Oasis of Fun -- Four and Final
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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Previous report here.

After 12 years, Stven is calling it quits, right when we started going again . There are many other similar conventions around the same time of year, so gaming is still a possibility. But Oasis sure has been a fun, small, nearby place to go hang out with some funsters! I guess all things come to an end, though.

It being the last one, I'm particularly looking forward to being there! Especially this year, when face-to-face gaming has been SO limited. The week after the Gathering, we had some friends visit for one weekend. Other than that, I've played all of 5 games: 1 Prosperity to help with a review, 2 Mutant Chronicles with some friends in a campaign, and after-dinner Carcassonne and La Boca with some friends we hadn't seen in years. FIVE! In about 2 months! I was supposed to go to Origins for the weekend, but stupid Delta canceled my flight and visiting for one day just wasn't worth it! Bring on the games!
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1. Board Game: Delta [Average Rating:4.80 Unranked]
 
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WEDNESDAY JUNE 18 - Day 0

So, how will you screw with my plans today, Delta?!?

Edit: actually, not much at all. The planned flight departure time got pushed back 2 minutes, then there was another 10-15 minute delay in actually leaving. But they made up some time in the air so not much of a delay at all!

After a short wait outside, we took the shuttle over to the airport. Free sure is nice! We just dropped the games off in the game room, then headed up for the night.

---
Our game library contribution (limited luggage space):
 
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2. Board Game: Chimera [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:2290]
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THURSDAY JUNE 19 - Day 1

Vacation generally means we actually get to work out semi regularly! Today we did P90X Plyo in the room ... Sweaty one!


There weren't many people here yet, and they were almost all already in a game. Fortunately, though, David was free! He's a Tichu fan but hadn't played this so we decided to teach him. Just over an hour later, after a very poor start, I was in the lead at 250. It sure felt like longer than an hour! But Valerie and Eric finished their game and were ready for lunch, and we were getting hungry as well. So we called it quits -- good timing!

We had a pretty quick lunch at Ruby Tuesday, a short walk away. The game room was COLD (we later found out that someone had set the thermostat to 55°F!), but outside was really really HOT!
 
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3. Board Game: Kashgar: Merchants of the Silk Road [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:1526]
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Greg is here! And he brought his freshly pasted up copy of this game -- yay! I'd played it twice at he Gathering and really enjoyed it. Why won't someone pick this up for an English version?! Greg taught Mary and Craig, both new to the game.

This only took us about 45 minutes to play, with me winning by getting one caravan down to just one card -- someone who could complete any contract while the other 2 caravans collected resources.

Very enjoyable deck construction type of game!

--- Summary ---
Players each start with 3 caravans (columns of cards), each with a Patriarch and a random start card. On your turn, take the action of the card at the front of one of your columns, moving that card to the back. These actions may give you resources (tracked on a personal board: 0-9 spices or gold, 0-6 donkeys), convert resources into others, gain additional cards to add to your caravan, remove cards from game, spend resources to complete one of the contracts on display (immediately replenished), etc. Some cards, and all contracts, are worth VP; the game ends at the end of a round when at least one player has at least 25 VP. The player with the most VP wins!
 
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4. Board Game: Castro [Average Rating:6.43 Overall Rank:5442]
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Mary left, but Michael joined us for this one, my pick after hearing Greg rave about it at the Gathering. The first game ended after just 15 minutes or so, with Greg winning it (after Craig failed to block him!). The second game, with Joel subbing in for Greg, took much longer -- about 40 minutes. Both were a lot of fun!

What a clever combination of some very simple rules and mechanics! You have to try to set yourself up while being sure to block everyone else. Or maybe you let the other players, later in turn order, make the block? Greg is right, this would've been a much better SdJ pick -- certainly better than Camel Up or Concept!

--- Summary ---
The board is a 6x6 grid, with each space showing some Yahtzee combination (pair, trip, quad, full house, large straight, Yahtzee). On your turn, roll the 5d6 up to 5 times. May place one of your tokens on a matching space (stack on any token already there) if you made the combo after no more than (5-x) rolls; x is the number of tokens already there. If you have no legal plays, remove one of your tokens in supply from the game.

The first player to get 4 in a row (topmost token in each space), or a token in all 3 Yahtzee spaces, wins! If all tokens placed with no 4-in-a-row, players get VP for all tokens (each earns VP = height); max sum wins.
 
