GCL Meatballs #116, a completely self indulgent topic : Buyin' a House.
Justus
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Las Vegas
Nevada
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We are looking to purchase a house and I can't say its much fun. More like a weird second job.

So here's some questions something I've never done, on buying a house.
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1. Board Game: Monopoly Express [Average Rating:5.67 Overall Rank:7865]
Justus
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If you've bought a house before, how long did it take you to find one? How was the search, was it a long slog or a one shot kill? How did you balance pressure of getting out of the in-law's house (with free rent) but not just firing wildly?
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2. Board Game: Monopoly Deal Card Game [Average Rating:6.27 Overall Rank:1902]
Justus
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Are there any houses you passed on that you regretted? We just passed on a cute little house, great bones but it needed work, and we weren't hot on the area (not horrible but not great) and it seems that the local school wasn't too good either.

It was a really fucking tough decision to pass on the house. It needed work, but it was an original Cliff May home which could have been gorgeous with a little work -- and since it only had one owner it had a lovely mature yard. Furthermore it was cheap enough that if we didn't really like it we might have still had enough saved up for a down payment on another house.

But still, something wasn't sitting right with us so we passed...but I've been second guessing ourselves for the past few days.
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3. Board Game: Monopoly: Electronic Banking [Average Rating:5.00 Overall Rank:16891]
Justus
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For those of y'all who purchased before the internet, how was it done then?

Our process is seems to a case of complete information overload. We've got the realtor sending us listings (covering almost half of the Las Vegas metro area, and we sort through them. For the ones that are potentially interesting I'll do a drive by and then if its still interesting we have the realtor let us in.

Its an awful lot of internet use with the automated emails, google maps/streetview, zillow, and the local tax accessor's website. How did people do this before!?!
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4. Board Game: Monopoly City [Average Rating:5.63 Overall Rank:14518]
Justus
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The market right now in Vegas is very odd. The inventory is very low because foreclosures have slowed to a trickle due to undocumented loan packages - but there are a lot of houses that aren't paying there mortgages. So there is both an push upward on prices and a looming threat of a second drop.

I guess every market viewed in its specifics are going to be odd at any given time. How do you mentally manage to navigate the dual pressure of rising prices and the threat of a drop? How did you deal with market conditions when you were buying?
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5. Board Game: Monopoly: Crazy Cash [Average Rating:5.27 Overall Rank:14959]
Justus
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I'm coming to the opinion that I'm not going to be happy with whatever deal we finally come to. I mean we might not hate whatever we settle on, but we're not going be ecstatic. Maybe a few years later...but not right now.

I have to say this is just a crazy ass process that really fucks with our emotions. Its a very concrete act that speaks about how we see ourselves and our future by way of eating up (the savings) of the past.
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6. Board Game: Monopoly Stock Exchange Add-on [Average Rating:5.72 Unranked] [Average Rating:5.72 Unranked]
Justus
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Have you ever remodeled your house? What's that experience like? I can tell you what its like as an architect, but I'm curious how the client sees all the chaos happening in their world cause I've never been on that side of the experience.
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7. Board Game: U-Build Monopoly [Average Rating:5.28 Overall Rank:16238]
Justus
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Did you ever build your own house? How is that experience? We're both architects so the idea of buying a piece of land and doing our own thing is really, really enticing, though also a bit daunting.

Furthermore It seems that there is a premium on an empty lot. Some of the older houses seem to be a really minimal cost above the intrinsic value of the land. Is this something you've ever run across?
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8. Board Game: Anti-Monopoly [Average Rating:3.64 Overall Rank:17000]
Justus
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Can you believe there are no boardgames about renting? You'd think there would have been at least a tie in with the hit musical! So as a adult-life long renter (though my parents do own their own home) what sort of lifestyle change should I expect?
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9. Board Game: Monopoly Junior [Average Rating:4.31 Overall Rank:16999]
Justus
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Speaking of changes, we're looking at making baby soon. But of course we don't have one now. What should we keep in mind that we might not be thinking about? What are the housing implications of baby?
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10. Board Game: Monopoly Empire [Average Rating:5.58 Overall Rank:14225]
Justus
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Did you find this process an exercise that really taxed your emotional and rational mind(s)?

