BK's Hardcore 10x10 in 2015 List
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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I really enjoyed the 2014 Challenge to Play 10 Games 10 Times which makes it an easy decision to do it again in 2015!

The 10 games I chose for 2015 are not 10 play givens, otherwise I would not placed them on the list. The beauty of the challenge is to bring attention to good yet neglected games in our collection that we want to see at the table. This year I also solicited more input from my wife and kids in order to extend the interest beyond my own enjoyment.


I'll maintain details of my progress on this list and a summary status of My Selections on the official challenge list (once it's created).

I'm also attempting to complete 15 Games BK Wants to Play in 2015.

KEY:
___ = needed plays
___ = completed plays

Feel free to subscribe and follow my progress and post comments along the way.

My earlier list:
BK's Hardcore 10x10 in 2014 List

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1. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:47]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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I pulled the trigger on 7 Wonders in 2014 to get 1/2 price shipping for an online order. I figured it was a safe gamble for a "cult of the proven" buyer like me given its popularity and numerous awards.

My wife, girls, and friends have all enjoyed it and we acquired a bunch of expansions and promos at Gen Con, so we need to make sure we get our plays out of it to cover our ROI. It represents our family game selection for this year's list.

Pre-2015 Plays: 18x

Progress:


Jun-20 - After Father's Day dinner the four of us finally pulled this one off the shelf with the Leaders expansion for two plays (2x). I won the first one 67-48-46-46, and my daughters battled it out for the win in the second one, 78-68-54-44.

Jul-18 - We had a full table of 7p at Ray Con IV with a few newbies and some veterans for a fun game of 7 Wonders. The birthday girl won 62-52-48-43(me)-41-39-38.

12-Sep - We finished off Game Night with a 7p game with a fairly close finish, 50-47-46(me)-42-41-39-17. Then four of us played another game before cleaning up which was a bit more lopsided in my favor, 67-43-42-39.

22-Nov - After our small group Thanksgiving Dinner we had one person stay for a couple of games so we played to games of 7 Wonders which she won both games 53-45-45 and 54-47-40 with myself in the middle both times.

12-Dec - It was my night at Game Night when it came to 7 Wonders, winning both games. The first 58-52-46-44-44 and the second 59-47-40-36-30. The first game Dan and I kept each other in check until the very end. The second game Dan was resource challenges as I didn't feed him much to work with most of the game.

30-Dec - Quick family game after dinner to complete the 10x10 challenge. Family not happy that I won after checking the scoring.

Everyone has fun with this when it gets to the table. Even within our game group now, most people have played and we don't need to go through the rules, we can deal and go. Nice, quick, fun game for all.

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2. Board Game: Abyss [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:339]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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My wife chose Abyss as "her" purchase at Gen Con this past summer. When I proposed four options for our final selection to round out our list it was a quick and decisive decision.

At first glance you notice the beautiful artwork but there is also an elegant game with subtle depth making it a worthy selection for the 2015 challenge. Our hope is that we can get our kids or friends to give it a try so as not to play ten 2p games.

Pre-2015 Plays: 10x

Progress:


12-Jan - Tough set of staring lords. Wife got a jump start on the lords with keys getting two locations to my none and ending the game faster than I could counter. A quick defeat 74-59.

24-Mar - A quick game over coffee in the morning and what a game. We tallied up 93 points each with the win decided by pearls. My 4 to her 2 for the slim advantage.

28-Apr - After a failed attempt to get to the gym this morning we opted to play a quick game. We both tried different approaches where I pulled off the win, 88-75, to tie things up between us at 5-5.

07-Jul - I was working up a master plan and lost track of how many lords my wife had accumulated and the game ended abruptly. Doh! She wins 73-70.

09-Jul - Once again it came down to my wife racing to the finish and having two additional lords, regardless of my great location combo and high ranking affiliates. She wins 64-60.

21-Aug - My wife raced to the finish and once again got the better of me. At least I had 6 lords this time, but she had 4 to my 1 monster tokens which may have been the difference.

23-Aug - Again, it came down to getting more lords. Hil and I both were on the light end of lords, having more locations isn't going to make up for that gap. LR beat her husband by 5 for the win with 85 pts.

15-Sep - Wife absolutely crushed it this morning acquiring lord cards faster than I could finish a cup of coffee and collect only four of my own. Defeated 82-56 and left to figure out how to beat her in this one.

