GCL Mafia 143: Spectating
Beau Bailey
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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
dutchbaby
Butterfly0038
babymuffin
cferejohn
muffinbaby
touchstonethefool
fdubois

The first few items are intended to foster discussion.

Please add an item to represent your gaming life for the week of Oct 7 - Oct 13, 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: Scene It? Sports powered by ESPN [Average Rating:5.12 Overall Rank:15593]
Beau Bailey
United States
Missoula
Montana
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Is there some form of athletic competition that you enjoy watching? Do you have one that you absolutely despise?
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2. Board Game: Stadium Checkers [Average Rating:5.55 Overall Rank:13353]
Beau Bailey
United States
Missoula
Montana
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What is the coolest/most amazing athletic event that you have actually been present for?
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3. Board Game: The Stage is Set! [Average Rating:5.83 Unranked]
Beau Bailey
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Missoula
Montana
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Is there some form of artistic performance/event that you enjoy watching? Do you have one that you absolutely despise?
 
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4. Board Game: Concert Hall [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Beau Bailey
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Missoula
Montana
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What is coolest/amazing artistic performance that you have actually been present for?
 
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5. Board Game: Keyflower [Average Rating:7.86 Overall Rank:46]
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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3x The Castles of Burgundy (BAJ)
Ginkgopolis (BAJ)
*Keyflower
Mage Knight Board Game
Myrmes (BAJ)
*The Princes of Florence
Ra
Trajan (BAJ)

*new to me

Lots of BAJ games. I apparently don't recall how to play Ginkgopolis and need to reread the rules again because I seem to have misunderstood something... I at least remember that a strong majority of the points come in the end-game scoring.

Keyflower was fun. I finally got to play it, and it was my first Key-series game. I look forward to trying it again. Jennifer was so excited after her first play a few weeks ago that we may consider picking it up.

I tried for the first time the mage knight full solo campaign. It was my first time not playing the intro scenario, and it was fun. Definitely more interesting and far more difficult than the intro game. I got a terrible start and ended up doing almost nothing on Day 1 and only explored 1 tile. By the end of night 1, due to some of what I knew were extraordinary risks, I had 8 or 10 wound cards in my deck. I definitely loss, but I managed to take 1 of the 2 cities.

All in all, I don't feel there were any major highlights in my gaming.

In other news, I picked up The Downfall of Pompeii yesterday and have progressed on my plans for running a two day gaming "con"/days at our church as a fundraiser.
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6. Board Game: Crows [Average Rating:6.40 Overall Rank:3344]
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Magic: The Gathering 11
Northern Pacific 2
Crows* 1
Emu Ranchers* 1
Trains 1

More M:tG this week as we went to a booster draft tournament on Friday night, which was super fun. I'm starting to enjoy the deckbuilding a little more, but especially so in the constrained environment of a booster draft. I also bought this deck box, which amuses me greatly.

Crows was a surprise. It's a lovely abstract game that one person on the BGG comments said is "crowcassonne". Although some distinct differences between the two games, it is a tile-laying abstract where you have to cleverly position your shiny object to attract the most crows. I really liked it.

Emu Ranchers is the Decktet version of Lost Cities. It is not as good as Lost Cities, but it'd be a viable alternative if I only had a Decktet with me and wanted some LC-type action. As it stands, I will not be backing the Kickstarter, despite the cute emu pictures, since the game isn't that great and I already have a Decktet set.
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7. Board Game: Firefly: The Game [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:292]
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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New Games

Firefly: The Game x1

Old Games

Android: Netrunner x2
Star Wars: Edge of the Empire x1

I got to try the Firefly game last night, it's roughly 70% Fortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game and 30% Merchant of Venus. Some observations...

- The theme is very strong: you really feel like you're just struggling to get by, as the game tends to kick you in the teeth on occasion just to keep things interesting.

- Of less interest is the fact that there seems to be a pretty well described arc of how to play the game. While the manual does mention it, you're supposed to take legal jobs to build up your cash first so you can buy crew that makes illegal (read: more lucrative) jobs much easier. I made the mistake of going for illegal work early, and the money setbacks utterly ruined me for the rest of the game.

