GCL Mafia 218: Lifestyle, Campaign, and Stand-Alone
Travis Dean
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Welcome to GCL Mafia Division's weekly list! If you stumbled onto this list by accident (or on purpose!) and want to know more about the Game Chat League concept, please see the GCL wiki and/or the Mafia wiki. If you would like to be notified each week when a new list is posted or look at past GCL mafia lists, subscribe here: GameChat League: Mafia Division Subscription Thread. Also, if you want an easy-to-use tool for collating your plays for the week, try out Thesp's GCL Games Played Tool!

Active Members in order of preparation (Next week's preparer in bold):
Dolus
ecargo
Epsilon_Balls
Beloch
Happymrdave
captainraffi
fdubois
touchstonethefool
bobcatpoet
charlest
Thesp

Please add an item to represent your gaming life for the week of March 23rd - 29th, 2015. List any games played along with your thoughts and opinions. Also, feel free to share gaming news, life updates, random thoughts, or anything else you deem appropriate.

Rules for the list are:
1) A weekly game is spotlighted and discussed. The poster will pose questions about it to encourage conversation.

2) Themed questions are optional. They can be gaming-related topics or non-gaming-related topics.

3) A top five question is posed by the previous poster and answered by the current poster. These top fives are usually game-related, but can include other topics as well.
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1. Board Game: Android: Netrunner [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:39]
Travis Dean
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What is your take on lifestyle games? Do you play any? Do you like them or like the idea of them? When is a lifestyle game worth the investment, or a deal-breaker for you?

Just a few ideas of lifestyle games: Android: Netrunner, Chess, Go, Lord of the Rings: LCG, etc. Generally, either collectible games that are constantly growing and changing, or games that require significant time and gameplay investment to explore the depth of the strategy in the game.
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2. Board Game: Earth Reborn [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:275]
Travis Dean
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In the same mind, what do you think of campaign games? Either games, like Descent, where players play through a collection of scenarios, where the resolution of each affects the game-state of future scenarios, or which scenarios are played out; or games like Earth Reborn, X-Wing, Claustrophobia which is composed of several scenarios or missions which tied together tell a story, but are all unrelated. e.g. The outcome of any one game session is irrelevant to how the gameplay of another session will go.

Do you like campaign games? Are do these still require too much dedication than you wish to put in? Any preference over campaigns where how well you do affects future games, or a string of unrelated scenarios where you can feel a progression of the story line as you play more scenarios, but the effects of each are entirely unrelated?
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3. Board Game: Through the Desert [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:434]
Travis Dean
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Top 5 Most Delicious Looking Games/Game Pieces



5. Pizza Theory
Pizza being such a staple at game nights (or at least stereotype?), how can you say no to a game whose box is a pizza box?



4. Aladdin's Dragons
The resources in this game looks surprisingly like some sort of chicle gum or hard candy.



3. Chopstick Dexterity MegaChallenge 3000
C'more you little Whale Meeple. Wheeple? Whatever. Get in my belly!



2. Agricola
Farming resources, that you then promptly eat. What could be better? Now, what is orange: carrots, or pumpkin?


1. Through the Desert
Anybody who's played this has warned the other players to not eat the little camels. Especially around Easter time! Be careful you don't put a bowl of these game pieces too close to a bowl of pastel colored M&Ms.



(dis)Honorable Mention: Monopoly: Chocolate
So when I was asked to make this list, Through the Desert was my first thought. Monopoly: Chocolate was my second. But... the list does say delicious... Have any of you ever eaten Monopoly: Chocolate? Bleh!
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4. Board Game: Dragon Dice [Average Rating:5.78 Overall Rank:7702]
Travis Dean
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Top 5 games you wish more people played



5. Mafia
Mafia is an incredible game. It is the foundation of this GCL. Now, some people have played this and hate it because it's just senseless, random voting until all the townspeople are dead. Well, that's because the players aren't trying or don't know how to play. You need to read people, follow behavior and voting patterns. Speculate, hypothesize, re-analyze, etc. Oh, and look for toe tells. Those are very telling. Almost as telling as Thesp's scum giggle.