05-Nov - Rinse and repeat. Wife buys up lords faster than I can blink and when I finally get something going it's time to take my last turn and see how badly she's beaten me buy. Mercy! 77-53 and she now has a commanding 10-5 record against me.

10-Nov - I got out to a faster, smarter start and was able to slow my wife down temporarily before she got busy in a hurry and still triggered the end game but I was able to get higher scoring lords, affiliates, and a bunch of monster tokens to pull off a convincing 93-74 win to improve my record slightly.

We continue to enjoy this game however as a 2p game I think we are ready for the expansion to mix it up and will probably only come out occasionally as we've got some games to catch up on. The base game with more players would still be a welcomed experience as it is more interesting and something we have not done often. My wife continues to own me in this one but I'm starting to find ways to slow her down... I think.

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3. Board Game: AquaSphere [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:396]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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I pre-ordered one of Feld's two 2014 titles, Aquasphere on Kickstarter. I chose it for the list because it's Feld, it's new, and I want to ensure that it gets played.

As huge Feld fans I expect it will be a relatively easy game to get 10 plays and will help us make progress while we look for opportunities to squeeze some of the other games in over the course of the year. It looks like an interesting theme (although I would have liked the other box cover than the one they chose).

Received my KS copy 12-Jan.

Pre-2015 Plays: 0x

Progress:


22-Jan - Our first play. Wow! It looks busy and confusing, at first, but I'd say it is actually quiet elegant and simple to grasp the actions, more so than Trajan, yet way more challenging to foresee which string of actions to take each round. This is going to be an interesting one to play and learn. My wife pulled off the win in the endgame scoring with her completed station bonus, 66-56.

24-Jan - Ouch, I had -14 in octopod penalties at the end of the last round which really hurt. Wife did a great job of getting her subs out and acquiring six different letters for the end game crushing blow for a 77-61 win.

18-Mar - We forgot one rule (when taking an expand lab action you add robots to any lettered locations) until midway, so we just kept it out for consistency. My wife continues her undefeated record winning 71-66.

09-Apr - Once again I came up short and my wife continued her domination in the Aquasphere with a 70-68 win. Ugh! It seems like I come up one or two moves short of it all coming together. Continuing to enjoy this one.

10-Apr - Wife was a bit tired and absent-minded, but I still consider my win legit. I appreciate the tough decisions one has to make when what you want to do seems so easy and straight forward. It's the planning out an ideal sequence of actions that is a real challenge.

09-May - BillCon V: I taugh three newbies, but by this time in the day (fifth game since 8:00 am?) some of us had been playing all day without any coffee (none of us brought a coffee pot thinking there was one in the church kitchen, but it was either broken or locked up), so we were getting seriously slap happy and absent-minded. In the end I thought I finally claimed my first victory of the day only to lose the tiebreaker (3 bots to 2 in control. 4p is definitely longer, but just as much if not more fun as a 2p game. I enjoyed it.

20-Jun - A bunch of us got together for some games Saturday night. My table played a 4p game of Aquasphere shortened by one round due to time which resulted in me coming up short by a few points to finish in second, 52-48-46-41.

25-Jul - Despite not being very good at this game I still enjoy it. My wife wins nearly every time and it is not her favorite Feld, not even close. Go figure. I have an affinity for 2nd place regardless of player count. Lost 81-61.

27-Jul - I pursued a heavier card strategy with the aim of completing my lab for a 5p bonus--both would be firsts for me. I'm not saying it's a magic formula for victory but it did work this time with a 74-67 win. My 2p record against my wife improves to 2-5.

01-Sep - I felt I put together one of my better games and still got crushed by my wife who strung together another great game winning 85-66.

Although not my favorite Feld it certainly is a good one that continues to baffle me. I struggle to navigate through the choices in front of me to effectively yield a winning strategy. Ah, I'll be puzzling through this one for a while longer, for sure.

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4. Board Game: Blueprints [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:807]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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Blueprints is my filler choice for this year's challenge. Last year I had a couple fillers. Despite being generally quick and easy games to play, fillers have been hard for me to get to the table consistently.

I acquired this at Gen Con in 2014 based on its portability and light, yet fun theme. It is okay with two but plays better with 3-4 from my experience.

