GCL Mafia 129: SOLD! To the confused-looking guy on the left!
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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Welcome to GCL Mafia Division's weekly list! If you stumbled onto this list by accident (or on purpose!) and want to know more about the Game Chat League concept, please see the wiki. If you want to look at past GCL Mafia lists, go here: GameChat League: Mafia Division Subscription Thread

Our current roster in order of preparation (next week's poster in bold):

Dolus
ecargo
McJarvis
mith
mattbcha1
Thesp
Butterfly0038
cferejohn
touchstonethefool
fdubois

Please add an item to represent your gaming life for the week of July 1 - 7, 2013. List any games played along with any other information that you deem appropriate. Also, feel free to give life updates, fun facts, or any other super exciting and utterly interesting thoughts you may have.
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1. Board Game: Medici [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:461]
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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Since I just finished sending out a bunch of games from a BGG auction, I thought it apropos to have this week's questions be board game auction related.

To begin with, do you pay attention to the user-run auctions here on BGG? If so, tell us about it! If not, would there need to be something specific (game or otherwise) to pique your interest?
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2. Board Game: Ra [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:137]
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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Have you ever bought something from a Geeklist auction before? If so, what have you bought? If not, what would you bid on?
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3. Board Game: For Sale [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:259]
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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Have you put anything up for auction on BGG before? If so, what have you offered/sold? If not, anything you'd consider putting up?

(no, that last part was not a request, my shelves are currently completely full )
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4. Board Game: Modern Art [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:217]
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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You ever had to ship a game or games before? Doesn't have to be auction-related, but getting stuff out into the mail is always an adventure. If so, tell us what item caused the most trouble. If not, tell us what game in your collection would be the one you'd least want to try and package up.
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5. Board Game: High Society [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:720]
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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I know of a few FLGS' that do either yearly or semi-monthly auctions. Have you ever participated in a live auction at one of yours? If so, how was it? If not, why not?
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6. Board Game: Il Principe [Average Rating:6.44 Overall Rank:2320]
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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New Games

Elk Fest x2
Qwixx x5
Fish Cook x1
Il Principe x1
Rise of Augustus x1
Zombicide x1
Android: Netrunner – Future Proof x2
Revolution! x1
Ostia x1

Old Games

Wits & Wagers x1
Chicago Express x1
Hansa Teutonica (with Hansa Teutonica: East Expansion) x1
Cosmic Encounter x1
Ca$h 'n Gun$ x1
Sticheln x1
Android: Netrunner (with a few more expansions) x3
Gauss x1
Peloponnes x1

New games made a comeback from NaNoNeGaMo with a vengeance! Thanks to a local group who likes to get together on the 4th of July Weekend, I got to play almost as many new games as old games this month. I was so busy I forgot to take most of my usual pictures!

I'd gotten a copy of Elk Fest because I'm a big flicking-game fan (I'm deadly at American Carrom and Crokinole), and what I found was a fun little game that would definitely play well with gamers and non-gamers alike. If I have any complaints, it's that it does look like it would get a bit samey after a while, but for the moment it's a fun addition to my shelf.

Qwixx has been sitting on my shelf for most of June, so I was really happy to finally get it out. It's proved to be a very good piece of filler in my various groups, and I dutifully had some score sheets laminated and bought some dry erase markers for easier use. While it isn't the height of strategic play, I enjoy the small decisions and the semi-push-your-luck element of crossing out numbers. It's length and weight definitely means I'm going to get a lot of mileage out of this one.

Fish Cook was a piece of polished mediocrity that I've come to expect from James Ernest's Cheapass line of games. It's got a few clever ideas clipped on to some old mechanics, and while I wouldn't say it was a bad game by any stretch, it didn't have any spark to make me want to play it again.

