GCL Mafia 139: Owning and rating
Fabrice Dubois
France
La Garenne Colombes
Hauts de Seine
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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

As i was busy this week and idealess, this GCL is inspired by this one GCL Phoenix 16 - In a Soho Doorway as i found it very interesting. Sorry.

Please add an item to represent your gaming life for the week of September 9 - 15, 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: Owner's Choice [Average Rating:6.17 Overall Rank:4180]
Fabrice Dubois
France
La Garenne Colombes
Hauts de Seine
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What is the relationship between how you rate games and your ownership of them?

- Do you own most of your highest-rated games?
- Do you find yourself increasing the ratings of games because you own it ?
- Do you find yourself decreasing the ratings of games after you've sold them?
- Do you take any special pride in owning games apart from the fun you have playing them?
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2. Board Game: Other World [Average Rating:6.48 Unranked]
Fabrice Dubois
France
La Garenne Colombes
Hauts de Seine
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How important is it that your favorite games be highly rated by others?

- Does recognition of your favorite game validate your taste?
- Do you prefer that your favorite games be obscure?
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3. Board Game Accessory: Caylus: Metal Coins
Fabrice Dubois
France
La Garenne Colombes
Hauts de Seine
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How important is components quality in your ratings?

- How much do you evaluate component quality in your ratings? Do you bother or not ?
- Do you prefer average component quality to minimize the game price?
- What game you own that has outstanding component quality?
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4. Board Game: Greed Incorporated [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:1758]
Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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d10-1d10-0 1830: Railways & Robber Barons
d10-1d10-0 1846: The Race for the Midwest
d10-9 Trains
d10-9 Pala
d10-8 Greed Incorporated*
d10-8 God's Playground*
d10-8 1841
d10-8 18OE: On the Rails of the Orient Express
d10-8 Roads & Boats
d10-8 Vinhos
d10-8 Walnut Grove
?? Starship Merchants*
d10-7 High Frontier*
d10-7 18Ruhr
d10-7 Jaipur*

Wow! Either I'm getting very lax in how I rate games or I had a great week of gaming! Two 10s, two 9s, and seven 8s is pretty amazing if I do say so myself. This weekend was Buckeye Gamefest, put on by CABS, the same folks who run the BoardRoom at Origins. BGF is much more of a "play games" convention with only a handful of vendors. This year's attendance was a new high of 486 people between Wednesday and Sunday. I got there Thursday night and Amanda and I were there from Friday morning through Sunday afternoon. We didn't play many games (3 Thursday, 3 Friday, 4 Saturday, and 3 Sunday) but they were mostly long, heavy games.

Highlights of the week:


Any week where I get to play 5 18XX games is a good week. Amanda was with me, so I only played 3 games. Thursday night I played two (1846 and 18Ruhr) before she got there. Friday night I played 18OE short scenario while she played Arkham Horror with Richard Launius and Sunday, she and I played 1841Lite with our friend Nathan (which worked quite well with 3 players).

18Ruhr was more enjoyable this time than the first time. I still don't love it. I think it has the most fastest train rush of any game I've played and the mountain companies, while fun, just don't grab me. I'll happily play it again but there are other 18XXs that I much prefer.

I still really enjoyed 18OE. The thing I find the strangest about the game is that the "should I start a company" mechanic is pretty much removed from the game (at least in the short/medium scenario). Companies are started before the game really gets going and the guts of the game are running your companies well. It's a great game and I really like it, but it is very different than the other 18XXs I've played.

I actually played 1830 before the Con with Jim and Greg. It was the first time we pulled it out in a while and afterwards, Greg and I agreed it is probably the best 18XX "game". There are other 18XXs that are cooler, but 1830 probably has the most interaction, the most screwage (excepting 1817) and one of the tightest designs. While it's true that the companies aren't balanced and that other players screwing up can have a huge impact (bigger than many other 18XX games), I still think that after 25+ years, 1830 is a great yard stick to compare other 18XX games to.

