GCL Mafia 131: Games and Celebrities
Travis Dean
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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 GCL Mafia wiki page. If you would like to be notified each week when a new list is posted, subscribe here: GameChat League: Mafia Division Subscription Thread.

Active Members in order of preparation (Next week's preparer in bold):

Dolus
ecargo
McJarvis
mith
mattbcha1
Thesp
Butterfly0038
cferejohn
touchstonethefool
fdubois


The first few items are intended to foster discussion.

Please add an item to represent your gaming life for the week of July 15th-21st, 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 Designer: Friedemann Friese
Travis Dean
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What board game celebrities have you met? Been in the presence of? Had any sort of contact with?
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2. Board Game Publisher: Mayfair Games
Travis Dean
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Who do you follow in one way or another? Why do you follow them and how do you follow them? (e.g. I follow designer x by playing new games they come out with cause they're fun.)
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3. Board Game Designer: Reiner Knizia
Travis Dean
United States
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Among board game celebrities, who would you like to meet in person? What game would you want to play with them?
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4. Board Game Designer: Sampo Sikiö
Travis Dean
United States
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Share with us a board game celebrity that many of us might not know about. This could be a reviewer, a publisher, a designer, etc.
 
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5. Board Game: Alien Labyrinth [Average Rating:6.55 Unranked]
Travis Dean
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Alien Labyrinth xSeveral
*1955: The War of Espionage
Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small
*The Downfall of Pompeii
*Krosmaster: Arena
The Settlers of Catan
*Tanto Cuore
*Wings of War

*new to me

So this past weekend was Comic-Con. This encouraged me to make a GeekList about conventions, but we've had that at least once or twice, probably more, so based on my experiences, I chose to go with "board game celebrities" instead. As I've talked about before, my cousin self-published through The Game Crafter his own game, Alien Labyrinth. We demoed this game at Kingdom Con, and this got him a free ticket to Comic Con, and I was the lucky helper he brought with him. We basically spent the majority of the con in the game room demoing his game, hence having several plays of it now. Nearly everybody who played loved the game. Several purchased a copy. And at only $22, it is very reasonably priced for what it is, IMO, and it's very portable. I think it's also a positive thing that after a dozen or so plays myself over this weekend, I still enjoyed playing it and didn't feel burnt out. So this game has connected my cousin to people from Mayfair, USAopoly, the board game organizers at Comic Con, and several others. And while I was at the con, I took advantage of some of the other games in the room and checked out the exhibition hall. I of course didn't have the time to spend 5-9 hours waiting in line to maybe see a panel, but I'll just look them up on Youtube later. I also wish I had taken more advantage of the Geek and Sundry Lounge, but unfortunately the demoing kept me very busy. Though I did show up one night briefly to check out one of their parties where Felicia was at, and we met a few interesting people there as well.

On Sunday, Mayfair tweeted out a password which you could bring to them to get into the Settlers of Catan tournament. My cousin and I both got in, and there were three tables. He won, but I lost, and the winnners of the three games got to play Felicia Day in the afternoon. That game was won by the person who beat me in the earlier game. For my cousin, I managed to get several pictures of him playing Settlers with Felicia. I also earned several plush sheep from Mayfair while I was there, and a plush wheat. I tried trading in my four sheep for a wood or an ore, but it seems even the bank was out. Oh well, until next time I see Mayfair at a con.

One morning we arrived early, so I taught my cousin 1955: The War of Espionage. Like McJarvis said, the game is pretty interesting. I was surprised by how well the game does progress despite the possibility for a lot of back and forth. I had planned to play this on the train ride down from where we live, but due to issues with when everything runs... this didn't work out. The start of the turn was interesting, because he said the country he picked for his home country was mostly at random based on the cards in his hand he wanted to play for abilities, not for their influence. He took the blue faction, and I wanted to be UK because my entire hand was UK cards. Some people showed up early for Alien Labyrinth demos, so we had to call the game, but it was close. I really look forward to playing this one again. The minor differences in how and when things are played and are effective differently make it a bit tricky to learn and remember what all you can do, but once you get around that, it's pretty fun and quick.

