GCL Phoenix 146: Evening the Odds (20th October 2013)
Rich P
United Kingdom
Sheffield
United Kingdom
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Welcome to the 146th Phoenix Game Chat League Geeklist. For more information on Game Chat Leagues and GCL Phoenix itself, click the links earlier in this sentence.

Members are encouraged to add an item to the list and we appreciate comments, discussion and thumbs from visitors and passers-by.

Phoenix Roster:
archivists - next up
bennyd
chally
Dormammu
Eeeville
Hawkeye77
indigopotter
Lowengrin
morganza
Mr_Nuts
ravenskana
Rynelf
Taibi
tjshields
Woodnoggin

&
bruzza
enzo622
johnrayjr
judoka
leroy43
topher
yoki


This week's questions concern handicap mechanisms in gaming.
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1. Board Game: Sports Illustrated Handicap Golf Game [Average Rating:6.11 Unranked]
Rich P
United Kingdom
Sheffield
United Kingdom
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I recently met up with an ex-colleague of mine who is a keen golfer. He more or less admitted that his golfing handicap is higher than it should be and that he uses this to his advantage in casual tournaments. Now, I don't know what the official method for determining golfing handicaps is but somehow he has been getting away with this for several years, playing off 8 when he should be a 6 (for example). He had some sort of official card to prove his higher handicap and he felt this was a perfectly reasonable way to gain an advantage. It felt like cheating to me but it got me thinking about handicap systems in general.

I understand Go has a long-standing handicap system to give beginners a chance against more experienced players: the weaker player starts with some stones on the board already. Then there's the Chess handicap of giving extra moves, pieces or time to the weaker player. So, for games where you're the stronger player...

Are there any games you use a handicapping mechanism for? Is it an official or unofficial variant?

Who did you use this mechanism with and why? Did it work well?
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2. Board Game: The Handicap Race Game [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Rich P
United Kingdom
Sheffield
United Kingdom
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For games where you're the weaker player...
Would you be happy to play a game with an advantage against an experienced player? Does it depend on whether you're new to the game yourself?

It can sometimes be disheartening to realise you have very little chance of winning against a practised player, but would you rather attempt it on an even playing field?
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3. Board Game: It Counts to Win [Average Rating:4.50 Unranked]
Rich P
United Kingdom
Sheffield
United Kingdom
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On types of handicap:

Do you feel the win still counts if you started the game with an advantage?

Does it depend on what sort of handicap is in place? E.g. if your opponent starts with fewer pieces in Chess - is that different to giving the weaker player a 10 point headstart in a game that comes down to VPs?
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4. Board Game: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords – Base Set [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:330]
Rich P
United Kingdom
Sheffield
United Kingdom
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A very busy week at work, involving travelling up and down the country, has meant I've only had time for:

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game (x3)
Sentinels of the Multiverse (x2)
Magic: the Gathering (x1)

We've now completed all the available quests for Pathfinder, so our characters are about as advanced as they can be. We revisited a couple of the early scenarios and breezed through them. Pillbug Podiker was a threat the first time we faced him, but this time it was like we were taunting him: every time we encountered him we let him run off somewhere else so we could grab more loot before the final showdown.

I'm not sure the base game has all that much replayability, despite its large variety of cards and the resulting variability of scenarios. While there were rewards to seek and achievements to obtain, we were keen to keep playing. Now that we've played through all the scenarios, we're not that keen to go back and try them again with different characters. Going back to the low-powered game doesn't appeal. Instead we're looking forward to what the next expansion pack will bring. So in that sense, the designers have made a sensible choice to use the Living Card Game model ($$$). I can't see many players being content with merely what comes in the base game; expansions will be desired.

I had another couple of games of Sentinels yesterday and managed two wins, for the first time. Unfortunately, I find the game quite boring. The decisions seem obvious and the outcome highly luck-based. No doubt I'll be roped into playing it again, as friends enjoy it, but it's really not my cup of tea.

More games planned for this afternoon.
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5. Board Game: Star Wars: The Card Game [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:515]
Ben
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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In Norway, on an iPad; excuse the formatting.

