GCL Phoenix 208: Festive Best-Of (28th December 2014)
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Hi! Thanks for stopping by the Phoenix Lounge. Here you'll find the 208th list for the Phoenix Game Chat League along with international and local cuisine, live sport and music and a pool table.

For newcomers, more info on GCLs is located here and Phoenix-specific details are here. Visitors are welcome but please leave posting items to members. If you staying for dinner, I recommend the shrimp.

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With the year coming to a close, it's a traditional time for retrospectives and best-of lists. It's also a time for magazines to publish a rehash of material you've already read, recycled and repackaged into a Bumper Christmas Annual format. Ever the stickler for tradition, I hereby present precisely that...

Here's a look at which topics were best received by the various GCL groups over the past twelve months. Taking the most-thumbed Geeklist for each GCL, I picked a popular question or two from those lists in the hopes of finding out what the Phoenix opinion is on these topics. Many thanks to the original authors for these thought-provoking questions. meeple


Roster

As we approach 2015, the current Phoenix roster looks like this:

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1. Board Game: Amoeba [Average Rating:5.99 Overall Rank:11314]
Rich P
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Surprises

Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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GCL Amoeba 173 -- Unexpected Upsets! (2014-06-15)
From the Amoeba GCL, Eric's World Cup-related list prompted questions on unexpected results:

"Since it's World Cup time, with all of the unexpected upsets that entails, I thought I'd make this week's topic match. Some of the surprises are positive and some are negative. (Of course, in the World Cup, one country's positive surprise is another's negative surprise, something that isn't necessarily the case here.) I'd like you to describe two games:

(1) (Positive surprise) What is a game you didn't think there was much chance you would like, based on what you knew about it before you tried it, but that you have come to like a lot?

(2) (Negative surprise) What is a game you thought you would almost certainly like, based on what you knew about it before you tried it, but that you did not like very much at all?"
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2. Board Game: Beehive [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Rich P
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Tie Breakers

Daniel Hadlock
United States
Roy
Utah
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GCL Beehive # 53 - Draw!!!
Daniel from GCL Beehive had a list about games that end in a draw.

"Eminent Domain is among my favorite games ever. Recently I was playing this with a fellow TMG employee and a few friends. The game resulted in a tie score between Andy and I. He won the tie breaker by having a few more resources than I did.

What are your feelings on Tie Breakers?

What is your favorite Tie Breaker that is written in the rules of a game? Or do you have any home brewed Tie Breakers that you use? (Arm Wrestling or the like?)"
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3. Board Game: Eclipse [Average Rating:7.98 Overall Rank:31]
Rich P
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Martin Wallace

skippen
United States
Greeley
Colorado
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GCL Eclipse #122: In Depth - Designers: Martin Wallace
This was a popular list all about Martin Wallace by skippen of the Eclipse GCL:

"It is hard to argue that he is not a current popular designer. Is he as good as his current status? Is he hype? Will his designs stand the test of time?"

Plenty of discussion was generated around A Study in Emerald:

"Martin's latest success. It is too early for us to tell if this is a good game, great, or terrible, but it was a success on Kickstarter for many reasons: Lovecraft, Sherlock Holmes, Wallace, and Gaiman? What are you thoughts on the craziness of the success of this game?"
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4. Board Game: Gelati [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Rich P
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Random Knowledge

Nikki Ebright
United States
Centennial
Colorado (CO)
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New Avatar! So much Excite! Photo credit to Debbie Ohi, who is Awesome!
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Geek Chat League Gelato 117 - Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government
For GCL Gelato, the surreal elements of Monty Python and the Holy Grail prompted Nikki's list.

"What is the Capital of Assyria?

