GCL Mafia 138: This is Filler!
James Keith
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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
badweasel
mith
mattbcha1
eapeas
Butterfly0038
cferejohn
touchstonethefool
fdubois

Please add an item to represent your gaming life for the week of September 2 - 8, 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: Fill or Bust [Average Rating:5.73 Overall Rank:8860]
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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Title shamelessly stolen from

Ralph T
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Signal Hill
California
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and his awesome geekbanner/avatar.

So, Filler Games! First off, do you dislike/mind/like filler games? If you're a fan, why? If not, why not?

Edit: For the purposes of the following questions, we'll define filler games as ones that that top out at 15-20 minutes. You're welcome to include "super fillers" (~30 min) as they tend to be more acceptable over super light fluff, but once you're pushing 45 minute territory, you're no longer a filler game
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2. Board Game: Yay! [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:9308]
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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Do you have a favorite piece of filler? If you're not a fan, what would a filler game have to incorporate to start to pique your interest? (And no "it would have to be a heavier game" nonsense, surely there's some reduction of an aspect you like in games that you could see being interesting in a smaller time-frame).
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3. Board Game: Boo [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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Are there any filler games you don't like? If you don't like filler games to begin with, tell me what aspect of a bigger game would be a horrible idea if rendered down into a 10 minute experience. Get creative!
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4. Board Game: Numbers Up [Average Rating:5.21 Overall Rank:14530]
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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How many players do you like your fillers to handle? More? Less? Again, if you're not a fan, feel free to muse on player count in general.
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5. Board Game: Spyrium [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:552]
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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New Games

Bruges x1
Skull x1
Gloria Mundi x1
Spyrium x1

Old Games

Tournay x2
YINSH x1
Summoner Wars: Master Set x1
Parade x1

Not a shabby amount of games for my birthday weekend! A good amount of new stuff too...

Finally finished out the 2012 Feld trilogy with Bruges, and didn't feel too strongly about it one way or another. In a way it's almost the diametric opposite of Rialto, in that, while they both are medium-light games from a designer who's known for his heavy offerings, the latter is streamlined and heavily focused on turn order, while the former is packed full with options and has a fixed turn order. Like Rialto, Bruges is largely card driven, but feels like it has a lot more moving parts. The former feels more procedural, while the latter feels more puzzly. Oddly, I find myself liking Rialto more, but I'll have to get some more games of Bruges in before I can make the final call.

I'd been meaning to get a copy of Skull for a while, and nabbed the last copy that Boards and Bits had a week or so ago (along with a few other games) as a birthday present for myself. It's a really nifty bluffing game that plays super quick and is always a hoot. I'm really glad I dropped the dough to get a copy and am looking forward to many more plays.

I'd bought Gloria Mundi off of one of Funagain's clearance sales and have been trying to get it to the table for weeks, and finally got my chance last Saturday. It's a theme I've never seen before, and once again my contractual obligation to like all Roman-themed games also had a hand in my desire to try it, but it sadly seemed to not work too well with 2p. The system is interesting and pretty straightforward, though I hear it gets overly chaotic with more players. I'm going to try for a recommended 4p game and check back in later.

And finally, Spyrium surprised me by being a much lighter affair than I had originally thought. Joel Eddy's description of it being a Filler is almost on the nose (it's just a little bit too long with just a little more moving parts for me to classify it as such). Like Attia's other games, it's heavy on mechanics and light on theme, but it's very well put together and definitely has had time to get polished up. It's growing on me the more I play it, and while it's not the second coming from the man who gave us Caylus, it's a great little light-medium offering that I'm happy to own. I'm looking forward to getting this to the table more often!

Oh, and after buying and giving Tournay another shot, I can happily confirm that Fabrice was right about it. It's really grown on me since I've had a chance to play it again (with the advanced rules and the full card appendix that Z-Man thankfully included in their printing), and I'm liking it more and more. Thanks for convincing me to give it another try, Fabrice!
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6. Board Game: Santiago [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:591]
Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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d10-9 2x Trains
d10-9 1x Goa
d10-9 1x Sticheln
d10-8 1x A Few Acres of Snow
d10-8 1x Santiago*
d10-6 1x The Downfall of Pompeii

Another solid week of gaming. It was my first play of Santiago and I really liked it. It's a very simple set of rules but the valuation of tiles and bribes is very tough. We didn't have too much negotiation or collusion but just enough to keep it interesting. I feel like I'm refining my collection and settling down to a small collection of classics that I can play over and over. Along those lines, I played a second game of Goa, this time a 2-player with Amanda. While I preferred the game with more players since it made it harder to mess with what tiles came available, it still played great with 2. Definitely a keeper and I'm still comfortable with my rating of 9 after 2 plays.

