GCL Eclipse 169: One in a hundred
John Bandettini
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We've had a couple of lists recently where we looked at favourite games in certain conditions. Well here is another one.

I thought I would look at the top 500 games on the geek and see what everyone's favourite is in each 100 chunks of that list.

PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING

If you're a lurker or have otherwise discovered GCL Eclipse, feel free to read along with us. And if you have a constructive comment or something else you think would add to the discussion, consider posting it—if it's helpful, respectful, and polite to the discussion group as a whole, as well as to its individual members. However, if you'd like to join in regular discussion, first post to the current discussion list inquiring about the possibility of becoming a member, with full discussion privileges.

If you are interested in becoming a regularly-contributing member, please contact Jason Lott to inquire.

Thank you for respecting these guidelines in our place of regular discussion. We hope the discussion we create here is rich, informative, and, most of all, fun for members and nonmembers alike.

Next up is the Christmas break, but after that it's:

EGG Head
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1. Board Game: The 100 Games [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked]
John Bandettini
United Kingdom
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So what is your favourite game in the top 100? Feel free to tell us why you like it.
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2. Board Game: 200 Miles from Moscow [Average Rating:5.50 Unranked]
John Bandettini
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So what is your favourite game between 101 and 200? Feel free to tell us why you like it.
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3. Board Game: 300: The Board Game [Average Rating:5.99 Overall Rank:8416]
John Bandettini
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So what is your favourite game between 201 and 300? Feel free to tell us why you like it.
 
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4. Board Game: Rummy 400 [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
John Bandettini
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So what is your favourite game between 301 and 400? Feel free to tell us why you like it.
 
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5. Board Game: Daytona 500 [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:1348]
John Bandettini
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So what is your favourite game between 401 and 500? Feel free to tell us why you like it.
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6. Board Game: 1000 Blank White Cards [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:2862]
John Bandettini
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So what is your favourite game outside the top 500? Feel free to tell us why you like it.
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7. Board Game: Terra Mystica [Average Rating:8.24 Overall Rank:8]
skippen
United States
Greeley
Colorado
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skippen's Week(s) that Was/Were:


Face 2 Face Games:
51st State
Endeavor -- played this when it first came out, and I was not impressed. It seemed so dry, but this go around, I was quite impressed. Still dry, but a good game.
Colt Express -- much more of a game in this box than I expected.
Terra Mystica -- taught this to my ancillary game group, and sadly, it did not go over that well. The one player I thought would like it, just was not a fan of the many options. I am growing to like this title more and more.
Love Letter --- fun and quick.
Targi



PBEM/Web (started):


PBEM (in progress):

Cuba Libre -- halted on me. I need to fix that.
Pax Porfiriana
1830: Railways & Robber Barons
The Palaces of Carrara
The Castles of Burgundy
Antike Duellum
The Blitzkrieg Legend: The Battle for France, 1940 -- halted on me as well. Need to fix this as well.
Roads to Gettysburg -- oh, Patrick?

PBEM (finished):


Acquisitions/Departures from the Collection:
Epic Resort


On the nightstand (currently reading):

Emilie and the Hollow World, by Martha Wells
A Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson
Defenders of the Faith, by James Reston Jr.
The Murder of Roger Aykroyd, by Agatha Christie


In the life and Times of skippen:
Survived another layoff at work, but lost my lunchtime gaming partner. The washer, dryer down, and the check engine light on my car is acting up, but I got to game all day Saturday, so that's good right? This year has been pretty crappy...
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8. Board Game: Panamax [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:466]
John Bandettini
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December is really bad for gaming for me. Instead of meetups nearly every night, we are usually down to just one a week. (I know the majority of clubs only meet once a week or less) Still when you are used to being spoiled the rest of the year it is a drag.

So just Monday night at LoB this week and I thought I would have an outing of one of this year’s Essen heavyweights. I did post that I wanted to play Panamax or Kanban: Driver's Edition and I got plenty of interested players but no one expressed a preference. So I went for Panamax as it seemed a bit easier to get my head around.

And I don’t think it’s anywhere near as complicated as its reputation suggests. The game lasts three rounds and in each round each player gets to take four actions. For your actions you have a choice from two, take a contract or move some ships.

Of course it’s not quite as simple as that makes it sound. Before each round you roll a bunch of dice (12 and then 4) which determine the type of actions available for the turn and the level of them.

