2015 10x10 Challenge
Crookneck
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Year two! These are the 10 games I'm intending to play 10 times each in 2015 per Sarah Reed's 10x10 challenge.

I'm participating in hardcore mode.

(For my personal reference, here's my 2014 10x10.)
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1. Board Game: Bruges [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:198]
Crookneck
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Portland
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Game 1.
1/25/15
Players: Solo, playing two sides
Score: Green 47, Blue 44

Quick-playing Euros tend to be a hit at my main game group, and I think the gameplay of Bruges would go over well - but we're five players, and Bruges only plays four. However, the City on the Zwin expansion fixes that issue, and now I'm eager to introduce Bruges to game night. Well, except for the minor hitch of my copy of City on the Zwin being stuck on my preorder of long-delayed Alchemists. Maybe February? Bright side: this gives me a chance to get more familiar with Bruges before teaching it, and I can teach it to Ryan 2-player first to get extra practice.

In this game, Blue built a great canal-laying engine with the Warden and Well Builder. Unfortunately, before being able to trigger either of them, Blue got stuck needing to build a purple canal section on either side... then couldn't draw any purple cards from there on out. Augh! I suspect I had poorly shuffled the deck. Green wound up with more canals, the only statue, and the only canal majority, and Blue's well-crafted engine was useless. I had one big rule error that I discovered late in the game: when discarding a card for money, I was taking the pip value shown on the little die drawn on each card (so, $1 per card) instead of the pip value shown on the actual die on the game board. Haha! Eventually I wondered why every card was only worth $1... oy.

Game 2.
1/31/15
Players: Solo, playing two sides
Score: Green 53, Red: 54

So close! Obviously there are many places where the 1-point difference may have been scored, but it's notable that Red had the 7-point canal statue, while Green had the 6-pointer. I didn't take notes of what characters each side oversaw, but Red did well with the guy who gives you five points if you build a house in each of the five colors. Green didn't have any endgame bonus characters, but she had some good money-making flexibility based on the $2/entertainer card.

Game 3.
3/02/15
Players: Solo, playing two sides
Expansions: The City on the Zwin
Score: Yellow 68, Black 55

City on the Zwin is here! I played with the new cards and the boats in this game. Black played the Judge in the first round, which allowed her to immediately flip all of her majority tiles (they were all tied). That was quite a lead, but Yellow was able to get ahead on the reputation track and canals in the next round. Yellow never caught up on people, but it didn't matter in the end. Yellow installed the Queen early on (I think in round 3 - she was just barely unable to do it in round 2) and made a nice sum of VPs off her throughout the game. Yellow's other big points card was the Geographer, and she completed all of her canals to get full benefit from him. Black built and fully scored the Cupbearer and had some nice synergy with the Dresser but lagged behind Yellow in nearly all of the scoring categories. Next up: Bruges + Zwin + Pets - the pets are in the mail from Germany.

Game 4.
3/30/15
Players: Solo, playing two sides
Expansions: The City on the Zwin, The Animals
Score: Green 78, Black 58

First game with the Animals! They didn't make a huge impact; they're so relatively inexpensive to build that, after Green installed a pig and flipped her majority tile in the first round, Black was able to install a goose and a hawk in the next round and flip her tile as well. (I don't think my shuffling was as good as it should've been, hence the clumps of animals.) I did enjoy the humor of installing animals and people in the same houses. The Composer lived with the pig, while the Ragman shared quarters with the hawk and the Servant had a goose. Black didn't manage to install many people overall, and none of them had synergistic endgame scoring bonuses, which is where I think she fell behind Green. The Zwin modules I played with were, again, the new cards and the boats.

Game 5.
4/25/15
Players: 2
Expansions: The City on the Zwin (boats and new cards), The Animals
Score: me 77, Ryan 68

Ryan's learning game. He flipped majorities in animals and canals; I had canals, people and reputation track majorities. Ryan installed the Lawyer early on and made good use of the extra worker bonus. He also gave this Lawyer several animal companions: first a goose, but then there was a tragic fire, and the goose flew away (oh no!). Happily, the Lawyer later befriended and brought home a carp. In my first hand of cards, I got the Swiss, who gives you two points per Traveler. I didn't have any other Travelers in my hand, but I decided to hang on to her anyway and see if I found some in the next few hands. Funnily enough, I wound up installing the Norwegian, Dane, Finn and Swiss - evidently my portion of Bruges was a hot travel destination for Nordic folk. That parcel of endgame bonus points was chiefly responsible for my victory, I think. Proscht!

Game 6.
6/12/15
Players: Solo, playing two sides
Expansions: The City on the Zwin (boats and new persons), The Animals
Score: Yellow 75, Green 60

Green went for canals; Yellow aimed to lock down majorities (reputation track, people and animals) and endgame points (5 points from the Cupbearer, 6 points from the Commander). Green fully built both sides of her canal, got the two top-valued statues and had the canal majority - but she didn't get any other majorities, and she was a handful to a fistful to a bucketful of points behind Yellow in all of the scoring categories. The perils of laser focus on one goal!

Yellow had a neat play early on: her first hand of cards included the Nun, who costs nothing to install and has an one-time ability of giving you a red worker and $3. In that same first round, a boat that lets you re-trigger a one-time-use person was in the harbor. Yellow's first three moves were to build a house, install the Nun, build a canal and send a worker to the boat, using it to re-trigger the Nun. So, the Nun raked in two red converts and $6. In the next hand, the Nun was rewarded with a pet hare. Seemed like a nice life.

Game 7.
8/29/15
Players: Solo, playing two sides
Expansions: The City on the Zwin (boats, new persons and market), The Animals
Score: Yellow 80, Red 64

I had to rush out the door after finishing this game, so my notes are poor. But Yellow's game was going extremely well, while Red's game was going extremely not. Red did get a batch of catch-up points by building the Astronomer and using him with points-granting instant cards (one religious card must've yielded at least 12 points for Red, thanks to the Astronomer and the reuse-an-instant-card boats). Red was in the lead on the score track going into final scoring but didn't have as many points in majorities, houses or endgame person bonuses. Yellow had all of those things, plus some other nice plays; I enjoyed the Stonemason(? - the one who lets you pick one worker of a color of your choice once per round) and the craftsman card that lets you search the discard for another craftsman and build her/him for free in an empty house (used that twice, thanks to the boats).

I added in the Market cards, which were nice, though I didn't come close to using up all of the scrolls in a 2-player game, even when hitting the Market action multiple times per player per round.

Game 8.
12/05/15
Players: Solo, playing two sides
Expansions: The City on the Zwin (boats, new persons and market), The Animals
Score: Yellow 82, Black 60

Quite a swing in this game! Black started out in the lead, flipping both the canal and reputation track majorities early on. Black went on to an insurmountable lead on the rep track and scored the full 12 points for it. Meanwhile, Yellow started out by only flipping the animal majority tile (for a lovely horse) and lagged behind, spending all of her money in each round and being unable to advance on the rep track. Everything changed when Yellow pulled off a great combo thanks to the boats: build a $4 yellow canal, send a worker to the draw-a-card-and-immediately-take-an-action-with-it boat, draw a red card, build a $5 red canal, get the 7-point statue, send a worker to the $6 boat, get money. That allowed Yellow to flip the canal majority and beat Red to the highest value statue. Yellow also had much better people, especially the Banner Bearer and the Model (triggered twice thanks to boats) and my good buddy the Cupbearer (I always go for that guy!). Black started out with the Tamer (2 points/entertainer) and added the Maid (pay a blue worker to draw a card), figuring it wouldn't be hard to get several entertainers. Wrong! Black only found one more entertainer during the entire game. So essentially, the only person attending the grand show put on by the Tamer and the Actor was the Maid.

Game 9.
12/21/15
Players: Solo, playing two sides
Expansions: The City on the Zwin (boats, new persons and market), The Animals
Score: Blue 72, Yellow 56.

Yellow was going for high-scoring, powerful people in her houses (Biologist, Engraver, Warden and a late-game Impostor) but got them out a little too slowly, I think. Meanwhile Blue was dabbling here and there until she drew and installed the Geographer (an extra 2 points for each of your 3-point spaces on the canals and your statues), then became canal-crazy. Blue had one great play: in the last round, Blue needed $9 to build the last two canal spaces and get the 7-point statue; those spaces required a blue and a purple card. Blue's hand was three reds, a blue and a brown, and she was broke. However, the top card on one of the decks was a purple, and she had the Princess installed in her houses (draw a card and play an action with that card). There wasn't good money to be had from the dice, but red was worth $3. So Blue's actions were: discard red card for $3 three times; play a blue card to build the $4 canal (and send a red worker to the boats to advance on space on the rep track); trigger the Princess with a yellow worker; draw the purple card from the top of the stack and use it to build the $5 canal; get the top-scoring statue; grin.

Game 10.
12/26/15
Players: 2
Expansions: The City on the Zwin (all modules), The Animals
Score: me 51, Ryan 53

Ryan wins the last game of Bruges! Another close game where we were doing different things - he was working more on canals and creating a flexible engine of people, whereas I was keeping a tight grip on my rep track lead and working towards endgame bonus people. He had some amazing long combos of person activations that I won't try to recount here; he also flipped 3/4 majorities (all but my precious rep track) and got the only statue of the game. The first person I built was the Executioner, whom I'd never recruited before - I got 8 points out of him total, only neglecting executions in the penultimate and final rounds out of mercy due to lack of blue workers. My side of Bruges was like King's Landing.
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2. Board Game: Castles of Mad King Ludwig [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:82]
Crookneck
United States
Portland
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Game 1.
1/06/15
Players: Solo
Score: 49

And we're off - this was my first game of the 2015 challenge. Woohoo! I have been loving Castles of Mad King Ludwig. My main game group is five players, sadly removing Ludwig from contention, so I'll likely be filling this challenge with solo and 2-player games. Not a great score here, but not bad (my highest is currently not much higher at 53). I didn't manage to connect my rooms well to take advantage of some scoring opportunities, but I played a better money management game than usual. This castle's layout looked pretty sensible at the end, apart from some helter-skelter hallways.