Another game that I am now moving up to a 9 is Trains. I don't know if it'll keep the 9 rating long term, but I suspect for the next few months it will. There is a lot going on in this game and I think that with more plays, the play will improve. At this point, I have yet to lose with my simple first get money and later lay track strategy. However, I'm convinced that's because no one is rushing the tempo and so I have enough time to capitalize on my better cash engine. At some point people will figure this out and then the game will move up to the next level. I'm very much looking forward to it.

Lastly, I got a chance to dust off AFAoS and play it again. This play was with DJ who has been playing it recently but has only played a handful of games. I took the French and beat him handily. He started out with expansion and by the time he switched to military, it was way too late.
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7. Board Game: Northern Pacific [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:3406]
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Big Points 1
Lady Alice* 1
Northern Pacific 1
On the Underground 1
Trains 1

Lady Alice was a decently quick bluffing/deduction game. However, I have come to learn that I don't really care for deduction games much.

On the Underground was rather underwhelming. I thought it was okay, but rather opaque. We only played 2-player and Matt stomped me with 20 points more. Perhaps with three it would have a better distribution of points, but as it stands, I didn't care for it as much as I thought I would.

I think the highlight of the week was Northern Pacific, which was a tense and fun 4-player session.
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8. Board Game: Diamant [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:652]
Philip Newman
United States
Plano
Texas
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Weekly Plays:

Diamant - 4
Ghost Stories - 3 (solo)
Android: Netrunner - 1
Brass: Lancashire - 1 (OOTH)
Eat Poop You Cat - 1
For Sale - 1

Obviously I picked the right week to pull out some new fillers...

Incan Gold

Adam and Casey came over Thursday, and Casey had a lot of grading to do so rather than playing Lord of the Rings I taught them this. Three is obviously not the best number for this, but it's so short it doesn't matter that much how many you play with.

Casey ran away with the first game, getting a bit of a lead leaving early the first few rounds and then watching us both die horrible deaths in the last round trying to catch up. I had really bad/funny luck in this one, dying on the next call rounds 2-4 immediately after Adam or both of them left, twice to snakes (the second time after inviting it on myself with "only one left in the deck, no big deal!"). I ended up with 6, whee.

Second game I stole on the last round... I was a couple gems behind early (left first round 1, I think?), and then the middle rounds had some quick disasters (including one round with no treasure revealed). On the last round, we finally saw some artifacts; everyone stuck around after the first one came out, but when the second came out immediately after they both left, and I was able to take them both after the next card.

We played again after bible study on Friday. Adam won the first game (playing with five), getting the 13 card all to himself one round. In the second, Jamie (who we were teasing a bit for leaving early - I called it pretty much every time she chose to leave) took an early lead because of our quick deaths, and she was so far ahead by the last round that I played for second and left with Adam (who was 1 gem behind me). Went over well with the group, I'd bet they'll ask for it again when I get back.

Netrunner

Only time for one game after Casey was exiled to the couch for grading. I finally tried one of my Chaos Theory builds (Shaper was the last faction I hadn't played with my own deck), and Adam was back to NBN again. This one was really close, as I was able to get a rig together very quickly (two Test Runs early pulling Opus and Femme), but because the goal of this deck is to hit R&D hard, I was playing patiently and not pressuring his remotes enough (which was probably a good thing in a couple of cases, as he had some nasty Ice out and plenty of cash). I did steal one with the Test Run Femme though, and then transitioned into my "late game" earlier than I should have - miscounted my memory when fishing for Medium (with a Maker's Eye and Demolition Run in hand), and then trashed Opus instead of one of my breakers (could've gotten rid of Crypsis as it turned out, didn't use it the entire game). I never ended up putting the Medium back out (too busy clicking for credits), but I got to 6 before R&D was protected by Archer (another Maker's Eye, which drew Archer-Archer-Beta Test), and then slowly built my credits back up waiting for the Femme sitting on my Workshop to become playable. He finally played something that might have been the winning agenda for him on a remote, but now I had enough money to run R&D, either getting in cheaply if he didn't rez Archer (allowing a run on the remote next with my Femme still affordable), or pushing him back to 4 if he did (and getting through to access 3 anyway), and I found the agenda there. (He hadn't played one after all, and hadn't found one for several turns - obviously locking down R&D a bit helped, but I wasn't doing it all that consistently so partly just bad luck too.)

