GCL Mafia 141: Would you rather... (Second Edition)
Grace P.
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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

Because it was fun last time (and I couldn't think of anything creative for this week's list), I've grabbed more random "Would you rather...?" questions from around the internet. Feel free to add more. I was too lazy to set the questions up as a poll. Plus, you should explain your answers anyway.

Please add an item to represent your gaming life for the week of September 23-29, 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: The Mount of Knowledge [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Would you rather...

Know exactly what happened in Area 51?
Or accept $1 million?
 
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2. Board Game: Mind Power [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Would you rather...

Be telekinetic?
Or telepathic?
 
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3. Board Game: Totally Gross [Average Rating:4.60 Overall Rank:15929]
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Would you rather...

Always have sticky fingers?
Or always have bad breath?
 
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4. Board Game: Point-Blank [Average Rating:5.60 Overall Rank:13960]
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Would you rather...

Have nipples that constantly change colors like a disco light?
Or have nipples look like diamonds?
 
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5. Board Game: Liar Liar [Average Rating:6.71 Unranked]
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Would you rather...

Be able to lie without being caught?
Or always be able to tell when someone is lying?
 
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6. Board Game: My Body [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Would you rather...

Be able to eat anything and any quantity of food with no negative health effects?
Or be refreshed and well rested after only three hours of sleep?
 
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7. Board Game: Intelligent Design [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Would you rather...

Design the #1 rated game on BGG, praised by all gamers?
Or design a game that you profit rather well enough that you can quit your job, but is detested by gamers?
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8. Board Game: Coup [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:434]
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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10?x Coup
3x Myrmes
*Airlines Europe
Alien Labyrinth
Citadels
Elfenland
Eminent Domain
Get Bit! w/*Sharkspansion
Mage Knight Board Game
Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization
*Bora Bora

*new to me

This weekend I went to a church men's retreat. I brought a few games with me, but we only played the filler games; Citadels, Get Bit!, Alien Labyrinth, and Coup. As you can see from above, Coup was the biggest hit and even pulled in two of our non-gamers who enjoyed it quite a bit! I was very pleased.

On Tuesday, I played Airlines Europe and Elfenland. I managed to win both. Though neither were close (neck and neck close, that is), it also wasn't a clear victory either. Jennifer played Keyflower and fell in love. I really wanted to play it, but they were already explaining rules when we finished Airlines, so it'll have to wait for another time.

We got together again on Thursday to play Bora Bora, Eminent Domain, and Mage Knight. Mage Knight was my fourth play, and the second to last game on my friend's goal of playing all of the BGG top 20 games. I still have yet to play past the initial scenario in this game, though. Eminent Domain was 3-player long game, so I finally felt like I had a decent experience and produce/trade was used quite a bit. Though I never got to trade until the second to last round of the game, I did pick up a card that let me use research symbols as any symbol so I traded away all 7 of my goods. Then I picked up a tech card to trade away ships as resources. So I followed in the last round to trade my last 4 ships. I heavily dominated that game with a victory, but even without those last 11 points, I still would've had a win. Though, it would've been closer.

Finally, I played TtA and Myrmes online. In TtA, I was brutal. I built up my strategies and military, and allowed my opponent's army to get whittled down by colonizing or aggressions, until he sacrificed his entire military to one aggression that only would've wiped out his two opera buildings. So I followed this up by wars that stole all his resources, then stole all his points, then wiped out his entire population, then stole all his points again. End game points gave him 6 points and I had over 200. I felt kinda bad, but I wanted to prove that military did mean something. Apparently, though, his interpreation is "I confirmed his thoughts on military being ridiculous" so he's not interested in playing again, and he thinks I got lucky with my tactics card. Obviously I disagree, but he's pretty headstrong.

Myrmes was two against Fabrice, one against Grace. Fabrice has improved immensely, and should've beaten me, but made a sub-optimal end-game move that let me narrowly win. In our second game, I made a harsh first turn block. It makes me not like the ability for +3 movement on the first turn of the game, cause I blocked off 2/3 of the board from him. Then proceeded to block off the center board from him. The setup I put him in required several soldiers just to get across to spread anywhere. I slowed my own growth to do this, so I fell behind in points, but I had the entire board to play with and he had very little room to maneuver. But then a mistake happened. Forgetting the limit on soldier/workers, he ended up with 8 soldiers and 0 workers. This basically meant he couldn't produce any workers until he lost soldiers, but he couldn't lose soldiers without workers. So effectively, the rest of the game was done for him. We decided to call it and move on to another game. We haven't started it yet, though.





