What Did You Play This Weekend? 03/17/2014
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
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Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

The weekend is now over, and as we toil at our assorted labors, we should recount our past weekend gaming exploits.

So, all you weekend gamers, bring your mini-session reports and stories of weekend gaming greatness, as you pop in here to answer the question:
What did you play this weekend?

The forum version can be found here:

http://boardgamegeek.com/article/15209167#15209167

Check out the subscription thread:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/4115320

Also, don't forget to relive all your Video Game excitement over on VGG!

http://videogamegeek.com/geeklist/171157/17-march-2014-what-...


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1. Board Game: Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:529]
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
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Alright, let's do this!

Friday saw the arrival of an Unpublished Prototype(not sure what they want shared and don't want shared, so I am awaiting the answer to that question before I say any names or anything) that I volunteered to help play test and I was eager to give it a whirl so that evening Kerensa and I sat down to our first round. I think it worked pretty well, just a couple hiccups here and there that we reported back, but all in all a good game. It helps that my wife won by 30 points so now she wants to play it again, which we hope to do a few times this week.

Saturday was my first, hopefully quarterly, Board Game Meetup at the Library and we had a pretty good turnout I think.

Myself and two gentlemen from our local game group were first to arrive so we sat down to a game of Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy. Turned out to be a really good game and I managed to read my goal card correctly this time, even hitting both of the bonus goals on the card, but still came up 2 points short of the winner. Really, really like this game and hope to get a lot more plays of it in the future.

While we were playing that, Mark from our game group showed up with two of his children and they sat down to a game of Revolution! and Hanabi while they waited for us to finish up.



So, after that, we sat down to a rousing game of Cosmic Encounter, being that there were new players we didn't even play with the flare cards but it was still a great game that ended up with a joint win between myself and Mark, but for the life of me I can't remember which Alien Races were played, will have to go through the box and see if I can recall. I know my power was to "eat" foreign planets that I was the sole occupier of and I believe Mark's power was to call before the reveal whether they were counting the 10s number or the 1s for combat cards.






More people showed up as we were winding down with Cosmic so we played a couple games of One Night Ultimate Werewolf, which is absolutely a blast with more people as suspected. First game we had 9 players, second game we had 10. Villagers won both games but we were saved by Kerensa the second game when I thought for sure she was pulling my leg when she said she was the hunter, I thought she was a werewolf, but she had the most votes and we killed the Hunter, but she just so happened to be pointing at Gabby, who turned out to be a Werewolf. Was a great game!






After that we broke up into a couple groups and I kind of helped watch a couple of the smaller kiddos so a couple folks could get a full game in, while I was doing that games of Paperback, Ascending Empires and Ugg-Tect were being played. I did manage to sneak in a quick game of The Duke during that time, which I lost to my BiL rather abruptly when I made a horrible move, he felt bad enough that he offered to let me take it back but man I blew it, haha.

Last game of the day for me was another play of the Unpublished Prototype, this time with 5 players and it definitely played quite differently with 5 than it did with 2, we saw a lot more cutthroat moves and we were definitely a bit more aggressive. I think while we were doing that, Ascending Empires was finishing up and they followed that up with a quick game of Scotland Yard.

Cockroach Poker being played


Was really a great time and I'm glad we planned on doing this, hoping to make it a quarterly thing from here on out.

Sunday we wrapped up the weekend with a play of a game that we first played a year ago, Seasons. Kerensa never stood a chance, she just hasn't played it as much as Gabby and I, but she hung in there and had a good time I think. Only used the base 1-30 cards and we did do a draft. I had built up a sizable lead and at the end of the game Gabby had knocked herself down to 1 crystal, so I thought I was a shoe in for the win at 143 points, well, I wasn't. Gabby had built a formidable array of cards in front of her, and I apparently wasn't paying close enough attention to what she had actually played. She had managed to get two of the cards out that give her 20 points for the most power cards played AND the 30 point card that she paid 20 for. So right there she had 70 points and she ended up racking up a total of 155. My strategy of get all the cards out and then transmute as often as possible failed me. I wasn't the better Mage this night.

Hope everyone has a fantastic week! Happy St. Patrick's Day!!





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2. Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:11]
James Moline
United States
Tampa
FL
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The Castles of Burgundy - well, after that first win when we switched from the beginner player boards, my wife has beat me twice, both times by more than 50 points. This time, I at least had an idea where I went wrong. I had two multi-plot segments that I could have completed in the first round if I had focused on them. I also started the game out with access to every boat plot on the board (while my wife needed several other tiles to reach her first one), and yet I still only ever grabbed 3 boats. Clearly, I wasn't playing things the way I should have been, and I paid for it in a big way.
Rating: 9/10

Trains - We broke out Trains for the first time in a long time. I really like this deck builder, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to the expansion pretty much solely due to the 2 player boards that it will include. In this game, my wife tried to lay rails into a city I was in once, and ended up unable to afford it. Other than that, we were all on our own for the whole game. I laid rails much more quickly, but waited too long to add more Station Expansions to my deck, so I didn't end up taking full advantage of my board presence. I decided not to take my first opportunity to end the game because my wife had a clear lead. During the subsequent turns, she still did well, even buying some VP cards. So, after buying a couple of VP cards and a couple of Station Expansions, I pulled the trigger and ended the game, figuring I would minimize the slaughter. We added up board points, 35-35 (woohoo! I made up some ground). Then we counted out VP cards. My wife had 3 Towers, and I had a Tower and a Skyscraper. In the end, you guessed it, tie game. I was glad I did better than I thought, but I should have waited a little longer to end the game. Who knows? Maybe I could have pulled it out.
Rating: 7.5/10

Suburbia - One of the guys at the weekly meetup discovered Suburbia, so we played a game of that this week. I've wanted to play it for a while, but the iOS app left me a little cold, so it dropped a little on my wish list. This play simultaneously made me want to revisit the app version, but also glad I hadn't purchased the board game itself when it first hit my radar. It was a 4 player learning game, and everyone enjoyed it. I went for an income building strategy early, and tried to pull of a late game push for population. It didn't work well for me, as I came in last. I think my instincts were pretty good, I just neglected reputation and population for a little too long. Ultimately, I enjoyed it and would like to play it again, but I felt it was a little fiddly. I was also a little frustrated by the fact that 2 of the 4 players were essentially out of the game for a good 30-45 minutes. I'm going to try out the app again, as it will eliminate the fiddly bits.
Rating: 7/10