4. Arimaa
Arimaa is the new Chess. The problem is, Chess has a foundation and a player base. Arimaa is grass roots and has a small online community. I can't just whip out the game in the park and find somebody to start playing with The greatest advantage this has over Chess is that the game hasn't been fully explored. Chess has countless books and numerous known strategies. To be an excellent player, you need to memorize openings and closings, and be expert enough to fill in the gap in the middle. And openings can be dozens of moves in! What's also fascinating, is I've heard an excellent Chess Grand Master can have the memory for a given chess state if you show it to him, but if you put the pieces on the board randomly, not so much.

Arimaa is very different. The game has been around less than 15 years. Board states can't simply be memorized, and due to the nature of movement, virtually every non-winning board position is possible. I'll admit having been out of the game for a couple of years, as I don't have the time and flexibility to play online anymore, and as I mentioned, there is no foundation for local gaming of Arimaa. That said, when I stopped following the game, there had just been a second book published on strategy for Arimaa. The two books are by two of the Arimaa world champions. Also, that year there was quiet an upset in the world tournament. There's a player from China who is a powerful player, but always tanks his score. e.g. gets into a guaranteed winning position, and then forfeits the match. As such, he's got one of the worst ELO ratings on site, and his play is so erratic as it goes against well known conventions for good play and good tactics. And yet, he went undefeated, defeating the current top player twice in the tournament! So there is a ton of strategy and tactics to explore here, and yet, it is a very simple game to pick up that can even be played with a common Chess set.



3. 1830
1830 is an iconic 18xx title. 18xx's can be long, but with diligent play, and focusing more on playing the game than trying to optimize your play (so long as you have an idea of basic strategies that actually progress the game), you can finish the game without taking obscenely long, and learn much more from repeated plays than you would trying to optimally play your first time. This reminds me of the first time I went ice skating. I tried very hard to never fall. I struggled to ice skate well the entire time, but for a very long time I never fell once. Once I was willing to take the risk and accept falling, I was able to ice skate much more quickly, enjoy myself more, and have more fun while doing it. The same concept applies.

These games are very deep. One of the most common mistakes players make in these types of games, is playing the wrong game. 18xx isn't about running the best company, but more about the stock portfolio. Running a successful or profitable company can be one element of winning due to your stock portfolio, but forgetting the importance of the stock portfolio will cost you the game.



2. Myrmes
At first glance, Myrmes is multiplayer solitaire. This impression couldn't be more wrong. The board is highly contested and it's all about how efficiently you can claim board space, maximizing resources, while developing your anthill empire better than your opponents. Timing of the bonuses can also make a huge swing in points as you'll get more points if you claim the same bonuses before your opponent, but claim them too early and you'll deplete yourself of the resources you need to maintain your empire. You can also do very well and win by focusing on the bonuses, or focusing on pheromones, or focusing on attacking your opponent's territory (I prefer the bonuses), but truly exceptional players excel at all 3 in the same game (what I'm working towards).



1. Dragon Dice
C'mon. Nobody's going to be surprised here. Right? Dragon Dice has been around since the time of Magic: the Gathering, and is still alive and kicking. Though, obviously not as well as M:tG. Dragon Dice is a collectible game and still produces new dice, but at a slow rate. The production of new dice helps keep the game fresh and changing and fills in any holes such as fifth monsters for early races or new races for missing color combinations. The slow rate of the deployment of new dice is good for a variety of reasons. For one, the company doesn't invest money it doesn't have, to guarantee they don't go bankrupt. Furthermore, there are too many games releasing entirely new sets annually, quarterly, or even monthly. Those games require too significant of an investment to remain at top, and tend to introduce power creep. Dragon Dice does not have that. Some of my favorite races are the original races from when the game was first released! Some degree started to appear with TSR, but now that SFR is in charge, they have rectified this issues quite a bit, and are always aiming to keep the game balanced, fun, and fair.

Now, I will admit that the game is very difficult to pick up. The rulebook is massive. The majority of this is reference material, but it is still very imposing. It's easiest to learn this game from a teacher. This is somewhere I would love to help produce "introductory rules" that are more friendly to a new player. This shouldn't be too hard, as I've taught games to numerous people, but I've been too lazy to put it into words on paper.