Ben
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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Games Played:
_8_ CO₂
_7_ Last Train to Wensleydale New-ish!
_6_ Eight-Minute Empire New!
_5_ Star Wars: The Card Game (x2) New!


Gaming Notes!

It's Essen week! I am in Norway currently and hit Essen on Tuesday. I believe I will have an exhibitor's pass that will get me into the Messe one day early. That will help me get my bearings, I hope. Being a first-timer is a little daunting, just because I don't know the etiquette quite yet. I'll be covering my misadventures on the Opinionated Gamers blog, but may try to drop quick updates here as well.

As for the week that was, I learned three new(ish) games and was competitive in each.

This was my first time playing Last Train to Wensleydale, though I've played the First Train variation a couple of times. I much prefer the Treefrog map (not for its general aesthetics, but rather for the large, heavy board and the general utility of clearly designated zones). I won a fairly close game, though I am not entirely sure how I did so. I was also mocked for raving about the game despite merely rating it a 7. It's a very good 7.

I also learned Eight-Minute Empire and Star Wars: The Card Game, both of which were fine but not particularly engrossing. I prefer Android: Netrunner to The latter, I think. And the former is just a little too quick and simple for me to feel very strongly about it. Good for what it is, though.


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6. Board Game: San Marco [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:580]
Jon
United States
Urbana
Illinois
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Games Played:


_8_ San Marco x1 New!
First game with both of my boys. We all traded turns leading during the game, but in the end my oldest son won 79 to my 78, while youngest son, who I thought would win, had 75. Really enjoyed the mechanics of this and both boys liked it too. Thanks Bryan!

_7_ Gonzaga x1
We brought this out so my boys could help me teach this to my daughter. She did pretty good understanding how to place pieces based on the cards and didn't have too many problems with having spaces taken out from under her. However, she didn't fully understand the importance of the hidden objectives so she fell behind with the final bonus points. I won 95 to youngest son 86, oldest son 81, and daughter 63.

_6_ Summoner Wars x1
With my boys having rediscovered Magic the Gathering recently (which I don't record on BGG), we also brought out Summoner Wars to teach a friend of my sons who was visiting. N. and I chose the Guild Dwarves and we won over the Vanguards controlled by my sons.
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7. Board Game: Tales of Wells Fargo Game [Average Rating:3.75 Unranked]
United States
Wurtsboro
NY
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The title of the geeklist makes me smile, because it makes me think of my college. Since we were a (very) small school, when we needed to divide into teams, we would split by graduation years, the odd years being known as Oddline and the even years being known as Evenline. There's an annual basketball game, singoff, and other such things. The Oddline colors are purple and gold, and the Evenline colors are blue and green (much more flattering and easier to come by, though I did manage to find a purple and gold sweatshirt in the college store one year).
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8. Board Game: 1775: Rebellion [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:286]
Bryan Maxwell
United States
Burtchville
Michigan
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1775: Rebellion x 1

Got my first play of this wonderful evolution of 1812: Invasion of Canada. Going down to 4 players (from 5) in exchange for a better balanced, tighter design is a good trade off.

This was a tense, hard-fought, back-and-forth affair from start to finish that ended in a US win in round VI.

I couldn't be happier with the game so far.

Hive x 2

I split a couple of plays with my German class partner.

Bruges x 3

I'm up to 17 plays and still eager for more. Also, I learned that the game comes unraveled if it runs too long because you started with too many cards.

Bora Bora x 2

First impression was good for the wife and I. We took different paths and I was glad to see her catch up late because it looked like I was running away with it for the first 3/4 of the game.

I ended up winning 153-146. It doesn't really do much to stray from his usual design, so if you like Feld's games, you'll probably like this one. It reminds me a bit of Trajan as there is a lot going on, but instead of the mancala-like action selection (which sometimes felt limiting and frustrating to me) you get a Burgundy-like mechanism where you roll and assign dice. It's an action drafting system where higher dice are better/more versatile, but when you choose action you must use a lower die than what is already there, so that 6 is no good if someone else already placed a 4 there.

There are cards that let you break the rules. I like cards.

