Geek Chat League Gelato 87 - The Christmas Countdown
"L'état, c'est moi."
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ABOUT GCL mb GELATO DIVISION mb SUBSCRIPTION THREAD

What is a Geek Chat League?

A Geek Chat League is a weekly discussion-group format for people who love gaming and enjoy talking about games. It is intended to foster depth and familiarity, producing engaging content and worthwhile interaction. Members get to know one another, establish shared interests, and generally develop a friendly and productive environment.

Of necessity, each division of GCL is kept relatively small (typically between 12-16 members, though individual divisions may incline one way or the other). A tight-knit discussion group tends to function more smoothly than a free-for-all. It allows individuals to be heard and understood, and for each participant to keep up and enjoy multiple topics as the week progresses. The format is geeklist-based, and lists are not published to the BGG front page.

Policy: If you're a lurker or have otherwise discovered GCL Gelato, feel free to read along with us and see what the members have to say on everything under the sun. If you have a constructive comment or something else you think would add to the discussion, consider posting it — if it's helpful, respectful, and polite to the discussion group as a whole, as well as to its individual members.

Our Fearless Leader:

leroy 43 (Roger)

His Fearless Companions:

ad79 (Stig)
alex352 (Alex)
Capt_S (Jon)
cmontgo2 (Chris)
Cole Wehrle (Cole)
csottk (Skippen)
DocStryder (Doc)
leroy43 (Roger)
licinius (Carl)
oeolycus (Dan) ***
pete belli (Pete)
PzVIE (Ron)
Sluggonics (Kyle)
tommynomad (T. Nomad)
wifwendell (Wendell)

*** On Deck

Gregg Easterbrook writes a column every Tuesday over on ESPN.com during the NFL season called Tuesday Morning Quarterback (TMQ). TMQ is mostly about football (college and pro), but a good third and sometimes more covers other issues, some serious and some not. One of the topics he pokes fun at is something he's dubbed the unified theory of Christmas creep, which is essentially about how every year the Christmas ads start sooner, and seemingly everything else does too. Like how the best ___ of 2013 lists are already appearing for many weeks now even though 2013 isn't officially over yet.

With that in mind, this week we'll talk about the end of 2013, the countdown to Christmas, and wrapping up the calendar year.

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1. Board Game: Last Call: The Bartender Game [Average Rating:6.24 Overall Rank:5129]
"L'état, c'est moi."
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Although several of us said that New Year's Day wasn't necessarily a big holiday, it is a nice common reference point for us to start the year in gaming.

So, were there any goals you'd set for 2013 that you haven't managed to get to yet? Is there still time to get that game of ___ in?
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2. Board Game: A Christmas Story Board Game [Average Rating:2.54 Unranked]
"L'état, c'est moi."
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I recognize the historical basis of "it's winter and dark and cold and gosh wouldn't it be nice to be inside with lights and food and drink to celebrate the solstice and one another". As a secular household we celebrate Xmas more in its cultural winter celebration sense than a religious one. Plus, how can you not love Santa when you have kids in the house.

Do you have any traditions around this time of the year? Great Aunt Ethel's eggnog? Delicious fruitcake?

Do you or hope to receive gaming related gifts?

Any good stories to share?
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3. Board Game: Book of Lists Game [Average Rating:3.78 Overall Rank:14822]
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Any surprises this year with your gaming?

Any games you played a lot more or less than you expected?

What was the best new-to-you game of 2013?

Anything you want to list as highlights of the year, this is also the place.
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4. Board Game: Discworld: Ankh-Morpork [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:397]
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This is the week that was:
Discworld: Ankh-Morpork 4
Pax Porfiriana 2
Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age 2
Cards Against Humanity 1 New to me!
The Castles of Burgundy 1
Combat Commander: Europe 1

This week was my birthday, and now that it's come and gone, we can get Christmas officially rolling - we're heading out later this morning to get a tree. There's something really nice about a real tree in the house, especially the smell of it, which makes up for the piles of needles and daily sweeping.

And oh the games we played!

Andrew came by on Wednesday for our regular Combat Commander session. He ogled Ogre, and then we set to with an RSG scenario which saw me with an elite SS company against his British platoon. The offset in VP allowed him to buy a lot of wire to slow me down and funnel me into the centre of the map, and it was a rollicking back and forth affair that saw me lose by a narrow margin when time finally ticked over.

Thursday night was my birthday and two of the regular Thursday night gang was available and we played three games of Discworld in a row, with each of us winning one, which was a great way to leave it.

