GCL Mafia 165: The Best of Games, the Worst of Games
Matthew C
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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):

eapeas
Happymrdave
fdubois
touchstonethefool
Dolus
ecargo
McJarvis - hiatus
badweasel
mith
Beloch - new
mattbcha1

The first few items are intended to foster discussion.

Please add an item to represent your gaming life for the week of March 10 - March 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 exciting and interesting thoughts you may have.
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1. Board Game: Oneupmanship: Mine's Bigger [Average Rating:1.04 Overall Rank:15212]
Matthew C
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This list is inspired by Tom Vasel's review of Oneupmanship. Sometimes we forget how many truly terrible games are created, and even published. This list will be a progression from bad to good games.

So, to start things off: what game can you not believe ever got published because it's so bad? Bonus points if Kickstarted.
 
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2. Board Game: Trailer Park Wars [Average Rating:6.01 Overall Rank:5722]
Matthew C
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What is the most embarrassing game to you that sits on your shelf? For example, every time one of my euro gamer friends comes over, I cringe a little bit as their eyes catch on Trailer Park Wars.
 
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3. Board Game Publisher: Cheapass Games
Matthew C
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What otherwise decent game has terrible components? Alternatively, which games' quality drastically increased with a reprint?
 
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4. Board Game: Intelligent Design [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Matthew C
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In contrast to the last few items, are there game you would try based only on who designed it? "Anything Feld." Garfield? Knizia?
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5. Board Game: Surprise! [Average Rating:5.71 Unranked]
Matthew C
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What game has been the most surprising hit for you and your group?
 
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6. Board Game: Highlander [Average Rating:6.60 Unranked]
Matthew C
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Can be only one! If you had to limit yourself to only one game to ever play again, what would you pick?
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7. Board Game: Speculation [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:2275]
Matthew C
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What game's release are you most looking forward to this year?
 
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8. Board Game: 8-bit Inc [Average Rating:5.65 Unranked]
Matthew C
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Bonus Question:

What is the worst video game version that you have played? Also, what is the best one?
 
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9. Board Game: Glass Road [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:210]
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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3x Aton
Claustrophobia
*Glass Road
Ys

*new to me

Small group this week. Started with 2, grew to 4, shrunk to 2. We played a few fun games of Aton, followed by Glass Road and Ys, then ending with a 2-player Claustrophobia. This was my first play of Claustrophobia that was with somebody I played with before, so we did the second scenario and I played the heroes. It was fun, and it was a nice change of pace to not replay the opening scenario as the evil player.

I was glad to get the opportunity to play Glass Road. It definitely felt similar in many ways to Ora & Labora, and I think I might like it better, but I do want to play Ora again to do a good comparison. My one play was about 2 years ago, a 2-player game.
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10. Board Game: Capo Dei Capi [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:2896]
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Capo Dei Capi* 2
The Builders: Middle Ages* 1
Canyon* 1
Coloretto 1
Kakerlakenpoker 1
Wizard 1

Capo Dei Capi is a 2-player area control + push your luck from Dr. Finn (whose games Biblios and Scripts & Scribes: The Dice Game I also enjoy). Not knowing what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised by CDC and hope it'll become a good evening filler game for Matt and me.

Canyon is a reimplementation of Wizard with a board. Instead of numerical points, you get movement points in an attempt to win the race. It's not bad for what it is - a light trick-taking game with a board that is fairly forgiving with your incorrect bids. I wouldn't seek it out to play, but it was an interesting mashup of mechanics.

The Builders: Middle Ages was a decent amount of game given the box size. (However, despite the back of the box saying it's a worker placement game, it's really not since you never place workers to take actions.) I don't see a need to own/play the game again as it was a little too optimization-y for me, but it wasn't bad given its short length.
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11. Board Game: Capo Dei Capi [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:2896]
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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New Game

Capo Dei Capi x1

Old Games

Pixel Tactics x2
Android: Netrunner x2
Traders of Osaka x1

Only one new game to me last week, Dr. Finn's Capo Dei Capi. The bones of it are pretty similar to Biblios, in that each player is trying to control a set of tiles by placing influence markers on them, highest influence gets the points, etc. There are some neat additional elements ("Bribery" tokens that are placed face down but work like regular influence tokens, value cubes you can accrue and add to tiles to improve their score), and as always I'm a big fan of dice. I think it works well for a 2p filler game, which enough interesting decisions to mitigate the die roll and enough going on to keep things dynamic.
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12. Board Game: A Study in Emerald [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:594]
Paul S
United Kingdom
Leeds
West Yorks
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Hi folks.

I am new. Grace asked me to post to this list to introduce myself, so here I am.

I've been on BGG about 3 years. I spend too much time here so figured: in for a penny... might as well join a GCL too and use up the spare few hours

I played RPGs like forever (from Basic D&D through CoC and Vampire and Paranoia and all kindsa stuff, for those who know what I mean). When life got too busy for a regular RPG session, I read about Arkham Horror and that was it. Hooked.

