Recent gaming: Trekking the National Parks, Mysterium, La Fleur au Fusil, Patchwork, plus online
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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April 6-April 19, 2015


I missed doing this last week, which is just as well. I've barely played anything this past week, but got in a little more the previous one.

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1. Board Game: Trekking the National Parks [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:2527]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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I'd never heard of this one, but it's instantly shot onto my buylist. See what happens when I ignore Kickstarter?

(Actually, it's one I'm going to get as a gift for my brother.) This is in the same family as Ticket To Ride, but with a very specific US National Parks theme. The designer had to do some clever skewing of real-world geography to make the gameboard balanced, despite the fact that most of the parks are in the western half of the country. Plus, some good, simple treatment of airports that can move your pawn rapidly from coast-to-coast...or to Hawaii & Alaska for those tricky destinations.

I'm probably giving it a bonus star for my attraction to the theme, which will play really well with my extended family. Recommended.
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2. Board Game: Tajemnicze Domostwo [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:411]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Mysterium was one of the hits of BGG.con, but I didn't get a chance to play it back then. So I was very eager to try it when visiting my Denver friends. I definitely enjoyed it. I'm already a big fan of Dixit (which I played, below), and this adds some fun co-op gameplay on top of that framework. I'm probably a little happier with the simple party game mechanics of Dixit over this one, but I suspect I'm in the minority compared to most gamers. The co-op play and the Clue/Cluedo like "theme" give some added oomph to this one.
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3. Board Game: La fleur au fusil, août 1914 [Average Rating:6.39 Unranked]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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One of the last in my Western Front 1914 explorations for an upcoming Wargames To Go podcast. Vae Victis games often cover subjects of special interest to their French-speaking (reading) audience. In this case, it's part of Plan XVII while it still had its offensive push, the French attack through the Ardennes in the opening days of the war. It had a very simple & interesting combat system, so ended up being one of the more enjoyable wargames in my exploration. Plus, this kind of grand tactical scale tends to be my favorite. (Not to mention a battle not very well known or often studied.)
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4. Board Game: Patchwork [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:57]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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I'm always super excited when my wife enjoys a boardgame with me. There aren't too many she's fond of, but Flowerpower is one of them. For some reasons, fans of that game are directed to this recent (and available) game. I don't think the two titles are all that similar. In fact, Patchwork is quite a bit heavier (spatial analysis), so I was worried she wouldn't like it. But she did! Now I've micro-pimped out my copy with actual buttons for the game's currency, replacing the cardboard ones.
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5. Board Game: Online: Internet Card Game [Average Rating:4.83 Overall Rank:14716]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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robot Online boardgames robot

Thurn and Taxis At this point it's all about pattern recognition & seizing opportunities. Nothing wrong with that--I love it.

R-Eco I'm finally shaving a star off this one, not because I don't still love it (I do), but because I'm not sure there's any depth left

Glen More I've been doing really well at this one lately, and it has lots of qualities you'd think I'd love. And yet, I don't love it. Not sure why. Feels more like a jumble, to me.

Alhambra I've been eating my words about Boîte à Jeux. The more I play games there, the easier I find the interface. Alhambra's just a classic. Love it.

Deus Ok, I'll give it 4 stars now/again. Last few plays have shown how it's as much of a card-churner as San Juan or Race. Once I learned that, the game began to play smoother. Anxious to try in-person again.

Though the Ages This game took a while to finish, and I ended up in 3rd out of 4. But it felt competitive--through different strategies--all the way through, which is certainly a good quality.

Dixit Playing Dixit online?! Yes, through BAJ, and it worked really well! The random group I was in was too slow, so I'm eager to try this with speedier friends.

Port Royal Still absolutely love this one. Was kicking myself since I let Jeff win the game on the last turn. He had a strong position and would've probably won a turn or two later anyway, but I missed a chance to block him.
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6. Video Game: XCOM: Enemy Unknown [Average Rating:8.42 Overall Rank:25] [Average Rating:8.42 Unranked]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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Played some more of this on the computer, both my Windows laptop and Mac desktop. Pretty awesome that Steam lets me download both & share saved games across both platforms seamlessly.

Though it's nobody's fault but mine, I'm still bothered by the way the game sucks you in and devours your available time. The "story development power curve" isn't tuned the way I'd like. (If it were, others would think the game is too short.)

I just recently experimented with the multiplayer squad combat mode of head-to-head play, however, and that may have more potential for me.
 
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