GCL Eclipse Episode 176: All About That Baby
Shane Larsen
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Salt Lake City
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Lately, it's been all about the baby. I decided I shouldn't sway from that. This list will be based thoughts inspired by baby Driggs and some of my favorite images since he was born 2 months and 3 days ago (who's counting?).

Enjoy!



This is the Game Chat League: Eclipse discussion list for the week of Feb. 8, 2015.

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

Next week's list will be provided by

Dave Kudzma
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Millsboro
Delaware
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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
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Cheverly
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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: New Dawn [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:2144]
Shane Larsen
United States
Salt Lake City
UT
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Driggs as a newborn. This was taken 24 hours after he was born.

GAME QUESTION:

What game comes to mind when you think about love at first sight? Which game entered your life and immediately took your breath away? Or does this just not happen to you with games?

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2. Board Game: Fragile [Average Rating:6.36 Overall Rank:6641]
Shane Larsen
United States
Salt Lake City
UT
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Driggs was about 3 weeks old for the picture above. When I see this image, I'm reminded of how fragile, yet resilient babies are.

GAME QUESTION

Is there a game that comes to mind when you think of fragility? How about resilience?

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3. Board Game: Blue vs. Gray [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:2884]
Shane Larsen
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Salt Lake City
UT
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Driggs at 2 weeks. He looks good in blues and grays.

GAME QUESTION

What game comes to mind when you think of blue or the blues?

What game comes to mind when you think of the color gray?

Explain the connection/association to each of the colors if not obvious.
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4. Board Game: Big Eyes, Small Mouth Anime Card Game [Average Rating:5.43 Unranked]
Shane Larsen
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Salt Lake City
UT
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1 month old. It was at this point that we started noticing the piercing power those big eyes have on us both. (The name of the game for this entry is perfect, Driggs really does have a small mouth.)

GAME QUESTION

Would you rather ... play a game with someone who talks non-stop the whole time, or stares at you with a dead-pan look the whole game?

Explain why.
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5. Board Game: Dead of Night [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:5058]
Shane Larsen
United States
Salt Lake City
UT
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I feel a bit like a creeper for taking this picture in the middle of the night.

GAME QUESTION

What game do you reach for in the dark? Or for a scary experience?
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6. RPG Item: Dime Novel #03: Night Train [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:1272]
Shane Larsen
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Salt Lake City
UT
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My current favorite picture of Baby Driggs. This was at 12:00 AM. Ash and I call this Driggs' bed-time face.

GAME QUESTION

Have you ever pulled an all-nighter playing games? How many times? If not, what's the latest you've stayed up playing games? Do you even believe that's something people should do? Or, at what point do you call it a night?

Very interested in this one.
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7. Video Game: The Proud Family [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Shane Larsen
United States
Salt Lake City
UT
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This is one proud, gaming daddy.

PERSONAL and/or GAMING QUESTION

Share one of your proudest moments as a parent (gaming related or not).

If you're not a parent, share any moment you were proud of your family and/or friends (blood or non-blood related).

If this doesn't apply to you, you're not comfortable sharing, or just don't want to share something personal, that's totally fine. You can share your proudest moment in gaming if you'd like.

Thanks for letting me show off my baby boy a little!

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8. Board Game: XCOM: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:485]
John Bandettini
United Kingdom
London
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Games at a friend’s on Monday rather than LoB or IBG.

Main game was Murano. It’s a game I really enjoy and that I am nearly very good at. What do I mean by that? It was my sixth play and I have won it twice, but every other time I have been second and never by more than 4 points. So just a little better and I would be wiping the floor with everyone. I scored 40 points for four scoring cards. The player who won had been building palaces all game long for lots of VP’s and one of his scoring cards was worth 21 points. I did close the gap on the scoring, but not quite enough.

Then my fourth game of Roll for the Galaxy and my second win at it. I managed to have two blue worlds and three blue and one purple dice fairly early on, so I was shipping for 6 points nearly every second turn. Also had a World which gave me $1 for every blue dice in my citizenry at the end of a turn, so I was getting $2 or $3 dollars from that a lot of the time cutting down on my need to explore.


Tuesday night at LoB.

Started the evening with yet another play of Roll for the Galaxy. One of the things I am enjoying is how different it plays every time. The night before the game ended quickly as we ran out of VPs, Tuesday night one of the players built his twelfth tile very quickly.