Saboteur - Played a game of Saboteur as the closer at the end of this week's meetup. It was a 6 player game, and the first play for everyone involved. The rounds went a little longer than I expected (I did not expect this game to cause AP!), but everyone had a good time. The saboteurs almost pulled out the last round, but the good guys successfully reached the gold to sweep it.
Rating: 6/10

Guildhall - We finally got to play a game of Guildhall with more than 2 players! We played 2 games, one learning game with all of the cards face up and my wife and I helping the new players, and one real game. Both games were won by the same (new) player in almost the exact same way (buying a VP card to get to 19 and playing a farmer for that last point). This game is really pretty great with 4 players. Everyone had a lot of fun with it and really enjoyed all of the card combinations and clever game play. We did reach a point, though, where no one was discarding any complete guilds and the discard pile got reshuffled to make a new draw pile with almost no cards that were useful to anyone. At this point I had 5 out of 6 occupations at 4 cards, needing only one more card to complete each of them, for several rounds. I was nervous about being that vulnerable to a Trader but eventually completed all of them because no one had any Traders! I think 4 players is definitely pushing the boundaries with only 6 occupations in the deck. We usually have 5 players at this gathering, though, so we might add in a couple more occupations from the expansion and try it with 5, despite the stated player count.
Rating: 7.25/10

Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy - Played another two player game of Legacy with my wife this weekend. I had some luck last time by focusing on my patron bonus and missions, so I tried that again. This time, my patron bonuses weren't tied to the fourth generation at all so I felt a little more freedom to explore. I realized too late that I should have been looking for more synergies in the friend cards, because I realized that I missed several opportunities to score. My marriages were geared towards fulfilling my missions and patron's wishes. As a result, I didn't think much about prestige, which also didn't help me. My wife did much better on the prestige track, so at the end of the game she scored a whopping 17 points just from that (and did well throughout the game). She didn't bother with missions at all, and we were about even in patron scoring. In the end, her building the prestige track up was just too much for me.
Rating: 7.75/10
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3. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:237] [Average Rating:7.32 Unranked]
Kārlis Jēriņš
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Riga
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After a short break in gaming weekends, I'm back with another report of a great weekend!

Friday was D&D night, as it often is. Fourth edition, continuing the game that we started two weeks ago. We have a level 2 party consisting of two Dragonborns (Paladin and Warlord), two Gnomes (Rogue and Wizard) and a Halfling (Sorcerer, played by me). I only arrived when the group was already halfway through the game, so I got to do little else but combat. But electrocuting giant spiders is always fun.

Saturday was originally planned to be a game day at my place, but I had to reschedule that to Sunday. A friend who wouldn't be able to make it on Sunday visited me on Saturday, and said she wouldn't mind playing something.
I offered Arkham Horror, which she'd played once, two weeks ago. That time, we failed to save the world from Azathoth (damn it, why do I always want to spell it Azazoth!?), but this time it was Michael McGlen (me) and Mandy Thompson (my friend) versus Nyarlatothep. I was very, very fortunate with my encounters - the first three location encounters of the game each gave me an ally (Richard Malone, Tom Murphy and Sir William Brinton), and those combined with Michael's natural combat abilities and trusty tommy gun meant he was nigh invincible. Mandy wasn't so lucky, but still did quite well. She prevented the Great Ritual rumor card from doing its terrifying things and took out most of the monsters that were spawned by the Miskatonic University experiment rumor.
Dealing with Rumors, however, does little to stop the Ancient One. Sealing gates wasn't an easy task, and we'd only managed to seal two when Nyarlatothep awoke. Fortunately, combat against these guys is easy when it's just the two players and the epic battle deck isn't used (I don't own whichever expansion that comes from, so I don't know how 2-player would be with that, but I can't imagine it making things any easier). We basically curbstomped the big bad and high-fived as we'd saved the world!
What I learned from this game - two is not a good player count for Arkham. Yes, the game moves long fairly quickly, but a) there's too few people to put out all the metaphorical fires that spring up everywhere, and b) when the Ancient One awakens (and it's definitely when, not if - I don't see how two people could close gates fast enough to stop it) the combat is too easy. Two successes per doom token? Really? With Michael, I generally removed three doom tokens with each shot, and Nyarlatothep barely did anything to us.


In the evening I was the one doing the visiting - a friend was hosting a gathering at his place, so I went there to play some stuff.
Mansions of Madness was the first thing, and it was something new to me. To make matters even more confusing, I once again arrived halfway through the game. I picked Joe Diamond as my character, to complement Gloria Goldberg, Michael McGlen, Jenny Barnes and "Aschcan" Pete. I don't know what the name of the scenario was, but it was something about a deceased uncle's 'estate', blood relatives and some zombies. Our Keeper was, I think, also new to the game and made a few mistakes every now and then, but overall, the experience was quite nice and I'd definitely like to play again sometime.
What I learned from this game - the game rules, or at least some of them. And while I'm not familiar enough with the game just yet to know if I want to add it to my own collection, I'll gladly play again. Oh, and Mi-Go is a weak opponent and one can basically ignore it.

After that, another game that was new to me but had been on my radar for a while already - Shadows over Camelot, with six players. I was definitely not the only one who hadn't played before - in fact, none of us had. All characters but Arthur were present. I and two others quickly went for the Grail and completed it, and then I and one other handled Excalibur. The others did a bit of everything, destorying siege engines, fighting off picts, going for Lancelot's armor... And so we did bits of everything until one player (our host; I'm not sure which knight he played) revealed as the traitor and fairly quickly finished us off.
What I learned from this game - the rules, just as with Mansions. And also that it's good to be the traitor - this one game gave the impression that the traitor wins more than half of the games. Is that right?
And one thing I really love about this game is that 'progression of Evil' step at the start of your turn. I love that you can choose what happens. All options are really bad, but you get to choose. I wish more games did that.
The final thing to state here is that I'm impressed with this game; there's a reason why it was on my radar. I once made a thread here on BGG asking if I need Shadows if I already have Battlestar Galactica, and, even though the consensus was no, I'm still going to get this at some point!

