Geek Chat League Gelato Episode #74 - Random Number Generators
Ron
Austria
Vienna
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ABOUT GCL mb GELATO DIVISION mb SUBSCRIPTION THREAD

What is a Geek Chat League?

A Geek Chat League is a weekly discussion-group format for people who love gaming and enjoy talking about games. It is intended to foster depth and familiarity, producing engaging content and worthwhile interaction. Members get to know one another, establish shared interests, and generally develop a friendly and productive environment.

Of necessity, each division of GCL is kept relatively small (typically between 12-16 members, though individual divisions may incline one way or the other). A tight-knit discussion group tends to function more smoothly than a free-for-all. It allows individuals to be heard and understood, and for each participant to keep up and enjoy multiple topics as the week progresses. The format is geeklist-based, and lists are not published to the BGG front page.

Policy: If you're a lurker or have otherwise discovered GCL Gelato, feel free to read along with us and see what the members have to say on everything under the sun. If you have a constructive comment or something else you think would add to the discussion, consider posting it - if it's helpful, respectful, and polite to the discussion group as a whole, as well as to its individual members.

Our shiny d20:

leroy 43 (Roger)

and his loyal 15d6:

ad79 (Stig)
alex352 (Alex)
Capt_S (Jon)
cmontgo2 (Chris)
Cole Wehrle (Cole)
csottk (Skippen)
DocStryder (Doc)
leroy43 (Roger)
licinius (Carl)
oeolycus (Dan)
pete belli (Pete)
PzVIE (Ron)
scoutmom (Cindy) ***
Sluggonics (Kyle)
wifwendell (Wendell)

*** = Next one to roll meeple

Random Number Generators

They come in all shapes, materials, and colors. Most of them do not even generate true random numbers. Some even disguise themselves as cards. Still, they are usually essential to most kinds of games. Of course, we talk about dice this week!

When searching for a fitting tune for this week's list (using the keyword "dice" of course), I quickly stumbled upon this little tune from the oldest boy band in the world - a song not really about dice, but at least with "dicey" in its title:



So, let's talk about dice!

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1. Board Game: Dice Quest [Average Rating:6.25 Unranked]
 
Ron
Austria
Vienna
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So, how do you feel about having dice in games? Many abstract games can do without them - think about Chess or GIPF Project as examples. But nearly all wargames need random numbers for battle resolution and other (more or less) random events. No true game can call itself "Ameritrash" and not having a dice in it - contrary to the modern Eurogame, where dice seem to be a necessary evil - best to be avoided - or are even completely banned (and replaced by more subtle random things, like tile or card drawing or auctions).

goldencamel So, think about your favorite Ameritrash/Euro/Wargame - does it need dice?
goldencamel Would these games are probably be better without dice?
goldencamel Do you prefer games with or without random elements?
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2. Board Game: Blame it on El Niño [Average Rating:5.12 Unranked]
Ron
Austria
Vienna
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Making a bad move in a diceless game usually costs you the game or at least leaves you in a disadvantageous position. And there is no one to blame but yourself.

But in a game where random events or situations are created by dice or cards, you can blame the dice for rolling so badly or the card deck for coming up with wrong card at the wrong moment (or even the person who shuffled the deck).

goldencamel If you take a risky move and the dice don't repay your boldness with success, do you blame them? Do you consider it unlucky if the odds were in favor of you?
goldencamel Is it important for you that all players use the same dice?
goldencamel Do you switch dice if they don't roll in your favor?
goldencamel Do you test dice before you use them?
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3. Board Game: Star Trek: The Next Generation Collectible Dice Game [Average Rating:5.23 Overall Rank:15813]
Ron
Austria
Vienna
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Dice are more than random number generators. They can decide if you win or lose a game. When it hits the fan and you desperately shake them in your hand, hoping for that one roll to be successful, they are more than a gaming accessory: they are the doombringer or the kingmaker. Your downfall or final triumph. They decide if you will do a victory dance or leave the battlefield in shame.

So, these shiny little things have a certain magic in them, making them ideal objects for collecting.

goldencamel do you have a dice collection?
goldencamel if you see an unusual dice (shape, color, size, material or just with unusual symbols), would you buy it even if you don't need it?
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4. Board Game: Rory's Story Cubes [Average Rating:6.36 Overall Rank:1978] [Average Rating:6.36 Unranked]
Ron
Austria
Vienna
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And as for the final entry this week, I ask you to share a funny or interesting story (or stories) from your gaming life that involves dice. Or just entertain us with a cartoon! meeple
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5. Board Game: Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game – Daybreak Expansion [Average Rating:8.25 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.25 Unranked]
Ron
Austria
Vienna
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Weekly report.