Friday night I had booked the long table at the Storm Crow and there were a dozen of us enjoying good food and beer and an absolutely side splitting session of Cards Against Humanity. It was the first time I'd played, and it really was the perfect setting for it.

One of my birthday presents at Friday's party was Roll Through the Ages and my wife and I played it twice last night, bookended by games of Discworld and Castles of Burgundy. We had the night free for gaming thanks to our daughter being at a sleepover. It was grand. I think my daughter should be able to handle RttA too since it's not much more complex than Catan the Dice Game.

In pbem, I won the game of Pax I'd posted last week when the stars aligned with an early anarchy topple card. I had a revolution point showing, I had an orange card to liberate a plantation that gave me the key second one and turned the regime to anarchy, and the topple was successful.

This is the ongoing set of pbem play:
Cuba Libre #1
Cuba Libre #2
Here I Stand
Pax Porfiriana #1
Pax Porfiriana #2
1989 #1
1989 #2
Twilight Struggle
Unhappy King Charles #1
Unhappy King Charles #2
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5. Board Game: Dead of Winter (second edition) [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:4432]
Jon
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This Week:




Misc Bric-a-Brac:

- Roger is thinking of surrendering in our UKC session. ninja

- Coincidentally, Wendell is thinking of surrendering in our FitS session. ninjaninja

- In an effort to prevent their surrendering, I am making lots of play errors and what have you. ninjaninjaninja

- OK, maybe not. It is a good thing I learned to lose (a lot) playing my brother for decades. Else I might develop a "complex".

- Enjoying all of my PBEM sessions. The COIN games have increased in pace and I took some time to absorb some of the details of ADP. We had a relatively early Propaganda card bob to the surface, so expect some time before the next one surfaces. We are also dipping our toes into the negotiation waters. In CL, the Government have taken some lumps of late. It really feels like the proverbial knife fight in a phone booth.

- And my weekly game fondle has focused on Dead of Winter (second edition) from GBACW. I even had a counter sheet on the cutting board!

- I saw the newest Superman movie. Meh ... although I liked the fighting scenes. As I mentioned to Wendell earlier, I was never a DC fan boy so perhaps I am less forgiving. I find that the character "Superman" is just too wooden to be of much interest. I was going to watch "Cloud Atlas" last night, but it got too late due to my taking a little too long making dinner and our watching some sumo. The pickerel was cooked perfectly though!

- Plans are afoot for holiday parties and get togethers.


EDIT:

- I have been putting aside some books for summer reading. Too soon? A mix of fiction and nonfiction about the Maritimes. That chappy Champlain and such. In fact, "That Chappy Champlain" is one of the titles .... well, no it isn't ... I lied. I did such a good job reading last summer that I am hopeful this is not another waste of effort. I am also thinking about light game(s) to bring. Although by the sounds of it we will have internet and that means PBEM.
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6. Board Game: Rose Bowl Computerized Football [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Pete Belli
United States
Florida
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Played this vintage thrift store acquisition with Head Coach Mrs. Belli, but it was frightfully dull.

We dubbed it "The Random Bowl" since our coaching decisions had little or no impact on the game.
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7. Board Game: Dune [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:215]
Kyle Seely
United States
Carmel
IN
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Weekly Round-up!

Didn't get a chance to post my gaming update in last week's GCL, so I'll do a two-fer this week.

Wednesday night saw a six-player group of us take on the classic Dune. This was my first time playing, although I have played a couple of games of FFG's re-theme of the game, Rex: Final Days of an Empire. I have to say I enjoyed Dune more, simply because I'm way more invested in that universe than in the Twilight Imperium universe.

We messed up some rules, which had an impact on the game (we thought everyone had to discard their used treachery cards after combat - nope! HUGE implications in the game if everyone is forced to discard!) so we all accepted this game as a total "learning" game and will come back for future games to get a better sense of how it should "really" play. I was the Fremen, and built slowly, carefully building up a spice pool to prepare myself for the inevitable combat. Unfortunately, I was unable to get much going in the way of decent treachery cards, which would be problematic once that combat came around, especially since it was likely I would be fighting Harkonnen. After some initial shifting alliances, the game eventually settled into Emperor-Atreides-Harkonnen against Guild-Bene Gesserit-Fremen. We were quickly dispossessed of most of our fortresses, and on the last turn of the game (for the evening - we had to wrap around 10 and had only gotten to turn 6) I got the one combat I wanted - against the Emperor. I knew that, this being the last turn, he'd play his strength 6 leader, who just so happened to be on my payroll! devil . Treachery! And he was defeated! That prevented them from getting a majority of fortresses on that last turn, so it was a moral victory of sorts.

