GCL Mafia 161: The Big Five
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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
Happymrdave
fdubois
touchstonethefool

Please add an item to represent your gaming life for the week of February 10-16, 2014. 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: Big Five [Average Rating:6.34 Overall Rank:5445]
Grace P.
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The items for this week list are inspired by the Big Five personality traits.

If you care to take a Big Five test, I recommend this one. Feel free to share your results below with your thoughts.
 
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2. Board Game: Open End [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
Grace P.
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Wikipedia wrote:
Openness to experience: (inventive/curious vs. consistent/cautious).


How open are you to new games? Will you play anything and everything or are you more selective about what you choose to play?
 
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3. Board Game: Careful [Average Rating:6.33 Unranked]
Grace P.
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Wikipedia wrote:
Conscientiousness: (efficient/organized vs. easy-going/careless).


How do you organize your games? How well do you take care of them (e.g., pimp them out, sleeve all cards, stack them however works)?

How well do you plan your turns? How far into the future of the game do you strategize?
 
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4. Board Game: Energy Baron [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Grace P.
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Wikipedia wrote:
Extraversion: (outgoing/energetic vs. solitary/reserved).


How talkative are you while playing games? Do you only talk about the current game or other game-unrelated things? Do you trash talk?

How many people would you ideal game group / gaming situation consist of?

How well do you like playing with new people (either new to gaming and/or new to the group)?
 
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5. Board Game: Cooperation [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Grace P.
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Wikipedia wrote:
Agreeableness: (friendly/compassionate vs. analytical/detached).


Do you like cooperative games? Do you prefer to play them over non-cooperative games?

Do you like games with a traitor mechanic (e.g., Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game) or a all-vs.-some/one mechanic (e.g., Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game)?

Do you like games where you can lie/bluff (e.g., Coup)?
 
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6. Board Game: Second that Emotion [Average Rating:4.50 Unranked]
Grace P.
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Wikipedia wrote:
Neuroticism: (sensitive/nervous vs. secure/confident).


What are your general annoyances/pet peeves? What do people do that drive you crazy?

What are your gaming annoyances/pet peeves? What do people do that drive you crazy?
 
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7. Board Game: Terra Mystica [Average Rating:8.24 Overall Rank:8]
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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2x One Night Ultimate Werewolf
2x Qwixx
Airlines Europe
Myrmes (BAJ)
Nauticus (Yucata)
Terra Mystica
Thurn and Taxis (Yucata)

I am really liking Terra Mystica and would like to pick it up at some point. I played the swarmlings and ended the game well in the lead with 130 points. 3-player game. I also forgot to use my racial bonus the entire game, which gives me 3 worker cubes each time I complete a city, which I did twice. I did score several points from the digging bonus on the last round, though, which I later discovered has been errata'd to be disallowed on rounds 5 or 6.

No new plays this week.
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8. Board Game: Yahtzee [Average Rating:5.29 Overall Rank:15240]
Grace P.
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Yahtzee 3
Kakerlakenpoker 2
Carcassonne 1
Council of Verona + Poison Expansion 1
Cribbage 1
Hab & Gut 1

Kakerlakenpoker is still rather fun and I hope it continues to be one of those games that guarantees laughs.

Matt bought me Yahtzee for Valentine's Day because I had previously mentioned that I wasn't sure if I had ever played it or not (so, I have no idea if it's new to me). All things considered, it's not that bad.

I hadn't played Hab & Gut for 9 months (someone had a baby in the time since I last played it!) and it was enjoyable to get it out again. Now to play Mercurious again for more compare/contrast.

Lastly, we played Council of Verona with five for the first time, which felt a little chaotic but still fun given that it is only a 15 minute game.
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9. Board Game: Quantum [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:371]
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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New Games

Quantum x2
Chicago Stock Exchange x3
Mascarade x1

Old Games

Skull x2
Spectaculum x1
Strasbourg x1
The Resistance: Avalon x2

Some good gaming last week, and a small set of new titles:

I'd unsuccessfully tried to get a demo of Quantum at the Funforge booth at BGG.CON last year, but it looked intriguing with its dice-as-ships mechanic and stripped-down 4x aesthetic. I picked up a copy from CoolStuff a few weeks back and managed to get it to the table twice. It's been a surprise hit in that it's very quick for what's ostensibly a space-empires game, and its brand of breathless space punch-ups are pleasantly low on the malice factor. Setbacks are always short term as your ships simply need to be re-launched after they're destroyed, and there are enough special powers and options that the luck-of-the-roll doesn't play a huge roll. The special powers you get also do a good job of shaping your strategy, and the balance of focusing on aggression vs. focusing on beefing yourself up is very well done. Everyone I've played it with has enjoyed it so far, and I can see this one hitting the table a lot more in the upcoming weeks.

