GCL Amoeba 183 - Lonely Data (2014-8-25)
Jevon Heath
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GameChat League - Amoeba Division 183

ABOUT | AMOEBA DIVISION | SUBSCRIBE

Welcome to this week's Amoeba discussion list. If you have found us through a subscription and are wondering where you are, see the links above. If you found us by accident you're welcome to join in the conversation -- we're friendly symbiotes in real life... But please refrain from adding items if you are not a member of this GCL. Jump on in, the water's fine!

Carlos mb(sprocket314)
Joshua (Joshuaaaaaa)
Mikko (msaari)
Doug (Phrim)
Toms (painkiller)
Garry (garry_rice)
Max (MD1616)
Larry (larryjrice)
Jeroen (jmdsplotter)
Eric (Eric Brosius)
Jevon (cadavaca)

This week's topic is a small puzzle. Hopefully someone'll figure it out so it can spur some discussion. If not... I've added another topic for insurance.
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1. Board Game: The Puzzler [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Jevon Heath
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What do the following seven games have in common?

1861: The Railways of the Russian Empire
Crokinole
Go
Gulf, Mobile & Ohio
Napoleon at Waterloo
Roads & Boats
Titan

Super-bonus question: (don't look unless you want a hint or know the answer)(also it's pretty hard)
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Which four games are missing from this list?

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2. Board Game: The Art of Conversation [Average Rating:6.19 Unranked]
Jevon Heath
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There are many games I've played that I wanted to try again after playing the first time. For some of them, I went out of my way to make that happen (see the original Duel of Ages). For some of them, this desire is vague but persistent. And for yet others, I really want to play them again, but some other game always seems to come up instead.

Is this true for you too? What do you think determines which games fall into which category?
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3. Board Game: Splendor [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:112]
Mikko Saari
Finland
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2 x .10!Dominion
1 x .10!Oregon
1 x _8_Villa Paletti
5 x _8_Splendor (new!)
1 x _8_Takenoko
1 x _7_Fleeting Foxes
1 x _7_Ghost Blitz
2 x _7_Red7
1 x _7_Subdivision
1 x _6_Escape: The Curse of the Temple
6 x _6_Koboldbande (new!)
3 x _6_Battle Sheep (new!)
3 x _6_Realm of Wonder (new!)
1 x _6_Speed Cups (new!)
1 x _5_Om Nom Nom (new!)

A good week. The Dominion includes some new stuff, as I finally got Guilds. Interesting new cards, in that set.

Splendor turned out a bit of a hit. Not with my friends, though, but with my son. It's going to see lots of play, as both me and my son like it, and it's a quick game and easy to play. Doesn't live up to all the hype, I think, as it's kind of dry and serious, but pretty good, anyway.

Koboldbande is a very easy co-op game, good for 4-year-olds, but not much of interest for older kids or adults.

Battle Sheep looks gorgeous and is easy to play and is somewhat clever - totally Mensa Select material, that is.

Realm of Wonder is a fantasy adventure game and the publishers hope for an Essen hit. The game is a bit under-developed in my opinion, but should make some people very happy, as it looks pretty good and is not a bad game.

Speed Cups is nice, but way too easy and has no way to handicap, so I can't play it with the kids.

Om Nom Nom may not be a bad game, but it is a game of guessing what the other players think, and I've never enjoyed that.

A bonus picture: my new game shelf, which contains most of my game collection (couple of bigger boxes on top of the shelf, bunch of small card games elsewhere), excluding children's games.

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4. Board Game: Linko! [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:707]
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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New to Me:

Wow, a second week with no game played that was new to me!

Return Visits:

d10-7 Linko! x4
d10-7 Hamsterrolle x3
d10-7 Colossal Arena x1
d10-6 7 Wonders x1
d10-7 Firefly: The Game x1
d10-7 Glory to Rome x1
d10-8 The Hanging Gardens x1
d10-8 Istanbul x1
d10-8 Kohle & Kolonie x1
d10-6 Red7 x1

Acquisitions:

Tobago - Had sold this one a couple years back and regretted doing so. Picked it back up via trade.