It seems to have become a total mindfuck for us. Its been forcing us to think about our identities and how we envision the future. We have savings built up over the last decade or so and we're now going to burn it on a singular purchase. Its a very concrete decision with that speaks about how we see ourselves and has strong implications on our future by way of eating up of the past.
 
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11. Board Game: Monopoly Free Parking Mini Game [Average Rating:5.05 Overall Rank:15207]
Justus
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So any other thoughts on purchasing a house? Is this process always as painful as what we're going through?
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12. Board Game: 6 nimmt! [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:612]
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Monday - the end of my weekend in Cornwall

A game of Zsirozas in the pub using the Hungarian deck Laszlo sent me. A nice simple game that's a bit unusual - suits don't matter and tricks are taken by being the last to match the number led.

Five more games of Scopa on the train home and I lost 4-1 again!

Wednesday - last night in London so what else but a trip to LoB?

King of Tokyo x2 - eliminated first both times!

Infarkt - not objectively a good game but sickly hilarious. I killed off one player with a Liver Pate and Coffee party, but sadly a visit from my mother-in-law caused me to commit suicide before I could throw an Instant Soup and Cigars party that would have killed one player with high blood pressure and another with cancer...

Hanabi - another 19. 19 or 20 seems to be the default for competent but unspectacular play. I want to get beyond that!

Tigris & Euphrates - with three of the people I've played it with most. I got off to a great start from seat 1, putting up an early blue/black monument. But they ganged up on me well and I spent a long time with only one leader on the board while monuments started going up all over. Final tally put me 2nd in a tight 7-6-5-5 result.

Kakerlakenpoker Royal x2 - damn this game is fun.

6 Nimmt - and I just had to finish with this. A crazy, noisy 10p game was a perfect send-off.

The rest of the week was occupied by moving, unpacking etc. We're getting there!
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13. Board Game: Brass: Lancashire [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:22]
Andrew
Japan
Tokyo
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Nothing face-to-face unfortunately; have been too busy.

I finished a bunch of Brass: Lancashire games online, hanging tightly on to last place in each one. Seems like it's going to be a while before I figure it out.

Played Saint Petersburg: New Society & Banquet Expansion (with just the new buildings) on Yucata; async is a terrible way to play a game in which players pass so much, but it was interesting seeing the new cards. Thought I lost when another player was able to snag a VP-per-noble upgrade (we all had like a dozen nobles), but I made it over the line in the end.
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14. Board Game: Vegas Showdown [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:461]
Paul Lister
United Kingdom
London
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All games played at LOB on Friday.

Vegas showdown was fun until i spent 3 points of money on what was obviously the last turn and cruised from 1st to 2nd. Normally I don't care where i come in a game but I was rather annoyed with myself to have blown this one. And even more annoyed as I actually shared 2nd place with Lloyd

My first play of Manhattan

1 play of Sushi go

2 play of Coup. Now I know there are three of each role in the game I might stop sucking so badly. 2 last places on Friday.

Looking through my plays of 2013 I see I have almost exclusively played light and light medium games. Maybe 365 of my 400 odd collection has been gathering dust.

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15. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:7.99 Overall Rank:25]
Johannes cum Grano Salis
United States
Finger Lakes
New York
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"It's not hard to design a game that works, the real challenge is making one that people want to play again and again."--Martin Wallace
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Agricola (2p)
18TN (4p, PBEM)


Just two plays to speak about. Agricola was a 2p teaching game against my neighbor. He's always expressed an interest in learning it, but it's never worked out, time-wise. So we did a 2p family version, which went pretty well. I taught the game a little differently this time, as I gave him his board, two farmers, and two drafty wooden rooms. I then set up my board the way it might look after the game. I think the visual target helped, along with my usual comments of "this is not a game about farming, but a game about building a farm," and "your farm will look good and be productive for, at most, one turn." He picked up the game easily, though I did nearly double his score. I'm sorry, but in a 2p game, especially one without cards, there is not nearly enough clay.