I was surprised to see an oversized copy of The Downfall of Pompeii at Mayfair's booth (as well as having an oversized Lords of Vegas) because it was out of print. Apparently it's being reprinted and will be released in only a few weeks. I may have heard this before and forgotten. I've always wanted to play, so I had two reps sit down with me and teach me the game. It played very quickly and was a lot of fun. Me and one rep tied for getting guys out of Pompeii, so we upturned the volcano, and we tied there as well. So I didn't win, but I tied for first.

I got to learn about and try out a game called Krosmaster: Arena. Basically you have miniatures on a DnD-like board with squares, and the miniatures and destructibles on the board looked fascinating. The game played simply and was interesting, though the cost is really high (but components are pretty decent). I could see myself playing this again. Enough to pick up? Maybe, I'm not sure. Not for $80, but from an online retailer, I might. But it would definitely be interesting to try out some more and I am tempted to pick up a copy.

I learned Tanto Cuore. I did very well since it's very much a Dominion-like game. The chambering mechanic was mildly interesting, but I found it more profitable to simply go for the single 6-pt victory cards instead. I hated the tiny text on the bottom of the card, and am not enthused by the theme, but I've seen the game often enough that I wanted to try it. I ended up winning by a significant margin, though I wasn't keeping good enough track during the game to know just how well I was doing.

One guy who's part of a group of historical gamers taught me Wings of War. I've heard about this game often, but knew little to nothing about it. When he started explaining it to me, I found myself thinking of X-Wing. Which I still haven't played, but the gameplay sounded very similar. We each took our planes and started fighting. We both took several hits throughout but I had a large number of 0 damage cards on my ship, so I was in pretty good shape. We also often took very similar maneuvers, constantly facing off, and occasionally overlapping strategically such that we couldn't shoot each other. But eventually, when he only had 2 life left, I gave him two hit cards for 7 damage to take him out. I had also taken 2 damage cards for 5 damage or so, but I was still alive thanks to the number of 0 cards I had. We definitely played a simplified version of the game, so there was a lot of other things I still don't know about.
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6. Board Game: 1880: China [Average Rating:8.26 Overall Rank:2245]
Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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1x 1880: China
2x StreetSoccer
2x R-Eco
1x The Little Prince: Make Me a Planet

It was a light gaming week due to a whole lot of other commitments. I visited with my new second girlfriend. She lives in northern Wisconsin so we met midway in Indiana. Although I brought a few games to introduce her too, somehow we never got around to it. In addition, I've agree to be PTO president for my son's new middle school. They were looking for volunteers and no one else was signing up, so I stepped up. Probably a bad idea as I've never been involved with PTO before, but I hate people whining about no one stepping up and then refusing to do it themselves. :shrug: I've got lots of experience managing and delegating so hopefully that'll be ok.

As far as gaming, I had my weekly 18XX game. We tried 1880 which was pushing it a bit. We got started late and one of the players is very deliberate, especially with new games, which slowed things even more. We called the game at midnight while we were still in the 6Es. I think things would have changed drastically if we had finished. I'm not sure whether to try this again on a Monday night or not. I'd like to as I really enjoyed it, but I'm not sure if we can finish it in 5 - 5.5 hours.

Other than, my only plays were with Amanda. She had to work till 8 on Tuesday night, so instead of going out on our date night, we stayed in, played a few short games and then watched a movie. Sunday, when I got back, we played two of the games again. I've now reached 10 plays of StreetSoccer, so I can review it for VoE. I'm still not sure if I have anything relevant to say, but I think I'll give it a try. R-Eco and Little Prince are both at 4 plays. Little Prince feels a little too light, so I'm not sure how many more plays I'll get of it. However, I want to try it with the kids to see if they enjoy it. If so, I'll probably keep it for them. It's short, pretty, and fun. There is the opportunity for screwage with hardcore gamers and higher player counts, so I may keep it as a filler for game nights as well. R-Eco is growing on me the more I play it. While I generally lose (I did win for the first time last night), it is a fun game with a decent amount of hand management and look ahead.
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7. Board Game: Android: Netrunner [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:42]
Chris Ferejohn
United States
Mountain View
California
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Edit: No longer broken, but now gigantic ("medium" images are showing as broken). Also no idea why some of the images are randomly turned sideways.