Great fun, and we look forward to getting it on the table with that group again.



This is currently on my solo table at home, and I'm continuing my work on the Line of Battle system. Confederate OOB in this is driving me bonkers, and the written orders system is definitely new to me. But I'm slowly getting the hang of it. If I can figure out the tortuous Roman political rules in The Rise of the Roman Republic, I can figure this out! arrrh



Playing this with one of my friends from my club. So far it's not going too badly for me as the Union. I've won most of the combats, including two major battles. My naval capability is really lagging, though - I was strapped for PC's on the spring 1862 turn, and ended up with a terrible hand to boot, so I'm playing catch-up now at this point. Fortunately, I'm pushing him out of Kentucky, and have the Trans-Mississippi ready to crack. We'll see where it goes...



Played a scenario of this at the club today - the Eylau Rearguard scenario. I was the French, and got off to a slow start as I marshaled cards in my hand for a massive right flank assault. He was able to match me banner for banner early on, and after I got my right flank assault moving, he snuck a weakened cav unit back behind my lines and picked off two of my "hiding" understrength units. This wouldn't have been successful if I hadn't rolled so terribly on my attacks. Eventually, his meddlesome cav was dispatched, and I was able to push on for the win, 7 banners to 4.
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8. Board Game: Caverna: The Cave Farmers [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:15]
Cole Wehrle
United States
St. Paul
Minnesota
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Well, I wanted to let you all know right away, but I decided to wait until the next week's list rolled around. I'm proud to introduce my son, Owen Rhodes Wehrle, born on December 10th here in Austin Texas.

I had hoped the file server would be fully up by now, but it seems to not want me to make any personal uploads, so here's a picture on my google drive:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B7yd-VvnLRt3bE53eThsM1dQekU

The picture was snapped about 30 minutes after he was born. Not pictured is Cati who proved to be a true badass throughout a very long labor. Not pictured are the midwives, whose expertise guided us through a drug free labor at home. And, not pictured is myself, who was completely exhausted despite not doing much more than crouching near Cati for the better part of 24 hours.

The baby is healthy and delightful in every way. We are so happy he finally arrived!

As you can imagine this event ate up most of the week. Thankfully I had built up a little buffer so I was able to take some time off.

We did, however, manage a few games of Caverna after he was born (and one the night before with some friends). The further plays and the discussions that followed inspired me to write this review: An Embarrassment of Riches: Searching for the Fight in Caverna . Then, a few days after little Owen was born, Cati's mother arrived to help us and last night we played a very tense little game of Sleuth after he went to bed.

All told my gaming amounted to:
x4 Caverna (8.2)
x1 Sleuth (~)

Not bad given the big event .



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9. Board Game: Fox and Geese [Average Rating:4.79 Overall Rank:15102]
T. Nomad
Netherlands
Den Bosch
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I sense a meme.

I didn't play this title, either. But it's the only one in the database to mention Bulgaria. Which is where I'm losing in spectacular fashion to Leroy in 1989: Dawn of Freedom.

Gents Club, through a stroke of uni-exams-rescheduling fortune, met twice this week. Day one featured a double header of Tokaido. Day two was our first kick at Union Pacific, which I managed to lose when I attempted to piggyback on too many others' work, instead of taking the lead in a company myself.

The work schedule also meant two Thursdays, which meant two plays of Sobek, a pretty ordinary set collection game set apart by its mean-spiritedness (always a good thing) and its punitive scoring (also welcome 'round these parts).

Finally, I helped a gaming buddy get his hands on The Game of Thrones. He invited me over to poke through the setup,a nd he, Kidlet and I got in a game of Bears!: finally found a dice game I can stand.
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10. Board Game: Fire in the Sky: The Great Pacific War 1941-1945 [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:1815]
Wendell
United States
Yellow Springs
Ohio
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So - my heroic Japanese took Guadalcanal in FitS. We'll see how things go as the American war machine begins to gear up.

Also played World in Flames - a very strange and very frustrating game for me right now. How often do the Germans take Stalingrad even as they are defending Paris? And the friggin' Royal Navy port attacked Singapore and sank a good Japanese carrier.

Three COIN games (Andean Abyss, Cuba Libre, A Distant Plain) still going.