- There's a pinch of MoV in the jobs system, whereby doing a job for one of the five honchos (like Niska, Patience, Badger, etc.) makes you "solid" with them, meaning that they'll buy cargo and illegal goods from you at varying rates. However, if you ever screw up one of their jobs (which is startlingly easy if you go for illegal work being unprepared), you lose that connection and have to pull another successful one for that person in order to get back in their good graces.

- The movement system is also somewhat reminiscent of MoV, when initiating a "full burn" to move more than one space as an action, you draw from two different event decks depending on whether you're in Alliance space or not. The Alliance deck is pretty uneventful, even if you do get stopped and boarded by the purple-bellies on occasion, while the outer territories deck can see you menaced by the reavers, which stand a very good chance of killing off your valuable crew. Like MoV, you can buy upgrades to your ship (and have crew with special abilities) that can ignore the "speedbump" events that pop up every once and a while, and like MoV, the events can be supremely frustrating if you don't have them.

- Pulling an illegal job (and whichever of the "goal" events that you choose as your game ending conditions) sees you drawing a number of cards from the "Aim to Misbehave" deck, which are a bunch of random skill checks. Fail even one of them and you botch the job, losing the ability to finish it, any "solid" status you have with the client, and potentially much more if the job is dangerous enough (Niska seems to have plenty of these). This ties back to the earlier observation of not having a snowballs chance at completing illegal work without a big crew as they always require 2+ of these checks, which means throwing yourself on the mercy of the dice if you want to try for them. The is very reminiscent of the Cliffhanger system in Fortune and Glory, and has all of the usual upshots and headaches associated with it.

- There's also the addition of Moral and Immoral crew. Some illegal jobs are also immoral, meaning that any moral crew you have will get disgruntled when you complete an immoral job. While it doesn't torpedo your plans, it can be very costly as other players can immediately take disgruntled crew away from you if their ship is in the same sector, and getting back in your crews good graces means wasting a turn on shore leave along with paying them extra. And even then, there are occasional events that will disgruntle a moral crew if you're not careful, possibly making this the first time ever that having a moral compass is blatantly detrimental to winning a game (Game of Thrones and Diplomacy notwithstanding).

- So on the one hand, the game is pretty awesomely thematic in a blatantly Ameritrashy sort of way. On the other, the game is frustratingly thematic in a very obstructional Ameritrashy sort of way. More plays will tell whether this is a feature or a bug
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8. Board Game: Freedom: The Underground Railroad [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:345]
Edward Uhler
United States
Commerce City
Colorado
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Castles of Burgundy
Garden Dice*
Freedom: The Underground Railroad*
Village Inn*
Sid Meier's: Civilization (the newer one)*

* = new to us


We started a challenge to ourselves to play more games at our home vs just @ our 2-3 gamedays in a given week. So we are doing a 100 games in 100 days (25% are new to us) and tracking it in this geeklist.

- CoB is great, as usual. It really helps having all the extra boards out there to keep things fresh. Definitely recommended if you're into CoB.

- Garden Dice this is a KS game that we got for pennies and it's a fun, easy strategy game that has you placing seed tiles, irrigating them to get them to turn into veggies, then harvesting those veggies for points. Definitely more there than just a filler and enjoyable for a night when you don't want anything heavy. We also got the card expansion which should make it better, too.

- Freedom: The Underground Railroad is the best co-op we've played. I'm not too keen on co-ops in general, but I can definitely get on board playing this again. And man, even though we won the game, that is a hard mofo to win. We more-or-less got lucky, but we'll take it!

- Village Inn. We really enjoyed Village, but will never play it again w/o the Village Inn expansion. It adds the inn cards which only help the game. If you're a fan of Village, go get the expansion.