Game 2.
1/20/15
Players: Solo
Score: 49

Same score. I keep pulling the "If you have all 8 room types" bonus card and not quite fulfilling it - here, I just needed a downstairs room (only two came out in the game: one in the first round, when I didn't have the stairs for it, and another when I was out of money - curses!). The "Every two of your external entrances" bonus was an interesting one, since I had to set up some rooms for incompletion rather than completion. I decided to take photos of the castles I build during these challenge plays (save the first one, since I had the idea too late). Most of my house has bad lighting for photography, so here's the first of nine dimly lit photos to come!


Game 3.
1/26/15
Players: 4
Scores: 125, 100, 96 (me), 89

The goals in this game were the most utility rooms, most food rooms, most square rooms and most incomplete rooms. Tristan had a far lead, partly by making good use of extra turns from completed food rooms. Ken had the most extreme castle, half of which was beautiful outdoor vistas and the other half of which was dank, creepy dungeons. Christina had a bonus for elbow rooms, which led to a very questionably shaped castle at the beginning. My castle wasn't too notable, though I had a rad 9-pin alley and a lovely hole, plus the Lilac Cabinet (which had sat at the $15,000 price for so long that it had a stack of $7,000 on it when I bought it - square rooms had been sparse for a while, and it was up-priced to protect majorities). I know I promised dimly lit photos, but this one has a glare instead!


Game 4.
3/17/15
Players: Solo
Score: 47

I think I'm in a solo game scoring rut. But, gosh darn it, I'm seriously killing it on the dimly lit photos.


Game 5.
3/17/15
Players: Solo
Score: 49

I played two games back-to-back tonight. I thought I might finally break 50 with this one! I managed a good play at the end by finishing a sleeping room, which let me deplete a tile stack for extra scoring. Yet here I am at 49 again, some more. (And evidently I was really into the Venus Grotto and the Utility Room this evening.)


Game 6.
4/24/15
Players: Solo
Score: 76

I am the Duke of Castle Building! Everything came together in this game. I never ran out of money, thanks to multiple outdoors rooms, and I was able to deplete the 400 stack for extra points on top of my 400 room bonus card (the two completed sleeping rooms that helped me deplete the stack were themselves 400 tiles!). I didn't score anything for my music room and downstairs room bonus cards - the times when those rooms were in the offer, they weren't the best options. This was also one of the most compact castles I've built - prepping for the release of Secrets!

Will I ever score this high again?


Game 7.
5/29/15
Players: Solo
Score: 48

Back to being the Court Jester. I couldn't get the combos rolling in this game. I think I may try ignoring the downstairs room bonus card when I draw it in my first two; like in other games with that card, I sacrificed some useful tiles early on to build a staircase, then I never built a single downstairs room - once the stairs were in place, the downstairs rooms just didn't come out at fortuitous times or prices! You can see some unfinished plans I had for this castle - like completing that lower 3-point outdoors room for $10,000 and completing the tiny upper food room for another turn.

Personal milestone: this happened to be my 500th tracked game on BGG; I started recording in January 2014 for last year's 10x10. Pity it wasn't a more impressive round! Like the one below...



Game 8.
5/29/15
Players: Solo
Score: 66

This game, played right after #7, was quite the opposite: things were falling into place on every turn. Not a particularly high score, granted, but it's far out of my typical 47-49 rut for solo games. One thing I realized while playing is that I'm getting better at setting up sure things for myself to combat the uncertainty of the tile draw. For instance, in this game, I intentionally left the northern doorway out of my foyer empty for a while, knowing that I could put a room there at any time to get a free hallway (or stair); building on that, I set it up so that I could put that free hallway between the two outdoors rooms in the lower right to complete both at once and earn $20,000. Knowing that I could trigger this windfall whenever it most benefited me was extremely helpful for my planning and tile valuation.

I didn't complete the 8-point bonus card for building all 10 room sizes. My idea for that was to concentrate on buying the $2,000 tiles as long as they represented a new room size for my castle (unless there were 450-size tiles in the offer, since I also had that bonus). I felt like this worked pretty well, though I should have added some judicious sleeping room construction to bring forth the tile sizes that didn't arise on their own.



Game 9.
6/07/15
Players: Solo
Score: 55

For the mad king who likes eating and wandering in gardens best, followed by working and... living.



Game 10.
6/07/15
Players: 2
Score: Me 86, Ryan 91.

And with this, Ludwig is my first completed game for 10x10 2015. It's one of what I consider the "easy" ones on my list - only in terms of getting it to the table - because the solo game plays so quickly; the setup is a pain, but it's worth it if you play multiple solo games back to back. I saved this 10th play for a 2-player round against Ryan, and his crookedy castle beat my living room-packed one. The King's Favor tiles were the most outdoor rooms and the most large rooms. Only three outdoor tiles came out over the whole game; we each got one and split the points. I was ahead on large rooms, 5 to 4. Overall, Ryan managed his money much better than I did and made good on all three of his bonus cards. I didn't score any points for my downstairs room bonus card (I regret choosing it over the other option!) and was hurting for cash on several turns. But if you really like purple carpet and/or sitting down, have I got a castle for you...

Ryan's castle:


My castle:
 
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3. Board Game: Fairy Tale [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:748]
Crookneck
United States
Portland
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Game 1.
1/23/15
Players: Solo, playing two sides
Score: 45 to 44

Very close game here - player A started out with two Sky-Dance Dragons and Fairy Tale - Chapter 2 (requires the Spirit of the Spring and a Fairy Ring), giving player B a lot of blocking to do. In addition to blocking A's needed cards as much as possible, player B managed to accumulate a 2-stack of Homesteaders and 4-stacks of both Mischievous Fairies and Young Dragons; this was even with player A trying to block all of those cards in turn! At the end, A managed to get all the cards she needed, plus another 8-point legend card besides, but B kept just barely ahead.

Game 2.
3/01/15
Players: Solo, playing two sides
Score: 32 to 52

A lot of Tales came out in this game. Player B played three of them and fulfilled all three, also burying one that would've benefited player A before passing the hand to her. Player A played two Tales and didn't manage to fulfill either. Whereas player B's gambles paid off (getting both the Fairy Queen AND the Sword King to fulfill their respective tales), player A's did not; A did draw the Trickster and was going to use her as a substitute for a missing Tale card, but B played the Fairy Queen in the same round, instantly hunting down and snuffing the Trickster. Player A still managed decent points from ally cards, but her wasted efforts at Talespinning were costly.

Game 3.
3/26/15
Players: Solo, playing two sides
Score: 57 to 48

Both sides completed three Tales, but player A's were worth more points (9+8+8 for A, 9+7+6 for B). There were a lot of Knights of the Empire out in the first round; A wound up with two of them, and B got one. However, A also snagged two Bronze Dragons to go with them, scoring 18 points off those pairs alone. B did manage one nice move of playing and closing a Dragon's Lair, playing and closing a Castle, then playing the Dark Angel and reopening both of those 6-pointers.

Game 4.
5/15/15
Players: Solo, playing two sides
Score: 34 to 42

Player B made a wise move early on by realizing that she had too many Tales and was unlikely to complete them all, so she used a Magic Circle of Chaos to close one (taking 5 points over a potential zero). She still managed to complete three other Tales and won by 8 points. Player A was focused on the red majority and yellow majority Tales and completed them both but wound up with a number of low-scoring cards while doing so.

Game 5.
6/09/15
Players: Solo, playing two sides
Score: 45 to 37

I used entwife's Among The Stars 2-player draft variant in this game (draw an extra card each round; play 1, discard 1) and liked the greater variety of cards that came out. I made it so the discard was always the last card in the hand and never reorganized the hands as I passed them, to prevent potential lost tension over being able to both keep the card you want and trash the card your opponent wants in each hand. Player B made a miscalculation in the last round: she knew player A had the Shadow's Tale - Chapter 4 in her hand and would be able to fulfill it (most character cards), and she had the Fairy Queen in her hand, which she could use to hunt player A's Shadow's Tale, assuming she played it at the right time. But she also had the Knight's Tale - Chapter 3 in her hand, which she could only play if she skipped the Fairy Queen. After calculating the points, player B determined that playing the Knight's Tale was her better option - but she hadn't counted on player A putting out an additional dragon card that round, which put A at 7 dragon cards to B's six dragons - and B was expecting to score 6 points from Dragon's Tale - Chapter 1 (most dragons). Actually, B would have lost, either way, but it would've been more satisfying to slay A's Shadow Tale with the Queen!

Game 6.
7/16/15
Players: Solo, playing two sides
Score: 44 to 58

AtS entwife drafting variant again, though I didn't worry about keeping the cards in order and discarded whatever I chose each round; I didn't feel like tension was lost. Tale-spinning (spin it!) was yet again the focus, and each side tried to complete four tales. Player B was 4/4 on completions, but player A only finished 3/4. Player A made a fairly risky move in going for the Dragon's Tale - Chapter 4 (requires the Gold Dragon) when the Trickster had already been relegated to the discard pile, meaning only one card in the whole deck could complete the tale. (I say "fairly" risky because player A also had the Shadow's Tale - Chapter 3 in play, which requires you to have the most Tales in your tableau, so the Dragon's Tale still had purpose, even if unfulfilled.) Of course, player B then drew the Gold Dragon in her first hand of the following round and promptly discarded it.

Really, what won the game for B was less the Tales and moreso the allied set of two Knights of the Empire and two Bronze Dragons, totaling 18 points. Player A erred by letting B get away with that - too distracted by juggling her many Tales. (Frankly, B was also distracted by all of the Tales and their conditions. I didn't fully realize I'd assembled that ally set until the end!)

