GCL Phoenix 166: Sometimes Less is More (2014-03-09)
Albatros
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ABOUT GCL mb PHOENIX DIVISION mb SUBSCRIPTION THREAD

If you're a lurker or have otherwise discovered GCL Phoenix, feel free to read along with us and see what the members have to say on everything under the sun. Everyone is welcome to make constructive comments, but please leave adding items to members.

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1. Board Game: The Palaces of Carrara [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:532]
Albatros
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Ben has mentioned a couple of times that he prefers the base game of The Palaces of Carrara to the advanced one. Others have commented that they prefer the starker family game of Agricola to the full game.

What are some games where you think the less complicated "basic" game is more interesting than the "advanced" one? Why do you think that?
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2. Board Game: Caverna: The Cave Farmers [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:15]
Albatros
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Victoria
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Speaking of Agricola, what are people's thoughts on designers revising their old games and publishing them anew? If you liked Agricola, do you feel the need/desire to get Caverna: The Cave Farmers as well?

What are some other games fall into this category and what are your thoughts on them?

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3. Board Game: Troyes: The Ladies of Troyes [Average Rating:7.92 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.92 Unranked]
Albatros
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We all love expansions.

Don't we?


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4. Board Game: Love Letter [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:214]
Albatros
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I haven't been bitten by the current microgame craze, but I'm curious.

The whole genre appears to be flourishing in Japan. Is it just that the average Japanese gamer's running out of space in her tiny 10 by 10 apartment? Or is there less-is-more to it?

Sell me on your favourite (Japanese or not) microgame.
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5. Board Game: Concordia [Average Rating:8.07 Overall Rank:23]
Dice bags!
United States
Wurtsboro
NY
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Two games of Concordia, one Sam won, one I won (that snapshot misrepresents the current standings of me 9, Sam 2. I don't especially care that I won 9 games, it's just odd as games for us aren't usually that one-sided).
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6. Board Game: Snowdonia [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:345]
Bryan Maxwell
United States
Burtchville
Michigan
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Love Letter x 1

Taught this (along with Hanabi below) to a few gamers who like to play but don't know much beyond mass-market games. They really liked it (even though I won 3-0-0-0.

Hanabi x 1

This is such a unique, wonderful, accessible, simple-yet-tough game. Scored 19 with a new group.

Monarchy: The Game of Kings x 1


I was surprised to find that this Rummy variation was only 10 years old, as it looks and feels older than that (in a good way). Pretty neat game!

One Night Ultimate Werewolf x 5


Me too! Me too you guys!

Seriously though, I like this plenty for a 5-minute game. And as I think about it and read about it, I can see that it will work well if played as a logic game where we work together to try to piece together the events of the night and look for holes/logical inconsistencies in the telling. Hopefully it can gain some traction as a summoning game to start or end the night. The iOS app helps a LOT.

Shadow Hunters x 2

A pair of 7-player games, each won by the shadows.

Snowdonia x 2

Kat and I learned this, playing the basic Snowdon stations. Kat and I liked it quite a bit. The timing and starting player are particularly important, and I like the thematic weather affects. I also like the way you have your basic scoring, but then draft cards that give you specific scoring goals as well.

Also, having the station cards double-sided is a brilliant way to add a variant, and we have the Snowdonia: Jungfraubahn & Mount Washington as well so replayability shouldn't be an issue.

2nd play detailed below.

Paperback x 1

Our neighbors came over and we taught Paperback to them (one of my Kickstarter copies went over there as a family Christmas gift [belated - thanks to missing the deadline]). I think it's probably best as a 2-player game, though if one player has AP, at least the others can plan their turns in advance. I managed to spell the longest word either of us has seen yet in the game: "Resistances".

I won 57-38-34-31.

Bruxelles 1893 x 1

Kat and I played our 2nd game of this today. We mixed it up a bit this time (I focused on my masterpiece and she spent a lot of time creating works and selling them). I fell short of finishing my masterpiece and of getting to the top of the architect track. Unsurprisingly, I also fell short of victory: 123-109.



What a week it was. Frozen water pipes, a cracked drain pipe then sewage under the house and a flooded bathroom. Everything is draining and dried up, and we have someone coming out tomorrow to replace the insulation under the house and fix the skirting. The only questions left are how much he will charge us and how badly our insurance company will try to fuck us over, for that is an insurance company's primary function.