- Civilization. We are going to be playing THE Advanced Civilization in a few weeks and if it's better than this, well, YAY then. This was really, really fun. There is a ton of chrome, but it definitely felt like it worked for the game. Essentially, it was 4 new players, but even so, it didn't take so long that it felt like it overstayed its welcome. We all are anxious to play this again, and soon. I expect we'll play this again within a week. Really, really good civ game!
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9. Board Game: Global Mogul [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:4141]
Mc Jarvis
United States
Arlington
Virginia
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I managed to scratch Peloponnes off my list this week, though at MBGM several people requested that I bring it again next month, seeing as how it is a fairly difficult game to get ahold of these days. I've also played Global Mogul once and sold it off, so that's like scratching a game off my list too.

Speaking of which, Global Mogul. I bought the game based on promising buzz from Tom Vasel's video review, Drive Through Review's promising review, and a few more isolated points of praise for the design of the game and the interesting choices the game provides. I was somewhat surprised that the game has a dearth of negative opinions beyond "the game looks terrible", so I thought maybe it was a diamond in the rough. Unfortunately, the game fails on three separate levels--- and it's easy to get distracted by one and worry that you're getting hung up on it.

1) The game incorporates a basic layout with a stated intention of maximizing usability during gameplay. However, this feels like an excuse to do a bad job--- the graphics are very clearly made in a simplistic Paint program and have a bad-clipart sort of feel. Unfortunately, this does result in the game having a very prototypish feel.

This has the effect of making the game very abstract in playstyle. This is fine by itself, so long as the game mechanics offer something which is entertaining its own right.

2) The game's physical layout is not well thought out. What I mean by this is the game components often don't lie correctly on the player mat: action discs don't fit on the spaces where they should go, the turn marker doesn't fit on the turn track, the "used" tokens don't fit the spot where they are supposed to lie, resources don't nicely lay on contracts for planning purposes, etc, etc. This makes every step of the game a reminder that the development of the game--- Mayfair's job I presume?---- had no thought behind it beyond making sure the rules were accurate and the game mats are somewhat correct.

3) The gameplay is just outright boring. They give you ten options, but really there are only three main actions--- Building producers, producing goods, and selling items for VP or cash. There are a few procedural actions which adjust certain elements of the game or give you cash for loans, but these seem to largely be a routine thing to do, with little tactical thought behind them.

These three effective actions are used to compete in a dozen or so area control/set collection elements, most of which have a payout of 3 VP for having the most of that thing, or in market cases have variable amounts of VP for controlling them depending on the size of the market. This kind of gameplay we've seen before--- though here it is stripped of anything remotely interesting. There's no map, no novel way of realizing these things. It's just an old framework for games done a million times before, with no extra little nuggets added on.


So overall, I find the artwork, layout design, and ruleset for the game to all be lazy efforts to publish a game. Maybe this game was an attempt to create a $50 with as little money as possible, or maybe it was a pet vanity project of some designer who really loved it but never saw the forest for the trees in terms of accessibility of that fun. Either way, don't buy this game--- buying it would be sending a message that this kind of product is OK on the market, when it is decidedly not welcome.

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10. Board Game: Hawaii [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:599]
Matthew C
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Got two games in this week:

Hawaii
Agricola

I narrowly avoided having to play Shadows Over Camelot; one of the guys I was playing Hawaii with wanted to start a massive game of that. I suggested we break into two groups, and my RftG buddy suggested Agricola. Nice.

Hawaii was an interesting game. Since I had not played before, I decided to focus on building the best fruit villages possible. This provided some returns on investment every turn, which proved useful. However, the latter turns ended up revealing that fruit was overly expensive, so it was not the best strategy in the end. I took a solid second place.


As for Agricola, I was quite proud of my first few turns. I used my minor improvements and occupations along with my other actions to start a powerful wheat empire. Unfortunately, my middle-game could use more work, and I ended up taking second place again in this one (losing to the same person as before). Not enough focus on animals, I think.
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11. Board Game: Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:562]
Philip Newman
United States
Plano
Texas
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Weekly Plays:

Ginkgopolis - 4 (BAJ, 2 with Travis and Grace)
Brass: Lancashire - 1 (OOTH)
The Castles of Burgundy - 1 (BAJ)
YINSH - 1 (BAJ)

All online this week... sleep schedule still all messed up, so I haven't felt up to going to DGM on a weeknight. But DGM this weekend, definitely.

