Swedish Meatball 201 # Goodbye to all that
Paul Lister
United Kingdom
London
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Welcome to this week's discussion list for the Swedish Meatballs, a division of BGG's GameChat League. Only members are to add items (add your weekly games played), but civil comments from non-members are welcome.


Rotation

AAArg_ink (up next)
chearns
qwertymartin
lacxox
cymric
JUGULAR (REINSTATED)
bnordeng
ellephai
Hanibalicious
Osirus
smorange
Jythier (absolutely!)
fateswanderer
sgosaric
SORP222 (Feeling sheepish)


Yet again I find my self stumped for Geek list inspiration. And rather than compile some old nonsense I think its time to face the fact that I don't really want to do it anymore. I enjoy playing and the company of gamers as much as I have ever done, and I enjoy reading the Meatballs posts.

Don't get to excited you have not got rid of me yet. I want to continue to hang out here but there are probably not going to be doing any more lists. And I will be at Meatball Con!

So here is my final list. Its very short but it actually took longer than my first one - which was a sign that it was time to hang up my tomato sauce.

Edit : Thanks to Laszlo and the meatballs I have come to my senses and am not retiring (and George is back in too)





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1. Board Game: Repeat or You're Obsolete [Average Rating:5.50 Unranked]
Paul Lister
United Kingdom
London
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I think I am post Geek. I last wrote a review or session report in 2011 , and a non-Meatball related Geek list about 3 years ago. I have nothing to add, others say it better and deeper, and the debates appear to be(outside of the CGLs) all the same.

Are you still active outside of Chat leagues? Are you more or less active on the 'Geek than you were a year ago? DO you contribute to any other boardgame sites? Do you think the hegemony of the Geek over the hobby is a good thing?
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2. Board Game: The Wrong Game [Average Rating:4.38 Unranked]
Paul Lister
United Kingdom
London
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This was as far as I got in my attempt at a geeklist.

Last week we partied. A celebration worthy of our longevity. However its is the morning after - the parties over, the empty beer bottles have to be put in the recycling, the remains of the finger buffet scraped of the carpet and great uncle Tarquin gently woken from his resting place behind the sofa and ushered on his way….and oh no who left that in the Aspidistra pot?

The house is empty other than detritus and the Tylenol has not touched the sides of your hangover.

You are meeting Bob, Bob and Doug for a game of Antiquity in 3 hours.
You have a self inflicted head ache Would you cry off knowing the guys can play without you? Do you feel a sense of duty to carry on regardless?




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3. Board Game: Writer's Block [Average Rating:5.67 Unranked]
Paul Lister
United Kingdom
London
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Have you had a period of avoiding to the Geek to then come back with a wave of enthusiasm? Whats the longest you have ever gone without logging on?

And feel free to add any questions below, and make the list all free style.
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4. Board Game: Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:183]
chearns
Canada
Montréal
Québec
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As always, games are listed in the order of most fun playing to least:

BITS continues to be great fun. This week featured a thrashing as one of the players failed to notice that in the third round they had created the penalty shape three times (their expression of shock increased as each one was pointed out to them, one by one).

Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small was bought and played this week. I lost to my dating partner because she took all the expansions and my farm was tiny (and I'm not yet very good at the game). I remember watching her take them and I was like, what is she doing? Does she really think she'll be able to use all that? She got the last one because it never occurred to me that she was trying to deny me expansions. I didn't take the spot with my first move telling myself that she had no use for another one, I'll take it with my last move of the round.

After winning she said what she frequently says, which I find sad, that I wasn't even trying. That's why she won. Every time she says it, I get the impression that she is robbing credit from herself. It gives me frowny face.

I really enjoyed Glass Road. I'm starting to realize I really like complex games that feel real to me (whatever that means). I like Agricola. Le Havre. Reef Encounter. There's something about those themes that make me really dig on complicated games. Or maybe it's what makes them accessible to me.