And again something new for me - One Night Ultimate Werewolf. Three times. This is really turning out to be an educational night for me, isn't it?
This time I was the only new player, and I hadn't played any form of Werewolf before, making it even more educational. For the first two games, it was two werewolves, two masons, seer and troublemaker, and for the third we switched out the masons for tanner and minion. I wish I could say I now understand this game well, but no, it's a bit confusing. I think I prefer Resistance/Avalon. Those I'm good with. That's not to say that I won't play again, because I definitely will. But this isn't one I'll run out to the store and buy just yet.
What I learned from this game - I learned something about what Werewolf is, in general. And how to play this one particular version. And I now understand how people new to Resistance feel when they happen to be spies - I was a werewolf in the third game and I was petrified and had no idea what to say.

After Werewolf, four of the players went home (it was about 2 AM at this point), leaving just me and the host. And he taught me Pandemic, making it four new games in one night! He played Researcher and I got the Operations Expert, and off we went to save the world from four Epidemic cards. True to my friend's word, the game went by fairly quickly, and we managed to save the world with four or five outbreaks taking place and quite a few cards still in the deck.
What I learned from the game - that this is a really great and easy to explain co-op game that should go over really well with my group as well, so it's now on my wishlist!


On Sunday, I hosted my own gathering. This time it was me, one friend who's entirely new to this whole thing, one who has a bit more experience under her belt, and then two people who have been coming to these things since the very start, but don't play at other times.
In the beginning it was just me and the two more experienced friends, and we played one game of Ticket to Ride on the Switzerland map. We had an unexpectedly tame game, with just about zero conflict. I stayed in the bottom part of the map, going West to East by the long tunnel routes, and my friends both played in the top part of the map, and somehow managed to coexist peacefully. The game ended with my victory at 113 points, my friends scoring 96 and 97. One of them had the longest route but only three completed tickets (and one failed), and the other had a whopping 7 completed tickets. Thankfully, those were generally low-scoring and thus he didn't manage to catch up to me.
What I learned from this game - nothing new, really. Just reinforced my thoughts that you should always go for longer routes when possible, and that short tickets aren't really worth it, at least not here. Also, country to country tickets are really great (three of my four tickets were country to country).

One other player joined us at this point, so we moved to something that worked with 4 players. Love Letter was picked. And I wasn't excited. I guess I'm getting tired of it. It's not something I'd thought of before, but I think that Love Letter just provides too little replayability. I've played it some 20+ times, and I'm not too keen on playing any more.
What I learned from this game - from the game itself, nothing. The lesson comes from writing this post. Maybe microgames aren't really quite the awesomeness I thought they'd be. Or at least not for me. I think I'll put Love Letter away for a few months, and then maybe come back to it later. (assuming, of course, my players don't request otherwise)

When that was done, we moved on to Pandemic, which I'd borrowed from the guy I visited the day before. The players - me with my 1-game experience, and three completely new people. And it turns out one game is quite enough to know how to explain Pandemic, so that's really good. Our characters - researcher, scientist, medic and operations expert (me). We played with 5 epidemic cards, but those were powerless to stop us and we successfully cured all four diseases with four outbreaks having taken place and with a decent amount of cards remaining in the deck. Everyone liked it and was okay with playing again. And, just as we were resetting everything to starting positions, our fifth player turned up! So, for the second game we added Pandemic: On the Brink - the roles, new events and the purple disease. The new guy got field operative, and the rest of us were scientist, medic, contingency planner (me) and quarantine specialist, who soon used an event card to switch to troubleshooter. Now this game was a lot tougher, and I'm quite convinced that it's because we lost both the researcher and the operations expert. The purple disease was quite tricky to handle too, and in the end we lost to an empty player deck when we had cured and eradicated the yellow and purple diseases.
What I learned from this game - well, my Saturday prediction was true, my group really digs this! And the expansion is great, just like the base game! I later read the rules for the virulent epidemic cards, and I wonder what would happen if those were mixed with the mutation rules...
And a less pleasant thing from the expansion play - it seems to me that the operations expert and researcher are crucial to winning, more so than other roles. I certainly hope this isn't the case. Could anyone more experienced comment on this?

And when we were done saving the world (or failing to do so) from diseases, one of my players asked for Arkham Horror, and, since nobody objected, we began. And this was undoubtedly the biggest thing of the weekend - a five player base game, with a somewhat experienced me, one player who had played once and three complete newbies (for one of whom Pandemic was the most complex board game he'd ever played!) versus Yog-Sothoth in a battle that would go on to last for about six hours! The investigators were represented by Joe Diamond (me), Darrel Simmons, Mandy Thompson (devoured shortly before the end, replaced by Sister Mary), Amanda Sharpe and Gloria Goldberg (devoured soon after the start, replaced by Vincent Lee, who was also devoured eventually and replaced by Caroline Fern).
Our eventual win was by six sealed gates, with Yog-Sothoth's doom track at 9, terror track at 10 (the Outskirts monster limit with 5 players is just ridiculous! We once had one monster surge raise the terror track by 2, plus there was the rumor that kept raising it unless somebody discarded two gate trophies, which we didn't do). A major problem was monsters with physical immunity, since none of our characters were very capable combatants and none had any magical weapons.
What I learned from this game - five is not a good player count for Arkham. This is a 3- or 4-player game. Things just take too long, and by the end my concentration was slipping too much to properly run the game - I occasionally skipped a player during the movement and/or encounter step, and sometimes forgot to roll the die for the terror-increasing rumor. And a couple of times I forgot to remove monsters from the board when closing gates. I really need to shape up a lot for running this. And yes, I need to not play it with five.
On a more positive note, looks like Darrel Simmons and Gloria Goldberg are cool characters. Being able to choose your encounter is a big deal. It's a bit less awesome at my table, though, because I play with a variant where one player (me) runs the game and reads the encounter cards to other players, and they don't learn the outcomes of their choices until they've made the choice. I always tell them only why are they making the check, and they have to judge the situation based on that. Seriously increases immersion, I think.
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4. Board Game: Russian Railroads [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:67]
Dan Edelen
United States
Mount Orab
Ohio
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This weekend was about the biggest board game weekend I can recall. I played games Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. For me, that almost never happens. So glad it did, because I really needed the fun and the camaraderie.