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5. Board Game: Star Realms [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:87] [Average Rating:7.63 Unranked]
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Craig and I lost the others -- one to the World Cup, another to ... something? -- but we were ready. We'd pulled Sansouci out. But neither of us wanted to read the rules. And it's likely better with more anyway! So instead, I pulled this out: I'd heard good things on some podcasts and from Mary, and Greg had said it was good, too.

Well, not so much. It was certainly simple enough, and fast enough, but it didn't seem all that interesting? I wonder if we got something wrong in the rules. In many ways, though, it felt like that first playing of Ascension: you've got that same row of random stuff coming up every turn, and you get whatever you can afford. You've got 2 currencies here as well, although now you get to attack the other player instead of some random targets. This was better than Ascension in that the purchases, based only on one currency, didn't seem SO arbitrary and random. But there just didn't seem to be much to the game. I will definitely have to try this again, though.

--- Summary ---
Players each start with the same deck: 8 money ("trade") and 2 combat; shuffle and draw a hand of 5. The deck of cards, with a mix of bases and ships, is shuffled and 5 are put in a face up display. A pile of Explorers (2 trade, 2 combat) is also placed in display. Players each start with 50 life ("authority").

On your turn, play your cards for their currencies and/or effects:
- Trade is used to buy cards from the display (replenished immediately): buy as many as you can afford; cards go to discard pile.
- Combat is used to attack your opponent and/or their base(s); if they have "outpost" bases, you must attack them first. Destroyed bases go to that player's discard pile. Split your total combat value as needed to make as many attacks as possible.
- Ships and Bases provide a variety of effects. Many have additional effects if you have another card of that faction in display. Some can also be trashed ("scrapped" = removed from game) for additional effects. These effects tend to split along faction lines. One of them specializes in deck-thinning abilities, another in card-drawing, a third has powerful attack, and the fourth provides a lot of trade.

At the end of your turn, your Bases remain in play; other cards, played or still in hand, are discarded.

The first player to reduce opponent's life ("authority") to 0 wins!
 
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6. Board Game: Concordia [Average Rating:8.08 Overall Rank:21]
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Me, Eric, Janna, and newbies Alex and Noah (a very nice couple, first time here; Eric is the tall, headless guy in the pic).

I'd played this once before, at BGG.con, and been somewhat overwhelmed. I wasn't exactly looking forward to it, but we had a great bunch of people who all enjoy the game, and I did want to give it one more try ... seemed like as good a time as any! And again, it was pretty overwhelming! The rules aren't really too complex, I guess, but there's just so much stuff going on that I have a hard time figuring out what to actually do and how to make good choices. That would likely, hopefully, get better with repeated plays. But I don't think I like the game enough to get those plays in ....
 
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7. Board Game: Power Grid: Australia & Indian Subcontinent [Average Rating:8.02 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.02 Unranked]
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India map. No pic . We lost Janna, but the rest of us played this; new to everyone, although at least I had played the base game before. This may not have been the best choice of maps for a first play -- it's pretty tough! But everyone seemed to catch on pretty well.

Changes from base game:
- Power Plants:
... 11 nuke removed
... Garbage plants inefficient; require one extra fuel to operate
-Supply Market:
... fuel market divided into 3 parts, with later parts becoming available in later stages/steps/whatever of the game
... fuel is purchased in turn order, but only 1 item at a time
- Building Cities: if players collectively build more than 2n cities in one turn, everyone must pay $3/city after collecting income (brown out)

I like the idea of the divided market, although I'm not sure it ever had much impact; I think we would have largely been buying only those things anyway. The one-fuel-at-a-time rule is a big change, and not one I necessarily love. It's definitely interesting, but it sure does seem to slow things down! And finally, the brown out rule seems cool but never actually triggered in our game. It's hard to know how much of this is because of the nature of the map, versus having a bunch of inexperienced players. Will definitely need to try this again, hopefully soon.
 
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8. Board Game: Maximum Throwdown [Average Rating:5.60 Overall Rank:11709] [Average Rating:5.60 Unranked]
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This was one of your games library games, brand new and unplayed. The rules are pretty straightforward: set up by placing 4 start-up cards on the table; players shuffle their individual decks (all the same). Each turn, draw a card and throw a card. You also may get additional actions/powers depending on which of your icons are face up, uncovered, and legal (touching some other card touching the original "board") from previous throws. These might score you VP, give you additional draws/throws, steal/discard other players' cards, etc. The game ends after everyone has used/discarded all their cards. The player with the most VP wins.