Edit: we logged our 2nd play of Bora Bora this afternoon. I was a dick a couple of times (I snagged starting player then bought the only jewelry she could have bought, then later bumped one of her priests off the track so she couldn't finish her "have 3 priests" task without help). In spite of my boorish behavior she won 150-137.



Plans for the week: steady as she goes.
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9. Board Game: The Palaces of Carrara [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:601]
Daniel Kenel
United States
New London
Iowa
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10/17/13

Had time to game a little bit with Tori after the kids went to bed. We started off with a game of Pax Porfiriana. It has been a while since she played and it showed. I asked if she wanted me to take some time to do a rules refresher, which she declined. Silly girl. I ended up winning on the 1st topple for Outrage. I built up a strong early economy after building a transcontinental railway and used it to build another 4 cheap connections. Tori was pushing hard for Loyalty but it was rather obvious. I was able to use my economic advantage to buy Teddy Roosevelt and the topple card for the win. That was my 30th logged play of Pax.

We ended the evening with a game of Scopa. This has really proven to be a big hit and Tori commented that it was one of her favorite card games we play. She ended up taking the win in this one 13-10. We went into the last hand with a score of 10-9 so there was a bit of tension there. Great fun and a wonderful way to spend some time at the end of a long day.

I'd add this one to Khmer as my "go to" 2 player card games of choice. Both are small enough and play quick so you can easily bring them along to play almost anywhere.

10/18/13

Say Bye to the Villains x2

My oldest daughter was in a bit of down mood on Friday night after school so we let her pick a game to play. She really enjoys this co-op so that is what hit the table. In 2 quick sessions we got hammered. Both times I screwed up and helped my wife and daughter at the cost of making myself weak and unable to win my fight. Sigh. The game is just a bit too luck dependent for me. However, my daughter really enjoys it and it plays really quick so I'm not opposed to keeping it around for the occasional play.

10/19/13

Iowa City Game Day

Hanabi x2
A couple of 3p games with 1 new player. We used the multi-colored cards right off the bat with him and scored a 23 in both games. Not bad but a couple of rookie errors hurt...a lot. I was really glad to finally get Hanabi back to the table.

The Little Prince: Make Me a Planet x2
One game was a 3p with my wife and oldest daughter prior to heading to game day. The other game was a 5p game with a group of vicious gamers. I really enjoyed both sessions. To be honest the game is better than I anticipated and I'm thrilled to own it. It was a hit with my family and the adult gamers I played with. I can see it becoming a family favorite and a favorite filler at game days.

The Palaces of Carrara x2
I anticipated enjoying this one but damn I loved it! We had the same table (4 players) decide to play it twice in a row it proved so popular. Our first game was with just the basic rules which I won after building a dominant economic engine. The second game we stepped up to the advanced game. I enjoyed the changes it brings to the game. I botched this one by pushing the game to the end thinking I had the win only to finish 2nd as one of my opponents had a big score that I didn't see. D'oh!

Betrayal at House on the Hill x1
Tis' the season. We decided to go full on AT and play a couple of Halloween favorites. This session of Betrayal ended up being a bit of a turd. The scenario ended up having a giant 2-headed snake that we had to beat with some might rolls. We had an old man and 2 little kids. We were screwed and the snake made quick work of us. A rather anti-climatic end.

Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game x1
This one proved to be epic. We played with the 1st big expansion box which introduced some characters, cards and scenarios I've never played with before. We played the scenario that the mansion was a zombie spawning pit that we had to burn to the ground. We needed 4 cans of gas and some way to light it before the clock ran out on us.

We started great by finding 2 cans of gas in our first couple of turns. Then I found a blow torch and another can of gas. However, we discovered that there are only 3 cans of gas in the deck so we needed to use some to put them in the discard pile and then hope to get a card from the deck that would allow us to get something out of the discard pile. We searched for several turns without any luck. Finally with 4 turns left we got the right card and grabbed our 4th can of gas.

The mansion had already been doused with 2 cans so we just needed to use the other 2 and then light the bitch on fire. We had to blast our way through a ton of zombies to reach the mansion and it slowed us down. By the time we made it inside we literally had 1 turn to douse and the next to light it on fire. We doused it and held off some more zombies.

