Recent gaming: XCom, Jäger und Sammler, Basari, Potato Man, Port Royal, 5ive Straight, Industrial Waste, Res Publica (plus online games)
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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March 2-8, 2015

A road trip weekend to play games with my buddies racked up quite a few games for the week. Online, my 10x10 challenge is still chugging along nicely, too.


My recent gaming geeklists (2015)
Boardgames To Go Guild
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1. Board Game: XCOM: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:491]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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No, this isn't my kind of game. Big science fiction productions that are more about their theme than elegant gameplay. Basically,Fantasy Flight & I have different priorities. But I was very curious since I know the XCom computer games, and I do enjoy co-ops. Plus there's the whole app-assisted innovation(?).

There's no question that I had a fun time playing the game, but it's probably a one-timer for me. I'd rather play the computer game, and save my boardgaming time for other titles.
 
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2. Board Game: Jäger und Sammler [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:2820]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Even though it's relatively recent (2010), this lesser-known Knizia title plays & looks like the best German games from an earlier decade. It's really slick, sort of combination of Hey, That's My Fish and Reiner's own Africa. I realize there's an American-produced, zombie-themed version of the same system. In fact, I actually think that's an equally good theme. But the German version looks great, and the American version looks ugly. Too bad.
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3. Board Game: Basari [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:1388]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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I loved constrained trading in games, and this one has one of the most clever mechanisms for it. Yes, there's some roll & move, not to mention blind bidding, and I like those, too. Plus the attractive production. However, it's the gem negotiations that are the strategic heart of this game. Love it.
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4. Board Game: Potato Man [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:2323]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
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Hmm, a disappointment. I still like trying the new twists on trick-taking card games that come out of Germany most years, and this was it for 2013. The game showed up on the recommended list for last year's Spiel des Jahres (the first I'd heard of it), but--critically--not on the A La Carte list for card games. The art is great and the gameplay is pleasant enough, but I didn't see how a good strategy can make use of whatever hand you're dealt.
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5. Board Game: Port Royal [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:407] [Average Rating:7.16 Unranked]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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I keep gushing about this one, but that's because it deserves it. We actually played it six times over two days, always delighted with this little engine-builder card game. I'd previously described it as a push-your-luck game, but the engine-builder is the main element. In fact, I think the few games I played last year at BGG.con that didn't go well were due to too much "zonking" from the push-your-luck.

(Note: this IS on the A La Carte award list, just behind AbluXXen, Love Letter, and Hugo. Need to try that last one.)
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6. Board Game: 5ive Straight [Average Rating:6.26 Overall Rank:5235]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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A mass market oldie from 1958, I'd always heard good things about this partnership game. Very approachable, and I'm sure you could play with any family member. I'd like to track down a copy to have for when grandma or grandpa are around.
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7. Board Game: Industrial Waste [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:1475]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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The perfect combination of economic game and superfiller. The only thing that keeps it from getting five stars with me is my need to always play the same basic strategy. When I try something else, I lose badly.
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8. Board Game: Res Publica [Average Rating:5.95 Overall Rank:4224]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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Like the top game on my list, I give this three stars even though I'm not sure how much I actually like it. After taking years to acquire the version I wanted (as shown, the early Queen edition with the best artwork!), I sold it again after one play! It's just not something that people will ask to play, and I'm not even enthusiastic about suggesting it.

Which is why I was thrilled when John showed up with his copy. I still get to play this oddball. Talk about constrained trading! That's also a communication mechanism, something I didn't do well. I think there might be a rich-get-richer issue in the game, though I guess the ability for trade blockades should deal with the balance concerns.
 
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9. Board Game: Online: Internet Card Game [Average Rating:4.83 Overall Rank:14836]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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robot Games played online robot


Brass
Coloretto Love the game, but it sucks online
Expedition: Northwest Passage Very keen to play this some more. Should've been on my 10x10. Rating may climb.
Hansa The game settles in to a comfortable pattern, which I really enjoy
Maori Lots of little turns, but they're just think-y enough to still work online
StreetSoccer Amazing how right it feels with just pawns, a board & a die roll
Through the Ages Rating for the online experience, which I enjoy
En Garde Can't anybody offer me a challenge?! Throwing down the gauntlet... cool
 
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10. Platform: Xbox 360
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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I'm not much of a video gamer (not since my coin-op youth!), but figured I'd point out here that I'm starting to play a few more. My real objective is to play Xbox Live games with my son who's away at college, and we can voice-chat while we shoot stuff. devil


Call of Duty: Black Ops We can't figure out how to have a private match where the two of us team up against bots. We were able to do that in our old, splitscreen days. So we played the zombie game. Very rusty!zombie
IL-2 Sturmovik Works for me. I wanted a WW2 flight sim that wasn't too hard.
 
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