The extra powers are kind of cool, but after one play of this I would much rather play Beer & Pretzels which has nice chunky tiles and no annoying take-that mechanics. We had fun, but more because of the people (Mary, Rob, John) than the game itself.
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9. Board Game: Istanbul [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:90]
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FRIDAY JUNE 20 - Day 2

P90X Kenpo: not very hard without a heavy bag or some weights, but probably just what we needed!


We thought about playing Lewis & Clark, but although both Rob and Craig want to learn, both M and I would rather play this with just 3. So eye went with this instead, which had a lot of positive buzz at the Gathering. Mary had played the game once before and taught the rest of us.

The rules are very simple: move your stack of tokens (sort of like in Traders of Genoa, but not really: there's a big enough twist to make it feel very fresh). Take the action on the space you land, as long as you either covered your own piece or are able to leave one piece there. Actions give you more goods (4 types), improve your storage capacity, acquire bonus action tiles, trade gems, gamble, etc. But it's all about acquiring gems - the first player to have 5 wins - and a few actions get you those. The board is made of a bunch of different tiles, so you could do a random setup every game (but some predefined ones are available as well). This would change the relationships, optimal routes, etc.

With such a simple rule set, you still get a lot of game play! Turns move along quickly but you have interesting decisions to make almost every time. This seems like a perfect fit for the Kennerspiel des Jahres!
 
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10. Board Game: Flower Power [Average Rating:6.22 Overall Rank:10053]
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Not Flowerpower!

This is one of Frank's weird little games. Actually, it's quite straightforward (rules wise, at least), but surprisingly thinky. Frank taught the rest of us (Rob, John, Sandy, and me).

This is an interesting game of picking the right partner, so that you can predict how far they want to go and both of you play the card that helps you both. But you also have to manipulate your race position, which seems REALLY tricky! Can you infer the other players' desired positions based on their card play? Neat little game!

--- Summary ---
The board is a circular track, with 6 flower spaces, a few spider spaces, and several blanks. Player pawns all start in one space. At the start of the each race, players secretly write down a prediction for their final position in the race, when the last player reaches/passes the starting space. Each player has 2 cards, one showing a starfish and another an asterisk (or something). On your turn, pick another player: both of you simultaneously choose and reveal a card. The combination results in those players' pawns moving ahead 1/1, 2/2, or 3/0 spaces. If you land on a flower, take a flower card. If you land on a spider, lose a flower card. The race ends when the last player reaches the start space. Players who correctly predicted their final position keep their flowers from this race; the rest lose them. Repeat races until a player has at least 6 flowers; the player with the most flowers wins!

 
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11. Board Game: Coal Baron [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:478]
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I had played this once before, at the 2013 Gathering when it was in its Glück Auf prototype form. I hadn't been all that impressed with it at the time, although it was solid enough design that just didn't feel very fresh -- another good worker placement game with a twist. It did have better miners, though! If only they could've gotten those little miners from Euphoria, instead of boring wooden pieces!

I decided to concentrate on the deepest darkest coal types, the most expensive/lucrative transport (trains), and generally high-value contracts. And it worked! I made money in part 1, didn't deliver anything in part 2 (collecting stuff instead), then made good in part 3. Maybe that's why I enjoyed it so much more this time around? Who knows? This time around, though, it was quite enjoyable: quick, but meaty. Still not a lot of fresh mechanisms, but a nice meshing of old faves like majorities, worker placement/action selection, set collection, pick-up-and-deliver ... good stuff!

--- Summary ---
Players each have a personal mine shaft, complete with a working elevator in the center! Also take some money and a bunch of workers, and choose some contracts (reverse turn order?) from an initial display. The board shows several action spaces where you can take additional cash or transportation cards (cart, buggy, truck, train), acquire more contracts or several types of mines (4 colors of coal, found at different depths; place in your mine immediately), movement points (spent moving your elevator up and down, loading/unloading coal), complete contracts, etc.

On your turn, take an action by placing workers in a space -- one more than are already present there (except for one space, where you can always place a worker to get $1) -- those get displaced to a waiting area until the end of the turn.