If I have one concern about the game, it does seem that whoever manages to get multiple dice of the same colour early can produce and ship their way to victory. However I think there is a similar issue with Race until players learn to play it better.

As we were still waiting for a couple of players for the main game, we had a quick game of Star Realms. I have played it on my iPad and Android phone, but it was the first time I have actually played it FTF. We played it with an expansion. My friend commented that it included events, but we were going to ignore them. I did say I was not very impressed with an expansion where the main aim was to ignore cards. (That was of course not what he meant)

It turned out to be a very close game. Starting with 50 points each I delivered the winning blow and won with just 1 point left.

Main game of the evening though was XCOM: The Board Game. I have played a lot of versions of XCOM over the years so I was very interested to see how the board game played. I must admit I was expecting a more mission based game. Although the players do undertake missions as part of the game they are fairly abstracted, and boil down to picking your soldiers and rolling some dice.

It is XCOM but as a high level strategy game. It’s a co-op game and although it claims to be a 1 to 4 player game, it really is a 4 player game. It’s playable at other numbers, but I would not really recommend it unless you will mostly be playing with 4.

I had played through the tutorial and already knew it was a very hard game. We did manage to win it though and I think there were a couple of key moments in the game that helped us do that. On the very first turn we got a couple of crisis cards that would have been crippling later in the game but had no effect early on, Almost a free pass on crisis for the first turn. Crisis cards can really screw up your plans so this was definitely a big deal.

A few turns later we kind of broke the game. While maybe broke is a bit harsh, but we did something that while surely outside the intent of the game, probably won us the game. One player noted that there were more UFO’s over North America than anywhere else so why didn’t we just send them all to North America. I had a card which allowed me to move UFO using satellites, so I did just that. North America was totally overrun and when down the crapper, but that meant all the other continents were in pretty good shape. Doing that gave us at least one extra turn to try to win the game and possibly two.

We wrapped it up a couple of turns later. We had three aliens attacking the base, but as we had more than three damage we could take at the base we ignored them. We did need to deal with some of the UFO’s to keep the panic levels under control, but pretty much the whole turn was dedicated to finishing the final mission, which we did.

The App is easy to use and works well. They probably could have achieved a similar effect with a deck of cards, but I think it somehow makes it feel a bit more XCOM like anyway.

Finished the evening with Qwixx: Das Kartenspiel. (How often have a reported that in the last year? A lot I think). It was fun as always and I came a respectable (but still not a winner) second.


Acquisitions Scoville (why do I want to call this game Lenny? )
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9. Board Game: Koryŏ [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:1533]
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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February 2-8
Koryŏ: Febraury 8 A pretty fun little filler. Sadly, my only play this week.



Acquisitions: Winds of Plunder
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10. Board Game: The Voyages of Marco Polo [Average Rating:7.97 Overall Rank:40]
Geeky McGeekface
United States
Manassas
Virginia
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Best hobby, with the best people in the world. Gaming is the best!
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I haven't done any gaming in two weeks, soblue so I thought I'd mention some of the newly announced titles that have me excited. Yeah, I know there are still plenty of Essen titles I haven't had the chance to try, but I still can't resist the lure of the new and the shiny!

Top of the list is The Voyages of Marco Polo, the new Hans im Gluck game from the designers of Tzolk'in that is scheduled to come out by the middle of next month. This is a dice selection game (like Castles of Burgundy or Bora Bora) themed around Marco Polo's travels. The options sound interesting and each player has a special power that reportedly really affects the strategy (and there are 8 of those, so there should be good replayability). More than anything, I really want to see what the Tzolk'in dudes do with the world-class development team at HiG. Hopefully, it lives up to its promise.

I'm also wondering about Kraftwagen. I know very little about it--the theme has to do with Automobile manufacture (maybe a German Kanban?)--but the reason it has me excited is the designer is Matthias Cramer and I've really liked every single one of his games. Again, it's due out in the next couple of months, so I hope to get more details shortly.