Seems like most of us have what seems to be random, useless knowledge that we've accumulated over time. Sometimes that random stuff can be translated into something useful; what are some times when you've used random bits of knowledge that you've learned that you later put to good use?"
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5. Board Game: Mafia [Average Rating:5.62 Overall Rank:12291]
Rich P
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The Boardgame Community

Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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GCL Mafia 201: Welcome to Greendale
Raf of GCL Mafia took a look at the hobby as a whole:

"The idea of a "Board Game Community" that we are all a part of gets bandied about here, on Reddit, and various other places where gamers congregate. Do you believe in the idea that we are all part of a community of gamers? Either way, what are your thoughts on the threads below?

Why We Should Grow the Hobby - tl;dr: More gamers = more games

Why We Should NOT Grow the Hobby - tl;dr You do you, I'll do me."
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6. Board Game: Meatball Madness [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
Rich P
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Essen 2013

John Bandettini
United Kingdom
London
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GCL Swedish Meatball Division #136: Essen 2013
The Meatball's most-thumbed list was John's look back at Essen 2013 and seeing which games were still being played a few months later.

"I thought now that the dust has fully settled on last years Essen show. It was a good time to look back at it. Hopefully most if not all of you have had a chance to play at least some of the games from last years show.

Let's look at how the last show measures up to previous shows and look at a few of the games. What were they stand outs and what were the dogs?"

Which games are you still playing from Essen 2013? Here are some of the titles discussed in the list. Are any of them still in rotation for you and your group? Which ones have sunk without trace?

Amerigo, Blueprints, Caverna: The Cave Farmers, Coal Baron, Concordia, Donburiko, Glass Road, Lewis & Clark, Madeira, Nations, Nauticus, Rococo, Russian Railroads, Templar: The Secret Treasures
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7. Board Game: Phoenix [Average Rating:6.40 Overall Rank:2937]
Rich P
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For the Phoenix lists, you've already answered those questions, so how about telling us what you thought was best in 2014? It could be in any category: what was your favourite new album, film, TV show, book, computer game, sporting event, piece of art, live event, app, bit of tech...?
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8. Board Game: Fauna [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:660] [Average Rating:7.06 Unranked]
Rich P
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Last week's plays:

-8- Fauna
-8- Time's Up! Title Recall!
-7- Concept (x2)
-7- Gambit 7
-6- Blueprints
-6- Meuterer
-6- Secret Moon (x4) New!

I spent the Christmas period in Wales with family, so it was a time for lots of eating with occasional light games. Since we usually live about as far from the sea as you can get in England, we took the opportunity to go down to the beach on Boxing Day. Of course, it was pouring down and blowing a gale!

Christmas presents included a duplicate copy of Dobble (now re-gifted as I didn't need a second copy) and Cornish Smuggler from my sister. It's appreciated but I'm a little worried by some of the comments on the game's page: looks like another underdeveloped Kickstarter production. I'll give it a go though, the theme is certainly interesting.

New this week was Secret Moon, a thematic follow-up to Love Letter. It's a Werewolf-style game for people who don't like the lying and loud nonsense that usually accompanies those sorts of games. I suppose you could play it in cold, clinical silence if you wanted but our games were quite animated as we explored the possibilities. It worked well for the large group we had. Quite random, like Love Letter, but with definite elements of deduction to it.

On a whim, I suggested Meuterer, after a gap of seven years. It was better than I remembered and played smoothly and quickly after a round. (The rulebook seems to take a lot of words to explain simple concepts.) Something we all picked up on after a round or two was that because the deck is so small, it's possible to count cards and predict whether you'll be able to win a mutiny or if you're likely to have a majority of a particular good. I might try and get this to the table more often, it's a decent role-selection card game in a small package.
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9. Board Game: Arkwright [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:622]
Dave Peters
United States
Belmont
California
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Scorecard for the Week/Month/Year as of 27Dec2014:

8/39/566 plays of 6/20/217 total games, with 2/8/32 expansions employed.
Plays with 8/24/86 distinct opponents.

1/3/54 games acquired (plus 0/3/20 expansions.) - 海底探険 (Kaitei tanken 'Deep Sea Adventure').
0/0/15 games sold/traded (plus 0/0/6 expansions.)
0/1/23 games ordered (plus 0/0/11 expansions.)
Orders for 6 games and 3 expansions still outstanding.