After every third of the game (4 turns), top 2 players get VP for each of several things: first for each of the 4 types of coal delivered, then for that plus the most delivered with each transport mode, then for those plus the most empty wheelbarrows in each type of mine.

At game end, there is additional scoring for leftover money and cubes, and penalties for unfulfilled contracts and imbalanced mines (left/right side of elevator). Most VP wins.
 
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12. Board Game: Cavum [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:1615]
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I'd played this once before, 2er: good to learn the rules, although maybe not the ideal number. The 2 of us took 2 hours. Brian, a sloooooow player, was the other but I knew this would not be a quick game: just too much room for analysis paralysis. And I didn't think Mary would enjoy it, either: too much competition for gems, too much potential to mess with other people's routes. But it was on Floyd's want-to-play list, the thought his young son Matthew could handle it (and he did!), Mary claimed she wanted to try it, and I'd been wanting to play this again since that last play!

Our 4er game took us nearly 4 hours! Still, I enjoyed it and would love to play again with 3, which may be the ideal number to minimize down time while still having interesting player interaction.

This is a pretty cool, deep gamer's game with route-building, pick-up-and-deliver, action points and turn order auctioning. Each turn starts with an auction for turn order (bidding with VP). Sometimes going earlier is better: first crack at gems in low supply or on multiple players' routes, and you get to claim 2 orders. Other times, last may be better: chance to place mines of your choice (after others empty useless ones), time to react to other moves, etc. Then, players get 12 actions. They are largely the same, except for one (auctioned). These are taken in chunks of 1-4 actions, decided by players as they go -- makes for some interesting choices about timing when to do what. You try to collect gems, either to sell them to the market or fulfill contracts of specific gems for a (usually) larger VP return.

--- Summary ---
The board is a hex grid, with city spaces along most of the edges. The center hex is a vein of yellow gems: place all 9 in a stack there. The rest of the gems go in their individual market areas (priced 1-9 based on supply).

Each round (3 in game), add 5 contracts (showing gem combinations; score big VP if completing them; lose some VP if cannot) to the display. Then auction (using VP) turn order chips 1-4. Players then each get the same set of tiles (hexes with various numbers of track exits, prospecting tiles, veins, option tiles, etc.) plus a dynamite hex based on their turn order chip. Take turns taking contracts until everyone passes.

Then, on your turn, play 1-4 of your 12 actions. These allow you to place tracks (expanding previous tunnels; you can also cover track tiles with tiles having more exits), stations, or veins (which you supply with gems of your choice). Gems (6 types, 9 tokens each) each have their own market where they are stored and which set their max sell price. The last action is prospecting, where you create a path from one of your stations to another, passing through as many veins as possible: take one gem from each vein.

After everyone's 12 actions are used, any exposed dynamite tracks explode and take the adjacent tracks as well (all these are placed in the Buy Pool, which can be accessed by turning in Option tiles)! You score for stations in cities based on the number of empty hexes. Then, for each gem type, players bid (Dutch auction style, bidding for the lowest price they'll accept) and may sell their gems for VP at their bid price.

At game end (after 3 rounds), players sell off all their remaining gems (with lowest VP selling next gem), there's another city scoring, and players lose VP for incomplete orders. Most VP wins!
 
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13. Board Game: Steam Park [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:683]
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I was looking for something a bit deeper to play, but I don't think anything was open at the time. Mary found me and asked me to teach her, Sharon, and Warren the game. I'd played this before and thought it was merely OK so I was just going to teach. But it was getting late so I decided to just join in and give this one more try.

Despite horrible luck with the meeple draws, I won -- yay! Sharon would have had it -- her park was better than mine -- if not, I think, for the fact that she never went first or second so she had a much harder time dealing with dirt than I did. Warren, too, had dirt problems: one of his first bonus cards rewarded dirt rolls so he went big on dirt; then, he was fighting to recover the rest of the game!

This is a light family game, each turn starting with a quick dice-rolling phase then ending with a somewhat slower, more thinky, implementation phase. The first part of each turn was fun; the later part could do with a little more speed! The game is certainly pretty, but not one I need to own.