Played Hey, That's My Fish! on the tablet again. It's a great tablet game. Too bad about the analogue version.

One of those games of Can't Stop where the dice hate you. It happens.

Condottiere is a game I'm finding myself less and less interested in. Not sure why. It is starting to have a eh feeling to it, and this only seven plays in. At first I thought it was fantastic... now I'm starting to feel... unsatisfied after playing it. This game ended with only two players left in a round and one player making a catastrophic error whereby they chose to fold hoping to win a territory with the next placement, not realizing this was mathematically impossible. Thus giving the non-folding player two territories and the game, with the rest of us unable to do anything about it.

I guess I feel that this seems to happen a lot in the game. A lot of victories whereby you're out for the round and someone makes a huge error (that you can't know they are making because you can't see their hand).

However, I will give the game at least another shot considering how much trouble (and money) I went through in order to acquire my 1995 copy.
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5. Board Game: Java [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:729]
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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Okay, so the list is short, I write more. Feel free to discuss, ahem. whistle

Easter Monday, at home:

My family visited us, so first we played two games with my sister and mom, then with the kids as well.

 6.7   New World: A Carcassonne Game My mother just learned this version and the small changes it has just left her bepuzzled – 60% into the game she still had only 7 points. In the end she started to ‘get’ it but I still won the game with more than twice the points she had.
 8.3   Ticket to Ride: 10th Anniversary So we opened this one for her (she is a fan of all TtR games but she does not own the basic version) and she won indeed.
 7.5   Spot it! – with the kids and my sister.
 7   Catan: Junior – with the kids and my sister; Miska won.


Tuesday-Wednesday, gaming club:

This week I went to the „Tuesday gaming club” which is located elsewhere than the „Wednesday gaming club”. I went there partly because I had some math trade exchanges to do.

 7.2   The Staufer Dynasty was the first thing I played as I always want to give a new Hans im Glück title a try, even if nowadays they have moved to „complex, dry Euro” territory. And it seems to me, unlike the BGG crowd, I like Hansa Teutonica designer Andreas Steding’s less unique, less perfect non-HT games more, So I wanted to try this one was well. And, just like in case of Firenze, I quite like it. It’s JASE of course, but quite a fine one, even if I still prefer somewhat simpler rules and a more engaging gameplay.
 7.5   Red7 Only basic rules, but I like it so far.
 7.4   Patchwork x2 – Yes, I learned this one at last! I have so many thoughts about it that I think I should write a review. Maybe I will, in case I can get it played enough. Right now I can say I am not amazed like many are, but I like it enough that I did buy it the next day. This game is Reiner Knizia reworked by the guy who is nowadays famous for titles where you buy tiles for your personal boards, partly to make them produce stuff for you time after time, and partly to cover each space as unused spaces cost you points. It’s nothing else but it works fine. And as it’s Knizia reworked, the result was not that surprising: the guy who taught it to me said in advance that it’s not unusual if a beginner ends the game with a negative score, but we played it twice and first I won by 34:21 and the second time (when I was keeping an eye on his possibilities more) I won by 37:5…

Then, on Wednesday I went to the other gaming club for some math trade exchanges and I found the guy who I have played a few 2-player Knizias this year, so we played a little.
 8.5   Times Square x2 – well, once again I won my first game before the deck could have run out once, but thanks to a few stupid moves and a bad last minute decision I lost my second game in the end.


At home, Thursday to Sunday:

I took two days off on Thursday and Friday as I was too exhausted. Thursday evening my sister helped us and we played my newly acquired games with her.

