My 5x10 & 10x5 Challenge
Mathue Faulkner
United States
Austin
TX
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10x10 is an unrealistic and undesirable goal for myself. In order to give myself something desirable to aim for, I've given myself a bit more diversity in my playlist. This list includes some hot games from last year as well as some old favorites. Agricola is probably my most notable omission, but I prioritized Caverna and Eclipse over the old classic...
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1. Board Game: Caverna: The Cave Farmers [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:14]
Mathue Faulkner
United States
Austin
TX
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1: January 11th - Two player loss to Sarah.

2: January 17th - Solo game that felt like a loss...

3: February 12th - 2p, Sarah and I. Always nice to get some surprise gaming on a weekday night. We attempted a little variant where we used the # of tiles in the Basic game, but we randomly pulled them from the Full game. I think I'll like this variant with 2p, but I'm also not at the point where I can really form a strong strategy just by looking at the tile setup. Next time, we'll probably play with the Full tiles, but I'll definitely try this variant again in the future. I pursued a mining heavy strategy with expeditions, but I failed to realize that there weren't very good scoring tiles for that path. Meanwhile, Sarah was a bit more diverse and grabbed a couple bonus tiles that she maxed out on (wheat/vegetables & stone). She cruised to another victory, 79-68. I'm enjoying the game, but I suck.

4&5: June 28th & 29 - Both 4p games with Zach and Tiffany. Let's get this out of the way...I still haven't won this bloody game. I think I took 2nd in both games, the first using a Weapon heavy strategy and the latter using a field/pasture heavy strategy. Zach won the first game with a TON of grain and the tile that lets player trade in grain for gold. Honestly, Tiffany was destroyed in her first game, scoring like 43 points. She rallied, however, and won the 2nd game using a 3 person / 1 weapon family with ample use of rubies and the ore/stone scoring tiles. This was a pretty monumental moment since Tiffany had played like 30-40+ games of Agricola and never won...despite a huge desire to 'play until I win'. This was her 2nd game of Caverna, and she snuck out with a win. It should also be noted that she easily beat out a 5 person / 5 weapon family...
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2. Board Game: Francis Drake [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:331]
Mathue Faulkner
United States
Austin
TX
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1: January 27th - 2p game with my mother before leaving town. I made some boneheaded moves in the 1st two rounds, but my mom was just learning the game (even though she technically played it a couple months ago). In the end, I lost by two points. Zero trade goods. Really, it was a low scoring game on both sides.
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3. Board Game: Myth [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:1861]
Mathue Faulkner
United States
Austin
TX
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1: March 28 - Solo learning game. After spending a week reading the rules, forum, player aids, etc., I finally sat down to play. It was a little clunky at first, and I can't wait for some quality gameplay aids. Having said that, it was quite fun, and definitely more interesting than some of my previous endeavors into dungeon crawlers...

2: March 29/30 - First Act of the first Story Quest w/Sarah. I've waded through the rules, and while there are still a few blurry spots, I feel like I understand most of the game...and I feel comfortable making decisions on the hazy spots. Teaching the game was actually VERY easy since it's a co-op and I'm managing most of the upkeep with the game. I'm really enjoying the game, and while I think the game could've used some more polishing in quite a few areas, the gameplay is still fantastic. Almost all of the needed polishing really has to do with either the rules, card dialogue, or general layout/design of the components. The actual gameplay is great. Fortunately, my wife agrees. This is our 3rd foray into dungeon crawling, and she has definitely shown the most enthusiasm for Myth (Descent and Mice & Mytics were the other games). Looking forward to our next play, but I'm going to be careful not to burn her out....

3: April 4 - Solo play of the Second Act just to see if it was beatable with two Heroes. I'm happy to report that it is. While I'm really loving this game, I hope that they make a 2nd Edition with clearer cards and a clearer rulebook.

4: April 5/6 - First Story, Second Act with Sarah. Well, we ran into a little more trouble than I did with my solo round, but we finished off Yardu just as easily. Good times, and Sarah is continuing to enjoy the game. After we finish the 3rd Act, I think I'm going to get back to painting....