On the last turn we just had to light it and survive. The zombie player played a card which made 2 of us lose our turn. Sadly I was the only player with an item to light the fire with and we lost the game. NOOOOO!!!


Mascarade x1
An 8p session with all new players. If you like this sort of game I suppose it's solid. It generally isn't my thing so I was rather "meh" about the session. It ends up just feeling way too chaotic for me which makes me just flip an internal switch from gamer mode to saying screw it.

The Speicherstadt x1
I was glad to get this one played again. A 5p session that was brutal. The niffty auction mechanic obviously carries this one. I think that's enough in a 60 minute game to make it worth owning and playing from time to time.

Suburbia x1
A 3p session with one new player. Myself and the other experienced player ran away with this one a bit. I really enjoy this game and was glad to play it after a length time between plays. I just find it rather enjoyable to build my city and time when to switch my focus from an income generator to a reputation one. Fighting over the goals and your hidden goal is also a good time. Again not a mind blowing game but one that I'm happy to play. It hit that 60 minute mark with a pleasurable amount of game in that short time. A winner for me.

10/20/13
The Little Prince: Make Me a Planet x2

A couple of learning games with my youngest daughter (age 6). She took right to it in the 1st game and figured out how to score points. In the second game she was starting to look beyond just her own scoring potential and how to mess with both Mom and Dad. I was proud.

EDIT: Added 10/20 plays
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10. Board Game: More or Less [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Lo
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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The Week in Review

Nothing happened, more or less. Social obligations got in the way. No games were played though Bruges did arrive. Even tonight's planned game of Pathfinder Adventure was postponed due to illness.


The Week Ahead

And if this week was bad for gaming, the week ahead doesn't appear much better as S's friend is going to stay with us a couple nights. There is a chance we'll play Tuesday evening with P, but other than that, nothing's set.
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11. Board Game: Wiz-War (eighth edition) [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:663]
Max Maloney
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Games Played

.10! Race for the Galaxy 4
.10! Hanabi 4
_9_ Escape: The Curse of the Temple 2
_8_ Ginkgopolis 1
_8_ Combat Commander: Europe 1 New!
_8_ Wiz-War (eighth edition) 2
_8_ Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords – Base Set 1
_8_ Pandemic 1
_7_ Intrigue 1
_7_ Edo 1 New!
_7_ Bora Bora 1
_7_ Netrunner 1

Week in Review

Continuing the Race for the Galaxy education, this weekend I taught my gf and another friend the Brink of War expansion. I played two 2P games and two 3P games using all three expansions. The interesting thing about the full RftG experience is that there are so many options at all times that there is a greater feeling of freedom and creativity to exploit your board state. In one game, we all began with military-oriented start worlds but one of the players audibled into a novelty good strategy with great success. While this was always possible, it feels easier now as there are so many cards with a varied combinations of abilities.

I also noticed that last weekend's games marked my 100th play (against people; I don't track games vs the AI).

I didn't mark Wiz-War as new to me because I've played older versions in years past, but this was my first exposure to the FFG printing. It's quite good. There are a number of small changes, but they have a list of variants in the back which includes all the original rules. They mark which of the variants are needed to play the classic game. The FFG version of the rules seems mostly designed to shorten the game and balance summoned items (such items and other summoned objects count against your hand limit while in play). It is easy to combine new and old rules to make a version of the game that I like a lot.

I set up and played a solo game of Combat Commander, as mentioned in the prior list. This was the "example of play" from the base game that walks you through the first ~7 moves for each side and then I played it from there running both sides. It was a lot of fun. I didn't know what to expect from the game, but it was more variable and chaotic than I predicted while cleverly maintaining balance. The swings of fortune force adaptability on the players without being so extreme as to hand the game to one of them in a moment of chance. Now I need to find a way to play it with someone face-to-face.

We played the fourth of five scenarios in the first adventure pack for the Pathfinder Card Game this weekend. This was the scenario we failed last week. It was tough again this time and we had to throw all our resources into one chance to win, knowing a single missed roll in a sequence of six rolls would cost us the game. Good dramatic value there. I am expecting the second adventure pack any day and am looking forward to the new cards being added. I am also happy with our slowed pace with the game as slamming three adventures in a night is not sustainable given the bimonthly release schedule of the adventure packs.