Oh, and as far as collectible games go, the cost investment is relatively light. A few $20 starter packs will give you enough for some sort of army. A case (12 packs) ideally gives you enough dice to make most any army you want of a race, and most people will trade/sell their race for another race when they want something new. Now I, personally, like to operate independently and be able to support several players, so I aim for full armies of each race. Quite a bit more of an investment, but done over time, I'm happy with it.
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5. Board Game: German Railways [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:1878]
Travis Dean
United States
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2x *Cathedral
2x Golem Arcana
Coup: Reformation
Dominion: Intrigue w/Prosperity & Dark Ages
*German Railways
Space Cadets
Wok Star

*new to me

Cathedral
This was a birthday gift last year. The game wasn't incredible, but was kinda interesting. We had a bit of a discussion in the end over possible deeper strategy of the game. We both agreed that it reminded us of Blokus, but I strongly prefer Blokus.

Golem Arcana
The technical aspects of setting up this game were still frustrating, but once that was done, this game was pretty fun. It'll be much better once I have a second-nature feel for the rules and units. But I still enjoy it, and am getting better at not getting as frustrated with game setup. But the UI for confirming that yes I wish to use this stylus is very frustrating.

Coup: Reformation
We played this 4-player with the allegiances rules. I used this to my advantage when we were down to 3 players to force a player to coup an opponent, and then I promptly couped him.

Dominion: Intrigue w/Prosperity & Dark Ages
I like Dominion, but Dark Ages didn't really show here, and there weren't any particularly interesting combinations in this set. I also got a terrible score, having been unable to acquire any money unlike the other players.

*German Railways
I finally made it through the rules and got this to the table. I was not a fan of Chicago Express (though I still want to explore it more to confirm this), but what I read on German Railways intrigued me. And sure enough, I really enjoy this game. But I do look forward to playing again with more informed decisions by all players and a better idea of what to do. In our game, we finished the initial auction of a 4 player game with share ownership of 3-2-2-1. I had 1 share, but was the only player with any money at all, 16 money at that. I quickly shot up to about 6 shares, and then only had one more turn for the rest of the game. There wasn't anything anybody could really do at that point to catch up to me. If anybody puts a share up for auction, either I buy it or they drastically overpay for it. And I never built any railroads. Next time, I'll advise a range amount to spend on shares, but to not spend all of your money on shares. I'll emphasize the importance of being able to buy shares before dividends are paid out.

Space Cadets
I got a really good compliment over teaching this well, which made me feel good. We had some poor actions at some points in the game, but ultimately were fortunate enough to snag the last crystal and jump the round we had a core breach. And all the way to 6 at that!

Wok Star
We played this 3-player, and were incredibly successful. We were cautious with picking up new recipes, and generous with improving our ingredients. In the end, I think we picked up 2 or 3 recipes, 2 new ingredients, and all ingredients were upgraded. We won quite handily.
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6. Board Game: One Night Ultimate Werewolf Daybreak [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:376] [Average Rating:7.48 Unranked]
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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One Night Ultimate Werewolf Daybreak x8ish
Escape: The Curse of the Temple x2
A Fistful of Dinero x1
Wiz-War: Bestial Forces x1 (new to me)


ONUW - Daybreak review: http://www.2d6.org/2015/03/one-night-ultimate-werewolf-daybr...


ONUW Daybreak
After playing this a few times we hunkered down and ran through a large amount of games in a row. Love love love the PI and Witch. Really enjoy the Apprentice Seer, Curator, Mystic Wolf, and Aura Seer. Despite the fact this expansion wasn't getting some mixed comments we enjoyed it very much. The fact that it kind of reset our metagame and provided a new host of challenges hit the spot for me. I wasn't bored of ONUW after 70+ plays but this infusion of new blood is much appreciated. I don't see myself not throwing in a Daybreak role or two in the future, as they go a long way in allowing you to tweak the balance that you're looking for while affording new tricks.

Escape
This is an old favorite of ours and we hadn't played it a whole lot since the Quest expansion came out. So we pulled it back out, throwing in both expansions and a couple of promos and proceeded to kick the shit out of the game twice in a row. Second game we added in two gems but it didn't seem to matter. Good fun though.

Wiz-War
First time trying the Bestial Forces expansion and it rocked. I was able to summon a Minotaur early in the game and was hot on the hells of another wizard when I found myself ignoring some crucial details. Both of my chests ended up captured pretty quickly and I was killed, due to the deadly treasures variant we play (from the back of the book). The game ended pretty quickly and we wanted to play again but had other stuff we needed to get to (Daybreak). Look forward to playing this one again.