This was my third play of 1841 and, particularly given who I was playing with, I lobbied for not including the "trade shares with other players" rule. However, after playing the game out, I finally feel comfortable including the rule depending on who I'm playing with. Even without it, the game has a lot going on and I think there's a lot to explore. In this game, I played conservatively, starting the northern western company that has a route towards Austria. Nathan started the Austrian company and Amanda started the other two companies. As usual, the Austrian company did well till the split and then struggled and Amanda's two companies were undercapitalized and struggled. After the 4s broke and Austria split, I started the first non-historical with a high par price, rushed the trains and was in a strong enough position that we called the game after the first 6 was bought.



I'm not sure what to say about Greed. the reason it's my picture of the week is because it is the one I am least sure about. I wish I could get a copy so I could play it a half dozen times and decide. However, my fear is that after 3 or 4 plays I'd want to get rid of it. First off, it was much better than I expected. It is not nearly as much of a negotiation game as I expected. It is much more of a "do the best you can with what's available" game. While there's some price negotiation and, I suppose, the opportunity to screw with players you don't like, I found it to be much less than I expected. What I'm not clear on is whether the game is solvable. The goal of the game, like an 18XX, is to make the company profitable and then rape it for all it's worth. Potentially, you may want to hold onto it so that you can rape it again or you may want to move on and rape other companies. The way you position yourself to rape it is by being put on the board of directors when it chooses your asset to buy. While you might choose to have a company you own buy your own asset (which helps you), that is twice as expensive as buying someone else's asset. And, as long as the other player is buying your asset, it's unclear that buying your own stuff is better. Like I said, I don't have a handle on it yet, but of all the Splotter games I've played, this one felt like it might have the shortest shelf life. That said, I (and Amanda!) are very intrigued by it right now.



The other game that intrigued Amanda and this weekend was God's Playground. If it was a $30 - $40 game, I'd buy it in a minute. However, at $70+ and only playable with exactly 3 players, I just don't know that it would be played enough to merit getting it. It's got an area control game where players simultaneously decide how many cubes to put in an area. Then each area fights against the invaders. Whichever player is most successful in the fight gets the points for the area. After four rounds, the game ends. What makes this interesting is that each player has two sets of numbers 0 to 5. In round 1 the player picks 6 numbers from his set and in round 2 he uses the remaining 6 numbers. So, players can drop more cubes early or hold back on the high numbers and be more likely to control in round 2. This repeats in rounds 3 and 4 (the game is 4 rounds). Also, by round 4, the invaders are so strong that they will likely overrun most of Poland and VPs will be sparse and wonky. Amanda and both really enjoyed this and hope to get to play it again.



It's been a long time since I played Vinhos and I've been leaning towards getting rid of it for a while. After my play this weekend, I'm still on the fence. I found the game easier to explain this time (although still a fair amount of work); however, there just isn't much left for me to explore in this one. I went with a (in my opinion riskier), buy lots of cheap vineyards early strategy; luckily, the weather was on my side and I went on to win convincingly. Amos complained that this looks to be the only winning strategy and I suggested that his strategy of one really good wine early can work well also (and is a safer strategy). It feels more like a puzzle game where you pick a strategy and then see how well it plays out. Player interaction is relatively light (primarily in the shops, exports, and end game VPs). I still enjoy the game and will happily play it with people who know it, but would probably rather teach a game like Santiago or T&E rather than Vinhos. And, if I'm teaching a puzzle game, I'd choose Terra Mystica over Vinhos for teaching and playing.



While teaching Vinhos is a bit troublesome, it is nothing compare to High Frontier. I really enjoyed learning it (thanks, Sam!). We only played the first third of the game, but I think I'd play it again. Amanda also really enjoyed it (I think she is more into the thematic games than me). The decisions didn't seem particularly engaging, but the thematic ride was fun. If I were to play it, this is a game I'd play in a long afternoon when I wanted to play an epic game but I didn't want to brain burn. Unfortunately for Amanda, that doesn't happen too often. Normally if I've got 4+ hours, I'd want to play something more epic (like 18XX).



Which brings us to Roads & Boats. While I had to leave early to get into the 18OE game, I enjoyed my R&B play. However, Amanda didn't. That's not to say she didn't enjoy her play. She just didn't like my play. This game continues to overwhelm me. When I'm playing it, I go all quiet and tense as I try to figure out what to do and feel overwhelmed by the options. It makes her stress because I'm so distant and tense. It's unfortunate because she really loves this game, but doesn't want to play it with me because of how I get. I am going to try to carve out some time to play it solo so that I can get a better handle on it. Than, maybe when I play with her I won't feel so overwhelmed and she can relax and enjoy herself as well.