YINSH game against BAJ #1 isn't going too terribly. I mean, I'm going to lose, but I think I've played a pretty solid game apart from one really dumb mistake (I gave up the first line to him thinking I would be able to force one of my own in a couple turns, and missed a really obvious counter). Still, we're 1-1 for now, and while he can force his second soon I *think* I can put myself in a position to score soon after if he does. (I am probably wrong, we'll see...)

I picked up Space Hulk: Death Angel in the latest Barnes & Noble clearance for $5. I've heard good things about it, and I'm a sucker for co-ops.

Virtual Flea Market So Far!

Bought

Duel of Ages Set 1: Worldspanner ($10)
Lord of the Rings ($10)
Phoenicia ($10)
Puzzle Strike ($15)
Scotland Yard + Snorta! ($20)
Neuland ($10)
Quarto ($15)
2 de Mayo ($17)

Sold

1955: The War of Espionage + Highland Clans + Leonardo da Vinci ($20)
Acquire ($16)
Munchkin Fu ($10)
Suburbia ($25)
Forbidden Island ($10)
Cities ($7)

Still to Sell

Terra Prime - BGG.con freebie, have never had much interest in trying it.
JAB: Realtime Boxing - BGG.con freebie, slightly more interest but not enough to keep.
Masons - won't be sad if this doesn't sell, it's not a bad game, just haven't played it in a while.
Forceball - BGG.con freebie, no interest.
The BoardGameGeek Game - it feels like this should be in my collection, but not interested in actually playing it.
Shogun: Tenno's Court x2 - BGG.con freebies for a game I've never played.
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – A Journey to Rhosgobel - an extra copy was included when I bought an extra core set last year.
Jet Set: Investor & Business Expansion - BGG.con freebie?
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12. Board Game: Reading for Detail [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Beau Bailey
United States
Missoula
Montana
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No games again this week.

I wrapped up the 40k Imperial Guard collection with Rebel Winter by Steve Parker. It was mediocre. The story has too many needless characters for what is basically a brisk action story. If it was condensed to a short story, it would work a lot better. As it is, not much happens and the book still suddenly cuts off at the end. I do not think it is part of a continuing story, yet it has a last second reveal that really doesn't do anything other than weaken everything that came before.

I then started Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon. I am about halfway through and absolutely enjoying it. With such a drugged out protagonist, it's interesting to puzzle out what may or may not actually be occurring. It will probably require a reread at some point to go over everything again.
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13. Board Game: Taj Mahal [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:348]
Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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d10-1d10-0 Antiquity
d10-9 1x 1880
d10-8 2x Taj Mahal
d10-8 2x Age of Steam
d10-8 2x Trains
d10-8 1x Piquet
d10-7 1x Haggis
d10-7 1x If Wishes Were Fishes
d10-4 1x Singapore

This was a great week. Despite playing two of my favorite games this week (Antiquity and 1880), my two favorite plays were Age of Steam and Taj Mahal. It's been years since the last time I played AoS. I had dismissed the randomness of the cubes placement in favor of the perfect information of Steam. And while that remains, I'm coming to appreciate the greater ability to forward plan in AoS as well as the slighter simplicity of the single income/ VP track. I still like the Action Selection turn ordering of Steam and I still dislike the punish the leader mechanic of AoS; however, I think I will be working to play more AoS than Steam in the future.

Taj Mahal is mechanically simple but a major brain burner. It felt something like a trick taker to me in that hand management is so critical and the key to the game is knowing when to commit what based on very incomplete information. However, I think my favorite aspect was that I was able to play it with Amanda and my 12 yro son Friday night and see him come close to winning. I'm not sure if my 7 yro will do as well, but I'm eager to try.

If Wishes Were Fishes was a second good game that I learned this week and would like to try with my kids. Nothing too brain burney, but probably enough meat to be interesting while light and random enough to give them a bit of a chance.