Netrunner x3

Wade got his own copy of the Netrunner core set, so we each put together one deck of each type and played a few games. I made a Runner deck with Noise while he used Kate, and we both used Weyland for our corporate deck.
I was the corp in game 1. Wade dug a couple of agendas out of research early for 4 quick points. After that I managed to get my defenses up as well as a pretty robust economy and made it pretty hard for Wade to do anything for a while. Eventually he built up enough of a rig that he could hack through anything though and he managed to plow through my defenses to get a third agenda.
We switched sides for the second 2 games and I won both, though the second one looked like a loss and I basically had exactly enough credits and datasucker tokens to beat him, taking out agendas twice just before they were scored.
Based on these games, it seems like the runner has an advantage early (when the corp doesn’t have money to rez everything) and late (when they’ve built up a rig that can get through anything) and that the corp has to take advantage of the time in between to do their scoring. Lacking a instant win option (e.g. scorched earth with traces) does seem to make the corps job harder.
I’m teetering on the edge of breaking down and ordering a number of expansions for this to see how an expanded card set changes the game.

Summoner Wars

Another Summoner Wars game in our ongoing attempt to play through all the matchups faster than Plaid Hat can release expansions. This time I was the Benders while Hilary continued to try to get her head around the Swamp Orcs.
The Benders are a faction that you really need to know how to play against. For example: do not hold events in your hand unless you really really need to, since the Bender’s Mimic events can take them from you, as I did to Hilary twice in this game.
Another thing is don’t give them time to build up. Hilary did this as well (though to be fair the Swamp Orcs are another faction that likes to build up) and it gave me time to build up the magic to mind control two of her Savagers.
For all that, it was a fairly close game, and Hilary ended up having one chance to finish it if she’d gone 4-for-4 attacking my summoner near the end of the game. Once that didn’t happen (and I finished off her last champion) I was able to track down and kill Mugglug pretty easily.

7 Wonders

Played at Wade’s 30th birthday party. Wade was just teaching the game to 4 others when we got there, so we made it an even 7. I jumped into science early because only one person seemed to be going into it, but several others jumped on the bandwagon and I ended up only getting 13 points out of it. New player James rode a whole pile of blue buildings to the win and Hilary came in second (and more importantly to her: beat me) on the strength of an undefeated military campaign.

Ca$h 'n' Gun$

Played at Wade’s 30th birthday party. Most folks were new to the game. I was the specialist (use bang bang bang twice). Wade ended up having the grenade and getting shot anyway. Despite doing well early and being the one who taught the game (and therefore having a giant target on my head), I was targeted surprisingly little and ended up winning. I think everyone assumed someone else would shoot me.

No Thanks x3

Played at Wade’s 30th birthday party.
I taught folks No Thanks as they seemed like the sort of crowd who would be in to that kind of light-but-interesting game. It was a hit and we ended up playing 3 games in a row and a couple folks said they were going to look into buying it. One of the games was kind of entertainingly dominated by a player who didn’t quite get it and just kept taking card after card despite being told not to. In the final game I had the cards come just about perfect for me and managed a rare negative score.

Container

Played at Wade’s 30th birthday party.
I taught this to Andy, Greg, and Chris and then proceeded to get completely trounced as Andy and Greg were neck and neck with 110 and 108 respectively, while other Chris and I had less than 40.
I’m pretty confident my biggest mistake here was to go after warehouses - these seem to offer the worst financial incentives - you are usually making just a $1 profit per container turned over - or at least that’s how it was working in our game - probably because so many people bought them. I tried to inflate the price once when no one else had anything in their warehouses, but I immediately got out-competed.
The winning strategies were pretty clearly to focus on selling containers (and maybe production) for money and then buying buying buying containers with that money. In retrospect it’s pretty obvious that when you are producing 2 or 3 things for a total of $1 and then selling them for ~$2 each, that’s a pretty good return. Similarly, shipped containers were usually bought for about $3 each and usually sold for anywhere from $4-8 (after being doubled by the bank).
I am itching to play this again now, because after 3 games, I think I actually know how evaluate what’s going on in the game…

Coup
Played at Wade’s 30th birthday party.
Played with 6 players, a mix of new and experienced. The new players seemed a little at sea about what they were supposed to do and they did not bluff much. Maybe I just haven’t had a good game of this yet, but the bluffing just hasn’t been very intriguing for me in any of the games I’ve played. It didn’t help that I have generally been terrible at this, which is what you get for doing most of your serious poker playing online. I’m still willing to give this a few more shots, particularly as it takes about 10 minutes, but Coup is starting to slip for me.

