GCL Amoeba 213 - Ranking Games
Jeroen Doumen
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Eindhoven
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GameChat League - Amoeba Division 204
ABOUT | AMOEBA DIVISION | SUBSCRIBE

Welcome to this week's discussion list!

If you stumbled into this geeklist by accident take a look at the pointers provided at the top. Constructive on-topic comments from visitors are welcome and we're happy about new regular contributors, but please refrain from adding items if you are not a member of this GCL.

The hosting rotation:

Eric (Eric Brosius) mb
Jevon (cadavaca)
Joshua (Joshuaaaaaa)
Mikko (msaari)
Doug (phrim)
Toms (Painkiller)
Carlos (Sprocket314)
Garry (garry_rice)
Larry (larryjrice)
Jeroen (jmdsplotter)

For some reason, when spring is upcoming (at least over here in Europe), it seems that there are many game rankings springing up: GCL Madness, Geek Madness, ...
How much attention do you pay to this type of tournaments and game rankings in general?
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1. Board Game: Number One [Average Rating:7.12 Unranked]
Jeroen Doumen
Netherlands
Eindhoven
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Let's start with the game ranking of BGG: how do you like this system? What would you do differently (if anything)?
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Jeroen Doumen
Netherlands
Eindhoven
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What about the yearly madness tournament? Do you pay attention to the results and/or participate in the voting?
Did you nominate candidates?
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Jeroen Doumen
Netherlands
Eindhoven
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And how about "our own" version of the Madness tournement?
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Jeroen Doumen
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Eindhoven
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Looking at it differently: ranking all games that came out last year? Or at last year's Essen?
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Jeroen Doumen
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Eindhoven
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And how about the good old Internet Games Top 100?
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6. Board Game: Qwixx [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:675]
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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New to Me:

d10-5 Fast Food Franchise
d10-5 The Game of 49
d10-5 Heat
d10-6 The major four of Heizei
d10-7 Rolling Japan
d10-3 Sloop

Return Visits:

d10-7 Qwixx x2
d10-7 Sheep & Thief x2
d10-7 Blokus x2
d10-8 Deus
d10-9 El Grande: König & Intrigant
d10-9 Keyflower
d10-8 Patchwork
d10-8 Speculation
d10-7 Firefly: The Game

Musings:

Lots of less than stellar games played last week. I don't even understand how Sloop is even remotely interesting. I'm certain we have to be missing something even though we couldn't find it with all of us reading through the rules. Mindless card game and expected much more due to designer's name.

I never would have thought to bring auctions into Connect 4 like was done in The Game of 49. We had a fun time playing even if we probably won't play again.

Fast Food Franchise was a disaster but I'd be interested in trying once more now that I understand a bit more about the different companies. Let's just say I chose poorly for a starting company and strategy. Those random events in the nasty deck can be game enders too - much worse than any event card in Monopoly. I was expecting a bit more than received and seen in this one so that is part of the reason I'd like to play again. I do like the central element of the game in the franchise chains.

Who knew, Speculation actually works okay with 7 players. Sure, there's a bit of chaos but this is the stock market...

Experienced my worst game ever of Firefly: The Game as I completed only one job - and it was a cheap Harkin job at that. I got destroyed by the cards. It was so bad it was almost funny. I came in last with $0. Game win condition was to earn $12000.

Twas fun to play El Grande: König & Intrigant again. We allowed one person to get out to a large lead and never reeled him back in, sigh.
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7. Board Game: 1860: Locomotives of the Isle of Wight [Average Rating:7.84 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.84 Unranked]
Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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I didn't get to play any games since last week's Amoeba list, because I was on a trip for most of the time. I went to California to attend a square dance weekend.

So the best I have to report on is this amazingly cool expansion for 1860. According to the designer notes, there were about 55 locomotives that operated on the Isle of Wight during the century or so during which it had train service. I'm not talking about 55 types of locomotives, mind you. I'm talking about 55 locomotives, period. And 48 of them are included in this expansion.

For example, the first 2 locomotives are of the 2-2-2 Slaughter Gruning type. They are identical, but the first is named "Pioneer" and the second is named "Precursor". They have different names because they are different locomotives. Presumably they had different names so you could tell them apart.