It was a decent week gaming-wise though. Kat and I are starting to make Sundays our 2-player game days, which has been nice.

Die Palaste von Carrara will be arriving this week!
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7. Board Game: Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:529]
Jon
United States
Urbana
Illinois
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Games Played:

_10_ Innovation x2
In a rare move, my youngest son and I were a team against my oldest son and wife. Early on, my son used wheel twice to give both of us more cards as we had equal towers and the others had none, then I used the card that allowed me to meld all cards with towers and since I had four that claimed a special achievement. The next round my youngest son claimed another special achievement, so we high-fived with a 2-0 lead and joked about winning just by claiming special achievements and no scoring cards. We jinxed it as my oldest son then used Gunpowder to attack his brother (but not me as I had found my way out of towers by that point) and with that and some other cards proceeded to claim age 1, 2, 3, then 4 and won in a most hilarious fashion.

Played a second game at Urbana Library where new-to-game Erika teamed up with me, while only-played-once Caleb teamed with experienced player Melissa for a team game, with Neil as a sort of referreee. We played to four achievements and Erika and I ended up making a sweep of it, pretty much all due to stuff Erika did.


_8_ A Study in Emerald x 2
Played twice this week. The first game was at home with my wife and sons. My wife triggered the end of game but then lost even though she had 13 as she was a loyalist and oldest son was also a loyalist with 5. I also had 5 but was a restorationist. My youngest son won as a restorationist with 10 points. Game was memorable for in the course of two rounds different people playing double agent tokens to take agents away from me.

I taught this as a five player game at Urbana Free Library event where everyone was new but myself. It was slow going for a bit as things got explained, then people started claiming cities, Erika killed a royal, I tried to start a zombie outbreak but Erika got the Society of Leopold to stop the threat, so I killed her agent, then I had an agent double-agented away from me (again!), then I Neil killed Erika to end the game.
Final tally:
Neil 12 Restorationist (winner!)
Melissa 10 Loyalist
Erika 9 Restorationist
Caleb 8 Restorationist
Jon 1 Loyalist (I'm really bad at this game, apparently. whistle)


_7_ R-Eco x1 New!
Got this in a math trade a bit ago and finally had a chance to learn it with my boys. We liked it quite a bit. My youngest son won with 14, while I had 12, and oldest son scored 7.


_7_ The Builders: Middle Ages x1 New!
Taught my two boys. My oldest son surprised us by triggering end of game on his turn, which as it turned out, since he was the initial last player meant no one got another turn. He won with 17, youngeat son 11, while I had 7.


_8_ Machi Koro x2
Three players with my wife and daughter. I ended up getting big payouts for certain numbers that let me runaway with the victory.

Second game was the basic game with our friends Jason and Jessica with daughter M. who joined my daughter and my youngest son. I just moderated the game. Jason won getting his engine a bit faster than everyone else. Everyone enjoyed this.

_6_ Takenoko x1
My daughter wanted to teach vistiing friends Jason , Jessica, and their daughter M. this game. M. teamed up with her dad, while my daughter teamed up with Jessica, and my wife and I also played. My wife and I both had 27, my daughter and her partner had 28, and Jason and his daughter won with 31. They really liked this and my daughter was happy to share this with her friend.

_7_ Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy x1
Jason and Jessica joined my wife and I for this while our daughters played together elsewhere in the house. I had suggested a few different things and this ended up being the selection. This time we saw more action on the main board and there was a little more blocking going on; still less than i would expect from Agricola or Snowdonia, but enough to be noticed. My patron was the ecomomist that demanded I have money and I provided that and ended up winning with 50 points and no children born in the IV generation, athough I had five couples in the third generation. Jessica had 45 points but messed up one of her end goals. If she had kept one more friend she would have nine mre points and would have won the game. My wife and Jason both had 37 points.

I thought this went better than the previous games. The decisions felt a little more interesting to me and I had to pay a bit more attention to what others were doing. My previous plays felt a little more like we were all doing our own thing and occasionally bumping into each other in contrast. Thematically, the friend cards, the marriages and children etc. all seemed to work pretty well and i think our friends were pretty happy with the game. Whereas I think if we had played a worker placement game with more "negative" things like feeding in Agricola or the provost in Caylus it wouldn't have worked as well. Personally, it is still a bit too light for me but other than a few little things, like reminding people that can take the same action twice on their personal board in a turn, it plays fairly intuitively and doesn't overstay it's welcome.