Shadow Hunters
Played at Wade’s 30th birthday
We wrapped up the night with 2 games of Shadow Hunters, which I used to own but sold off. The newer edition has the expansion with extra roles added in, which helps the game quite a bit. They unfortunately did not fix the really small and hard to read print on the cards.
All other players but me were new. Everyone seemed to play it way too close to the vest, not wanting to reveal their role even when their role was extremely powerful. This ended up being very good for the neutral players, as they require time to set up their oft-elaborate victory conditions. I was able to take advantage of this and win both games (which made at least one person speculate that the Neutrals were overpowered, which I think is, if anything, the opposite of the case).

King of Tokyo

Played at Allie’s brunch.
Hilary and I went to our friend Allie’s for brunch and were joined by Brian and Michelle. We played 2 games of King of Tokyo with the expansion.
In game one I tried to stay in Tokyo when there were still 5 players left, which was almost certainly a mistake and I died first. The game got down to Hilary and Brian which Brian eventually won after a fair amount of back and forth.
The second game got down to Allie and myself and we had a pretty epic battle with her saving herself when I thought I had her with an evolution card that let her block all damage and then finishing me off the next turn (this was after about 4-5 turns of back and forth).
Michelle didn’t like the randomness of the game - sometimes you just get some kickass cards, but Allie wasn’t bothered by it. I just think it’s the sort of game that it is, so if that bothers you, probably best to play something else. I’ll teach her Steam next time. That’ll learn ‘er.
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8. Board Game: Android: Netrunner – Future Proof [Average Rating:8.21 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.21 Unranked]
Philip Newman
United States
Richardson
Texas
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Weekly Plays:

Android: Netrunner - 3
Onirim - 3 (solo)
Hanabi - 2
Urbion - 2 (solo)
Hansa Teutonica - 1
Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs Imperium - 1
Terra Mystica - 1

Really good gaming week, but I'm not going to talk long about it because I'm in England (yay) on a netbook with a tiny keyboard (boo).

Onirim, I beat the other two 2-expansion combos. Urbion I got slaughtered twice, boo. I have them both with me for my trip, along with Hanabi in case my parents want to try it.

DGM Thursday/Friday

Terra Mystica: David Stern (the guy who got me coming to Ziggy's and eventually DGM) and another guy I've played with before but can't remember his name... We played with random boards. Interesting game, got crowded in the middle straight away. I played the Swarmlings, with their huge number of workers and huge costs; their stronghold is pretty nice too. The others were Witches and Chaos Mages, and the Witches got cut off by the early placements and struggled to get going. I very nearly got three towns, but won comfortably despite coming up a bit short there.

Race: David joined Matt and I for a game of Race next, which I won with some absurd 6-dev luck. I went heavy military and windfall, and had GalFed, NGO, and the Windfall guild all scoring 12 (plus another for 8). Matt came pretty close, David had a nice produce/consume engine but couldn't find good developments.

Hanabi: Two five player games, with Matt and Darren as complete newbies and me still relatively new. We only got 17 the first game, but made it to 20 the second despite losing both yellow 2s very early.

Netrunner: I didn't have my decks with me, so I played David's NBN vs. Gabe. His deck as Psychobeale as its main wincon, but doesn't have the money to pull that off; I came close, hitting him with 7 tags via Midseason Replacements after he got to 5 points (I was at 4), and then Psycho'd a 3/2, no Beale in hand. I should have played Closed accounts instead and waited a round on scoring something, but he didn't have that much anyway. He pulled the winning agenda on R&D, but I also had one in hand and even hiding in a totally unprotected archives.