Friday, regular FLGS board game night

I knew fellow gamer Laura would be bringing Russian Railroads, mostly because I had asked her to. Don't know why I was so compelled to play this, but it has been the only Essen release that intrigued me. Despite some mixed reviews early on, the game seems to have settled into a solid spot as THE worker placement game of choice for early 2014. Fact is, it has everything working against it: pointless, pasted-on theme; spreadsheet-like play optimization; runaway leader issues; and just a little too long. In short, no one should like this game. And yet people do, myself included! (Tom Vasel's comments in his recent Miami Dice review of the game were bullseyes.) Anyway, I got my posterior handed to me by the eventual winner, as I lost to her in a four-player match by more than 100 points and finished a distant third.


The other new game in Laura's game bag was Paperback, a Kickstarter game from the same designer as Wok Star. I got in on the Wok Star KS, but missed the Paperback add-on. Sigh. As a working writer/editor, I'm a nasty opponent in word games, so I like to play them. And Paperback is one of the better word games AND one of the most satisfying uses of the deckbuilding mechanic. In fact, I'd declare this the best gateway deckbuilder. Using deckbuilding to build a set of letters from which to generate increasingly complex words seems a perfect fit. The rules are simple and the play natural. If there was any downside it's that most word games can be AP-prone, as people rack their minds for words. That happened in our four-player game, too, and it made the middle act of the session drag. As I thought, I ran away with the game, but I had to forfeit because I realized afterward that I'd spelled monastery incorrectly (not -ary). Hey, it was late, and I was baked to a crackly crunch.


Saturday, Game Night at the home of BGGer Bill Kunes

My second visit to the Kunes' place, and the first time for me to get out without the wife and kid in almost two years! So, a rare event. Thank you to Bill and Hil for their hospitality!

As a Stefan Feld fan, Bill still has high hopes that I'll fall for one of 2013's best reviewed games, Bruges. My one play had left me in a state of meh, so perhaps a second with the enthusiastic Mr. Kunes would provide the necessary spark. After trying and failing with a canal strategy in my first game, I tried to avoid canals altogether in this second one, concentrating more on buildings and filling them with a solid group of people. That worked well, but despite doing everything I could, I just could not generate enough points off people alone, despite some of them having some excellent traits. Oh well. A decidedly lame third place finish, though I did beat Bill by two points. I think he threw the game to make me feel better about it. Actually, I do feel a teeny-weeny bit better about it. Maybe a third play...


Kunes game night attendee Rich brought Russian Railroads. I am very much a player who has no issues playing the same game back-to-back, though no one else I know likes to do that. I roped Rich into breaking out RR again (he was looking longingly at Belfort), just so I could have another shot at it the day after. His lovely wife, Linda, joined us for a three-player match. This one went much faster and had my opponents taking me to school on how to play the game. Not only did I realize that I'd played a rule wrong in the first game, but my selecting an industrial strategy without any engineer cards that produced industry was probably doomed from the start. In fact, I actually scored ten fewer points than the night before. Meanwhile, both my opponents racked up scores in the 400s, with one of Rich's turns generating 138 points in just one turn! Wasn't so much of a game as it was a stomping of the old guy. Anyone want a rematch?


No game I know produces the tension of Hanabi. It really is perfection in a co-op. Bill, Rich, and I tried for epic greatness, but not having played as a trio before, some of our communication was tentative. But hey, that's part of the fun, learning how others communicate. A couple tosses of 5s hurt us early on, as did a preponderance of high cards in my hand that took me out of playing and discarding for a good chunk of the game. So, we ended up with 18 points, which is about average for a first-time play with observant players. I'm still hoping to get above my best score so far, 21. Maybe some day. And heck, I'm always up for Hanabi.


Sunday, home

Played Dawgs of War with the fam. Since this is a review copy, I can't say more here until the review posts at GamingTrend.com, most likely in the next week or so.


First full gaming weekend in a LOOOOONNNG time. Felt good.
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5. Board Game: Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:455]
r0t1 prata
Singapore
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Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends: High Form 1v1 x 1

Finally received my copy of Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends.

As expected from the reviews I've read. Components not worth the price but the gameplay for High Form? Definitely makes up for it.


It's the 3rd Saturday of the month again,
Imtiaz
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Wei Ann Lee
Singapore
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and a few others not on BGG have organised a monthly meetup with me on this day to promote boardgaming among the community and also to provide ourselves a place to play boardgames

Dungeon Petz x 1
Finally played with the correct rules. Used to play where we will add the last two exhibition points directly to reputation points, which makes the taking of artifacts/add-ons/cages/imps on board more important.



Kingsburg 3p x 1
I like this game, You roll dice and choose which action space(s) you want to place the dice on, getting benefits from those action space(s). You may want to push your luck by taking more resources by placing your dice separately, or keep it safe by taking less resources on a higher number action space.
And of course, prepare for battle, for Winter is coming.

Other games played:
Carcassonne 4p x 1
Labyrinth: The Card Game 4p x 1
Takenoko 4p x 1
Jamaica 3p x 3
Smash Up 3p x 2
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6. Board Game: Here Come the Rebels [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:2232] [Average Rating:7.62 Unranked]
Doug Mann
United States
Corpus Christi
Texas
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Finished the South Mountain scenario started last weekend. Called it after 10 activations as a Decisive Union Victory. Reno took Mountain House (3 VPs)with the first corps assault, then Zittlestown (4 VPs) with his last activation. Combat losses were 3 CSA to 1 US for +2 VPs, total of 9.
Final positions, less fatigue markers


On to the Advanced Game!
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7. Board Game: Nations in Arms: Valmy to Waterloo [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:7487]
Kris Van Beurden
Belgium
Leuven
Vlaams-Brabant
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David and I have begun giving Nations in Arms a try. We began with the Marengo scenario. I ended with 1 victory point after hopelessly bungling the siege of Genoa and subsequently failing to defeat general Moreau in Strasburg. Tonight we will fight the Austerlitz campaign again!