It was a great way to finish a game day. It was very nice to have time with my daughter's friend and her family that also happen to like playing games.
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8. Board Game: Greedy Kingdoms [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:6270]
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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That's Tim Powers' fictional Samuel Coleridge "quoting" John Milton in _The Anubis Gates_.
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Scorecard for the Week/Month/Year as of 8Mar2014:

11/11/95 plays of 6/6/49 total games, with 5/5/11 expansions employed.
Plays with 6/6/42 distinct opponents.

6/6/11 games acquired (plus 0/0/7 expansions.) - Greedy Kingdoms, すすめ!! 海賊さん, Trollmaster, Mythe, Road to the Palace and Eggs of Ostrich.
0/0/6 games sold (plus 0/0/3 expansions.)
0/0/5 games ordered (plus 0/0/3 expansions.)
Orders for 9 games and 0 expansions still outstanding.

With colleagues in Tokyo:
2x _6.7_ Dominion: Intrigue - Pretty harmless, and very very tight in final score: we were pretty well matched in both games. It was fun to see that Androminion hadn't trained me too badly: most of my recent plays have been against the Android AIs.
1x _5_ Sentinels of the Multiverse (28 months dusty) (with - all New! - Rook City and two promos) - Definitely not my favourite game: it's really fiddly (this game even more than the couple previous plays; we kept trying to retroactively fix the misplay of conditions that we'd done wrong in previous turns) and I'm not a huge fan of co-ops (with the exception of playing with my youngsters.) But despite my lack of enthusiasm for the game (in the abstract) this session was rescued by charming company: so I was happy to play - even if I'll not be looking for a reprise with a different group!

With son #2 on returning home:
2x _7.7_ Greedy Kingdoms New! - Son #2 was very enthusiastic about this one; so my rating may be inflated somewhat by his reflected enthusiasm. It's an explicitly two-player game of bluff and counter; and it seemed (to both of us) to present the opportunity for quite a bit of cleverness.
1x _7.3_ Road to the Palace New! - The rating on this one is still pretty soft. We didn't play it quite correctly (mostly so; but off in one small particular) which makes the rating inherently dubious; but I'm also wondering a bit about the balance of control and chaos: it may prove to be too far toward the second of those for me to be truly enthusiastic about it. Or it might be excellent: more play is called for.
It's a curious Japanese take on a disk-pushing euro: with different art, a many-times larger box (and price tag!) and a grumpy and badly painted dude on the cover, it'd be an entirely plausible HiG title.
2x _6.7_ Mythe New! - This one is cute and relatively harmless. I suspect it'd be better with more players; then the disposition of played cards is a bit more interesting than one sees with 2. I think daughter #1 would like it for it's glorious presentation.
4x _6.3_ すすめ!! 海賊さん New! - This is a lot like Mythe, but with more minimalist presentation and customized for two players. Here, players can occupy the same space on a simple track. And players' hands (1, 2, Bomb!) are constant: and the other player picks as many cards - one by one - until she grabs a bomb or stops picking. Come to rest on a wind space, and you'll move backward one. Come to rest on a treasure space, and you'll take a (unique) treasure card that can be spent in future to double the movement of a single turn. But if the other player lands on a treasure space before you've spent it, they'll just take the treasure from you. So: completely trivial to play - and yet my youngster finds it delightful.
1x _8_ Mage Knight Board Game (with Lost Legion) - We're getting very much better at this - I'll definitely need to crank up the difficulty level for our next game. (We won this 3-day co-op adventure in the third daytime.)

Owned-and-unplayed: 8 (+6/-4) - Greedy Kingdoms, すすめ!! 海賊さん, Trollmaster, Mythe, Road to the Palace and Eggs of Ostrich arrived; Greedy Kingdoms, すすめ!! 海賊さん, Mythe and Road to the Palace were played.

Outlook for the week: Loads of gaming possibilities this week: a several-day offsite with my team from work (during which I expect to play lots of games; at least that's been our pattern in previous years!) Guys over Wednesday Night; gaming with my youngsters (son #2 has been enjoying the Japan Game Haul, and daughter #1 says she'll try Eggs of Ostrich with us); Lunch games Friday. Of course, it might not work out that well - but it's looking good from this end. I'll probably blow a few more hours trying to translate Trollmaster: the rulebook isn't too bad (at least after several hours of pondering the terrible Google Translated english version); but the 22 different summonable creatures all have way more Japanese text on them than I can comprehend easily.
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9. Board Game: Concordia [Average Rating:8.07 Overall Rank:23]
Albatros
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Games Played

_7_ Concordia x2 New to Me!