On My Mind
I randomly discovered a newish guy at work was a gamer and invited him last week. He actually showed up and had a blast and we may have a new member of our group. Unfortunately he plays D&D most Wednesdays, but he's currently on hiatus from that. I was reluctant to pull out Fistful of Dinero my first time playing with him ("Hey, I'm a game designer, play my game") but another member of our group had been wanting to play with the finished product so we did. The new guy loved it and asked where he could buy it. So that was of course nice.

My second design came back from the publisher that was looking at it and they're going to pass. Received some good advice and looking to implement that now, and do some more playtesting before sending it to the next one. Going to try and get this turned around fast though. I'm having a problem with not wanting to work on additional games until I can get this off my plate, which is kind of odd.

After seeing Star Wars: Armada at Gen Con last year I wasn't very impressed. The idea of it being a new system and not just rehashed X-Wing was great, it even looked like the way the capital ships moved like lumbering giants was spot on, however the fiddliness of fighters and the maneuver tool in large packs really turned me off. I desperately tried to convince myself I didn't want it as I shouldn't be spending the money and don't need to store another huge game that won't get played often enough.

Fast forward to last week and its release and I start reading about it again. The rules seem interesting and there's some good buzz, with all of the criticism being things I already noted so not really detracting much as my expectations are set. Then we decide we need to cover this at The Review Corner and since I'm the X-Wing guy I was able to grab a review copy of this. Should be here this week sometime. Optimistic but I'm convincing myself I'm not going to spend any additional money on it unless I can find stuff on daily deals/clearance.

I also received a game that I'm very excited about, Luchador! Mexican Wrestling Dice, which is kind of like a wrestling themed King of Tokyo with more incentive to ham it up and act stupid. There's a bit more strategy to it as well. I think we're really going to like this but we'll see.

On the movies/tv front, much going on like always. Tore through Game of Thrones Season 4 in about a week. Amazing, never lets up.

Decided I'm done with the Black List, unfortunately. Walking Dead/Justified/Vikings/The Americans/American Crime are all still being watch on the DVR. Need to still watch last nights Walking Dead finale.

I don't remember if this was two weeks ago or last week, so I may be repeating myself, but I watched the first two episodes of Black Mirror and loved it. Looking forward to more of that.

We watched American Sniper this weekend and I definitely enjoyed it, although not nearly as much as something like The Hurt Locker. Good performances and Clint is always a master behind the camera.

Edit - Also forgot to mention that I sold off King of New York and Xia this week. King of New York I made clear wasn't too impressive and I prefer KoT. Xia I still love, but it went for $130 so I couldn't resist. Will rebuy it when the reprint occurs in the next 8-12 months.

Edit 2 - OH SHIT, I also forgot to mention that Game of Thrones gave me another idea for a new design that has such potential I can't work at all today. It's an adventure game with a theme that has never, not once been done. It's kind of crazy and I'm paranoid and afraid if I talk about it someone may steal the idea.
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7. Board Game: Tammany Hall [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:580]
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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Tammany Hall New!

I only got one game in last week, as we had some life stuff going on. Got the new Dadmobile so tied up a couple nights at dealerships, and had some good friends in town this weekend. Got to spend some time with our godson which is always really nice.

Tammany Hall
My one game was Tammany Hall and it was my first time playing. TH is one of those games that I had heard of but didn't really know anything about. I believe the reprint was Kickstarted right around the time I joined the hobby and it was featured on a Board with Life video so I was excited to see what the buzz was about. We played a 4 player game with 2 new players and 2 experienced. It has a very simple rule set which is always nice, though I discovered a little something about myself. In the first two rounds, I felt like I had no idea what I was doing. This is a common feeling in more Euro-y games, typically because there is a fixed number of rounds so I can see the end coming and feel a little pressure, and also because they often make it very easy to see how your opponents are doing. At the end of the 2nd round I had the fewest points, and the fewest favor tokens. It gives me one of those "Man...I have no idea how you did what you did to be in the position you're on" type feelings.