Hansa Teutonica: Only game Friday, because I left to play Netrunner with Adam. Darren won this one getting a bunch of discs (whatever those are actually called) and connecting across the middle. I got to five actions pretty quickly, but ran out of time to catch up - I needed another turn to connect up my network *and* increase my key value to 2, and that wouldn't have been enough anyway. Oh well, I managed second, and beat Shawn for once (which is always an accomplishment at any game he plays).

Netrunner: Mentioned these briefly on last week's list... Neither of us being able to find Opus was the decider, though it hurt him a bit more than me (I did at least get a little economy from Kati). The goal of my Noise deck is to play a lot of viruses (and put pressure on any ice he might have out, with Darwin and Crypsis for general breaking and both fixed-strength + datasuckers/parasite and pumpable breakers as needed), and I forced him to purge a couple times with my setup looking scary, but I never had the money to play enough, much less make the big run on archives. Need to get some early pressure in this deck somewhere. The other game was even more brutal, as I had out four Campaigns within the first three turns and he couldn't waste the money even to trash an Eve. Eventually I had two Tollbooths, an Archer, an Ichi, Corporate Troubleshooter, and Ash on my main remote, and something like 40 credits. He could have tied the match by running on archives, but instead it was a shutout.
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9. Board Game: Samarkand: Routes to Riches [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:1300]
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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New Games

Soluna x4
Call to Glory x1
Samarkand: Routes to Riches x1
Balloon Cup x1
Omen: A Reign of War x1
The Duke x2

Old Games

Highland Clans x1
Pirate Dice: Voyage on the Rolling Seas x1
China x1
Serengeti x1
Elk Fest x1
Credit Mobilier x1
Peloponnes x1
Airships x1
Android: Netrunner (with all of the Genesis Cycle) x4
Würfel Bohnanza x1
Zombicide x1

Had another game day with Grace, and we knocked out a crap-ton of medium-light games that were on both of our lists. Some pithy thoughts on the new ones for me:

Soluna is an oddly thinky abstract from Bruno Faidutti that looks really cute but is high on the brain burn. It has a "collapsing" choice matrix a la Clans or Carolus Magnus which is something that I find endlessly fascinating, but I'm not terribly good at it. Still, a fun acquisition that I'm glad I imported.

Call to Glory is a perfectly cromulent set-collection game that was part of our mid day Schact-a-thon. It's got his classic "tough choices in a minimal decision space" that makes most of his games interesting to explore along with a paper-thin theme, but if you're looking for theme to carry a Schact game, you're looking in the wrong place. Not a bad little game.

Samarkand: Routes to Riches played like a funky intersection between Through the Desert and Paris Connection (the latter more so for it's rules brevity than it's stock manipulation) and was pretty darn good. I was tickled by the ridiculously redundant player aid which spelled out how each denomination of coin was worth victory points equal to it's value (rather than something as gauche as "one victory point per dollar/thematic currency unit"). Expanding different families out to make your goods cards worth more was interesting, and the end game timer of the handshake tiles made for some neat decisions within a very light time frame. Paris Connection is less fiddly, but both that and this game scratch the same itch.

Balloon Cup was a nice little two player game that I was able to grok almost immediately. It's a bit more directly interactive than Lost Cities, but it's definitely got "couples game" written all over it. A very pleasant bit of fluff.

Omen: A Reign of War was a lot better than I expected, in that there always felt like there was plenty to do on one's turn. Having so many options for getting money/cards via your wealth actions and offerings made the game much more dynamic than I had originally thought, and having both the Battle Line inspired combat for cards and separate player Feats available meant that there were always different avenues to pursue. If I had to sum it up, I would say that it was fluid without being busy, which is a hard thing to pull off. Player interaction is mostly indirect with some take-that elements, but it never felt overly chaotic. I'm in no hurry to rush out and buy it, but I was impressed by it by game's end.

And finally, The Duke felt like a neat cross between Chess and Neuroshima Hex! 3.0. The tactical nature of having pieces come out at random definitely went a ways to making the game friendly to players who might be scared off of abstracts. I can see why Tom Vasel likes this game, it's got the sort of barely-controlled chaos that he seems to favor, but in a very functional abstract package that's pretty approachable. Having the pieces switch between two different movement sets every time you use them adds a neat wrinkle to figuring out your moves, and being only able to place new tiles next to your Duke actively punishes turtling and forces you to move your pieces around. This is the abstract I would feel most comfortable introducing to either gamers who might not like abstracts or non-gamers in general. Plus, the wooden pieces are just awesome!
 