My biggest disappointment of the week was Singapore. I had high hopes for it. Amanda and I tried it 2 player using Sylvester's variant, but stopped before we even finished the game. While I suspect part of it was due to playing it 2-player, I still can't imagine either of us really enjoying it as a 3-player. With 3, I suspect it would be an innocuous resource collection and conversion tile laying game. Moved to the trade pile.

Lastly, I was very happy to get a second play of Piquet in. This time with Amanda. I really like this 2-player card game and hope to play it more.
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14. Board Game: Ginkgopolis [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:350]
Robin Levins
United States
Round Rock
TX
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Puerto Rico
Amun-Re
Empire Builder
Vikings
Flash Point: Fire Rescue
The Bottle Imp
Paris Connection
Space Alert
Suburbia
Lords of Waterdeep
*Ginkgopolis
Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm x3

Have you ever had one of those games of Puerto Rico where you're playing with 5 players, you manage to get the only coffee plantation for a while and buy the production plant for it fairly early, and no one else picks produce/captain heavily for a while, which enables you to get the factory, harbor, and wharf before people really get going with their engines? Yeah, this game was like that.

And have you ever had a game of Amun Re where you misplayed early, were the only person to not have a set of pyramids in the first age, and in the second age you manage to fulfill three favor cards, which is just enough to push you up into fourth place? Yeah, this game was like that.

Empire Builder, Vikings, Flash Point, and Flaschenteufel, Paris Connection, Suburbia, and Lords of Waterdeep were all new games for other players, and all were very well received. Vikings particularly won my two friends over, and I suspect it will get a lot more play in the future. Notably, Christopher taught us a valuable lesson about taking 4 nobles before the first big scoring round, and why that's crazy good.

Ginkgopolis was the only new game for me this week, and it's a doozy. Dave and I played it two player, fumbling through the rules (as it had been weeks since either of us had read them), and though we continually forgot to put the new cards in the new shuffles, we still were both very impressed by this game, and I definitely want to play it more.

And Race was awesome as always.
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Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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Maybe it's just me, but I just read the last rulebook I was waiting on and I'm pretty disappointed about this year's Essen crop. What about you? What Essen 2013 games are you pre-ordering?

Click on the geeklist and add an entry.
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16. Board Game: Archipelago [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:313]
Fabrice Dubois
France
La Garenne Colombes
Hauts de Seine
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 10  Android:Netrunner x2
 9  Archipelago x1
 9  Spyrium x1 (BGA)
 8  Metropolys x1
 6  Ticket to Ride:Europe x1

(1)-Archipelago
I played Archipelago for the first time past Friday evening (apart my 9 plays with solo variant). I enjoy this game a lot. Wow. What a story arc ! Impressive !

It was a 4 players short game and nobody was the independantist. The game was very religious : lots of temple (this was the tendency), the Cathedral and even.....the pope. I am looking forward to play it again as all players are aware of the rules and gameplay.

I love this blend of resource management, guessing, semi-cooperation and overall, the tools given to players to shape the game at their will. It reminds me CO₂ in this aspect.

(2)-Android:Netrunner
2 FTF plays against my buddy. We both played NBN and Andromeda. I manage to win with my NBN "Scorched News" : the score was 4-6 (i scored a Corporate War and a Private Security Force) and manage to have one Scorched Earth in my hand. I spend clicks on PSF in order to kill him with Scorched Earth the following turn. And and this is what happened.

(3)-Metropolys
2 players game against my wife (it is one of her favorite games). I think she is too hasty(?) because she tends to put her big towers pretty quickly.

(4)-Ticket to Ride:Europe
Saturday evening, it was a 4 players with wife and children. My son won this pretty close game : 117-115-112-106. I was second and i lost on stations because my wife and my daughter screw me on the road from Berlin to Vilna through Warsawa.devil

I think i will buy Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 1 – Team Asia & Legendary Asia to bring variability and new challenges.

Game bought
Blood Bowl: Team Manager – The Card Game
Blood Bowl: Team Manager – The Card Game: Sudden Death

Near future
I will try to manage to play Blood Bowl: Team Manager – The Card Game with my childs as it seems to be a good choice with them : cards, easy to get into, fun, dice rolling.

Also, my 8 years old son asked me to play Famiglia.
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