NOV/DEC2014 Backlogged Geeklists #2 of 6---Everything I played on my first trip to DALLAS GAMES MARATHON !! (55 GAMINGS!) Week before BGG...
PK WADDLE
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At long last my mongo laist chronicling the spectacular time I had at the November 2014 Dallas Games Marathon !!

I got to play a ton of stuff, I made a ton of awesome new game friends, and I got to see the non plus ultra of how you should behave when you are the host of a game event when new people arrive-- Yay Kevin !! -- You're the best !!


I also, as opposed to my usual emphasis of playing my obscurities and things off my lists-- played a WHOLE lot of brand new games that Kevin brought back for the DGM library from Essen... and now.. here we go !!..................
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1. Board Game: Trains [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:377] [Average Rating:7.22 Unranked]
PK WADDLE
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....and the extravaganza of 11 days of gaming starts with this Dominion kin -- as I have said before I have a rather impassioned love/hate thing about Dominion and even though I am horrible at spatial issues-- I thought this variation involving the deck building with spatial issues on a board always seemed interesting and wanted to give it a shot.

So glad I did !-- this is IMHO a much better and more interesting game than Dominion !! The idea of how the hexes interact for a rail line plus the station expansions IMHO all add up to a much more interesting set of point gathering than plain ol' Dominion.

And lookie there, If I had had ONE more turn and the game end was not triggered, 6 more points would have been scored by me and I would have tied for second with the station expansion play I had coming up-- alas I start my first DGM at where I usually finish --

last.


( Played with new Rising Sun cards mixed in )


Josh ( thanks for teaching !) 24
Wes 20
Kel 18
Zach 31 ( tons of office buildings) WIN

our first notable quotes :

I am fixin' to lay rail, that just sounds wrong.
Did you lose your waste?
Free Big Ass Train!!
Thanks for the waste !!
Sometimes it's really sad to have a hand full of waste.

 
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2. Board Game: The Blue Lion [Average Rating:5.94 Overall Rank:6265]
PK WADDLE
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I was not into pushing my usual preference luck by continuing with my first playing partners and trying the DC DeckBuilder for two DBs in a row ( Thank God, that looked nightmarishly annoying and it took them more than 2 hours -- so much for originally thinking THAT game might be intriguing) ....

so thankfully the person who caused the game end trigger of Trains asked.. Do you have any short, quick 2p games?

Why, I am your man, good sir.


So First Wes and I try this from my play 10x in 2014 list.. he got it right away and these were two of the most intriguing plays ever. Never have I seen so many combos made on the 5 tile board after someone ELSE's combo-- and never have I seen so many accidental executions of the combos that scored for the other person !!!

GAME 1 Wes 5 Kel 8 WIN
GAME2 Wes 7 Kel 6 ( Down to wire.. my combo left an easy combo for Wes to end it.
 
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3. Board Game: Council of Verona [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:2030]
PK WADDLE
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I am always so very happy to get more converts to this wonderful little game-- Wes said he was putting this at the top of his " next must buy" list!!

2p is not exactly the sweet spot for this game.. BUT I find the 2p version of this a wholly different experience that moves very fast and a valid gaming exploration it its own right.

Once again Wes grasped this quite quickly.

We battle to a first game tie because again my brain dead self had put a 0 where I thought I had a 4 on an agenda that DID pass-- Wes was able to save a big token to insure a More Council than Exile big pay off after I had already played all my tokens-- hence he takes the narrow victory in Game 2!!

GAME 1 Wes/Kel 18 TIE ( Note if my pals the designers/publishers are seeing this entry-- do either of you have any sort of Tie break idea?)
GAME 2 Wes 18 WIN Kel 16
 
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4. Board Game: Where Art Thou Romeo? [Average Rating:4.97 Overall Rank:15524]
PK WADDLE
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As it was becoming late people weren't sure if they were up to any brain-frying, so I suggested this fave of mine from the people who brought you the previous game above-- 2 more plays of this for my 10x in 2014 of this clever, if rather feather-light arguing for 30 seconds guessing game, aptly described as Win,Lose, Or Banana in Romeo and Juliet land.