Then, in round 3, the Mayor gave me the power that lets me claim a favor token every turn. I decided to myself that I was going to cede round 3 and just take my favor from the ability and also a favor from placing immigrants. Normally this means you get less Ward Bosses on the map and thus score fewer points, however the way my opponents ignored me (since I was in last place) and the way I placed immigrants mean that not only did I take 6 districts and the Mayor bonus, but I also won the favor bonus for ALL 4 ethnicities. The 4th round worked out well, as I was able to set aside 4 favor tokens for each and guarantee bonus VPs at the end. I wound up winning via tiebreaker.

Over all, I thought the game was amazing. Super simple rule set and yet we were agonizing over every decision, negotiating and wheeling and dealing, and ganging up on the various leaders throughout the game. Super fun.

On my Mind
FINAL FOUR!!!!!!!! We'll be "in The Annapolis" this weekend for Saturday's game, and if we win we'll stick around for Monday's. Matt - are you around? I'm not sure what our plans are yet or how many of us there will end up being but if you're around and we can work something out I'd love to catch up and grab a beer or something.

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8. Board Game: El Grande [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:57]
Jeffrey Drozek-Fitzwater
United States
Houston
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El Grande: People needed saving from Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game, so I was able to bust out Old Reliable for a five-player game. Abbie fell behind early and, for whatever reason, people continued to kick her while she was down instead of try and go after the leader. It was baffling. She ended up with an extremely low score because she just couldn't get survive the attacks. I surged ahead after the second scoring, but red used a special scoring card to take the lead late. I was able to manipulate the turn order selection in my favor so that I had the king's card in the last round. But I made a few mistakes (I don't have enough plays of this), including playing scared and declining to deploy a mobile scoring board. That's playing not to lose rather than to win. And I guess wrong on the castillo dial: I thought Yellow would pick his grande region. Instead, he went to one I controlled and took it over. It had the 5/0/0 board on it, so that was five points gone. In the end, they all added up to red beating me by a point. Ouch.

Suburbia: This hurt even worse. I don't think I made any mistakes; if I did, it was only one. I had a turn on the C stack in which I had income and reputation at 15. And I still lost. I had the most greens private goal AND the HOA, yet another player inexplicably kept buying greens. I should not have lost this one. I just shouldn't have.

The Resistance: Avalon: I was Morgana and Abbie Merlin, which makes for a fun time. Percival was fairly incompetent, but I still had to weave a few webs. I ended up having to throw both my comrades under the bus in order to gain trust, but it worked. Merlin suspected Percival might actually be Mordred. She knew I was evil, but she couldn't really convince anyone else of it because the logic I presented came across as sound. I ended up not going on a single quest but caused enough havoc for it not to matter. Win for the forces of Mordred!
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9. Board Game: Attika [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:574]
Dave K
United States
Austin
Texas
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A very short week of gaming for me due to a family trip.

New:

Attika

Repeat:

A bunch of San Juan on iPad


Attika has a reputation for being an excellent 2-player euro, but it has been out of print for a long time and so tends to be rather pricey. I found a copy in an auction here that was pretty cheap compared to what I had seen before so I decided to give it a shot. It arrived and I tried it out with my wife.

I think it deserves the reputation at first blush - I thought it was really good. There's a neat balancing act between several things in it - you have to decide if you want to draw new tiles to see what you could build, or build what you have already drawn (you can't do both in the same turn). However, if you draw new tiles, you get fewer actions, and drawing the materials cards is also an action, so it can slow you down.

Then you have to decide if you're going to hold out for building things in order, which can get you free builds, or if you can afford what you have and thus can just build right away. Finally, there are two victory conditions - one for building everything (all 30 buildings), and one for building an unbroken line of buildings from one temple to another.

Definitely warrants more play. (Side note: same designer as Taluva, Santa Cruz, and several other games, but the majority of his titles seem to not have English releases.)

San Juan was a little frustrating but a little enlightening as well. I lost several games in a row due to the AI opponents getting a Guild Hall early in the game and then just milking that for points. Now I definitely see why that building was changed in the new release of San Juan - if you get it early enough you can get 16 points out of a single building sometimes, which is pretty crazy. I was also able to (at long last) get a nice victory by having early game silver foundries and then leaning on those to get a bunch of higher-cost things built, eventually capping it off with an 8-point city hall.