Nothing to report on my play of Ginkgopolis; it was fun as usual. But I did want to mention that I read the rules for the expansion and was unimpressed. Most of the modules seem to add fluff to the game that wouldn't improve gameplay. I'm adopting a wait and see stance for this expansion.
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12. Board Game: Princes of the Renaissance [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:676]
Dave Peters
United States
Belmont
California
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Powers:Coleridge:Milton: Faith...must be, if anything, a clear-eyed recognition of the patterns and tendencies, to be found in every piece of the world's fabric, which are the lineaments of God.
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Scorecard for the Week/Month/Year as of 19Oct2013:

8/21/344 plays of 8/12/164 total games, with 2/2/31 expansions employed.
Plays with 7/24/93 distinct opponents.

0/3/29 games acquired (plus 0/6/14 expansions.)
0/0/14 games ordered (plus 0/0/5 expansions.)
Orders for 6 games and 1 expansions still outstanding.

With son #2:
1x _6.7_ Dominion (with Intrigue and Prosperity) - Son #2 likes it. I'm not so keen. We ended up playing Bishop vs. Bank & Counting House, and both ended up with huge scores (though the secular ended up losing to the sacred in this instance.)
1x _6_ Tally Ho! (37 months dusty) - I'm not at all sure why this one caught his attention: perhpas he remembered son #1 playing it years and years ago; perhaps he dimly remembers being forced to play as a younger person - but neither of us had played for a while. This was very close - particularly given our lack of practice.
1x _9_ Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization - I was surprised he was willing to play. (I suspect it was a - very generous - birthday present of sorts: today is my birthday!) But he ended up completely loving it: he found the dynamics sensible; loved the epic scale; was fascinated by glimpses of things he'd learned (vaguely) about in school. And he played a lot better than I did in my first play, too! (It feels totally weird to add this to a list of games played and not have it be the headliner, too: poor thing was scooped by my favourite title.)

With the Wednesday Night guys (and son #2):
1x _7.7_ Google Datacenter Manager - GDM was well-received by some folk completely unaffiliated with Google in this instance: and, now unsurprisingly, they're wondering where to get a copy. I think it might be time to lobby Richard for a P1000 for-his-profit reprint!
1x _7.7_ The City - Pretty nice with 5: it's fast, and sensible, and I was pleased the old guys had no trouble with the German. (Well, that's a given for Paul, since he's multilingually competent; but the other two did well, too.)

Wednesday Night guys without son #2:
1x _10_ Princes of the Renaissance (26 months dusty) - This probably isn't the best game ever by any sane objective standard. But I find it consistently entertaining: the Machiavellian possibilities are dramatic, significant, and charming. I didn't place very well at all, but I loved the experience.

With the Friday noon gang:
1x _7.3_ Eight-Minute Empire New! - It's pretty cute: I like it, I think - though perhaps a bit more provisionally so than evidenced by this game. (We finished 10-10-10-9, which wasn't quite as compelling as I might hope. I'd've preferred a tiebreaker - announced in advance, of course - to the three-way tie.) It's not remotely significant, but probably worth playing more. (But if we keep having three-way ties, I'll drop it down to a _4_.)
1x _8_ Sticheln - This is a game that I find particularly amusing. I find that the social dynamics (The "Shall I take 4 points, or give Bruce -17?" question is an interesting one to watch people answer.) are cool, and the game play is fine, too. Definitely one of my favourite trick-takers.

Owned-and-unplayed: 11 (+0/-0)

Outlook for the week: Games this Wednesday at Paul's - which means there'll be at least two of us, since I'm going. Probably some games on Friday (maybe even an extended game, since the company's having a Hallowe'en party.) And likely another Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization with son #2: he is amused by the game.
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13. Video Game: Zork I: The Great Underground Empire [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:914]
Burster of Bubbles, Destroyer of Dreams.
United States
Sunnyvale
California
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Surprise! I still exist, and I've been missing you all.

Work is still eating my life, but I've managed to get away to *some* gaming. To my shame, though, I haven't even been logging games played.