Game 7.
8/14/15
Players: Solo, playing two sides
Score: 53 to 53

AtS entwife drafting variant. And a startling, dramatic conclusion! In the last round of the game, player A drew the Shadow's Tale - Chapter 2 (most places), and player B drew the Gold Dragon. Both of these were their extra card draws rather than being part of the original hand passing back and forth, so neither one had any idea the other had that particular card. And they both chose to play them as the final card of the game, meaning that the Gold Dragon hunted down and closed A's 7-point Shadow Tale, turning this from a 60-53 game in A's favor to a 53-53 tie.

Game 8.
8/16/15
Players: Solo, playing two sides
Score: 38 to 52

AtS entwife drafting variant. There was a fierce contest to have the most character cards after player A placed Shadow's Tale - chapter 4 in her tableau (most characters). Going into the last card played, player A had 6 characters in her tableau, and player B had 7. If A played a character card and B didn't, they would tie, and A would fulfill the Tale. But they both played characters, and A was denied her 8 points from the Tale. It didn't decide the game - B was quite far ahead in points from fulfilling three Tales of her own - but it led to a tense final round.

Game 9.
8/28/15
Players: 2
Score: Me 42, Ryan 45

Ending with two two-player games! Ryan and I used the AtS entwife drafting variant to bring out more of the deck. Ryan hadn't played Fairy Tale in months, but he won regardless; he stacked up a tricksy pile of 4 Mischievous Fairies and had some good points off ally cards as well. I'm sure I blithely passed him a few of those Mischievous Fairies, since I was focused on fulfilling my Tales (the Tale that requires you to have the most places and the Tale that requires you to have the Fairy Ring and the Spirit of Spring... maybe another that I'm forgetting). I successfully wrote those Tales but lost the game.

Game 10.
8/28/15
Players: 2
Score: Me 40, Ryan 39

In round two, I went Tale-crazy: in my first three cards, I played both the Tale requiring majority in holy empire cards and the Tale requiring majority in shadow cards. I went on to also play the Sword King Tale and the Tale requiring two fairy cards and two dragon cards. The game went surprisingly well for having to keep all of those things in balance: miraculously, I drew the Sword King, and I stayed in the lead on shadow and empire cards. Going into the last round, I just needed two fairy cards to complete the 8-point fairy-and-dragon Tale, and that's where my fortune evaporated: not a single fairy card passed through my hand - I wasn't drawing any, and Ryan was discarding the ones he drew. So, I used a Magic Circle of Chaos to close that unfulfilled Tale, but I scored the rest. Ryan pressed on shadow and empire cards enough to keep me nervous, but otherwise stocked up on ally pairs. I had only the barest of wins.

That's 10/10 on Fairy Tale. I was going to say that these plays also put Fairy Tale as my most-played game overall, but it already held that spot - these plays further confirm it! mb
 
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4. Board Game: Glass Road [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:208]
Crookneck
United States
Portland
OR
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Game 1.
1/06/15
Players: Solo
Score: 18

This was one of the games I was most excited about in 2013; I purchased it promptly when it was released in the U.S., yet it didn't make it to the table until tonight. A woefully common situation with my game collection, though one I'm trying to amend this year! At any rate, this was my learning game, and it didn't really click for me yet. My highest point-scoring tile was the Sediment Factory (8 points). I definitely didn't play a very smart resource game - I should have built more production buildings, among other things - but I'm still in the "Great, now I have three clay. AHHHH but I have to make a brick!" phase of shaky planning.

Game 2.
1/11/15
Players: Solo
Score: 18.5

Half a point of improvement doesn't seem like much, but I had such a stronger sense of what I was doing and how to balance my resource intake/output in this game that I'm calling it a great stride forward. This round revolved around the Water Mill/Water Tank combo, aided by the Kiln for turning charcoal into clay. I was very close to being able to build the Clinker Plant (1 point per used brick) and would have been able to do so had the last round of cards come out in a different order. But, alas, even with my claymaking prowess, I was two clay too short.

Game 3.
1/31/15
Players: Solo
Score: 26

This game was a big step up in my scores. I saw the opportunities in the Swamp Hut + Kiln combo immediately, especially with Pottery also available to build. Brickmaking was pretty easy due to that combo, so I also built the Clinker Plant to take advantage of my several brick-based buildings. I rounded out my builds with the Forester's Office (scored for full points - I just set aside the cards that required you to cut down forests, since I never planned to use them) and the Lumber Storage (with all of those lush, protected forests, I needed to get wood somewhere else).

Game 4.
5/16/15
Players: 2
Score: Ryan 17, me 15.5

This was Ryan's first game of Glass Road and my first multiplayer game of it. Much different rhythm in the 2-player game! Ryan got the hang of the wheel quickly and primarily aimed for production buildings, constructing the Clinker Plant, Hardware Store, Sand Factory, Sand Screening Plant and Cooperage (two of those were from his private offer; the rest were from the public offer). I went for a Spa + Water Mill combo - partly because of their well-matched abilities/points, partly to prevent Ryan from building them (both require bricks, and he already had the Clinker Plant). I wanted to get the Springhouse out as well, but I managed to forget which round we were in - despite having made a point of setting out round counters at the beginning - and thought #4 was #3, when actually it was game end. Cripes! So, I built a fairly pointless Water Tower instead.

Game 5.
6/06/15
Players: Solo
Score: 25

This game was very much about sand: the initial offering included the Factory, Friends of Nature House, Sandstone Factory and Landscaping Office. I built the Friends of Nature House first, due to its low cost, then I set about getting sand pits in the proper configuration and building the Factory. I didn't build the Landscaping Office, but I wish I had done that first or second (I think I got fixated on the Nature House/Factory combo and forgot about the Landscaping Office, to be honest). Up through this game, I've only been playing with the base tiles. In #6, I'm going to finally add in the shrine tiles. And I should remember to remove the Roofing Company tile, which I neglected to do for this game - I wound up building it in the last round for points.

Game 6.
8/16/15
Players: Solo
Score: 19.5

This was my first game with the full tile set rather than just the shrine tiles. Middling game - my score was composed of 1 point for the Sand Island, 8 points for the Village Church, 6 points for the Plant Nursery (doing both Plant Nursery and Village Church was probably unwise), 4 points for the Country House and .5 points worth of sand.

Game 7.
8/16/15
Players: Solo
Score: 15

Then this happened. Worst score yet! My plan was haphazard, and things never came together well. I built the Forest Hut for 2, the Artists' Colony for 1, the House of the Brotherhood for 4, the Wood Trader for 1, the Forester's Lodge for 4, the Food Locker for 2 and the Soup Kitchen for 1. It was interesting that the first three buildings all came out; I wanted to see what would happen if I built them. What happened was that I had tons of resources and not enough builds (or badly timed builds) to take advantage of them. Oh well!

Game 8.
9/12/15
Players: Solo
Score: 25

Back on track! I tend to under-utilize production buildings, and the ones that showed up in the initial offer looked interesting, so I decided to pursue several of those. I love the added flexibility of the production buildings, as well as the complexity they lend the puzzle of how best to collect, use and transform my resources. My brain was emitting a happy buzz. My score was as follows: Bathhouse 2 points, Fish Yard 4 points, Wood Depot 1 point, Slipway 7 points, Sawmill 2 points, Inn 3 points, Cooperage 3 points, Brotherhood of the Masons 3 points. (I also built the Clay Pit, but that's worth zero.)

Game 9.
9/20/15
Players: 2
Score: Ryan 22.5, me 22.5

Sunday was a great day for Glass Road in this house! First, Ryan and I tackled another 2-player game. In the initial offering, my attention was drawn to the combo of the Builder's Hut (remove 1 grove, get 2 clay), the Pottery (1 point per 1 clay) and the Potter's Parlor (1 point per 2 clay). I suspected that Ryan saw it, too, but I decided to gather resources towards constructing those, with a different processing building as my backup plan (I forget which now). As it turned out, Ryan was pursuing other tiles, so I got that combo up and running. My plan was to build groves whenever possible, both for mid-game flexibility and to ensure I could fill up on clay before scoring. Well, there was a hitch: although it wasn't in the initial offering, the Forester's Lodge (build a 2x2 grove for 4 points) came out early, and Ryan liked the sound of that. He incorporated it into his strategy, and from then on we were clashing over the grove-building tiles - Forest Manager and Cultivator - each round.

I should note one other focal point of my strategy: I got three buildings in my private offer, including the Carpenter's Workshop (immediate 7 wood) and the Slipway (1 point per 1 wood). That's an easy 1-2 combo for 8 points, and I got both out near the end of the game.

I wound up not scoring full points for my pottery empire due to the grove battle, and I was sure Ryan was going to win; he had a bunch of simpatico tiles. When we tallied our points, we were tied precisely at 22.5. Shared victory!

Here's how our scores broke down:
Me: 1.5 points for Glassmaker's Colony, 3 points for Brotherhood of the Masons, 2 points for Carpenter's Workshop, 2 points for Potter's Parlor, 2 points for Builder's Hut, 1 point for Swamp Hut, 7 points for Slipway, 4 points for Pottery.
Ryan: 1 point for Forest Glassworks, 3.5 points for Glassmaker's Colony, 4 points for Forester's Lodge, 4 points for Plant Nursery, 4 points for Forester's Office, 2 points for Sand Factory, 3 points for Hunting Lodge, 1 point for Farmstead. (0 points for Tree Nursery.)

Game 10.
9/20/15
Players: Solo
Score: 27

Then Ryan had to do some chores, so I decided to round out my 10 plays of Glass Road for this challenge with a solo game. I am very happy to report that I achieved a new high score of 27, beating my previous score of 26 from game 3. Closer and closer to 30. This was a Clinker Plant game (as was my 26-point game, looking back). Here's the score breakdown:

2 points for Forest Glassworks, 4 points for Water Tower, 2 points for Grain House, 8 points for Village Church, 1 point for Lumber Storage, 1 point for Soup Kitchen, 7 points for Clinker Plant, 2 points for Building Firm. (0 points for Reed Hut.)

