GCL Meatballs #202: Pet Games
Justus
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Las Vegas
Nevada
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Welcome to the Meatballs

This is the weekly (a little early) geeklist for the Swedish Meatball GeekChat League! Only members are to add items (please add your weekly games played), but civil comments from non-members are welcome, as always.

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Rotation:

chearns (yer up!)
qwertymartin
lacxox
cymric
JUGULAR
bnordeng
ellephai
Hanibalicious
Osirus
smorange
Jythier
fateswanderer
sgosaric
SORP222
AAArg_ink

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I've been playing with the idea of "pet games". Games you seem to like more than the general populace.
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1. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.02 Overall Rank:17]
Justus
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Lets just start with a fluffy one. What games has pets in it? Other than this one of course!
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2. Board Game: Bargain Hunter [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:2091]
Justus
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What's a relatively unknown game that you think is really quite good so you try to bring it up whenever you get the chance?
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3. Board Game: Bohnanza [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:372]
Justus
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Sometimes a highly regarded game can still be considered "underrated". What's one such game for you?
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4. Board Game: At the Gates of Loyang [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:239]
Justus
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Nevada
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What's a game is generally disliked but you think should have more acclaim? Why is there such a difference between your perception and the population at large?
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5. Board Game: Caverna: The Cave Farmers [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:15]
Justus
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In the one negative item on this geeklist, what's a game that everyone loves that you just like to beat up on? An anti-pet.
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6. Board Game: Mamma Mia! [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:1289] [Average Rating:6.48 Unranked]
Justus
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What's a game that uses a disliked mechanism, but does so in a way you particularly enjoy. One of those, "I usually hate ABC but I love to play game X".
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7. Board Game: Ora et Labora [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:90]
Justus
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Nevada
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Is there a game you are really bad at but you really enjoy?
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8. Board Game: Patchwork [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:58]
Justus
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Is there a game with an interesting theme even if you really don't like the game? A game that stays in the collection even though mechanically its not really that good of a game?
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9. Board Game: Le Havre [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:37]
Justus
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Similarly, is there a game you don't really like, but you really like the art? Enough to continue owning or playing it?
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10. Board Game: Klunker [Average Rating:6.23 Overall Rank:3063]
Justus
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Mechanically speaking, is there a game where the total package isn't really all that great, but it has a really interesting mechanism that keeps it hanging out in your collection (or at least "willing to play" list).
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11. Board Game: Space Beans [Average Rating:6.08 Overall Rank:3075]
Justus
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What game variant, maybe small, maybe large that really makes the game for you? House rules that fix the game and take it to 11.
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12. Board Game: Copycat [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:1185]
Brad N
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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_8_ Concordia - 3 Players
_8_ Kingdom Builder - 2 Players
_6_ Copycat - 3 Players
_6_ Blue Moon City - 4 Players
_6_ Patchwork - 2 Players (x2)

With the kids...
_8_ Dominion - 2 Players
_7_ Legendary: Villains – A Marvel Deck Building Game - 2 Players


(1) CopyCat - I think I enjoyed this play of the game more than a six, but I'm not really excited to play it again for another 12 months. The end of the scoring track in this game goes something like 90-92-93-92-93-95. Before the game started, I jokingly said that I wanted to jump from the first 93 to the second one. At the end of the game, I landed on the first 93 and my turn was over. As the next player started their turn, I realized I had two green, wooden, scoring pieces and I said, "wait, I scored 2 more points... aaaaand, my score didn't change." Only in a 2F game.

(2) Patchwork - Marie really likes the spatial element of the game, but it's really just not a great game. It's good and we're enjoying it right now, but I'm not sure if this one will last.

(3) Dominion - Azalea (9) likes Dominion a lot and asked to play again. I make myself pay one extra coin for every card in the game and I'm realizing that makes it too lopsided, in her favor. We're going to have to "Nordeng" this game differently.
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13. Board Game: Nada! [Average Rating:5.67 Overall Rank:10210]
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Whoa, this doesn't happen very often!
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14. Board Game: Mmm! [Average Rating:6.44 Overall Rank:3951]
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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With Saci, on Sunday:


 7.5   Java
Somehow I could make Saci play this one with me during the kids' daytime sleep so I taught it to her after I learned it with my sister last week. What's more, after I won by 166:144 she even said she wants to play it again when she feels better. Java is one of the prime examples of why (unlike the suggested BGG ratings) I make a difference between how much I want to play a game and how I rate it 'objectively'. I still think the other three games of the family are more streamlined, (even) better assembled, but right now I want to play this one way more than the other two.