It seems that miraculously we were ALL either the exact same level of expertise of guessing correctly and/or said same level of bluffing as both games ended in 3 way ties !!


SCORES

GAME 1 AND GAME 2

Wes/Kevin/Kel all ending up with scores of 2.
 
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5. Board Game: Red7 [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:545]
PK WADDLE
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So much for non-brain burning as this game really IMHO has no competition in modern card games in terms of WTF am I supposed to do now to make X Y Z happen later save for Innovation from the same company of folks.

The first game Wes and I both go out even though we had done fairly well until that point as we ran out of cards, me not having one more red I needed to get a winning condition on my turn.
Kevin the teacher destroys us as would make sense as he was teaching two of us first-timers at this amazing little game.

SCORES GAME 1 : Kevin 27 WIN/ Wes 6/Kel 0


GAME 2 we had a much closer game as Darrin, Kevin's friend joined us in Wes' departure. They both had played before and this time with the advanced rules I understandably got slaughtered, it seems so far in this game I can only plan at MOST 2 cards ahead to hope my card(s) gets me to the win condition to stay in, any more past that I end up in a disaster. I really love this though as much as I thought I would in all my reading about it before it was released !

SCORES GAME 2 : Kevin 34/Darrin 39/Kel 0

 
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6. Board Game: Mate [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:8703]
PK WADDLE
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Wes comes back from his break to join me in this other little ancient and genius game of card chess--another title from my 10x in 2014 list. To say he took to it well is an understatement as I did a VERY poor job of playing the " weak " hand giving him the decisive win, Wes 156 /Kel 0
 
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7. Board Game: Bid It Right: The Price is Right Card Game [Average Rating:5.79 Unranked]
PK WADDLE
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The pre-gaming night before DGM officially started ended with this cause of mine in perhaps one of the most amazing plays of this ever. With only one three way tie in the entire game, everyone's double think was so expert that it does seem mathematically impossible for the game to end up any closer than this !! ( Ironically Eric was hideously behind after the first of the three rounds. )


SCORES :

Kel $1190
Wes $1200
Eric $1210 WIN !!
 
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8. Board Game: Modern Art [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:224]
PK WADDLE
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My first full day the next morning of DGM started with us early birds having a go at this fave auction game of mine -- I unfort. took to my losing tack, after thinking I was in a very good place in the penultimate round, of trying to drive the end not realizing how close Brian and Kevin were to me-- so close that their amounts of the multi-round scoring colors on the table were going to pass me and I was paying WAY too much for items to indeed foolishly drive the game end. Close scores but Kevin takes it to start my awesome day!

SCORES

KEVIN $440 WIN
BRIAN $428
KEL $393
 
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9. Board Game: DoReMi [Average Rating:5.79 Unranked]
PK WADDLE
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One of my first of many dive ins to any " newness" and how ironically embarrassing was this title : A game where you are secretly ( some times not so secretly depending on the command cards ) mixing saying the notes of the solefge scale with jungle speed. It was obviously WAY too early in the morning for me to be playing some sort of reflex game where you are trying to remember that if you lay a card down that matches where you are in the scale note sequence, then you slam quick enough to not be last, as the last person must take the entire pile of cards. Again this was NOT the kind of game for me to be playing this early with only one set of caffeine in me so hence, the person with 5 music degrees ends up destroyed and Brian takes the win.

SCORES : ( LOWEST remaining cards win )

BRIAN 0 WIN
KERRIN 19
KEL 39
 
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10. Board Game: Monster Chef [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
PK WADDLE
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Another newness caught my eye since I am always such a fan of food games and Brian happily agreed to play this with me to continue the morning and to parse the rules for us.

That last clause here ( parse the rules) is where all the WTF begins-- as this is a very clever game with some very interesting mechanics-- but either due to the fact this is either the designers' first game or a woeful translation from the original Italian -- more of this seemingly fairly short game was spent trying to find rules explanations when situations came up than actually PLAYING it.