And oh dear Spiel Essen is happening **now** and I haven't even reviewed the new games to know what to pre-order or thought about what to prioritize playing at BGG.con. Where has the year gone?

(I haven't been completely under a rock -- I know that new Power Grid maps are coming, for example, and yes come hell or high water I will be the first to bring those to gaming.)

A few recent highlights, not necessarily in any order:

A game of 1846: The Race for the Midwest with JC and visiting Aussie Bruce Murphy (thepackrat) where I parred the IC too high, couldn't afford to buy shares, saw midway that I was losing, set out with grim determination to do something about it, and ended up... winning by $2 with a final score of 8613. Hah! My key move was inviting Bruce to dump his struggling GT on me, a definite win-win.

Dave Eisen teaching us his new copy of Spyrium. A combo-building resource-gathering game with a spatial-grid game of chicken reminiscent of, but quite different from, Hermagor (which I've also played recently.)

Kevin taught Lamarckian Poker; it's cute, though not something I see a great need to play again. Entertaining to play with someone whose cultural background does not include poker hand ratings.

A disastrous game of 1856: Railroading in Upper Canada from 1856 -- kids, don't bring this one out with new 18xx players. (Yes, I know, it was *my* first 18xx, and my first favorite. Still.)

A disastrous playtest of JC's new 1839, the first and last play with that train roster. Ahem. Float a new company, go bankrupt, is not a sequence generally seen...

Bruce taught us Kobayakawa, another Japanese take on "what game can you build with cards numbered 1 to 15 and a handful of pennies?" Bluffing, deduction, correct play varying with turn position... a lot of game there for a micro-game.

Oh, and Zork. We had a hack day at work, and my team's project was a voice-controlled game of Zork complete with multiple voices and snarky editorial comments.
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14. Board Game: King of Tokyo [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:257]
Nicolai Broen Thorning
Denmark
Ebeltoft
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Games Played Week 42:
A week off from school... only to be writing exam papers were the lot handed out to V. and I. We did manage some gaming on Monday night though.

We had fun with the papers and the gaming...

Monday Night with V.:
1x _8.2_ Jet Set w/ Jet Set: Distant Lands – Expansion Set 1
Partly to please V. and partly because it was all I could muster energy for that still seemed like a boardgame. I am hopeful the next expansion comes out eventually and can breathe some fresh life into this game.

2x _7.6_ Dominion
Fun as always. I keep wanting to explore expansions whenever we play it, only to forget about it and let it slip. To be honest we don't play it nearly enough to warrant getting any as it is.

The Week Ahead:
I appreciate everyones patience with me... school is awesome. It is also taking its toll in the sense I am slowly waking up to the fact I need to work a lot harder (or smarter) to get the results I want. To that effect I have resigned at work (only part-time, apr. 5 hours per week but in my head those were thrice that). Last day will be this coming Monday.

It has been a load off my mind.

I have a few new games coming from Kickstarter and from Essen, should be some life in us again soon. Plus, I have had some interest at Uni about gaming - in fact, we had the first session today, so things are looking good.

Life is good.
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15. Board Game: The Palaces of Carrara [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:601]
Mark Johnson
Canada
St.John's
Newfoundland
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“Brothers, oh brothers, my days here are done, the Dornishman’s taken my life, But what does it matter, for all men must die, and I’ve tasted the Dornishman’s wife!”
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6 Oct through Oct 20, 2013

Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer (86)
Pandemic (15)
Seasons (10)
Bruges (1)
The Palaces of Carrara (1)
Tanto Cuore (1)

---

Sorry for not taking part last week. School work has been piling up. Thankfully, I'm doing a decent job of staying on top of it and getting all 80's/90's in my tests/assignments.

So, digitally, I've been playing Ascension, Pandemic and 1 game of Tanto Cuore. Not much to say about Ascension. Pandemic is good but I don't think I'll be playing it that much as it takes quite a bit longer than Ascension and is not as fun without any expansions. As soon as they get some expansions, I could definitely see it getting a bunch of plays. I think I'm pretty much done with Tanto Cuore. At the very least, until an expansion is implemented as there's not much variety in the base game. Even then, I would likely wait until there is a sale on the expansion as I don't really like pre-setup deckbuilders... I always seem to prefer the ones with constantly updated offers (ie Ascension, Core Worlds, and Mage Knight).

