GCL Mafia 203 : In the mirror
La Garenne Colombes
Hauts de Seine
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Our current roster in order of preparation (next week's poster in bold):
The first few items are intended to foster discussion.
Please add an item to represent your gaming life for the week of December 1- December 7, 2014. List any games played along with any other information that you deem appropriate. Also, feel free to give life updates, fun facts, or any other super exciting and utterly interesting thoughts you may have.
Rules for the List are:
1) A weekly game is spotlighted and discussed. The poster will choose which questions are asked about it (whether its merits, drawbacks, experiences, etc.).
2) Themed questions are optional. They can be gaming-related topics (current news, trends, etc.) or non-gaming-related topics (food, vacation, unicorns, cleaning the gutters, etc.)
La Garenne Colombes
Hauts de Seine
This post Posted for posterity: Barnes' article on 'the game that ruined Eurogames', the Edward's GCL 202 "Cult..." and some discussions i had with friends on TricTrac.net brought to my mind (again) some questions about my 5 first years into our hobby.
In a few words, i came to these conclusions :
1) i enjoy (more and more) relatively simple rules.
2) i prefer (more and more) short playtime (around 60 minutes or less) and reduced down time.
3) i prefer streamlined mechanics.
4) i love when you are constrained but with meaningful choices.
5) when i have the choice, i prefer to play known games over new games.
So i am more interested about so called "German" games.
This was confirmed in my recent plays of games like Keltis, Alexandros, Kingdom Builder, Québec, Machi Koro, Scotland Yard, Tikal, Pocket Rockets, Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 1 – Team Asia & Legendary Asia, Metropolys, Tigris & Euphrates, Ra, San Marco, Taj Mahal, Samurai...
And mainly with Saint Petersburg i have discovered yesterday. I was hooked (more on this later). I think that this game mark a first U-turn in my gaming life.
So i think i will focus myself on playing this category of games in the future and i won't bother "eurogames", multi solitaire games that emphasis on individual efficiency.
And you ? Where are you now if you are looking back into the mirror ?
Did you ever come to the point to make U-turns ?
Do you have any game that made you reconsidering the way you were used to embrace the hobby ?
Edit : Do you see other games to extend my list ? Some great ancients i have overlooked ?
The Golden Camel UberBadge is a mystery. Nobody knows where it came from or how it got there.
No one expects the Spanish penguin!
2x Dragon Dice
Mice and Mystics
Quiet night this week. Several cancellations due to sickness, bad weather, etc. I played two games of Dragon Dice (and I wasn't even the one who requested it!), a 3-player game of Notre Dame, and 2-player game of Mice & Mystics. We played the ..fourth..? scenario where you control all 6 mice and split into two teams. We lost, but just barely. Later we realized we should've moved the chapter end track up once, so we probably would've won.
The Battle of Five Armies
Xia: Legends of a Drift System
Warfighter: The Tactical Special Forces Card Game x3
Very odd week for me. Emilee (wife) came down with the Flu really bad Tuesday, and Lila ended up getting it as well. Luckily Lila had her flu shot so it was pretty mild. Emilee was out all week. This caused me to miss my normal Wednesday group and I had to fit in a few games here and there to make up for it.
Battle of Five Armies
Really enjoying this. There's virtually no downtime, heavy yet unencumbering strategy and a brilliant tactical system. Love how the two sides feel very different as well.
Something clicked with Xia and I realized why I'm beginning to really like it. It's the only game I play that really captures that youthful desire of being an astronaut and experience the vast unknown of space. I don't get that from any other space game and it's a subtle yet powerful feel when playing Xia.
On My Mind
I turned 30 today, which is also the anniversary of Pearl Harbor. I dunno no real philosophical or life altering thoughts. This weekend has been really strange and kind of taken my mind off of it.
I was supposed to have a huge get together with buddies and do an all day gaming thing yesterday for my birthday. I ended up rescheduling it due to having to work yesterday as we were doing some huge production database upgrades. This ended up being postponed though so I didn't end up having to work.
I was kind of disappointed that we rescheduled the gaming event since I was now free, but thank god. When I got home from work on Friday I went into the basement and found about 2 inches of water covering the entirety. It was around 2000 gallons of water total.
That was one of the worst feelings I've ever felt when I saw the water as I immediately worried about my collection. Luckily the shelves were just high enough to keep the bottom row from hitting the water. I would have lost Earth Reborn, my X-Wing Tantive IV, all of my Myth stuff, Robinson Crusoe, Xia, and Queen's Gambit.
Took several hours to get a plumber out on emergency notice and $200 later they discovered it was the main line that was clogged. All of the water was raw sewage. Excellent.
