GCL Eclipse 174: Publisher Showdown
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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This is an experimental idea. The hope is to involve every member of the Eclipse GCL. Most of us have expressed a lot of opinions about our favorite games. So I am going to make a judgement call for each member of the GCL, and assign you to a publisher.

Instead of advocating for your favorite game, I am going to ask you to advocate for what I guess might be a favorite publisher. (Hopefully your favorite publisher, but at least a publisher associated with a game you rate highly.)

Originally I thought about doing this as an elimination-round/finalist effort. But that sounds like too much work. So instead, I invite readers to vote for as many publishers as you like. Don't like the publisher I assigned you? Feel free to not thumb that one, and thumb a different favorite. Did I miss the publisher entirely? Add them!

A hoped for result of this discussion will be a sense of which publishers we notice, and whether any publisher merits any allegiance. I need all the help I can get to figure out which publishers to follow, there are so many nowadays!

Worst case, I have cluttered up our GCL with a flawed idea. But hopefully this will be fun and informative. It will also serve as a little bit of a roll call for the Eclipse members.

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This is the Game Chat League: Eclipse discussion list for the week of January 25, 2015.

Lurkers, see the Eclipse wiki for more information about the discussion group.

The next list will be by:

Froggy McFrogface
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FORT COLLINS
CO
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Please read before posting:

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

To that end, GCL Eclipse members may from time to time request that nonmember posters refrain from commenting in the discussion lists for reasons that may include aggressive or confrontational commentary, disruptive or irrelevant discourse, and overly frequent or habitual posting without first requesting and being granted membership.

If you are interested in becoming a member, please peruse our wiki. If what you see interests you, contact Jason to inquire about the possibility of becoming a member:

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

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1. Board Game Publisher: alea
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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Geeky McGeekface
United States
Manassas
Virginia
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Larry, you don't maintain ratings on BGG, so I am forced to guess. But I recall you have a great fondness for all things Alea. So for good or ill, I have arbitrarily assigned them as your publisher. If you will, please tell us why we should pay attention to alea.
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2. Board Game Publisher: The Avalon Hill Game Co
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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Kevin Whitmore
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I rate very few games as a "10", but I do rate "1830" by AH a 10, so I will take on the task of trying to convince you that exploring the back catalog of venerable AH is worth your time.
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3. Board Game Publisher: Czech Board Games
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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Shane Larsen
United States
Salt Lake City
UT
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Shane hasn't been around much lately, but hopefully he can pop in and tell us why Czech Board Games (publisher of Through the Ages) should be on our radar.
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4. Board Game Publisher: Days of Wonder
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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Jason Lott
United States
Cheverly
Maryland
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Jason really likes Ticket to Ride. Jason, please tell us if this is a publisher we should keep track of.
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5. Board Game Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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Guido Gloor
Switzerland
Ostermundigen
Bern
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Guido has told us of his love for both Android and Lord of the Rings: the cardgame, both published by Fantasy Flight Games. Guido, is that the whole story? Or are there other reasons we should consider this publisher?
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6. Board Game Publisher: GMT Games
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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Travis Hill
United States
Dallas
Texas
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Travis, we are just getting acquainted, but I see several GMT games you are a fan of. Why should we follow GMT Games?
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7. Board Game Publisher: Hans im Glück
Geeky McGeekface
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Manassas
Virginia
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Kevin, I think you did a good job choosing publishers. But I think there's one notable omission in your list, at least from the Euro side of things: Hans im Gluck. From older classics like Die Macher and Euphrat & Tigris to current greats like Russian Railroads, this company has a rich history of providing top-flight games. If no one else wants to serve as HiG's promoter, I'll write something up in a few days.
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8. Board Game Publisher: Histogame
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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Rick Goudeau
United States
Moody
Alabama
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Rick, I may have missed the mark for you, but I do see that Histogame is at least a publisher you like. Tell us why Histogame is swell, and why we should look closer at them, if we don't follow them.