The Week in Review

S and I split our two matches of Concordia. I squeaked to a win in the first; she pummelled me silly in the second.

I've tentatively rated it a _7_. It could very well creep up a point. It seems interesting enough while I'm playing it, but when it's all over, I'm not left feeling much or thinking much about it. It's a rather dry Euro that feels a bit like Navegador; move colonists around, colonize, harvest and trade. Rinse and repeat. Just use cards rather than a rondel. Even the scoring mechanic with its multipliers is not unlike it's predecessor.

Whether Concordia turns out to be the better game for S and I, I don't know at this point. But Navegador has nine plays so there's the benchmark.


The Week Ahead

With the time change, I predict our evenings will gradually include more gaming. I'm pretty sure that as we get more hours of light into the evening, S is happier about sitting at the dining room table as she can spend her "down time" looking at her garden.

De Vulgari Eloquentia and Outpost remain unplayed. I doubt this will change this week as we've got some more exploring of Concordia to do.
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10. Board Game: A Study in Emerald [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:594]
R. Eric Reuss
United States
Arlington
Massachusetts
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Saturday games: Taught Pala to three friends; the first hand or two went a little weird (esp. with two of us accidentally cheating, Smearing when not void), but everyone quickly got the hang of it. 4-player felt very different from 3-player, and not just because the null bid was less powerful (for good or ill); primary bids seemed very risky, as voids or easily-made voids were common, making it likely someone would Smear to shoot down your bid. Still, we had a couple of hands where people made bids of 4 colors, and there were some lovely plays.

Got A Study in Emerald to the table a third time. (More in comments, eventually.)

Sunday evening: I played in a 3-player test of Spirit Island, testing out a new-ish Spirit (Memory of the First Embers, a serpent-spirit of hearths and barely-tamed flames) and a new Event Deck. (More in comments, eventually.) We played vs. a French Plantation Colony - only lvl 2, because the last time I ran a playtest at this gathering I overestimated what the table could handle. This time I guessed better, though in retrospect we probably would have had a decent shot at winning vs. lvl 3: while there were some hairy bits in the middle, we maintained pretty good board control for much of the game, and pushed Fear hard enough that we could easily have shifted to targeting a Terror victory. The new Event deck worked very well; the new-ish Spirit medium-well.

Afterwards, we had a quick game of For Sale, just to play more than one game in the evening. Quick, and simple-only-not. Is this a microgame? It was the travel edition, so it sure felt micro.
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11. Board Game: One Night Ultimate Werewolf [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:264] [Average Rating:7.28 Unranked]
Max Maloney
United States
Portland
Oregon
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"If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason." -Jack Handey
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Games Played

_8_ Antiquity 1
_8_ One Night Ultimate Werewolf 6
_8_ The Resistance: Avalon 1
_8_ The Capitals 1
_8_ Escape from the Aliens in Outer Space 2
_8_ Tweeeet 1
_8_ Paris Connection 1
_7_ Vikings 1
_7_ Concordia 1
_6_ DC Comics Deck-Building Game: Heroes Unite 2 New!
_6_ The Werewolves of Miller's Hollow 2 New!

Week in Review

Later...

snore

Post sleep report follows:

Early in the week I got to play Antiquity! This was only my second play and my first play was an incomplete session. I really liked that first exposure and have been anxious to get back to it again. I played 3P and had a great time, coming in "second" (we could tell the order in which players would hit their objectives by the end). Now starts the countdown until I can play again.

This was followed by Concordia. Not to sound petulant, but this game is starting to get dull for me because I cannot win. I've actually played it quite a few times now and no matter how well I think I am doing, I never seem in contention for victory. In a more intricate game (see Capitals below), I can be entertained by the game itself. But losing in Concordia is somewhat dissatisfying because the game itself is quite simple.

The next night I was invited to an evening of social deduction games. We tried five player Werewolf (not counting the moderator as one of the five). It was a valiant attempt, but the game really isn't meant for that. This was followed by a fun, grueling game of Resistance: Avalon. I was a traitor and we should have won but for two issues. First, a newer player who was getting confused started taking extensive notes and in the final round shared them with the other players. I don't think the Resistance is meant to be a game of perfect recall and diagramming every team and decision in the game allowed them to single out the traitors. Secondly, I knew 100% who Merlin was but the Assassin had a gut feeling he felt compelled to follow. I was right and victory was so close. I still love this version of the Resistance and consider it an order of magnitude stronger than the original.