I'd heard good things about Chicago Stock Exchange in that it was a compact little game high on player interaction and incentives, and I was pleased to find a Big Points-like shared movement and stock game. Like the aforementioned game, tactical play increases at higher player counts, but on the whole it's a clever little system and one I very much liked. I hope it gets a US release!

And finally, I've been eagerly anticipating the second print run of Mascarade since my dissatisfaction with Coup peaked a few weeks ago and I went in search of similar bluffing games. Some friends of mine who went to Essen had picked up an EU copy and wanted to give it a go on Sunday, about which I was more than happy to oblige. While I was initially a bit wary of the chaos factor, I found that I really liked the squishy ambiguities that it created and how much more encouraged players were to bluff (both due to the lower penalty for bluffing in comparison to Coup and for the higher uncertainty that any given player had a specific role as the game progressed). I also really liked the "coming up for air" effect of having everyone who claimed a role to flip their card, temporarily restoring some sense of order before the role switching eventually muddied the waters again. I really, REALLY want to play this again and now am doubly eager for the new print run to hit the US.
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10. Board Game: Container [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:583]
Dave K
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Austin
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A reasonable assortment of gaming for me this week:

Android: Netrunner
Trans Europa
Container
BANG! The Dice Game
Le Havre: The Inland Port


And I started a geeklist to track my progress to my goal of trying an average of 3 unplayed backlog games a month: Trying to clear out the backlog with 3 new games a month . Please take a look and feel free to chime in if interested. meeple


It was nice to play Netrunner again, as I really enjoy it but rarely get to play. There are tournaments at Dragon's Lair locally once a month but I haven't made it - I feel I don't play enough to be competitive.

Trans Europa was fun and quick. That's kind of what I was hoping for. I have the version that includes the Vexation expansion, which feels like it's needed to give the game some oomph. That said, it's still really light, even with it. It does feel like there might be some overlap between having this and Paris Connection in the collection, as both are about managing the amount you can play off of the actions of others (with a train theme even) but for now I'm going to hang onto both. Paris Connection feels deeper but TE might be better for larger groups is my initial hunch.

The meaty game of the week was Container, which I really enjoy but I can definitely understand why people might not. It's dry. Bone dry. Move rectangles from place to place and don't you dare think about selling your own rectangles directly! It doesn't work like that around these parts.

I was able to snag a victory this time and I feel like I played much better than the last, although the two people behind me would have likely come closer had the game gone even one more full round.

We closed off that night with Bang: The Dice Game, which was fun and light. I got it at a bargain price and I think it's an entertaining filler. It's definitely in the King of Tokyo "Yahtzee with some extra gameplay" vein but the theme means I might be able to get some relatives in on it next time. It won't be a jewel of my collection but I think it'll see play again.

And finally, my wife likes Le Havre so I was able to convince her to try the 2-player Le Havre: The Inland Port. It doesn't really play much like Le Havre but the "use buildings to get stuff to make more buildings" idea carries over regardless. I thought I was way ahead but at the end I only won by 3 points out of over 200 each. It plays quickly (the buildings come out at a really fast pace) and I can see some new strategies to try next time.

I think Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small captures the feel of the parent game much more than this one but this game is fun on its own. Since my wife enjoyed it and it has the "Rosenberg game in less than an hour" value it's a keeper for now.
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11. Board Game: Dungeon Lords [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:181]
Matthew C
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Good week for me getting back to the euros that I really enjoy.

There were two intentional/planned games for this week:

1. Dungeon Lords -- Last week one of the guys I regularly play with asked me if I wanted to play, and I politely declined. So, this week I brought along my copy as a peace offering (and also because I do enjoy the game). We played a 4-player game with him, Adam (my RFTG buddy), and one new person.

Because Adam is not overly fond of the game, and because we had a new player, we took it easy on the special events. As such, I actually struggled to find moves to play in the 2nd year because I'd already set up my dungeon nicely. After the first year, it was fairly evident that I had a substantial lead over the other players, so I focused on gaining evil in order to take a paladin because I usually avoid them. Adam apparently needed more evil to set up his dungeon, so I actually ended up being above the line but due to a tie was not the one with the paladin.

I ended up winning the game with a substantial lead, and our new player managed to get a positive score his first time (even after taking a 9-point deduction for his tax penalty).


2. Suburbia -- I got two games of this in this week. I'm really enjoying the simplicity of this. The hidden/changing goals really help the replay value too. I decided to branch out from my Many Blues/Strong Economy strategy and see if I could start learning how to properly green; they're the color which I think are least intuitive.

Unfortunately, I derp'd pretty badly in my second game because I bought a Casino when it was the first B tile to show, but then never grew my economy because I was trying to shoot for the Fewest Blues goal. As such, I still missed the Fewest Blues tile and sat on a pathetic economy while having the means to make a great one. I'm still not sure what I was thinking in retrospect.