Pre-2015 Plays: 4x

Progress:


01-Jan - First game of the 10x10in2015 Challenge. Winner called it beginner's luck.

06-Feb - Had friends over and squeezed in a 4p game before they left. I pulled of the win in the tiebreaker 7-7-5-3 to cap off the evening (after a crushing 6th place finish in Settlers).

20-Jun - My youngest and I played a bunch of 2p games Saturday afternoon including a game of Blueprints. We went into the last round tied but I managed to win this one 6-4 by earning a bonus card.

13-Nov - Not my wife's favorite game (but it's better in her mind than Keyflower... probably because it's shorter), but she is playing it with me anyways to help complete the challenge. I ended up winning this one 6-4. We had a tie-breaker situation that didn't seem right the way the rules were written so we awarded it the way we felt it should have gone and I'm posting a question to the forums for her edification.

13-Nov - With a refresher game under out belts we both got a little more serious in going for points ending in an 8-8 tie with me wining the tiebreaker 3-2. Getting a double prize the one round was the difference.

19-Nov - My wife won the awards and the tiebreaker for prizes in both the first two rounds and asked that I concede the victory which I gladly did.

19-Dec - My youngest crushed me, or more accurately outwitted me in a 12-6 beat down this morning. I'm very impressed by my potential future architect. Well played, kiddo.

19-Dec - My daughter had to be at church early for the pre-Christmas Show activities and same with my friend's daughter, so we met up in the cafeteria and played a quick game of Blueprints to pass the time. I had a poor showing and simply got outplayed the first two rounds and had a big last round but came up short, 8-10.

29-Dec - I helped my youngest with the dishes in exchange for a rematch which I won 8-4. We then bribed my wife that is she joined us for my tenth and last play for the challenge I would put the game on the trading block and she'd never have to play it again. She agreed. I won, 13-8-2.
I thought this might be a good filler game for our collection for game nights or family time. It didn't really interest anyone in my group enough to want to play it. I feel it plays better with 3-4p but unfortunately it has been challenging for me to just get an opponent. Well, it was a photogenic game with those dice. I hope to find it a good home.

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5. Board Game: Bruges [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:222]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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Bruges has become my favorite Feld game. I fully intend to acquire the expansion, Bruges: The City on the Zwin, making it another logical choice for the list.

Bottom line, I want to play more of my favorite games and Bruges is one of those Top 10 Favorites that I'm including in this year's challenge.

Pre-2015 Plays: 27x

Progress:


08-Jan - Wife and I played a quick 2p game over coffee before work. I ran with a card awarding a yellow worker each round that has a yellow 5/6 die result combined with a character that awarded two coins for each musician (I think) which produced me four coins nearly every round. Then I got busy with canal building to leverage my card that awarded 2VP bonus for each canal/statue bonus in end game scoring. I ended up winning 58-54.

09-Jan - This game had lots of same color card rounds which made it challenging for me to decide how to play it. I gave it a valiant effort but my wife had the better play to pull off a 64-54 win.

08-Feb - We split the wins in two (2x) tough games where we kept each other in check and struggled to get what was left over to translate to any effective strategy. Remains our most competitive 2p game, 12-12, tied.

12-Feb - My wife got her point generating engine going early and cranked out points for a crushing 77-58 beat down. Good thing the coffee was good.

28-Feb - I tried leveraging some early cards and workers for points each round but lost all my workers at a critical point costing me some points. However, wife had a good engine going that kept pace and still would have won. Final: 69-59. She's on a roll.

28-Feb - Man that was close! It felt like I was doing much better than that and my wife collected two statues and I knew it was going to be close. But a bit lower scoring than I thought it would be but I won today's rematch 51-49.

01-Mar - Argh! I misplayed my last turn. But had I not then it would have been tied and I still would have lost with fewer Guilders. Tried some different things and almost pulled it off. Wife maintains her advantage with a 54-53 win.

02-Mar - I thought I played a very good game but my wife played even better, but she won't reveal what it was that worked for her and I didn't take notice. She won 80-69.

02-Mar - In the rematch and to finish the plays for the challenge I won 64-47. I came back big to win with end game bonuses pushing me ahead.