--- Summary ---
Each player gets a 8x8 (?) personal play board, and a hand of 3 VP cards. There are 6 colors of roller coasters in sizes 1, 2, and 3, available in Supply, as well as 5 types of kiosks. (Everything is beautifully illustrated.) Players each get 6 dice. 4 Turn Order cards are placed in the middle.

Players simultaneously roll their dice, locking 1+ dice until all are locked, at which point they grab the earliest turn order marker available. When only one remains, that player gets only 3 more rolls of the dice. Then everyone takes as many dust counters as indicated on their dice.

In turn order, players then use their dice to:
- acquire roller coasters
- try to attract visitors: add colored meeples to the bag, draw as many out, keep and place any of the color(s) matching your coasters if you have space
- discard dust tokens
- acquire kiosks: each modifies rules in some way, e.g., discard more dust, rotate a die to a new face, accept mismatched visitor colors, etc.
- expand your park (with a 4x4 piece?)
Everything acquired is placed on your board, but may only be adjacent (orthogonally or diagonally) to to something of the same color. They may also play any of their VP cards, which reward coins for various combinations of stuff (e.g., having a bunch of blue visitors, rolling a bunch of blanks, etc.).

Everyone then gets income from all their visitors, and draws more cards (draw 2 per missing card, discarding half of those).

After 6 rounds, the game ends. Players pay for any remaining dust tokens (at an escalating rate), and the player with the most remaining coins wins!
 
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14. Board Game: Castro [Average Rating:6.43 Overall Rank:5442]
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SATURDAY JUNE 21 - Day 3

P90X3 Accelerator - something quick and doable without weights or bands.



I thought Mary would enjoy this, Joe was interested, and Eric was willing ... so I went through the simple rules, and we were off! Just as in my first game, someone (Mary!) won when the person before them (Eric grr!) missed a potential win and failed to stop her!

Still a light, fun little family game. I can imagine, though, that it might get annoying "having" to stop the player after you from winning!
 
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15. Board Game: Bluff in Zoo [Average Rating:6.34 Overall Rank:7310]
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Joe had brought a bunch of little games, and this was one of those. He taught Brian, Mary, and me.

It's Liar's Dice, in card game form, with cute animals and only one loser (although you could play multiple rounds, I suppose?)! The deck has a mix of cards showing 1-3 animals in various (4?) sizes, as well as a bunch of special cards that modify others (e.g., make all animals wild, or worth 1) -- but only if there's an odd number of them!

On your turn, draw and play a card face down on top of previously played cards and make a bid on the total number on animals in the card pile: must exceed previous bid by animal size and/or number. If the next player calls your bid, reveal all cards in the pile and count. whoever is wrong adds the cards to their score pile; when a player has enough cards (30?), the game ends and they lose!

Very fun game, although the chaos of those special cards may not be for everyone. I'd also prefer having one winner, rather than one loser! Not bad for a quick little filler, though.
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16. Board Game: Welcome to the Dungeon [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:821] [Average Rating:6.70 Unranked]
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Another game Joe got as part of the Japanese Boardgame Subscription Plan he had suggested right here on BGG last November. He taught Josh, Mary, and me this one as well.

This is a cool, quick-playing, dungeon-themed microgame that feels a lot like Skull & Roses (but is still its own game). Push your luck by staying in the fight, bluff about what you've seen, remove key equipment if you plan (hope!) to abandon this round ... a lot of bluffing fun packed into a teeny tiny package! I wonder if I could make my own version with some of those thousands of Magic cards I have laying around?

--- Summary ---
Start the game by placing all the equipment (weapons, armor, and other tools) in display. The deck of cards has a bunch of different monsters in it, each of which attack with different strengths and can be countered by some weapon. On your turn, you can either:
- draw a card: either add it, face down, to the dungeon pile or take it AND remove one piece of equipment from the display.
OR
- pass: you're out for the rest of the round

After everyone else passes, the last player must face all the monsters in the dungeon pile, using only equipment still in the display. Countered (e.g., torch scares off weak monsters, holy water for undead, dragon lance for dragon) monsters do no damage, but the rest hit for some number from 1-9. Baseline HP and armor are used to absorb the damage. If you face them all without losing all your HP, you win the round.

The first player to win 2 rounds wins!
 
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17. Board Game: Coup [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:385]
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Hillsborough
North Carolina
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It was me, Joe, David, and his son Benjamin. I think all of us (except Benjamin?) had played before, although the original version -- this was the Resistance themed game.

