GCL Amoeba 136 -- Bearing One Another's Burdens
Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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GameChat League - Amoeba Division 136
ABOUT | AMOEBA DIVISION | SUBSCRIBE

Welcome to this week's discussion list!

If you stumbled into this geeklist by accident take a look at the pointers provided at the top. Constructive on-topic comments from visitors are welcome and we're happy about new regular contributors, but please refrain from adding items if you are not a member of this GCL.

The hosting rotation:

Carlos Moreno Serrano (Sprocket314) mb
Jevon (cadavaca)
Jens (fizzle)
Joshua (Joshuaaaaaa)
Mikko (msaari)
Doug Faust (phrim)
Max DuBoff (MD1616)
Larry (larryjrice)
Jeroen Doumen (jmdsplotter)
Eric Brosius

Please join me in welcoming another new member to the Amoebas:

Jeroen Doumen (jmdsplotter) Welcome, Jeroen!

In September, my wife and I had the pleasure of attending two weddings. On the first Saturday we attended a wedding in Spain in which the languages used were Spanish and Basque. On the last Saturday (yesterday,) we attended a wedding in Arlington MA (the town in which my wife and I lived for 4 years immediately after getting married and moving to MA) in which the languages used were English and Hebrew. A wedding is an occasion to think about life and relationships.

But also, during the month, a number of people I care about suffered difficulties of various types, and this got me thinking about how people help bear the burdens of others. We often say that games are about people first of all. In this week's list, I'd like us to think (in addition to games) about helping each other out in this way.

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1. Board Game: Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:293]
Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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I spoke above about marriage and the support it can provide. My wife and I are very different people. We both play boardgames, and even though I'm more of a fanatic than she is, she enjoys them enough to fly to conventions without me. Sometimes she feels that she doesn't win very many games, though part of this is that she is self-critical (she often forgets about times that she wins games.) One game we can play together that is especially fun for both of us is Lost Cities, a game in which we both win about half our games together.

Marriage is not the only source of supportive and encouraging relationships. Is there one person or a group of people that comes to your mind when you think of who you rely on for support and encouragement?
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2. Board Game: Foppen [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:3499]
Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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At yesterday's wedding, the groom was a friend with whom I have played games for a number of years (I've played games with the bride as well, but only a few times.) Another friend wrote a song to commemorate the occasion, modifying the lyrics of a well-known popular song. It took some effort to do this, together with a knowledge of the honoree's personality, and it was a touching tribute. I understand that it is common at a Jewish wedding for the guests to sing songs, recite poetry, or do other things to honor the newly married couple.

Comment on an act of support or kindness you have observed.
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3. Board Game: The Game of Life: Card Game [Average Rating:5.85 Overall Rank:10127]
Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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People generally aspire to be the best we can be, and this extends to helping others. Is there something you are aspiring to, but that you're still working on?
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4. Board Game: Here I Stand [Average Rating:7.94 Overall Rank:181]
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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New to me:

d10-6 Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords – Base Set x2

Return visits:

d10-9 Here I Stand x1

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords – Base Set is nothing I would look to play on my own, but I did enjoy playing with a group. I could see playing through this with a regular group and enjoying the experience as my character levels up and becomes better equipped with items/weapons. Of course, if my character died, I may not be so happy...

My second ever play of Here I Stand was an interesting and enjoyable 8 hour affair. Both times, we've had people new to the game; I would find playing this more consistently with a regular/knowledgeable group interesting as I'm sure this would make a difference. I've won both of my games in this group, once as the Protestants when the Pope decided to become overly involved in political affairs, and this time as the Catholics as I held off the Protestants (never lost a debate and sent three reformers to the stake), built the cathedral, and held four keys. Game was over at the end of the fifth round when I finished with 26 points, one ahead of the Hapsburgs. The poor French never won a battle all game, the British couldn't quite overwhelm the Scots in a timely manner, and the Ottomans' massive pirate fleet was sunk by the Hapsburgs.
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5. Board Game: Bugs in the Kitchen [Average Rating:6.27 Overall Rank:2638]
Mikko Saari
Finland
Tampere
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1 x _6_Tichu
1 x _7_The Kids of Catan
1 x _7_Colorpop
1 x _7_Las Vegas
1 x _7_Ab in die Tonne
1 x _7_The Haunted Clock Tower
1 x _7_Qwixx
1 x _8_Stich-Meister NEW
2 x _7_Bugs in the Kitchen NEW
2 x _5_Dragi Drache NEW

I got Stich-Meister from Secret Santa 2011, and it took me this long to actually try it. Well, it was fun. I'll gladly play it again. I like trick-taking games, and this is indeed something worth trying for everybody who likes trick-takers and doesn't mind some randomness.