 7.5   Java – First this one, a game I wanted to try for really long (more than five years for sure). I’ve read so many different opinions on this one before. And… I liked it! Probably it still remains my least favorite of the series, but definitely not the one I’d play the least (especially now that I just learned it) – and this is where BGG rating guidelines don’t make sense to me: my scoring is not and should not be defined only by my will to play a game.
So, what are my problems? First, the theme – I just feel all the other three (four) games in the series are more thematic. I can see the theme here, it just does not feel as thematic as the others. Second, the game feels a bit… underdeveloped? Fiddly (I mean the rules)? Disjointed? Something like these. The rules don’t feel very streamlined (and the terrible English translation does not help) and the parts of the game don’t seem to be as cohesive as they are in case of the other games. Especially the irrigation tiles – they seemed to be too strong not to take care about them in the first third of the game when we had the sub-game of “who can build and enclose larger irrigation fields in one turn?” sub-game. But maybe the intention for these is simply to make a randomized board for the rest of the game each time we play. Also the rules for ranking (luckily the same in each scoring) and the rules for the palace festival feel a little bit convoluted; it feels like they could have been made a bit more elegant somehow (and, once again, the wording of the English rules does not help).
But… Well, as I said I still really liked the game. It looks good, it is interesting, it features a few ideas that were reused in later games (tile placement – Taluva; moving – Tobago) but also ideas from all the three other games in the “extended Mask Trilogy”. It is also highly interactive and dynamic. I wasn’t sure that would be the case, but I’m happy I traded for this one.
chearns wrote:
San Marco and El Grande both rub me in exactly the same way. A constant feeling of why should I bother doing anything? Someone's just going to undo it later this turn, or possibly the next turn. Futility, Futility is the word for what I felt when I played either of those games.

Quite interestingly I felt like this during most of my first play of Java (by partly the same designer as El Grande) only to find out (a bit too late) that here this problem is solved by design. Why should I fight for the highest rank or cut a city in half if my opponent can undo it with a single move? The answer is city improvement and festivals. It’s really clever.
 7.4   Patchwork – well, my sister beat me by 17:14. Then, next day I also played it with my wife. I thought she would kick my butt, but maybe because of my experience (3 plays plus one against myself) I won by 7: minus 1 in the end. But they both liked the game, especially the look which is, I believe, the best feature of it.

 7.0   Tonga Island x4 with my kids on Friday and Sunday. (Children’s game rating.)While rather different, I would still call this one Stefan Dorra’s kids’ version for his own Streetcar. But instead of planning you have memory element here: this is a game where your ships are cruising between islands (one island on each tile) on ship routes that (rather strange thematically, but) work just like railway routes. The tiles that have no ships on them are always turned face down so you can only see the islands with ships. As soon as a player collects everything needed from the islands, they try to run to the target island (specified in the beginning of the game) and then win. It’s fun, not very challenging, but still not without any tactics, so the 4.5-year-old and the 6.5-year-old liked it alike.
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6. Board Game: Clash of Cultures [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:214]
Seth Brown
United States
North Adams
Massachusetts
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Saturday (non-gamers group)

Dutch Blitz is fast and fun, a bit simple but always entertaining. Had been too long since I played this, a good real-time filler.

Entdecker was brought by someone else, and I was delighted to see not a party game but a boardgame by a company and designer I recognized! Unfortunately I didn't particularly like the game, but I was glad to get to try it since I've heard of it.

Fairy Tale remains my favorite drafting filler. Slightly more meat than the super-light stuff like Sushi-Go, but still very fast and accessible so you can play in 10 minutes unlike 7 Wonders.

Sunday (more gamery group)

Clash of Cultures was brought by someone itching to play it. I'd tried it once before, so I was less overwhelmed than the new player. But my reaction solidified, which is that while I love the vast tech trees, I am just never going to fully enjoy "Dudes on a map" games where you run troops around destroying/claiming other people's stuff.

King of Tokyo is still not a game I like, but at least it doesn't take too long.

Airships, conversely, is a light dice-rolling game that I enjoy much more.
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7. Board Game: One Night Revolution [Average Rating:6.23 Overall Rank:2660]
 
David P
Canada
Vancouver
BC
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 10   Twilight Struggle
 7   Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation x4
 10   Innovation
 10   Haggis
 8   DVONN x3

Okay, I didn't actually play this item, but I know how much some of you would hate the very idea of it, so I had to invoke it!

