GCL Meatball Division #118: Pardon the Interruption
Brad N
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Madison
Wisconsin
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This is the weekly geeklist for the Swedish Meatball GeekChat League! Only members are to add items (please add your weekly games played), but civil comments from non-members are welcome.



Rotation:
NateStraight (next up)
ellephai
johnbandettini
ldsdbomber
Osirus
jythier
cymric
fateswanderer
rarevos
qwertymartin
Sorp222
lacxox
aaarg_ink
Jugular
bnordeng

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Pardon the Interruption
This week's list provides an opportunity to share a bit about your gaming habits and what you choose ahead of gaming or what sometimes interrupts your gaming time. It has some similarities with Jay's first list, but his was more in-game focused and this is more about how and when you schedule yourself to play games.
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1. Board Game: Par For The Course [Average Rating:6.12 Unranked]
Brad N
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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What does a typical week month of gaming look like for you?

I know we all post our weekly plays on these lists, but this is a chance to summarize how you see your game-playing patterns going. Plus, it sets up the rest of the list.

I changed it from week to month since John pointed out, and I agree, over the course of a month things are a bit easier to summarize.
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2. Board Game: Agent of Change [Average Rating:4.90 Unranked]
Brad N
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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What is/are the most common reason(s) your typical pattern of game-playing changes?

Are there certain things that you know are likely to change your gaming during the week, such as work or family events or something else?
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3. Board Game: Seasons [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:159]
Brad N
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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How much does the time of year affect your game-playing habits?

Do you play more or less in the summer? fall? winter? spring?
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4. Board Game: Holiday! [Average Rating:6.58 Overall Rank:9433]
Brad N
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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What about during the holidays?

Do you play more, less, not at all when the New Year or some other big holiday hits for you?
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5. Board Game: Crappy Birthday [Average Rating:5.68 Overall Rank:8286]
Brad N
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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Do you make gaming a part of your birthday celebration or is your birthday a time to do something else?

How do you celebrate your birthday or don't you?
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6. Board Game: The Con Game [Average Rating:6.09 Unranked]
Brad N
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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How do gaming conventions affect your playing of games?

Do you attend the conventions and play a lot and then take a break or play a lot and then get into gear and play some more? Or, do you skip conventions while your gaming buddies go to them and your leave you home alone?
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7. Board Game: Fauna [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:653] [Average Rating:7.07 Unranked]
Brad N
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Madison
Wisconsin
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_7_ Can't Stop - 4 Players
_5_ Fauna - 4 Players
_4_ Zombie Kidz - 4 Players


Can't Stop was the gaming highlight of my week if that says anything.

(1) Fauna - I want to like this game and it might be better with my kids when the younger ones are a bit older. The Cardline: Animals game is actually a better fit for kids under 8 or 9, I think.
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8. Board Game: Innovation [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:277]
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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Innovation (2p)
Love Letter (2p)


Just one hastily-scheduled weeknight of gaming, where we managed 2 beers each, 2 games, and some catching up.

Evidently I had never taught my neighbor Love Letter before. He was instantly pleased with it, maybe because we played to 3 cubes and he won 3-0?

Innovation came next, and I won fairly handily by rushing the draw piles and really leaning on whatever card lets you draw a 4 for every pile you have splayed, as I had all 5 piles splayed left at that point. So I drained the 4s and 5s, then played whatever card lets you swap your score pile with your hand. Goodbye, solitary 1 in my score pile! Hello all those points! I spent my next few turns grabbing achievements, as he couldn't stop me. Ballgame.
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9. Board Game: Nexus Ops [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:333]
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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I played Nexus Ops with my oldest and my second-born, and the oldest beat me.

Then I played Nexus Ops with my oldest on my team, vs. my second-born and
Lynette
United States
Richland
Washington
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who was visiting family in Detroit and drove 2 hours or so down to meet me.

We kicked Meerkat/second-born butt.

We also died in a plague when Meerkat taught us to play Pandemic.

I like Nexus Ops more now that my oldest is developing his strategy better. My second has a problem with it, he's just learned to read and is having problems with the cards, and doesn't understand how to use them at all, unfortunately, so Lynnette helped him out (and I did too in the other game) to make sure he was playing Mission Cards when he had them.

Pandemic was really brilliant as far as co-ops go, I think we had it easy but still lost because we didn't pass enough cards.

Last Friday I played Chicago Express and lost horribly when the other person who had played before attacked me, hoping for the third player to make a newbie mistake. He went on to pay way too much for everything and my attacker won easily and by a lot.

I also played Genoa which ended early so shouldn't count, but I was in second (close) there too.
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10. Board Game: De Vulgari Eloquentia [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:786]
Lori
United States
Durham
North Carolina
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Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar with the Monday group.