I really like Bruges. It is a fun game. For a while now I've considered it my favorite Feld, but I'm second guessing that a little bit. I don't know what it is but I feel on the verge of something but I can't seem to pull it off. I know others will say it's the randomness, and I will concede. However, I don't think that the randomness ruins the game it creates a tension that makes it fun. I think part of me says as much as I like it as a 3p game, I like it even more as with more. I never did get the expansion to include in this challenge as I had originally expected would be the case, but perhaps adding it into the mix will renew my confidence in this as the top Feld design. For now its in jeopardy of dropping a spot or two.

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6. Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy [Average Rating:8.13 Overall Rank:14]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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We love our Feld games. Castles was our first and most played of his games. We are approaching 100 plays so like my first year's list I want to have a 100+ play candidate on the list.

On top of all that, I asked my sister-in-law living in Germany to order me the back issue of Spielbox magazine with the The Castles of Burgundy: 1st Expansion – New Player Boards and bring them at Christmas so that we'd have them to add to the mix in 2015. More Castles, more fun, more Feld in 2015.

Pre-2015 Plays: 83x

Progress:


01-Jan - Our first game with the new expansion boards. Not exactly sure what if anything special is involved. Great way to start our new year. I won 219/#10b-178/#10a.

01-Jan - Swapped boards and had similar results--wife won 212-137. Not quite ready to say that #10b is flawed as I left some big points on the board that could have gone my way a few times had the factors varied just a pinch.

06-Jan - Started the morning off playing another pair of new expansion boards. I won 191/#10c - 187/#10d in what felt like maybe the closest, tightest 2p game of Castles in recent memory.

06-Jan - We swapped boards and had another very competitive and close finish. I took the win 202/#10d - 191/#10c. It is still too early to tell but these two boards seemed pretty balanced, competitive, and fun to play.

27-Jan - We played two more of the Spiel edition expansion player boards for anotehr brutal, neck-and-neck the whole way. I started to pull away a bit in the last round but had minimal bonuses. Wife cashed in on her bonus tiles to pull off the win 172/#10f - 171/#10g.

28-Jan - I tried a very different approach than normal based on the board and the roll of the dice leading with a strong Knowledge strategy that kept me in the lead until the end game bonuses where I got demolished. Wife wins 204/#10g - 186/#10f.

03-Feb - I got destroyed on end game bonuses, otherwise we were quite even. Wife is on a roll and this in now her favorite game again! Her(214/#10b), Him(193/#10h); My 90th play of Castles.

05-Feb - Wife and I split a pair of plays after dinner with my winning the first 198/#10f - 133/#10h, and her the second 201/#f - 155/#10d. Board #10f was the clear winner tonight.

10-Feb - I won a tough, low scoring game, BK(174/#10h), HK(146/#10e), to finish off the 10 plays for the challenge.

The expansion boards propelled this game to its 10 plays really quick. We are also approaching 100 plays for our first Feld and non-card game which is exciting and our next milestone with Castles. We intend to play the expansion boards with expansion board's tile placement rules which we missed some how.

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7. Board Game: Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:79] [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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Dead of Winter was my most anticipated release of 2014. I played it a few times in 2014, but not nearly enough. By adding it to this list I keep the pressure on myself to get it to the table.

I really like the unique story that unfolds as players work together to ensure the survival of the colony while tending to individual objectives. Beware the potential traitor if the swarming zombies aren't enough.

Pre-2015 Plays: 3x

Progress:

09-May - BillCon V: I've been wanting to get Dead of Winter back to the table for some time since the initial plays just after getting it last year. I played a short scenario (Leave it All?) with three newbies so it took more time to explain than I had planned for which unfortunately left us to make the win/lose call before we actually finished given the set 2 hrs time limit per game. We did have a betrayer who we managed to exile after losing three moral from two subsequent failed crises at his hand. When our time was up, moral was awfully low and we still had quite a bit of food to collect for the group objective so we claimed a loss. However, the guys enjoyed it and felt the game has potential and would most likely play faster at a future game night (yes!). I'd add that less distractions would have helped with the pace of the game too as I was getting pulled away to answer game rules questions.
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8. Board Game: Fidelitas [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:3796]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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When I returned from Gen Con with fewer purchases than expected I immediately supported Fidelitas on Kickstarter, a game I had had my eye on prior to the show which also had a locl tie as it was co-developed by a fellow Cincinnatian, Philip duBarry.

This hand management card game has players placing character cards with interesting artwork and unique abilities at various city locations in order to manipulate other cards and meet hidden objectives to score victory points. This is another new game I will receive in 2015 that I want to see get to the table at least ten times.