Last week had just the one evening of games with Marc. We started with Haggis. It was a great back and forth game. Going into the last hand, we were pretty close, but I led, bet big, and Marc added to it. I went out with a 2-9 straight. I've been on the verge of upping Haggis to a 10 for a while. Now I've gone ahead and pulled the trigger.

After that, we played LotR: The Confrontation. In four games the dark player won each time. Poor hobbits. We kept with the asymmetrical theme with Twilight Struggle. I snapped a losing streak with a win as USA in the last turn. I squeaked by with Wargames after playing a card for several points in the headline phase. It's been ages since I saw an early war wipeout for the USSR. I know the consensus is that the USSR is slightly favoured, but with an additional influence point in Iran, I think it's pretty even.

We wrapped things up with three games of DVONN and one of Innovation. I took the win in two out of three of the former and in the sole play of the latter. The DVONN games were generally close, except the last one, where I got killed. I had this feeling all game that I was going to lose too.
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8. Board Game: Shogi [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:1086]
George Leach
United Kingdom
Godalming
Surrey
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 9   Innovation
 9   Haggis
 8   Twixt x3
 7   The Dots-and-Boxes Game: Sophisticated Child's Play
 7   Hex
 9   Shogi x2

Lots of LittleGolem action nothing in person. Too much study makes George a dull boy.
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9. Board Game: Burgen Land [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:5320]
EXTRA AVOCADO! Sonderegger
United States
Folsom
CA
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Attended a tabletop day sort of thing!

Burgen Land x1 ww 2p

Oh man. It's not just a dice driven PYL rondel machine, it's also got heaping bits of tactical hilarity. The option of getting dice is quite important, especially if you're trying to force your opponent into situations they don't want to be in. At the end game, there was an amazing point where I was trying to get Megan to go in to a position that would give me a scoring position, and she intentionally burned a wall to get out of it, etc. It was weirdly, the most exciting game I played this weekend, and I can't believe I had never heard of it before Justus.


Lewis and Clark x1 ww 2p

So, we played with random starting materials and a heavily modified map. I took Megan to task, and I finally shared some of my secrets. I told her how watching other people build their hand is as important as building your own- especially in respect to badges. She then realized that no, I don't just magically end up with the right resources. "I hate the order you activated your cards." Damn straight you do, and I did that for a reason. She came within striking distance, but my engine ran away with it in the endgame. I still love this game. The drafting was particularly good this time, as she definitely made me rethink my engine several times, drafting a linchpin right out of my machine frequently.



Wizard x1 ww 6p

New to me, and new to Megan. Excellent game, excellent company, and Megan liked it so much we immediately bought it. Definitely a "shoot the shit" sorta game, but excellent in the way that it almost has a built-in tutorial.

Tigris and Euphrates x1 ww 4p

Taught it to two people, had two catastrophic external conflicts which caused me to get shorted in black. Megan lost on tertiary tie breaker with 5 (Serves her right for stealing my Pot). No monuments, just blood and ruin.



Black Fleet x1 ww 4p

So thoroughly middling. The randomness is just so high, and if there are interesting decisions in this game, I don't see them, nor do I see myself spending any more time trying to find them. It was super pretty though, and the production was excellent. The company was great.


Formula D x1 ww 8p

Another game where I feel no compunction to ever, ever play it again, but the company made it fun. I/we really had to roleplay to inject any fun into it.

Artificium x1 ww 5p

Played with a player who slowed everything down, but other than that, It's still engaging. I think it might actually be better at lower player counts, unless everyone is up to speed. I quite like it, but you have to be prepared for take that and players targeting arbitrarily. There was an excellent moment where I, despite only being second, got Knighted, and in the end, it allowed the player who knighted me to pass me.