I've been getting into Emanuele Ornella's oeuvre of games and really have been liking what I've found. While I was unimpressed with Martinique, I recently acquired Byzanz and Il Principe with Assyria following close on their heels. I got a chance to get Il Principe to the table last week, and while I really enjoyed it, it was a hard game to explain well to everyone and I wished the play could have gone smoother. It's mash up of set collection/area control is really nifty, and I'm finding myself to be a big fan of the player-chosen auction lots found in this game, Byzanz, and Ostia. Il Principe is a hidden gem, but hidden mainly by it's rules. I think it's a really neat design and definitely want to get it to the table again.

Rise of Augustus was about as much as one would expect from a euro-ized bingo. While there is some level of control to where you place your legionaries, what cards you take, and the bonuses you go for, I won through very little effort of my own. It's certainly a good family game, but the strategy serves to keep hardcore gamers merely awake, rather than engaged. Super-fluff.

Zombicide is the loud, bright answer to the dark and dour City of Horror. It feels less like a game of tense survival and more like a game of cutting through swaths of un-dead while the rock music swells in the background. It certainly brings an element of fun to the game that I haven't seen in other Zombie Survival games, and it's got some neat ideas as well (the difficulty ratcheting up in proportion with how experienced your characters get is interesting, as well as the whole "zombies move toward wherever the most recent noise came from" with certain items and weapons being either noisy or silent). It's a great big bucket of movie popcorn to be consumed with abandon, and for that it gets some props from me even though it lands more on the thematic side than the mechanical.

I finally got to play with Android: Netrunner – Future Proof in my Netrunner decks, though as it was the first time I'd played as NBN, I definitely need to tweak things. I came very close to a PsychoBeale win with Midseason Replacements as my main tag-source (In my excitement to try Eli 1.0, who was a fantastic bit of early game ice, I'd neglected to add in any of the in-faction "Data -" ice). However, I put too many big-point agenda cards into my deck, and having MR require that the runner steal an agenda first gave the runner an easy win before I had a chance to set everything up. Still, it was really awesome to hit the runner with so many tags at once, now I'll refine my deck so it can make use of that fact



Revolution! played like a more fast-and-loose cousin to Tammany Hall, and by-and-large it was a fun romp. The Power/Blackmail/Money hierarchy certainly made for some interesting mind-games, but in the end it felt a bit too random for my tastes. There were large portions of the game where all I had was money, which made me very susceptible to other players out-bidding me. Whether you got anything seemed largely dependent on whether or not anyone else cared enough to fight you for it, and while the mind games were certainly a large part of it, it felt just a bit too loosey-goosey for my tastes. The one upshot was that it played relatively quickly, but other than that, not sure how much I liked it.

And finally, Ostia was another auction game with some clever ideas that was marred by my crappy rules explanation. It has some really cool aspects, like not having to outbid anyone in order to win (the auctioneer chooses who to sell their goods to) along with the auctioneer having to buy back the goods if no-one bids on them. The resource allocation between the Forum (where you get more money) and the Senate (where you get victory points) also made for some interesting choices, and on the whole I really liked it. It also moved along at a good clip once everyone got into the swing of things, so I'm definitely going to try and get this back to the table soon.
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7. Board Game: MIL (1049) [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:2629]
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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3x Hanabi
2x Aton
2x Coup
2x A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (Second Edition)
Claustrophobia
Dominion
MIL (1049)
Rise!
**Risk: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Edition
*Ticket to Ride: Europe
King's Favor

*new to me

I finally got to play MIL last week! It was 3 player, and my prep before we started the game really added to us getting through the game smoothly. At first, we were overwhelmed with the options with so much to think about, but about halfway through the game we were moving very quickly with almost no downtime as we made our choices on our actions. Everybody enjoyed the game quite a bit. Vassals were very useful in gaining points and resources, but only once did it come up where we could support another player's knight due to vassaling, and it didn't have any significant effect. But I can see this changing with more players.

Rise! was fun. I was red and played aggressively. I basically surrounded blue and while they did manage to finish a tower, I just kept whittling away his pieces until I won by attrition.