I also played a couple games of ONUW that night and four more on the weekend. The thing I like about ONUW and Resistance: Avalon is that they have very strong deduction components. Is there a social element? Of course. But original Resistance has far less complicated deduction elements in play because the information is simpler. For me, the cards of the Resistance are a poor solution to adding complexity. Whereas the Merlin/Percival/Morgana triangle of the Resistance is just awesome. ONUW feels very similar. In both games, evil must come up with an alternate version of what happened that fits all the facts and sell it. This is quite difficult in ONUW as the time limits you. I lost once as a Werewolf and realized 24 hours later what lie I should have told that might have given me a 50/50 split on winning. With practice, I hope to come up with those fabrications more quickly. Good stuff!

I've played two games with the new set of the DC Deck-Building Game. Little to report here. It's a standalone set and after two run throughs I've developed my first draft of a combined deck using cards from both sets. This game is basically a weaker version of Ascension. The only reason I like it a little better is because I read a lot of comics in my youth. Apparently I am that shallow sometimes. It's not a great game.

After a half dozen plays of Vikings over the last couple years, I finally broke out the Progress tiles Jack loves so much. I didn't use the auction because to hell with that! It was interesting and fun and made the boatsmen much more tense. I would never have played any of these sessions if Carol hadn't found me a copy. kiss

At the end of the week we broke out an old standby and I logged my 29th and 30th plays of Escape from the Aliens in Outer Space. After the aliens won game one, an extremely weird thing happened. I shuffled the six role cards thoroughly and dealt them out and every player got the exact same card they had the first game!! We all recognized not only the faction but the specific piece of art. This is a 1/6! event. What in hell? We tried to figure a way my shuffling could have produced a rigged result because it's so unlikely, but couldn't think of how that could have occurred. Spooky. I won the second game, slipping past three ravening beasts and exiting Airlock 1.

Finally, I taught The Capitals to two new players. In 4 of 4 plays, all 3P, I have only ever come in last place in the Capitals. But unlike Concordia, I enjoy the basics of playing this game so much that I don't really care whether I win or lose. It's just fun and cool. I've taught enough people now that I should have opportunities to play with Prosperity buildings now (I've only done so once in four plays).
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12. Board Game: Power Grid: Australia & Indian Subcontinent [Average Rating:8.03 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.03 Unranked]
Burster of Bubbles, Destroyer of Dreams.
United States
Sunnyvale
California
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Just imagine the red offboard up here. I'll create it Real Soon Now...
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Yes, I know a proper 18XX tile should have a tile number.
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Only two games this week:

Thursday night at Dukefish:

Quarriors Quarmageddon x2 3p

Me, Dave D., Albert.

Friday night:

Power Grid Australia

Me, Don, Jeremy, Hugh, Dayton, and Jeremy's Aussie co-worker Greg.
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13. Board Game: BattleCON: Devastation of Indines [Average Rating:8.04 Overall Rank:199] [Average Rating:8.04 Unranked]
 
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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"Oak and iron guard me well, or else I'm dead and doomed to hell." - Andal proverb.
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Ascension + Expansions (26)
BattleCON: Devastation of Indines (4)
Can't Stop (3)
Bruxelles 1893 (1)
Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers (1)
Council of Verona + Expansion (1)

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Well, Ascension was Ascension. Again, I played some games against the AI and some against a friend. There was a recent update with some promos that are strictly for the digital game. They were kind of interesting but they seem really powerful relative their cost. They are, however, fun to use. That said, eventually like the rest of the promo packs I will probably not use them as abusing these cards is only fun for a time.

I also played a few games of Can't Stop with a potential playing partner that I'll have when I move back to Grand Falls-Windsor. I think Can't Stop is definitely one of the best gateway games out there. My PnP is pretty spartan but it get's the job done and only cost about $1.

I can't believe I actually managed to play 4 games that were new-to-me!