With family:
2x _7_ Splendor New! - One with just daughter #1, one more adding lovely wife and son #2. Both worked well, and had their own virtues. The 2p game was much faster, and a bit more strategic; the 4p game more tactical and volatile. (I wonder - a bit idly - what the game would be like with 3.) It's a pleasant and mostly harmless game: well made, easy to explain and play; but without story or thing-ness.
1x _7.3_ 海底探険 (Kaitei tanken 'Deep Sea Adventure') New! - This is quite cute; it's a delightful little turn-based push-one's luck game. The player interations are amusing, and I think I can survive the randomness the dice provide.
1x _7.7_ Big Boggle - Family tradition: we play lovely wife's favourite game (i.e. this one) on Christmas Day. She won, of course.

With friends (visiting from Chico):
1x _7.7_ 開拓王 (Kaitaku-ō 'King of Frontier') (with もっと建物を! (motto tatemono o! 'More Buildings!')) - Dave is familiar with the inspirations here, so it was easy enough to explain. For my part, I find this continues to grow on me: each play I'm enjoying it a bit more. I expect it'd do well in an English edition.
1x _10_ Race for the Galaxy (with the Orb Game from Alien Artifacts) - I like the Orb game; so it was fun to get it back on the table. I'm quite familiar with the cards (from Keldon's AI) but I don't get the orb in play without having a human opponent. So: a treat.
1x _7.3_ 海底探険 (Kaitei tanken 'Deep Sea Adventure') - More players this time; and it's very entertaining. (Though we all misjudged how much air would remain the first expedition out of the sub: not one of us made it back safely!)

With Dave, Dave and Aliza:
1x _8.5_ Arkwright - Dave and Aliza did well; Dave and I less so. But I learned a lot, and really enjoyed both the company and the game. It's fascinating. For my part (and in retrospect, rather than something that was obvious to me during the game) I failed in a variety of ways - all of which I'd be delighted to have the chance to improve on. (Though, somewhat naturally, I reserve the right to make some completely new blunders.) I'd taunted Aliza that I don't need a copy (which I believe is the truth: Dave and Aliza both own it, and I'm unlikely to be able to play with neither of them at the table); I still might give in to the coolness and buy it.

Owned-and-unplayed: 1 (+1/-1) - 海底探険 (Kaitei tanken 'Deep Sea Adventure') arrived and was promptly played. I'm pretending Splendor belongs to someone else in the family.

Outlook for the week: Unknown. Perhaps I can convince the Wednesday gang to play something on a non-Wednesday this week (since New Year's Eve is likely out for anything but Party Games.)
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10. Board Game: Snug as a Bug in a Rug [Average Rating:6.27 Overall Rank:10604]
R. Eric Reuss
United States
Massachusetts
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__9__ Terra Mystica
__6__ Snug as a Bug in a Rug (x3) (new!)

I got no board games for Christmas[1], but my son got one, and it is the first board game where:
* He played by the rules[2];
* He finished the game;
* He wanted to play again. (Both "immediately" and "the day after".)

Actually, I think it's the first board game he's played that meets either of the first two criteria, flat-stop.

It's a co-op "take colorful bugs off a game board and hide them underneath" game that primarily exists to teach taking turns and matching color/shapes/numbers/size-of-eyes. Obviously, it's nowhere near my usual cup of tea (nothing I play with him for the next year or two will be, I expect), but given a choice of something to play with a 3-ish-year-old, it seems pretty good: it's fairly short[3], actually has meaningful[4] decisions, and you can play around with the little bug tokens.

It looked like that was going to be my only game-playing for most of December, but then a thrown-together gathering happened today where I taught Terra Mystica to two friends who'd been wanting to try it for some time. They played Witches and Halflings; I played Giants. I blew off cults and temples until more or less the last turn of the game and finished with a score around 120 - enough to win vs. first-time players, but oi, the Giants feel awkward. Interestingly different, though.