Kids' games:



 7.5   Château Roquefort
It's a really good 6+ children's game but it's a pain to set up, and then put it back to box. I know the expansion provides solution for this, but that's not only OOP - any user selling it just does not respond my geekmails so I start to suspect it never really existed.
 7   Mmm!
The latest "cat and mice" children's game (age: 5+) is by Reiner Knizia and needs quite complex thinking for an 5+ game. Other Knizia dice rollers requiring this level of thinking are usually recommended for age 6+, 7+ or even 8+ (see 1, 2, 3). This is a cooperative one which mixes some of the Code Cracker (or even closer, Sudoku: Das Würfelspiel) ideas with the bare bones idea of his cooperative Hobbit series: you have to fulfill at least one aim in each turn, otherwise you are one step closer to fail. Mix in some strong spatial aspect as well (you can only place your dice in one row or column in a turn) and the game gets quite interesting for a kids' game - even if it's not really cooperative. I mean, it's just as cooperative as Orchard is: it's a 1-player game where kids take turns rolling the dice but they make the decisions on where to place them together. I have actually played it a few times solo before I taught it to the kids; with them we had a nail-bitingly exciting game where, after a series of bad rolls, everything depended on our last (luckily, successful) roll. Maybe many adults would not like this endgame but with them it was a blast.
 N/A   Hungry Frogs
This is the Hippos game, only with frogs. The kids got this one from their niece years ago, when they were the right age for this, but unfortunately the box contained no balls at all. Now I found out they can play it with the marbles of my Mancala. And my clever kids who like many 8+ games... had huge fun.

Also played (nordenged) Petanque with them for the second time this year.
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15. Board Game: Innovation [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:279]
George Leach
United Kingdom
Godalming
Surrey
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 9   Shogi x2
 8   Lines of Action x2
 8   Twixt
 4   Morelli
 9   Innovation
 9   Slither x5
 7   Blokus

Yay for online gaming; littlegolem and isotropic. I even took a trip to Yucata. If I can find an opponent or three there's lots of goodies to try out.
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16. Board Game: Linko! [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:704]
EXTRA AVOCADO! Sonderegger
United States
Folsom
CA
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Before we start, I want to tell you about a tragedy that befell me. I accidentally ran over a bag of my games because we had been meeting new people, and running around scoping out new gaming events, and I got distracted and...

I ran over and destroyed Deep Sea Adventures. That's ok. I feel like we got the most out of that that we ever would, and it was about to be trade fodder too. Scharfe Schoten and Ebbes got box damage, but the cards were saved by sleeves. All of them! Yay sleeves! A Study in Emerald got mangled, but all the internals remain hale and hearty. Oh darn, Megan, guess I can't sell/trade it because it's in such poor condition. And... Abluxxen. Abluxxen is dead, made mincemeat by tyres and a distracted fool.

Could somebody pick Smintie off the floor? I think she's fainted.

Anyway, despite feeling really shitty about being so dumb, here's what I played.

Scharfe Schoten: 4p ww x1
Got to play some rounds of this, taught it to new players. One decried it as being too weird to wrap his head around it, the other held his own quite magnificently, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I just love any chance to play a trick taker, so yay me! I screwed up the bid on the first hand, but managed to do alright, despite it. Great game in equally great company.

Roll For The Galaxy 5p ww x2
AAAAARIGHT! Now this is a dice game. Meaty choices, great components, a cup full of dice rattling like an old VW van, and a smooth, smooth engine under the hood. I loved it. We miiiiight get it. Megan also enjoyed it, but was angered by a man who went full speed red twice, ending the game early 2x, (losing the first, but winning the second). That man... was not me! Ha! I was too busy gettin' aliens and junk. The asterisks, thanks to Mr. Vonnegut, were inevitably compared to rectum, and the brown dice were just hilarious. Apparently, aliens have the most anuses. Anusi? Anusesses? Anuses. Puerile humour abounded, and empires were forged by rectal fortitude. I might have to pick this up.

Deep Sea Adventures 5p ww x1
Welp. I died all three times. Fun, but not overly so. A little sad to see it crushed under the wheel, but I have salvaged the little men to be used as sassy versions of that robot from lost in space. I don't remember his name.

Arboretum 2p ww x1, 3p ww x1
Holy cow! First of all, there's a real retro aesthetic to the games components- from the heavy paper rulebook to the beautifully faux embossed box. It's really gorgeous. But the heavenly bovine ejaculation wasn't because it was so pretty (it is!), but because it's so MEAN. The bidding for scoring opportunities results in seeing your hard-won paths torn to rubble by an unamused populace. At least, that's what I assume happens. Really, a genuinely neat card game, with that classic feel, like our poor abluxxen. Sniff.