Received my KS copy 31-Jan.

Pre-2015 Plays: 0x

Progress:


31-Jan - My youngest and I played an initial learning game as soon as it could reach the table from the mailbox. She won 10-8. Had I gotten one more turn it may have gone the other way. It will be fun learning the various card actions and various ways to manipulate their abilities. I am very excited about getting this Kickstarter... on time!

11-Feb - My friend and I grasped and leveraged the manipulation aspect of the game making it more interesting and enjoyable than my initial play. It was definitely more competitive. Not too light and not quite medium weight.

03-Mar - I taught my wife over lunch. She took to it easy enough to pull off a crushing 10-5 win. The more I play this one the more it starts to grow on me.

03-Mar - In a quick and close rematch I managed to steal the win, 11-9. There was the most manipulation of any game yet. It is certinaly more fun once players leverage their actions and move things around. It certainly ups the anty and mkaes it more challenging.

04-Mar - We split another pair (2x) of plays over coffee in the morning. We are really starting to see a fun game in this little box. My wife sees this as another gateway card game to mix up with some of the women at Game Night. I won convincingly 11-6 in the first one, and my wife came back strong being significantly behind to win 10-8 in the second.

04-Mar - Over lunch my wife took the tiebreaker 10-8 one turn before I was able to steal the prize. She now has a 3-2 record against me to take the advantage.

05-Mar - Reread the rulebook last night and was reminded of some minor things we've forgotten (like dealing a card to each location at the start). Lots of manipulating going on. Two (2x) more plays this morning, both wins for me to take a 4-3 lead in our spousal competition.

07-Mar - Our first play with the expansion cards and our last play for the 10x10 Challenge. I pulled off the win to take a 5-3 lead in the head-to-head competition.

Fidelitas started off leaving the impression it was too light a game for my tastes but the more we've played it and the more we mix it up by manipulating the cards in play the more interesting and challenging the game has become. All our plays have been 2p. We're interested in seeing how this plays with more.

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9. Board Game: Keyflower [Average Rating:7.85 Overall Rank:49]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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Keyflower will be competing for table time with three Feld titles but it deserves more love and attention that it received in 2014 which is why it makes this year's list. I also passed on a lot of other games to buy at the time to pick up this title given its strong reputation on BGG.

My wife is skeptical but I hope to win her over. If not I'll have to try my game group to gain some fans to help me reach my goal. I hope to prove this game has staying power in 2015.

Pre-2015 Plays: 3x

Progress:


11-Feb - I made a major blunder not seeing that I was outbid for the Craftsman's Guild with plenty of workers to counterbid, thus leaving 27 pts on the table and settled with a 51-51 tie.

21-Feb - I like this game the more I play it. Unfortunately, two of the players tonight did not like it and said they played the whole game and still didn't get it. My wife already doesn't like it either. This is going to be hard to get to the table. Regarding this play itself, once again I blew the end game. I outbid the ultimate winner for a tile he was really going for, only to have him move this workers to the endgame tile I was targeting. I ended up being one worker short of being able to outbid him for it... once again leaving 30 pts on the table. I finished second: RR(58), BK(43), JF(35), TM(28), MR(DNF).

07-Sep - Darksteel and I really enjoy this game and got together early in the morning for coffee and another play only to tie once again. Had I made wiser choices and not been drawn to push my luck (a bad habit in this one apparently) it would have been lopsided in my favor. However, given I thought this was going to be blown out, I'll take the tie.

11-Nov - My buddy and my previous two plays ended in surprising ties. So we were excited to finally get this game back to the table and settle this thing. I cranked the deliveries and amassed a pile of goods in both games for 3x a piece to run away with the wins without getting greedy and trying to do too much or sabotage my opponent which has cost me big wins in the past. It is a shame more people in our group don't enjoy this one, as it is a great game. I won 80-54 and 97-62.

21-Nov - BGG users edelen, darksteel and myself sat down for a 3p game at Game Night with some friendly smack talk. It all came down to one tile which I thought I had only to realize be out bid in the last round. edelen wan 67-62-62. Great game. It continues to be engaging and fun for those willing to play.