There is actually some very interesting quasi-auction stuff going on here in order to get sets of food to a table per whatever chef " power" you got in the "bid". But there were more questions than playing:

Did the mechanics really have to be put into quite so many phases? Was phase 5 really played the same as phase 3? ( We sort of guessed at this.) Does the prep phase mix with the first food recipe phase? Is there a reason for the die in the game AT ALL? Is the start player card just missing?

With better stated rules I am fairly sure there is a neat little game here and the artwork and the idea of cooking recipes for diners that involve yummy components such as frog parts and eyeballs is a hoot. But the designers really should have perhaps had more expert rule translators take a look at this before publication. Thanks so much to Brian again for even getting us through it at all.

SCORES:
Brian 17 -- WIN /Kel 9

And one funny notable quote here : " BEcause of your wild chef power, this eyeball counts for the soup."

 
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11. Board Game: Imperial Settlers [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:133]
PK WADDLE
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A wonderful title that was a surprise for yours truly. Civ building is usually not my thing and the interesting yet odd way that gathering a tablaeu mixed with a tad bit of attacking at first seemed a bit wonky. But this is a " new" hotness that is very worthy of said hotness. The differing individual powers of the factions each player has is very interesting ( and the Egyptians and their money production kept me from being last !) and even with a massive ton of building powers and such, everything seems incredibly well balanced.



I might have even had a better showing if I had not used all my cards up quite so fast but I was so happy that I was even able to do so that I took advantage of said ability. I look forward very much to playing this again. ( For another comparison, I looked at this later as perhaps a fancier URUK-- another card civ building game that I was very surprised to end up loving.)

SCORES:

James 44/ Ken 54 WIN/ Brian 53/Kel 47

NOTABLE QUOTES

This is the Jimi Hendrix Watchtower.
I am going to be the first person to attack the slaves.
 
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12. Board Game: VivaJava: The Coffee Game: The Dice Game [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:1414]
PK WADDLE
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I had been aching to play this ever since I got my copy and with my love of coffee and love of dice games I expected this to be splendid, and it definitely did not disappoint. ( SO much so I shall have this on my 10x in 2015 list. ) The very interesting way one mixes either creating a blend you hope stays powerful until your turn, the degradation of that blend in a press-your-luck sort of element, and the alternate option of using dice to mark off spots until you can use a power I think is spectacularly put together and I look forward to many, many more plays !!

On our play Brian who usually comes close to winning everything it seems couldn't ever get a successful blend to generate, James and I both struggled but not as badly, and Julie had by far the best luck at the dice and how to use them ( such as having a rainbow blend stay up for a SIGNIFICANT number of turns) to take the wide-margin win.


SCORES :

Brian 4/James 11/Kel 13/ Julie 21 (WIN)
 
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13. Board Game: The Price is Right [Average Rating:5.50 Unranked]
PK WADDLE
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Despite their initial skepticism ( Who is this weirdo who drove up here to play games for 10 days and live in hotels and why is he having us play 60-yr old game show games?) everyone actually remarked how surprisingly fun and fast moving this " cause" game of mine was! And I was very happy to meet more people who were open to my cults of the obscure !!

I pulled out a win this time from the luck of for many of the rounds secretly holding very high value cards and either being last or 2nd to last in the rotation. James was the only one who had a valiant attempt at a grand prize bid going over once with a scant 800.

This amazing little design I think for its age shall definitely be on my Play 10x list again for 2015.

SCORES :

Brian 2/Kel 3 ( WIN) /James 1/Julie 1
 
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14. Board Game: Code of Nine [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:3841]
PK WADDLE
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By a WIDE WIDE margin, my most favorite " newness" game of this year or pretty much any other. These Japanese folks are really approaching some given game tropes with some staggeringly unique creativeness.