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10. Board Game: Adaman [Average Rating:6.05 Overall Rank:9308]
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Adaman* 10
Airships 1
Android: Netrunner 1
Balloon Cup 1
Call to Glory 1
Carcassonne + Inns & Cathedrals 1
China* 1
Credit Mobilier* 1
Don* 1
Elk Fest* 1
Vegas 1
New Amsterdam* 1
Omen: A Reign of War 1
Peloponnes* 1
Samarkand: Routes to Riches 1
Trans Europa 1
Würfel Bohnanza* 1

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Star Wars: Edge of the Empire 1

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MOAR GAMEZ!!!

After deciding I need to play with my Decktet set more, I look up some solitaire games. Adaman was solo and mostly on the PC version of it, which is free. I highly recommend it. There's also an Android version for $0.99, but I haven't given it a try.

I enjoyed New Amsterdam even though I lost horribly. The other table as playing Agricola and it oddly felt very similar in terms of when you're new to the game, it takes awhile (at least for me) to see how everything fits together and balances. I would definitely play it again and love to try to suck much less.

---

As James mentioned, he came over for a mini Grace-a-Con on Saturday. We didn't really play anything of medium weight or higher, but definitely knocked out a bunch of plays (and snacks)!

Airships was a fun dice-chucking, engine-building game that I lost horribly at. Matt liked it and I wouldn't be surprised if we ended up buying it.

China was a good, small/light area majority game. There was a lot more going on than I thought (scoring areas, emissaries, and roads) and I think with more plays, it'd be easier to see and balance all those things. Then, throw in more with the expansions. Overall, a good game, and though I may not run out and buy it immediately, I'd play it again.

Credit Mobilier was awesome because I destroyed James and Matt and it was my only win of the game. However, the game itself is lacking in that whole grabbing me thing. Another that I'd play again, but it feels like it wants to be updated to something more snazzy. I don't know what, but there are a few good ideas in there somewhere.

Don was a rather unique auction game experience. I made bids twice that were illegal and I was quickly called out on. Toward the end I got a better idea of how to bid. Again, likely not a buy, but I'd play again.

Elk Fest is exactly what its description is and the pieces are cute.

Peloponnes is way better than 7 Wonders though I have a more difficult time articulating the title ("pel-a-ponies"?). I'd consider buying it, but it's a bit too expensive for me right now. Maybe after another play or two.

Würfel Bohnanza oddly gave me the feeling of At the Gates of Loyang more than Bohnanza in that you had to roll the right beans to fulfill the orders and set yourself up for future orders. Note that it just felt this way to me and in no way are the games really the same, aside from being by Uwe Rosenberg. Anyway, I enjoyed it and may consider picking this up if I play a Game Surplus or Time Well Spent order.

---

Notes on old stuff:

I'm going to disappoint most of the GCL by saying that I am selling my Netrunner core set. Although I can appreciate the game as being a good game, it's just not for me. I don't enjoy building decks (which is why I think I fell in love with Dominion when I first played it, awed by the idea that you build your deck IN THE GAME and everyone has the same stuff to build with) and since deckbuilding is half the game, that's a slight problem. Additionally, I don't have a regular partner and there are so many other games out there I rather play. Playing sporadically is not going to work for a game like that. I wish there were an iOS implementation as I'd be all over that, but until then, I think I have to say goodbye to LCG's (except LotR for right now) despite how much as I really, really want to like them. But, James crushing me in Netrunner and having a lovely chat about it afterward really helped me accept that. Quite cathartic. He's like my gaming therapist.

I need to play Omen more.
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11. Board Game: Dungeon Lords: Festival Season [Average Rating:7.80 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.80 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.80 Unranked]
Matthew C
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Probably the last games to be played for the next few weeks. I'll be packing up the rest of them tonight. I'm down to only 6 work days before I leave!