And my local math trade results are up. I'm trading 1955 for Evo second edition. Yay!
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9. Board Game: Star Trek: Attack Wing [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:1074]
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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New Game

Star Trek: Attack Wing (with Star Trek: Attack Wing – I.R.W. Valdore Expansion Pack and Star Trek: Attack Wing – R.I.S. Apnex Expansion Pack) x3

Old Games

Step by Step x1
Felicity: The Cat in the Sack x1
Glory to Rome (with Glory to Rome: Republic Expansion) x1
Sentinels of the Multiverse x1
Saint Petersburg (with Saint Petersburg: New Society & Banquet Expansion) x1
Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases x1

Got a chance to try Star Trek: Attack Wing yesterday, and by and large I like it as much as I like X-Wing. There are some small differences, like how the movement guides are a little longer than the X-Wing ones and how there's a new "scan" action that removes a defensive die from anyone you attack. You're even allowed to attack ships that you've run into (the thematic justification being that you're running a big ship with lots of crew, the pilot can devote all his time to not crashing while the gunner is still free to take shots). The biggest change is the faction choices, which are incredibly more diverse than the simple "Rebel vs. Imperial" that X-Wing offers. For one, it makes 3p or even 4p free-for-alls much easier to execute, but it also gives you a huge amount of freedom in customizing your ships.

First and foremost, you're allowed to use anyone with anything. I believe there's a general out-of-faction penalty that doubles the build points of out-of-faction cards, but there are also faction and even ship-specific upgrades and officers. There's a lot more freedom to build synergies between ships (something that's been explored more with the Wave-3 releases in X-Wing). My friend who owns the game had set me up with two Romulan ships, one which was purely support (the Apnex, which had an upgrade that gave all friendlies +1 attach if they were in range 1) and the other which was crazily powerful (the Valdore, which rolled 4 attack dice and got +1 attack die if it had just performed a green maneuver).

And that was the other big difference between the two games, Attack Wing is a far bloodier affair than X-Wing. You're rolling a lot more attack dice and a lot less defense dice on average (unless you've got the cloaking ability, which makes you stupidly hard to hit). As opposed to the sort of steady chipping away of hull and shields in X-Wing, you can manage crazy attacks that will often kill a ship that wasn't in any trouble to begin with (aside from being in your crosshairs). Oh, and shields are no longer additional hull by a different name, you can have characters who let you disable shields for a extra boost elsewhere, and you *must* disable all your shields in order to cloak.

In all, Attack Wing is the more flexible game, and that's very much to it's benefit. While the miniatures are completely laughable in comparison to the work FFG's done on X-Wing, the system is just as good, if not better. If you like X-Wing, you should definitely give Attack Wing a try.
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10. Board Game: Match of the Season [Average Rating:5.95 Overall Rank:12637]
Philip Newman
United States
Plano
Texas
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Favorite Game Designer Tournament and Favorite Movie Tournament

I'm going to stick with my top choices this time (sorry Robin!), given the lack of preference lists.

What you need to do: Send me your top 10 Game Designers and top 15 Movies, in order of preference.

The bracket for Game Designers will be determined in the same way as the GCL Madness bracket - everyone will be guaranteed to have their top X in, those with overlapping nominations will be more likely to get farther down their list.

For the Movie bracket, I will guarantee everyone will get their #1 choice in, and at least two other movies, but it may not be the top 3; preference will be given here to movies appearing on multiple lists.
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11. Board Game: Smash Up [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:699] [Average Rating:6.81 Unranked]
Matthew C
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I'm posting the gmail conversation I had with my wife regarding Smash Up, because it summarizes my thoughts nicely:

I decided I'd see how Smash Up actually plays
1). The game's meant to be a joke because you're mashing combinations together
2). The joke's not funny, because none of the card-text supports joke-like things
3). The guys I was playing with decided to play a longer game than usual
4). They took forever to take their turns.
5). it was with a group I've managed to avoid thus far -- will continue to avoid

This "comedy game" took over an hour to play, and the only comedy in it was which monsters we were smashing together. That doesn't seem terribly funny to me?


Otherwise, I got in two other games:
Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs Imperium - my friend who likes RftG was at the store, so I hit him up for a game after the flop that was Smash Up. This took less time, and was immensely more enjoyable. I managed a whopping 64 points. Early on, I dropped a development which allowed me to discard cards for victory points, which I combined with a novelty tableau, providing me 14 victory points per consumption (and 4 cards). It was not a close match.