And I have played the first couple turns of the grand campaign of World War II: European Theater of Operations, on my solitaire table. I'm still learning this; naval and air rules are a bit involved but I'm slowly figuring it out.
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11. Board Game: Advanced Squad Leader [Average Rating:7.95 Overall Rank:209] [Average Rating:7.95 Unranked]
Ron
Austria
Vienna
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Finally! At least I managed one playing of ASL this year!

On Friday I met with an old friend and played ASL again! Scenario LSSAH36, a force from the Soviet 1st Ukrainian Front launched an attacked against SS-Panzer Aufklärungs-Abteilung 1 in 1944 in Votylevka. We also had a selection of fine beers from various small breweries and steaks from an Austrian Simmental breed. Wargames, beer & steaks ... what a combination!


I played the Russians and tried to break through the German lines, but my opponent surprised me with some very cleverly hidden AT guns and my two of my 5 T-34s died. My infantry did well, but not fast enough and I finally lost the scenario. But it was so good to play ASL again! If I have a New Year's resolution it is "playing ASL more often".


Otherwise the week was uneventful and without further gaming ...
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12. Board Game: The Hunters: German U-Boats at War, 1939-43 [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:932] [Average Rating:7.71 Unranked]
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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Weekend Round-Up

This past week, these games were played face-to-face:
The Hunters x 3

This past week, these games started:
Pax Profiriana v. 4-Players

This past week, these games continued:
Stonewall Jackson's Way II, Scenario 5 v. Patrick
Battle Above the Clouds, Scenario 1 v. Robert
Burnside Takes Command, Scenario 1 v. Carsten
Battle Above the Clouds,Scenario 3 v. Lawrence
Unhappy King Charles v. Roger
Unhappy King Charles v. Randy
The Napoleonic Wars, 2nd Edition v. Five-Player Game
Battle Above the Clouds, Scenario 1 v. Gordon (continuation of Game from 04/2013)

This past week, these games concluded:
None.

This past week, these games/accessories were acquired:
The Hunters

This past week, these interesting things happened in my games and my life:

1 ---> My son has been sick all week - actually, about 10 days. Cold-like symptoms for 5 days that turned into flu-like symptoms for 5 more days. Today is the first day he's looking like he'll get back to normal - still has a runny nose, but energy and appetite are back up.

2 ---> *Still* no progress on the baby-name front. I am frustrated now that we can't settle on a name. There's just no name that we *really like* - they're all "Yeah, I could live with that one." And I want our child to have a name my wife and I both adore. Erg.

3 ---> Well - I said last week that I had been anticipating The Hunters (a new solitaire game from Consimpress) and boy am I taken with the game! I've completed three campaigns in the past week - one of which went the "full distance" from Sep 39 to Jun 43! I did a short little write up here if anyone is interested.

4 ---> I started up a Pax Porfiriana game which includes a few GCL Gelato members. I can see I will like the game, but it's going to take a while to wrap my head around how all the concepts work. Unfortunately, I drew a Hacendado that will require me to be somewhat aggressive and figure out now transportation and troops work. It's a really awesomely thematic game that seems to join mechanics and theme well.

5 ---> Christmas is getting closer, and my wife and I have nearly finished our Christmas shopping - she does the heavy lifting, but I have a few gifts that I am assigned to buy. Off to the post today to mail Christmas cards and presents to far-off relatives.

6 ---> Keeping this as a place-holder: I've decided my New Year's resolution will have something to do with my unplayed games collection. I will probably start a geeklist on it. I'm going to leave this list in here from week to week as a reminder: Flying Colors, Iron and Oak, Rebel Raiders on the High Seas, 1805: Sea of Glory, Paths of Glory, Space Empires: 4X, Napoleon against Europe, Amateurs to Arms!, and one or two 18XX games.

Cheers!
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13. Board Game: Memoir '44: Air Pack [Average Rating:7.59 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.59 Unranked]
Stig Morten
Norway
Kvernaland
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Games:
Bastogne Corridor West from the Memoir airpack against my neighbour. Took the win 6-3. Played this to commemorate the Bulge battle.

Played a patrol of The Hunters while waiting for my neighbour to arrive. Session report in the comment below.

Watched abunch of movies this week.
V for Vendetta: Good movie
Category 6: Day of Destruction(2-part film about Chicago being hit by storms) Horrible on all levels. Watch at your own risk.
This is England: Good movie.
The Hobbit(1st one): Fell asleep early on. Not bad, just tired.

Traded Clash of Giants II for Nightfighter. Looking like an interesting game with solo rules.
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