You remember - a few weeks ago, in Episode #71, I asked you if I should buy Lords of Waterdeep. Well, you all said "yes", so I did meeple
Poll
1. Should I buy Lords of Waterdeep?
Yes
No
Get a life! (please elaborate)
2. If you answered "yes" in the previous poll, do you think I should get the expansion Lords of Waterdeep: Scoundrels of Skullport also?
Of course
Absolutely not
Why don't you just shut up?
      7 answers
Poll created by PzVIE


I got the game on Monday and tried it immediately with Andrea. It was an instant hit. These Americans showed us Europeans how to make a great Eurogame! Although simple in its rules, the game flows smoothly, not very much room for AP prone players, and extremely variable because of the sheer number of cards and buildings. All in all, a true winner for two players.

So I brought in on the table on Saturday when I had game night with the boys and - no surprise - it was an instant hit too. We played it two times (basic game, then basic game plus expansion). Everyone liked it and will also buy it!



After that, our fifth player came and we went into the basement, where I already set up Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game, using all three expansion modules. I needed more than an hour to explain all the rules, but the game afterwards was great, really great!

We had one Cylon who showed himself in the first half of the game, and I strongly suspected our Admiral Cain to be the second Cylon - my accusations were right! When we all suggested that he should nuke the two Cylon basestars in front of the Galactica, he instead shot the nuke onto our civilian ships! I was the next one to take a turn and I immediately threw that frakkin' toaster out of the airlock!
Nevertheless, we Humans lost the game soblue



After that, we played an Eight-Minute Empire campaign game (three games in a row). Nice, but I wouldn't play it again with 5 players. Way too much uncertainty in the card row. I now file it as a two or three player game.

We finished the evening with Zombie Dice, in the first game we added Hottie and Hunk, while in the second game we added Santa Claus.

After the guys went home, I logged the played games on the Geek and - while at it - I uploaded this new Gelato list. Hope you like it meeple

Cheers!
Ron.
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6. Board Game: Combat Commander: Battle Pack #5 – Fall of the West [Average Rating:8.40 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.40 Unranked]
Kyle Seely
United States
Carmel
IN
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WEEKLY ROUNDUP!

Fairly light gaming this week, as I wrapped up the monsters I'd been playing.

While punching and clipping my copy of Hitler's War, I wanted something quick and small to occupy the table in my den while I was also reading the rules for Dark Emperor. (which, admittedly, are a pretty quick read).

So I set up the first scenario from Combat Commander: Fall of the West. I had recently picked this up with a CSI birthday gift card. Well, the gift card was actually spent on Space Empires: 4X and its expansion, but I needed something to get to $100, because if you can't break $100 at CSI for the free shipping, well, what's the point, really? That's what I tell my wife, anyway!

So I played Scenario 74, Sturmgruppe Granit. This deals with the German paratrooper landings at the Eben Emael fortress in Belgium at the launch of Case Yellow, so it's German units facing off against "Belgian" units, (which are just French units using the French deck). This scenario got a little draggy, for me. I think the biggest problem is that it's a "mission" scenario, which has the Germans required to destroy the Belgian bunkers representing different parts of the fortress. The Germans need destroy these bunkers because only then will the Belgian troop losses "stick". Otherwise, the Belgians will just keep recycling their troops at each "time" marker. So, the problem here is that it can leave the Germans stuck waiting to get the Artillery Request card in their hand that they need, at the moment they need it, to "blow" the bunkers. So rather than the fast-paced chaos of a typical CC game, I found myself "turtling" with both sides - the Germans because they didn't want to assault the bunkers until they could destroy them, and the Belgians because they saw no point venturing out of the bunkers to go after the Germans. Maybe this would have been better in a two-player game with a more unpredictable opponent, who may have been more offensively-minded?

Anyway, I finished the scenario, with reasonable casualties on each side, but it ended up ending with a Sudden Death roll, and despite destroying two of the three bunkers, and capturing Cupola 120 which was worth 5 points, the squad losses for the Germans ended up costing them and they lost by 2 points. I'd argue it was a strategic victory for the Germans, but a tactical loss, since they accomplished the objective but basically lost on a technicality.