He wanted to talk about it when we finished, which is always a great sign. He was particularly interested in the variety of cards, and the Farmers of the Moor expansion.

18TN was online, and was a game where I took over mid-game for an...inattentive...player. I inherited an investor strategy that was working quite well, though one of my first actions was to dump a soon-to-be-trainless GMO. My second action was to use all that money to steal the SOU from another player and kick off a train rush that sank two people. I needed the bank to break one OR earlier to have a chance against the other player, but the train rush threw too much back into the bank; I lost by a couple hundred dollars. Oh well. One of the many sub-games of 18xx is timing. But I'm about to start an online 1846 with this same group, so life's good in Train Land at the moment.
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16. Board Game: Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization [Average Rating:7.99 Overall Rank:35]
Seth Brown
United States
North Adams
Massachusetts
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Finally got in another game of this last week. I do so enjoy this game, even though it's fiddly. Also, every time we go a few months without playing this game, I forget about the removing 2 people when age I ends until a turn later. I don't know why that rule is so hard to remember, but it is. Anyway, I love how the game ends up building a bit different each time; this time Debbie managed to dominate me militarily for the first two ages in spite of not researching a single red military tech card -- just through colonies, blue techs, and wonders -- which I thought was impressive. I managed to reclaim military supremacy in ageIII, but I think only one attack actually succeeded, the rest having been defended with cards.

Also, I played a lot of videogames; lately been playing SolForge which is a lane-based CCG that takes advantage of being a computer game instead of a boardgame by automatically upgrading your cards each time you play them.
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17. Board Game: Rialto [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:851]
 
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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It's been a very busy week. So busy, in fact, that I have even forgotten to add my weekly plays to the database :o

Otherwise, nothing really interesting. I'm having the usual (?) pre-Essen crysis or it might be stronger this time: I'm a bit bored in the FLGS. Many interesting games that were opened have been sold. Many long-time buddies aren't really visiting the gaming club anymore. There are a few opened games that are less than one year old and I'm a bit bored of them. So if I want to play anything interesting then I have to bring some games with myself there - but I don't go to gaming clubs to play my games there; I want to play their games there... But now quite often it's me who is teaching games to others and while I don't hate the experience I wouldn't say it turns me on.

So last Wednesday we played
Asara - which I taught to three others and won (albeit with only one point advantage) by having many second places and ties won by lighting windows in the endgame scoring.
Rialto - which I agreed to try another time but now I can say it was enough: it's not a bad game but I find it just a bit boring; also too much depends on the endgame scoring where too much depends on who happens to have advanced the most on the Doge track which boils down to some too important luck factors. Out of the three Stefan Feld games released this year, Bora Bora got better by second time while in case of Bruges and Rialto I say it was enough and I don't want to play them more.
Ra: The Dice Game - which I taught to three others and came second. I must admit with three newbies (one of them a relatively slow thinker) this thing lasted a bit longer than I like; you either have to play it with faster players or with 2 or 3 players only. At the same time, the game was still interesting: we almost didn't advance on the Nile track at all (the highest a player got from the Nile track was 5 points) and two of us scored only 2 points for the Monuments, yet the scores were 30, 28, 27 and 26 points in the end, very close.
TransAmerica - which I played with two other players who were playing a bit strange. This is a game where I used to say there are two important decision points: where you start your tracks and when you connect to others' tracks, but these players made very strange decisions in these two areas (like starting next to each other, connecting to someone else in the first few turns etc.). I won easily.

At home I mostly played PitchCar with my son. He started to build small tracks for himself and practice - he's getting better! And he's 5 years old today, so we also played some games with him and the guests - like Magician's Kitchen and Spooky Stairs.