5: April 12 - This was really 1 1/2 plays. I totally miscalculated the difficulty increase in adding a 2nd lair of a different type. We were getting absolutely slaughtered when we decided to just restart the tile. We were limping around with 5 Vitality, burning through Potions, and racking up crazy threat while trying to fight off 20+ Minions, 2 Captains, and 2 Minibosses...Ouch. Keep in mind that we had killed off a bunch of Minions and 2 Captains already at that point. On our 2nd setup, we actually breezed through the same Tile. Eventually, we finished up the Story, and we ended up leveling up finally... Next step is going to be attempting to paint. Eep.

6: May 11 - Happy Mother's Day! Painting has been tedious, and I messed up some things trying to remove paint. Kind of a bummer, but I'm working around it. Regardless, Sarah and I sat down to play the first Act of the next Story Quest. I've really found that setting up the Quest ahead of time helps me frame the story pretty well, and it makes things go much smoother. We were able to complete the entire Act in a couple hours...which was a big improvement. I will say that I may have made the difficulty a little too easy, and I underestimated the strength of our newly acquired Title. I'm still ironing out areas of the game, but we're having a good time...and that's what matters. Hopefully, we can finish this Story Quest before Memorial Day since we're going to be introducing the game to my brother when we're down in San Antonio...

7: May 16 - Second Act of the Stone of Life. We actually played a couple rules wrong, but they went both directions. I forgot about one of our huge abilities for most of the quest, but I also forgot a special quest rules that limited our movement for most of the quest. Regardless, it was a good session. I think we need to up the challenge a bit more, however, and I'm concerned that the Harbinger Title is just too strong. After watching some of MCG's gameplay video, I may re-visit the Loitering rules and try playing them correctly.

8-10: Memorial Day Weekend - Finished off the 3rd Act with Sarah, and then started a new campaign with Zach and Tiffany. We made it through the first couple Acts, and even part way through the third.

11-12: July 4th and July 12th - First two Acts of the Mad King Story Quest using many of the new PrinterStudio Monsters. The new Monsters have added some MUCH needed depth and variety to the game. A few tweaks needed here and there, but overall, I'm very happy.
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4. Board Game: Eclipse [Average Rating:7.98 Overall Rank:30]
Mathue Faulkner
United States
Austin
TX
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5. Board Game: Keyflower [Average Rating:7.89 Overall Rank:42]
Mathue Faulkner
United States
Austin
TX
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1: February 23rd - 2p game vs Sarah. We broke out the new expansion for this one, and we played the Farmer's variant (mostly...). It was one of those games where I swear Sarah was going to win, but I somehow bred my way to a victory, 90-75. Photos Posted in 2nd comment below...
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6. Board Game: Macao [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:243]
Mathue Faulkner
United States
Austin
TX
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1: March 16th - 2p vs Sarah. We've really fallen behind on our game playing goals because Sarah has been sick, and we've been busy. Family is coming to town next weekend which is usually feast or famine for gaming. Regardless, we were able to squeeze in a game of Macao. I ran a very Office Card heavy strategy, whereas Sarah picked up a handful of 'swing for the fences' type of cards. While I had a large lead at times (20+ points at least), by the end she had caught up. 94-93, with a narrow victory in my favor. Always a fun game...

2: June 29th - 2p with Zach. This was a learning game for him, and it showed. He's is ridiculously sharp with games, and he struggled for awhile. It was actually to the point where I ignored an obvious opportunity to screw him over just because I didn't want to break his spirit. It was actually a little closer than I expected, but I still came away with the win. He seemed to really like the game, and it's one of my favorites, so very much a win in my book.
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7. Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:37]
Mathue Faulkner
United States
Austin
TX
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1: July 5 - I just got bitch slapped in this one. Brutal loss...
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8. Board Game: Glass Road [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:210]
Mathue Faulkner
United States
Austin
TX
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1: January 1st - Bringing in the New Year, 2p game w/Zach
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9. Board Game: VivaJava: The Coffee Game: The Dice Game [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:1397]
Mathue Faulkner
United States
Austin
TX
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1&2: June 14th - First two plays with Sarah, and it was a hit. It was everything that I had hoped it would be and 100% better than any other dice game I've played previously. Best of all, Sarah was a big fan.