I didn't play Risk: LotR, but my friend was making it to be a light version of War of the Ring. I was pretty impressed overall and suggested a few rules changes. I look forward to seeing how it turns out. I lost, but aside from Mordor, we both had barely any troops left on the board. And we both had hardly any spawn points left.

I played a variant of Game of Thrones: TBG where we had alliance cards. I thought the idea was interesting and I liked some aspects of it, but overall I didn't like how it was implemented so far. Basically alliance cards "ally" you to another house, and give you two additional victory conditions. The first is when your ally wins, you may steal the win instead of that player if some condition is fulfilled. The second win condition is if you hold 5 castles and your ally has met some condition, you both win together. Since my win as Stark could've been robbed from me, I had no interest in pursuing a win, so I went for my joint victory, which only required me to hold 5 castles/strongholds and for Greyjoy to take another player's home stronghold. I felt it was too easy to acquire.
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8. Board Game: StreetSoccer [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:1786]
Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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5x StreetSoccer
3x Fastrack
3x The Little Prince: Make Me a Planet
2x 18NY
2x Eminent Domain
2x Too Many Cooks
1x Clans
1x König von Siam
1x Pala
1x Palastgeflüster
1x Qin
1x R-Eco
1x Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age
1x Sticheln
1x Tichu
1x Trick of the Rails
1x Unpublished Prototype

I have played more games in the last week than in all of June. Part of that was due to July 4th and getting together with our friend Kelly and her Mom and family. For the rest, I can't say.

New games:
Tichu: we only played a hand and Kelly was done with it. I thought it was good, but without Kelly's support, it's very unlikely we'll ever be able to play it on a regular basis.
Clans: It's the game of Dots with wood. I really liked it, but Amanda got destroyed and decided she doesn't want to play again. Since it looks best with 2 (or possibly 3), I probably won't end up keeping it. However, I still really liked it.
Palastgefluster: not a bad game, but it didn't strike me as brilliant. I might hold on to play it with Amanda and the kids, but I'm not sure. It's a fun game where you try to build your tableau without putting down a duplicate. When you play a card, it activates its special power. The next player is determined by the color of card you put in your tableau.
Too Many Cooks: not a bad "trick taker". It's got a weird mechanic with the trick not ending till the total played busts 10. However, I feel like the luck of the draw from hand to hand is too high to make this one a keeper.
The Little Prince: Make Me a Planet: So far, I've only played it 3 times (once with three and twice with two). It's a tile layer (kind of). Each round, N tiles are turned where N is the # of players. Player 1 picks one and then picks who goes next and so on. Whoever goes last, goes first the next round. There are 4 types of tiles. One type is a scoring tile and the other three have stuff on them that the scoring tiles depend on. There's definitely chances to screw other players. The game is quick and simple to teach and has a decent amount of screwage. It's also very compact and easy to travel with. I like it and will probably hold onto it for a while. I just wish I could figure out a decent solo variant.

Games I've played before but am still not sure about:
King of Siam: I really enjoy it. It's simple rules, plays quick, and every action is critical So far my two plays have been 2 player with the same person and I'm still not sure that I get the intricacies of it. The two plays have felt samey. I need to play this some more and also to try it with 3.
Qin: finally got to try this with 3 and really like it. I originally felt like it would be unbalanced with 3, but the board is tight enough that it didn't happen. This has moved into "keeper" status for me.
R-Eco: I really enjoyed my second play. The first was 3-player; this one was 2-player. It is definitely growing on me and I think it's a keeper as well.

Keepers:
I was jonesing for Eminent Domain and ended up playing it twice this weekend. It's still a good game, but I feel like I've fully explored it until the expansion comes out. It was neat to play Roll Through the Ages after a long hiatus. The only reason I still have it is for airline travel solo play, but it was fun. My prototype feels like it's stabilized for a while. I will probably pull it out again at some point, but for now, there are other games I'd rather play.