While I'm not sure how much I'd like Greed, Inc. long term, I still feel comfortable giving it an 8. Greed, Inc is innovative and it's subject matter is a hoot. Starship Merchants, on the other hand, is a derivative of 18XX with a well-explored theme. Therefore, I am really not sure if it will be a long term 7 or 8. It is a light 18XX without any track laying. While it took us almost two hours to play our first 3-player game, I could see it dropping to 60 - 90 minutes with repeated plays. I am not sure at this point if it's interesting enough to warrant additional plays or not, but I am curious.


The rest: Walnut Grove and Pala continue to impress, while Jaipur was a fun, short diversion while we waited for a group of people to finish playing a game on my copy of Trains.

Games acquired this weekend:
Free game as part of going to Buckeye Gamefest: Taj Mahal, Medici
Flea Market: Aladdin's Dragons ($20), The Scepter of Zavandor ($15) (missing one diamond), Through the Desert ($8), Dungeon Twister ($6), Imperial 2030 ($15 but missing 6 U.S. ships)
U.S. Math Trade: Age of Steam (for Qin)
No-Ship BGF Math Trade The Master of the Merchant in the Sakai (for Android: Netrunner), Starship Merchants (for Fealty), Blockade Runner (for Equinox), Neuroshima Hex! 3.0 (for Jager und Sammler), Factory Fun (for Pandemic), If Wishes Were Fishes! (for Central Market), Singapore (for Prairie Railroads).
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5. Board Game: Ginkgopolis [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:351]
Mc Jarvis
United States
Arlington
Virginia
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What have I been doing lately?



I haven't posted in a while, and this is because I was on vacation. I returned home mid last week, and decided to start up posting again this week. As luck would have it, MBGM happened over the weekend & this allowed me to nicely fill out my games, since I played solidly from 1PM on Friday all the way through Sunday at 10PM, with only 8 hour gaps for sleep & 4 hours Sunday morning to watch some Portlandia with C.

Excitingly, I finally got a chance to sit down and play Ginkgopolis. The rules were not clear until about half way through the game, but I like the game plenty--- it's got a big wallop in terms of thinking for the size of it, and I really liked the way it handled card drafting elements. (That is, I didn't feel like I needed to know every card in the deck--- the contents of the draft were always apparent from the tiles on the board, since the tiles determine which cards are in the deck.)

Reviews I've read complained about the lack of theme, but I didn't really notice or care--- I suspect if games like City Tycoon don't bother you in terms of abstraction, you'll like this game too.
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6. Board Game: Prêt-à-Porter [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:1132]
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Prêt-à-Porter* 2
Call to Glory 1
Carson City 1
Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 3 - The Heart of Africa 1

Finally got to play Prêt-à-Porter (after getting it last Christmas) not only once but twice! I'm pretty sad it took this long to get it to the table because it was every bit enjoyable as Jimmy has said it to be. Great worker placement game with the long-term planning akin to Agricola. After getting through the asstastic rulebook (and spamming Jimmy with geekmail questions that I'd immediately find the answer to right after) and reading some of the player aids, it's actually not a difficult game at all and would be easy to teach.

Carson City was practically a new play as it had been well over two years since I had played. Another game with a terrible rulebook, we still had trouble despite four of the five of us having previously played it. I don't know if that diminished my enjoyment of the game but by the time we were in the midst of it, I was quickly losing interest. Perhaps it's too long with five anyway? So, I may be looking to sell this off soon. I'm not sure what it offers in terms of getting it to the table over something else. (Slightly funny aside: the other table at game night was playing Tournay, so it was apparently an Xavier Georges night).
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7. Board Game: 1830: Railways & Robber Barons [Average Rating:7.86 Overall Rank:175] [Average Rating:7.86 Unranked]
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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1830: Railways & Robber Barons
Lords of Waterdeep
Mystery of the Abbey

Light gaming this week, but some good games. Tuesday game night ran short as everybody was ready to end it early (around 9 or 10pm).