Abluxxen 3p ww x3
Yes yes, it's a great game. Played it, enjoyed it, watched myself get torn apart in the last round by a saavy newbie. There's really more going on in the game than you'd expect, as we realized when we started talking about the implications of possible play. I will have to get it again.

Continental Express 4p ww x1
What is in the water that makes those goddamn french so excellent at illustration? I blame the legacy of the beaux arts ecole, or the abundance of cheese, but even their mini cards are lavishly illustrated. It's a harmless enough game, perhaps perfect as a gateway (in both cost and size), but it's nothing extra-ordinary. Might play again if charitable, feel no need to own, might make a great stocking stuffer.

Apex Theropod Deck Building Game 1p x1
I was ready to write this off to kickstarter blindness and an unnatural predilection for dinosaurs, especially after the amount of faqs and rule shenanigans and what have you, but quite frankly, it was a blast. The thematic incorporation, the random events, the unceasing brutality... If Ecklund ever makes a deckbuilder, it might not be far removed from this. There are definitely rough edges, and lots of room for expansion, but the evolutionary tale wrought by the game is just plain fun. Growing your species, putting together hunts, fighting off a much tougher apex predator in the form of a vicious boss battle- they all culminate in a game that ends up being quite a diversion. I can't wait to play as the T-Rex.
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17. Board Game: Animal Upon Animal: Balancing Bridge [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:2537]
Lori
United States
Durham
North Carolina
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Animal upon Animal: Balancing Bridge x6
Dominion x3
Hanabi x3
Pandemic
Scepter of Zavandor
Spot It!
x3
Wurfel Bohnanza

Got an unexpected chance to play Scepter Friday night and had to play with someone else's German copy. Awkward! It wasn't just the foreign text, but the many little improvements in the English edition I own that we were used to having. (For instance, this one didn't have the Druid's picture on the knowledge board, the toad/raven icons on the related artifacts, or your character's starting path marked on the character board.) Plus the owner didn't have the player aids that I normally use. We were two veterans teaching a new player, and it's not that we don't know how to play perfectly well, and I do have a lot of experience teaching this game, but I kept having these moments where I'd go to refer to something and it wasn't there.
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18. Board Game: Tikal [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:216]
David P
Canada
Vancouver
BC
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 7   Tikal
 10   Tichu
 7   Through the Desert
 7   Telestrations x2
 8   Modern Art

One day of gaming this week, but it was a good one. We had seven players, eight including the host's daughter, and we started with her favourite game, Telestrations. I'm a particularly terrible artist, but I enjoy the game anyway. We didn't keep score. Can you keep score? The thought hadn't really occurred to me. The point is the laughter.

After that we got into it with a 4p game of Tikal. I'd not played the game before yesterday. I have, however, played several action point games like it--Torres, Mexica, Bison. I'd rank Tikal among the better examples of the genre. I don't love the genre enough to see the need for more than one or two, but I have more interest in it than the endless variations on the worker placement genre. I don't like the downtime in Tikal, which is worse than most, and the game runs a bit long for what it is, but there is a healthy dose of strategy to the game, and I like the way the board develops. AP wasn't too bad in my game, but the scoring rounds were a bit drawn out. It was a bit worse for me, as I never drew a volcano tile and neither did the player to my left, so I generally had longer waits in between turns. I finished in the middle of the pack. I liked the game and am interested in playing again. It's a low 7, hence the colour choice above.

A 4p game of Modern Art followed. I came in a close second while overpaying on two particular auctions. I gave the win away too, so I have no one else to blame for the loss.

We followed that up with a game of Tichu. My partner and I lost roughly 1000-300, but the game was much closer than the score suggests. In the first half of the game, we were 500 points ahead. Slowly our opponents caught up and overtook us. In the last round, I called Grand Tichu on an excellent hand. One of our opponents called Tichu on a slightly better hand, if only because it included a bomb. She went out first, but barely.

We finished with 4p Through the Desert. I went for territory more than points. Again I finished somewhere in the middle, second or third.
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19. Board Game: Castles of Mad King Ludwig [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:82]
Seth Brown
United States
North Adams
Massachusetts
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Once again, tonight I had a chance to play a game much-vaunted by some of you folks.

We began with Suburbia, which was eerily similar to a game designed by a local friend of mine. It never hit print, although at one point many years ago he had pitched it to Cambridge Games Factory. I liked Suburbia better than othergame because it had a purchase queue instead of a blind bid, but overall did not love it.