I have a game group of about 6, of whom 3 - 5 turn up most weeks. We like co-ops a lot, but not exclusively.

Typically, in my first post, I'm unable to say what I've played this last week, because work and real life have meant nothing.

But I did manage to get hold of a Study in Emerald, and I've punched it and read the rules and watched a couple of videos and it looks great. So it gives me an excuse to link the game to this entry.

I'm looking forward to participating.

There. Short and simple. Once you know me, I might go on a bit more laugh
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13. Board Game: Le Havre [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:36]
Matthew C
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This week was my big one of the month: in addition to my regular Thursday nights, I also spent most of Saturday at the shoppe. New games to me are in bold.

The Princes of Florence
Telestrations
Le Havre
Dominion (expansions)
Coup(2x)
Hanabi
Race For the Galaxy: Alien Artifacts(2x)
Power Grid

Power Grid - My first win. Also the first time not buying the Trash Plants on the first lot. Coincidence? I decided in this particular game not to worry about whether I was leaping out ahead of other people, which I'm still not sure was a great idea but it worked for me. I managed to snag a 6-power plant early on in the game, which supplemented a 1 and a 3. I was claiming the East Cost while branching out into the Mid-West. You really can't beat those cheap connections; they're just stupidly cheap.

My eventual win was a surprise to me because going into the last auction I still had that 6-3-1 power combination, and we had 5 3-power plants still up. I had held off on building anything the previous round, so I had all that cash and was fourth in line at the auction. To my surprise, people bought up those 3-power plants which left me with a 5-power nuclear plant, which meant I was the only one able to power 14 cities, so I pressed the end for the win.


Le Havre - I've been on a Rosenberg kick recently, apparently. In the past month or two I've played Agricola, Caverna, Glass Road, and now Le Havre. Now I just need to find someone who likes Ora Et Labora and I'll have the complete (good) set.

This was the big Saturday game. Adam and I were cleaning up an RFTG match when a eurogamer we'd played with a few weeks back walked in and came over to say hi. His favorite game is Le Havre, so we had him teach it to us. It surprised me how open the game became at the end, with all the buildings and options available it's not a matter of "can I do something" but more of "exactly how do I want to combine all of this?" Fascinating game, and I'm looking forward to playing it again. For our first game, Adam and I tied at 154 points each with Mike winning with 163. A surprisingly close game.
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14. Board Game: Keltis: Neue Wege, Neue Ziele [Average Rating:7.17 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.17 Unranked]
Fabrice Dubois
France
La Garenne Colombes
Hauts de Seine
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 8  Keltis x4 (29 plays)
 7  Forbidden Desert x1 (3 plays)

Nothing especially interesting this week.

Keltis continue to be a solid entry of my gaming library and i am considering to make it my personal pledge for The 100 Play Challenge: In Support of Deeper Exploration of Games (Update: Now with GeekGold!)

Another fail for Forbidden Desert : third play in novice and this time we lost because i died of thirst.
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15. Board Game: Let's Dance [Average Rating:2.00 Unranked]
Philip Newman
United States
Richardson
Texas
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GCL Madness 2014 - Nominations
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16. Board Game: Eldritch Horror [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:46]
Dave K
United States
Austin
Texas
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This was a very light week for me boardgaming-wise and some prior plans this weekend mean that there will likely be no gaming then... alas...

Last XMas my wife and I gave Eldritch Horror to our friends whom often host because they enjoy Arkham Horror a lot. They had it out and my wife and I were able to try it with them.

Overall? I like it. It definitely feels a lot like AH, which is no coincidence. Since the games are clearly related here's my take on the differences:


Good:

* The easily forgettable/bumpable 'slider pills' for stat adjustment are gone.
* The new characters were likable and detailed.
* The "flip over then reuse" setup for spells is neat.
* Locations which "tend to give" something are more reliable (in AH they didn't seem very reliable at all).
* The Old One/Outer God-specific cards are great because they give some consistency to story-related events.
* Setup/cleanup time reduced compared to AH.
* Fewer tiny cards.

Bad:

* Ignoring monsters is too easy. We had some show up that were around nearly the whole game and it didn't matter.
* Only being in other worlds for a single round means that they often feel really flat.
* Some failures on cards result in crazy penalties (we lost about 90 minutes worth of progress when one made us discard a completed mystery).
* Too few cards in some of the piles - we had a ton of repeat clue encounters.

Neutral:

* Game feels less likely to spiral out of control (closing gates is easier, monsters piling up doesn't matter as much) so it's lower tension.
* New shopping system does deal with the "shop until you get an elder sign" problem AH had nicely (probably more nicely than the AH errata did) but characters with a low influence score will almost always have to take debt to buy anything.
* Speaking of debt, I got debt cards like 5 times in one game and only had something bad happen to me once.
* The moving expedition counter is neat but in our game it mostly went unused because having someone in London to spawn clues was more consistently effective.
* Only one success needed for any roll made game feel easier overall.


Overall? I'd probably recommend this to someone looking for a game like this over AH now but I don't think it's enough to make me replace my AH stuff right now.
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