I was happy to play Mystery of the Abbey, as I enjoy deduction games and it's one I've been wanting to try. With cards constantly changing hands, it made the game more difficult to keep track of stuff, which deterred me a little bit, but it still played very well overall and I really enjoyed the experience. I think I'd rather play Sleuth or Black Vienna. But I still enjoyed MotA overall.

We played Lords of Waterdeep, which wasn't high on my list. I would've preferred something else, but it still wasn't bad. It was my second time playing, and second time winning. By a significant margin too. I was lucky in the beginning. I got the quest where I score points whenever I build, so I hoped and was lucky to also get that as my character. I went on to build 6 buildings, getting the quest bonus for 4 of them. Even so, I still managed to complete about as many quests as other players did, one of them being a 25 point quest too! It's an alright game, but not high on my list. It feels like a lot of pushing cubes around. I would still play it again, but it's not one I would request. I imagine we'll be playing one of the expansions soon.

Finally, I got to play 1830 this weekend. It ended up being a 4 player game. Everybody was new, except me who'd played 1870 and 1800 once each... The start of the game was frustrating as I was constantly questioned in gameplay and rules, which took nearly an hour of our time while one of us scoured through the rulebook to confirm that 'yes, that is the rule.' I'm happy to be questioned, but not when we spend 20 minutes confirming something I know to be right. The one thing he questioned me on, which I'm glad he did, was payouts to companies when they pay dividends are for shares in the bank pool only, not in the IPO. I don't remember how I explained it before we started, but I did say that 1870 flipped the way it worked, so it was easy enough to correct and play correctly from there on.

In the beginning, I warned about the issues with the B&O railroad. People took my word for it and nobody bid on it, but interestingly enough, nobody tried to outbid anybody else. Basically, player 1 bid on D&H, player 2 bid on C&SL, I bid on C&A, player 4 bid on M&H. Player 1 was happy to buy SV to immediately get his other one with no additional payment. This left players 1 and 4 with a $20 revenue, myself with $25, and player 2 with $10. Player 2 didn't want to buy the B&O because then he couldn't float a company without help. I reiterated privates paying out if everybody passed, and all that jazz. But he passed, so the rest of us passed. Then I said "okay, now privates pay out" to hear a response "wait wait wait. That doesn't make any sense." So hence the 20 minute delve into the rulebook, as he said "This isn't how we're playing the game at all" to which I responded "Right, we're playing classic rules, not base rules" and so on until we resolved that I was right, so we backed up and he bought the company straight out. I unfortunately don't know the best strategy for him to start B&O high and not float right away. I speculated as to what I would do, but had nothing good to offer suggestion-wise. So he floated the B&O at eighty-something a share.

After one or two sets of OR's, I had finished pillaging PRR and dumped it on another player, the only player to buy more than 20% in any other railroad. I left him with 2 uselessly placed station markers, one left on the charter, and $100 on the charter, and 2 2-trains. After dumping, I immediately opened two companies. One for 100 (NYNH) and one for 67 (Erie, which I ran into yellow). The way I planned it, I would've needed to buy a sixth share, and sell it in order to buy the sixth share of the other company. But since others invested in NYNH as well, I didn't need to do this.

Later in the game, when 6's broke, but not diesels, I was rearing my Eerie to buy a diesel, since it was withholding roughly 300 every OR. I accidentally forgot to withhold once, since my default thoughts are to pay dividends and I'm not thinking fully when I'm acting as banker and making sure rules are enforced at the same time. This did hurt quite a bit, and probably dragged the game on longer. Because when I did break diesels, after another SR, one player was left with two companies with no trains. (At this moment, I realize I should've bought my other company's 4-train for $1 and traded it in, instead of trading in my only 5-train. That would've had the same effect...) Had I done it before the SR, there would've been no trains in the bank pool instead of the 5-train I traded in, and he would've had less funds, probably unable to purchase 2 diesels that turn and gone bankrupt.