Hoping to get some more gaming in this week and maaaaybe even a new Winsome title. Going to push for that a bit.
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10. Board Game: Piece o' Cake [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:1478]
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Deus 2
Piece o' Cake 2
Biblios 1
Egizia 1
Incan Gold 1
Sons of Anarchy: Men of Mayhem 1
Splendor 1

Nothing new this week, though it had been nearly four years since I last played Piece o' Cake so that was practically new.

I am still continuing to enjoy Deus more with each play. I think I may prefer it with three to four. Not sure yet. I also haven't tried it with just two, but I imagine it would scale perfectly fine.

I often contemplate getting rid of Incan Gold since it's played once every 1-2 years and I never remember it being all that fun. However, when I do bring it out (and refresh myself on the rules), it does remind me that it's not bad at what it does. So, it gets to stay.

Our Sons of Anarchy game was ridiculously peaceful. Not entirely sure how it worked out that way, especially since we had all played before. At the end, the guy playing the Mayans decided to finally start causing trouble and this happened:



The picture may not mean much to most of you. In fact, I mostly took it for Charlie who I always think of while playing SoA (aw...). I mostly find it hilarious that 1 (top): most of my guys ended up in the ER and half died there; and 2 (bottom): two of the four players ran away to the police station with all their dudes so said Mayan guy would not shoot them up with the plethora of guns he stockpiled.

Matt ended up winning with 63, which is the highest we've seen in our games so far. I came in second with 35. Obviously, we should have been causing way more trouble for him.
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11. Board Game: Historia: Civilization Goals [Average Rating:6.82 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.82 Unranked]
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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"Watch, but do not govern; stop war, but do not wage it; protect, but do not control; and first, survive!" - Cordwainer Smith
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New Games (well, expansions)

Historia: Civilization Goals x1

Old Games

Council of Verona (with Council of Verona: Poison Expansion) x1
Hive Pocket (with Hive: The Pillbug) x6
Historia x1
Biblios x1
YINSH x1

Managed to get a few games in with gaming partners old and new. I started playing games with a co-worker at lunch (and occasionally after 5PM) and he took to Hive like a duck to water. It's been fantastic to get some abstract gaming goodness back to the table and even better that it's the fantastic Hive.

Met up with my old gaming buddy on Sunday evening and introduced him to Historia. We played with a few of the advanced rules right off the bat, Advanced Leaders (because it's ludicrous to attempt to complete their "hard" goals in a single age), Advanced Advisers (because it helps with forward planning), and the Civilization Goals (because they give incentives for different paths through the advancement grid).

Pretty much all of these make the game better out of the box, though the Leader goals still remain elusive even with the benefit of better planning. And while the Civ goals do give other sets of fruit to reach for, they still need to be weighed against an opponents progress: I spent a lot of time building up military just to get a free Science advancement, and while it eventually put my opponent and I closer together, it was too little too late.

In retrospect we probably should have played with at least one Civbot, as they tend to even the experience out (though that didn't stop us eventually ignoring it in my one game with Grace ).

Biblios and YINSH remain absolutely fantastic
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12. Board Game: Dragon Rampage [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:3200]
Robin Levins
United States
Round Rock
TX
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Rolling dice and taking grains!
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 10   Roll for the Galaxy
 8   Members Only
 8   Sneaks & Snitches
 7   Dragon Rampage*

* - new to me

Just one night of board gaming, but it was a good one. Dragon Rampage has been on my "Want to Play" list for a while, and a friend was kind enough to bring it over and teach us. A party of adventurers has encountered a dragon and his gold, and has decided to suddenly free-for-all it rather than work together, leading to people pushing each other out of the way for opportunities for treasure and glory. It's dice-rolling (where you can sometimes get hosed) and strongly luck-dependent, but it's silly and fun. I'd gladly pick it up for $10 at a flea market. I worry it might go on a bit too long, but I think some of the duration would be shortened in a second play. Worth a look if you have the chance.