This play was just OK. The game worked, but wasn't as much fun as I remember. I think we had more people playing the last time? Or maybe this just wasn't the ideal group for this? Last time, we seemed to have a lot more bluffing/guessing going on.
 
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18. Board Game: Road to the Palace [Average Rating:6.51 Unranked]
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Hillsborough
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Yet another Japanese game, same crew as above.

This is a really neat set collection game! It's got some weird little twists that make it a bit difficult to grok right away, but actually it's not all that complicated. You're collecting sets, but trying to account for your bribes and the cards in display (only a subset of the cards you'll work through during each phase) so that you end up with sets (columns) in the sizes you need in order to score VP for the discs the other players have stuck you with! When you take a card, you also try to poison the next one with a color of disc that works only for you ... sort of like Coloretto.

Looking at the rules translation myself, I think we played a few rules wrong. Not surprising, really, since we were learning by reading. Still, I did end up winning with our version of the rules so they can't be that bad ... I like it!

--- Summary ---
Setup: Place all colored discs (mostly red, yellow, blue; some purples). The deck has cards in 5 different colors, with varying ranges of strength per color (mostly 1s and 2s). Remove some cards if playing with fewer than 4, and a few random ones (kept hidden). Create a display of 3 rows, 5 cards/row. Players each have 3 bribe cards (red, yellow, blue): choose 1 for each phase of the game, removing the 3rd from the game (hidden). They also start with 10 VP. Then, players (reverse turn order?) place a disc on the leftmost cards of each row.

On your turn, take one of the leftmost cards (with the disc on it) and add to your personal display (except Politicians, who go with your bribe card for this round). If the disc is purple, it stays on the card and adds 1 to its value; otherwise (or if the card was a Politician) the disc goes into your collection. Your display is grouped into columns by color, columns with higher sums to the left (adjust every time you add get a card). If the row in the central display is empty, deal out a new row of cards to replace. Place a new disc (taken from supply) on the leftmost cards.

The phase ends when all the discs have been collected by players. Then, reveal this phase's bribe cards, move to appropriate column (along with any Politicians), and readjust columns by total sum. Then:
- Kings (black):
... end of Phase 1: player with highest sum will start next round
... end of Phase 2: 1VP per sum of King values
- Queen (pink): player(s) with lowest sum each lose n VP; player(s) with highest sum split those VP as evenly as possible
- Each player places all non-purple discs in their collection over the matching colored column (if any). Then, score:
... 3VP per non-purple disc in their leftmost column; discard all those discs
... 1VP per non-purple disc in their 3rd column; discard all those discs
... 1VP per purple disc in King/Queen columns; discard ALL purple discs
... pay the player to your right 1VP per disc remaining in front of you; discard all these discs
- Readjust columns if necessary (due to loss of purple discs)

After phase 1, discard that bribe card and repeat. After phase 2, the player with the most VP wins.
 
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19. Board Game: Star Realms [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:87] [Average Rating:7.63 Unranked]
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Ismelda, here all the way from London! She's here with Ian. We were trying to figure out what to play when Ian went to take his seat at the Bruges table! Really, Ian? Yeah . So I got to try this one again -- yay!

This game was much more fun than the first time playing! I got a much better feel for the differences between the factions and how they might play. And the score was very close, too. Fun!
 
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20. Board Game: Power Grid: The First Sparks [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:899]
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We were just about to start a 3er game (me, Immelda, and Phillip) after playing the what-to-play game. We settled on this, new to Immelda. I'd played it once LONG ago, but P thought it would fit his time availability and taught us the rules. Just as we finished, our 4th (Ian) joined us! So, we got another refresher on the rules before we actually started. I would have been much more annoyed if not for the fact that I was well into the wine April brought -- thanks, April! Our game, after both rules explanations, took 80 minutes to play -- I hope you made it to wherever by whenever you needed! I won this one, yay me!

This short game with much of the feel of the original Power Grid, but with twists and simplifications to make the game much easier (and quicker) to play. Quite fun, actually!