Kakerlakak is surprisingly entertaining. It has a Hexbug Nano that looks like a cockroach and a maze for it to travel. The maze has walls that can be turned 90 degrees, and the goal is to have the bug walk into your zone. On each turn, you can flip one wall. Very simple, but also quite exciting, so quite fun to play with the kids.

Dragi Drache is a gimmick game; not the worst gimmick game I've tried, but a one trick pony anyway. Here the trick is a motor that creates an air flow. A ball is floated in the air flow and you have to blow at it to make the ball land in the right place. Not much of a game in this.

I started a new Geeklist for my reviews: Mikko's Quick Reviews
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6. Board Game: Tribune: Primus Inter Pares [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:506]
Joshua Gottesman
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
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Despite being seriously ill last week, I made it out on Saturday for both gaming groups. I probably pushed it too long on Saturday, as Sunday was not a lot of fun, and hey, games are games, right?

The early Saturday group started with 2 games of Trains. I had played this about a month ago. My impression then was "A pretty good deck builder, I'm not going to rush out and buy it." After the 2 games Saturday, my impression is "A pretty good deck builder, I'm not going to rush out and buy it." I like the waste card concept, adding the board adds a bit of competition, and past that, it just doesn't distinguish itself to me.

Next up, we played the 2 intro adventures (and started the 1st "real" adventure" for Legends of Andor. I wouldn't call this a great game, and I do want to play it more to get a better impression. I HATE the map numbering system, where it takes forever to find some locations. Did they use a dart board for this?

We wrapped up with a game of Love Letter, using the Kanai limited edition, which changes the countess to the minister (the other names change, this is the only power change). I won this won, and for a change it wasn't 4-3-3-3. I think this was in part because of the Minister (you're out of the round if your hand totals 12 or more). However, I think it hit each of us once. The "instant out" does speed up the game (not that its a long game in the 1st place). Our resident whiner (when he doesn't win) said he didn't like the minister power. After 1 game, I'm not passing judgement yet.

In the evening, we started out with The Scepter of Zavandor, also known as "Sliderule of Zavandor" or "Accounting of Zavandor." I have to be in the right mood to play this. I do accounting for a living, I don't always want it in a game. Saturday I was in the mood. One player got totally flustered by the math and will never play it again. Ironically, she tied me for 2nd, 1 point out of 1st. I actually did better at this than I usually do, although I made some missteps. I'm sure I'll play this again in a year.

We then played 2 games of Tribune: Primus Inter Pares, which is seeing more and more table time (a bunch of us are going to play it again tomorrow night, too). The woman who was flustered by SoZ won both of them, although I would have won the 1st if the Catacombs had been just a bit kinder to me. This game is really a group favorite, and was a great $20 purchase at the FFG Christmas sale a couple of years ago. Now I really want the expansion, too!

A good day of gaming, although it set me back and Sunday I was mostly comatose.
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7. Board Game: Mice and Mystics [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:227] [Average Rating:7.39 Unranked]
Jason
United States
Irvine
California
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Really slow week of gaming. Hopefully this week is much better!

_7_ 2x Mice and Mystics

Random Thoughts:

Mice and Mystics from a gameplay is nothing special, however just playing through the story with a bunch of friends ends up being a ton of fun. We are getting pretty close to the end of the story, however we have a rule for this game called "No Paint.. No Play", so we will not be playing the expansion until my buddy Dan gets around to painting the mini's cool.
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8. Board Game: Vinci [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:635]
Jeroen Doumen
Netherlands
Eindhoven
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As this is my first official entry, let me write a few words about myself. My background is in mathematics (and physics), especially in cryptography. I work for a security company specializing in Pay-TV.

I play in a couple of groups, some of which meet semi-regularly at my house, and others run each week like clockwork. Particularly the Friday group will play the most obscure games we can find...

Since discovering the great stats site by Friendless (which has featured before on this list), I started logging my plays on BGG in 2011. And seeing my friendless rating (which for me mostly counts my unplayed games) led me on a quest to log a play of each game in my collection at least once. Currently I'm nearly at 40%, so I figure it's just a few more years to go... meeple

Some of you might also know me from a few games that I (co-)designed in Splotter Spellen . As they say in Dutch, this is mostly a hobby that got out of hand during my student days...