Pluizebol & I played 3 battles of C&C: N, Wagram day 1 and the 2 of Wagram day 2. I won day 1 (thanks to playing 4 Scout cards). She won Macdonald’s Monstrous Square and especially Davout’s battle at Wagram. What a trashing, I think it ended 12-2. She crushed my cavalry, she broke my center. Only my right flank was still standing, and only because she hadn’t ventured over that bridge!

I also played a solo game of Kingdom of Heaven, scenario F. Louis IX took 2 tries to get ashore (the first one was cancelled by Bad Weather) and when he was ashore at Rosetta, the Ayyubid army attacked him (my muslim player had Counterattack! in his hand - losing meant Counterattack would bring in Baibars and probably push Louis IX into the sea, winning meant pushing Louis IX into the sea … what could go wrong?). Both sides rolled three hits, a drawn battle and so no Counterattack. Next impulse Burgundy also arrived and both armies together crushed the Ayyubid (Baibars couldn’t turn the tide now) and took Cairo. The rest of the game was fighting for Acre and Jerusalem. An Ayyubid strike force got close to taking Cairo back, but in the end they failed their siege. Eventually the Christians ended with Armenia allied to them, Cairo taken and Damietta controlled for 13 VPs (the muslims ended with 12).
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8. Board Game: Sentinels of the Multiverse [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:268] [Average Rating:7.31 Unranked]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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Winter Spring is coming...

Friday
1x - Castles of Burgundy

My wife and I have been playing lots of Castles this week trying to get it to 100 plays in the near future. It's a game that plays fairly quickly for us and although I tend to win 2/3 of the time my wife still wants to play, which is fine with me. I'm becoming more convinced that this game is all about combinations which my wife simply put together better than I did in a tough draw of tiles for the win, 175-172.


Saturday - Game Night
1x - Innovation - First time Echoes clicked for me.
1x - Bruges - 10x10 in 2014 play
1x - Sentinels of the Multiverse - 10x10 in 2014 play
1x - Hanabi - 10x10 in 2014 play

Our Saturday morning coffee game was Innovation. One of our favorites and most competitive games between the two of us. I had been listening to the Dice Tower Showdown podcast about Innovation when my wife came downstairs influencing our decision to play it.

We hadn't played with the expansion in a while so we freshened up on the rules and were set to go. My wife got ahead early and I couldn't catch up. She won convincingly 7-2. I should have switched to accelerating my development to higher ages rather than playing around with trying to leverage my early and inferior cards. Higher ages would have given me a more likely win condition rather than competing from a position where I was constantly one step behind.

Echoes seemed to finally click for me. It certainly is fiddly to setup and put away. But for the first time I think we saw better ways to leverage the new mechanisms.


Our monthly Game Night started at 5:00. I had communicated to the group that I really wanted to play Bruges and Sentinels.

Four of us (including BGG users edelen and rrayburn) played Bruges. I was hoping to try some different things with the cards than I have previously done as I continue to grasp the various character tactics. Unfortunately I was unsuccessful in tactically putting together enough of anything to implement a successful play. I put down a canal tile here and there wanting to play more characters which two of the other guys did more effectively. I hit a few snags and setback ultimately getting stuck in mediocre land finishing fourth... by one point to edelen, again! (This happened the last time we played a game together.)


Next we slit up into new groups for a second game. I hooked up with my brother-in-law and another couple for a 4p band of Sentinels hoping to take down a new to me villain, Miss Information. It was a unique experience in that she does not reveal herself as a Villain at the start and the villain cards didn't reveal any targets either for a few rounds. We joked about hanging out at the super hero cafe and worked hard to assure the two new players that it will get more interesting. Once we had enough clue cards to reveal the hero she began her assault on Megalopolis which through us some curve balls to deal with as well.

I (Tempest) was the first hero in the turn order so I took the brunt of Miss Information's retaliation when I attacked her. We had some muscle and eventually we had an environment card we protected where the local police helped us by inflicting one damage a round to Miss Information as well. We handedly took care of this not-so-demure villain in the end. Justice was served and peace restored.

I am wondering whether playing with four heroes is too easy. Three seems to be a challenging number, where four seems much easier. I'm thinking in the future to play the advance rules with 4p.


As our second games were wrapping up everyone was starting to call it a night. Three of us were not quite ready to be done so we pulled out Hanabi which dragged on longer than I had expected because we had mostly drawn higher cards making for challenging communication and decisions. We did really well in the first half of the game to get two colors going but the other three is where we fought our way to a lukewarm 18 points. Grrrr.


Overall I had a great time getting three games on my 10 x 10 in 2014 list to the table for another enjoyable game night.


meeple Keep playing...
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9. Board Game: Innovation [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:277]
David Minken
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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FRIDAY

INNOVATION: Played a 2p game with the Mrs. I hope I enjoyed it because that was likely my last time playing it with her! I have been desperately trying to see if my wife is a Carl Chudyk fan with no avail.

Last spring my wife told me in no uncertain terms that she is not a fan of Glory to Rome (and she has given it multiple fair shots). So last week I felt it would be a good time to introduce Innovation (because the pain from Glory to Rome must be forgotten...right?!)

We played it 3 times last week, with the final time on Friday. At the end she looked at me and said, "if you want to find your wife that will play games with you, bring her a board and cards without all this clutter!"

SATURDAY

Every Saturday night I host an event called Boards 'n Bites at a local restaurant. I transport my mobile board game library, which consists of ~190 modern board games and set it up to make a temporary board game cafe and bar. Then I teach and play games all night! These are the ones I got to play:

THE RESISTANCE At the end of the night, the last two remaining tables merged together to play this gem of a social deduction game. I jumped in to make it a full compliment of 10 players. There was one very experienced player and a lot of newbies, which made the game VERY entertaining. The experienced player was soooooo passionate about every move that went on that we naturally assumed that she had to be a spy. I don't know why we naturally assumed, this - maybe we were all very suspicious people?