After that same SR just mentioned, I had invested heavily in every company. I realized the risk I took, but I didn't expect to receive any companies with no trains or funds, so I was content. Everybody was running two companies, but two players dumped on me a company with no trains and $1. It was set up such that 2 5 trains were in the pool, so what I should've done was buy both of those. I didn't, instead buying only one, and let somebody else buy the other one, so I set myself up to have Eerie buy a diesel. Since they were such a rich company, I was still able to avoid selling any shares. Since this didn't hit me very hard, I was able to recover easily and I may have even profited. I'm not sure though, because that was about $1k I needed to recover before profiting. Not long after this, though, player 1 got bored, liquified his assets and ended the game with about $2500. This left player 2 with 3 companies (PRR, which I dumped on player 1 and he liquified, giving to player 3 become one of the top stock prices in the game), myself with 4, and player 4 with 1 company. It wasn't much longer before the bank broke and we ended the game. Player 4 had about $500 more in cash than I did, but after totaling up stock value as well, I beat him by at least $2000, and player 2 by about $500-$1000. I don't recall the figures well enough, but I think I had around $7500. It was much better than the game of 1870 where I had doubled the other players' scores.

Overall, our pace was decent. Most of us took a long time planning our turns instead of planning ahead (myself included). But our pace in buying trains was decent. Definitely not along the lines of what JC Lawrence or others mention for 1830, but it was still pretty quick. One player even commented that it felt too quick, even so. I was also surprised by how restrictive the tile placement was in the game.

What I would like to know, especially for helping new players, is what the owner of the B&O private should do. It takes $402 to float a company, and in a 4-player game, he had $600. In a 5-player, he'd have $480, and it seems more of an issue, but I imagine there's more cooperative play there, at least between 2 or 3 players, if not more. In a 3-player game, I imagine it's not a problem. 6-player is already cooperative. But with 4-player, the other 3 were able to float companies with the money they had. If the B&O is the only private you purchase, then you can simply wait one OR and float on your own, but by buying another private, in our case, the C&SL, he only had $355. So he would've had to wait a second OR before he could afford to float a company if nobody wanted to help him. Otherwise, he could've let companies payout once and I think he would've had enough. That might have been the right answer? Even though it technically puts us ahead, I'm not sure if it's enough to make a difference with how inexperienced we are. He asked what he could've done differently. In my limited knowledge, I don't have any good suggestions, but I mentioned bidding differently on the privates. He effectively took the lowest payout company and put himself in position to have the most incentive to buy the B&O. To this, he responded how he felt privates felt like a tacked on mechanic and saw no point to them in the game. I recently read the rules for 18EU, and feel this might be a better game for him, if he gives 18xx another shot. Since it seems less cutthroat and replaces private companies with minor companies.
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8. Board Game: Ginkgopolis [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:351]
Fabrice Dubois
France
La Garenne Colombes
Hauts de Seine
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 10  Android:Netrunner x3
 8  Ginkgopolis x5
 8  Tournay x1
 7  The Little Prince: Make Me a Planet x1

Ginkgopolis : It is a neat, engaging, appealing design and it might be a game more strategic that it not seems at first sight --the first time, it looks like a luck fest, a tactical and chaotic game.

Like in Troyes and Tournay, there are 3 colours with pros and cons, bringing decision to the game :

- red buildings allow you to gain resources (wooden cylinders) required to put tiles in play. Resources are needed to expand the town but also to build taller buildings. Taller buildings requires lots of resources but can generate lots of resources/tiles/VP and helps toward end game scoring (majorities). Having a lot of resources means that you are able to break/grab an important district for end game scoring.

- blue buildings allow you to gain new tiles from the supply and brings you some flexibility because there is some malus if you don't respect the tile placement (same colour, increasing number). Having a lot of tiles means that you are able to adapt yourself to changing game state.

- yellow buildings allow you to earn VP. This is certainely the less important aspect to focus early on because it is not an endgame condition and it doesn't meet your needs to expand the city. But this is certainely a way to explore.

So it is first an engine building game. The goal is to build a resources/tiles/VP engine before thinking to end game scoring for majorities. Why ? Because expanding the town upward or wider consume tiles and resources. If you don't have bonus to generate some tiles/resources :
1) you will have to take suboptimal actions to recover and you will lose time as a result.
2) you will have lesser and lesser flexibility and you certainely won't be able to fight for area majorities at the end of the game.

With flexibility, you will less suffer the luck of draw and you will be able to adapt yourself to the ever changing board status and majorities.