Perhaps we'll get a game of this in at the Gathering next month.
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8. Board Game: Burgle Bros. [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:199]
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
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 8.5   Burgle Bros. x3
 7.5   Steampunk Rally
 8   Roll for the Galaxy
 7.5   The King of Frontier x2
 6   Between Two Cities

Pnp week for me! Played 2 more games of Burgle Bros. with my son, both of them with his homemade roof expansion (the latest iteration was brutal!). Got a chance to play it with 4 at game nite, and I really enjoyed it with that number. I find 2 players to be quite enjoyable/fun, but with 4, the difficulty ratchets up considerably as it increases the chance of being caught by a guard with more players on a floor...players need to find the stairs to the second floor and find it as fast as they can so they can split up and minimize the guard movement. I think this has climbed to be one of my favorite if not my favorite co-op game (although Flash Point will always be there too).

Put together a pnp copy of The King of Frontier along with the mini-expansion and have really enjoyed playing it. Caleb enjoyed it as well. The rest of us weren't paying enough attention to what another player was doing at game night and allowed him to build a 40+ point city thanks to two buildings he was able to build...of course it didn't help that I couldn't get a tile that closed out my quarry to allow me to build...

Enjoyed my first play of Steampunk Rally...however I'm not sure how much it really felt like a race...as another player said it seemed very Euro-y. Cards and dice are combined together to create combos that allow you to move forward on the victory point track - excuse me, the race track I did find it quite interesting trying to put together my racing contraption and then trying to keep it running...although I obviously followed a poor strategy as I was towards the back

Working on putting together a pnp copy of Mottainai, Carl Chydyk's latest game that was just released for testing. Has me interested since it's in the same vein as Glory to Rome...but only has 54 cards.
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9. Board Game: Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:420]
Mikko Saari
Finland
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1 x _8_Eurorails
1 x _8_The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Deck-Building Game
1 x _8_Takenoko
2 x _8_Das Kleine Gespenst
3 x _7_Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation
1 x _7_Celtica
1 x _7_Memory
1 x _7_Fleeting Foxes
1 x _7_King of Tokyo
1 x _7_Ghost Blitz
1 x _7_Bohnröschen (new!)
1 x _7_Dragonland
2 x _6_Al Cabohne
1 x _6_Tatu ja Patu: Virheistä viis
1 x _5_La Isla Bohnitâ (new!)
1 x _5_Speed Cups
1 x _5_Phantom Rallye
1 x _2_Rock Paper Scissors Game

Nice week, even though I had to skip the Thursday games. I played lots of games with the kids. My son suggest Eurorails, for example - what a good boy!

La Isla Bohnitâ turned out to be garbage, at least with two players. I don't have high hopes for the multiplayer game, but I'll have to try it at some point. Bohnröschen, on other hand, uses the Al Cabohne system and works well with two players.

Celtica is underrated. Gamers hate it, but it's a good family game.
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10. Board Game: Blood Royale [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:2893]
Jeroen Doumen
Netherlands
Eindhoven
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2x _5.25_ Catalogue
1x _9.00_ Unpublished Prototype
1x _7.75_ Roll for the Galaxy
1x _7.50_ Clash of Cultures
1x _6.50_ Theseus: The Dark Orbit
1x _6.00_ Edel, Stein & Reich
1x _5.50_ Cargotrain
1x _5.25_ Isis & Osiris
1x _5.00_ League of Six
1x _4.75_ Fightball
1x _4.00_ Blood Royale

A decent week of gaming, even though there were very few standout games. Still enjoying Roll for the Galaxy.

Good progress on Unpublished Prototype as well:


Catalogue was mainly weird - essentially a "how well do you know your partner" game.
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11. Board Game: Fief: France 1429 [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:760]
Joshua Gottesman
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
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There was a new one day convention in Las Vegas last weekend called Meeplecon. They were expecting 100-150 people when they started, they got 225-250. The room was quite crowded at times, and they vendors (including AEG and Iello) implied that business was good. AEG selling everything they had for 50% off (and yet I still bought nothing) didn't hurt.