The final recent announcement that has me jazzed is Favor of the Pharaoh, a considerably expanded edition of Tom Lehmann's To Court the King. TCtK, together with Knizia's Pickomino, were the games that really ushered in the explosion of dice games that is still in full swing. I actually got a chance to play the original version (Tom had created the game as a wedding present for a couple he knew and I was able to talk him into letting me try it out). Anyway, I always liked the published version, although like many, I wish it was more useful to get multiple dice modifiers, rather than just focusing on gaining extra dice. This new version includes customized dice, over 50 abilities to obtain (only 21 of which will be used in any one game) and, it seems, many more bells and whistles than the original game. I don't necessarily feel that bigger is always better, so I want to wait for the early reviews of this one. But I usually like dice games, such games have really become one of Tom's specialties, and our own Joe Huber has already given the prototype a big thumbs up. So this is another one to anticipate, although I'll have to wait for Essen for it to be released.

In addition to these new announcements, I'm still anxiously awaiting Baseball Highlights: 2045 (already released) and Wallace's Ships (hopefully we will get it in the next couple of months), but I've already talked about those!
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11. Board Game: Favor of the Pharaoh [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:1102]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Highlights of games played 2/3-2/9:

Snow has been messing with my gaming opportunities - but not _too_ much, fortunately...

Favor of the Pharaoh (Joe=1) - just a prototype, so for now I'll say - this could be the first Kickstarter I actually back. Haven't decided for certain, but I'm leaning towards it.

ESSEN (Joe=1) - there are often issues with trying to design an economic game in a small, enclosed space; that's certainly true here. Not a bad game, but I preferred the look of ESSEN The Game: SPIEL'13, played right before I joined.

Sheep & Thief (Joe=8) - continuing to grow on me. Fascinating, simple, fast little game.

Die Siedler von Catan (Joe=93+) - my third play already in 2015, which I'm happy about. Very good, close game, as everyone responded properly - and quickly - to each change in the winds.

Ciúb (Joe=2) - I'm pleased to have a chance to try this again; it moved up a bit for me, from "willing to play again" to "wish to explore further". Not a keeper yet, but moving in the right direction.

Wallenstein (Joe=12) - I haven't played this with five in a very long time; it's quite good with that number. And our game was great; a three-way tie, which James Miller won on the tiebreaker.

Rails of New England (Joe=25) - one of my biggest desires is to play Rhode Island in this game. This is - tricky to manage; you need five players, and really only want experienced players to play with five.
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12. Board Game: Stephenson's Rocket [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:1032]
Chester
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Temple
Texas
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Games Played (2/1 - 2/7)

Indonesia x2
I may be starting to regress in this game. That, or perhaps it plays wildly differently with different player counts. At any rate, Indonesia remains fairly opaque to me....and a game that I find very engaging and fun.

Chicago Express x1
Played the Winsome Games version. This is a game where often all the players simultaneously feel like they're screwed. In the last turn, a player made a pretty big mistake which benefited me. It narrowed the gap, but (to all of our surprise) he won handily. It was fun to revisit this one.

König von Siam x1
My first playing of this one. Wow, I really enjoyed it. Has similarities to El Grande, but with perfect information and a smaller package. I also think this may be one of those games that really shines with three players without becoming that situation where the two trailing players have to constantly make the move that reels in the leader. Each player can play for themselves.

Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game x1
We got clobbered in a scheme that was pretty much a fatal combination of villain and scheme. I think its impossible to win. We tried it a second time and still didn't really come close.

Stephenson's Rocket x1
I was so glad to be able to revisit this old game. I really can't think of another Knizia design that comes anywhere close to this game. The theme is well integrated. The game also winds up more quickly than you think it will.
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13. Board Game: Mississippi Queen [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:1587]
Rick Goudeau
United States
Moody
Alabama
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Haven't posted games recently. Between colds and work I've been missing a lot of game nights. Fortunately my son came over and we got a few games in.

Power Grid: Brazil/Spain & Portugal: Used the Brazil rather enjoyed this map several nice clusters of cities to fight over. Didn't get the right mix of plants until to too late, but at least I didn't hold too far back like another player did.

Union Pacific: Came is last, I thought I was doing better than that.

Mississippi Queen I spent too much time picking up the ladies. Came in a distant and receding third.

Atlantic Star: My son wiped the floor with us. Being first and second in both the high scoring tours was devastating

Paris Connection: A smart game, I like how the markers trade off between track and shares, to gain a bigger stake reveals what you have an interest. So far we've been fairly friendly but I can see how it can be brutal.
Have to love the train meeples.

Some other plays
Attika: I was a couple of turns behind the curve.
Metro: My wife took great joy in ending my routes.
Alhambra
Coloretto
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