinds of maps for my D&D campaigns with my friends.

A What are your favorite types of maps to study, if any?

B What's your favorite game map you've ever played on? This could be a wargame map, or just a game-board that has particularly good "cartographic" qualities!

C Did you ever create or design any maps of your own?
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3. Board Game: Watergate [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Kyle Seely
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Carmel
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I usually wear headphones at work when I'm just working at my desk, and one of the things I frequently listen to are the thousands of hours of Nixon's Presidential tape recordings. Many of these tapes are available to listen to online at the Miller Center for Public Affairs website. There's no transcripts for those recordings, as they're just day-to-day activities, and not part of the Watergate tapes. Initially I started listening to the tapes out of a general fascination with Watergate, but now I'm listening to all of them just out of a fascination with hearing history play out in "real time". The tapes are raw and unedited - only personal details about individuals still living have been bleeped out, and the occasional national security bits - surprisingly few, though.

I can't get enough of listening to these tapes. There's really nothing else that's ever been so perfect at putting me into the room with historical figures. The sensory effect is really amazing, particularly if you listen with headphones.

Sadly, we don't have this level of immersion for more ancient history, but we've got plenty of things that can help us imagine what it was like!

A Do you have a favorite movie or documentary on a specific historical era?

B Is there a historical movie you've watched that ever made you wish you could just step through the screen and into that era?
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4. Board Game: 1805: Sea of Glory [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:2821]
Kyle Seely
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Carmel
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Weekly round-up!

Getting close to the end! We've only got one more session left, which will wrap up Sunday morning after I post this. It's hurricane season in the West Indies. Naturally, right when our most massive fleets have arrived from Europe! Also happening right as the fleets arrived - Yellow Fever epidemic! Both of us were laughing pretty heartily at how utterly stupid we are at this point.

The Allies ran from Nelson's African Fleet, and attempted to complete the 3 raids in the West Indies. Realizing that he was risking the possibility of his fleet being destroyed, by Nelson, and by a hurricane, he raided Jamaica and fled back to Europe before I could corner him. Fortunately, while most of his ships were in Europe, I've been busy shoring up my Mediterranean fleets in anticipation of him going after Malta and Alexandria for one of his few remaining options for points. We'll see how it goes!

Up next after 1805 is



We're starting with the Marie-Louise rules, because we're total lightweights.

On the table at home I'm busy clipping counters (well, trimming the annoying side-mounted counters for GTC) for:

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5. Board Game: Morels [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:594]
"L'état, c'est moi."
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This is the week that was:
Web of Power 2
Combat Commander: Europe 1
Eight-Minute Empire 1
London 1
Morels 1 New to me!
Pax Porfiriana 1
PLAGUE: The Card Game 1 New to me!
Scrabble 1
Ticket to Ride 1

So I met Stig's challenge by playing Morels! I bought a copy when it was newly announced, complete with the wooden foraging sticks, and it has sat unplayed on my shelf for the longest time, until yesterday my wife said to me "hey, why haven't we played this yet" and we pulled it out, unwrapped the cards, shuffled the decks, and had a game. It's a charming little game, the theme is whimsical and delightful, especially as I cook a lot with wild mushrooms when I can get them, and it plays in about half an hour which is a perfect pub game for us.

In other gaming this week, on Thursday night we played two rounds of Web of Power, which I had not played in a very long time. I used to own it, but I sold my copy to Bixby a couple of years back when he was in town and we got together to play some games.

We followed that up with a round of Plague, which is a trick taking game with a bit of a twist, but I think it fell pretty flat for us for having rules that were unnecessarily unclear given how simple it was supposed to be.

We then played Pax but called it after two topples since it was late and we were all done.

Friday night Jonathan came over and we played Ticket to Ride with my wife and daughter, and then he and I played a Combat Commander scenario from VaeVictis that included trucks!



It's a partisan scenario with a German convoy in trucks. The idea is that the Germans are being ambushed. It was a really good scenario. I won as the partisans on surrender, but the VP marker was hovering over the 0 and as the defender, he kept getting VP every time there was a time trigger, and there's a SSR that can give the Germans a stack of bonus VPs when time runs out.

My wife then joined us for a game of London and she thoroughly trashed us. We wrapped up the evening with a game of Eight Minute Empire.

Now, Eight Minute Empire is one of those games that I wish I'd been clever enough to invent myself. There's hardly anything to it, and yet it's got compelling play because it's so short. It's the Bejewelled Blitz of the boardgame world.

In PBEM land, I still have...
... a ladder game of TS that is going very badly again. shake
... a game of 1989 that is still in the first turn (we're just starting a power struggle for Poland)
... a game of Conquest of Paradise which is heading to its conclusion I think.
... a game of Pax Porfiriana
... three games of HIS, two of which should definitely be deep sixed, including our Gelato game I'm sorry to say. soblue
... a game of Unhappy King Charles with Jon, who's about to deal me the New Model Army card.
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6. Board Game: Superstructure [Average Rating:4.67 Unranked]
Pete Belli
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Florida
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Found this unique construction game at a thrift store.

Players use plastic girders...



To build skyscrapers...



While playing cards representing money and events...



Interesting concept. The players have to deal with unions or the Mob (strike cards and nasty cards which take away building materials) while juggling cash flow and construction priorities.

However, the play experience won't be satisfying with two people (the box advertises 2 to 6 players) because the cutthroat element will be diluted. Mob princess Dona Belli (aka "The Norwegian" aka "The Freckled Enforcer") and your blue collar Gelato GCL correspondent tinkered with it but Superstructure will have to wait for a larger group.