I have higher hopes for the rest of the Fall of the West scenario pack, as I've read so many good things about it. It'll likely make it to the table during other down-time between monsters. zombie

Also started this week:



Got this baby up and running, and am on turn 5, and starting to feel the urgency as the Necromancer. The bad-ass empire Zolahaureslor automatically enters the game on turn 10, and usually by that time, the Necromancer needs to have conquered at least the 4 northern kingdoms. I've only conquered 1 and diplomatically allied with another, leaving 5 turns to snag the other 2 to have a fighting chance against the main Empire itself. We'll see how it goes! I started with the bold opening move of going after one of the stronger northern kingdoms. Conquered it on turn 3, but one of the leaders escaped to try and manage diplomacy with some of the other neutral kingdoms to try and bring them in against the Necromancer. The Necromancer has been lucky in that those diplomacy rolls have failed for the last three turns, but how long can that hold out?

Anyway, I'm sure that all sounds like complete gibberish, but I'm really enjoying the game so far. I'm using some of the variant rules from volume 26 issue 1 of the General, that scales back some of the stacking/attrition problems that the original game suffered from, and I think it's helped to create a little better simulation, inasmuch as a game about a Necromancer invading a planet from another dimension can. All kidding aside, it's actually one of the better fantasy wargames out there, in that it's got proper hexes, a proper CRT, and doesn't have quite the "silliness" factor that a lot of fantasy games end up dealing with. This is something I recently discussed with Calandale.
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7. Board Game: Conquest of Paradise [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:1568]
Wendell
United States
Yellow Springs
Ohio
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Had a quick trip to Ohio for a family event, and got in a game of Conquest of Paradise with my brother. I underestimated the VP he had from the arts & culture cards and delayed my offensive one turn too long so his Tongans beat my Samoans.

Played some Boggle with my mom, and Yahtzee with my brother and sister. Both fine games; I hadn't played Boggle in probably 20 years.

PBFM Andean Abyss continues.
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8. Board Game: Unhappy King Charles! [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:1503]
"L'état, c'est moi."
Canada
Vancouver
BC
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This is the week that was:
Paris Connection 2
Eight-Minute Empire 1
EuroFront II 1*
Keyflower 1
San Juan 1
Scrabble 1
Unhappy King Charles! 1

PBEM ongoing:
Twilight Struggle ACTS ladder game
1989
UKC x2, the one this week being a new pbem start
Pax Porfiriana
Here I Stand (on life support, probably dead. Sigh.)

I put an asterisk next to EuroFront II because it's a technicality in a manner of speaking. I'm playing the Spanish Civil War scenario with a pbem opponent in Germany.

I hosted gaming on Thursday and we introduced Jeff to Keyflower and then closed out with a pair of games of Paris Connection. I (mostly) take back my complaint about the setup time as it's a really great game with 5 and 6 players, and when you can share the setup pain, it makes it ok.

Fall is back, school is back, and this means that Friday night art classes are back too. This week coincided with training at work, which means I was working 8-4 so I was able to join my wife at the pub for a couple of games. We broke in my copy of Eight Minute Empire, and managed about a third of a game of San Juan before we had to call it (dang).

I think I may have to declare a self-imposed moratorium on multiplayer pbem games. The two player ones have a high enough failure rate, but the multiplayer ones, especially big long ones like Here I Stand represent too much lost time and opportunity. Sigh. But I love that game so much and don't have a real chance to play it outside of cons. Argh.
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9. Board Game: Cuba Libre [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:485]
Jon
Canada
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This Week:

Seven Pines Solo
Unhappy King Charles! PBEM


Misc:

- My solo run through of Seven Pines slackened somewhat this past week. Social commitments contributed to that significantly. Ah well.

- Roger, Wendell, myself and a fourth friend are planning on taking Cuba Libre out for a PBEM spin. Which meant some rule reading this week and, more to the point, attempts at trying to understand just what the various factions are up too. Compliments my reading of the Che biography though, but in all honesty it is not the best book for grasping an understanding of the revolution. Still, it is a mood enhancer for the game.

- Speaking of PBEM, Roger and I have rebooted our UKC session. Trying to remember what I was up to. Losing .... that was what I was up to ... LOL!

- More social meanderings this week will impinge upon the time I devote to gaming a wee bit. Off to listen to a guest historian speak at the university and following that up with a midweek "party" on Wednesday. I suppose the latter is more of a get together. And I just HAVE to watch football on Monday and Thursday (well duh!).

- Went on a pub crawl for the first time on Friday. Our intricate plans to hit ten or so watering holes began to unravel at the first pub (sigh). Only made it to four in ... umm ... 8 hours. Ugh!