2-6: June 27th - This has been a huge success with Sarah. These were post bed time plays, so even more surprising that we continued to play. We're both really enjoying this one. She's requested another play tonight. World Cup could prevent it, but we'll see.

7-10: July 4th - Four more plays on the holiday. Here is a session report: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1197666/unique-2p-session-co...
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10. Board Game: Pandemic [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:73]
Mathue Faulkner
United States
Austin
TX
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11. Board Game: Concordia [Average Rating:8.07 Overall Rank:23]
Mathue Faulkner
United States
Austin
TX
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1: January 2nd - 3p game with Zach & Tiff, substantial win

2: January 3rd - 2p game with Tiff, convincing win

3: February 1st - 2p game with Sarah. Teaching game for her, but her AP surfaced with a vengeance. My previous 2p game took about 60 minutes, but this one took almost 3 hours. Sarah coasted to a victory with a good balance of Mercury, Minerva, and Mars cards. In my last 3 games of Concordia, the winner has monopolized the Mercury cards....

4: February 6th - 2p game with Sarah. An inch of snow in Dallas ended up shutting down our office so I had the afternoon off. Fortuitously, Sarah had the day off as well, and I was able to convince her into a game. This game went somewhat faster, but we still took over 2 hours....not nearly as painful though. I learned from a couple of early mistakes last game, and I was able to squeak out a victory 145-140.

5: April 25 - 4p game with Loren/Uri and Sarah in New Orleans. Loved the larger map. I was worried that it would feel too spread out, but the layout of the larger map provides some interesting decisions. I was very excited to teach the game to Loren as I thought it would be something he liked...and he did. Good fun. Good friends. Good times.
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12. Board Game: Mascarade [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:878]
Mathue Faulkner
United States
Austin
TX
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13. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:72] [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked]
Mathue Faulkner
United States
Austin
TX
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1: March 2nd - 2p game with Sarah. I'm not sure what happened, but she picked up 3 Provinces before I was able to snag one. Even still, if I had chosen to use my last purchase to pick up a Province, then I would've only lost by 1pt (due to her Silk Road). Instead, I opted to at least give myself a chance to win by purchasing a Duchy...and then she promptly picked up the last Province.

2: March 2nd - Another 2p game with the same setup. I opted for the Moneylender instead of the Spice Merchant (like last game) for my first purchase. I finished off my deck thinning with some Junk Dealers, but unfortunately I purchased a couple of Action Cards when I should have just went with Silver. I think I could have run away with the game otherwise, but those early purchases slowed me down. My Ventures kept my deck going though, and I thought I cruised to a win. When we counted up the score though, we were quick to realize that we had actually both purchased 4 Provinces for a tie. I think I technically won on the tie breaker (I was 2nd), but whatevs.

3: March 2nd - After lunch and errands, we decided to continue our Dominion day. Without any trash cards, I ended up with a bloated deck full of Action Cards. Sarah did a little bit of the same, however, and the game went on for quite awhile while we squeezed all of the little points out of the game (Monument and Great Hall). Eventually she bought the last Province for the win.

4: March 2nd - Another game with a somewhat similar setup. I had the early momentum, and I bought the first couple Provinces. I was actually running a pretty efficient deck I thought, but she somehow squeaked out another win with a heavy dose of Monument VPs (and a flurry of a finish).
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14. Board Game: Hanabi [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:275]
Mathue Faulkner
United States
Austin
TX
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15. Board Game: Le Passe-Trappe [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:2782]
Mathue Faulkner
United States
Austin
TX
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16. Board Game: Bruges [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:197]
Mathue Faulkner
United States
Austin
TX
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Removed (as per wife)
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