This astoundingly trippy game, which the theme ( I THINK, I am still not wholly clear even after reading the manual a BUNCH.) consists of trying to get pieces of information to REMEMBER what matters resource wise as everyone has lost all the memories when they went to another cloud dimension and left the One World people who knew everything -- or something like that -- puts some of my favorite mechanics together in a way I am not sure anyone else has ever even begun to conceive of.

You have relatively straightforward worker placement, a quick moving 5 rounds ( or less if certain things happen). unknown and perhaps shifting win condition and values, and partial information deduction. And then you have all that wrapped up in what is IMHO the most captivating new game I have ever seen.

The artwork is gorgeous even if ironically the bits are BEYOND bare bones with player mats out of what seems like Kinko's off the shelf cardstock and tokens that have already started to lose their ink after playing my copy a scant two times. And this game is NOT cheap, but yes, I paid the rather hefty price for this game because it's just that amazing and I HAD to have it. And indeed it's definitely found a place in my 10x in 2015 list.

On our game I decided to take a whole different approach that everyone else, which worked for me much better in later games I played, but not this time. I kept trying to get lots of stuff while every one else (especially Brian and James) were finding out very important info of what goodies were going to be worth more.

I did avoid the things that ended up being worthless or negative, but I didn't get enough of the books that James and Brian had found out were going to be worth lots, hence Julie and I were well off the first two point scores. Thanks so much to Brian for getting us to play this and I definitely can't wait for MANY more times !!


SCORES:

Brian 18 WIN /James 14/ Julie 5/ Kel 6
 
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15. Board Game: Airlines Europe [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:305]
PK WADDLE
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One of the best plays of one of my all time favorites. The top three people were all right together and after usually making some sort of bad purchase choice, I actually only narrowly lost by wisely grabbing lots of Abacus before everyone else had started to realize they needed some. A few more purples ( which never came out until nearly the very end) and I could have won. A fantastic play!


Thanks to Stephen for walking us through the rules with my assistance when any questions arose.

SCORES : Kel 69/Julie 50/James 52/Brian 71 WIN /Stephen 67
 
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16. Board Game: Code of Nine [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:3841]
PK WADDLE
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And more evidence of how much I love this game-- with me always wanting to get obscurities, things off my unplayed list, and things of my 10x lists to the table, for me to cheerfully say " Oh yes let's please play something again!" that isn't some 2 minute ditty is a grand anomaly indeed.

This time I had the information about the person with the least coins gets knocked out at the end , information that only one other person had found out ,and by the time they did find out this fact I always made sure to try to keep them from getting any to get close to my stash of coins I had built-- and I also kept myself having at least ONE of the other items that the cards in my mat were saying the least amount loses X huge amount of points.-- However I totally never got to see the card that said " person with the most of everything total loses a ton " and so I fell from any contention with a massively negative score while the winners tied on a very low scoring go-round of this awesome game. (Still trying to look around to see if there is any info on if there is a tie breaker rule or not. )

SCORES :

Kel -6 ( negative 6 )
Darrin out/null at least coins
Kevin/Brian tie for WIN at 3
 
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17. Board Game: Lucca Città [Average Rating:6.00 Overall Rank:5149]
PK WADDLE
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And then on to one of my fave set collection games from my 10x in 2015 list. I seemed to do a decent job of teaching this since everyone seem to definitely get what was going on , especially Brian. I however got the three point deficit at the end, making my 2nd place showing even further behind Brian's large amount of palaces.


SCORES:

Kel 25/Kevin 24/Darrin 10/Brian 38 WIN
 
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18. Board Game: Wits & Wagers [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:517]
PK WADDLE
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On this go round of one of my fave games, we were all pathetically trying to be the least loser with an EXTREMELY low score ( the lowest I have ever seen actually) with everyone going in on a close but wrong guess that I made of the year the sound barrier was broken in flight-- Brian had the closer answer but bet on the wrong ones all with us saving enough of his gathered monies to win at the end of all of our nearly-all-on disastrous final two rounds.