3. Did I say 2? I lied. It turns out that Adam and I have both been binge-playing the Keldon AI a lot the past week. We played one game of 4-player Race for the Galaxy: Rebels vs. Imperium without goals (new player ). In just one week you could see the difference playing Kheldon has made to both of our playing. I played a dominant Aliens strategy, raking in 56 VP at the end of the game, and lost to Adam's Cheap-Blues tableau by about 5 VP in the end.

Other games I played (all of which being my first play):
Catan: Pirates and Explorerz
Alien Frontiers
Death Angel
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12. Board Game: Wildcatters [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:1660]
Edward Uhler
United States
Commerce City
Colorado
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Wildcatters x2
Pax Porfiriana
Planet Steam


A pretty light gaming week this last week as I was sick for much of it. Still, we were able to get in our 2 Game of the Month games/meetings.

Planet Steam - This was our final game of this, but what was cool was that afterward, all 5 of us hung out for about 30 mins BS'ing and strategizing about it. Really good time there. We are switching over to Madeira starting tonight. Everyone is quite excited about it and really looking forward to it.

FINALLY I got my hands on Wildcatters. This is/was going to be for the Saturday GOTM, but we went ahead and got in a game on the Thursday prior. Man, this is a great, great game. The different mechanics and the way they all intertwine seamlessly is really a thing to behold. You can tell the amount of time and effort in playtesting that went into the game (I think I read the full game was 9 years in development). We all loved it on Thursday and then again on Saturday.

Amanda got screwed a bit by her strategy when she focused on only 2 zones and there was a distinct lack of area cards for those 2 zone through the game and on her turn. I'm not saying it's a flaw of the game, but if there was one part of the game that wasn't a huge hit, it would be the area cards. One remedy that we came up with (and may try this week at the next meeting) is, at the start of the game when you are supposed to deal out 8 area cards to each player and then place your pieces, one-by-one, just doing away with the area cards and just select the areas you want, when placing your initial pieces. Thoughts for those who have played it?

And finally, we played a far too long game of Pax on Sunday w/ my wargame group. I was pretty frustrated when I could have ended the game at the 2nd Topple, but I was dumb and played both of my troops that could change the gov't to Pax (which I needed) the turn before I could get the Topple card. Then, when it came back around, I couldn't change the gov't to Pax! shake blush soblue So the game went on and on for another 1.5 hours and I lost when it came down to money. Lesson learned there, dur!

Oh and this past Friday was one of the highlights of the year for me: The auction at Genghis Con. I take a lot of enjoyment in the buying and selling and flipping of games (a game in and of itself), so this local auction is a big chance to buy a plethora of games for sick cheap prices...some to keep and some to flip. The auction went at a surprisingly fast clip and ran from 6pm to just past 1230am. Normally, it runs til past 3am, but they limited magazines to lots vs single issues. That helped immensely and made for a more enjoyable auction.

The some of the highlights were:

Age of Renaissance, in great shape and complete, for $11
Mutant Chronicles: Siege of the Citadel NIS for $16 surprise surprise surprise
River of Death: Battle of Chickamauga, September 19-20, 1863 unpunched for $12
1960: The Making of the President (2nd Edition) for $24

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13. Board Game: Perfection [Average Rating:4.27 Overall Rank:15314]
Philip Newman
United States
Richardson
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No games last week, but the Hanabi game with Robin and Darryl did finish yesterday... the appropriately named Perfect game, here we come!
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14. Board Game: Twilight Struggle [Average Rating:8.35 Overall Rank:4]
Fabrice Dubois
France
La Garenne Colombes
Hauts de Seine
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 9  Twilight Struggle x1
 9  Puerto Rico x1
 8  Keltis x1

MOOOOAAAARRRR games!

On Twilight Struggle (3 plays so far)
We went to the end of the game (turn 10) for the first time. I played USA and i won with 14 VP. The VP marker was almost always on my side. Big fight in Egypt, Panama and Asia.

On Puerto Rico (20 plays so far)
2 players against my wife. PR is her favorite game. I won with a corn/tobacco strategy, supported by hacienda/construction hut, large market/office.

It is very effective because :
- you can ship corn (i had 3 corn fields)
- you can earn money (5 with tobacco + large market)
- i wasn't screwed by the market restriction

I bought 3 big buildings, obviously residence/city hall/fortress.

Final score : 70-48

On Keltis (25 plays so far)
My wife beat me by far, without any contestation : 68-51
It is simply impossible for us to return to the base game.

The weeks ahead
Wildcatters : i have just receive the game and i think i can manage to play 2 sessions.
Android: Netrunner
Warhammer: Diskwars
Eclipse
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