I also have to warn you: I mostly rate games quite harshly. Taking the BGG description for the ratings (somewhat) literally will do that for you with a big collection ;-). Though it appears I'm getting somewhat more mellow: my average rating used to be below _5_, but is now up to nearly a _6_.

Anyhow, on the my played list for this week:

6x _8.50_ Bridge
3x _7.00_ The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
2x _3.00_ Coppertwaddle
2x _7.00_ Taluva
1x _3.50_ Crazy Creatures of Dr. Doom
1x _5.25_ Clash of the Gladiators
1x _5.00_ Carson City
1x _5.00_ Confucius
1x _5.00_ Blokus
1x _7.25_ Riff Raff
1x _7.00_ Vinci
1x _7.00_ Modern Art
1x _6.75_ Tribune: Primus Inter Pares
1x _5.75_ Formula Dé Mini
1x _5.75_ Enemy in Sight
1x _5.50_ Way Out West
1x _7.75_ Chicago Express

Don't worry, this was quite an active week for me . A friend celebrated his birthday on Sunday with a gameday, and I also played quite a few games on Saturday.

I will write a few words about some of the games later this week.
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9. Board Game: Ticket to Ride: Alvin & Dexter [Average Rating:6.58 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.58 Unranked]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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Friday night was my monthly rotating game night, this time at our house.

_8_ Race for the Galaxy - This was with me, Anni, and Brian. We played the first two expansions, but without the scoring tiles (we just forgot). I started with Imperium Lords and did a military strategy, but not particularly efficiently. My first four or five plays where dinky military planets; the biggest one I ever saw was the 6-military alien planet that gives you +3 military. Still, I soldiered on, but the only decently useful 6-point development I found was the one that gives bonuses for uplift stuff. That affected a whole 3 of my cards, including itself. I played it as my 12th card and ended the game. I had a score in the low 30's--but that turned out to be better than my opponents, who each had a score in the 20's.

_8_ Slide 5 - Laura and Juliean showed up at that point, but they said that more people were coming shortly, so we broke out another filler. I like this game quite a bit, but remembering game details is pretty impossible. Juliean took a ton of points right from the get-go, while Laura did really well in the beginning but took a bunch of points at the end. Brian and Anni did consistently well throughout, and Brian ended up edging out Anni by one point for the victory.

_8_ Ticket to Ride: Alvin & Dexter (new!) - The expansion was new, obviously TTR is not. Laura and Juliean had bought this despite not actually owning Ticket to Ride... and unfortunately, I had accidentally left my copy at my parents' house. Fortunately, we were able to contact Debbie and tell her to bring it before she left. Anyway, this was me, Laura, Juliean, and Debbie. I kept two of my initial tickets, and then picked up some more tickets on my first turn. Unfortunately, while the 3 tickets I picked up went with each other, they didn't really go with the ones I kept. I kept two of them, and resigned myself to going from San Francisco to New York, and then going from one of those two ends to Winnepeg. Winnepeg ended up being really popular early, with everyone trying to build into it. I quickly scooped up the last route out, which made everyone who wanted to go through Winnepeg kind of sad. The Alvin and Dexter figurines really affected the order in which I did things rather than my actual routing--mostly I just waited for other people to move them. I did end up moving Alvin twice, which was good enough to share in the end-game bonus. I did manage to accomplish my plan before the end of the game, but after I had taken my last turn I took another look at my tickets--and realized that I completely forgot about Sault Ste Marie. I had just laid a 4-route just to use up my extra cards, and I could've easily placed a 3-route to connect to SSM if I remembered that I had to. So that cost me a net of 13 points. In any case, Laura took a lot of the 6-routes on the board, so she had a ton of points from tracks and won. Juliean finished in second, and far enough ahead of me that my mistake turned out not to matter. Debbie was in last, as the Winnepeg situation prevented her from completing several tickets.
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10. Board Game: Commands & Colors: Ancients [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:100]
Max DuBoff
United States
New Brunswick
New Jersey
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Habeo in animo vivere in perpetuum aut mori dum conor.
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Sorry for the delay; I've been a bit busy. Last week was decent on the gaming front though:

_7_ Triumph of Chaos: I learned this game this week, and--boy, is it tough. It certainly looks like a ton of fun (intense, thought-provoking, fun), but Paths of Glory is already pretty tough for me. I definitely look forward to gaining a more in-depth understanding of Triumph of Chaos though. We didn't finish a game, but in the game we started, I got a cool card to make a White army (I was Red) in the south defect, totally blunting White's attack. We'll see how it plays out.