There are usually three contracts available. Each contract will have between 1 and 3 goods that needs delivering. Each contract will be associated with one of four countries\customers. When you choose a contact you can load between 1 and 3 goods, depending on where the dice is that you take. They don’t have to be from the card you just took, they can be from incomplete contracts that you gained earlier. Each country\customer has a unique loading area and you can only load cargo to ships either already in that loading zone or ones that can be moved into it. In addition you can only load one goods unit to each ship each turn. So if you have 3 goods and ability to load 3 goods, you would still need 3 ships in the right loading area to be able to load them all.

Some of the contract cards allow you to load one of the goods onto a train rather than go through the canal. These goods cannot go be sea. When you empty off a contract card you get to take a flag of the country\customer and put it on your player board. This can give you in game bonuses or count towards end of game bonuses. Collecting lots of flags is good.

On the other hand if none of the contracts are attractive, but you need to fulfil a contact. You can take any contract and flip it over to its other side where it becomes a generic contract. With this the goods can be placed on any ships, but you don’t get a flag.

Companies are paid when goods are delivered to the other end of the canal and ship owners can either claim cards or get paid for the deliveries.

Movement through the canal is either sea movement or lock movement. When you take a die for movement you get a combination of 1-3 sea movement and 1-3 lock movement depending on where the die comes from.

With this movement you can move any ships, not just your own. Ships can be moved in groups of ships, with a maximum of 4 cargo slots per group, (Ships vary from 1 to 4 slots) for one movement per space. Ships in parts of the lock that have restricted capacity (most of it) can also be pushed along the canal by moving ships and if necessary they can also push ships. In this way it is possible to move a lot of ships with just a few moves.

At the end of each round train cargo is delivered. This first of all determines turn order for the next turn. Then everyone who used the train gets to choose a flag. You get no money for using the train, but you can get a better turn order position and a flag.

Then each player has to pay fees for all of their dice still in play (Not delivered). The warehouse is the most expensive place to still have dice followed by loading area and contract cards. The cost for dice actually in transit on the canal varies by location.

Then companies pay dividends (If they can) and share prices go up or down depending on payments or not. Then all dice that were delivered this turn are returned to the warehouse.

I guess there is quite a bit to it after all. (Especially as I have not explained it all ) It was fun in an hard working kind of way.

Also managed a two player game of Deus. Never played it that way before. It lacked a little something, but did play nice and quickly. I also got to win so not a complete loss.

Acquisitions Asara
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9. Board Game: Blind Alley: The Game of Mazes [Average Rating:6.12 Unranked]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Highlights of games played 12/9-12/15:

Sheep & Thief (Joe=5) - Having reached five plays now, I think this game is safely in my collection. Of course, this is causing an issue; I'm getting to have less room for smaller games than I have smaller games. I'm going to need to do some purging soon. This was my 50th nickel for 2014...

7 Wonders (Joe=7) - My first play since 2011; a coworker was looking for gift ideas and I suggested this; he wanted to try it. Fortunately, another coworker owns it (I never have), and with four players it was unobjectionable.

Hawaii (Joe=16) - Saturday involved getting lots of games I know I enjoy to the table; this was suggested, and I was happy to play. This remains a very enjoyable game, for me, and playing with three was particularly fun as I hadn't played with that few for some time.

Hanafuda (Joe=10) - I was taught this game by Sheila Davis, a name familiar to many of you; the interesting thing I discovered is that I've come to recognize the suits without reference.

Amun-Re (Joe=19) - I know standard wisdom is that this game is best with five, or even a five-player game only, but I really enjoy it with three or four - in some ways even more than with five.

Twin Tin Bots (Joe=11) - My 51st nickel for 2014. I'm not always a fan of chaos, but when it's done well it's a lot of fun; I find it well done here.

Polterfass (Joe=7) - A fun little push-your-luck game; this game snuck up on me, to earn a place in my collection. It's not a favorite - I rate it a 7, not an 8 - but I can even see it climbing above the 8 milestone.

(As an aside, a 7 for me is a game I want to play; an 8 is a game I want to play annually.)

Merchant of Venus (Joe=62) - My 52nd nickel for 2014. If I manage at least five plays in 2015, it will mark ten straight years of 5+ plays for me - a very unusual occurrence, even given how much I try to focus on playing favorites.

Ginkgopolis (Joe=11) - You know, I just don't love this game. I like it - I enjoyed playing it - but if it left my collection, I wouldn't lose sleep. Which is to say - that's in danger of happening. I don't think it will this time, though.

Blind Alley: The Game of Mazes (Joe=1) - Friedemann is running his annual overlooked game contest, and Dan added this interesting looking game. And - it's rather fun. If it weren't a two-player only game, it would immediately move to my want list; as it is, I enjoyed it enough to keep my eyes out.

How Many? (Joe=1) - In many ways, not dissimilar from Who Am I?, but that game has a little more going for it - particularly the fact that it's not just a two player game. Not bad, though.