[1] = Not directly, at least; I did get a gift certificate to our FLGS.
[2] = With heavy prompting, of course. He's not even two and a half yet.
[3] = It will last between 17 and 26 player turns, each of which is roughly "spin a spinner, take something off the board".
[4] = In the basic game the decisions are incredibly shallow, but the quality of those decisions does significantly influence your odds of winning.


~ ~ ~

Spirit Island: I've finally finished updating the rulebook. Up next: make final tweaks to card-set and do art notes for all the cards that are different from October's version. After that: final "lots of small tweaks to a bunch of things" pass, then handoff to >G's lead developer.

~ ~ ~

Outside of gaming: We're nearly done with the holidays. January is nearly upon us, whereupon my attention will shift more and more to the upcoming arrival of another kid. But for the moment, it still feels like the tail end of the holiday season: a little tired, new things to find places for, lovely-smelling tree downstairs.

On a less holiday-cheery note, continuing protests against police violence have been on my mind lately, for a variety of reasons.
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11. Board Game: Red7 [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:545]
Jon
United States
Urbana
Illinois
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Games Played:
_8_ Red7 x1 New!
Four round learning game with my wife and both boys. Oldest son won two of the four, youngest son the other two. Everyone enjoyed this!

_9_ The Great Zimbabwe x1
Boys joined me to have a nice Christmas Eve day game. My oldest son beat us to the finish line, acquiring 29 of 26 VR, while I was one short with 28 of 29, and youngest son only could get 24 of 28. All agreed we need to play this more often!

_8_ Red7 x1
Several rounds with my wife, both boys and daughter, and we added in the rule that playing cards to the canvas can result in a card draw if the value exceeds the canvas. We liked that quite a bit.

_8_ Deep Sea Adventure x1
Five player craziness with my three kids and nephew B. Both of my boys were pretty cautious and got back all three times, but that netted them a tie for last place at 21. My nephew did better with 30, while I had 32, but daughter managed a daring dive to win with 33.

_8_ Red7 x1
My three kids and nephew B. for holiday fun. We taught him just the basic game and he enjoyed it a lot even winning a round.

_6_ Dixit x1
Extended Family game, where my wife won at 31, daughter 26, nephew B. at 25, team of T.+E. at 23, and team of B. (only one new to the the game) and myself 19. As usual, a fun and enjoyable time at the table.


_5_ Dungeons & Dragons: Castle Ravenloft Board Game x1
Both boys, their friend N. and myself tackled Adventure 8: Horror of Howling Hag.
It didn't go well and we had got to the arcane circle and removed only one of five time tokens when we used our first healing surge. From there, we cheated a little bit and played out the adventure to "win," which allowed for some fun moments, but honestly the game beat us. Oops.

_8_ Red7 x1
Played with advanced scoring rules, and youngest son surged ahead early and as we struggled to catch up it got to the point where he only needed two points to win, then got a final hand to end with 39. Meanwhile I had 22 and my wife 16.

_6_ Ars Alchimia x1
Learned this cute game that looks like it came from a manga or anime along with youngest son and my wife. Thematically, it feels like an adaptaion of the Atelier video game series, where young women do alchemy to fulfill orders from the townsfolk. I enjoyed it and ended up winning with 77, with my son at 69 and wife at 64. Mechanically, it uses a light worker placement rule where going to a space gives you an immediate effect and hinders others from using it. The space can be used again, but requires N+1 workers to do so, sends previous workers away, and your placement becomes the new N.

The actions are getting assistants (special benefits) and, getting orders, which gives you a card and then the space refills with a new card, and gathering resources and transmuting them to fufill the order, which do not remove a card and also has a die roll to attempt to do these tasks "perfectly," i.e. in addition to the action get some bonus resources or score some additional points, respectively. One can send additional workers than what is required to reduce the difficulty of the die roll. Overall, I'd recommend this to people who know they are attracted to the theme and don't mind a fairly light and breezy game, but anyone who thinks they have enough resource conversion, worker placement type things can move on to something else. My son really enjoyed the game and we will keep it for that reason, but at the moment I think I'd be more likely to ask for Snowdonia.