_8.8_ Virgin Queen: In the same "favorites" group as Here I Stand for me. (Don't get me wrong, though; the games are completely different. Playing VQ like HIS will certainly lead to defeat, as I experienced firsthand.) I really learned a lot about this game, too, at WBC this past year, when i for the first time went to the Sunday pre-con. Anyway, I joined a weekly VASSAL VQ group, and we played the first two turns last Monday. We picked sides semi-randomly, and I got Spain, which is a ton of fun, but also a decent bit of stress. In the first turn, I suppressed the pesky Protestants rather well although I let them get Amsterdam, in the northern Low Countries. Unfortunately, the Ottomans defeated me at sea, but I started rebuilding, undeterred. There was really not much pirating in the New World in either of the turns, so I, helped by Treasure Fleet, was rolling in New World dough. The tide turned against me a bit in the second turn, though, when I failed to secure an alliance with either France or the HRE< meaning I couldn't deploy troops to the Netherlands or use my awesome pro-Catholic card (I needed 5 non-walloon troops in the Netherlands and I only had 4). Hopefully I'll get an alliance next time (this week's session was canceled) and put down the upstarts. I also got Cryptography in the first turn, so that should help when espionage comes in next turn.


_7.7_ Lost Cities: I love this game as an engaging two-player filler, and on Saturday night my friend and I played a game as everyone else was finishing dinner. (There was a gathering at my house.) I got lucky and got 130 in the first round, and the game was over after that.


_8_ Wits & Wagers Perhaps my favorite party game ever, considering that I think I know a lot of things in general. This game shows me I don't. We just got a new set actually, since I somehow years ago managed to lose the lid to the old one (don't ask), the questions were older, at least half of the markers were out of ink, and the player boards had smudges. (As you can tell, the game was lovingly used--a lot. This is one of my go-to games when looking for something to play with non-gamers.) Since I don't really like the new rules (at all), however, we still used the old rules (without the permanent, unusable chips) and the old board (better quality) but with the rest of the components from the new set. When I get a chance I'll combine that mix into one box. I didn't do so well in the first 6 questions, ending Question 6 with only half my starting chip count. The last question was meant to be, though. I'm pretty good at American history, and the question "In what year was the city of Boston founded?" came up. I knew that the answer was somewhere in the latter period of the first half of the 17th century, and, figuring my answer might be bet on, I purposely went high (1650). A smaller kid in the game wrote 1585, which everyone else marked off as obviously wrong. I was the only one to bet on 1585, and I won since the answer was 1630. No one bet on my answer though, so my ploy was totally unnecessary, but it's alright.


_7.5_ 7 Wonders: I rather like this game. Not many non-filler games play quicker than it, and it has different totally plausible strategies. Someone brought it over, and four of us settled down for a game. I randomly got Manneken Pis (I had actually never seen the randomizer cards before for this game, so that was cool). I took the B side, which, for those of you not familiar, is one level. It requires one of every resource, but it gives 7 VPs, 7 Coins, and 1 military point. At the beginning of the game, I quickly gobbled up both an East and West Trading Post (I was very lucky to get them), both of which served me extremely well, because I'm way too lazy to build resources for myself. In Age II, I picked up some useful yellow buildings and one of each of the gray resource production cards. I hoarded money all through this time as well (the wonder gives 7 money at the beginning instead of a resource). Although the player to my left started as the military superpower, I invested heavily in military in the third age, ending with 10 military (including the point from my wonder). None of the guilds I saw helped me, but I gathered 21 VPs from blue cards by the end. I built my wonder on the last round. Two players went for science, and although one got 38 points from it, he didn't have much else. As I said before, though, I thank my Trading Posts for my victory by 4 points (I had 54 and the next closest has 50).


_8.6_ Commands & Colors: Ancients: For the first time this week, I played this in person! It was very exciting. After teaching my opponent (the game is actually not that hard to teach or learn, at least in my opinion). I took the Romans at Cannae (which I picked because the units types are rather simple and it can go either way). By mobilizing my medium infantry, I got ahead, but my opponent made a nice comeback when his own heavy infantry arrived in the weakly defended center. I managed to win 7-4 though (not a bad performance at all from my opponent for a first-timer). I had really good cards, though, including a Double Time and two Line Commands.