She wasn't. And the resistance lost because we did not trust our own leader!

DIXIT:JOURNEY While teaching this to a table of 4, they asked me to join to make for a very entertaining 5p game. I have never played this game with complete strangers before, which actually adds a really interesting social deduction aspect to the game. One guy gave a clue of "exploration" and I originally chose a cutesy picture of kids looking to be on adventure. Then I asked, "What do you do?" He replied that he was an engineer. I promptly changed my answer to a picture that looked more mechanical..and I was right!

We played with the Dixit: Odyssey deck.

LOVE LETTER I end of teaching this game every week. I, simply, love it so I usually suggest it while people are waiting for dinner, or even while eating. I find that the easiest way to teach this one is by playing a round or two...but often I sucked into playing the whole game - as was the case on Saturday. Player a 3p game and lost. This is a great game for beginners as it is mechanically simple. I find that this game is less about social deduction and more about just being alert and getting lucky.

RICOCHET ROBOTS There was a couple that was waiting for another friend to join them so they were looking for something to pass the time that you could quit at a moment's notice. I asked if they had ever played this, and they said "no". So we set it up. The quality that this game has is that you cannot just stand and watch people play - you immediately get sucked in and start trying to solve the puzzle with the people that are playing. This game started as a 2p, then became a 3p (because I would not leave), then ended as a 4p because they did not want to stop when their friend arrived! The longer I own this game, the more I start calling it a "must have" for any game collection.

GAMES I TAUGHT (but not played) at Boards 'n Bites :
Other games that I had an opportunity to teach to people, but did not play are: Jaipur, La Boca, King of Tokyo, Castle Panic, Pickomino, and Ingenious.

SUNDAY

On Sunday the family and I trekked to my grandmas to celebrate her 87th birthday (I think). I am not trying to be cheeky - nobody was giving me a straight answer. I think for her next birthday I will host a Wits & Wagers tournament for people to guess her age. Maybe then I will get to the bottom of this! (But I digress).

As usual, I brought along a sack of games because I am generally the "kid entertainer" at family events such as this. I always look forward to this because I am finding that the older I get, the more boring we adults are! Kids are so unexpected and refreshing!

MONZA This is always a hit with kids. We played a 4p game with my two tiny table toppers (2yo, 4yo) and another 8yo boy. I made the 4th player. All the boys absolutely loved it! By then end of the game all you could hear coming from downstairs was the sound of 4 boys (counting me) making rumbling engine sounds, tires squealing, and cheers and applause when the dice roll was favorable!

CARDLINE: ANIMALS We played this several times. Each time we focused on a different attribute to try and arrange (you can choose between length, weight, and life expectancy). After hearing all the commotion from Monza, Grandpa decided that we were having much more fun than he was upstairs talking about the weather, and retreated into the basement to join us! The boys loved looking at the pictures!

My two are still a little too young to be able to put these facts into any kind of context. But I could help them out by saying things such as, "The Red kangaroo is 135 pounds. That is nearly as heavy as daddy. Now, do you think the blue whale is bigger than daddy or smaller?"

SLEEPING QUEENS No day is complete in my house without playing this game. My boys love this game! Let me share with you a few proud parenting moments brought to you by this game:

Me: "Do you guys want to play a game?"
Son (2yo): "Did somebody say Sleeping Queens?!"

Son (4yo): "Did you know that 4 + 4 = 8"
Me: "That is great son! It does indeed!"
Son (4yo): "Do you know what else equals 8?"
Me: "Tell me"
Son (4yo): 6 + 2
Me: "You're absolutely right! How do you know?"
Son (4yo): Sleeping Queens

That was my weekend! Have a great week everyone!
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10. Board Game: Power Grid [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:28]
Tiago Perretto
Brazil
Curitiba
Parana
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Only games on Friday!

FRIDAY

- Boomtown - It was a good game, even with three players (not the best number for this). At first, Jorge was ahead, with me in second. So he and I started to steal money and use Dynamite in the mines of each other. What I don't considered is that the other player - Éder - started to procude way more gold than Jorge and I, while also being Mayor of 4 of the 5 cities. But now was to late to do anything about it. So, Éder won with 357 money, with me in second;

- Love Letter - a disputed game, in which three of the four players got 3 round wins. In the last round, the player with the Princess draw the King - the last card in the deck. So he could: use the King to pass the Princess to someone else, giving the win to that player, or discard the Princess, eliminating himself - and this is what he did. Thus I, with the Priest, lost the round and the game to the Prince;

- King of Tokyo x2 - Two plays, one with four players, one with 5. In the first, everyone was friendly, going mainly for fame. I ended up winning, after the player with 19 fame but only 1 life was eliminated. In the second, everyone wanted to fight. One player bought the Nova Breath card, and started to unleash hell on everyone. The end was curious: the Kraken and the MekaDragon (I) were the last ones standing. The Kraken, with only 1 life, attacked and killed the MekaDragon, but I had the Reflective Hide, thus killing the Kraken. Then, who won? We considered that the attack hit first, so the Kraken won;

- Power Grid - We played in the Australia map. I liked this map, because the resources cost so much that, after buying them, usually no one will build 5 or 6 houses in the same round, so the game don't end so suddenly. It was a "slow" game, since everyone only built one or two houses (and this when any was built) per round. In the end, I trigger the game end with 17 houses, and won by powering 16 houses - the other players could power more houses, but they don't have more built.

And that was it!

Regards,
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11. Board Game: Viticulture [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:120]
Keith Leonard
United States
North Canton
Ohio
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Only played one game this weekend. This was only my third play of this game, but my wife and I enjoy it quite a bit. I am looking forward to getting the expansion (Tuscany: Expand the World of Viticulture).
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12. Board Game: Small World [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:184] [Average Rating:7.33 Unranked]
Kent Pritchett
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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Managed to get in a game of Small World with my wife while the kids were watching a movie. Besides that it was a pretty quite weekend. I just played a few quick solo games of Defenders of the Realm....

and Legend of Drizzt.
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13. Board Game: Here I Stand [Average Rating:7.94 Overall Rank:165]
Carlos Ferreira
Portugal
Porto Salvo
Porto Salvo
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I've played just one game this weekend, but it was well worthy.