I love the Building Firm (remove one sand pit, get 2 clay and 1 sand). I used that and the Reed Hut (remove one pond, get 2 wood) numerous times throughout this game. I kept building and removing sand pits and ponds around the Village Church. Must have been rather noisy outside that church up until endgame!

That's 10/10 for Glass Road, though my slow quest to 30 will continue!
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5. Board Game: Greed [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:1386]
Crookneck
United States
Portland
OR
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Game 1.
1/16/15
Players: Solo, playing two sides
Score: $225k to $145k

I love card drafting, and Greed is becoming more and more of a favorite each time I play it. I love the combo possibilities. The cards up for grabs in this particular game were extremely heavy on the Actions and low on the Holdings. Player A got a strong lead in three turns by playing the thug who gives you $5,000 when you play an Action (forgetting his name right now), then Master Plan, then Sucker Convention - that netted her $70,000 ($30,000 from Sucker Convention doubled by Master Plan, plus the $5,000 from the thug doubled), at the cost of giving Player B $10,000. Player B didn't manage such a big surge of cash or any steadily paying combos, but she did pull off a nice move by using Relocation on Jenny's Waterfront Dive, then building the Insurance Office, which paid off in the very next turn when player A caused an across-the-board thug loss.

Game 2.
2/08/15
Players: Solo, playing two sides
Score: $225k to $115k

Player A gambled on her first card by picking "Vicious" Syd Varney, hoping for a high-cost building in the next hand. Next hand comes over, and there it is: The Ritz. Player A built it for free using Syd's power, making $60,000 in the second turn. Evidently to prove her ruthlessness, player A then sent Syd Varney on a Suicide Mission in the last turn, squeezing another $25,000 out of him. Good employee, that Syd! Player B had some decent combos and a discount all game thanks to "Stingy" Sam McDowell, but she never got a good bank of holdings built up - plays were a bit more turn-by-turn, and nothing was exceptionally prosperous.

Game 3.
2/28/15
Players: Solo, playing two sides
Score: $150k to $120k

One of my lower- and closer-scoring games. Player A played a thug-centric game around the combo of "Friendly" Gus Caspar (+$15,000 for each additional thug) and Ed "Rubberface" Teach (copy another thug's ability - here, he copied Gus Caspar, making each additional thug worth $30,000). Player B went for holdings, building the Zoning Office early, as well as Dolls on Call. Player A made a smart move by building Tommy's Guns and Ammo (opponents remove one marker from each of their holdings): it cost player B $30,000, which wound up being the difference between a win and a tie.

Game 4.
4/09/15
Players: Solo, playing two sides
Score: $275k to $205k

Heart holdings abounded in this game, and player A built most of them in order to build a triggered Sexy Sadie's. From the combo of Dolls on Call, Trotsky's and Sexy Sadie's, player A was scoring $15,000 at the end of each turn. Player B fell behind but also played a combo that had me grinning: Pete "Repeat" Fell followed by Sucker Convention, which put Sucker Convention back in my hand; then Hideout, which re-triggered Pete "Repeat" Fell, followed by Sucker Convention, which again went back into my hand (thanks, Pete); and Sucker Convention later again on its own. That was $90k to player B at the cost of $30k to player A, plus the fun factor.

Game 5.
5/22/15
Players: Two
Score: Me $160k, Ryan $65k

Ryan hadn't played Greed in a while, and he hadn't played the 2-player game before. I didn't note card names, but he built a nice engine with the thug who grants you a $5,000 discount on everything, combined with Ed "Rubberface" Teach, who doubled the discount to $10,000. Ryan built several free things with this discount, but unfortunately none of them combined together to generate cash. Meanwhile, I built the holding that gains a marker each time you play an action and focused on actions (the cards in this game were action-packed).

Game 6.
5/22/15
Players: Two
Score: Me $125k, Ryan $160k.

We immediately played another round of Greed, now that Ryan had shaken off the rust. The hands in this game were extremely disparate: one hand had nearly all holdings plus a few actions, while the other hand had nearly all thugs plus a few actions. The thug hand showed some obvious combo possibilities centered around getting guns and playing actions (the thug who grants you $5,000 each time you play an action, the thug who grants you $5,000 per gun you have each time you play an action, the thug with two guns, Ed "Cheesecloth" McGinty who gives you $5,000 per gun...). I started out with the thug hand, and I saw all these combos, but I had trouble choosing which card I should take first before passing the hand to Ryan. I wound up picking the $5,000/gun thug, but then changed my mind (DANGER DANGER) and took McGinty, since the other thug had a higher cost and would be harder to get out early. What was I thinking?! Once I passed the thug hand to Ryan, he immediately saw the combos, too, and he made smarter choices when deciding the best order in which to pursue the thugs. He wound up getting the combo off the ground instead of me, and he was raking in $20,000 each time he played an action. He also played Arson (I think) on the very last round, which cost me $40,000 due to his four thugs - I only had $25,000 to lose, but even that took this from a fairly close game to a clear victory. No idea why I didn't grab Arson defensively earlier in the game!

Game 7.
6/28/15
Players: Solo, playing two sides
Score: $140k to $155k

A cash-generating strategy edged out a holdings strategy in this game. Player B was dealt Insider Trading in the first hand and decided to go for it; it took six turns to build up to it, with the cash engine built around Eugene "The Butcher" Midge (fortuitously fished from the draw pile by "Polycephalus" Patricia Jones!), "Nothing beats" Rock Benson and playing as many actions as possible. The Eugene-Rock combo yields $15,000 per played action, in addition to whatever the action gives you. This was B's cool move on turn 7: she played Louis "Savoir" O'Farrell, who lets you play an extra card at the end of the next turn. On turn 8, B drafted a throwaway holding (one player A would've liked to have, of course), played Gambit! and discarded that holding for $30,000, plus $15,000 for playing an action. Then, for her extra card from Louis, she finally brought out Insider Trading and gained $45,000 from that, as well as yet another $15,000 from the action team. It was satisfying to pull that off.

Player A's game was less flashy; she started with "Stingy" Sam McDowell, who gives a blanket $5,000 discount on all costs, and then built up some booze-soaked holdings: Joe's Gin Joint, Sandy's Snooker and Schnapps and The Ritz. The Ritz alone was worth $80k. Player A wanted to get Morticia's Absinthe Parlor out, too, but B had been hammering on A's loose cash with all of her action cards, and A was just $5,000 short of building the parlor (which would've been worth $50k).

Game 8.
8/30/15
Players: Solo, playing two sides
Score: $165k to $95k

Ouch for player B - this was a lopsided game. Player A got off to a wealthy start with Honest Work, which she was able to play for the first four rounds for a total of $60k. Player B grabbed up Inform! to piggyback off A's second Honest Work but otherwise didn't manage any good plays. Part of the problem was that B aimed to get out Wolfgang Buttercup, and did, but it took too long, and A had already taken many of the holdings. Player A, meanwhile, was working on an extended combo of hiring Bobby "Corduroy" Brown, "Peeping" Tom "Thumb" (enough quotation marks, Tom?) and Ed "Cheesecloth" McGinty, then building the Hideout, which re-triggered all of their powers. All told, this combo cost player B $20k ("Corduroy" twice) and earned player A $70k ($30k from Tom activating twice, $40k from "Cheesecloth" activating twice).

Game 9.
9/29/15
Players: Solo, playing two sides
Score: $110k to $140k

Player A drew the Hideout from the first hand of cards and counted on assembling a bunch of thugs, then reactivating them all. Unfortunately, the thugs in this game didn't make that a particularly powerful play - a number of them didn't even have triggerable actions (like Natascha "The Squirrel" Rubin, "Halloween" Jack Paris and "King" Richard the Third), so there wasn't much to pick from. Player A recovered from that not-so-profitable plan with a nice buildup of holdings combined with actions that yielded development markers (Street Walkers, two plays of Take care of business!). But Player B was ultimately ahead based on superior combos in general. I think Player B had the best play of the game in "Vicious" Syd Varney (ignore costs on next turn), followed by "King" Richard the Third for free, followed by Museum Heist to gain $25,000 (Richard has precisely the three symbols needed to pull off the Museum Heist).

Game 10.
10/02/15
Players: Solo, playing two sides
Score: $135k to $195k

This game got off to a funny start: in the first hand, player A drafted "Stingy" Sam McDowell ($5k discount on all costs) as her first card, smugly imagining the pile of savings he'd earn her throughout the game. Meanwhile, player B drafted "Biscuits" O'Malley as her first card ($10k each turn when you have no money), followed by Ed "Rubberface" Teach (copies another thug) - B's plan was to spend freely each round and count on earning back $20k from "Biscuits" and "Rubberface" whenever she was broke. Both of these plans counted on being able to spend money. But there were only 2 cards in this entire game with monetary costs! Player A didn't build anything that cost money, so Stingy Sam sat idle. "Biscuits" triggered for player B in the first round, but there was nothing or not enough to spend money on thereafter, so the "Biscuits+Rubberface" combo never activated once. Ha! All of those unspendable liquid assets. Pure Greed.
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6. Board Game: La Granja [Average Rating:7.74 Overall Rank:115]
Crookneck
United States
Portland
OR
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Game 1.
1/18/15
Players: Solo
Score: 62

This was an extremely enjoyable first play; the game flowed so well after I had the steps of the phases down, and I was surprised by how quickly it played. I worked hard on market barrows, though I neglected workers completely - I'll have to take a closer look at them in my next game. I made one rules goof-up that I didn't catch until the end: I was interpreting the card icon on Revenue die-space 2 and the player board (for exchanging trade commodities) as "Draw one card" when it was actually "Either draw or play one card." Add that to the list for the next game: play more cards (sounds so obvious, doesn't it?).