_7_ Shadow Hunters: I prefer this game to Werewolf, which in my opinion tends to drag (especially with more than 12 or 13 players). I was dealt Ultra Soul (whom I seem to get a lot), and I immediately set out to dispose of the pesky good guys. He has a decent power but only 11 HP. I tried to avoid the others a bit, and humorously enough my friend who turned out to be on the same team as me had a blind hunch I was on his side. I only got to use my power once, but it was fine because I caused a decent bit of damage before I kicked the bucket (or at least the game looked good for us when I died), allowing my allies to kill the remaining Hunters, ensuring a victory for the villains (hooray!).


_7.5_ Scrabble: As the son of a former English teacher, there's no way I would not like this game. I'm half-decent at it because I had a phase where I played it along with Words with Friends and Wordfeud (mere knock-offs, it may be noted, albeit pretty fun ones) a lot on my iPod and learned many of the acceptable words. I had pretty good letters and won this one.


Overall, I had a very lucky week. I'd like to say it was skill, but I have to at least appear humble.
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11. Board Game: Medici [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:461]
Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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I have just five games to report on this week. I had a lot of other things going on and didn't get to play many games.

_7_ The Great Zimbabwe -- I bought this game from a friend who decided that there was no way his group would play it. There was no shipping, since I picked it up at his house, so it was a win-win transaction. We played a 3-player game that was quite short, as Brett raised his Victory Requirement only to 25 and bought cheap goods (some his own) to hit that target. I built a big engine that never quite got going, and Joe R. fell somewhere in between. The climactic moment was when Brett paid 5 or 6 cows to earn the right to go first, allowing him to get any ritual good he wanted and win on that turn. I knew I had to throw sand in his gears somehow, but wasn't able to do it effectively.

There are a few games I've played that I know I only scratched the surface of, but want to play again. I suspect the game would take longer with more experienced players. I usually rate these games as _7_'s, to denote my interest in playing them combined with my inability to rate them any higher. Others in this category right now for me include Luna and The Guns of Gettysburg.

.10! Medici -- This is my all-time favorite game, but unfortunately, the people I play with most often don't tend to like it. On Monday night, we needed a quick-ish game for 6 and someone suggested Medici! Now, people know I like it, so I'm sure part of their motivation was a consideration of my preference for it. Joe Rushanan explained that one reason he doesn't like Medici all that much is that he doesn't do well in it, and as a result, feels he doesn't understand it very well. I got the '10' card three times, but had to pay decent prices for it twice (the first time I got it for $1 because no one else had room.) But I didn't do a great job collecting types of goods. Joe bid frugally and won the game by about a dozen VPs. Maybe he understands it a little better now?

_6_ Diamant -- We played this with the extra cards removed, so that it was (essentially) the same as its progenitor Diamant, but for me it really suffers from the comparison. It's both less attractive and less playable. I like the wooden explorer-hatted meeples in Diamant better than the cards in Diamant, and the cardboard mining wagons in Diamant are better than the folded-card tents in Diamant. It's a decent game, but when I play it, I keep thinking that I wish I were playing Diamant.

_5_ Get Bit! -- I hadn't played this game before. It immediately made me think it's a game for people who want to play a game late at night that doesn't involve too much thinking, perhaps with the assistance of some alcohol. That is virtually never me. The game actually works fine, but why would I play it? I rate it as high as I do because it's not actually painful to play.

_8_ 1775: Rebellion -- This is a fine light wargame. We played with teams of 2, making it a 4-player game, but it works fine with 2 or 3 as well. It's a good way to draw someone into a wargame---pair them up with a more experienced player and they can discuss strategies. There are some great design choices here, the most important being the fact that you can only place reinforcements in a colony you control, and it's hard to control a colony. As a result, both sides are playing on a knife-edge from Round 1, and my games have been very close. I'm planning to get this game.
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12. Board Game: Ra [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:137]
Jens KH
Germany
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Games played

_9_ Taj Mahal
_7_ Aton
_7_ Bausack (new!)
_7_ Ra x4
_6_ Der Herr der Ringe: Die Gefährten – Das Kartenspiel
_6_ Love Letter
_6_ Qin x2 (new!)
_5_ Bam!: Das unanständig gute Wortspiel (new!)
_5_ Ginkgopolis
_5_ Noblemen (new!)
_5_ Pelican Bay (new!)
_5_ Wunderland (new!)

I've been fairly busy this week, so sorry for the late entry (and disappearing again immediately afterwards...).

I almost finished September with no new games which hasn't happened since I started logging my plays on BGG in 2009. Disaster averted.

Unfortunately, except for the lovely Bausack (where the source of its attraction is probably more the pieces than the rules), none of them were particularly enticing. I'll stay with the oldies but goldies.

Oh, and welcome Jeroen.
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