Then off to my local con, where I played 28 games (from Wednesday evening to Sunday night), 7 of them new to me:
Coloretto
8 De Vulgari Eloquentia*
Hanabi
7 La Boca* x2
4 Last Will*
Merchant of Venus x3
Outpost
P.I.
6 Pax Porfiriana*
6 Pickomino*
Piratenbillard x2
Riff Raff x2
4 Santiago de Cuba* x2
Scepter of Zavandor
Taboo x3
Trains x2
Ubongo
5 Vampire Empire*
Witch's Brew

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11. Board Game: Shark [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:1777]
Justus
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
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Had a lovely gamenight...I'm noticing I'm kind of a nazi when it comes to playing games. I got the ones I like and pretty much avoid the ones I don't. Hopefully I don't leave too bad an impression around me....I guess I'll find out if people around me stop playing games with me. I do try to tailor my choices to the group I've fallen in with....but yeah, I got to pull out 4 games out of my bag and I enjoyed each of them.

Started with a 3P game of China. Damn, I've forgotten what an excellent game that is. Its just a tense area control game

Bohnanza. I think that Mamma Mia is a more impressive design in making the usually painful memory mechanic lots of fun, but I might actually prefer Bohnanza for pure fun times.

Quo Vadis. I'm getting a little sour on this game. Its a nice tight design but the last couple games have fallen flat. I need to run it a few more times. Its clean Knizia but something is missing -- it might be me as the teacher or something.

Shark. It was a 6P game...maybe a mistake but otherwise an interesting but a little too long for what it is run. I will be trying the game with a variant (using an d8 instead of the d6 for zones, or else using the 5 zone map). The only problem is I'm not sure the next time I'll run the game because it does seem to run long.

All in all a fine game night.
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Seth Brown
United States
North Adams
Massachusetts
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Last week's list came just as we were starting the ABC. It's over now, and I barely managed to win. Exhaustive details at the geeklist itself; I won't bore you with them here.

This past weekend I was visiting some friends and got to try Boss Monster: The Dungeon Building Card Game, which is basically a super-streamlined Dungeon Lords card game without worker placement.
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13. Board Game: El Grande [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:54]
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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One visit to the gaming club, and only for one play - of a 5-player El Grande. I remember trying it in the end of the '90s when it was just overwhelmingly complex; we just played the short game and I'm not even sure we played it to the end. It remained in my memory as something special and I have always thought it's a great game for this reason, but I had to play it as a gamer to see it really is. After playing so many slightly boring and uninteresting recent Eurogames (including 2-2 plays of 2 recent Felds) in the past months, it was refreshing to play an old classic that felt awesome after ten minutes. The game feels to be completely tactical but I believe it's far from that. As the different cards in one deck provide more or less samey actions, the game also feels like a forerunner of "one-worker placement" like Puerto Rico and, as a result, a forerunner of worker placement games - here, while the action spaces offer something different each turn, you bid with your cards for the player order (and the caballeros you get this turn) and then, in player order, each player chooses one action and then everyone executes it - just like in worker placement games. Great!

I also played some children's games last week. Zoowaboo is great because it's really unique: players are making guesses on if they can fit all the animals in a boat - if everyone votes yes, then another animal is added, until someone votes no. Then players have about a minute to fit all the animals in the boat; if they can they get points; if they can't the opponent does. Creative development of their sense of geometry, spatial thinking, guessing, team play, luckily my son also enjoys this one.

I have also played 6 nimmt! Junior which is a game for age 5+ but felt a bit dumb; the alternative rule (that makes it closer to the original) seems to provide a little bit more, but I'm still thinking of introducing some extra rules to really make it interesting.
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14. Board Game: Romans Go Home! [Average Rating:6.10 Overall Rank:4586]
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Tuesday: tried out another games meetup in Bristol. I really liked this one - 15-20 people in a lovely pub. And they let me teach them all my games

The Little Prince: Make Me a Planet - I felt a bit bad about how much I won this by. Just a bit

Mascarade - 6p, went down very well again.

Hanabi - a really nicely-played 22.

Love Letter - I love teaching people this game!


Wednesday: at home

My new Palaces of Carrara turned up, but the closest I got to playing it was when Sarah requested a game of Scopa on the couch and we used the box to rest the cards on.

Saturday/Sunday: back down to London for a wedding

Scopa x3 - on the train, Sarah won 2-1.

Romans Go Home! - another new acquisition, in the pub. This is a neat little filler. Reminds me of R but with added pre-programming of moves. Random but fun, shame about the artwork.

Hoping to check out another different meetup on Thursday!
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15. Board Game: Innovation: Figures in the Sand [Average Rating:7.52 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.52 Unranked]
Andrew
United States
San Francisco
California
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Another online game of Innovation: Figures in the Sand - still not sure when leader powers activate, or what all their inspire/decree effects are. But the ignorance all contributes to the wackiness of the game...

Also finally finished a long-running online game of Pergamon when some dunce finally took his turn after 28 days.
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16. Board Game: The Great Zimbabwe [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:343]
Maarten D. de Jong
Netherlands
Zaandam
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The Great Zimbabwe (2P + 3P) — Two games, at 2 and 3 players.

In the two player game my partner decided she wanted to attempt a different approach and started placing a lot of monuments, letting the Herds be. I grabbed that instead, augmented with Atete for reuse of used resources, and nearly all craftsmen eventually in the game. Herds make the game decidedly easier... for as long as there is an imbalance in the amount of cattle you have compared to the other player(s). However, I also grew complacent, allowing my partner to pull off a sneak victory using Xango to reduce the VR requirements with me just one point away from my target.