Splendor remains splendid. Now that we've all played nearly 10 times, the game is much more strategic. We had a very tight 4p game with all 4 players either hitting 15 or being 1 turn away from hitting 15 on the final turn, and all with different strategies. I think I am going to have to acquire this game at some point.

Ted Alspach night continued with Castles of Mad King Ludwig, which I know various friends had been praising. And I can see why; it's not quite like anything else, it's very accessible, and fun even when you're losing. While I don't think it will become a favorite, I'd happily play this again.

With the night winding down, I suggested GOSU, which had been a fast fun chaotic game when I've played it in the past. As you might guess from that foreshadowing, such was not the case this time around, the second and third round were both agonizingly long, and the game was called on account of tired. Insightful post-game analysis by someone else revealed the issue -- all but one of us had filled our board with the two draw-card factions, which extends the round a lot, and only that fourth player had any of the two aggro factions on the board which cause discarding and destruction. So, it was like a Magic duel between two lifegain control decks. Bleh.
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20. Board Game: Quartermaster General [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:699]
Paul Lister
United Kingdom
London
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2 more plays of my new favourite game - 'Magic the Gathering does World War 2 in teams without having to worry about mana' - as one participant put it - there are a lot of other dissimilarities but it does have a MTG feel. One of the newbies said they thought it was better than Risk and would buy a copy. That made me very happy.

2 more plays of Patchwork (my other new favourite game) the first a defeat by some 40 points. I did not think that was possible. The second a defeat by 2 points - which felt crushing as I thought I had landed my first win. NOw winning and losing are twin imposters, however i'd like the game to give me some positive feedback, to let me know that they are not just wild thrashing around on the board but might be headed towards some understanding of what i am supposed to be doing.

One game of Jambo which I think I will trade as not loving the good conversion and length of the game.

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21. Board Game: Arcadia Quest [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:85] [Average Rating:7.90 Unranked]
chearns
Canada
Montréal
Québec
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As usual, in order from most fun to least:

Yesterday, we got together to play rounds three and four of our campaign of Arcadia Quest. It was amazing. This game is complete Ameritrash and I love it. I won round four with an amazing(ly lucky) kill steal on the big bad after two other players had worn him down. Good fun. Also, it was with a couple that I don't know all that well, but they are super sweet and lots of fun to play with (the implication being that I would like to know them better).

Nobody won at Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game thanks to a betrayer who outmanoeuvred us too well, as we died before he could win.

Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small, now with expansion number one! Turns this good game into a great game. I wish there was a three or four player expansion for it as it is a great example of the type of breadth game I love. Along with Kingdom Builder and Dominion, it offers a different subset of breadth every game, making sure that I get a different challenge every time I play.

On the downside, my dating partner, who bought me the expansion, might not want to play it with me any longer as she feels she has no chance to win at it (she feels that way with many games, but this one she feels particularly convinced). I am sad about this because I know she can beat me at games, as she's done it before, and because I like playing games with her (heck, we met at a boardgame meetup). I also feel a little sad about it because my ex refused to play anything but coöps with me as she felt the same way. They both give the same reasoning, they feel stupid when they lose to me. Nothing about what I'm doing, they say, they just feel stupid and they don't want to feel stupid in front of me.

Lost at Twilight Struggle because I went all in for Europe as USSR, but I did it one move too late, so when the second Europe scoring card came up I was way behind in points (because I was behind in every region except Europe) and didn't have control of West Germany (it was uncontrolled), but controlled all the other battlegrounds and some of the non-battlegrounds. One move earlier and I don't think the USA could have see sawed with me in West Germany.

I was the sheriff in our game of BANG! The Dice Game and I killed my deputy after being bluffed out by an outlaw.

Ca$h 'n Guns (second edition) is better than the first edition, but not enough to be worth playing. The special powers, in our case, made the game unfun for one of the players as his ability was so annoying that he was shot every round until he died. Also, there is no balance in the powers. None.
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22. Board Game: Saint Petersburg [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:233]
Justus
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
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Just one game, but it was lovely. St Pete is nice and reliable. Its almost traditionalish in its game flow, but its a true engine euro too. I quite enjoy the hybrid.

We almost got a game of Coloretto in, but the girl heard the cards shuffling and decided that she wanted to join in on the action. So instead I took out my PNP sleeved Red7 cards and let her play with it.
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23. Board Game: Zilch [Average Rating:5.73 Overall Rank:12136]
Andrew
Japan
Tokyo
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Nothing this week - other stuff has been happening.
 
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