My day started with a 5 player game of Caverna: The Cave Farmers where I came in 2nd to a guy who says there is an unbeatable strategy that has to do with getting the 6th dwarf and a couple or rooms. I honestly have forgotten which ones. In any case, I think it probably is an unbeatable strategy, if the other players let you pull it off. Because it requires a couple of specific rooms, having another player buy one of those rooms first will defuse it. Still, the game was good fun.

Next up was a 5 player game of Thunder Alley where my luck ran from bad to worse. Every event that could have hurt a player hurt me including my car that led the 1st lap promptly blowing out it's engine. There were 2 yellow flag cards that could have put me back in the race, however nobody met the conditions of the cards, so they didn't go into effect! Good fun, even if I came in last.

After lunch, I played a couple of rounds of Marvel Dice Masters: Uncanny X-Men with a new player. The more I play this game, the more I enjoy it. While at heart it's a dice-builder like its predecessor Quarriors!, I feel it has a lot more theme. The other player enjoyed it, too. Hopefully there will be some organized play in town soon.

While waiting for another game, I played my recently purchased Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends. I had heard good things about it, and had played a couple of games of it online. It did not disappoint. We just played the intro scenario, and I won handily, and there was all of the back and forth, adjust plans on the fly that I expected.

Finally, 6 of us played Fief: France 1429. 2 of us had played a few times, 2 had played once, and 2 were new. The game ran long because one player (I've mentioned him here before) was in full "let me find a loophole in the rules" mode and another player, who had been complaining about the game speed, kept wandering off. I think everyone enjoyed it, however we had to call it because the 2 new players had to leave, and there was no clear cut winner in site, with all 3 alliances having a shot. I really want to play this with more expansions.

Earlier in the week I had played a 4 player game of Fief: France 1429 with the Tactics expansion which I liked. I didn't like the course of the game because one of the players was an idiot (it's not worth going into the whole story). We followed that up with 2 games of Forbidden Desert. Let's just say there are many explorer's bones bleaching in the sun right now.

I forgot that 3 of us had gotten together on Friday. We first played Greenland where my luck ran from bad to worse. One of the other 2 players liked it, one didn't, although he doesn't like Eklund games in general. After 2 plays, my opinion remains that this is a good game, however it's not as good as Pax Porfiriana and given my choice I'd almost always go with Pax. We also played North Wind. And that may be the only time I play North Wind. Way too luck dependent. I missed 8 of my 1st 9 rolls against pirates (on a 50/50 chance) while another player never missed one all game (and always rolled 1 defense pirates). Guess which one of us won?
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12. Board Game: Kingdom Builder [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:452]
Jevon Heath
United States
Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania
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_8_ 2x Kingdom Builder
_7_ 2x Hanabi
_8_ 2x Dominion
_9_ 1x I, Spy
_7_ 1x Duel of Ages II
_6_ 1x Glass Road

Pretty action packed week last week was! The Kingdom Builder plays were on the iPhone app. I'm glad I finally got a chance to see what the game was about. I probably won't play it too much more though, at least not on the phone.

This was a heck of a Duel of Ages match. I still have no ability to look at the map upon completion of setup and know what the terrain will mean for gameplay. I did know that Crags was going to be a horrible situation... but it was even more horrible than I thought.

I, Spy writeup is here.
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13. Board Game: Age of Steam Expansion #4: France and Italy [Average Rating:7.41 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.41 Unranked]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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On Saturday I hosted a game day at my house, ostensibly for my birthday (which was actually a month ago, but hey, I was busy and there was too much snow).

_8_ Castles of Mad King Ludwig - This was with me, Anni, Micah, and Michael; Michael was new. We made a slight setup mistake in this game, neglecting to take out cards from the room deck, so there were six extra cards. There were also an abnormally high number of sleep rooms completed, so this ended up being a truly epic-length game. My starting orange cards were points for 350 rooms (large long skinny), and extra points for money at the end. I picked up some purple rooms that liked being next to activity rooms, and closed them off to score plenty of points. However, I didn't draw any other orange cards the entire game. I managed to maximize the ones I had though, getting 5 350-rooms and having a ton of money at the end. That was good enough for second place, behind Michael.