Trick of the Rails, Sticheln, and Pala were great plays that I really enjoyed. Kelly's aunt really enjoyed Sticheln and I've been asked to find another copy of it for her. Fastrack and Street Soccer were fun plays as well. I've passed 10 on Fastrack and am closing in on it for Street Soccer so I can do a comparative review of the two for Voice of Experience 2.0. Street Soccer has a decent amount of depth and I don't feel like I will have fully explored it by the time I get to 10 plays. Whether I've explored it enough to do a review of it or not is still up in the air.

Lastly, I got to play 18NY twice this week with two different groups. It remains one of my favorites (one more play and I will have dimed it). Both games saw the NYC do well, although in the second play, no one rushed to get shares of it. The NYC president did win the second game by $300, with 2nd and 3rd separated by $4, and 4th a few thousand behind. I still can't decide on now strong the NYC is. In our second play, it did take longer for the first 4H to be bought and for the NYC to form, but not long enough for there to be an appreciable difference. I am still loving this game and hope to get many more plays.
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9. Board Game: Iliad [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:1740]
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Qwixx 6
Once Upon a Time: The Storytelling Card Game 3
Iliad* 1
Cards Against Humanity 1
6 nimmt! (incomplete) 1
Sticheln (incomplete) 1

Another sad week of gaming. Our weekly game night ended shortly and the game, Iliad, ran on too long. It was an okay hand management esque game, but not much there to really prompt me to want to play again.

We taught my parents Sticheln, which was a challenge but I think they were getting it. Unfortunately, dinner got in the way of finishing that game. 6 nimmt! was also interrupted by other family coming over.

We played Once Upon a Time with the family - six players. It was okay, but everyone seemed to try to hurry the story as much as possible just to dump cards. So, I don't know if this is common in the game (and thus not making it too much fun) or if they just played it without much gusto. It did provide a few laughs though, as did Cards Against Humanity.

And clearly my parents love Qwixx. We even played with six people (despite the rules saying it goes to five) since I had printed enough scoresheets.
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10. Board Game: Urbion [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:1913]
Philip Newman
United States
Richardson
Texas
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Weekly Plays:

Urbion - 11 (all solo)
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game - 3 (all solo, 1 Hunt for Gollum)
Onirim - 1 (solo)
Vanuatu - 1 (BAJ with Grace, Fabrice, and Mike)

All Online/Solo this week...

Urbion: This has the same feel as Onirim, which is not surprising. I find these games very relaxing. I think the base probably has a bit more depth to it than Onirim (where you are often looking for a particular card to claim a door), though it's still a pretty simple concept.

There are twelve city cards which need to be "balanced" with good dreams and bad dreams before you run out of cards in the dream deck. Each dream card has a number and an element - each city card has two elements, and you can only play dream cards which match one of the elements (though each city is initially seeded with possibly non-matching dreams). The number/element combinations are fixed, so for example all the fire dreams are either -1 or +4; there are 8 of each card. Rather than playing a card, you can discard to either swap two cards on the same side (hopefully balancing one or both of the cities), or you can claim any cities which are balanced - if all four are balanced, you get a bonus city - and then replace them and seed them with two dreams each.

The other 8 cards in the deck are Chaos Cards, which count as +5 or -5, and are always placed on the stronger side (causing further imbalance); you can also resolve them by removing all dream cards from a balanced city, or by drawing four cards and trashing all the non-Chaos cards, but those options are usually no good - typically it takes fewer cards to swap them around so that they cancel each other out.

There are two mini expansions included, which don't change the game nearly as much as the Onirim expansions. One adds four city cards which can take cards from any element, and 8 meta cards which can be played as positive or negative for their element. The other expansion adds special abilities, at the cost of reducing the size of the deck. Of my 11 plays, 7 were base, 2 with the archon/meta expansion, and 2 with both expansions - now that I've added them both in, I think I will mostly be playing that way in the future.