So yesterday I spent 11 hours throwing stuff away, and disinfecting everything else with bleach. Luckily my brother had taken off work for the previously scheduled day of gaming so he could help. I don't think I could have done it without him.
Also luckily enough my drums were ok (just a tiny bit of water in the lip of the two bass drums) and my pool table which just got put up a couple months ago barely got wet.
And now I'm heading to a big family birthday party exhausted. But next Saturday, 12 hours of gaming will be had.
Board Game: Johari
[Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:4133]
"Watch, but do not govern; stop war, but do not wage it; protect, but do not control; and first, survive!" - Cordwainer Smith
"So long, play actor!"
Snowdonia: The Necropolis Railway & Neuhauser Bockerlbahn x1 (Solo)
Lost Legacy: The Starship x2
Lost Legacy: Flying Garden x1
I managed to loop some work folk into a few short card games on Thursday (the designated "games and hang out" time at my job), and Pairs once again went over really well. Hopefully I can make games a regular thing now that I have VPN access to my work computer and am less a slave to avoiding/dealing with rush hour traffic than I have been.
I managed to make it to my regular gaming group in Alameda for the first time in ages, and I managed to break out my copy of Johari with one of my old friends. I'm on record as a fan of designer Carlo Lavezzi's OddVille, which is largely what got me interested in this one. Most of the game is exploiting the action selection mechanism to throw wrenches into other player's tempos, and I liked it except for two things. The first is that the cost/benefit of taking Nobles seems a bit imbalanced: either the point values on them are a bit too low (with the exception of some of the level 3 ones) or their powers aren't quite good enough for the time/effort/gems required to take them. The second (and this may be related to the first) is that the 2p game is a little flat. With only a little effort we managed to avoid each other in triggering counterfeit gem removal, but I imagine with more this would be less of an issue. I'm eager to try this with 3-4 now, but am a little let down by my one play.
While I'm happy that Snowdonia solos so well, I'm still let down by how much I miss contending with other players when I try the 1p scenarios. That said, it's a great way to test out any of the new ones, and I got a chance to try the Necropolis Railway one just this morning. By making the moving of your Surveyor more-or-less mandatory (you get a huge point penalty for not getting him to the end and building at least one "monument," which is just another stone building space on the final (and second final if you play with +3p) station) and shortening up the length of track, it was a much less high-scoring game than most of the scenarios out there. The Necropolis train's ability to re-activate your contract cards was fascinating (offset by it's two-coal cost for your extra worker), and I'd be curious to see what it looks like in a game with more players.
Love 'em even if a few games get scuttled from time to time.
Several good plays this week. Unfortunately I capped off the week with two plays of a game where I flubbed the rules despite having played it a couple months ago.
Town Center (fourth edition) 8/10
Colt Express 5/10
Castles of Mad King Ludwig 8/10
Roll for the Galaxy
Doesn't quite count:
Saint Petersburg - played twice but messed up some of the rules. We still had fun but allowed too many cards out at once so the games ended too quickly.
On my mind:
Bravely Default - Even though it doesn't have "Final Fantasy" in the name, in spirit this feels like the new classic-style Final Fantasy game I have wanted for a long, long time.
Captain Toad - A delightful puzzly game for the Wii U that my wife and I have been plowing through and thoroughly enjoying.
Let me get the negative one out of the way. Colt Express did not impress me at all. Visually it's lovely. 10/10 on components. Gameplay-wise it felt awkward with Robo Rally-like programmed actions that didn't really add up to all that compelling of a game. The way you get a huge bonus for shooting all six of your bullets but nothing at all if you shot only five (or fewer) was odd and cost several people a ton of points. If you get thrown back to the rear of the train due to a round's event you can lose an entire round (or more) out of just five. Despite being turned into swiss cheese by the other players - I was shot more than anyone else by a mile - I didn't draw enough bad cards to really slow me down and I won by a somewhat large amount. Likely would avoid playing again unless someone else really wants to.
Istanbul is a wonderful game but the pacing is thrown off with five players. I think I'll stick to three or four as the best counts. We had an odd map setup and I failed to realize how to get enough resources quickly enough and didn't do all that well but still had a good time.
Puerto Rico has aged rather well - quite impressively so, all things considered. We had a full set of five players for this as well, and I think it is also likely best with four but we still thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It was a tense game leading into the end but my factory/harbor combo came through as I outpaced the other person going for a similar strategy and was able to also nab some high-point large buildings for the win.