_8_ Age of Steam Expansion #4: France and Italy (new!) - This was with me, Micah, Gil, and Tom; we had all played Age of Steam before, but none of us had played this expansion. We were originally going to play the Italy board, but after realizing it was high on the take-that, we decided to play France instead. The main changes on this board are that Paris gets cubes from 6 columns, and there are a bunch of hills on the board that can't be built on at all unless you have the engineer role. It looked like there was one good spot on the board leading into Paris, so I bid aggressively to go first. Unfortunately, I made a rookie mistake and totally forgot about the "first build" role, so Tom ended up getting that spot. I ended up starting in the south of France, and wound up never connecting to Paris the entire game. However, since everyone else was focused on Paris from the start, I did plenty well for myself. I continued building out, and eventually I was able to get a bunch of 5-deliveries. The engineer was in hot demand and was often the first role chosen; people that didn't get the engineer often just passed on building completely. Toward the end of the game, I ended up building north out of Paris, not to connect to my network, but just to get more track down. Black cubes had been building up in Paris, and Tom managed to set it up so that he could make 6-deliveries from Paris to black, and got a ton of points from that. I had by far the most tracks on the board, but that was only good enough for second to Tom's first.

_8_ Battle Merchants (new!) - This was with me, Brian, Tom, and Andy. We were actually helping test a mini-expansion for Gil (who's the designer of the game and was moderating), but none of us had played the base game before. Right away, I determined that I'd focus on selling swords and hammers to the hobgoblins and elves, so I could ignore the other stuff. Unfortunately, Andy snagged a card that let him build weapon upgrades more quickly, so he beat me out getting the sword bonus. It was a longer way to get to the hammer bonus since I didn't start with any, and Tom ended up beating me out on that one. Meanwhile, I got a card that gave me end-game points for selling to the same race a lot. I was really having a hard time actually winning any of the battles though, so I needed a new plan. I grabbed a card that let me buy back my weapons after they were defeated, and started stocking up on cards that made my weapons cheaper. That's right, I was going to go for the Wal-Mart strategy. I don't think I won another battle the entire game, instead I was just focused on selling as many weapons as possible to stockpile money. This actually worked pretty well, and while I didn't win, I was competitive. I think Andy won, but it might have been Tom.

_8_ On the Underground - This was with me, Anni, and Micah. After the last game of this, I was determined to make sure all of my lines were actually useful. I began work on all three lines pretty close to the start of the game, but I had a rough plan for how I wanted them to go. Micah, on the other hand, spent the first part of the game building a loop route with one line; he didn't actually place his other lines until he finished with that. That scored him a nice little enclosure bonus, but Anni and I were able to make up the points with actually servicing the customer. The scoring was pretty neck-and-neck the entire game, partially due to us giving points to whoever was the furthest behind if we had a choice. I think Micah won in the end, but we were all within a few points of one another.
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14. Board Game: Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 1 – Team Asia & Legendary Asia [Average Rating:7.72 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.72 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.72 Unranked]
Toms Leikums
Latvia
Jelgava
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3 x Escape: The Curse of the Temple
1 x Summoner Wars: Master Set
1 x Catan
1 x Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 1 – Team Asia & Legendary Asia
1 x Guildhall: Job Faire
1 x Revolver Expansion 1.1: Ambush on Gunshot Trail

Best part of last weeks gaming was Ticket to Ride team game. I think I need to look for more team games, because I might like them. Yes, there is some disappointment, when teammate makes mistake (or at least you think it is a mistake) or doesn't understand you. But still game immediately feels like your actions is part of something bigger. And coops almost never give me that feeling. Problem at least for me is that I haven't found any team games to buy. We all know I dislike much played Alias, now our gaming group also has Team Asia, but I'm not interested in playing TtR a lot. So what to look for? Maybe 1775: Rebellion, since I am huge fan of Memoir '44.
Other games played last week included Escape (still don't like it, and probably never will), Summoner Wars (devastating loss for me with Benders, which supposed to be most powerful race, as people say), weird game of Settlers (one player getting 10 points, second place - 4), some Guildhall and Revolver.
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