Random Musings:

Linko! continues to be a popular filler. Had several people asking about availability and taking a picture of the game to remember to order it later...

Hamsterrolle has become a popular game with the roommates.

Enjoyed revisiting the craziness of Glory to Rome. I'm always a bit amazed how Chudyk's chaotic games involving overpowered combos always seem to work so well...

Istanbul is very popular around here (while not included in this accounting, next week will see at least another 2-4 plays). I'm not tired of the game as yet.

Got Kohle & Kolonie back to the table and think I've just about got down my teaching script...still enjoying the game.

Might be about finished with Red7. It works but I'm not excited to play and get tired of searching for it in the database.

===================================

Out of curiosity, anyone else besides my twin participate in Fantasy Football leagues? Looking forward to the always tricky 20 team league which drafts Monday night!
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5. Board Game: Ascension: Deckbuilding Game [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:498] [Average Rating:7.03 Unranked]
Max DuBoff
United States
New Brunswick
New Jersey
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_6.5_ Catan: I didn't want to do this for nostalgic reasons, but I finally moved my rating down a half-point for this one. In the game last week (3P), I went third and placed with a focus on wheat (4, 6) with some ore (3, 10) and sheep (9) numbers as well. The ore numbers were 3, 3, and 10, so ore was a scare resource throughout the game. My brother didn't intend to play a development card strategy but ended up stockpiling loads of development cards (his first five were Knights!). His access to wood and sheep and dominance of Largest Army were the deciding factor; with the help of one VP card, he hit 10 while the third player and I only had 7 each. This game didn't seem like it had too much trading because I was focusing on numbers I could make and everyone wanted ore but it was rarely to be had.


_7.5_ 3x Ascension: Deckbuilding Game: After Catan, I convinced my brother (honestly, I'm not sure how) to let me teach him Ascension. He wasn't particularly enthused about the game, but he said didn't hate it either, so hopefully it'll hit the table again. We played three games in a row (I do have to say that the setup was easier than Dominion's for multiple games, though Dominion's isn't all that bad). My brother picked it up quickly and narrowly won the first two by edging me out on honor accumulated during the game (I couldn't really get anything going in terms of deck points). On the other hand, his victories probably helped my chances of getting it back to the table. In the third game, I had a military engine and got some Mechanas for a big victory.

I've now played 4 of the 6 games I acquired at WBC. Time to focus on finding opponents for Manoeuvre and Coup...


_8.5_ Pursuit of Glory (new!): One of the WGRers offered to show me this one over Skype/VASSAL, and although I had to leave shortly afterward (preventing us from playing any live turns), we started a PBEM game. I have the CP. We're in the second turn so far. My Turks started off well against the Russians but fell prey to Enver's excessive eagerness to attack, probably dooming the northern front to a stalemate. The Turks are currently focusing their efforts on Egypt.


_8_ Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001 – ? (new!): I played half a deck of this with someone else over Skype/VASSAL (he gave me a rules intro before we started). I was playing the Jihadists and drew fantastic hands in the first two turns. I converted Pakistan to Jihadist rule and then Somalia. The US intervened pretty quickly in Pakistan and then eventually got around to invading Somalia. By that time, however, I had taken Indonesia/Malaysia. I like the game so far, but I wasn't overwhelmed. I gave it a generous initial rating, but the jury's still out, and I'll definitely be looking for games of this and PuG on WGR.
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6. Board Game: Sentinels of the Multiverse: Vengeance [Average Rating:7.97 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.97 Unranked]
Jeroen Doumen
Netherlands
Eindhoven
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4x _6.75_ Too Many Cinderellas
3x _7.00_ Crokinole
2x _5.75_ Cards Against Humanity
1x _7.25_ Betrayal at House on the Hill
1x _7.25_ Sentinels of the Multiverse
1x _7.00_ Mush! Mush!: Snow Tails 2
1x _7.00_ Taluva
1x _5.50_ Kissenschlacht
1x _5.50_ Savannah Tails
1x _5.50_ Mijnlieff
1x _5.25_ Express
1x _5.00_ Android
1x _5.00_ Workshop of the World
1x _5.00_ Waterloo
1x _5.00_ Lords of Waterdeep
1x _5.00_ Junta
1x _5.00_ Mordred
1x _5.00_ Bakong

Not too much gaming during the week, but a friend organized a gaming weekend and I attended both days . We played quite a bit: so a bit more shorter games as usual.