- Waiting on both Cuba Libre and A Distant Plain to show up at my door.

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10. Board Game: Claustrophobia: De Profundis [Average Rating:8.10 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.10 Unranked]
 
Stig Morten
Norway
Kvernaland
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Me and my friend got back to this game and played "The Demon's Soul" scenario from the expansion 3 times.
I played the humans twice and took the win in the first outing, but failed in the second.
I also lost as the demon in the third outing.
This game is so very good.
I'm writing a report on this one as I try to catalog our playings of all the scenarios in a geeklist.

Also tried Thunderbolt Apache Leader for the first time on Sunday and had a blast. A totally different experience from Hornet Leader and I might say a better experience. Tried the "Thor" pilot in a A10-D and made him "ACE" since I have a son named Thor. He dropped some bombs and took out some Iraqi units, but the real star of the show was the F-16 plane. That was cool. Excellent game.

2 plays of Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game earlier in the week both resulted in losses and to make matters worse I even forgot to place a Broodlord and an Adrealin Genestealer in one of the plays. Still died though. Fun game that is very hard to win, as solitaire games should be.

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11. Board Game: Wurzburg [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:7288]
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Preparing a review of this classic SPI folio game.
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12. Board Game: Takenoko [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:235]
skippen
United States
Greeley
Colorado
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The Week that Was...


Games continue to trickle in from the Math Trade. A bit slower and a bit more beat-up than even I would have expected. I tend rate the condition of my games lower than they probably are.

Games Played:

Takenoko -- this was a pleasant surprise. I thought I would like it just due to the cuteness of the game, but it is a fun, light game. My wife really enjoyed it. We are going to make a few house-rules to tighten up the luck of the draw a bit, but we both enjoyed it.

Roma -- slowly, and occasionally, getting some games played at work. I brought this, and we played a couple of time. I really like this one. The iconography leaves a lot to be desired, but after a few plays, you start to remember. I have played Arena: Roma II, and I kind of want it, but it is hard to justify buying the game again when I haven't played this one that much.

Forbidden Island -- in "honor" of the flooding here, I decided top pull out this game that my wife gave me a year or so ago. She had never played. She has played Pandemic and she does not like it (theme I think). She seemed to like this one once we got going and she got the flow and goals in mind. This was my second play, and I must say, I liked it much better this time. Before I disliked it because I thought it was just "kiddie" version of Pandemic, but now I think it is a solid variant on its own. I really liked the one play I had of Forbidden Desert. I will need to obtain that someday.

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13. Board Game: Stone Age [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:84] [Average Rating:7.60 Unranked]
T. Nomad
Netherlands
Den Bosch
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The Week that Was


Shenomad and I started the week off with a beating of postal proportions: she pummeled me at Thurn and Taxis.

At work, I put in 90 mins a week at a drop-in for students. Until exams are on the horizon we rarely see anyone. So this week a colleague and I got in two games of Kupferkessel, co.

Finally, my BIL and I were able to get in two late-night games of Stone Age. He bested me by 7 points in game one, and I took the second by 9. I like the 2P because it's more confrontational and the choices are more difficult.

edited to add: a plug for my back-to-BGG geeklist. This post is what I've played this week. The list is what I've been doing the last 3+ years. Oh, the Places You'll Go - A Nomad's Gaming Yravels
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14. Board Game: Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:41]
Cole Wehrle
United States
St. Paul
Minnesota
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x5 Robinson Crusoe (7)
x6 Puzzle Strike (10)

I'm Still adjusting to my schedule so games have been very irregular. Miraculously, though we only managed one open game night this week, Cati and I and have been managing a game every other day or so.

At Cati's request, I hunted around and found a fairly priced copy of the game. She really likes it. The game group really likes it. I'm a little mixed. Rather, I clearly just don't like co-ops which can make OK storytelling experiences and usually terrible games. In fact, I'm not sure they are games. At any rate, I think RC is probably as good as the genre gets. The puzzle itself is interesting, evocative, and, best of all, hard as hell.

We also played two matches of Puzzle strike (three rounds each). Boy this game continues to give. Every time I return to it I'm more impressed by the depth of design. Since Cati and I learned the game together, we are pretty evenly matched, though it's clear that we are getting better at the game. At this point I'm 40+ games in and there's no end in sight.

The Week Ahead:
We're having folks over Saturday for some games so likely Cosmic Encounter there. Cati and I are itching to play some more Puzzle Strike and I wouldn't mind continuing our way through the RC scenarios.

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