Game 2.
3/31/15
Players: Solo
Score: 71

I didn't wind up playing more cards in this game after all, but at least I knew I had the option this time. My focus in this game was completing craft spaces; I finished four of them (starting with the +2 VP/craft tile space for maximum rewards). I love how you can almost always find some combo that allows you to do what you need to do in this game, convoluted though it may be (sell these goods to fund the conversion of these goods, then deliver them to get the delivery craft tile, then use that to deliver another good to another craft space, then use your Unflip roof tile to unflip the extra delivery roof tile, then use that to deliver the final good to get another craft tile...).

Game 3.
5/30/15
Players: Solo
Score: 69

The dummy was pulverizing me in the market stalls, bumping my early claims by drawing a 5, then a 6 - ouch! I didn't recover my position there by much, shifting gears to the craft spaces and roof tiles instead; I had built the Storage Builder, which lets me build an extra roof tile, and I enjoyed that a lot. This was the first game wherein I really made use of helpers - I had the Swineherder, Storage Builder and Market Woman, plus another I'm forgetting. It was also the first game in which I got the craft tile that gives you a trade commodity every income phase out early; I also enjoyed that a lot a lot. But I was hurting for donkeys here - at game end, I had three pigs just sitting on my farm that could've gone towards a craft tile, had I planned for more deliveries (at that point, I would've needed to have more +1 delivery spaces built on my board - I only had the default one). I do neglect adding cards to the right-hand side of my board due to the costs. Something to try in the next game!

Game 4.
6/28/15
Players: Two
Score: Me 54, Ryan 50

This was Ryan's learning game - he got the hang of it quickly. He went for craft tiles, starting with the one that gives you 2 VP for each additional craft tile you earn. I aimed for market barrows and had free reign of the market stalls until the last turn, when Ryan was able to complete two (he had done a number of farm extensions, and the extra donkeys paid off well that turn) and bump out three of my stalls. One new thing I did in this game was to grab the 3-coin craft tile as my first one; I got it in the second round, and the extra income was nice for flexibility.

Game 5.
9/20/15
Players: Solo
Score: 63

First game with the promo cards. I was very curious about the money deliveries (I drew one in my first hand) and decided to try them out. If I was going to do money deliveries again, I would get the +3 money craft tile first; I got it in the first half of the game, but not early enough. It was interesting to focus on raising cash instead of crops/pigs. There were one or two times when I flat-out bought the, say, grain I needed rather than growing/dice harvesting/etc. it. There was fierce contention for start player in this game, and I lost it more than I won it. I still managed a nice move with a 5-point barrow in the last round, bumping out four of the dummy's markers. I was prepared for the dummy bumping me back throughout the game; I even installed the Negotiator (1 VP/your markers that get bumped) as one of my first two cards, but I only made 2 points off it!

Game 6.
11/07/15
Players: Solo
Score: 65

Something I hadn't tried before: I built fields with my first three cards played, so I was quickly growing one wheat, one olive and one bunch of grapes each round. I completed the two craft buildings requiring combinations of those goods early on, and only then did I turn to market barrows. I also got and hired the Manservant in this game (increases your hand size by one and lets you discard when playing a card), and he was very helpful; I frequently took the card play action from the #2 die, so I had quite a stream of cards passing through my hand. I felt like this was a lower score than usual, but I see that it falls in the middle of my past solo game scores. I did have a few inefficient actions, like in one round when I had an extra delivery, so I decided to deliver a coin to the 6-coin craft building - only I never wound up completing that building, so it was a wasted coin/action.

Game 7.
11/24/15
Players: Solo
Score: 67

I packed myself a La Granja Solo To Go kit to take with me while visiting my family for Thanksgiving (main board, player board, rulebook in a thick envelope protected by cardboard; all of the bits for a solo game in an Eminent Domain: Escalation box (which is quite small and thin)). It survived the train ride here so far! I should be able to fit in at least three plays during this visit. I drew some excellent cards in this game; the first card I played was the Wagoner, who makes your first extra delivery free each round and gives you $1 for it. I loved how that freed up my donkey burdens, helping me stay in 1st player range on the siesta track (I only lost first player in one round). I also played the Storage Builder (one extra space for a roof tile, 3 VP), who is one of my favorites. But this wasn't a great score - I think I'm in a solo game scoring rut and need to shake up my strategies some more.

Game 8.
11/25/15
Players: Solo
Score: 71

Score uptick tonight. I started off slowly, working on some market barrows and deciding against extra deliveries so I could steal start player from the dummy. I waited on craft buildings until the second half of the game, fulfilling one in round 4 and two in round 6, to get the influx of points over the ongoing benefits. At game end, my farm had two helpers, two fields and two extensions, which is more balanced than it typically is. It was nice to have so much room for pigs! I had a lot of pigs. Long Distance Trader showed up near the end of the game, which seems ideal - I spent a trade commodity for a double goods upgrade in the last round, got the three points and blocked the action, but I wasn't going to use it again in those final seconds of the game anyway.

Game 9.
11/26/15
Players: Solo
Score: 56

...then this one didn't go so well. I had some trouble early on: I decided to go for the #6 craft building to get the +1 VP/market barrow tile, scoring it when I had three barrows on my board to get the full bonus points. The #6 building requires three pigs, so I also decided to focus on pigs, fondly remembering my pig empire from last game. And then I couldn't get any pigs; during the Revenue phase, no dice came up showing 1 until the 5th round (with me having long since given up on my pig plan), and I didn't want to complete a barrow to get a pig via a trade commodity since I was hoping for a full fleet of barrows on my board. In retrospect: not worth ensuring a full fleet of board barrows! I lost more points than I gained. (This was such a downturn that I wonder if I forgot to score some points along the way - to simplify my La Granja Solo To Go kit, I didn't bring the VP chips and have been scoring VP lost/gained with a scoring app, which makes it easy to forget to take a point here and there. Still, the past two games seemed to turn out okay, so I imagine I just flubbed my strategy here.) I had a minor savior in that I drew and played the Straw Binder in round 4, who gave me $1 for each empty stable after step 3 in the Farm phase. I had four stables that were yawning empty. The money helped lift my pigless spirits.

Game 10.
12/01/15
Players: Solo
Score: 85

...then this one went very, very well. I had a power combo of helpers in the Tanner (each roof tile costs $2 less), the Wagoner (first extra delivery is free and earns you $1) and the Instructor (1 VP/craft tile added to your farm). I planned and executed a big move in round 4, completing three craft buildings in one fell swoop (in raw VP, I think that netted me 21 points). I finished one more craft building in round 6 and otherwise turned to market barrows. The dummy was ineffectual in this game, which was a stroke of luck - it kept drawing low-number market barrows and only bumped me once or twice early on. It was raining points and coming up grapes.
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7. Board Game: Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:533]
Crookneck
United States
Portland
OR
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Game 1.
1/18/15
Players: Solo
Score: 45

This was my alternate game in last year's challenge, though I wound up sticking with my original list and only played it once. I'm looking forward to spending some more time with it this year. I'm starting out with the standard solo game, but I hope to try out the advanced "Testament" variant with my later plays. My patron in this game was John Law, so I focused on profitable marriages. It worked well, particularly for the minor goal of earning 1 point per every $3 you had left over at the end - I had $33 left over. I really enjoy the funny storytelling moments this game inspires. My favorite today was when I married a third-generation daughter to David the Shoemaker, which cost me some honor from my scoffing blueblood friends - though they had to bite their tongues when David+daughter promptly bought a mansion. (Of course, I lost a friend for that gratuitous display of wealth - you just can't please everybody.)

Game 2.
3/29/15
Players: Solo
Score: 55

Standard solo ruleset. Patron: Cardinal De Fleury. Unfortunately, I managed to misplay a rule I've misplayed in the past: I forgot that couples automatically have a child upon marriage. You'd think this would make the game harder, but I hit my highest score so far (granted, I've only played three times at this point), so I'm not sure. My favorite storytelling moment: in the first round of the game, I was looking for a beneficial husband, and I spotted Victor, the financial something's son. He seemed like a good catch, though he was an even better catch for titled ladies. I'd started the game with the extra yellow pawn, so I promptly earned (read: bought) myself a Banneret title, made friends with Victor and married him. Social climber, me? Why, I never.

Game 3.
3/29/15
Players: Solo
Score: 28

Standard solo ruleset again. Patron: John-Jacques Rousseau. I did a back-to-back play to cleanse the child-upon-marriage rule I forgot in the first game. Much lower score this time. My favorite storytelling moment: in generation three, both the male child and the female child (cousins) grew up to marry physicians. This was crummy, points-wise for John-Jacques Rousseau (who awards you for a mix of professions), but the implied oneupmanship was funny. "Salutations, cousin, have you heard the good tidings? I'm marrying a DOCTOR." "Most sincere congratulations, dear coz. And have you heard of my latest blessings? Why, I'm marrying a DOCTOR...".

Game 4.
5/12/15
Players: Solo
Score: 43

Standard solo ruleset, and yet again I manage to forget the child-upon-marriage rule! This time, I caught it early in the second generation, so I was able to undo one of the times it would have mattered (unfortunately, I couldn't go back and undo the missing child from when I myself married Erich the actor - alas). My patron this time was John Paul Jones. Best storytelling moment: my husband Erich and I had a complication with our first child, and we only produced one daughter. Fearing for the longevity of my bloodline, I promptly married her off to Patrick the stable master, who was known to be fertile. We lost some prestige due to his lowly birth, but I fixed that by buying him helping him achieve a Dukedom. My daughter and Duke Patrick went on to bear four lovely girls, half of whom married Frenchmen to please John Paul Jones.

Game 5.
5/24/15
Players: Solo
Score: 69

Personal best, by far! Standard solo ruleset again, with Madame du Pompadour as my patron. I once again earned myself a Banneret title and married dear Victor (reliving our past lives, perhaps?) and set about building a procreation-focused family under the auspices of Reinette. With the help of many trips to the fertility doctor - oh, what will our friends think?! - I managed to fulfill the main patron goal of having at least 7 children during generation III, and I made six points off the sub-goal of 1 point/family with 3+ kids.