18-Dec - My friend, darksteel, and my brother in law came over for a great 3p game which came down to the battle for the winter tile giving 3VP x each set of B-Y-R meeples (Craftsman's Guild) you finished the game with. I had amassed a pile of 15 iron and gold for 3VP apiece with the Blacksmith, but without both I came up short.

20-Dec - A buddy and I were faced with an odd combination of tiles that did not align well with either of our villages leading to an increased importance on maximizing the end game scoring tiles for point scoring. I pulled off a 66-55 win.

25-Dec - After lunch and opening gifts, my brother-in-law and I pulled out Keyflower for a 2p go. It was another close one that could have gone either way. Had I not made some of my late game moves I could very well have lost to a less experienced player.

28-Dec - It came down to the biggest engine. I worked stone and gold production along with collecting anvil tiles for 90 points. My opponent acquired all the green workers and three goods combos for 85. I continue to like this game the more I play it.

Keyflower was difficult to get to the table simply because my wife does not like it. Fortunately I found a few others willing to play it with me down the stretch to finish it off for the challenge. It has moved up on my Top 50 list for sure, but unless my wife becomes a fan I am not likely to invest in any expansions for it. My fear is that it will only see occasional or rare plays from here as I've got a full load of new and favorite games patiently waiting for table time in next year's challenge.

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10. Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:112] [Average Rating:7.64 Unranked]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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LotR: TCG is my solo game for this year's challenge. Last year I didn't have one, although Sentiels of the Multiverse degraded to that in order to reach its 10 plays in the 2014 Challenge.

I still have much to learn about the base decks. Including it in the 2015 challenge ensures I continue the learning process and if I ultimately like it, I intend to choose an adventure cycle to explore further.

Pre-2015 Plays: 4x

Progress:


18-Jan - Played the Passage Through Mirkwood scenario in my second use of the base game's Tactics deck. It took a significant amount of time to familiarize myself with the rules again. I figured out an early mistake, but none the less I got crushed. I managed to make 6 progress on 1B which is 2 more than last time. I have a ways to go yet. This game can be painfully fiddly and frustrating at times.

24-Jan - A third attempt at Passage Through Mirkwood with the Tactics deck. I nearly pulled off a successful passage gaining 4 prog on Beorn's Path (3B) and getting stuck on Old Forest Road while merely holding off enemies but making no progress in attack while threat level proved too much. Ah, so close.

25-Jan - My fourth Passage Through Mirkwood with the Tactics deck didn't go very well. Um... it didn't last very long either. I got hammered in the Quest phase. One of my big frustrations in this game, is that I rarely am in a position to make any progress on the trek unless I decide to take a tumult which leaves a hero on the verge of death as a result. Add to that facing Ungoliant's Spawn and Hummerhorns and you have a formula for a quick, crushing defeat. Ouch! Time to try the next deck?

27-Feb - My first play with this Spirit deck. I like Eowyn's high willpower which seems to be for me the thing I've been most in want of with the prior decks. This is a hard game, but I pulled off a surprising and rare win. I also realized I've been reading the 3B card that speaks about Ungoliant's Spawn incorrectly. I always thought it meant I couldn't win until it was played and defeated, but it's IF it's in play you have to defeat it. Big difference.

05-Apr - Second play with the Spirit deck. I took a brutal defeat in the Passage through Mirkwood at the hands of evil. Eowyn was taken out early by a series of treachery cards, a location card then prevented me from getting additional cards, and both Ungoliant's Spawn and the Hummerhorns returned to overwhelm my remaining two heroes. I think next play will be with the next scenario and if time permits my first hand at deck building.

08-Jul - I decided to move on to the Journey Along the Anduin scenario and realized I hadn't played the Lore deck yet so gave it a whirl. It was a brutal first play. For details: Solo Lore Deck Journey (Beating) Along the Anduin.

28-Jul - First time (solo) with two players using the preset Spirit and Lore decks and I successfully completed the Journey Along the Anduin scenario! I had some good cards that allowed me to use the snare against some beasts and got lots of allies out to get lots of initiative to make good progress on the locations. Playing with two decks may have saved this game for me. Much more enjoyable. In talking about it I may have just interested my wife enough to try it sometime. Time will tell.

18-Aug - Destroyed by the fourth round by a Marsh Adder and Hill Troll which took six damage but not enough in the Journey Along the Anduin scenario playing the Lore and Spirit decks. It didn't help that our first location prevented me from getting more cards as long as it was our current location and I couldn't get rid of either brutal attackers to make any progress. Mercy!