1) Council of Verona is pretty much what I expected... a quick and light microgame without player elimination. I think it is a bit more thinky than Love Letter. Basically, you'll be dealt a random card from the deck. After this players will draft from the remaining cards. After the draft each player will take a turn until all cards in hand are played (3-4 depending on the number of players). A turn consists of playing cards to an Exile zone or a Council Zone, optionally using a character ability (if they have one... ie as moving characters from one zone to another or swapping influence discs), and optionally playing an influence disc face-down on any character that can hold influence discs. After all cards are played, each player in turn order plays another influence disc and then the discs are revealed. Any character that can be influenced has an Agenda (ie Romeo's agenda is being in the same zone as Juliete or another characters might be that there are equal number of Capulet's/Montegue's in the Council zone). Only characters who succeed in there agenda will give points to the players who have discs on them. It was decent but it felt too hard to be able score in this game and pretty random. For example, it seems like Romeo and Juliet will never score because they might not be the same zone, one of these may not be included in the game after the draft, and it's possible for one/both to die through the poison expansion. That seems a terrible waste of 2 characters that can be influenced, even if it is thematic. I think it would be best with 5 as there are 4 new cards which are included in the 5 player game which I feel would make the game more interesting. The sad part for me is that I think I have much better fillers that accommodate 5 people: No Thanks, One Night Ultimate Werewolf, 6 Nimmt, and Dixit.

2) Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers is better than the base Carcassonne game without expansions. In basic Carcassonne terms: (1) roads score more points than in the base game (2) cities are more high risk/high reward (each player only has 5 meeples, but when you complete one that has a minimum of 3 tiles, regardless of whether you get the points for it, you will draw a powerful bonus tile and place it) (3) each player has two pawns which relate to the road networks to give end of game scoring opportunities (4) There is no partial scoring for uncompleted roads/cities (5) there are no churches (6) the farmer scoring is easier for me to visualize due to some differences and is more interactive with opponents than simply trying to tie in majority. Overall, while it's better than base Carcassonne, I think I would rather play basic Carcassonne with expansions than H&G. Swapping in and out various expansions with base Carcassonne can more easily tailor the experience to what a player is looking for... yes, it's more expensive but I mostly just play Carc in a digital format these days where expansions are pretty cheap investments.

3) BattleCON: Devastation of Indines is, in my opinion, a better version of Yomi. For those that haven't heard of either, it's basically Street Fighter/Mortal Kombat "The Card Game." I feel it's better because there is more characters (DoI has 30 characters vs. Yomi's 10), more strategic depth based on the fact that DoI includes positional character movement on a board, there is no luck-of-the-draw element in DoI, there are many variants and modes of play (arena battles, 2v2, 2v1, 3v1, boss battles, a solo/coop dungeon mode, and more), and all of this at a cheaper cost. When you consider that you would need to play the game a minimum of 30 times just to play every character a single time in a normal 1v1 match-up, I think this was clearly made as a lifestyle game for people who don't want to invest money into CCG/LCG lifestyle games. I can easily see people who are into this playing it 1000's of times. If an owner created a PnP board, the game can easily accommodate 6 players you can run a tournament and/or have three 1v1 duels going at the same time. If you somehow managed to get bored of the 30 characters in this release, there is going to be a re-balanced edition of War of Indines (DoI's predecessor) which adds another 18 characters, and another expansion with even more characters in the pipeline. To really get the most of the game you will ideally want to know how your character and your opponents character plays to have an intense session. As some people have said, there might almost be too much content in this box, yet you can find it at online retailers for less than $60. Even though it is a great game, there are some 2-player games I like better. Given the amount of time this game wants you to devote to it, I don't know if I would ever find the time. I'm holding onto it for now (at the time of writing this) because I can simply play with 6-12 of the more basic characters and feel like I have a degree of familiarity that is essential for a fun match. It is still possible that it could leave my collection due to the high 2-player game competition that's in my collection and the fact that I might not be able to find a regular opponent would would want to play with me.

4) Bruxelles 1893 feels like a game where each action/choice has to be though of in many different ways. In phase A, how you set the protractor-thing determines what actions are available, who's houses can get secondary benefits, and what cards people are auction. In phase B, when you're placing workers you have to think of it in many ways: should I place on the main game board or the row/column board, if I place on the board with the row/columns: what action am I getting, how much should I bid for the card in the column, will this worker allow me to get a majority on a crest, is this action worth giving my opponent a secondary action? The actions themselves sometimes have decisions to make: will I use and keep this character for future use or discard him for a one-time-use so I don't have to pay at the end? Even when you win bonus cards, do you want to use it for it's bonus or add it as a multiplier for one of the end game scoring mechanisms? Will I sell art for a quick money and/or VP bonus, or keep it for a money bonus when passing/market control/VP for a certain bonus secondary actions? Despite how complex this all sounds, Bruxelles is not a hard game to learn or teach. It also takes less time than you might expect (being that there are only 5 rounds). It does have a lot of interesting decision and there is a good mixture of long-term strategies and short-term tactics. The only thing that really worries me is that it will feel kind of samey after 5-ish plays.