Eat Poop You Cat

Between the study and Incan Gold, we played this (which they had apparently played without me at some point, boo). Hilarious as always - my sentence went from "Adam is explaining the rules to this game" to "Angry girl is confused about the arrow through her skull". And those who didn't already know found out that I can't draw anything non-geometric. (Except for seals, apparently.)

For Sale

Tried this one on them after the two games of Incan Gold. Jamie and Matt took to this one really quickly, but Adam said he liked the idea of the game but doesn't tend to enjoy restricted auctions much, and Casey just flat didn't like it. I managed to make the same mistake in both halves of the game, running out of money for the last two rounds to get stuck with the 1 and 5 (didn't read the spreads in property value right, I guess), and then holding on to those two until the last rounds (which ended up with the biggest spreads of check values). Matt won 59-58 over his wife (meaning that all five of us one once between the two nights of filler).

I still think For Sale is the "better" game of the two, but Incan Gold is much more entertaining.
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9. Board Game: Survive: Escape from Atlantis! [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:254]
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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3x Hanabi
Alhambra
Elder Sign
Oriente
Survive: Escape from Atlantis! w/5-6 Player Mini Expansion & The Giant Squid Mini Extension

So mostly light games last week. I taught Elder Sign, and I can't recall which ancient one we faced, but the doom tokens racked up quickly. We ended up having to face the ancient one after he awoke, but we managed to do well finishing him off.

We played Survive with 6 people, which made it difficult to get our people moved anywhere. I managed to save 1, and the rest died in the eruption, all being swimmers. None of mine died beforehand. I got dead last, needless to say.

I was very pleased to introduce Hanabi to some gamers in our group. In particular, to the other host in our game group who was skeptical of the game, but he loved it.



This Saturday, I'm looking forward to a 5 player game of 1830. I'm urging no more players to join us, because it is the first time for all 5 of us, and only myself and Jennifer have ever played another 18xx before (1870 and 18EU respectively). I'll need to read through the rules a second time before this weekend to make sure I'm not mixing up any rules. And for anybody who didn't see the picture, I mostly finished my PnP copy of 18EU last week! I may want to redo the board at some point to make it better quality, but it was my first real board for a PnP game.
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10. Board Game: Glory to Rome [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:162]
Matthew C
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So, I'm not sure whether or not I've mentioned this, but I'm actually more involved on reddit's board game community than BGG, in general. This is typically why I'm terrible about posting on Mondays -- for the past 9 months, I've run a weekly What Did You Play This Week thread there. I like to wait until Tuesday to post here so that I can actually dedicate the time to reading your responses.

I thought I should probably out myself, since I basically take my posting there and pare it down for you guys here. Anyway, I've had a great week in gaming:

Dragon Rampage - First game of the week. Do not play it, it is terrible. I rushed to the quickest ending possible, because I couldn't stand it. It still took an hour, and somehow I actually won. Will not play this again.

Glory to Rome - Thankfully, one of the guys I've been gaming with a lot here in Indy showed up, and brought Glory to Rome with him. I'd never played it, although I'd heard great things. We played a 4 player game, and once I got used to the various actions I really enjoyed the game. I fumbled my way through the first half, making plenty of mistakes, but accidentally created an amazing combination which won me the game in the end.

Jaipur (board game arena) - I've never used Board Game Arena before, but my wife was waiting for students to arrive for tutoring, so we decided to check it out. I'm looking forward to using this more in the future.

Betrayal at House on the Hill - I played this at a game store. This is not a good setting for Betrayal. Please do not bring/force people to play this with you in a loud environment -- it is not meant for that.

Race for the Galaxy - Played a quick game with the guy who owned Glory to Rome. This will probably sit in my bag to bring -- I am pleasantly surprised to find a crowd that likes it.

Commands & Colors: Napoleonics - Since I suggested Race for the Galaxy, I let my opponent choose the next game. He's really into wargames (both miniature and not), so he suggested a game of this. I played the french in a scenario where the english and the Portuguese had to push through my lines. There were a few very tense moments, but I managed to pull through with a 5 to 2 win over him in a very-stacked-in-my-favor scenario.


It's been a good week filled with games I'm happy to have seen for the first time, and a few duds.
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11. Board Game: Baby Steps [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Beau Bailey
United States
Missoula
Montana
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No new games last week, just some more Disney Infinity.

However, our mini-human decided to arrive very early Monday morning. This is bring typed one-handed on my smartphone, so I apologize for any errors. I probably have minimal contributions for this week, once she gets a more consistent pattern going I will be more active.
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