I was also rich in this game - during generation III, I married off a broad-hipped granddaughter to Hans Heinrich the Brewer (who lets you ask friends for money without using an action if you have another anvil-symbol person in the family (his mother-in-law, Jacoba, the Farmer's Daughter, was just such a person)), and I married off a handsome grandson to Miranda the Fortune-Teller, who gives you $2 more whenever you ask friends for money. So, I was collecting an extra $4 per round after that, without using an action for it. It's important to marry well! My family was able to build both the 9-point Park of Leisure and a second, 6-point contribution thanks to this largesse. The second is explained in more detail in my favorite storytelling moment: only two of my granddaughters (two daughters of my Don Juan son and his wife, Lucienne the Heiress of an Ancient Family), never married. In a family so focused on marriage and childbearing, they had some bitterness over their single statuses, but they maintained a sense of humor. So, these spinster sisters decided to pool their resources and fund a project with more than a touch of irony: the Arch of Love.heart gulp

Game 6.
8/16/15
Players: Solo, Testament variant
Score: Loss - 31

This was my first time playing the Testament variant, which I really enjoyed. Trying to mold your ancestors to match the hint cards is challenging. I didn't win; I had one unfulfilled hint in the third generation (three of my father's family members needed to be craftsmen, and I was having trouble finding any craftsmen in the Friends deck - ultimately, his family had zero craftsmen). I was focused on fulfilling the hints and didn't work as hard to match nationalities between parents/children and watch for aristocrat-to-craftsman or craftsman-to-aristocrat point scoring (and losing) opportunities. 31 seemed like a respectable starting score, loss notwithstanding, but we'll see how it rates as I try out this variant some more.

It was harder to pick out the storytelling moments as I worked backwards! But it did strike me as funny and fortuitous when I had the generation I hint "The male ancestor of your father had a Title," so I gave my unknown paternal grandfather a Banneret title. Then I got the generation II hint "There was a (Russian) in your family who had a Title," so Unknown Grandpa became Banneret Leonid, the foreign deputy.

Game 7.
9/18/15
Players: Solo, Testament variant
Score: Loss - 43

One unfulfilled hint again, but I still made some progress on the Testament variant! This time, I needed to get two siblings for one of my grandmothers, one of whom needed to have a child with a British person. I had enough actions left to get the two siblings and identify one of them, but I was shy one action to marry that so-and-so to a Brit. That makes me think back to when I could've done something more efficiently! Likely I should have doubled up that hint with another one so I could make progress on two at once. Overall, I felt like I was doing a better job of doubling-up hints and matching the nationalities of children and their parents in this game.

In addition to winning the Testament variant, another thing I need to achieve is figuring out how to comfortably fit my family tree on the table.

Best storytelling moment: again, these are harder to identify when you're telling the story backwards. Still - I had a generation II hint card stating that the parents of one of my grandfathers were a diplomat/scientist couple. I had the scientist: Margarethe the physician, always a pleasure. But try as I might, I couldn't turn up a diplomat from the Friends deck. After spending 2-3 actions just cycling through the deck, lo and behold, there were two male diplomat suitors for Margarethe! And who should finally fulfill the hint as her husband? Why, good ol' Leonid the foreign deputy, of course. He saves the day again!

Game 8.
10/15/15
Players: Solo, Testament variant
Score: Loss - 47

I was so close to winning this time! One unfulfilled hint again; it was the one about having three craftspersons on your father's side of the family. I had two! Still, I improved on my score again.

Best storytelling moments from this game: I had a hint card about one of my grandfathers having a venture. I gave a venture to my maternal grandfather, who hadn't been identified yet. An action or two later, I identified that grandpa as Pierre, the newspaper owner. Of course it made perfect sense that the newspaper owner had a venture! Anyway, several turns later, I wanted to identify Pierre's parents as a scientist and a diplomat to fulfill another hint card. Looking only at the symbols and abilities on my cards and not at the flavor text, I - unthinkingly yet so aptly - named his parents as Jan, the doctor; and Pauline... the newspaper editor! Evidently Pierre not only carried on the family business, but also took it over as boss.

Game 9.
11/21/15
Players: 2
Score: Me 59, Ryan 53

I wanted to fit in at least one 2-player game of Duke de Crecy with Ryan, so I taught it to him tonight. As usual, he caught on quickly, and we had a close match. I made the error of only having one child in generation I, which stymied my family growth and almost prevented me from fulfilling my major patronage goal; I had John Law, and going into the third generation, I was at 5 income. Fortunately, there were two ventures left, and I took them both (poor Ryan had a useless orange pawn, since he didn't expect me to go for a venture and thus I beat him to the spot twice). I also did pretty well with both minor goals. Ryan had a bigger and better designed family - though he had nearly all sons! - but didn't earn as many points off his patron, Benjamin Franklin.

My favorite storytelling moment happened in Ryan's family: one of his daughters married the fresco painter, whose name I forget. They had a son, and this son went on to marry Elena, the art collector. It made perfect sense that the son would meet and marry a lady interested in the arts, given the circles his father must travel in. At the same time, a cynical person might wonder if it was true love or if Elena just wanted an inside connection to the art world via her father-in-law. I'm also amused at the notion that Elena might have been a collector of frescoes, given that they're rather difficult to store.

Game 10.
12/06/15
Players: Solo, Testament variant
Score: Win! 51

Hooray, I won the Testament variant! Everything went well in this game. I was sure I was going to draw that bedeviling hint card about craftspersons again, so I made sure to pick up every craftsperson I could. But it wasn't in the mix this time! Going into generation III, the only worrisome hint card was about one of my grandmothers having two siblings, at least one of whom had a child with someone who was British. Fortunately, I'd used an extra blue pawn during generation II to give my great-grandparents two more children, so my paternal grandma already had two siblings, both girls. And there was Robert the Explorer in the friend row - his bonuses weren't exciting at this stage of the game, but he was most certainly British!

I used an action to scoop up Robert and the other two friends remaining in the row, planning to marry off a great-aunt to Explorer Robert (...Bob's your great-uncle?), but who should appear when I refilled the friend row but Charles the King's Emissary, another British fellow! Charles was a much more promising match, since he granted three reputation points and one moneybag, with the possibility of two additional moneybags if I had two other British family members. It so happened that I had Rose and Mary-Ann (both British) in my hand, and I counted up the actions I had left: yep, I had enough to identify one great-aunt as Mary-Ann, use her card draw bonus to grab Charles, identify the other great-aunt as Rose, get 2 points off Rose's bonus due to Mary-Ann's Britishness, marry Charles to Rose and get the two extra moneybags and have actions to spare! In fact, going into round 9, I had all of the hint cards fulfilled and two actions left to max out for points. Thanks to all of my cash, I was able to buy the Park of Leisure, then I identified one of my uncles as Carlos, the local Don Juan, mostly for the two points but also for the fun of it. It's a better story with a colorful uncle, after all.
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8. Board Game: Legends of Andor [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:287] [Average Rating:7.29 Unranked]
Crookneck
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Game 1.
4/15/15
Players: Solo, playing both the Dwarf and Archer
Legend: Introductory
Score: Loss

Looking back, I killed two monsters too many in this game: in the round during which I lost (by killing a monster that was in the way and advancing the Legend Marker to N), I had enough action points left to kill one more monster - well, assuming success! - and travel six spaces to the tree to deliver the message. It would've still been dicey, though. Next game, hopefully Ryan's introductory game, I'll try to do less bumbling monster-killing early on.

Game 2.
4/19/15
Players: 2, Ryan as the Archer and me as the Dwarf
Legend: Introductory
Score: Win!

This legend got off to a demoralizing start as Chada (Ryan) rolled terribly against a gor over and over, and the gor kept pulling doubles in response. The middle of the quest was smooth, but in the round after Bait (me) picked up the message and passed it off to Chada for the sprint to the tree, we realized we'd lost: we didn't have enough actions to kill the monsters blocking our path and make it to the Elvish town - in fact, we were just one short, no matter how we counted it. Then this happened:

Chada: Wait a minute.
Bait: What?
Chada: What's this path over here? <pointing at the bend near the mountains with the waterfall>
Both: <staring>

Yep, we had actually just won, since it was Chada's turn and she had enough movement actions to reach the tree along that shorter, easier, altogether more sensible route. So, it was great that we won, but too bad that we went through the downer of a perceived loss beforehand!

Game 3.
7/04/15
Players: 2, Ryan as the Wizard and me as the Dwarf
Legend: 2 - Long Live the King
Score: Win!

Our first time playing through legend #2 resulted in a very satisfying win! Bait the Dwarf (me) and Liphardus - first name Tardis - the Wizard (Ryan) were fog-scoping, witch-greeting, medicinal-herb-remedying, rune-wielding, skral-mincing superheroes. We even had a full day left on the time track when we initiated battle with the buff skral in the tower.

Two decisions were crucial to our victory: first, when Garz came out on an event card and offered us anything from the merchant for 3 willpower, we almost passed up the opportunity. Then Bait said something like, "Ho! LiFARTus! If you buy a falcon, you can slay that gor to your yonder and wing the herb back to me, here, where I'm standing RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE CASTLE!" and Liphardus said, "I see your point" and did so. Second, when the wardraks scampered into view, Bait was panicking over how quickly they'd hop-skip into the castle, and Liphardus said, "My wizard brain tells me that we should count on both wardraks entering the castle and not fret over them. Let us slay this single gor, my good dwarf, to hinder their up-jumping, then proceed with our other business," and Bait said, "Huh... uh-huh" and did so. We also had some luck with the runestones: two came out in one space - a green and a yellow - and another came out two spaces away from those, and it was blue. So Liphardus was quickly enhanced with crazy dark rune magic and became a slaymeister.
 