However, I have several issues with the production:
- from my original reading, the rules left several things unclear -- there's now Wiki page!
- the various animal types are just different denominations of currency; the meeples should have been marked with some numbers!
- the harvest board shows the currently available foods, from which people harvest each turn; but it also has a place for the generic food tokens. That's confusing, because when you pay generic food back it goes to that spot, but the other food tokens do _not_ -- they go back to their piles near the board!
- the bear and mammoth are both shades of brown! In good lighting, it probably wouldn't be a problem -- but I would have preferred more dissimilar colors to have been used, especially since the icons on the tech cards are relatively small (and might be far away from you in the market!)

--- Summary ---
The playing board is constructed from large domino-like double-hexes, total size varying according to player number. Each hex shows one of 3 types of hunting grounds, and is divided into 3 spaces. Pre-determined power plant (technology) market, techs numbered 7-14; remaining are shuffled, some removed (based on number of players), and Shuffle card placed at bottom of stack.

At game start, players set turn order randomly (by giving them tools = power plants numbered 1-n), then place a clan-meeple into an unoccupied space, max 1 player/hex (reverse order, free). In turn order, may place another (pay usual costs). Then reset turn order (number of clans on board; tiebreaker = number on tool).

Each turn:
1. "Auction" tools. There's a current/future market (4 each), in ascending numerical order like Power Grid. The twist: not actually an auction. In turn order, may put up a tool, for the price on the card; but in turn order, others may preempt the purchase (last player gets priority). Most cards are tools (max 3/player; if buy 4th, discard one) which either allow you to harvest/hunt a type of food, or give you food for free (like the fuel-free plants in PG). Another new twist: some cards are knowledge cards, which modify your rules/abilities in some way.

After the auction, everyone (without knowledge of fire) loses a third of their food (total value), round down.

2. In reverse turn order, hunt for food. Each tool allows you to take food from supply based on the number of tokens on the supply board. Then, pay one food per clan (if cannot, remove clans from board without splitting your network).

3. In reverse turn order, expand clan network. May buy up to 5 (costs 1/3/6/10/15); placing on board is free if first in space; +1 if crossing mountain to get there; if space already occupied, +1 per total number of clans in space (including yours)

4. Bureaucracy. Update turn order, add supplies to harvest board (based on player number), update technologies (power plants) (place highest number at bottom of stack).

When Shuffle card revealed, shuffle technology deck at end of phase (treat Shuffle as value 1000). You go into the PG-Stage 3: market compressed to 6 techs, all available for purchase.

The game ends at the end of the round (skipping Bureaucracy) when any player builds out to 13+ clans. The player with the most clans wins; tiebreaker = food remaining?
 
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21. Board Game: Colorpop [Average Rating:5.72 Overall Rank:8523]
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Hillsborough
North Carolina
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Mary, John, Angelika, and me.

This game had been getting a lot of play. It was even drawing big audiences, likely due to the very clever physical design. It's a terrific translation of those gem-pop games into a real product. Game play, however, doesn't seem to be all that interesting. I ended up winning, through no fault of my own.

--- Summary ---
Seed the board by randomly placing tokens into a grid. Players are each assigned a secret color. On your turn, punch out any grouping of 2+ tokens of a single color (whites are wild): everything above each column automatically slides down to fill in the gaps. The game ends when no moves remain. The player with the fewest tokens still on the board wins! If tied, the player who took the fewest of their own color wins.
 
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22. Board Game: Freibeuter [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:5788]
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Hillsborough
North Carolina
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Angelika taught John, Mary, and me how to play this one. We misunderstood a rule (about the multipliers applying to everyone; we thought they were claimed like the other discs, and applied only to the claiming players) but the game still worked. John won our game -- congrats!

This is an interesting area majorities / set collection / hand management game with a pirate theme (pasted on -- it's an abstract, really). It plays pretty quickly and is sort of an early (1998!) "superfiller". Money is earned mostly from other players, so you have to balance earning and spending (loans are expensive!). You are somewhat at the mercy of the cards you draw, but I think there is still room for skillful play.

--- Summary ---
Random setup each game, with tokens scattered around board on grid intersections. These are mostly worth VP (5, 10, or 20) but there are also places that grant money, and tokens that will multiply the value of other VP tokens. Players each get some money, and a few starting cards (2 types: one showing a specific grid, another -- the Flying Dutchman -- showing a row or column).