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9. Board Game Publisher: KOSMOS
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Joe, you are all over the map. But over many years and several geeklists you have consistently featured Settlers of Catan as your #1 game of all time. I know you have a special fondness for the original Franckh (pre-Kosmos) edition. Tell us if Franckh/Kosmos still merits following.
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10. Board Game Publisher: Lookout Games
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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Froggy McFrogface
United States
FORT COLLINS
CO
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Lenny, really likes Le Havre, so I have given him Lookout games as his publisher. Lenny if you will, tell us why we should follow Lookout Games.
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11. Board Game Publisher: Multi-Man Publishing
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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skippen
United States
Greeley
Colorado
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Skippen is a big fan of ASL. So he gets to represent Multi-Man Publishing. Are they a 1-game shop? Or are there other reasons for us to check out Multi-Man Publishing?
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12. Board Game Publisher: Pegasus Spiele
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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At Jennifer's suggestion, I list Pegasus Spiele. What are their big games? Why do people pay attention to this house?
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13. Board Game Publisher: Queen Games
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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John Bandettini
United Kingdom
London
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John, you have often extolled Kingdom Builder, a game published by Queen Games. So I hope you will enjoy being an advocate for Queen Games. Is Kingdom Builder alone worth picking them over other publishers? Tell us more!
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14. Board Game Publisher: Repos Production
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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costa
Portugal
Vieira de Leiria
Leiria
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We haven't seen a lot of costa for a while, but I hope he can pop in and tell us if his love for 7 Wonders translates to a love for the publisher, Repos Production. Please tell us why they deserve to be followed.
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15. Board Game Publisher: Rio Grande Games
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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EGG Head
United States
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Lorna, you are a hard one to narrow down a publisher for. You rate 15 games a "9", and no games a "10". Looking over your highest rated games I see at least a couple of them published by Rio Grande Games. If you will, please tell us why Rio Grande Games merits following
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16. Board Game Publisher: Splotter Spellen
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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Jennifer Schlickbernd
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Jennifer has a few 10's, but I picked a publisher of one of her 9's, Indonesia, by Splotter Spellen. Jennifer, if you will, please tell us why Splotter deserves attention.
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17. Board Game Publisher: Stonemaier Games
John Bandettini
United Kingdom
London
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With only two games under their belt they are hardly going to be anyone's favourite publisher yet, but I thought it was worth giving them a shout out here as a company that does kickstarter right.

Obviously you still need to like a game you kick start, and as nobody likes every game I am sure a few people will have been disappointed with the games they ultimately received, but nobody should be upset with any of the other issues that usually make kickstater backed games a bit of a nightmare.

Prompt delivery, good shipping rates, regular updates and stretch goals that are actually worth having. And in Jamey have someone who really wants to do better and make the best games possible. he even survived a hazing in LoB geek list. (And believe me it wasn't pretty )
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18. Board Game Publisher: Warfrog Games
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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Chester
United States
Temple
Texas
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Chester, you rate multiple Warfrog games in your roster of "10"s. Tell us why we should vote follow Warfrog, née Treefrog Games.
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19. Board Game Publisher: Z-Man Games
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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Dave Kudzma
United States
Millsboro
Delaware
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Dave has 112 games he rates a 10. Wow! Anyways, this made it easy for me to get a different publisher into the competition. Dave, tell us why you would advocate following Z-Man Games
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20. Board Game: Water Lily [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:3270]
Chester
United States
Temple
Texas
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Games Played (1/18 - 1/24)

7 Wonders x1
Played with 7 players, but most of us were foggy on remembering the rules. We introduced a couple expansions that were unfamiliar. The game ended up taking much longer than it should take to remain enjoyable. I wound up being able to get away with building LOTS of science.

Beowulf: The Legend x1
Played with 4p, two new to the game. Yes, it has big swings of luck. But it also plays quickly and consists of plenty of decisions which feel like they matter (although I'm not entirely convinced they always do). I wouldn't pull it out a lot, but it was nice to try it with a different table of players and still enjoy myself.

Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game x1
Its not unpleasant to play, but I'm ready to put this one away. However, my wife still really likes it so we're going to play on for a while. I'm happy to have her as a game-playing partner.

Water Lily x1
Played with 5p, all adults. There's like two rules in this game, but somehow we had about 7 rules questions. It was rather amusing. For a hidden role game, its a good choice for a little filler while you wait for the rest of the table to appear.

Unnamed Object x1
Played with 7 players, and it was pretty fun. I left too early a couple times, and too late a couple others. I have to admit, the treasures are a nice addition to the Diamant engine, but I still miss the better components of the original.
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21. Board Game: Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:573]
Travis Hill
United States
Dallas
Texas
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ACQUISITIONS
Roll Through the Ages: the Bronze Age. It was $10 at my local gaming weekend event. You will notice I got a lot of plays in this week. My wife began her fourth semester of grad school this week, thus making my life a little more quieter at home, hence more gaming.


Plays for 18 Jan - 24 Jan

18 January
Roll Through the Ages: the Bronze Age
Played this guy four times. Fun, quick little civ game. I actually really enjoy it too. Dare I say it's my favorite civilization building game right now? I might. Heresy? No way.

19 January
Finally taught my wife Caverna. This monstrosity has been on the shelf for a while, and it was my wife's last free evening. So I taught it to her and she really liked it. I think I only geeked out a victory because I knew the engine a bit more than she did, but she'll destroy me next time. She has never played Agricola, so I was interested to hear her thoughts on this one. Good times!

20 January
Wife's first night of grad school lead me to a bunch of 10x10 plays:
Utopia Engine
Enemy Coast Ahead: The Dambuster Raid x2
At the Gates of Loyang
Roll Through the Ages: the Bronze Age x2


It was a low-key night sitting in the back room giving my wife some peace to freak out.

21 January
Played two more rounds of Enemy Coast Ahead: The Dambuster Raid. I think I'm getting the hang of it. The next time I get to start adding the flight track. Soon immersive for a bombing game.

22 January
A buddy gave me an impromptu call and decided to come over. We played a quick game of The Castles of Burgundy. He had never played, so it was fun seeing him starting to get the game. I ended up winning by +2 on a tiebreaker, despite the last two turns of listening to him lamenting, "Oh, I'm going to loooooooose..."

23 January
Bora Bora. Was able to get this to the table. Interesting game. Lots going on and some really neat decisions. Will have to play more times. I'm not a huge Feld fan (despite what the list looks like already), but I enjoyed this design.

Money! BGGCON freebie pass out. Three players. Was a neat little auction-style game. Good filler. Would play again.

24 January
Onirim
Started adding in some expansions. Good times.

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22. Board Game: Expedition: Northwest Passage [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:1090]
Froggy McFrogface
United States
FORT COLLINS
CO
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When green is all there is to be, it could make you wonder why. But why wonder? I'm green, and it'll do fine: it's beautiful, and I think it's what I want to be.
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January 19-25

Gear & Piston January 20 A deceptively challenging little bugger about building weird cars. I didn't score out of single digits, but wouldn't mind trying it again.


Expedition: Northwest Passage Tricksy, this one. I liked it. Deceptively tactical.
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23. Board Game: Advanced Squad Leader [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:205] [Average Rating:7.96 Unranked]
skippen
United States
Greeley
Colorado
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Cary Grant, 1904 - 1986
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How old Cary Grant? Old Cary Grant fine. How you?
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skippen's Week(s) that Was/Were:



Face 2 Face Games:
51st State with Winter -- I keep liking this game more and more. Yes, in the current form I am playing, it is multi-player solitaire, but that have never really bothered me. I think I may move onto The New Era now that I have quite a few plays of this under my belt.
Gear & Piston -- not bad, not great. Pretty light.
Expedition: Northwest Passage -- good game that is deceptively more complex/deep than I thought it would be. I sadly had to leave before the end of them game (it was 11:15PM and I still had a 30 minute drive home), but leaving was not a big issue as they could run me. I still managed to come in 3rd.
Advanced Squad Leader -- After almost a full year, I finally got to play my favorite game again. Oh, how I missed you ASL. This was for Firefight 2015 (a tourney/event for our local group that has been on hiatus for quite awhile). We had 8 players. It was interesting. We had 4 sectors, 1 commander per sector and one overall commander per side. I was on the German side fighting the Russians. My mission was to delay the Russians and hold some victory point buildings. The clever item was that we had reinforcements, but they were for the side in general, so our overall commander would assign them as needed. To communicate, we sent text messages. So, between turns, we were allowed to read all messages from our commander, but only send 2. My side got overwhelmed as the bulk of the Russian reinforcements came to my side. The worst of it was 2 OT-34s (flame-throwing tanks of death). I ended up being the only Russian who lost (balance issues), but considering the pure amount of Russians I faced, survived 8 turns, the fact that I only lost on the last turn of the game, was pretty amazing. It was a good time though a bit long (9 - 9).


PBEM/Web (started):


PBEM (in progress):
1830: Railways & Robber Barons
The Castles of Burgundy
A Few Acres of Snow
Pax Porfiriana
Roads to Gettysburg -- with Patrick, and just realized I haven't sent a turn.
Great Campaigns of the American Civil War -- Atlanta is Ours playtest with Chris.
PBEM (finished):


Acquisitions from the Collection:
N/A

Departures from the Collection
N/A

On the nightstand (currently reading):
To Reign in Hell, by Steven Brust
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, by Agatha Christie
The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan.
Defenders of the Faith, by James Reston, Jr.


In the life and Times of skippen: Not too much. Still preparing miniatures for teaching at Ghengis Con, and touching up my entires for the loss I will receive, but I will try. Also, I have been re-ripping all my music as I lost a lot of it when I re-did my computer despite backing it up, it still disappeared. New overall boss at work, and he is nice, and at least respects me, so we will see how long local test remains here (it always goes to China/India eventually in this industry).
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24. Board Game: Witness [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:664]
John Bandettini
United Kingdom
London
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Monday night so it must have meat London on Board.

I had been trying to play Imperial Settlers for a couple of weeks now and thought I had finally got the opportunity I had posted on the Meetup web site and someone called Fred had said he wanted to play. We just needed one more (as two player games are banned due to lack of space). As it happened Fred was a no show, but I did get two others, so we could play.

To give Fred time to show up we played a quick game of Qwixx: Das Kartenspiel (IS there any other way) before the main event. It was a very close and high scoring game, where I came up four points short, a theme that was going to repeat all night long.

I was warned that Imperial Settlers had been deemed an uncool game at LoB before we even started. I said I did not care as that was the wild rebel type that I am. I quite enjoyed the game, taking a solid second place, the Barbarians managed to set up a monster of a VP generator and even though I led for most of the game they zoomed past me near the end.

Now I have played it I am even more puzzled than before, why there is so much hatred for this game at LoB. Although it has a few fans a lot of players seem to really hate it. When I asked about players through meetup, one of my friends replied that he would be interested if it involved a ritual burning.

I think the main problem is that the game brings out the very worst in anyone who is the slightest AP prone. I keep hearing about 3 hour plus games. Our play took about 75 minutes. 3+ hours would be hell. I played a 3hour plus game of Lewis and Clarke a year ago and I have been unable to make myself play it since.

I had noticed on Fred’s meetup profile that he wanted to play Suburbia, so as a tribute to the MIA Fred we also played that. Now as recently stated I do still think this is a better game than Castles of Mad King Ludwig, but they are both great games. I played a particularly bad game getting a bit obsessed with the Redevelopment tiles. I got both of them, which really cost me any chance to get a good income going and in the end I did not really use them very well. I still managed to score three of the goals at the end and get close to the winner, but not close enough.


Managed a rare Sunday visit to LoB last week, and it was great to play games all day.