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9. Board Game: Maquis [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:3031]
Crookneck
United States
Portland
OR
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Game 1.
1/11/15
Players: Solo
Score: Loss

I hadn't played this stellar solo game - my most involved PnP project so far - in a while, and I forgot a very important rule until late in the game: I was placing the workers in a contiguous path with each other (leading out from the Safe House) rather than placing them anywhere on the board. Duh! This was actually a fairly safe way to move, but much too inefficient, and I didn't come close to completing either Underground Newspaper or Liberate the Town. Well, among the things I learned in my 2014 10x10 was that mistakes are inevitable and plentiful. I might redo this same setup for my next game and replay it with the correct rules. I had a good start on Underground Newspaper, with the Informant built close to Radio A.

Game 2.
2/10/15
Players: Solo
Score: Draw

My missions were German Shepherd and Sabotage. I completed German Shepherd, and although I got 2/3 done with Sabotage, it wasn't really that close - I hadn't even raised the money needed to build the bombshop in one of the spare rooms, so I was several turns off of building a bomb. Some poor moves early on depleted my workforce, too. Despite the draw, I didn't play this one very well!

Game 3.
3/03/15
Players: Solo
Score: Draw

I completed German Shepherds and had a seemingly good start on destroying the train, but I didn't get all three bombs built in time. I made much better use of spare rooms in this game, building a second Safe House early on (though maybe I should have built the lab first to get those bombs ready in time...).

Game 4.
3/14/15
Players: Solo
Score: Draw

Missions: Underground Newspaper and Aid the Spy. I barely completed the newspaper and got nowhere with the spy. Things were going well until I lost a maquisard I wasn't expecting to. I built the spare room that grants you information (forgetting the name...) early on; I wonder if I should've built the second Safe House first, instead.

Game 5.
3/26/15
Players: Solo
Score: Draw

Yikes, this was a tough set of missions: Homemade Bomb and Coded Messages. The time pressure on Coded Messages (which I completed) made it so that I was short on morale when I turned to Homemade Bomb; I didn't manage to build myself back up to 5 morale before the turns ran out. I had all of the supplies, at least.

Game 6.
4/02/15
Players: Solo
Score: Loss

I purposefully chose an easier combo of missions this time: Sabotage and Liberate the Town. This was such a close loss (well, it should've been a draw, but I had a brain glitch and thought I'd sent the last maquisard to complete Sabotage when I actually hadn't (you'd think the continued existence of the bomb in my inventory would've tipped me off, but no)). I was a turn away and one morale short when the game ended.

Game 7.
4/02/15
Players: Solo
Score: Win!

...then I immediately played the same set of missions again, a bit sharper this time, and won! Redemption!

Game 8.
5/26/15
Players: Solo
Score: Draw

I drew Coded Messages and Liberate the Town in this game. I completed the messages but didn't come close to liberating the two (zero guns and 1 morale at game end). I think the deadline on Coded Messages makes me lose sight of the other things I need to be doing - every time I've completed it so far, I've gotten nowhere on my second mission.

Game 9.
7/16/15
Players: Solo
Score: Draw

Aid the Spy and Assassinate. I aided the spy, but I was too slow and didn't complete my assassinations before time ran out. I made a mistake by building the Counterfeiter - I thought it would help me collect a lot of guns quickly (one from each radio and one bought from the pawnshop, courtesy of the counterfeit money), but pulling off all of those placements without getting blocked proved improbable.

Games 10 + 11
7/17/15
Players: Solo
Score: Loss, loss

These were two plays of Coded Messages and German Shepherd, but the first ended so quickly that I'm tracking them both here. I made a foolish, overly risky move in the first game that led to three of my maquisards being captured in one round and a sudden loss. I facepalmed, then tried again and didn't play much better - I had all of the necessary resources to complete the missions, and I was 1/2 done with Coded Messages and 1/3 done with German Shepherd, but I was steadily losing maquisards while trying to get to the mission turn-in spaces, up until everyone got captured. Shame to end my 10 games with twin dismal losses, but the resistance will no doubt rise again.
 
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10. Board Game: Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:36]
Crookneck
United States
Portland
OR
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Game 1.
1/16/15
Players: Solo
Scenario: Castaways
Score: Loss in round 7

Much like Glass Road, I couldn't wait to get this game; I managed to snag one of the first wave of U.S. copies, punched and prepped it, then, shamefully, it sat on my shelf until now. Time to rectify! Even with some helpful print-outs from BGG users and a recent re-watching of Rahdo's runthrough, I had my nose in the rulebook multiple times each phase... turn... minute. I (as the Explorer) died at the end of round 7 after rolling snow, snow, food loss and having one cloud token on the board. I had no roof, and after losing all of my insufficient wood and food to the snow and rain, I took 6 damage all at once (due to cold and starvation), shuffling myself well off the mortal coil. I hadn't built the fire yet, and I only had one wood in the pile. Ha! I can't say I played very well, but I really enjoyed it; I would've played again immediately had it not been so late.

Game 2.
2/07/15
Players: 2
Scenario: Castaways
Score: Loss in round 10

Ryan and I, as the Carpenter and the Cook, were in dire straits on the island: three of our nearby hexes had been exhausted of resources, our palisade had blown down in the storm, our weapons were rendered blunt by predators who followed me home from gathering, our morale was near bottom, and we were each clinging to life with one heart left apiece. However, we were still hopeful going into round 10, because the fire was built, we finally had a solid level-3 roof, and we only needed to add three more wood to the pile to signal the boat.

We drew the event card, and it was Otters. Cute, playful otters! Oh, but the otters want our fish - well, our fish source is already exhausted, so no harm done there. Wait, why are the otters coming closer? Why are they growling?

After everything we'd survived - the storm, the hurricane, predators in the night, termites in the wood, that creepy cabin with the dead body, failed attempts at building a pot, poison - we were killed simultaneously by otters.

Game 3.
7/04/15
Players: Solo, playing two sides
Scenario: Castaways
Score: Loss in round 12 - one wood away from winning!

This one hurt! I was so close to getting off that bedeviled island. But no matter what I did, I couldn't get the one piece of wood I was missing during the action phase. The worst part is that I know I inadvertently cheated here and there throughout the game, due to forgetting little rules (like choosing to take wounds once instead of spending wood on a snowy night, before I remembered that wasn't an option). And yet I still lost!

The game got off to a funny/doomed start: I went into it planning on leveling up a weapon quickly and relying on furs from hunting to build my shelter and roof rather than spending wood on them. Makes sense when you're trying to save wood for a raging bonfire, right? I made an initial wood investment to level my weapon to 2, and I also had the broken bottle as one of my starting items, which has two uses of +1 weapon. I was feeling pretty deadly. As soon as we heard the first animal rustling in the brush, the dog and I went to face it down. And it was an ALLIGATOR. It beat me up, it destroyed my weapon, it provided three useless food (since I was hunting for furs, not food, I hadn't planned for excess perishables and had no way of using them; they all rotted at the end of the turn) and, best of all, its craggy hide yielded zero furs. Thus ended my brilliant plan. (I went on to have a humorously difficult time getting any furs at all. The next animals I went hunting? Birds. Again, zero furs, but at least they didn't hurt so much.)

Game 4.
7/18/15
Players: Solo, playing two sides
Scenario: Castaways
Score: Win! 63 points.

HUZZAH! I made it off the island!

I debated while setting up the game whether I should play Castaways yet again or move on to the second scenario even though I hadn't scored a Castaways victory. After my last game, which was lost by a single log, I felt certain that I could conquer the woodpile this time - so, Castaways it was, and Castaways I won!

This time, I played the Explorer and the Cook, with Friday and the dog in tow as usual. One main difference between this and all of my previous games was that I ignored the woodpile completely until I'd built up to a level 4 roof - I understand the importance of the roof much better now. From there, woodpiling was surprisingly easy, helped by some lucky draws of Discovery tokens (got the Oil early, got extra wood early) and land tiles (found the landscape types needed to build the hatchet and rope, and thus the mast). I think I filled up the woodpile completely on turn 8, but it might have been as early as turn 7. Then I just needed to survive until turn 10, when the boat spotted and rescued us. And the dog.

But, oh, this game: despite how much time I've spent reading and re-reading the rulebooks, BGG-made player aids, FAQs and the Rules forum, I never play Robinson Crusoe entirely correctly. Here are some of the mistakes I made in this game, hopefully not to be repeated in the future. I had no inkling I was doing these things wrong until I stumbled across the rules while looking up other info:

soblue I kept the brown helper pawns I found via Discovery tokens throughout the game instead of using them once and discarding them. One of them I found early, and the extra help no doubt helped me win. The other one I found near the end, and I realized the rules error before I cheated on his use. I was thinking, "Hey, I happened to meet this guy on the island, and now he wants to join my camp so we can help each other survive, and he's my new best friend!" but I should've been thinking, "Hey, I helped this guy out of a jam, and now he's offering to come to my camp and assist me in building one thing, but then he's going back from whence he came, since he has his own life to worry about."
soblue I was putting multiple +resource tokens of the same type on one land tile. I built the hatchet early and added a +wood tile to my camp, then I later found another hatchet via the Mystery deck and added a second +wood tile to my camp. Wrong! This was how I completed the woodpile as early as I did; I think I still would've won without the goof, just in a later round and with a lower score.
soblue Here's the worst one: for the Gathering Resources action, I was assigning pawns to a tile rather than a source, so I was gathering more stuff than I was supposed to (ie, I'd send a pawn to a tile and bring back wood and fish, when I should have sent the pawn to the wood source or the fish source and brought back only that resource). I've been doing this in all of the games I've played thus far. Augh! But again, I think I still would've won - I only went gathering twice in this game, as far as I remember, and both times I needed the food, not the wood.
blush I only noticed the VPs for the Castaways scenario today. I should've been counting up my score for my past losses, too.

So - a win, yes! But flawless, no.

Game 5.
8/29/15
Players: Solo, playing two sides
Scenario: Cursed Island
Score: Win! 22 points.

A win on the first try? Really? What did I do wrong?! I'd read that many people consider Cursed Island to be the easiest scenario, and I certainly beat it faster than I did Castaways. As far as I can tell, I played it correctly; the only errors I've realized were things that made it harder for me to win rather than easier (ie, I didn't know I could put fog markers on empty island hexes, and I thought I had to survive until the end of round 10 rather than only until the end of the round in which I built the fifth cross).