On your turn, place one of your boats on a VP token, or play a card and place a boat in that grid space. If you play a Flying Dutchman card, use that boat token temporarily, score any completed tokens, then remove Flying Dutchman from board. If a token ends up being surrounded:
- VP token: player with boat on the token wins it (for end game VP) but must pay each surrounding boat some cash. If you need to take a loan, will pay it off at end of game -- with 100% interest!
- booty: each surrounding boat earns $2; remove token from game (game ends when last booty token removed)
- multiplier: set aside; all players' VP tokens of the specified value are worth double

The game can also end if one of the decks of cards runs out, or if a player places all their boats?

When game ends, score 1VP/money + VP for tokens collected. Most VP wins!
 
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23. Board Game: Prize Property [Average Rating:5.62 Overall Rank:12951]
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Hillsborough
North Carolina
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Prize Table

Our picks:
 
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24. Board Game: Das Motorsportspiel [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:2194]
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Hillsborough
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After a delicious (but VERY large) Ethiopian dinner with Janna and Gee, neither Mary nor I were up for anything too long. Stven came a-lookin', I hadn't played anything with him so far, and we were just going to do a 1 lap intro game -- perfect! He, David, and Paul had all played before but it was new to me and Mary.

This is kind of a fun race game, and the only one I've played in which you actually feel time pressure to race! I never got it in my head that you cannot change lanes on a 1 roll, and ended up crashing before even finishing that one lap! Still, the time pressure of doing everything (select and roll dice, make legal moves) within 30 seconds works very well for a race game. I'm not sure, though, that I'd like to play a full game (which BGG says lasts 2 hours)! Maybe once I've internalized the rules better?

--- Summary ---
The track is a huge single sheet. Players start in designated positions. Each round, take turns from front to back. On your turn (timed; 30 seconds seems popular), which starts when you pick up the dice (2 regular d6, 1 d6 with only values 1-3), you must roll 1-3 d6 and use those to move your car following several rules:
- MAY flip dice to their opposite face
- put dice in a sequence; use each one, in sequence, fully
- ONLY forward movement (no sudden lane changes, backups, NO TAKEBACKS)
- lane changes only allowed with dice showing 2, 3, or 5
- track sections showing speed limits (e.g., turns) may only be moved through with dice showing that speed or fewer pips
Your turn ends immediately (with car in current position) if you make any errors or run out of time. Depending on the severity of your mistake(s), you get different colored flags (a bunch of minor errors can convert to more severe colors). With enough severe errors, you're out of the race.

In a single lap race, of course, the first to cross Finish wins.
 
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25. Board Game: The Builders: Middle Ages [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:1392]
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Hillsborough
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SUNDAY JUNE 22 - Day 4

As usual for Oasis, the place largely clears out Saturday night with only a few stragglers still around on Sunday. Fortunately, a few were early(ish) risers, too! Mary taught Joe how to play this while I was packing up our games. Then he taught me.

It's a pretty simple set-collection / engine building game, of sorts. You build sets of skills in various colors by drafting cards, and use those in combinations to complete other cards you've also drafted. It's an efficiency game of trying to best match your set of skills with the set of requirements for building cards, so that you can quickly complete projects to get you to the 15(?) VP target and win the game. It doesn't require many completed buildings to win, so there may be a somewhat large luck component with how well your initial draw matches up with the relatively few cards you end up seeing in the card rows. But the game is pretty quick so that level of randomness may not be a big problem.

A pretty good filler, I think. I'd guess it's best with 2 -- with more, the card row could be completely different and you'd have to start thinking about your actions all over again.

--- Summary ---
There are 2 card rows in display: workers, and projects. Workers, who have skills in 1-4(?) types (colors), can be apprentices, journeymen, or masters (with differing total skill value and allocation amongst the 4 types/colors). Players each start with a random apprentice in front of them, and some money (10?). The Projects include some tools, and various buildings; all require a particular set of skills to complete.

On your turn, you get 3(?) actions; may buy additional actions at $5 each. Use these to acquire cards from the card row (place in your display) or to allocate Workers to Projects (paying them their wages). For each project, each Worker beyond the first assigned to it this turn costs extra (actions? coins?). Once a Project has the required type and amount of skills, amongst all the Workers assigned to it, it is completed: buildings go to your score pile, tools stay in display (and are subsequently treated the same as workers), and you usually get some cash.

The game ends at the end of the round when a player has 15+(?) VP. The player with the most VP wins.
 
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