_7_ Keltis x1
Daughter requested this and my wife and I joined her to play on the first board. My wife won with 46 while I had 33 and my daughter 18.

_8_ The Castles of Burgundy x1
Youngest son joined my wife and I for this. Amusingly, all three of us had boards with far away mines from our initial castle position, so the early grab for those wasn't present here. I took an early lead and my son caught up, then passed me, and we jumped over each other while my wife was a little behind, then later far behind as she had 148, and my son 205, and I managed to win with 219.

_6_ Stephenson's Rocket x1
Both boys joined me on this and my oldest son and I had a close race, with me winning 72,000 to his 71,000. Meanwhile, youngest son had 38,000. Sadly, though I like this a lot they are both a bit meh on it.

_7_ Luna x1
Youngest son and I taught this to my wife, who mostly liked it, except for the mechanic of getting people kicked out of the temple. My son won with 79, I had 72, and my wife 58.
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12. Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – The Black Riders [Average Rating:8.31 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.31 Unranked]
Albatros
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Games Played

_9_ The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game x2
_6_ Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of Ashardalon Board Game x1 New!


Expansions Used

_8_ The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – The Black Riders x2


The Week in Review

Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of Ashardalon Board Game was entertaining with the right group, but I could see it getting rather repetitive fast. I was impressed by the very simple and effective way the game forced the party always move forward and not turtle. Simply, if a character didn't explore a new tile, they'd get an encounter card instead and the potential of taking damage through trick or trap or spawning more enemies.

Hopefully Shadows of Brimstone: City of the Ancients will be as entertaining (or better yet, more entertaining).


The fantasy theme continued with the second scenario from The Black Riders expansion for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game. It took a couple attempts and a bit of time travel (undoing the occasional misstep) to successfully make it from Bree to Weathertop, but we managed to get there and defeat the Witch-King and his lessers.

This game, with all its expansions, is just as entertaining after 100 plays as it was the first time I played it. And now that I've got another seven fresh scenarios still waiting to be played, I'm banking on it staying entertaining in the months to come.


The Week Ahead

No plans, but with people off work, hopefully something will come together.

Unplayed games of note still in shrink: Kanban: Driver's Edition, Yunnan, De Vulgari Eloquentia, and Revolution: The Dutch Revolt 1568-1648. Also two expansions The Road Darkens and The Hobbit: Over Hill and Under Hill.

Games on order: Shadows of Brimstone: City of the Ancients, Machi Koro and Marvel Dice Masters: Uncanny X-Men.
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13. Board Game: Tuscany: Expand the World of Viticulture [Average Rating:8.51 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.51 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.51 Unranked]
Bryan Maxwell
United States
Burtchville
Michigan
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Magnum Opus x 1

A close game of Magnum Opus against my wife. I won after she flubbed her first philosopher's stone attempt, rolling a 1 (she needed a 3+ on a d8). I needed a 6+ and rolled a 6. I've become disenchanted with the endgame in this one, which is a shame because I really enjoy the journey.

Troyes w/Ladies of Troyes x 1

I won one of those plays where everything lines up and flows well: 64-36.

Lords of Waterdeep w/Scoundrels of Skullport x 1

We took the kids to a friend's house for dinner/gaming. Between dinner and keeping an eye on the little ones, this play ran for about 3.5 hours. I find Lords of Waterdeep to be bland, harmless and inoffensive. The expansion makes it a little bit better, as managing the new corruption resource adds another dimension.