SCORES

Julie 2/Brian 9 WIN / Kel 3
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19. Board Game: Code of Nine [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:3841]
PK WADDLE
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Yes, Again. !!! This game is so addicting as you have differing ideas of what information you are going to try to dig for early, and the game being set up every time so differently you want to see if there is information in the game that will wreck the scores in a more dramatic way than in some other plays where those swingier cards are not involved.

And by some miracle, I knew I had to have one more book to take the most books bonus which I got on the last turn of the game, and aided by unfortunate decisions of others where Kevin was hoping his statues information would hold and not cancel ( it unfort, did leaving him destroyed by getting so many statues) and from said last minute, last book-- I win , beating Brian by a measly point !! WOO HOO !!


SCORES :

Darrin 2
Kevin -3
Kel 14 WIN
Brian 13

( I Have never in my gaming life unless I was in some sort of tournament ever cheerfully played anything with any depth 3 times in 4 hours !!)
 
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20. Board Game: Splendor [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:120]
PK WADDLE
United States
Austin
texAS
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This still-hotness seems to be getting more and more hate in places from those who find it perhaps a mindless engine build. I don't see it that way because ,like all the other fanfolk for this game I love to play with the chips, and this game always feels to me like shopping !!

Had a great time despite my dreadful showing where the card I was always saving for was ALWAYS grabbed one or two turns in front of me, leaving me no clue of what I was going to do if said issue occurred. (And from my notes this seemed to have happened to me on SIX turns of this game !!) Eric was steady about the point gathering but he was formulating a spectacular ending enabling him to get EIGHT points in one turn for the win.




SCORES
Eric 15 WIN/Paul 9 /Stephen 8/Kel6
 
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21. Board Game: Doodle City [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:3013]
PK WADDLE
United States
Austin
texAS
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This inventive little ditty certainly started out with the most hilarious explanation of the long day. This final game for me after approx. 14 hours of playing started out with Eric deadpan-ly telling us " Well, um, this is a little game where you write stuff on this paper after you roll and you try to win". ( Looks a little inane when typed out, but for all of us punchy people it was rather hilarious at the time.)

I have never been a big crayon rail fan and this game sort of seems akin to those titles. I appreciate everyone's help because despite how much I loved this game's inventiveness mixing some sort of quasi-yahtzee dice rolling with drawing a map where you have to follow certain spacial rules-- the whole deal was SO not my wheelhouse especially after 14 hours.

So I thank all my opps who patiently always dealt with my questions of " Can I draw this to go there? Well, What About this to there? I am sorry I am an idiot at this stuff." -- if not for their help I am sure I would have been even more clueless despite Eric's more than adequate explanation.

Paul almost takes the win here especially with the most cabs bonus but the dead tree penalty ( How can you NOT love a game with a " Dead tree penalty" ? ) drags his score to third with Stephen eking out a win over the teacher.

SCORES Eric 36/Paul 33/Stephen 37 WIN / Kel 32
 
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22. Board Game: Tessen [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:4584]
PK WADDLE
United States
Austin
texAS
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The next morning started with Stephen and I having another play of this fave of mine from both my 2014 and 2015 10x lists published by my pals at Van Ryder Games. By I think more of a lucky set up in my shuffled hand this was one of the few times I have won this !!
ROUND 1 STEPHEN 21/Kel 27 ROUND 2 STEPHEN 18/Kel 24 KEL WIN 2 of 3
 
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23. Board Game: Panic Station [Average Rating:6.04 Overall Rank:2813]
PK WADDLE
United States
Austin
texAS
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Sometimes it's a good idea to play something out of one's wheelhouse and preferences to see if perhaps you actually do enjoy something you thought you might previously despise. For me , Dungeon Lords ( being a heavy worker placement as opposed to a crawl per se ) and The Three Musketeers ( the only co-op I think I have ever super enjoyed besides the incredibly fast Wok Star) come to mind.

Conversely, sometimes It's really good to play things out of said preferences to remind yourself why you despise certain things/themes/mechanics et al.