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18. Board Game: Chicago Express [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:388]
Brad N
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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_8_ Chicago Express - 3 Players
_8_ Ticket to Ride: USA 1910 - 4 Players
_7_ Snowdonia - 3 Players
_7_ Forbidden Desert - 3 Players
_7_ Caves & Claws - 2 Players
_7_ Batik - 2 Players (x2)
_7_ Sorry! Sliders - 2 Players
_6_ The Castles of Burgundy - 2 Players
_6_ Around the World in 80 Days - 4 Players
_6_ Escape from the Hidden Castle - 3 Players
_4_ Zombie Kidz - 3 Players; 2 Players
_3_ Tiki Topple - 3 Players


Chicago Express and Snowdonia highlight the week. I lowered my rating for The Castles of Burgundy and it will be leaving my collection.

(1) Chicago Express - I love this game and I watched the two other players get a train to Chicago while I was not in on the shares. it was the only train to get there as the game ended fast. I finished second.

(2) Snowdonia - My two opponents (same two from Chicago Express) found this game more difficult. I couldn't comprehend that... there are more rules in Snowdonia, but it seems so much more straightforward to me how you score points. In Chicage Expresss, it seems tough to figure out which move is best at all times... it's as much about reading players as it is calculating the best move while Snowdonia is more about calculating.

(3) The Castles of Burgundy - My wife and I played this for the last time. It's okay, but kind of blah and I don't really have any interest in it anymore. Funny since I really thought this was great for a while.

(4) Around the World in 80 Days - I gave this to my neighbors. Yeah... it's a hard game to find now and worth a pretty penny, but I decided it didn't belong in my collection any longer. So, I gave it to friends who really like it. I like that solution.

(5) Ticket to Ride - With my wife and 7 and 9 year old daughters. We finished in order of youngest to oldest except that I eeked out 3rd a few points ahead of my wife despite being a year and a half older..

(6) Zombie Kidz - Very, very simple cooperative game for kids. It isn't terrible, but not really very good... a bit too simple. The kids want to keep it though so I'll probably play it a few more times.
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19. Board Game: Lord of the Rings [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:760]
Justus
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
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So a pretty quiet game night...

Played a game of Ghooost! by Richard Garfield. Its a little swingy and complicated but still simplistic. I'm pretty sure I don't like it, but I'm not sure I hate it.

Went to the game store, played a couple games of Resistance which was quite a bit of raucous fun. It was interesting, for the second game one of the players decided to keep track of who voted up and down the various teams. It actually made the game better. Typically I hate adding paper and pencil to a game but it clearly highlighted that our game group had not previously taken the voting as seriously as before.

Then a nice game of Lord of the Ring's coop. Its just a nice linear coop...but holy hell that last board is brutal. We did win, but Sauron started on 15, next time I'm moving him up to make it a little scarier and have the decisions tougher.

And closed out with a couple rounds of No Thanks. And yes you can teach and play the game twice in 20 minutes. Lovely simple filler.

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20. Board Game: The Princes of Florence [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:136]
Lori
United States
Durham
North Carolina
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Warhamster Rally x2
Chez Dork
Perry Rhodan: The Cosmic League
Hex Hex
10 Days in the Americas/USA/Europe/Africa
(the 40-day combination game!)
Princes of Florence
Thurn & Taxis
10 Days in Asia
10 Days in the USA
x2
Blokus
Can't Stop
Thurn & Taxis: Power & Glory
Antiquity


Warhamster Rally was new to me. I don't read the strip it's based on, so that layer of it was lost on me. It was an OK game but reminded me a little of Knizia's Rome--the same feeling that the race is not long enough. I guess that's true of any race game; if the course is short, early advantage wins; over a longer course, things even out.

Chez Dork was new to me as well, though I've played Chez Geek. These games are like Munchkin: the appeal, such as it is, is in the humor of the cards. If you don't appreciate that, the game has nothing to offer, and if you do, you might be done when you've played it once.

Such a pleasure to get out Princes of Florence. It had actually only (!) been a year and a half, but this is a perfect example of a classic game that I like but don't play nearly as often as I'd wish. We were definitely not the optimum number of players, but had fun anyway.

Can't Stop actually got a "like" from my nongamer dad, so that was notable. I could see us all mentally adding it to our shortlist of games we can play with him.

