Books and Boards- MplsMatt's 10x10, now with reading!
Matt Clark
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
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So I've been wanting to try a 10x10 for the last year but wasn't sure if it would be too much to ask of the other game players in my life to play games I picked over and over. However, after talking to my buddies:

Travis Hill
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I spent more time clipping chits than playing games
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about their solo 10x10's I decided to revisit the challenge. After looking at the "normal" vs "hardcore" rules and realizing that I could switch up the games if I wanted to or switch back and forth between solo and multiplayer, I decided I would go for it.

However, to spice things up I decided to include another challenge for myself. Somewhere between finishing high school and finishing college, I became a really miserable, undisciplined reader. I'd like to challenge myself to read 10 books over the next year (not a big deal for many of you, I realize). To make it extra fun, I am choosing books that tie into the themes of the games I'm playing. A couple of months ago, I listened to the "Revolutions" podcast about the English Civil Wars before playing Cruel Necessity for the first time and I thought it really added to the experience. I'm hoping to create a similar experience with this challenge.

This is clearly a work in progress, so the books and games may change before my bitter defeat the end of the year. Also, I welcome suggestions of books (particularly in the 200-400 page range) for any of the games below.
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1. Board Game: Age of Steam [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:116]
Matt Clark
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Minneapolis
Minnesota
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One of my all time favorite games and one that plays well solo. I have a ton of maps that haven't been played, to boot.

I'll be reading Stephen Ambrose's, Nothing Like it in the World. It's not an exact thematic match, but trains, railroads, etc. Good enough.

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2. Board Game: Circus Train (Second edition) [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:3022] [Average Rating:7.15 Unranked]
Matt Clark
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Minneapolis
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A favorite with our game club and a favorite with my weekly group. It also plays just fine solo. I don't know how much this game interests me from a strategic point of view, but with repeat plays I think I'll have a better idea of why this chaotic game appeals to me (I'm kind of randomness averse)

I've never read the thematic inspiration for this game, Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants, but this seems like the time to do it.

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3. Board Game: Panamax [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:466]
Matt Clark
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Minneapolis
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Definitely in my top 5 games this year, I hope to play Panamax many more times. There's a solo variant I would like to try and I think I could just solo play this one anyway.

I'll be reading The Path Between the Seas by David McCullough. This book is way too long for this challenge, but the nights are long and the winter is cold here in Minnesota. Wish me luck!

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4. Board Game: Pax Porfiriana [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:377]
Matt Clark
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Minneapolis
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Another game that's popular at the First MN game nights but plays pretty well solo. This is the Eklund game for me, apparently, so I might as well dig further into it. There are so many cards I haven't even played with yet.

I was going to check the designer's notes for book suggestions, but I'd be happy to entertain some in the comments.

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5. Board Game: Snowdonia [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:347]
Matt Clark
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I love Snowdonia and I have taught it many times. There are more than a few people who have requested a repeat play of this and the solo game is good. I've got a few unplayed scenarios for this one as well blush

Anybody know of any good Welsh Railway books?

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6. Board Game: España 1936 [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:1710]
Matt Clark
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Minneapolis
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I actually don't own this yet, but I have a book for it. I'll update with details, soon.

Update: I'll be reading The Passionate War by Peter Wyden.

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7. Board Game: Storm Over Dien Bien Phu [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:3678]
Matt Clark
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Minneapolis
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Another one I don't own, but have a book for it. Update soon!

Update: I'll be reading Embers of War by Fredrik Logevall

 
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8. Board Game: Cruel Necessity [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:1600]
Matt Clark
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
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Part of the inspiration for this list! I'm looking at reading Blair Worden's The English Civil Wars: 1640-1660. It's short and might be a little superficial, but I could probably use the break at some point.

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9. Board Game: The Hunters: German U-Boats at War, 1939-43 [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:940] [Average Rating:7.71 Unranked]
Matt Clark
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Minneapolis
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This should be on the way to me sometime in the near future.

I'm looking at reading Silent Hunters by Theodore P. Savas for this one.

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10. Board Game: Brass: Lancashire [Average Rating:8.01 Overall Rank:35]
Matt Clark
United States
Minneapolis
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A favorite game of mine and of many other folks I know. I think I can get 10 plays of this one without too much struggle. I'll have to print out a 2 player board as well.

update: I think I'm going to keep setting up games on http://brass.orderofthehammer.com/index.php. They'll be Named MplsMatt Game "X" and the password will be mpls if anyone cares to join. They will be friendly games.

No clue where to start for a book for this one. There's been so much written on the Industrial Revolution. Suggestions welcome!

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11. Board Game: Cuba Libre [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:486]
Matt Clark
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
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Possible alternate. Very manageable game for solo play and one that isn't hard to get a "pick up" game going at game nights. I played this 5 times in 2014, I'm sure I can get 10 plays if I focus.

I'd love to dig further into the history behind this game. We'll see.

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12. Board Game: Wir sind das Volk! [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:534]
Matt Clark
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
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I'm adding this because I like it so much. I just need to identify some folks who want to play this one repeatedly.

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13. Board Game: Maria [Average Rating:7.97 Overall Rank:253]
Matt Clark
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
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Continuing with the Histogame love. I am currently playing this one with at least another guy who wants to get multiple games in. I freaking love this game and can't wait to play agian.

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14. Board Game: Caylus [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:45]
Matt Clark
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
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Easy to set up, low rules overhead, and yet a total meat grinder of a game. I don't particularly like heavy mechanical, efficiency puzzle euros and I realize this is kind of the forbearer to those, but I think the provost action really makes Caylus stand out. I played it twice this week, so it gets on the list!

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15. Board Game: Imperial [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:140]
Matt Clark
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
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I just played Imperial this weekend and realized that I had to add this. I love Imperial and I think it's a worthwhile quest to become good at it through repeat play.

 
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