---

In Other News...

There is actually not much else to say! I have no games on pre-order at the moment but will but the 2nd Seasons expansion as soon as it's available (though I don't know if I'll go an online or FLGS route). I might have an auction soon, as I have a few games I've decided I don't need in my collection. This might tempt me to pre-order Patchistory, but $40 for shipping to Canada is crazy... in fact, I'm wondering if it would be cheaper to ship to someone in the US (maybe from this fine Geeklist) and have it shipped to me... who knows?
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14. Board Game: Warriors of God [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:1039]
Tom Shields
United States
Tacoma
Washington
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Warriors of God x1


Perhaps there are some of you who remember Peter O'Tool, as Henry II, and Katherine Hepburn as Eleanor of Aquitaine in the delightful movie The Lion in Winter?

Last night on my table Henry met his estranged wife Eleanor on the battlefield. She was trying to tip toe her way out from the low countries with a few hired swords and King Henry forced her into battle in the open fields of Flanders with an enormous army, including deploying English and Bourbon knights from far lands during the long night, easily destroying her swells and, as she tried and failed to escape the slaughter (she rolled a '2', which meant she failed to understand the Dutch directions to a safehouse) he stayed his hand (his roll of the die meant he was conflicted by her famous beauty), imprisoning her in the Tower of London. Where she ate cheese, took lovers, and died of old age.

Yes, there's a Tower of London on the map. It even has bars. You can ransom your leaders, trade them if you both have prisoners and can do an exchange, or they rot there.

Here's the faceoff between Henry & Eleanor, the requisite splaying of the stack before the dice start rolling.

Warriors of Gods has so many leaders that come and go, it was an unexpected pleasure that may never arise again to have these two unite, in a cardboard moment, over a couple of slow IPA's on a winter evening. Enough for me to realize it's been a long, long time and I queued up The Lion in Winter DVD on Netflix for an upcoming winter night.

The game ended in a route by the English.

What an insane game this is, nothing is safe, leaders rise & die on you, their armies fading into the woods when they do. So it's like fighting with ghosts in that you think you've built a hammer and when you finally move to strike it can dissipate in your hand. You really need to make hay while you can, and in this case Henry II did alot of damage before he died of old age.

It's also gorgeous.
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15. Board Game: Age of Steam Expansion: Holland / Madagascar [Average Rating:7.86 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.86 Unranked]
Rich P
United Kingdom
Sheffield
United Kingdom
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I didn't know what to do with my UberBadge, so I left it as a GeekBadge.
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Planning...
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Last week's plays:

-10- A Study in Emerald
-10- Age of Steam (+Holland)
-10- Agricola (+Belgium deck) (x2)
-8- Fauna
-8- Love Letter
-7.5- No Thanks! (x2)
-7.5- Parade
-7.5- PitchCar (+Extension; Extension 2; Long Straights New!; Stunt Race; The Cross) (x3)
-7- 6 Nimmt! (x3)
-7- Dominion (+Seaside; Hinterlands)
-7- Glass Road
-7- Heckmeck am Bratwurmeck
-6- Diamant
-6- Panic Lab
-6- Qwixx
-6- Small World (+Be Not Afraid)

Lots of short and party-style games this week plus a few favourites for my birthday.

A Study in Emerald
Kate was quite open about her loyalty, using the Infernal Machine to hide Gloriana and then hiding a second Royal Person later. Phil played a straight-forward Restorationist game while Matt (the other Restorationist) was being inscrutable. I was Loyalist and lagged behind on points, instead collecting agents. I wanted to try out Yog-Sothoth and ended up feeding three of my agents to it. I assassinated a few of Matt and Phil's agents and had a pretty good deck with plenty of card draw, Free Actions and useful cards. Sadly, my plan was too slow and while I was messing around with Outer Gods, the others were grabbing cities. I tried to steal some back from Matt but his Devil's Island was a strong deterrent. Lots of blocking discs down too.