The King of Frontier (Joe=26) - My first two plays with The King of Frontier: More Buildings!, which might well be the odd expansion I can tolerate. It's not necessary, but unlike many expansions it doesn't detract from the game.

Goa (Joe=30) - I'm starting to go through the list of games I own but haven't played in 2014 - in part, to judge which games need to stick in my collection - and am aiming to get some of them to the table again. Goa is part of that push; we had a very good game, which came down to the tiebreaker.
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10. Board Game: Taj Mahal [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:308]
Geeky McGeekface
United States
Manassas
Virginia
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Last Saturday was my last gaming session of the year. There was a small turnout, with folks coming and going, but there was always exactly 5 people available for gaming. This limited the games we could play, but it also led us to playing some titles that hadn't gotten table time in a while, so it was kind of a good thing. Here's how it all went.

No Thanks! - We started with this always excellent filler, just to see if anyone else would show up. The players did a better job than usual of letting cards that benefit them go around the table one more time--usually, folks are too cautious, IMO. One of the players was able to grab cards from 10 to 14, inclusive, which, together with all the chips that were on them, easily allowed him to overcome an early 35 he had picked up and coast to the win.

Taj Mahal - With 5 players, this oldie was suggested. It had been far too long since I'd played it and I'd forgotten just how good it is. When it first came out, I probably struggled with Taj more than any other game; I think it took me more than 2 years to record my first win. This was an unusually "nice" game, as players often left an opponent with something to claim, to minimize the massive expenditures of cards. It was extremely close with only one turn to go, but the leader had a winning color in the last turn after the first round, so he claimed Agra and that, together with an impressive suit of cards at the end, gave him a comfortable win. I played pretty well, but I didn't focus enough on elephants and that was my downfall, relegating me to a second place finish.

Looking back on things, I think Taj was the game that really convinced us that Alea could be counted on to produce excellent heavy games, the type my group usually preferred. Its first release, Ra, is very popular, but it's really only a middleweight with complex scoring (and never really grabbed us). Chinatown is a great negotiation game that we played a ton of, but it's also not exactly heavy. But Taj was the real deal, a true heavyweight that was a challenge to play well. When Alea followed it up with the all-time classic The Princes of Florence, it was obvious this was a publisher to be reckoned with.

7 Wonders - Given my druthers, I'd rather play 7 Wonders with 3 or 4, but it's still pretty good with 5 (and a hell of a lot better than with 7). I played with the Pyramids, side B. I wound up with a ridiculous amount of money. I played a yellow card early that gave me coins, then my two neighbors kept buying stuff from me. At the end, I had 48(!) coins! That's certainly the most I've ever had and is probably the most I've ever seen in a game. It was enough for me to eke out a 1 point victory. See, Gordon Gekko was right: Greed is good!

Rococo - Rococo was next. There was a lot of early claims on the income bonuses (I guess that's typical), with two players getting both the dress and decoration bonuses; I was able to snag the cheapest dress bonus, while one player got shut out. I also was able to get the card which gives money for all your red and yellow dresses. Between those two, I was able to avoid selling any dresses. One of the double income guys finished comfortably in first, while I finished third close behind the other one. As I often have trouble with deckbuilders, I was reasonably happy with how I did in this game, while acknowledging I have a way to go before I can become truly competitive.

Orléans - One of the players wanted to learn Twilight Struggle, so that left three of us to play Orleans. This was my third play of the game, but the first with anything other than 4 players. The other two players were first-timers. After going with a trading station and a goods strategy in my first two games, I wanted to try something different, so I decided to focus on placing characters on the Beneficial Deeds board. The key to this was the Pulverturm (Gunpower Tower) place tile, which allows you to place up to 4 characters on the Deeds board in one turn; I figured that would greatly increase my chances of closing out Deeds and claiming Citizens. It worked and I won 187-171 over an opponent who built all 10 of his trading stations and got his Development Status up to the maximum level of 6. This game continues to be fun and to reveal new aspects with each play, so I'm very pleased that I purchased it.
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11. Board Game: Indonesia [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:189]
Chester
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Temple
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Games Played (12/7 - 12/13)

Indonesia x1
My second online game, and another good learning experience. I'm clearly starting to get a better handle on how to play. The technology and the turn-bidding are starting to feel a lot more crucial. Controlling the mergers is important, and getting paid for your stuff that merges away is important, too.

Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game x1
The plays are not distinguishing themselves all that much, except we have all the expansions now. The difficulty level (thankfully) ratchets up with some of the expansions. We still win most all the games, but there are some tense moments lately.
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