This experience was paradoxically the latter, paradoxically I say because I made some wonderful new friends during this game I went on to play lots of stuff with later. That was the main reason I actually had a decent time playing this.. this.. utterly deplorable game.

Co op. Nuclear/disaffected exploring of some stupid building or whatever. Wonky flow about per what color card team you had and how that affects turn order at times and how you can give resources to whoever in a certain room and blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. What a repugnant, annoying game.

One of the other pleasant paradoxes however was we WON and this was actually rather SHORT.

Ashely by luck of the initial card deal had almost all of the gas cans to win and was almost already in the room necessary to utilize them so by her third turn, viola, this ickiness was indeed over.

And though we won, as far as my opinion goes, I will always resort to the 1980s movie War Games' analogy that the only way to win this annoyance, is to not play at all.

James/Stephen/Matthew/Nate/Kel/Ashley WIN !!
 
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24. Board Game: Camel Up [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:383]
PK WADDLE
United States
Austin
texAS
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Next up this SDJ winner that Quinn saw some of us eyeing and happily offered to teach and play with us. This is indeed a fun game, but after a few plays-- not that I am anti luck since MY game currently in testing is virtually all luck/dice rolls-- I am not sure there is much you can really deduce when planning out your score cards since you don't have the option to do so late in each leg.

This seems to be perhaps ( especially with it's way cool little pyramid dice shaker and neat-o camels you get to pile on top of each other) some chromed-up take on a game like Romans Go Home, which I enjoyed very much but my compadres posited was nearly random in how you pre-program your cards.

I had made some good choices on said cards going into the final two races, but Matthew had saved his highest scoring cards for much later and got much more luck with his choices giving him the decisive win.

SCORES :

Quinn 18/James 13/Matthew 32 WIN /Ashley 11/Kel 20/Eddie 18

As one of my big point color choices fell woefully behind later obviously dooming me to a distant second , we had the notable quote of "Nothing worse than a sad camel."
 
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25. Board Game: VivaJava: The Coffee Game [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:1600]
PK WADDLE
United States
Austin
texAS
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What an absolutely brilliant design that IMHO holds an amazingly unique place in the gaming repertoire. Can anyone else think of a game that has :

-- a worker placement mechanic ability to take 8 people with virtually no down time and doesn't really last longer than 90 mins
-- A bit of press your luck gamble with the who to choose for what colors they may have in their bag
-- A built in way that the excitement and closeness stays until the end since it seems a runaway leader/set of leaders is nigh on impossible
-- adds just enough partial negotiation where your " team" changes every round to add interest to the worker placement choices without time-bogging the game down
-- AND IS ABOUT THE HOLY SUBSTANCE OF COFFEE????

I severely doubt it !!

I had wanted to play this for ages and it's even more awesome than I had hoped. Thanks so so much to James for teaching it to us for everyone to play with the full compliment.

I had stayed in a slim lead for most of the game with my team getting a 4 of a kind white gold and a full house Americano early, both of which held for a good while. But the folks that had the better blends toward the end went ahead and since Jeremy was fortunate enough to be members of ALL of the above blends, he takes the narrow win!

The only minor flaw I have with this is ironically inherent in one of this games wonderful attributes-- all the magic mixing ( blending?) of elements in this game don't really work if you play with less than 5 and then rules have to be adapted into a much less involving flow. Another spectacular game and perhaps my favorite " New to me-- been waiting to play!!" ( but not " new" ) game of all of DGM and BGG.con combined !!

SCORES:

Jeremy 28 WIN /Kel 26/ Matthew, Adam, Quinn All tie at 28/James 24/Ashley 21/Eddie 25

NOTABLE QUOTES:

What colors do you have to blend in your bag? Oh your bag of beans sucks ass, get out of here.
Many times various South Park fans among us were quoting on poor/unsuccessful blend choices from the famous Harbuck's episode " Your coffee sucks !! It tastes like moldy diarrhea !!"
 
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