There are now powerful action spaces that include corruption tokens as well as quests that give corruption as part of the reward. There's a track that the corruption markers come from, and the more corruption in the game, the greater the VP penalty each carries at the game's end. We had some buildings that allowed the players to return their corruption markers or, more interestingly, place corruption on any action space of your choice (so the next player to take that action must take the corruption marker(s) there. IIRC there is also a lord card (secret scoring card) that rewards corruption.

The finish was incredibly close, less than 5 point separated first place from last place in a 4-player game (and close finishes aren't a given in Waterdeep). That said, the game is still not my cup of tea. Good company went a long way toward making it enjoyable though.

Wizard x 2

We got in two 5-player games of this old-ish trick-taker. In this one you bid how many tricks you expect to take. If you hit your bid, you score (# of tricks taken + 2). If you miss your bid, you lose point equal to how much you missed by (so if you bid 2 but took 4, you'd score -2). In the first round, each player is dealt 1 card, and in each subsequent round the hand size increases by 1 until the whole deck is dealt out. The game uses a standard deck of cards plus 4 wizards and 4 jesters. There's trump and you must follow suit with the exception of the 8 wizards/jesters; Wizards trump all (first wizard wins) and Jesters lose all (last Jester wins if only Jesters are played).

Interestingly, the final standings were exactly the same in each of the 2 games.

Viticulture w/Tuscany x 5

After a long week of holidays, birthdays, company and extended family, we sat down for an afternoon of gaming yesterday. We tried out the Tuscany expansion, and played 5 games back-to-back. So obviously it went well.

The expansion is modular with the modules broken into 3 tiers by complexity. The first tier modules add small, but welcome features to the base game:

- new and improved visitor cards (YES!)
- variable starting resources (these help the game start a little more quickly and give a little direction early on)
- hidden goals (yielding a small VP award if completed at game's end)
- properties (you can sell unused fields for much-needed cash).

The 2nd tier bring much larger changes:

- A new game board with 4 seasons of action spaces. This really changes the game. The bonuses that come with the various turn order choices are more varied and are now doled out season by season. There's a map with an area majority scoring mechanism: placing a piece on the map yields a reward (a card, $, etc) and each territory is scored at game's end (only 1 or 2 VP, but that can add up). It's a nice way to get a specific reward you're after and it's also an "ignore at your own risk" thing. I imagine this aspect would be slightly more interesting with more than 2.

- Structures: a 5th type of cards than can be built on a separate player board or an empty field. These confer a special bonus or add an action space for its owner. We barely scratched the surface of these, but I really like this module. I had some terrific synergy in our last game: I had a structure that allowed me to create a blush or sparkling wine (and gave me 1VP for doing so) and a structure that gave me $2 any time I made a blush or sparkling wine. I also started with a cottage (thanks to the new setup cards) and built a structure that allowed me to discard 2 visitor cards for 2VP.

- New Workers: We only played with this module once, but the idea is that 2 new types of workers are available each game. Whenever you acquire a new worker, you can pay $1 to get a special worker instead (only 1 of each type). We had the traveler (can be placed on any action space in a previous season) and the oracle (if you use her to draw a card, draw 2 cards and discard 1).

We haven't gotten into tier 3, but will probably do so next time we play. We're really happy with the expansion so far. I do not regret backing it on Kickstarter.



No work this week. Just gaming.

I also got a little Christmas money to spend on myself, so Bruges: The City on the Zwin and Panamax will be arriving tomorrow. Panamax may have been folly. It sounds like something I would love, but I may not have the group for it very often and it seems like it needs repeat play.

I'm weak.

Edit: added Wizard.
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14. Board Game: Linko! [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:707]
SJ S
United States
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ABLUXXEN!!! x2 3p with bonus/promo cards!

played 2 games of this (a game for us is first player to 100) with the Linko! promo cards. we didn't actually print the cards, we just marked up some old plastic chips. i REALLY like the game with the promo. here's how it works: the first player to play a 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8 card set gets a 5 point bonus marker (there are 6 markers, one for each set size). your opponents can then ABLUX the 5 point bonus to their hand by playing a set of the same size. (then you can ABLUX it back, and so on) highly recommended!

this works particularly well if you have an opponent that doesn't ever ABLUX, and instead races to be the first person to empty their hand. it provides incentive for them to ABLUX!