Lord of the Rings LCG: Tested out my mini-deck system some more. I played Journey Down the Anduin twice with the same pair of decks (Eowyn/Eleanor/Beravor, Aragorn/Gimli/Legolas), getting absolutely slaughtered in the first game (didn't draw any way to handle the Hill Troll - playing this scenario with a starting thread of 30+ is a bad idea), and winning the second pretty easily after drawing some Feints and such to buy some time to build up.

Later in the week, I played Hunt for Gollum with a new combination of decks (Denethor/Boromir/Imrahil, Brand/Bilbo/Frodo). These decks were fun to play (Brand and Imrahil both have "ready" abilities, and I also got out an Unexpected Courage and Fast Hitch; I also beefed up Denethor into a defensive stalwart), but I was slowed considerably by drawing two Old Wives' Tales on the first two turns (one during setup!), and eventually succumbed to Evil Storms.

I think I have a plan of attack for reworking the mini-decks, I just need to sit down and do it.

Onirim: Had to get this one out again after Urbion got me in the mood. I won a close one (no expansions), with no big surprises - I drew keys pretty well spaced out to use the "look at top five and discard one" several times, mostly taking out a Nightmare in the process, and usually finding what I needed to claim doors as well. I only hit a Nightmare without a key in my hand once, and had a bunch of junk anyway. I need to play these more just to unwind.

Vanuatu: Not far enough along to say much about...
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11. Board Game: Terra Mystica [Average Rating:8.21 Overall Rank:10]
Chris Ferejohn
United States
Mountain View
California
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Only gaming that got done with week was at Wade's friend Greg's house, which is in Portola Valley, very nice, and most importantly features a dedicated game room with a Geekchic table. I don't remember the model name - I think it's the second largest - very nice.

Martian Dice

When we arrived Greg was still prepping food for the grill, so the other three of us went down to the game room and played a quick game of Martian Dice which would prove to be my only win of the night, because I have mad martian dice skills. I know the picture looks like Hive - we were using hive tiles as "poker chips" to keep track of our score.

Coup x3

Played one game of this at the beginning of the day and 2 more games just before calling it a night. I didn't ever even get to call a coup or assassinate anyone - so sad. Pretty neat "micro deck" game that definitely does not outstay it's welcome. I haven't tried Love Letter yet, but it seems like an obvious comparison from what I have read. I think Hilary would like Coup - she likes social deduction games in general - so I'll probably pick it up at some point.

T'zolkin

The first of the two "main event" games for the evening was T'zolkin, which I'd only played 2 player. I started with a boost up the skull track and went after that for the most part. I did end up right on the edge of starvation in the mid-game which resulted in some pretty mediocre turns where I could only afford to place 1 piece. I came in second to Andy who made an absurd food engine (he had turns were he generated over 20 food) and used it to buy buildings using the food-for-buildings action.

Terra Mystica

Played my second game of Terra Mystica (though the first was around a year ago, so I didn't remember much). This time I was the witches and I don't think I used them very well. I unlocked their Stronghold power (build on any forest) early, but then only used it once in the game, and I built 2 towns, but it seems like the witches should really try to build 3 to take better advantage of the extra 5 points per. Mostly though I probably should have turned down the points/power exchange at least a few times as Greg kept giving me opportunities to trade 3 for 4, which was great for power but really left me too far behind on the VP track. It didn't matter too much though because Greg's halflings started by getting their terraforming costs down to 1 and then had a turn where they got to earn 3 points per spent shovel (1 for their power, 2 for the bonus tile from that round) and had like a 27 point turn, which gave him a pretty easy victory. Kind of funny to see him just terraforming everything without actually building much.
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12. Board Game: War of the Ring (Second Edition) [Average Rating:8.40 Overall Rank:12]
Mc Jarvis
United States
Arlington
Virginia
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Ave Caesar 2
Phoenicia 2
Tsuro 2
War of the Ring (second edition) 2
1989: Dawn of Freedom 1

Checkers 1
Chess 1
Hearts 1

King of Tokyo 1
Small World 1
Terra Mystica 1
Ticket to Ride 1
Triopoly 1
War 1


I went on a game-cation to visit college friends, and saw family at the same time. In bold are games which count towards my pledge, in italics are games which my niece and nephew asked me to play because they have terrible taste in games. (and are also 13 and 8, respectively.)