Roll for the Galaxy was more enjoyable this time. I didn't feel as restrained by my starting tiles and I was able to get some better engines going. I still feel the planet tiles are largely bland, but they do work and the developments are interesting. It does seem like the game will be better with three than two (as the random die isn't quite as good of a way of getting a third action than another player) yet it does suffice. I think my score for this has gone up some.
Town Center was very enjoyable. It's a city building game (which likely won't surprise anyone based on the title), but it has some unique constraints and rewards based on the 3D cube placement that forms the heart of the game. It's very puzzly and procedural - I enjoyed it a lot, as did one of the other players, but the third person didn't seem to have that much fun with it. Due to the way points are scored, you can actually be very close to someone but seem to have a much lower score.
Castles of Mad King Ludwig was a very good time, and I think I like it more than Suburbia already. They're clearly related in a way, but I think the master builder role is a clever way to handle the room allotment and the bonuses seemed to be a bit less awkward than the ones in Suburbia sometimes felt. I actually actively want to play this one again, whereas Suburbia was usually "I'd play again but probably won't ask for it," so that's a good sign for this game (for me).
Ghost Blitz (new)
Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game
Ca$h 'n Guns (Second Edition) (new)
Wow. This game is stupid and amazing and fun. I was going to do game night on Wednesday, but Duke had a huge basketball game so I bailed on game night. I had some stuff to return to a few people in the game group, so I stopped into the shop and got suckered in to a few fast rounds of Ghost Blitz. I'd never heard of it before. There are 5 objects on the table with two characteristics: Color and Thing (Blue Book, Red Chair, Green Bottle, Grey Mouse, White Ghost). There is also a deck of cards that have a picture on it related to the objects. A card is flipped over, and the first person to grab the right object wins the card. Grab the wrong one and you give a card to the winner. The twist is that some of the cards have one of the objects exactly represented and some have a drawing where nothing is exactly represented and one thing isn't represented at all. For example, if the card had a White Ghost with a Green Rat on his head, you'd grab the White Ghost off the table. If instead the card had a Red Ghost holding a Green Book then you would grab the Grey Mouse off the table (Red from the chair, Green from the bottle, Ghost, and Book, all on the card). It was loud, crazy, simple, and the perfect game to kick off an evening. Two friends ended up wrestling over a little toy bottle.
Ca$h & Guns
I put this on my wishlist after Paul recommended it to me a few geeklists ago, but didn't know too much about it other than it was a fun party game with foam pistols. I got an early Saturday morning delivery from my BGG Santa with this in it and popped it open to read the rules. We had two couples in town with us this weekend and were having a small party that night so I internally hoped we'd play, but didn't think it would happen as none of them are gamers and some might even be considered anti-gamers. Luckily, I had a wild card on my side. One of the couples has an adorable 3 year old who no one can say no to. At one point, he got bored of playing his Teenage Mutant "Minjin" Turtle toys and asked me if we could play the game on the table. I told him we needed 4 people and he proceeded to rustled up 5 other people to sit and play with us.
I think my favorite moment of the night was when his mom sat down. You could see that she was just humoring her son and wasn't too interested in playing one of my games. Until I slid a foam pistol across the table at her. Her face lit up and I'm pretty sure her thinking was "Whaaaaat....this is not what I was expecting". The game was a HUGE success and we immediately played 3 rounds with everyone laughing and yelling and having fun. I liked that the people who wanted to play with strategy could, and the people who just wanted to have fun pointing foam guns around and trying to take someone out or play vindictively could do so without breaking the game. It was great. Thanks Paul
Forgot to post the picture again, with the little guy on my team!
EDIT: Somehow I completely forgot about an entire game night...
On Thursday I met up with my other game group from my old place of work (Risk Legacy guys) for some games. Mike couldn't make it, and since he is morally opposed to co-op games, I taught Tim and John Pandemic. The first game was an almost perfect noobie mode as we had the Dispatcher, Researcher, and Medic. Very easy. For the second game, we didn't have as awesome roles and they got to see how punishing the game could be. I think they really liked it.
Dead of Winter
Interesting primarily because of the way it ended. We had a relatively easy group goal and John and I both had simple enough personal goals. On the third round the main goal was completed and I called a vote to exile Tim. I didn't think he was the betrayer, we did it just to immediately bring about the end of the game and claim victory. Luckily, he didn't see the 2 ways in which he could have screwed us over and we win. I felt a little bad, Tim is a good sport but I probably need to screw someone else over soon
On my Mind
No one was really sure what they wanted to play on the game night, so as the Keeper of the Games I volunteered to just bring over a bunch of options. I ended up grabbing 5 games and realized that I had a cool spread of game types. Purely Co-op (Pandemic), Slightly Co-op (Dead of Winter), Competitive Non-interactive (Suburbia), Competitive Slightly-Interactive (Ludwig), and Competitive with PVP (Kemble's Cascade). It also made me realize that I have a lot of games. Playing new games, learning new rules, going through solo demo games etc, are all parts of the hobby that I enjoy though so I don't feel too bad.