Galaxy Trucker - While I love Galaxy Trucker, I do think that it's getting to the point where I need to use the expansion in order to play the game. I might due well to actually include the Rough Roads cards too.

I blew the other two out of the water, although neither did terribly themselves. This was the first time using the Even Stevens cards, although I did not use terribly difficult ones, so it had little impact.


On a sidenote, my friend who enjoys RftG has invited me to his board gaming group which will meet this Sunday. His group of friends are all eurogamers, so I'm looking forward to (hopefully) playing my first Feld game.
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12. Family: 18xx
Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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d10-1d10-0 1x 18NY
d10-1d10-0 1x 1846: The Race for the Midwest
d10-9 1x 1880: China
d10-8 1x 1844: Switzerland
d10-8 1x 1826: Railroading in France and Belgium from 1826
d10-8 1x 1812: The Cradle of Steam Railways
d10-8 1x Roads & Boats
d10-8 2x König von Siam
d10-6 1x 18Ardennes
d10-6 1x Five Crowns

How a great time at Midwestern Conception Con where I got to play 18XX all weekend. I got to play tow of my favorites (18NY and 1880) along with several that I'd been wanting to play for a long time (1844, 1826, and 1812). Although most of the games ran long (1844 was 6.5 hours and 6-player 1880 was 7 hours), there were worth the time (the 1880 game did have a couple of irritating moments).

1844 was interesting with the mountain/tunnel companies and the city trains quickly degrading to hex trains on a large map providing some interesting decision points. I think I still prefer 18NY as an engineer's game, but 1844 has a lot to recommend it. 1826 was a frustrating play as 2 of us were new and a third had only played it once. One play got the Belge and the north and quickly ran away with the game (although the experienced 1826 player ended up getting very close at the end). Green tick tiles don't uprade, making initial token placmeent up north critical. We got a few rules wrong and ended up rewinding a few times which marred the experience, but I still really liked the underlying game. This is one I'd really like to play again as it seems like a good, short game with some meat and replayability to it.

1812 was fun for what it is. I suspect it's the best small 18XX game (definitely the best I've played so far) for replayability and interesting decisions. It has privates that change each game and companies that can start as 2-share and upgrade to 10-share via mergers or growing up. It has "miming" trains (as well as regular ones) which require a mine and a port to run to making a decision on what train to buy somewhat interesting. It's a game I'd like to have for those times when I'd like to play a short (90 - 120 minute) 18XX game, possibly with 2 players (though I don't know how great it'd be with only 2).

Lastly, I got in an other solo play of R&B on a River Runs Through It where I ended up with one turn short of producing my first stock certificate. If I can remember what I did, I think I may be close to getting a good score.

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13. Board Game: Trains [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:410] [Average Rating:7.20 Unranked]
Robin Levins
United States
Round Rock
TX
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Games this week:
*Trains x 2
*Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 2 – India & Switzerland
Brass: Lancashire (*2-player variant)
Race for the Galaxy: The Brink of War x 2
Taj Mahal
Goa

I finally got on the bandwagon and played Trains. It was as beautiful as I hoped it would be. I really enjoyed my two plays of it (one 3-player, one 2-player), and hope to try it again (and particularly for Kristen to get a chance to play it). I suspect if Kristen likes it, it will make it into our collection.

Ticket to Ride: India was a neat map. My only complaint about the game is that cities get jammed in pretty tight, and it's sometime hard to keep up with where cities are. (I'm not a geography expert of India, but I hoped my familiarity with India Rails would help me keep up with where cities were better than it did.) It was easy to get close cities mixed up. Still, I like the bonus concept behind the game (more points for multiple ways of connecting your routes), and am looking forward to trying it again.

I also finally used our 2-player variant map for Brass that we had printed many months ago. The two player game is a different beast altogether, particularly since the coal and iron demand tracks start at $2, and because the card distribution is likely to be more favorable (or mess over both players roughly equally). We will definitely play 2-player again in the future.

Rftg, Goa, and Taj Mahal were as fabulous as ever. I was uncertain how well Goa would play with 3 players and was pleasantly surprised to find it was just as tense as ever.
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14. Board Game: Baltimore & Ohio [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:1976]
Mc Jarvis
United States
Arlington
Virginia
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Plays this week:



I had the pleasure of hosting my monthly group this week, and C was excited to force Baltimore and Ohio on them. Other than C and I, no one had ever played a train/stock game outside of Stephensons Rocket or Airlines Europe, so it was a very interesting experience. Several players caught on really quickly, though my experience ended up catapulting me far in the lead. It was a 5 player game, which I think is my preferred player count for B&O. At the very least, I prefer a higher than three player player count, so it doesn't turn into three players developing red, blue, and yellow.