I think Thurn & Taxis: Power & Glory has to be considered one of the more successful expansions when you recognize that what it accomplishes, at least in my world, is getting the game played twice whenever we play it. We like Thurn & Taxis, and it's not that long, so rather than decide which of the two versions to play, why not just make it a doubleheader? Works every time.

And my campaign to play Antiquity continues! We played the intro mode again, though, with another new player. I tried worshipping a different saint this time. I won with St. Niccolo, but it was definitely an adjustment not being a follower of St. Cristoforo; at least twice I lost valuable goods through forgetting to staff my storage house. I agreed that St. Maria offers a good challenge for a more knowledgeable player, but she's also a good choice for a novice player who has no expectation of winning but wants to have a less thwarty experience.

This play of Antiquity also gave me a timely lesson that I need with our local con coming up. That is to beware of starting long games with people who are already tired, no matter how great the temptation. I have to remember not everyone is nocturnal or has the same gaming stamina. And if people are going into a complicated game already tired, the game is likely to be slower, and everyone is just likely to find it a less enjoyable experience. I need to remember to back off from these situations.
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21. Board Game: Olympos [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:991]
Maarten D. de Jong
Netherlands
Zaandam
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On holiday, so playing games is a bit on a low burn. Still, thanks to visiting relatives and sheer determination several games got played.

Olympos + Olympos: Oikoumene (2P) — a short and brutal game with lots of take-that, discovery-countering and a close finish. The game really needs that players hit on each other; and the expansion discoveries allow for a lot of extra specialisation.

Riffifi (4P) — A simple cardgame which gains considerably by playing with the more-or-less duplicate variant listed in the rules. Some people are better at it than I, and for the life of me I cannot understand how they manage this. I didn't do too badly (finished second), but my parter absolutely ruled the roost. This pleased her mightily.

Hanabi (4P) — Staple gateway game. It went over very well. The first game we lost because of three falsely played cards; the second game we reached a respectable 21 points, and had lots of fun doing so.

Go (1P) — While in the hotel we had arranged for in order to make the journey to our holiday home less stressful on the little geezer, I found myself playing a number of games of Go, and as usual the AI handed me my ass on a silver platter. But it appears that my defensive moves are improving in quality, because the point difference is smaller than it used to be: I am able to hold on to a larger territory. I wish I could distill my intuition into some basic rules, though.
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22. Board Game: Space Cadets [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:1337]
Agent J
United States
Coldwater
Michigan
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He's looking real sharp in his 1940's fedora. He's got nerves of steel, an iron will, and several other metal-themed attributes. His fur is water tight and he's always up for a fight.
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He's a semi-aquatic egg-laying mammal of action. He's a furry little flat-foot who'll never flinch from a fray. He's got more than just mad skills, he's got a beaver tail and a bill.
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My favorite part was when my 6 year old tried to go through the core breach deck and find the match. Slowly. I realized suddenly that he wasn't actually ready for this game.

They did well with everything else, though. We mostly kept to the 30 second limit but had a couple extensions, but 6 is too young. 7 went all right though - I'm not sure he could have handled the core breach either, though. Those are hard.
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23. Board Game: If Badger was a Bunny [Average Rating:5.70 Unranked]
Justus
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
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To take things to a totally another self indulgent level, one of the games I designed for the Decktet got a review!

Kenny VenOsdel
United States
Saint Paul
Minnesota
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You go on ahead, I'll catch up

When I first got the decktet I went on a tear and designed a few games before I lost steam (in part cause I wasn't very good at convincing anyone to try them out). However, this period was a very fond memory in my gaming journey....so to see someone take the time to try out my game is very gratifying!

Cheers!
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24. Board Game Publisher: Japon Brand
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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To those of you who know many of these games: which ones do you think are worth picking up?
Orders and mail-orders for Essen Spiel 2013 now closed
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25. Board Game: Monopoly [Average Rating:4.38 Overall Rank:17019]
Justus
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
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Well we finally found one. Its in a decent (though not great) neighborhood at a decent (though not great) price and in decent (though not great) shape.

In any case, we're gonna take a few months to fix it up -- its gonna be an interesting exercise for my wife to play general contractor. After that, if you're in town after that say hello!

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