On My Mind
After much deliberation and store-gazing, we finally bought a Wii U. We've been without a console ever since the move to Austin, and that's been rectified now. We don't have a lot - Nintendoland and Super Mario World 3D came with it, and we've picked up Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Brothers, and have been enjoying them all. Nintendoland is particularly clever! Anything I should watch out for? How does online connectivity work - are there friend codes or anything like that I should be seeking from you all or giving out to you all?
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13. Board Game: Thunderstone [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:536] [Average Rating:6.99 Unranked]
Dave K
United States
Austin
Texas
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Love 'em even if a few games get scuttled from time to time.
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Meow.
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Apparently it's been confirmed that there are no plans for anything Thunderstone-related in 2015 or thereafter. So the series is at least "on pause," but more likely done with.

Even though Thunderstone has always played 2nd banana to Dominion for me it's still a little sad to hear. I think I have 11 or 12 of the 13 sets released (I don't have the very original for sure as almost everything in it was updated in a future set) and I still play it once in a while.

Anyone else here play this much? Thoughts?
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14. Board Game: Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:62]
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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I played a bunch of games this week. Marion was out of town, so I met up with people, rather than mope about the apartment:

 7   Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age
 9   Roll for the Galaxy x5
 5   The Manhattan Project
 2   Battlestar Galactica


I'll start with Battlestar Galactica. I decided to go to a meetup while the wife was out of town. When I arrived, they were just starting this, so I gladly agreed to play, since I liked the show and I'd never played. I can now, with utmost confidence, say I am absolutely not an Ameritrash/'Thematic' game person.

In our game, I played Gaius Baltar. My special power was to absorb other peoples' special powers, or regain a few key resources. After the first few turns, we got the handle on what dealing with crises was like. I like the idea of the crisis, but constantly discussing and voting on them prolonged the game far beyond any excitable timespan to play a game (we clocked in at about 5 hours).

Before we hit the halfway point, when additional Cylon cards would be dealt, we decided to brig one of the players; he'd been less than helpful on a few situations, and I questioned his support in the crises. There's some debate back and forth, and the guy who used the brig action tells the guy between him and the suspected cylon "I've got this" and the guy does not use any of his cards. Suspected cylon throws in cards to save himself, and the original person now points out to everyone "my special ability is that I can use this action twice this turn; let it fail and now that he's used his cards, we can actually brig him." I thought that was probably the most clever thing that happened all night. Unfortunately, suspected cylon throws a tantrum about this, saying this game is awful and how it's not fair because he didn't know the person could do that, etc. etc. etc. Half an hour argument ensues in which people debate whether it was 'ethical' of this guy to have done that or not, and ultimately results in us rewinding the action. shake

And this is the crux of my issue with the game. The actions and abilities are easily understood, the game's not terribly complicated, but people are combative and argumentative for the sake of it. I genuinely had more fun and social deduction playing The Resistance than this mess. Adding 20 layers of obfuscation and plausibility to the game did not add anything to me. It only made people pissed off when some slight grievance was made 3 hours into the game. I can see why people play this game, but I won't play it again.




In other news, Roll for the Galaxy is an absolute gem. My group played it twice, and I'm starting to get a feel for the rhythm and pace of the game. After losing 4 times in a row to my RftG buddy, I won the second match there. Later in the week I met up with another friend and we played 3 times. That friend refuses to play Race for the Galaxy, but he's enjoying Roll a ton. It offers all the clever decisions of managing your empire without having to worry about losing out on some key card that is in your hand. The is the fastest I've probably ever dimed a substantial game.


The Manhattan Project was interesting. We played with the expansion and Nations cards. I decided to actively bomb my opponents, since I had the Fighter and Bomber factory cards. This worked brutally, since reactors generally entered the game very late. We all had stacks of Yellowcake, but finding an area to use them was problematic. I used my nation card to sell junk blueprints for $$$ and buy the best ones (this meant I was sabotaged frequently, but still ended up on the better end almost always). I secured my first win in a landslide victory: 70-20-15.
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15. Board Game: Big Brother [Average Rating:3.00 Unranked]
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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GCL Mafia Book Club #1: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

The Committee, an international cabal of industrialists and media barons, is on the verge of privatizing all information. Dear Diary, an idealistic online Underground, stands in the way of that takeover, using radical politics, classic spycraft, and technology that makes Big Data look like dial-up. Into this secret battle stumbles an unlikely trio: Leila Majnoun, a disillusioned non-profit worker; Leo Crane, an unhinged trustafarian; and Mark Deveraux, a phony self-betterment guru who works for the Committee.

So what do you think so far?
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