I was playing Hapsburgs and as you can see by my Diplomatic Status I was really busy.
I was At War with every major power exception made to the Pope

10 hours playing (with some breaks) this gem.
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14. Board Game: The Pillars of the Earth [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:231]
Thomas Leitner
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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Finally had some time to finish this post.

It was my first time playing Pillars. I bought it at our guild's semi-annual flea market last year, but have not had a chance to get it to the table.

The game largely deserves it's excellent reputation. It may be eight years old, but it felt very fresh. There are interesting mechanisms, and the components are nice, especially the beautifully illustrated board. Coincidentally, I'm in the midst of (slowly) making my way throughout the novel so the theme had special meaning.

Also:



I haven't played Milestones in a while. It's a pretty light Euro, and not especially popular among the groups I game with, but the stars aligned just right. It seemed that everyone enjoyed it, so hopefully it'll see more time going forward.



We beat the first scenario this time on the last turn of the game. My little druid is becoming quite the offensive spell caster.

Earlier in the week:



Coincidentally by the designer of Pillars, this single deck card game was never released in the US, though I don't know why. It's simple, interesting, and has nice artwork. I may pick this up from Amazon.de.



I was pretty happy to have Palaces cycle back through. An odd combination of goal cards made for a very fast and low scoring game.
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15. Board Game: Magic: The Gathering [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:156] [Average Rating:7.45 Unranked]
James Valadez
United States
El Paso
Texas
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Played in a draft Friday night(2 Theros, 1 Born of the Gods) and took 2nd place. Best part is my sister's getting back into it as well. She took 3rd.
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16. Board Game: Cribbage [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:555]
Alex Drazen
United States
Massachusetts
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Bad luck and poor performances sunk me this weekend, from which I emerged with a positively dreadful 1-5 record (0-5 in my 10x10 challenge games).

3/15:

1775: Rebellion, Siege of Quebec scenario, lost 7-4 to my significant other. The British sure loved to make CD's in this one, and it cost me, because they're not nearly as useful in this scenario as they are in the base game. Once NYC got overrun, I was toast. This is really hard to win as the Brits, especially since she grabbed and fled the only 6 NA's in the game by moving 3 she took into 3 that I took. I also never rolled more than 2 hits on 5 dice, whereas she frequently rolled in the 2-4 range. The tree of liberty can apparently be watered not only with the blood of patriots, but also with a bunch of English muffins.

3/16:

Cribbage x 2. Lost 121-106 and then lost 121-118, both to my dad. He got ridiculously good cards in the first game and I barely had anything; he won on a GO. I was down by 30+ and about to get skunked, so it was a decent enough comeback, I guess.

In the second one, it came down to pegging again; with my crib and a 116-111 lead, I held 4-5-6; we'd opened 4-4-J (I was hoping SO HARD he would play trip 4's in pegging). He was counting heavily for the endgame so I figured he was on either A-A, 5-5, or 5-10; it turns out his hand was 4-5-6-J. I played a 6, he paired it, and he got to exactly 121 thanks to the right jack. So close!

3/17:

Kingdom Builder. Won by bum-rushing the ending and being able to place 6 houses per turn from special powers: 47-33-24.

Power Grid. Lost a very close game on the U.K map, using Plant Deck 2, by $3 on money: Black 17 ($15) Red 17 ($12) Green 17 ($2) Purple 15 ($19). I had a chance to win easily; my choice was to buy the 50 (2 nukes/8) or the 39 (wind/5). I ended up paying 77 for the 50, hoping to get to 18 cities and win handily, but I fell a bit short on money. With the 39 I would have saved a whopping $40-50, easily enough to win, but I was nervous about letting anyone else get 18 capacity. Turns out my opponent in that bidding war was never getting to 18, which surprised me, as his starting position (London, with the entirety of Southern England to himself) was excellent.

Lords of Waterdeep. Lost a close game by 4 VP due to my own idiocy. Gray 139, Red 135, Black 126, Green 118. I was Larissa, but Gray and Black had a decent lead on me (10-15 points). I had +30 in buildings, but I forgot that you score VP for cubes in the end, so I ended up completing a quest (+5 VP for 4 cubes and 4 gold, which nets NOTHING) instead of building (+8 VP for 4 gold). I also wasted a MQ on Black, who only would have been at 137; had I just played "2 orange, give 1 to Green" and built a final edifice, I could have won a close one.

So, there you have it. Should have gone 3-3 if I didn't out-think myself and get over-eager for the wins in Power Grid and Lords of Waterdeep. Still, that's a pretty good gaming block for a weekend upon which I also went to dinner, a movie, the driving range, and a comedy show.
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17. Board Game: Qwirkle [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:658]
Jon Enns
Canada
Herbert
Saskatchewan
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No games on Friday.


I was desperate for a game on Saturday so I went to see my 71 year old friend in town and played 6 games of Crib with him. He wanted more but I had to get back home.




My Travel Qwirkle game seems to be a real hit with everyone I try it on. On Sunday we were at my mom's for supper and Lindy, who just returned home in the afternoon, and I played it with her again. At 89 she is doing pretty good and has learned 2 new games just this year.




My Mom, Lindy and I also played Maori, which is the other new game my mother learned this year.


8 games played this weekend.
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18. Board Game: Carcassonne: South Seas [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:734]
James Garcia
United States
Harlingen
Texas
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I was visiting San Antonio, TX this weekend to see my Spurs play the Lakers, and while I was there I visited their local comic shop that doubles as their FLGS. Very cool store. I ended coming with with a few bags of goodies, but I only got to play 2 of them.

Saturday:


We got back to the hotel around 10PM after a long day out and about. I of course was going through my new games and expansions, and I ended up opening Parade. I read the rules in about a minute and asked my fiancee if she wanted to play. So we played one quick game of Parade. Interesting card game. It's a light card game with quite a good amount of strategy. I'm very intrigued by this game and look forward to playing it more in the future. My fiancee ended up winning our first game of Parade by 10 points.