The Walled City: Londonderry & Borderlandsx2: I was able to do one game with the Londonderry map and one with the Borderlands map. I was unimpressed with the Londonderry map. Too straightforward, not a lot of variance. And I still don't think the survey chits are a great idea. But I enjoyed my play on the Borderlands map and liked causing someone to lose all their nobles. Fun times. Both games were teaching games and I was able to win both. But the game is simple enough people were playing well on that first try.
The Resistance: Avalonx3: I was evil once and good twice. Lost the first two games but got Merlin on the third. It was a little nip-and-tuck but we got the win and I avoided assassination.
Suburbia: I taught this game to two others. It's tricky for me to play this with new people because I just know it so well and don't want to crush them. So I gave myself a handicap: I won't buy any properties that improve my income. That was a fun personal challenge, as it really limited the tiles I could buy. I still ended up winning (new players often ignore goals), but the other two liked it.
Tigris & Euphrates: It had been too long since I last played this, so I jumped at the opportunity when someone suggested it. This was a three-player game that saw four monuments hit the board. I relished the old, "What do I DO?" feeling but wanted to strangle the player to my right who was taking 7-10 minute turns even though Cafe Express was about to close and we would have to leave. I lost by three points (a decent margin in Tigris).
Sheriff of Nottingham: This one is new to me and a pleasant surprise. I enjoyed this quite a bit. I'm happy to see a new entry in the social deduction genre that's not just "you have a role and have to figure out other people's roles." I was worried about design stagnation. Try this one if you can. A good mix of bluffing, intuition, bribery, and a little game theory. I managed to eek out a four-point victory on the strength of bread.
Middle-Earth Quest: New to all of us. I learned the rules, so I got to be Sauron. At first, I thought it was going to be like a LOTR Descent, but it ended up being a satisfyingly-thematic cooperative pickup-and-deliver game with one person trying to throw roadblocks in the way. It's quite long for a co-cop (3+ hours), but is meaty enough to keep you interested. Abbie thought turns took too long, but I'll attribute that to her bad day at work coloring things. I won the final battle after crippling the Free People's champion with corruption and Black Breath.
Forgot another one! Getting old...
Rattlebones: Holy crap, someone figured out how to make roll-and-move AND dice building fun. They even managed to do it in the same game. Kudos to that person. I liked this a lot more than I thought I would. Everyone seemed to have a different strategy and there were strategies that went unused, which is impressive for a fairly light filler-ish game. Should last for a lot of plays. I decided to completely build up on stock pips. Eventually, four of six faces on one die were a stock. That ended up being a winning strategy, but I want to try others!
La Garenne Colombes
Hauts de Seine
10 Android:Netrunner x3 (197 plays so far)
9 Patchistory x 1 New!
9 Saint Petersburg x 1 New!
8 Aquasphere x1 (3 plays so far)
Last Saturday evening, i went to a 24 hours of gaming for the Téléthon charity (this is a charity event against muscular dystrophy in France).
This is my third participation in a row. This year, i managed to get there from 18:00 to 5:00. Here is the games i managed to play :
Saint Petersburg : i have discovered this game there. And it was a blast. It is a minimalist snowball game, with simple rules and gameplay where you will have to manage your hand of cards, the flow of the card row, the turn order. I was very surprised by what this small package had to offer. A very pleasant game where you have to look at your opponents tableau in order to not open the game to them, according to their strategies, turn order, money and cards in hands.
This is what i call an elegant game and it is a great addition to the "german" games i own and enjoy -- Keltis, Alexandros, Kingdom Builder, Québec, Machi Koro, Scotland Yard, Tikal, Pocket Rockets, Metropolys, Tigris & Euphrates, Ra, San Marco, Taj Mahal, Samurai, King of Siam...
I have managed to trade it in second hand (almost new) for my copy of Palaces of Carrara that felt meh to me.
Patchistory : i bought my copy just before the event in order to be sure to play it there.
Despite the rather long playing time (about 5 hours with explanations), we enjoyed our play a lot. Even 2 of the players that are TTA fans : they were very surprised and pleased by the reduced downtime -- the gameplay is rather easy and smooth and you are always involved since almost all actions are resolved simultaneously.
The patching mechanism runs very well here : the tech tree is directly implemented on your tableau, allowing you to tune your abilities at your will -- given the fact that you managed to win the desired tiles....