I really enjoy this game a lot.
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9. Board Game: Yedo [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:511]
Edward Uhler
United States
Commerce City
Colorado
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Going back to the previous weekend:

The Little Prince: Make Me a Planet (E)
-1st play for the whole group (5 of us). This was surprisingly confrontational. It's a tile laying game, but whomever chooses a tile chooses which player chooses the next tile, etc. If you have open scoring, this can be downright mean. Not saying that's a bad thing, only that it caught all of us by surprise. It wasn't the cutesy little kids game I thought it'd be. I'd play it again, but not anxious to play it.

Yedo (both)
-We've now played this...2 or 3 times and it's really a great game. I get why people were pushing so hard for an American publisher to pick this up. We ordered it from TWS and this is an absolute keeper. Worker placement, auction/bidding, mission completion, some 'take that'...just a wonderful, wonderful game. And, as a couple of folks who really like Japanese art, gorgeous components. This will be a very highly rated game in our collection.


Spyrium (both)
-We picked this up @ GenCon as the video we had watched made it look pretty cool, and it has a small, but somewhat similar feel to Keyflower which we really like. However, after 3 or so plays, we sold it away in our current auction. Yes, we really like Caylus and it has a pretty cool meeple-placement mechanic, it was a bit of a letdown. It's far from a bad game, but while it was pretty cool our first play, it just was kinda...'meh' after 3 plays. Also, while it's playable 2-player, this shouldn't be played with less than 4, imo. We'd play it again, but only with 4+ players and only if someone really wanted to. That said, it's absolutely ripe for expansion and probably will improve w/ expansions. We'll revisit the game then and see if our feeling have changed, because it will have expansions without a doubt.


Pax Porfiriana (both)
-I (Edward) am a wargamer. I'd say about 1/3 of our collection is wargames. When I first heard about this, I was pretty underwhelmed by the idea, but one of the fellas in our wargame group brought it one day and taught it. I've since bought a copy, straight from Sierra Madre Games in Germany and have played it 3 other times since. Really, really good, fun, brain-burny 'wargame'. It's really more War-euro than straight wargame and much is abstracted, but it works so damn well. It comes in a tiny little box, but there's a HUGE game in that box. It's comes with, what, 150-180 cards but you only use 50 plus 10 per player, each game, so there is a ton of ways any game can play out. The replayability is through the roof. This is actually a reimplementation of an earlier Phil Eklund game called Lords of the Sierra Madre (second edition). The gist of the game is that you're a wealthy American or Mexican General and you're trying to create your own empire of wealth as best as you can. All the while, wreaking havoc on your opponents with the use of economic strife and more...personally mean (read: assassinations, bribes, lawsuits, etc)

Each player takes the role of a Hacendado and your goal is to score three more Outrage, Command, Revolution, or Loyalty points than two of your opponents combined while ensuring that when one of the four Topple cards comes out, you have the correct government in place.

If you want a more detailed idea, check out the reviews...but know this. I've taught this to wargamers and non-wargamers alike (such as Amanda) and all have loved this game. Hell, Amanda even beat me the one time we've played it together.

While I won't say this is like X or Y game, it has a small, but similar feel to a meatier Glory to Rome...kind of. Just a really fun, tense game that will leave you satisfied afterward. Plays in 1-3 hours (games can end early depending on how the cards come out, etc). Highly, highly recommended.


Vinhos (both)
-Simply put, one of the heaviest games that we've played and we both think we really like it, but it's going to need more plays before saying definitively. Not overly complex, rules-wise, but there is a lot going on and mastering how everything interacts is going to take a good while. Anxious to play this again, hoepfully this weekend.


Masquerade (both)
- Decent filler, but Amanda really dislikes these bluffing-type games. Meh.


La Boca (E)
-Man, my brain doesn't work w/ abstracts like this. A lot of frantic play and got lots of laughs from everyone, but not my favorite. I'd give it another go, though.

Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization (E)
-One of my favorites, although we have to play this more often. The playtime, when you have to almost completely relearn the game, can be excessive (6+ hours). That said, as a 2-player game, I think Amanda and I can get it down to under 3 hours and when we do, we'll play the ever living hell out of this game. Just pure awesomeness!