Kate found herself in a position where she couldn't claim any more cities because it would trigger the end of the game and she suspected (correctly) I was on her team, far behind on the score track. She was convinced into helping me out and we both spent some time attacking Matt's position. I finally took Berlin from him, which turned out to be the opening Kate had been waiting for. She pushed the War track up, giving us both extra points and ensuring I was ahead of Matt, then revealed to end the game victorious. I was going to steal Paris from her next turn, but I'd prioritised knocking Matt back first. It was the wrong choice in hindsight.

It was an interesting game where I felt like I held a lot of power by being obviously in last place, although my chances of winning were slim. Despite this, it didn't feel like I was playing kingmaker. Often the actions we were taking had unexpected ramifications based on the cards held by other players. It made me think about how much this could turn into a negotiation game if you let it. If I'm in last place on the score track, I want to keep some mystery around my loyalty to convince both sides to help me. How much of this persuasion can be achieved through actions and how much through table talk is down to group preference, I suppose. In this case, it was fairly clear what side I was on - if I was Restorationist, I'd wasted an awful lot of actions assassinating and sacrificing to bluff the opposite.

PitchCar
Tried out the new Special Long Straights I'd recently got in a Maths Trade. They added quite a bit of speed to the track and were particularly useful when elevated with Stunt Race, since they didn't need so many blocks holding them up. That worked out well given the small-ish table I had to create the track on.

Dominion
A fairly dull game with a mix of Seaside and Hinterlands cards. There were lots of 5-cost cards, only one card that cost 4 and it was a Victory card, and only one non-terminal action was available. We should have re-dealt the Kingdom cards before playing because the best strategy was just to take money. I used Ambassador to thin my deck a little and tied for the win with the pure money player.

Fauna
Another session with a tense final round. This time it involved the muskox and whoever correctly identified its habitat between me and Simon would win. He went for Asia, I placed around Canada (in truth, I had no real idea, I was just making sure I chose somewhere different to him). I'm sure all North American Phoenixes would have known the answer. Luckily for me the muskox had chosen to make its home in Greenland and the Arctic.

Age of Steam
An impromptu three-player game on the Holland map. This expansion makes some hexes inaccessible for the first half of the game and the distribution of colours across the cities is skewed (red only in the middle, no access to yellow until the polders open up). What made the map work for three players was the alternating blocking of the Engineer and Urbanisation actions - you can only pick one of the two each turn, so it meant there weren't always good choices coming out of the auction. It was a claustrophobic game with all three of us starting in the middle and breathing down each others' necks from the outset. I've never seen so much track redirected or left abandoned. Phil spotted and planned for his 6-route deliveries best; I took far too long to become profitable, planning to build in the polders but not having enough money by then to really contest the areas I wanted. So good to get this played again and hopefully the three of us can play a bit more regularly. I just need to identify the best AoS maps for 3.

Small World
I had an opportunity to visit London On Board last week but arrived late and couldn't stay too long. Small World was the only game I had time for. It played a little too slowly for my liking, with new players unsure of what to do. There were also a few too many "mistakes" for my liking. Hard to tell whether anyone was deliberately trying to get away with things, or just not paying attention. One of the new players won, with a score that struck me as very suspicious. I had expected Tommy to be the clear winner, as he'd been consistently scoring well every turn, but this new guy claimed to have just a few points more than him. Strangely, once he announced his score he was very keen to return his VPs to the box so we never got chance to see them... Another advantage of Vinci's open scoring!

The rest of my Maths Trades turned up - a load of GIPF series games (ZÈRTZ, GIPF, TAMSK, PÜNCT and TZAAR). We'll see how well they go down. TAMSK strikes me as particularly novel and I like the aesthetic of ZERTZ very much. I also got a copy of Alea Iacta Est to go with the rest of my alea Medium Box games. Since alea have ruined their Big Box series by reprinting Puerto Rico with a new number, I'll turn my collector's instinct elsewhere. (Also I saw it being played at LoB recently, to favourable reviews, and it reminded me I'd been looking for a copy. The last one I ordered from the U.S. was never sent - they said the box was too damaged and gave me a refund without asking whether I'd like it anyway.)

Anyway, the Maths Trade results were:
OUT: New York (I had a spare), Cleopatra's Caboose, Fzzzt!, Magnum Sal, 1955: The War of Espionage
IN: PitchCar Long Straights, Paris Connection, lots of GIPF games.
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