I did have some great luck with treasure cards and discovery tokens, which gave me a lot of buddies: my camp was overrun with builder helpers. All of whom I discarded after their one use, by the way. I also found a compass early on that gave me a perma-explorer helper. I only had to take risks on two actions during the whole game, and both times, the dice came up blank, blank, +2 determination. Both times, I then spent the 2 determination for a reroll (Friday and Carpenter), and, both times, the reroll came up Victory!

The funniest moment of this game was when Friday and the dog went hunting and encountered a muriqui that dropped a treasure. That treasure? Some old clothes. Yes, it was a monkey wearing clothes. I like to think that Friday didn't actually kill this dapper monkey, but rather bartered with him for his rad duds.

Game 6.
11/07/15
Players: Solo, playing two sides
Scenario: Save Jenny!
Score: Loss. 26 points.

First try at saving Jenny. I (as the Cook and the Explorer) got Jenny on the raft handily enough, but I didn't have enough resources to build the lifeboat - wood was all I was missing. I had 7(!) hides, the rope and the knife, but only two wood at the end. There was a point where I had a ton of wood, but I spent it on my palisade and weapon levels; I probably upgraded more than I should have. Event and adventure cards kept affecting my camp production, too, which made it harder to re-accumulate wood. But this felt like a good first attempt, all in all.

The funniest part of this game was when I kept sending Friday out to build things by himself: the shovel, then the rope, then the knife. Each time, he rolled a success, an adventure and a wound (guess he's all thumbs). So he was slowly killing himself while constructing the most basic of tools and bringing doom and gloom to the camp besides. Every roll, my thoughts were something like, "Yeah, Friday! Ouch, Friday. Oh geez, Friday...".

Game 7.
11/08/15
Players: 2
Scenario: Save Jenny!
Score: Win! 32 points.

Ryan joined me to save Jenny! I think we were both surprised that we made it off the island, because things were looking really bad at midgame. As the Soldier, Ryan did our first hunt, and we were feeling mighty: he could buff up to 8 weapon strength between items and abilities. There was a +1 beast strength token on the deck, but that wasn't worrying due to our great buff potential. And we drew... the sea lion. Base strength of 7, up to 8 with the token, plus it does 3 damage to your weapon. So we killed it without taking wounds (important - we were having a lot of trouble maintaining morale as well as health), but we used every buff available to us, and it broke our weapon down to level 1. Fortunately, it was pretty profitable - 2 hides and 3 food, I believe - but it stunk to lose our fearsome hunting potential in one battle when we were counting on several hunts.

But, going into the last round, we had all of the resources we needed to build the lifeboat, and we survived the final event, and then we were off and away! Jenny slept on the lifeboat. It's what she does.

Game 8.
12/06/15
Players: 2
Scenario: Volcano Island
Score: Win! 42 points.

What a delightful day on Volcano Island! Why look, I can see our old camp from up here... right there, in the heaving expanse of molten lava. Ryan (the Cook) and I (the Carpenter) (along with Friday and the Dog - we were playing on easy mode) had some facepalming turns early on, and Ryan had to head out after turn 5 to meet up with friends; I took us through the rest of the game. He seemed surprised when he got back home and I explained that we'd won. We had some happy luck on mystery cards, drawing more treasures than traps/beasts when we went to explore the tikis. We also had a lot of help - I would like to particularly thank Maude on the raft and Carl with the map for all of their aid with exploration. You guys are the best! Hope you make it off the island someday. :sound of jolly-boat rowing away:

Game 9.
12/13/15
Players: Solo, playing two sides
Scenario: Dreadful Adventure on the King Kong Island
Score: Loss in round 10 (ran out of time)

Ryan wanted me to save the Robinson Family scenario for a final play with him, so I ventured to King Kong Island solo tonight. I (Explorer and Carpenter) did not capture the gorilla - I was proceeding too slowly and didn't get trap #3 built until round 10 (collecting and holding on to enough wood was a problem!), meaning I couldn't take the special hunting action. But, we were still alive, the actress was not captured, and the director was still alive, at least. I both do and do not regret wasting(?) some time building the Pit. Do because food really wasn't a problem in this game; don't because it was fun, and it triggered nearly every round! I'm glad I wasn't rolling all of those wounds during a build attempt, sheesh. I find myself wondering what the Explorer and the Carpenter did after the game ended - the scenario isn't clear, storywise, what happens if you run out of time with the VIPs still being alive. My suspicion is that, after all the time they've spent fighting their way off various terrible islands, the Explorer and Carpenter ditched the useless remnants of the film crew and... :sound of jolly-boat rowing away:

Game 10.
12/26/15
Players: 2
Scenario: Robinson Family
Score: Loss in round 9(?) due to death (24 points)

In Ryan's and my first game of Robinson Crusoe together, we died in an otter attack. It's only fitting that in game 10, the final play of this challenge, we were killed by a sea lion. Marine mammals are hell-bent on annihilating us.

Really, this scenario was going miserably already, so when the sea lion chomped the Cook (Ryan), it was a relief. We were limping around at death's door for several rounds after making a slow start on establishing our shelter (MISTAKE), and we clearly weren't going to win, but we didn't want to call it quits without making the best effort. And this was on easy mode! We even lost poor Friday, who died while hunting a tapir that was probably a dolphin or whale in disguise.
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11. Board Game: The Cottonwood Contest: Cousins [Average Rating:7.56 Unranked]
Crookneck
United States
Portland
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This game is my alternate.

Game 1.
4/15/15
Players: Solo
Score: Me 200, cousin 166 - win!

This game is so charming and quick-playing that I expect to easily complete 10 (or more) plays within the year, in addition to my other 10x10 games. My cousin has yet to beat my profit-packed ledger. Tonight's biggest sale was 8 goats for the full price of 7, netting 56.

Game 2.
5/25/15
Players: Solo
Score: Me 229, cousin 183 - win!

My chickens and goats got off to a slow start in this game, which made me nervous - I had two empty pastures and several animals in hand, but no grain or corn. This amended itself a few hands later, and I made my largest profit off the chickens: they were up for 7 in two markets in a row. My cousin only edged me on two sales during the third market day, when my canned peas and fresh apples (hand-picked that morning!) sold for a pittance.

Game 3.
6/16/15
Players: Solo
Score: Me 213, cousin 159 - win!

Yet Cousin Bernice persists in thinking she knows how to run a farm.

Game 4.
7/14/15
Players: Solo
Score: Me 229, cousin 189 - win!

Cousin Bernice gets outfarmed again, though she can boast one good chicken sale over me ($3/chicken for me, $5/chicken for Bernice, four chickens sold). Ironically, had I been more chicken, I would've grown apples/cucumbers/grain instead of those risky chickens and profited more.

Game 5.
9/19/15
Players: Solo
Score: Me 204, cousin 153 - win!

My last market day did not go well in this game! I had a big chicken sale for $40, but Cousin Bernice earned exactly the same. She also equaled my apple pie and mushroom sales and beat me in cucumbers. Still, I had the better-run farm overall, mostly thanks to strong profits during the second market day ($12 for eggs and $12 for cheese - Bernice has yet to understand how to produce these mysterious things).

Game 6.
9/28/15
Players: Solo
Score: Me 231, cousin 213 - win!

What an unusual game! The first market day came quite early; all I had up and running was a bit of grain and three goats. I stored the grain but sold the goats, since they were going for $7 a piece. In the next market day, all I sold were my chickens - 8 of them, again going for $7 a piece - while I stored/dried/pickled/pied everything else. Then, accumulating huge herds of livestock (usually a good bet) no longer seemed very profitable, since two of the highest value market days for them had already passed. I tried to stock up on cucumbers and grain for the final market day, since they'd only gone for low prices so far. Alas, I didn't turn the profits I would've liked following the final market: all told, I earned $154 from that market, while Cousin Bernice made $158! I still won, but I was only 18 points ahead of Bernice this time, which is my slimmest winning margin thus far.

Game 7.
10/01/15
Players: Solo
Score: Me 191, cousin 163 - win!

Market cards appearing near the tops of their decks made this my lowest scoring game yet. I had a very full storage house going into the third market day. Alas, my pickles did not get the appreciation they deserved (just $4 per jar?! Even Cousin Bernice made $6/jar, and I have it on good authority that her pickles are mild). Still, the acclaim surrounding my canned peas and dried mushrooms - both $8 artisan goods, naturally - made up for that oversight.

Game 8.
10/15/15
Players: Solo
Score: Me 213, cousin 182 - win!

Going into the final market day, I felt like my best bets were corn, apples and goats, since none of them had seen their top price yet. I couldn't scrounge up more than one apple, even though it's apple season - you'd think they'd be plopping down from the trees everywhere! Sure enough, apples went for $5; at least I made $1 more than Cousin Bernice for selling my single shiny red perfect apple. Corn, sadly, only went for $3 - must've been a bad year for corn. Cousin Bernice's corn went for $4, yet I hear that her corn is full of bugs. The injustice of it all. At least I'm still the favorite in our grandparents' eyes.

Game 9.
10/23/15
Players: Solo
Score: Me 218, cousin 187 - win!

The less said about the chicken sale, the better.

Game 10.
11/21/15
Players: 2
Score: Me 203, Ryan 214

I saved my tenth play for a 2-player game with Ryan using two decks. And he handed me my only loss of the ten! I had a ton of goods stored up for the last market day and made mostly nice profits, but he had earned $56 in the second market by selling his eight chickens (I had only five chickens at the time), and I never quite caught back up to that. Our farms were also very similar - peas would be high, but we'd both have peas; or apples would be low, and we'd both store our apples, etc. Well, he inherited the farm this time... guess it's off to the big city for me.

Only problem with combining two decks for the 2-player game: now I have to sort them back out so I can play solo again!
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