I got there a little late and it was already pretty crowded. I managed to find a friend of mine who was about to start a three player game of Biblios, so it became a four player game. We ended up playing it twice. The first time I would have won had I made one more bid (which I could have afforded) for what turned out to be THE key card. I ended the game with 11 gold, something you should never do.

The second game I just did not get going, totally dominating blue, but having nothing to go with it.

First game of Roll for the Galaxy followed, and I really liked it. It much more streamlined than Race and although you still have the same actions, it managed to make the game a lot more straight forward. It’s still not a simple game, but much easier to get into than Race.

We were waiting for someone who wanted to play Mysterium, so we played a game of Qwixx: Das Kartenspiel while we were waiting. I continued my recent run of losing, though not as badly as I have done a lot lately.

Two games of Tajemnicze Domostwo followed. We lost the first one as one of the players never managed to get the suspect. I was the Ghost. One of the other players asked if he could be the Ghost for the second game, because how hard could it be. A few minutes into the second game he was muttering, ‘This is really hard’ But he managed a good job, we got to the final stage with two days to go and got it on the first attempt. Only the second time (out of five plays) that I have been on the winning side.

How do you follow up two games of Mysterium? How about playing Witness twice. It’s a game for four players only. The box is full of books. A casebook, a questions book, four clue books (one for each player) and a solutions book. The game comes with 64 different cases, so what a rip off, you can only play it 64 times.

It certainly is different. One player reads the case, all player look up the clue they have for the case. You then whisper your clue to one of the players next to you, the player on the other side of you, then whispers to you, you continue to alternate until everyone should have heard all of the clues. You then open the questions book and there are three questions. All the players write down their answers. The solutions are read out and players score their answers. Add the scores together and see how many you get. A score of 12 is perfect and anything below 6 is pretty bad. We scored 8 on the first game and 10 on the second game. I must admit to being a week link, I scored 1 on the first case and 2 on the second. It’s clever and very different, but it might not be quite right for me.

Finished off a great day with Grog Island. I am really enjoying this very clever auction game. I had won my first two games and was hoping to make it three in a row. However the player who finished the game denied me another win. He finished the game by placing two pirates on the islands I was dominating and needed to dominate to score 16 points, thus tying with me, so 16 became 4 and I did not get my third win. Good game though, that plays quickly.

Acquisitions Roll for the Galaxy and Witness
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25. Board Game: Happy Pigs [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:1484] [Average Rating:6.94 Unranked]
EGG Head
United States
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Jan 16 - Had a small game night at our place and 2 of the regulars brought their partners along for the first time so we aimed for things a little lighter. One table played Mangrovia one of Zoch's more recent titles. At our table we went for the dice and played Machi Koro and then Pandemic: The Cure. Afterwards we all played Tajemnicze Domostwo. I think everyone had a good time and at least one of the new people is going to stop by EGG this weekend. A few die hards stayed and we pulled out La Granja for something a little meatier. I still find it a bit dull but I don't mind playing it at all.

Jan 17 - We played Chinagold a favorite of mine. Not a true abstact as it involves funny 2 sided dice but I like it. Then Mary had never played Billabong one of the first abstraact Euros I ever bought. It's kind of a hyped up checkers with a kangaroo race around the billabong, solid abstract.

I'm trying to prep for EGG this weekend and so we played a few practice runs so I'll be able to teach the games if needed.
Kanban: Driver's Edition whoa, this game has a lot of working bits and little rules. We got most of it right in a 4 hour session but still missed a few fiddly things. It's interesting trying to get it all to work well, but it may fall into the La Granja category, challenging which makes me want to play but just not that much fun.
Happy Pigs has one of my least favorite mechanisms, simultaneous selection, inspite of this it works for me here. You are trying to raise your pigs to get the most money. I find it interesting that process includes both the superstitious, birth amulets which give your bigger piglets and scientific, vaccinations or your pigs die.
This past weekend we played Orléans which I liked as well. Nothing really new except substituting a bag for a deck I guess but it works.




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