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7. Board Game: The Guns of Gettysburg [Average Rating:7.88 Overall Rank:1410]
Ron
Austria
Vienna
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New Games

My copy of The Guns of Gettysburg arrived this week and I've spent an hour to put the stickers on the blocks. What a stupid work! But the game looks great. Just need to find an opponent who is willing to play this with me ...

Games played

Yesterday was game night (4 players), and we played

Viticulture - I'll file this as "3-player game". The board with 4 is just too tight.

Defenders of the Realm - My fifth game and we finally managed to beat the baddies. It was close, but we won and successfully defended the realm!

Among the Stars - a wonderful alternative to 7 Wonders with a great topic. If you have enjoyed the Babylon 5 show, you will surely like it!

Alien Frontiers - one of my favorite games at the moment.

Web of Power - as Roger, we also played that two times. Quick, light and fun game.
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8. Board Game: Fire in the Sky: The Great Pacific War 1941-1945 [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:1869]
Wendell
United States
Yellow Springs
Ohio
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I spent a lot of time this week completing my game of Fire in the Sky. The British took Singapore on the last turn of the game, while the Americans attacked three smaller Japanese bases; Allies needed Singapore +2 for the win, and succeeded on Singapore +3. Midway (hah) thru the game it seemed like the Allies weren't making enough headway, but things begin to roll for them. In this game, especially after Japan lost 4 CV units on the same turn (11 I think it was)! So for the late war, they only had 2 then 1 CVL plus their shrinking pool of land-based air to contest the growing Allied strength. This is an outstanding game. I'm glad I have a copy!

Also played a quick campaign game of Pax Baltica at my friend Norm's place. "Quick" because the Coalition resigned after Karl captured Moscow and was about to crush Saxony. My brilliance is somewhat muted by the fact that after the game I discovered that we had played the siege rules wrong; it should not have been that easy for Karl's Swedes. I think we'll play again.

Jon and I continue our For the People PBEM game, in the penultimate turn. My side actually WON a turn of Angola so we're not dead yet.

And now I have this map on my table (barely, it's a big map):



Oh - and no World in Flames this week!
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9. Board Game: Continental Divide [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:4690]
Cole Wehrle
United States
St. Paul
Minnesota
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x2 Northern Pacific (??)
x2 Yomi (9)
x1 Continental Divide (9+?)
x1 Napoleon: The Waterloo Campaign (9)
x1 Duel of Ages (10)

Well last week was a little busier (and less game-filled) than I had hoped. Still we managed a respectable showing. On Wednesday, Cati and I had over a few friends and played our biggest Duel of Ages game yet, with six players on a quad map. It was delightful. Cati and I led different teams in order to balance out the skill and rules-knowledge. Despite getting creamed there were lots of good moments, including an incredible chase across the board where a dirt-bike-riding Geronimo (w/ gernade launcher) hounded Coach Quinn who was desperately attempting to deliver a couple of high powered items to his team members. Everyone had a great time and I think we may start doing bimonthly DoA meetups with this crowd.

Cati and I also managed a couple of short game sessions during the week before bed when we knocked off some Yomi. I've played some of those characters now 10+ or even 20+ times and am still finding lots of depth and nuance.

The big news of the week though, is the Winsome set, which arrived in typically prompt fashion about midweek. This year's set includes three games (two of the lighter variety and one heavy) as well as an AoS 2-player expansion. We had the chance on Friday to play a couple of rounds of Northern Pacific which is a deeply intriguing little game. It almost feels like an abstract but has some interesting temporary alliance play. Three was a good number for it, but I bet the game would be even better with more. After those plays of NP, we three sat down for a game of Napoleon. I tried a slightly different allied deployment which resulted in an early disaster for the Prussians. Thankfully though 1/2 of the allies had been routed, Napoleon had put himself out of position and the Brits were able to get a couple of wins but not enough to clinch a victory before we hit June 22.

Then on Saturday Cati and I took Continental Divide for a spin with two to get a sense for the rules and gameplay. What a deeply weird and interesting game! It's so unlike almost any train game I've ever played. The game somehow manages to feel very loose (huge board, generic companies, etc) and incredibly tight (static share and price values, a very difficult board). Virtually every element of the game can be torqued to save or kill company or player positions. It reminds me of that Derrida essay on the pharmakon where he works through the operation of the double-sign: "The god of writing is thus also a god of medicine. Of "medicine": both a science and an occult drug. Of the remedy and the poison. The god of writing is the god of the pharmakon. And it is writing as a pharmakon that he presents to the king in the Phaedrus, with a humility as unsettling as a dare."

In other words, the game gives players a wide set of tools, from the surgical instruments to rusty hedge clippers, and the players decide their use. They get to define the tool, but should be fully aware of how easily the edge might be pushed too deep.

Anyway, I'll have much more on the game after a few more plays, but it looks like this is a very good year for Winsome. After a cursory read, I'd say every one of this year's games should find a larger audience and publisher.
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Stig Morten
Norway
Kvernaland
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No gaming, but wrote a sesssion report on the Hornet Leader: Carrier Air Operations mission I played last week and is proofing another edition of the No Retreat! The North African Front rules.

Stina is much better and had 3 full days at school this week. First time since February she has had any full days at school. So happy for her.

Got the last two expansions for Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game so now that game is complete.
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