The three player game, as part of the Alphabet Challenge, was completely different, and far tougher to play. My partner grabbed the Herds again, and without any meaningful god to keep up with the influx of bovines, I again found myself pondering how to deal with this threat. Fortunately the newcomer, player #3, decided on a whim to upgrade various technologies, which I copied. The result: massive cattle redistributions took place, because essentially player #3 and myself were extorting my partner to give up her cattle in exchange for expensive monument upgrades. As she really didn't want to increase her VR too much, she forgoed taking a god to alleviate the situation: that was a mistake, as Anansi would have saved her a ton of cattle. In any case, it bought us time: we could use these moneys to upgrade ourselves in the next round... if the resource situation still allowed it, of course. But still it wasn't enough. My partner eventuall won with a score of 5 VP over her VR, whereas player #3 and myself were 6 or 7 points behind ours.

The outlook of the 3 player-game was completely different, probably because another player carried out actions which impacted our own situation. This aspect is missing from the 2 player-game, and the game wins considerably in depth and complexity as a consequence. What I didn't really 'get' was how to stop the Herds, though. Yes, increase the prices to force redistribution, but in combination with Anansi (whom my partner ought to have taken but didn't) a nightmarish scenario starts to unfold for the other players. Lots of cattle and no need to pay much... Ouch. I can only imagine that you shouldn't allow this combination to end up in the same hand. (As I write this, I wonder about the effectiveness of a craftsmen + Shaman strategy where you just pepper the board with your craftsmen as to speed up the game to the point where having lots of cattle is simply not an as efficient advantage. Or Obatala + Nomads.)

Player #3 liked the game, but found it tough because it was not at all clear how to counter all sorts of threats; and expressed some doubt as to playing it often. It also didn't help that it again turned out to be very difficult to explain the distance rules and monument needs: it proved far too tempting to view all distances with respect to the temple being upgraded, whereas in reality it is a cascade: A produces B, which is needed to produce C, which needs to be transported to D. That D never needs to be close to A is hard to fathom for some reason; and me pointing out that some production chains don't change anymore, making calculating the cost easier than it looks also didn't sink in yet. I need to make an effort to show this on an empty board in the future.

In any case, it helps considerably for my partner's morale that she has won all three games I played with her, and that is a Good Thing.

Santiago de Cuba (3P) — A simple tactical game of point grabbing to give the stressed neurons a little rest. It was a nasty game because large demand dice were quickly reset to 0; but in the end I found myself weasling sufficiently efficiently through the surf of breaking resource management waves by claiming the win by three points. My fellow players expressed disinterest in this title after cleaning up, and to some extent I have to agree: there isn't much game here. But that isn't why I bought it: I bought it to replace the plodding mess that is Cuba, which is just as opportunistic and difficult to manage, but takes well over twice as long to play. I don't know many games of this sort of tactical resource conversion, and in that niche I think Santiago de Cuba is a good title to put out on the table.
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17. Board Game: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords – Base Set [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:286]
John Bandettini
United Kingdom
London
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Nearly a week of Pathfinder.

9th September at LoB

Played through the three scenarios that come with the base game. Played all three with Paul but our supporting cast changed as we continued.

Four player first game, we won fairly comfortably. One of our players left.

We played the second scenario with three and won again, not quite so easy this time.

Our third player left, but two new players joined in.

Third game with four players. Very close one this one. We only had a couple of actions left. The other three players were camped out at the location we thought the villain was in, while I was sitting in the only other open location ready to close it. But wouldn't you know it, the Villain was were I was.

I was playing the Sorceress, who as long as she has a spell in her hand is pretty much unbeatable, but one of the weakest characters in the game if she doesn't. Luckily I had a spell when I found the villain. Beat him easily, the others closed the other location and we won the game.

10th September at LoB

Another night, same game, different players. This time we were playing with five. Only played the first scenario and lost it. I think most of you know I don't like AP players. I like to play fast I like to have fun. I have discovered that there may be someone worse to play with than a bad AP type. The Reckless Co-op player. We had one player who kept going for checks he probably would not make when he did not have too, and kept failing them. Not surprisingly he was the first to die and his turns were all pretty much wasted turns.

The rest of us never really recovered. Two more players died and time ran out on us.

As well as failing the game took most of the night. I don’t think I recommend the game with more than four, too much down time.

Just about time enough for a quick game of Smash Up. I know it’s a pretty random, chaotic, luck filled game but I think it’s fun. Maybe not if it lasted 2 or 3 hours, but at around 45 minutes it’s fine.
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18. Board Game: Hansa [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:710]
Justus
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
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Hmm I'm looking to purchase Hansa and Hoity Toity.

Sounds fun...but the catch is my wife says its the last purchase of 2013 for me.

Any thoughts?

I'm curious how the two play, and I have a strange fixation with SDJ winners (Hoity) and Schaacht's China impressed me enough I now want to try Hansa (plus its a Mark E Johnson favorite...plus I don't have a good pick up and delivery game so maybe this will fill that niche).
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