The new Vengeance expansion of Sentinels of the Multiverse is quite fun - we played the villain team version against four villains, and got quickly hammered into the ground by the environment cards. We took two of them with us though...

Mush! Mush!: Snow Tails 2 is still a great racing game. We set up a quite difficult course, which most people had trouble navigating. Quite some trees did not survive the experience. The next day we played Savannah Tails to complete the racing experience, but Mush Mush is the better game imho.

We also tried another go at Android. Different murder mystery this time - but somehow, it doesn't seem to matter much which mystery you do. I had hoped the game would change a bit more.
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7. Board Game: The Artifact [Average Rating:7.52 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.52 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.52 Unranked]
Jevon Heath
United States
Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania
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_6_ 1x Rail USA
_7_ 1x Ninety-Nine
_7_ 1x Kakerlaken Poker
_7_ 1x Hanabi
_6_ 1x The Artifact
_6_ 1x Irish Gauge
_7_ 1x Tichu

I played another three-player game of Rail USA with two new players. Again one player had the other railroad, and again they came pretty far last. I maintain that it's possible for that person to come out all right, but maybe they have to know the game well.

How had I never played Kakerlaken Poker before? It's totally the poisoned wine game, and it's totally my jam. I think player count probably makes a big difference; we played with five, and it seemed unlikely that many people would be threatened by the loss conditions. The player who went out was the only one who had played before, incidentally.

The Artifact doesn't work without an experienced Judge. 'Nuff said.

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8. Board Game: Last Will [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:326] [Average Rating:7.24 Unranked]
Toms Leikums
Latvia
Jelgava
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2 x Last Will
2 x Dominion: Intrigue (with Dominion: Prosperity, Dominion: Guilds)
2 x Revolver Expansion 1.1: Ambush on Gunshot Trail
1 x Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island
1 x The New Era
1 x Suburbia
1 x Small World (with Small World: Be Not Afraid... Small World: Grand Dames of Small World, Small World: Cursed!, Small World: Royal Bonus)
1 x Libertalia
1 x Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 3 – The Heart of Africa
1 x Lost Cities
1 x Kill Doctor Lucky
1 x Ra
1 x 7 Wonders
1 x Lords of Waterdeep

Last week I was still recovering at home, so really lots of boardgaming. Last Will still stays strong and our gaming group partners even borrowed the copy. It seems that Revolver expansion at least challenges my girlfriend (who didn't enjoy base game anymore) and she wants to win as good guys, so we play it quite often. Can't say I'm not satisfied. Just have to keep winning or else it goes back to the shelf. Also 7 Wonders experience with 2 players was something new, but I definitely like this game better with more. And 5 player Small World with all races and abilities. That definitely is something special.
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9. Board Game: Too Many Cinderellas [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:3319]
Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
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_7_ Ascension: Deckbuilding Game x2 -- Claire plays this game on her iPad, and she picked up a copy of the physical game at the WBC Auction Store. We played two games and she won both of them (it's good that skill matters.) I enjoyed it; some people seem to complain about the randomness of the center cards, but it's a short game so this doesn't bother me. One thing I noticed was that Claire killed all the Mechana cards in the middle in the game in which I built a Mechana machine (and I didn't manage to expose any when I tried to get them by buying cheap stuff.)

_7_ Lords of Xidit -- Stef bought a copy of this re-development of Himalaya when she and Ron were at GenCon. I really like Himalaya, so I was happy to give it a try. In addition to slathering graphics all over the game, they also tried to file off all the rough edges. I suppose I should be happy, but I miss those rough edges! (I also like Outpost more than The Scepter of Zavandor or Phoenicia, so there's a pattern there; maybe I'm just a curmudgeon who likes older games.) My analogy is that Himalaya is like a car with a manual transmission, and that Lords of Xidit improved it---unless you enjoyed driving a car with a manual transmission.