The war and trade are implemented in a brillant manner : you can establish trading routes towards either player and you can advance a meeple more or less quickly given your movement ability, grabbing resources along the way. At the end of the road, the 2 players can make war or peace, their choice. The defender is aware than soon or later, he will have to deal with a war (eventually) but he has time to turn his civ towards defense....or not but the war doesn't fall on your head without warning.
At first sight, i found the bidding for VP at the end of each era a little weird here but after rumination, it is a sounding way to award points. Because you mainly earn votes by spending politic points, if you are ahead on your objective cards, you are entice to spend politics for votes. If you are behind, it is better advised to spend politics to catch up and vote for all cards with 0 votes in order to make them discarded and not give points to your opponents.
I had Napoleon with Parthenon.
Another player had Cesar early on....to turn his civ in an heavy trading one
Other player had Elisabeth, Big Ben and lot of water
The fourth had Gwanggaeto with lot of scorched earth and it was pretty effective.
A great civ game. I love it.
Aquasphere : i am enjoying more and more this short and tense puzzle game. It is all about squaring the circle in an efficient manner while trying to overcome the nasty tricks of your opponents.
DARK IN HERE, ISN'T IT?
A quiet week.
Lost Legacy: Flying Garden x8
King of Tokyo x2
No chance to get into anything meatier as my usual crowd were turning up in shifts but we had a great night exchanging gifts for Xmas and so on.
Very much like Lost Legacy. A nice tweak to Love Letter, but with a different feel altogether. Just ideal for one of those nights when people are dropping in for shorter visits.
King of Tokyo remains a mixed bag. One very quick game with a storming set of rolls by one guy led to a VP victory by a margin of nearly 10 pts. The second was less emphatic but this time 2p were eliminated with a fair bit of play to run and I hate that. I think I will add the Power Up expansion to see if I can add more choices, but recognise that in the end dice games will be dice games.
20pts at Hanabi = we're happy. A quick, fun, occasionally brain-burning 3p game.
Rolling dice and taking grains!
Rolling dice and taking grains!
8 Machi Koro x2
10 6 nimmt! x2
8 Coup x2
10 Roll for the Galaxy x2
7.5 Town Center (fourth edition)*
9 Castles of Mad King Ludwig
10 Dragon Age: Inquisition
It's been busy for me lately! Work has been crazy with new projects, I got a 25% (!) raise, my birthday is coming up, Christmas shopping is almost entirely done, life is good. Gaming has been pretty decent as well!
Machi Koro - Played two quick games of this before most of the Tuesday group arrived. It went over very well and has been requested to make a repeat appearance in the future.
6 nimmt! - I always enjoy this game, and the Tuesday group eats it up, which is good because how many games can handle 8 players?
Saboteur - Man, this group really likes Saboteur. Don't get me wrong, they're a great group to play it with, but it's starting to wear out its welcome with me.
Coup - Always a nice filler to close out a night with. The amount and quality of bluffing in this game is lovely, even if you can end up losing by circumstance, it's usually a hilarious circumstance that put you there.
Roll for the Galaxy - Two games with Dave. He's clearly got a handle on the game. I love love love love this game. There's nothing else like it.
Town Center (fourth edition) - Dave brought and taught this one. It's Card City, but in 3 dimensions! Another nice light game, I imagine it's 25 minutes tops with 3 people on a second play.
Castles of Mad King Ludwig - Holy carp this game is amazing with 3 (Dave, Kristen, and I). Great with 2 and 4, for sure, but 3 is really the sweet spot. And purple rooms are pretty potent! I also managed to have the most disgustingly awesome of turns in this one, where I finished my 2nd downstairs room with first placement, used the bonus to take an extra turn to buy another downstairs room, then finished the room I first placed plus the new single entrance downstairs room, then used the bonus for another extra turn to grab a 5 point purple room which I placed to complete my Foyer, which gave me a hallway that I used to complete another activity room! Bananas!
And on video games:
Dragon Age: Inquisition - Continues to be awesome. There's so much to explore, and I've just now gotten a few new party members, so it's getting even bigger (I've finally left the first real world zone!). And to copy a Facebook status of mine from this week:
I love how AnnaMarie loves to sit on my leg and watch me play Dragon Age: Inquisition, and she totally loves it. However, it's a bit unnerving when I get into a battle with a dragonling, and she says things like "That's my pet dragon", and "Did you kill my pet dragon?" and "Where did my pet dragon go?".
Fortunately (?) there were several dragonlings in that area, so I could show her one flying in the sky and hightail it out of there. She also insists I ride my horse wherever I go. Ah, the travails of a gaming parent.