Witch's Brew x1 ww 6p

Such a great game. Drama! Suspense! Resource Conversion! Isn't that what we all really want? It's what I want, at least, and although the first round was a bit confusing for everyone, everyone was laughing and enjoying it by the end.

Abluxxen x1 4p

Where's Megan? Eating the pub's fantastic bread pudding and moderate fish and chips (although they had brown sauce, and you know I love that stuff). I taught Abluxxen, and it went down a treat. It's quite fun to watch people start out confused, and then, by the last couple of turns, play like sharks.
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10. Board Game: Tower of Babel [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:1343]
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Tuesday: Games night at Anja & Steve's, 8 in attendance.

Sam just got a bunch of new games in a trade and was keen to get The Golden City to the table. I'm generally positive about Schacht so I jumped in. These phrases from my geekbuddy analysis will give you some idea of the game: "Standard eurogame, but I don't mean that in a bad way. Everything feels familiar", "just another Euro game, but with just enough going on for it to be interesting", "A good, solid, game that plays quickly and painlessly", "Probably a decent game to introduce eurogames to nongamers", "Pleasant game composed out of smoothly-fitting parts", "a rather generic euro that neither disappoints nor impresses", "Perfectly functional".

Yep, we're firmly in family Euro territory, with absolutely nothing I hadn't seen before (a bit of bidding, a bit of area control, a bit of set collection, a bit of secret goals), but it works... fine. I can't see this being anyone's favourite game, but nor can I see it being anyone's least favourite. Six.

I just sold Knizia's Tower of Babel to Andy but he brought it along so I played for the first time in ages. And it reminded me both of why I sold it and why I have mixed feelings about selling it. It really is an interesting design - stripped down to the bare bones, full of twisty incentives and with every player involved on every turn. But it's also tremendously opaque, and as with every time I've played it, there was at least one player who just Didn't Get It. As I said at the end, I wouldn't say I ended up feeling like I knew what I was doing; but at least I felt like I knew what I shouldn't have done. I think this one would make for a great run with the same players, but I'd owned it for years without getting anywhere near that, so I don't think I'll miss it too much.
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11. Board Game: MixUp [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:7484]
Andrew
Japan
Tokyo
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So with all these delays I think I posted this week's games to the wrong list. So I'll just copy them into here.

Pandemic
Dixit
Love Letter
Android: Netrunner
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12. Board Game: El Grande [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:57]
Brad N
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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_9_ El Grande - 5 Players
_8_ Dominion - 2 Players
_7_ High Society - 4 Players
_7_ OddVille - 2 Players
_6_ FlowerFall - 5 Players

With the kids...
_7_ Wits & Wagers Family - 5 Players
_6_ Concept - 4 Players
_6_ Fauna - 2 Players
_6_ Pictionary Junior - 4 Players


(1) El Grande - Still a favorite and this play was great because we all ended up within about 10 points of one another. Of course, the bad part was that I was in 5th place.

(2) OddVille - Marie and I played this 2 player and it's decent, but I do think it's better with at least 3 players. It's really not anything super special, but it's a fun, quick, little Euro.

(3) Fauna - Dane and I played this. I gave him 6 cubes to my 3 cubes. That was enough for him to beat me in a game to 60 by about 20 points. Next time, we'll try 5 cubes against 3 cubes.

(4) High Society - It's really a clever, quick, filler of bidding with the lowest of something auto-loses. Lucky for me, 2 of the other 3 players tied for least money so they both were out and one of them had more points than me.

(5) FlowerFall - This was a bit wacky with 5 players and the scoring took a bit to sort out. I think 4 is the proper high end number for the game.
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13. Board Game: Porn Masters: The Board Game [Average Rating:1.00 Unranked]
Justus
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
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Been working on the House of Porn...an old building remodel which apparently at some point was used as a stage for adult movies.

Aside from that nothing really exciting. Just spending a lot of time to get the docs done.

And no gaming at all.
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