_4_ Valley of the Kings -- The other table was still going, so we tried another new game. This one is another deck-builder, this time with an Egyptian theme. I didn't like it at all---it falls into the category of "games with cards that have tiny little print on them." But I also disliked the need to remember exactly which cards in a set you already have, and in general the need to remember a lot of things I don't want to have to work to remember. It's too much work for the reward, at least in my opinion.

_6_ Too Many Cinderellas x2 -- This is an extremely cute game, and Joe Huber has been playing it like a madman (as of last night, he had already played it 28 times during 2014!) It has a deck of just 16 cards (where have we heard that before?) You are dealt (in a 4-player game) a hand of 4 cards, two of which you will use as clues about who the real Cinderella is and two of which you will retain as Cinderella candidates. The trick is to give clues that eliminate your opponents' candidates while avoiding elimination for your own. We played it twice (it's very short.) I would cheerfully play again, but it didn't "wow" me as it evidently wowed Joe.

.10! Saint Petersburg -- I was getting tired, but Marsha hadn't had her weekly game of Saint Petersburg, and one thing a rating of .10! means is that you don't turn down requests for the game. Joe Huber and I played a game with Marsha. I had ridiculously good luck. The icing on the cake was in the upgrade phase of the final turn, when Marsha was first and a single orange upgrade showed. I was second, and I had a pair of Mistress of Ceremonies, so an upgrade would give me 10 unique orange cards. Marsha went to play a card, and Joe just about died seeing her about to let me have it. Seeing his distress, Marsha explained that she had, to the dollar, just the amount she needed to get the three orange cards she already had played, and taking that upgrade to spite me would have cost her 5 VP for a card in hand at the end plus another 6 VP for having one fewer orange. Needless to say, I won by a kilometer.

_7_ Hanabi -- There's a group at work that schedules periodic lunches at which Hanabi is played. Usually we cancel, sometimes at the last minute, but today we all met. However, we didn't have enough time to finish, which was just as well because we had already made it impossible to get several colors completed. Next we're going to try for King of Tokyo.
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10. Board Game: Sparta [Average Rating:5.55 Overall Rank:12451]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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Not much time for board games this weekend, but I did manage to try out a game that's been sitting on my shelf for a while.

_6_ Sparta x2 (new!) - It was me versus Anni in this two-player game, neither of us had played before. In the first play, we were still trying to figure things out. I lost a guy early on because I didn't know what I was doing. After that though, things started to majorly turn in my direction, and Anni decided to concede as her position was untenable. We decided to play a second game now that we had a feel for it. This game was a lot more competitive, and the only action in the early going was a one-for-one trade of pieces. We played cat-and-mouse for a while with putting each other's pieces in danger. Anni ended up losing a few pieces to me, and I was able to establish a central position on the board. Eventually, I worked her down to three pieces, and I was able to flip all of the cities for the victory.
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11. Board Game: Star Realms [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:88] [Average Rating:7.63 Unranked]
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
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One new game to me this week as I downloaded Star Realms on my iPad to see what all the fuss was about I've seen on BGG It's fun for a solo game on the iPad and I certainly enjoy it more than Dominion...probably in part because I really like the theme and building my fleet! I'll be curious to see where they take this one, but I like the way the cards interact in this one. Not sure I'll ever buy the physical copy since I don't play 2 player much (other than with my son).

Some friends of the family had their two sons home visiting, and they always enjoy coming over to try out new games (albeit on the lighter side). Taught them several new games including:

colonist Rise of Augustus Played this twice, and I evidently taught them too well as they schooled me both times (I don't think I got above 40 points in either game).

colonist Flash Point: Fire Rescue This one caught me by surprise, as I never really took them for co-op players, but they seemed to really enjoy the challenge. Played at the veteran level with a two story building and a basement (I HATE basements!). The fire made short work of us the first time as we had numerous holes in the first story floor due to explosions in the basement that we just couldn't get to in time and the building collapsed on us after only rescuing two victims...it was so short they immediately demanded that we try again, and this time we won relatively easily.

colonist King of Tokyo Played this one twice as well, and got schooled twice here as well
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