Aton x2 2p
i can feel myself understanding this much better, but this game would be a lot more enjoyable if my opponents improved their skills at a slower rate than me

Love Letter x1 3p
really fun session of this. 3 rounds in a row started with the first player in their first turn using their soldier to guess an opponent's card and eliminating them. hilarity ensued.

Factory Fun x1 3p
my opponents suggested another game of this (YAY!). i really enjoy this game. something about the spatial puzzle of this delights my brain. probably the same thing that makes me enjoy rearranging my sock drawer.

other:
Bus online. my opponents are sooooooo slow to make moves. ugh.
if any of you would like to join me in a game, i would love that! lmk! this is only my 2nd game and my first online, so i'm not a pro or anything.

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15. Board Game: Eldritch Horror: Mountains of Madness [Average Rating:8.26 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.26 Unranked]
Max Maloney
United States
Portland
Oregon
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"If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason." -Jack Handey
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Games Played

_8_ Eldritch Horror 2
_8_ Red7 1
_7_ DC Comics Deck-Building Game 3
_7_ Lost Valley: The Yukon Goldrush 1896 1
_7_ Zombie 15' 2
_7_ Temporum 2
_6_ King of New York 1

Week in Review

For the second time in as many weeks, we "won" Eldritch Horror too late: the Ancient One awoke prior to the part of the turn where victory conditions are resolved and we had to do battle with them directly. This time it didn't go so well and we lost to the sanity-warping Yog-Sothoth. This was followed with the rare 4P game of EH, against Yig this time. Yig is balanced to wake more often and we did come into direct conflict with him. A Blessed investigator with a Lightning Gun was able to send this serpent abomination to its grave (?), in an epic battle in Central America.

I have bumped my rating for the DC Comics Deck-Building Game up a point. I never thought it would happen - it's such a cheesy game. But the design of this game has a distinct strength and it is synergies. A friend said to me that Ascension always boils down to buying the best card while DCCDBG encourages strategic deck-building. While I think Ascension does have some synergies, I agree they are less developed. A high percentage of cards in the DC game are specifically designed to be mediocre unless combined into an engine or overall strategy and it makes the game more fun. Plus, I like superheroes. There are now three standalone sets and two small sets and I have begun work on designing a unique combined deck (or two) by selectively pooling cards from all the different sources.

After my first play of Lost Valley last week, I tried it again as a 3P game this week. I think this game has a ton of quirky charm and is fun to play, but it appears it may not function well with an odd number of players. Because the map is divided by a river and resources are finite, having a different number of players on once side of the river than the other seems problematic. Being alone on your side leaves you too many opportunities. In this game, I crossed the river mid-game and in the wrap up we felt confident that my choice had determined the winner between the other two players (who each spent half the game alone while I was always contesting with someone). Playing it 4P is a goal.

Zombie 15' was taught to three new players and I continue to have the same concern: it feels a bit too easy. I have stopped teaching new players from the intro scenarios and dropped these guys right into scenario 5. They failed once but immediately re-tried and crushed the game in 10.5 minutes. Almost all of my games of this have ended with 4.xx left on the clock.

EDIT: Bolded game titles in later paragraphs and edited confusing phrasing in the DCCDBG recap.
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16. Board Game: Viticulture [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:120]
Dice bags!
United States
Wurtsboro
NY
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Tuesday 12/23
Blockers - new
Alba Longa - new

Wednesday 12/24
Continental Express - new
Dodge Dice x3 - new

Thursday 12/25
Mow - new
Solitaire for 2 - new
Campaign Manager x2 - new

Friday 12/26
Ilium x2 - new
Dodge Dice x3

Saturday 12/27
Dodge Dice x3

Sunday 12/28
Viticulture - new
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