Thursday:
Ticket to Ride: Switzerland - My wife's go-to game when she wants to humiliate me. Last time we played she managed a score of 125 vs. 53 because of how she cut me off ruthlessly, and a bit of bad luck on tunnels for me. This time, the tables were turns a bit, and I was able to claim the most important routes before she could. This resulted in me edging her out, 133 to 112. I say edging out because that's only just above what Most Tickets would have swung the game by.

Carcassonne - We followed up TtR with a quick Carcassonne game. We both mostly play this to pass time while talking, and build things. This map was unusually square, and we scored very closely at the end (within 2 points).

Friday:
Dungeon Lords: Festival Season - My older brother and my coworker came over on Friday to play some board games, so I decided to break out Festival Season for the first time. We've been playing a bit more of Dungeon Lords recently, so we were generally familiar with each of the actions. However, while I like this expansion, I think it really only shines after you're very familiar/bored with the base game. The game was definitely longer than we anticipated.

My general strategy in Dungeon Lords is, what I term, the Second-Best-Strategy. That is, rather than luring a paladin in and killing him for the victory points, I usually shoot for the easy adventurers and easily murder imprison them. Since we were only playing with three players, I decided to aim for the paladins for once. This proved successful for me in the end, and I took my very first Dungeon Lords victory.

Of course, this victory was largely because I botched a few very key rules in my first turns, and we did not catch them until the second year. I illegally placed a traps room in the back of my cave on the first season, which should not have been available.
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12. Board Game: City of Iron [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:900]
Mc Jarvis
United States
Arlington
Virginia
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Poseidon 3
Eight-Minute Empire 2
City of Iron 1

Love Letter 1
Masques 1
Peloponnes 1
Singapore 1


Edit- I forgot to bold my plays which count towards my pledge!

After Jimmy mentioned City of Iron the other week I dismissed it out of hand due to being a kickstarter---- however, Grace convinced me to go ahead and buy it along with Eight Minute Empire. I've now played it with two players and four players. The two player experience felt a bit hollow, but the four player experience was excellent.

It's an odd little deckbuilder, and perhaps the most surprising thing about it is that it borrows most of its mechanics from an unlikely suspect--- A Few Acres of Snow. True, it doesn't include a map, but the purchase mechanism is simply having two decks sitting by your player board, and every turn you decide how many cards you want to buy from them. This results in a very similar feeling from A Few Acres where you have many options and not enough time to exercise them all--- a sandbox game of a deckbuilder. I like this aspect of it, since it means I still feel there are portions of the game I have yet to explore.

Of course, the game isn't exactly a deckbuilder in the sense you might think of. Deckbuilding is about a third of the game--- the rest is a mix between resource management, bidding for turn order, and building a tableu of cards and abilities via a cardrow. In this way the game manages to use deckbuilding in such a way that deckbuilding isn't the focus of the game---- remarkably, deck thinnness does not really matter much for gameplay purposes the way it does in other deckbuilders. Since you don't "cycle" cards and don't have a hand limit, managing the EV of value of cards in your deck isn't as important as just managing action efficiency in the rest of the game.

All in all, I have to say City of Iron might be one of the most innovative deckbuilders in recent memory--- and maybe the first since dominion which managed to avoid the deck being the main focus of the game.
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13. Board Game: Glory to Rome [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:155]
Fabrice Dubois
France
La Garenne Colombes
Hauts de Seine
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 10  Android:Netrunner x1
 9  Glory to Rome Black Box x3
 9  Carolus Magnus x1 (ONLINE)
 7  The Little Prince: Make Me a Planet x1

Light week of play. Glory to Rome hit back the table (last plays was october/december 2012). It was all 3 players, a configuration i enjoy a lot.

Android:Netrunner was played only one time in order to wait for the 3rd player for GtR. I played NBN and my friend Whizzard. I won the first round (7-2) and my friend won the second round (2-8). IMHO, this prove the inconsistency of how our decks along with the random of the draw :
1) i manage to draw and score 2 AstroScript when i won and none in the second round. My money engine was better efficient in the round i lose.
2) my friend's first round (when i won) was a mess : no money card was draw and he had Wyldside. The second round, it was not the case and he won unopposed.
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