The plays of Pandemic weren't all iOS, in fact I think 8 - 9 of those plays were done over the long weekend while I was visiting St.John's. They were all face-to-face games with both expansions. I finally got to try the team game (played 2 player, with each player controlling a team of 2). We played two games and both were 5 epidemics and Mutation, I believe. It was decent fun. The first game, both teams lost by being decimated by the game. The second game, I won with a good lead over my opponent, though I think she could have seen that I was leading and just stopped trying to help and it would have netted us both a loss instead. People could say that the game breaks down in this way. I could somewhat agree, but I think there is an easy solution. Make the game easier to win (ie make it simply 5E's and nothing else, or even 4E's) so even if someone stops helping, the other team still has a chance of going for the win. The team game's focus should be competition amongst players, not competition with the game. I'd like to try it again with easier objectives to see if it could be more enjoyable or if it will just be relegated to being ignored like the bio-terrorist. We also played a few games with the lab challenge. We lost 4/5 of our lab challenge games. I'm feeling a higher player count is better in the lab challenge whereas in the normal games, I felt a lower player count was better.

Also, over the long weekend, I played a few games of Seasons. It was good to play with the OPG's and Enchantments again as I haven't used these options yet with my local friend. I also finally got to play a 3-player game of Bruges. I think this is definitely better with 3 than two. That said, I think there are other 3-player games I would rather play. The tight scoring and randomness of this one bothers me. For example, in this game, if one more purple 5/6 had been rolled in the game, I believe the 1st player would have come in last place. It's not a bad game by any means, and I would certainly play it with people who wanted to, but it's not one for me to keep in my collection. So, I played a lot of Pandemic, a bit of Bruges, and Seasons on my long weekend. Kinda of sad as that's pretty much all I've been playing since I've arrived in Grand Falls in September. I did get to push one new game while I was home though.

Palaces of Carrara was played for the first time. I read the basic game and expansion rules and gave the players the choice of which version to play. They decided basic as I told them it was a quick game, and perhaps we could play it again with the more advanced version. It was an interesting game. I'm certain I wouldn't keep it, if only the basic game came in the box. The advanced game seems really interesting though. I still probably wouldn't keep it, were it not for the variability provided by the cards for the objectives that set conditions that ending the game/scoring purposes. I have never played the advanced game yet but I can definitely see it's potential and think the game will have a permanent place in my collection. I'm so very glad I picked up the Z-Man version before they all dried up. I also feel that I no longer care if Z-Man reprints Vikings. Yes, they are different games, but I definitely feel they fill a similar niche.

---

In Other News...

I am importing the following Essen releases:

Koryŏ
Bruxelles 1893
Ginkgopolis: The Experts
Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends
Mage Knight Board Game: Krang Character Expansion (I know this one just released in North America, but if I didn't get it in this order I would likely have to order it from somewhere else + shipping costs)

Sadly, Krang bumped the shipping costs by $10 Euros. So, I'm thinking of adding another Essen release that is language independent or is not going to have a specific French release. Any suggestions? That or I'll drop Krang, and see if I can get it locally when I visit St.John's again in November.

Not much to say other than that.
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16. Board Game: Saint Petersburg [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:256]
W M
United Kingdom
Rugby
Warwickshire
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I couldn't make Rugby on Board this week but managed a few games at home -

_9_ Saint Petersburg x1

A rare win for me against S. She bought all the workers double observing for extras generating an income three times my own. I had an early point lead with buildings and people which told in the end. Tense.

_10_ Race for the Galaxy x8

We got this out after a long hiatus. Two separate draft matches with the first two expansions. I really enjoy drafting, and playing a few games with the same decks makes it worth the extra effort.

_10_Magic the Gathering x20

I did a couple more drafts online using up my remaining ticket windfall. Managed to trade up for enough cards to build both a decent standard deck and a competitive mono red Theros block constructed. Enjoyed the games but think I'll stick to paper.
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