This week War of the Ring finally exits my list: I played twice with my bff, which was a rewarding experience. He was very hesitant to play at first, but by the end of the first game he was so hooked that we arranged an extra get-together just to get another game in. I'm going to look for ways to play online for our weekly Tues/Wednesday game nights.
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13. Board Game: The Resistance: Avalon [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:88]
Matthew C
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Play moar games!


This week, I did precisely that. I had a family reunion (father's side), which we haven't done since... well, ever. 30+ people in a house on top of a mountain in West Virginia. My wife and I decided to camp in a tent outside, rather than join the madhouse for sleep. Judging from the noises coming from down the hill at 2AM, I think we made the right choice.

For most of the week, I socialized with my family, but on Saturday the crowds started to thin out enough that people were comfortable with playing games and not just talking. As such, I brought down my game-bag which I'd packed with lighter fare.

Bang! It's not my favorite game, but my brother brought his copy along, and one of my cousins suggested we play it. Unfortunately for her, I was the sheriff and I eliminated her in my first turn. Of course, unfortunately for me, the rest of my extended family thought this was terrible, and proceeded to kill me too. Either way would have been bad for me though, since I had no Miss! cards nor any Beer.

Carcassonne x2 I'd noticed that one of my cousins' husbands was playing it on the iPad, so I mentioned that I had brought an actual copy of the game. We gathered my older brother and a few others to play a few rounds. My older brother always competes for fields. I mentioned this to them in the third or fourth round, and it was no surprise that he decided to employ that strategy again this time. While I'm not saying that farms are not valuable, he clearly overemphasizes them, so I pushed him into using 4 of his workers that way. Because it was new players, the cities were smaller than they may have been otherwise, and he earned a nice 30 points from his farmers in the end to win the game, but I stand by my opinion on the matter. People were excited to play a second time, so we did and I eked out a win by 1 Victory Point that time (again, over my brother (the only other experienced player)), proving that you don't need 4+ farmers to win.

King of Tokyo: Power Up! x2 Played twice with my three siblings. My younger brother and I duked it out, murdering everyone else who got in our way. The first game he outpaced me because he accumulated like 10+ cards while I sat with only one or two. Ouch. The second game I (again) won out by having 1 Health and 19VP going into my final turn. If I had not rolled into VP that turn, I would have lost. Still, he had been the underdog in that game so it felt less lucky of a win than it could have been.

Guillotine
Apples to Apples

Dominos: Mexican Train This one is a family tradition of ours. My grandfather and grandmother discovered this game a while back, and addicted my extended family to it. Each family has special wooden cutouts for the player slots, and their own set of Dominos. It was inevitable that we would play at some point this weekend. Although the game lasted about 3 hours (far too long), it's casual enough that table talk happens throughout, which worked well enough.

The Resistance: Avalon x6 This was the big one for me. I bought a copy a month or two back, and I've been eagerly waiting the opportunity to play it. After refreshing myself with the rules, I introduced 5 others to the game. Because nobody had played before, I removed the Merlin/Assassin roles from the deck, although I would definitely be interested in playing with them. The game was exactly what I wanted, and perfect for such a non-gamery crowd of relatives. I was very pleased with the result, as evidence by our playing 6 times. I was actually dealt Mordred/Spy 5 of the 6 times, which was... interesting. We decided the 6th game was perfect to leave off at because it was the first win by King Arthur's group, rather than Mordred. We almost won the time I was not a spy, but I incorrectly guessed that it was my sister who was the second spy, rather than my younger brother.

My wife and I also played a game of Ticket to Ride: Switzerland but I don't want to talk about it since she won 122 vs. 53 blush
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