Sunday:


After an even longer day of on Sunday we ended the night with a game of Carcassonne: South Seas. My fiancee ended up buying this one herself, and I didn't even see her do it. If you are a Carcassonne vet you will have no problem learning the rules. This game is really fun. It's hard to explain this game as it is definitely Carcassone, but the differences are just enough to make it it's own game. I can see how people could replace one with the other, but I feel they are just different enough to warrant owning both. To each there own. I had a blast with this game. The fact that you can now pull back meeples when you want, get resources, goals to strive for, and the way the sea (field) works is just really cool. I ended up winning this game by 11 points. I will probably see this game again very soon.



That's it for this weekend. My normal game night got cancelled this Wednesday, so I don't know if I'll even get any gaming in at all. Keeping my fingers crossed though. Till next week everyone.
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19. Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:37]
Andreas Hellwig
Germany
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Friday:
7 Wonders x2
7 Wonders: Leaders x2
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg: The Banquet
Express

Saturday:
Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar – Mini Expansion 1
Nach dem Regen
Kachina x2

Sunday:
Lucca! x2
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg: The Banquet
Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar – Mini Expansion 1
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20. Board Game: A Distant Plain [Average Rating:7.98 Overall Rank:665]
James
United Kingdom
Sheffield
South Yorkshire
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First game for all of us. I was the Taliban (which was a lot of fun), the Government won but I think we all had a good time.
I got excited about this game after reading the article about Volko Ruhnke and the game in the Washington Post here and now I've played it I am even more excited about it. Great game.
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21. Board Game: Bruxelles 1893 [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:251]
Evan Dunn
United States
New York
New York
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"...to excel above the common rate, in frivolous things, is nothing graceful in a man of quality and honor." - Michel de Montaigne
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This weekend, we played...

Bruxelles 1893 - 1st play



We did this 2 player, and it was fantastic. It's a game where you have a grid of action spaces, and when you place a worker on a space you pay a bid along with him and then resolve the action. At the end of the placements, whoever wins the bids through the row gets a bonus card at the bottom of the row. In addition to that there are four action spaces on a separate board that don't require a bid, but at the end of the round whoever has the most workers there has to lock one into the court spot to explain what you were up to over there, being all shadey and not paying money for things.

Aside from that the game is crammed with clever mechanics and interesting methods of gathering endgame score category multipliers. It's sort of like a cross between a Feld and a Kramer.

The Capitals - 1st play



This game is like if you took Suburbia and attached a heavy resource management element. Essentially, like Suburbia, you have three ages of building tiles, and some special tiles that act similar to objectives for extra endgame points. Unlike suburbia, you have a bunch of different charts you can go up and down on representing the aspects of your city, which influence your ability to succeed at getting population, which is required in order for you to get employed population, which is the most significant determining factor for getting points.

In our game, which was three player, we spent the first two ages in negative points and were only able to climb out of the point hole in the third round.

I enjoyed this game, because while I love Suburbia, at times it does feel a little light to me, and I do like games that make you really work for your success. The other two players liked it much less, and I'm not sure when I'll be able to get this back to the table.

One of the issues I think they had with it was a crisis of expectation. The game has a lot of charts, and there are points for passing the top of each. Each chart is displayed with equal prominence on the board, which led us all to think that this was one of those games where you could pick a thing to focus on, do the best you can with it, and you'll be competitive. Really, you need the chart that gives you points income just like you do in Suburbia, and the other charts are there to just help you get on those pop/jobs charts. You really can't ignore anything, because the game even at times punishes you for each person who is ahead of you on those secondary charts.

Another thing we didn't realize early enough is the importance of stacking buildings that activate when adjacent buildings activate. We blindly fumbled onto some of those combos, but I think a big part of the game is knowing that's a thing and planning it our properly.

Star Trek: Attack Wing - Game 7



Three player deathmatch. I know Klingons the worst so I picked them. Then I blew up.
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22. Board Game: Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 2 – India & Switzerland [Average Rating:7.84 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.84 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.84 Unranked]
Jerry Wilkinson
United States
New Castle
Indiana
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Friday-

Union Pacific
Finca
Pastiche

Saturday-

10 Days in Africa
Acquire
Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 2 – India & Switzerland

Sunday-

nothing
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23. Board Game: War of the Ring Collector's Edition [Average Rating:8.63 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.63 Unranked]
Colin Dearborn
Canada
Regina
Saskatchewan
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Spent all day Saturday over at Bixby's setting this up, brushing up on the rules and then dueling it out for hours. Playing this version, against this opponent is about as good as gaming gets. The Shadow was able to corrupt the ring bearer before he was able to reach Rohan. Many hot rolls on the Hunt Dice was the end of the fellowship.





Saturday night the kids wanted to try out the new Legendary expansion:


We played all the new heroes against Carnage with the Daily Bugle invasion plot. Easy victory for the good guys as all the twists came early and never really hurt us. Amanda easily defeated Alex and I.




Sunday was chore day, but still managed a couple of games in the morning.

Alex and I brushed off


A bit of a relearn for both of us, as it had been over a year. I was able to squeak out a close win with the runner deck. Only own 1 expansion, and I think we may just be sticking to that and enjoying the occasional game.



Next the whole family broke out


We played a couple of games, everyone enjoyed this light little party game.

After all the work of the day was done, my daughter wanted one more quick game so we brought out:



nice mindless fun......


overall a great weekend of gaming.
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24. Board Game: Eclipse [Average Rating:7.98 Overall Rank:31]
Mark Paul
United States
Springfield
Massachusetts
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Played a two rounds of this. It was OK.

Then we played Dominant Species by GMT. I hate to say it, we enjoyed Dominant Species much better.
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25. Board Game: Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:61] [Average Rating:7.83 Unranked]
Matthew Cordeiro
United States
Cumberland
Rhode Island
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"Played" X-Wing with my son. And by that, I mean we flew the ships around the dining room and pretended they were shooting each other. Then, we looked at all the pictures on the pilot cards. Then, we picked a handful of ships, rolled some dice, and blew up stuff. No maneuver templates or actions yet, but we're moving in that direction.

Also, one game of Sorry! with my wife and son. My wife won with a huge come from behind effort. The old "move out of start, then backwards 4" trick.
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