C learned the hard way that owning your own railroad is not so valuable that you should start a suboptimal one instead of cross-investing as the 5th player. I kind of wish I had been the 5th player just so I could try out buying several shares of the companies I thought were most valuable--- as it was, I went second & bought heavily into Blue. I developed it strongly, and just ended up owning 100% of the most profitable company on the board.

The other thing of note is that one person in my usual group usually very vocally doesn't have fun when he finds himself in a trailing position in a game which doesn't allow for comebacks. One thing I noticed during this play is he was really engaged in B&O all the way until the end--- I consider this a good mark, since B&O has a way of continuing to being fun even if you're not winning, per se.

Also, I've started listing my "want to trade" games on the marketplace. I think I've underestimated just how much demand there is on the marketplace, since things have been selling at a rate of about a game per day ever since. I haven't posted all my trade list there--- if you're headed to BGG.con and want anything on my trade list, let me know!
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15. Board Game: Bruges [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:217]
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Bruges 1
Pala 1

Sad week of gaming, though two new games, one of which was my arch-nemesis (unbeknownst to him) Feld.

Bruges was okay. Typical Feld with his points salad. Lots of shit going on and many ways to score points, but instead of feeling like I wanted to try one path, I felt like I was simply doing poorly at all paths. This was one of the better games of his and I enjoy the cards-with-multiple-uses aspect of it. I had issue with the workers feeling overly expensive for what they provided. So, overall, some more meh feelings to the overrated Feld. (Sorry, Feldians.)

I was super excited to get to try Pala, but unfortunately it tanked. We played the Pointillism variant with five players. We all seemed to have the same feeling that essentially getting high cards pretty much auto wins you the trick. We loved the premise of the game, mixing colors and changing trumps, but it felt too constrained as to when you could do this. Perhaps the Impressionism variant is better but as it stands, the game is likely going into the trade/sell pile.
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16. Board Game: Don't Wake Daddy [Average Rating:4.45 Overall Rank:16920]
Beau Bailey
United States
Missoula
Montana
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No gaming again.

I did pick up Pathfinder Adventures Card Game and Survive at some steep discounts from Barnes and Noble. Maybe I'll get to play them in a few months.

Pretty much the limit of my entertainment has been reading while getting Moira to go to sleep.
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17. Board Game: Spyrium [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:552]
Fabrice Dubois
France
La Garenne Colombes
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 10  Android:Netrunner x2
 9  Spyrium x4

On Spyrium : like some recent games (Tournay and Ginkgopolis), i wasn't interested to discover/play them and i find myself blasted each time. This is not different with Spyrium.

This is a brillant design, a big Ystari's game in a small box. There is enough room for replayability, interaction and decision here. I like what the game brings to us with so few components and easy rules :
1) timing (when to switch to activation phase, when to acquire technics if ever...)
2) jockeying
3) combos
4) race

The theme is almost here (at least, it is ok for me as i can see the theme relation of each building/technics) except for the events : i really don't see the thematic justification for these cards (i think they are here to balance the game although i am surprise that it is a free action/bonus --in term of action, not resources). Also, i was very surprised that the main resource is not the spyrium but the money.

To summarize, i can see the different thematic paths :
- go for mining and transforming spyrium crystals into VP.
- go for workers and make them work into mine/factories/laboratories or educate them.
- go for residence to accumulate money in order to buy the most expansive buildings in order to show to everyone your social success.

I find the idea of having only 9 era C cards interesting. This put everyone on the same level of knowledge, prevent to screw a strategy if the relative card is not drawn, focus the action and bring pressure for the last round.

Some signs show us that Spyrium is a very well thought out and tested game :
- no residence card on the last turn to prevent degraded strategies
- Taylorism in era B and not A like other technics
- always the same cards in the last turn
- the self-balancing for 2 players (no specific setup, see below)
- the crane seems less stronger that it seemed to me at first sight

It could be odd to not have any setup variation for the 2 players configuration but, on TricTrac.net, Ystari guys told us that they wanted the 2 players game to be very different from other configurations :
- some tech cards are less powerful
- some character cards will become useless after the first activation
- money is tight

All of this will entice you to interact because you have only one opponent and a perfect information of its finances.

Looking in the future :
- Android: Netrunner
- Arctic Scavengers
- Archipelago (first multiplayer game)
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