05-Sep - Another attempt at Journey Along the Anduin (Solo/2-handed) using the Leadership and Spirit decks. But it is impossible to win when you have Hill Trolls doubling down the same player. Mercy!

01-Dec - My Leadership heroes took the brunt of the fight to the enemies and took down 10 victory points worth of Hill Troll, Marsh Adder, etc. before falling. Their sacrifice paved the way for the Spirit heroes to successfully complete the Journey Along the Anduin over taking the hoard to finish my 2015 10x10 Challenge for this game with a win.
Making the switch to 2p hands in my solo plays saved this game for me. Still fiddly, but more engaging and better odds and options to navigate the challenges. I'm leaning towards including this again in the 2016 Challenge to encourage more play with the first expansion I've got and dabbling in a little bit of deck building.

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11. Board Game: Seasons [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:180]
Bill Kunes
United States
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Ohio
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ALTERNATE: I didn't include an alternate for the 10x10in2014 Challenge, but this year I am including Seasons. I acquired it and both expansions in the Gen Con Math Trade and have managed 5 plays in 2014 of just the base game. Should I get in trouble completing one of my choices I think there is enough to explore yet in this one to go the distance.

Pre-2015 Plays: 5x

Progress:


04-Aug - We were looking for something we hadn't played in a while to play over coffee before work. We chose this one and took a little while to refresh ourselves with the news. In the end we were a bit rusty and it came down to the wire. I lost, 112-113. Congrats to my wife, tying our face-to-face record at 3-3.

26-Aug - BGG users jmoline and I played a 2p game on BGA. I had 0 crystals at the midway point, but had 2-3 turns in a row where I had some really nice card play via combos and lots of transmutations to score some points. The volume of cards I had in play at the end also provided a nice boon that was difficult to overcome.

03-Sep - jmoline and I played another tense game on BGA. The last couple of rounds were exceptionally tense. I gambled and rolled the dice getting a favorable outcome, but not quite enough to pull off the win. Fun game.

09-Sep - I was working to setup a bonus for most cards in play with my last card late in the last season, but jmoline was holding more cards than I was, so I had to keep taking away 4 crystals hoping I could get more stars and a card or two, only to lose a card and see him rack up some major points late for a thrilling strong finish. It came down to the tiebreaker. 125-125 where he had 9 cards in play to my 8 giving him the win. Nice finish.

10-Sep - What a game. jmoline and I both regressed the calendar three spaces each allowing for more time. I also got 14 cards making it the most cards and most points I've accumulated yet in a game for a 228-213 win. Nice.

11-Sep - I played the stealth player by holding some brutal cards until the end while also discarding my low and negative point cards and claiming bonus points for 9 energy at the end game to make for a major comeback win much to the chagrin of my wife. Both of us played our best games against each other to date. I chalk up my win to the online plays with jmoline where I'm starting to see some of the strategy now.

11-Sep - jmoline, vacabck and I played a 3p game on BGA tonight that saw a ton of cards get played. I struggled to get cards out early and they weren't great ones when I did. I felt safe though given how many cards my opponents were having to take, but as I said, tons of cards got played this game including ones discarded and taken back which translated to serious points for my worthy opponents who stuck it to me. ("I should probably stick to ballet dancing.") BCK won 243-198-149(me) for a fun virtual game night.

14-Oct - vacabck and I played a 3p game on BGA. This time I got top lay a 20 VP card, pick it back up and play it again for some early momentum that kept me going all the way to the finish. Big win-200-138-109.

15-Oct - jmoline closed with a POW! in the very last turn transmuting a bucket full of water energy to dowse my hopes of pulling off a come from behind win in the last round transmuting fire and air. Very nice back and forth. Well played.

31-Oct - jmoline once again closed hard and fast leaving me in the dust the last year holding three cards requiring lots of earth and fire energy I just couldn't get. I forgot about the ability to leverage the bonus actions (or what ever they are called) to swap energy tokens that might have allowed me to get one in play earlier to enjoy some benefit. Regardless the 179-110 score was too much to over come.
Thanks to James and Brandon, playing Seasons during this challenge ultimately changed my mind about the game. I'm seeing strategies immerge and combinations that are making sense. It has actually moved up in my ranking of games and I look forward to learning the two expansions I have yet to play.

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