Recent gaming: Hoopla, Netrunner, Battle Sheep, Port Royal, For Sale, Hansa, Sushi Go, Machi Koro, Wallamoppi, Up & Down the River, plus online
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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March 16-22, 2015

Lots more good gaming. Besides the card group at work and my semi-normal game night, this is when our college kids are coming home for spring break. My own kids are mostly reluctant gamers (they DO like party games), but sometimes their friends are more open to it. In particular, my daughter's boyfriend Zac LOVES strategy boardgames, learns them quickly, and usually wins. shake

-Mark

My recent gaming geeklists (2015)
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1. Board Game: Hoopla [Average Rating:6.26 Overall Rank:3096]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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I'm a reluctant party game player, but this one works for us. Especially with family. It's actually a co-op party game, as you all play in one big team against the clock. We played it three times this week, with college kids back home and their friends coming over. I even had to play out the Pillsbury Doughboy in charades, with tummy poke & giggle. blush I'm glad everyone was entertained!
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2. Board Game: Android: Netrunner [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:42]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Thursday was our latest Netrunner night with the game group. This new addiction was really straining my goal to NOT buy any more games in 2015 (I was borrowing decks), so it was wonderful when the recently completed pair of math trades here on BGG netted me two copies of the core set. Now I'll have my own decks to play. (Everyone else has all of the bigbox expansions, I think, so we'll have to see how well I can hold up without those.)
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3. Board Game: Port Royal [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:403] [Average Rating:7.16 Unranked]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Another score from the math trade. Yep, this super-favorite of mine since last year wasn't in my personal collection until it showed up in my mailbox this week. To be honest, it fell flat with the full group of college kids (none of the girls liked it), but was a big hit with the one gamer in that bunch, Zac. Love this one.
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4. Board Game: Battle Sheep [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:1207]
Mark Johnson
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Santa Clarita
California
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I received this promotional copy for the blog/podcast, and can talk about it here. It's a clever abstract that previously existed as a pure abstract called Splits. However, the clever folks at Blue Orange Games had the sense to give it a family-friendly veneer, without changing the interesting gameplay. I first had a chance to play online at Boardgamearena, and now finally had a chance to play with the physical copy. Although it's a perfect-information abstract (with the necessary lookahead this implies), a casual group was happy to play it. The amusing sheep graphics and generally top-notch production gave it a broad appeal abstracts don't normally enjoy. I'm looking forward to playing it with some sharky players (even though I'l get destroyed). A nice surprise.
 
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5. Board Game: Sushi Go! [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:347]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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One of the fillers to close out Netrunner night, good old(!) Sushi Go was one we could all jump right into. The same group played the other card drafters 7 Wonders and Medieval Academy a few weeks ago. Those are very good (7 Wonders is one of our staples now), but the lightning quickness of Sushi Go remains its best feature. Well, that and the fun artwork.
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6. Board Game: For Sale [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:259]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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I've loved For Sale since it was first published in the small box from Ravensburger. This was actually my first time playing with the later edition, which tweaks a few things. The change in bidding was especially felt, since everyone has to keep raising instead of matching the previous bid. Still great.
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7. Board Game: Machi Koro [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:744]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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We had time for one more strategy game with Zac, so my wife & I suggested this one. She'd played it with me once before, and rather liked it. Zac devours every strategy game he comes into contact with, and had proudly told me how much Catan he wins back at college. This seemed like a good one to try. Sure enough, he really liked it (and won). It started a little slow (is there a good jumpstart variant?), but was obviously better with three players than with just two. (We use the "card drafting" variant from the Harbor expansion, and only set out 8 distinct cards with two players...but still, it's better with three.)
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8. Board Game: Wallamoppi [Average Rating:5.87 Overall Rank:7450]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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An oddball from my collection, one that attracts attention at games days and similar events. It takes as long to set up as it does to play, though there is some light strategy in the setup phase. The physical "timer" of the marble rolling down its wooden track is a huge part of the charm of this one.
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9. Board Game: Oh Hell! [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:1889]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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I'm part of a group of card players at work who have formed a league to play this old classic. Actually, we play Up the River, Down the River, which BGG lists as Oh Hell. I picked this box image because that's the game I remember seeing with the novelty gifts at the big stationary store(!) we had in town when I was a kid. Weird to think about that, how a mom & pop store that dominated the office supply business for a little California town, Lodi, also had a small collection of games.

Anyway, I really enjoy playing this game with the sharky card players at work, mostly middle-aged women who grew up in houses that played Bridge. I do well just to hang on.
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10. Board Game: Online: Internet Card Game [Average Rating:4.83 Overall Rank:14930]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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robot Online boardgaming robot

Through the Ages I'm not sure if this should count, since I accidentally started a beginner game on Boardgamearena. I don't mind playing with beginners, but this isn't even a full game.

Deus I was so-so on this at BGG.con, but the chance to play a few more times (especially online at Boite a Jeux) is turning my opinion around on this one. It might be pretty good. More plays will tell. A key was a comment made by Doug Adams in his blog, where he called it a combination of the resource/building part of Catan, with the card churning of San Juan. That reference to churning got me over my hangup about "wasting" cards on prayers for more stuff.

En Garde Still great, and in fact I got my head handed to me this time!

A Few Acres of Snow Again. This was the completion of a slow game that started back in January. I thought I had this one in the bag, my French towns fortified and indian raids were very successful. Then the guy managed to take Louisbourg and Quebec to win by sudden death!

Firenze Enjoyable pastime on Yucata.de.

Hansa Was the Changing Winds game, with the alternate map layout? I think so. Actually, I played two games during the week, and lost both badly!

R-Eco I like going through the motions on this one, and the theme is cool, but I'm beginning to wonder about anyone's level of control in this unusual card game.
 
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11. Platform: Xbox 360
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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I'll never be a videogamer like I was in my coin-op and Apple II youth, but sometimes I fire up the 360 and play something. Especially if it means I can play multiplayer games with my son away at college, using the built-in voice chat capability.

Halo 3 We've played all of the Halo series cooperatively since he was a little kid, and it's too bad we don't have Xbox One machines to take in the next chapter. Perhaps we'll both have to upgrade to it one day. In the meantime, we still have fun with this series. Rather than just playing FPS matches, this lets us still play the co-op story-mode campaign, even though we're living 300 miles apart. Priceless. I just wish we had more options like this.

Star Wars: Battlefront (2004) This one is even older, going back to the pre-360 Xbox days. I guess it can no longer be played multiplayer online, but I had a blast playing the old game by myself. When Sam comes home later this week we hope to get in some splitscreen SW Battlefront 2 together. And what we're REALLY excited about is the new version of the game destined for release later in 2015. Again, we don't have Xbox One, but hope we can get the PC versions working for both of us.

IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey The arcade-style WW2 flight sim game I go to when I just want to dogfight and shoot some enemies.
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