Firenze (A)


Francis Drake (A)
-Amanda enjoyed this light Euro and wants me to try it. Out of all the games that she played without me, this is the one she said she'd most want to play again. The rest were ok, but not in a rush to replay. This, however, is definitely worth another play, but it is on the lighter side, so it wouldn't be played often by us.

Diamant (A)


Tobago (A)


Power Grid: China/Korea (both)
-We played this 6 players on the China map and it's tough. We both felt like the NE corner of the map can be overpowered if not enough people are competing up there and that's what happened. Even so, it plays differently then every other map that we've played. The resources are tighter as are the power plants (not everyone will be able to buy one every round). Fun and we both want to play this one again for sure. VERY anxious to try out India/Australia that is coming out @ Essen too!


No Thanks! (A)



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10. Board Game: Merchants & Marauders [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:214]
Robin Levins
United States
Round Rock
TX
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Games played in the last week:
 8.5  Empire Builder (10 card challenge variant)
 7.5  Rattus
 4.5  Merchants & Marauders*

Other notable games played in the last howveer-long-its-been-since-I've-posted:
  9   Super Dungeon Explore
  9   Suburbia (lots)
 7.5  Dungeon Roll*
  7   Imperial*


Gaming has been light recently, typically playing once a week if I'm lucky. This past weekend I had the chance to learn Merchants & Marauders. Several friends of mine are big fans of this game, which is great for them! I hope they have lots of fun playing it. I don't think I'm going to touch it again. It is very haphazard and luck-dependent (with wild swings either way), and several times you can have turns where all you do is move a few spaces. I'm all for crazy luck in shorter games, but our three player game took 2.5 hours (after rules explanation), and none of us were playing particularly slow, and I don't tolerate wild luck swings very well in long games.

Fortunately, Rattus was enjoyable as always, and the 10-card-challenge variant of Empire Builder that Kristen and I snuck in while AnnaMarie had her afternoon nap was excellent.

Of note, I've had my copy of Super Dungeon Explore painted, and it looks fabulous. And Kristen loves the game, which is great! It's the only thing that broke her Suburbia kick (we had a week or two where we'd play two games of Suburbia a night!).

I've played Imperial now, and it's neat, though I'm in no rush to play it again. I was also on the Kickstarter for Dungeon Roll, which has been a cute addition to the collection.
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11. Board Game: Elder Sign [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:490]
Beau Bailey
United States
Missoula
Montana
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I still haven't played any board games in a while. My wife and I are still trying to get into a routine with the newborn.

I did however download Elder Sign: Omens. I play it on my phone, while I am rocking her while she sleeps.

It's an amusing enough diversion though I cannot imagine why you would want to own a physical copy of the game. It seems like the streamlined nature of the electronic implementation would be far superior.

I am not sure when I will be able to get in some gaming. There is a mini-gameday this weekend, but looks like it will focus more on simpler games or deck builders.
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12. Board Game: Hordes: High Command [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:5085] [Average Rating:6.45 Unranked]
Matthew C
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I showed up late to my board game night last week. As a result, most of the interesting games were already being played. So, I headed to the overflow room, and found a few people who were only just started a game of Lords of Waterdeep. It was better than nothing, so I asked if I could join them, making the game 4.

I played a nearly flawless game, resource wise. I was quite content with my actions, and felt that I made the best choice on almost every action. This is more than I can say for the winner, which is why I dislike the game.

After that, I intended to rope those guys into playing Galaxy Trucker with me, but it turns out I accidentally brought the expansion box, not the base game. So, I sat through a game of Hordes: High Command with them instead. It's a deckbuilder meets Magic the gathering type game. Not my type, but not terribly done either. My biggest issue with it is its 90 minute play time.

This week, I'll make sure to bring the right box.
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13. Board Game: Dread Curse [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:3376]
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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New Games

Dread Curse x1

Old Games

Parade x1
Spyrium x2
Skull x1

A pretty slim week for me, I did get a chance to give Dread Curse a try (which I got largely in response to the fact that Libertalia fell pretty flat for me). It's a light and silly game with a light enough film of tactical play spread over the top to give it a little tang. My group enjoyed it for what it was, and I'm glad I ended up getting it, even if it was a lot lighter than I had anticipated.
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