GCL Phoenix 225: I am what I am, but who am I? (April 26, 2015)
Karl Fast
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
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To The Uniniated: If you stumbled upon this geeklist by accident or through your subscriptions, please read the GameChat League Wiki page for information about what this is all about. Visitors are welcome to make constructive comments, but please leave the adding of items to members.

TOPIC: GAMER IDENTITY
Everyone has an identity they construct for themselves or others construct for them: the mother, the boss, the trickster, the partier. These identities evolve with time and vary with context. For some people they involve contradictions (the tyrant boss who is a caring parent). For others they are singular across every dimension of their life (e.g., Lebowski).

Gamer's have identities too. This week's topic is about your gamer identity, how it has evolved, and how it's reflected in the games you play (or how the games you play have shaped your identity).


The Arisen
archivists
darker
Dormammu
hawk-x-
indigopotter
karlfast
Lowengrin - next week
Morganza
Mr_Nuts
ravenskana
rynelf
Smintie
Taibi
tjshields
woodnoggin

Still in ashes
BennyD, Bruzza, chally, Eeeville, enzo622, Hawkeye77, JohnRayJr, judoka, leroy43, topherr, Yokiboy
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1. Board Game: Scooby-doo! Who Are You? Game [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
Karl Fast
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
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You are a gamer, but who are you as a gamer? What defines your gamer identity?

We speak or wargamers, eurogamers, and magic players. Some people are collectors. Others like the heavy stuff. Some people prefer games with lots of interaction, while others want to make sure they can execute their strategic brilliance in peace. Do you want everyone to get along (and thus prefer co-op games) or do you like to watch your opponents struggle as you crush them under your heal (and thus prefer battle games)?

What aspects of games, and gaming, that make up your identity and why?
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2. Board Game: Analyze Me [Average Rating:5.12 Unranked]
Karl Fast
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
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If you had to pick ONE GAME that was representative of your identity as a gamer, what would it be?

This might be your favorite game. But it might not.

Imagine you're going to a con. Everyone is supposed to pick one game that captures their identity. That game will be your badge. Not your name. Not where you're from. Nothing other than an image of that game. And everyone is knows that what's on the badge is most expressive of you as a gamer.

What game would it be?
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3. Board Game: Evolution [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:334]
Karl Fast
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
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How has your gamer identity evolved over the years?

Our identities tend to be in flux at the beginning and slowly stabilize with time. Think of yourself as a teenager, figuring out who you were, and who you are today. There is a part of that teenage identity that remains with you, and other parts you shucked long ago, perhaps with relief, perhaps with reluctance.

Where you did you start, how do you change, and where are you now?
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4. Board Game: Identity Crisis [Average Rating:7.18 Unranked]
Karl Fast
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
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What game that you love, or at least like to play, is the biggest misfit with your identity?

Imagine a wargamer who identifies most strongly with The Supreme Commander, yet has a soft spot for Twister. Or the Feld fanatic who can't resist a game of Careful.

Put another way: what's your gamer kryptonite, your soft spot, your weakness?
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5. Board Game: Gods [Average Rating:5.85 Overall Rank:9093]
Marc Hawkins
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
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 8   Wir sind das Volk!
 6   Let's Catch the Lion! x3 (new-to-me)
 8   Innovation x3
 6   Goro-Goro Dōbutsu Shōgi x2 (new-to-me)
 8   Gods x2

Yet again, I played games with frequent gaming partner and rival David "smorange" P (yesterday evening). We started the evening off with Shogi as he mentioned elsewhere that he would be interested in trying it out after perhaps not being as enthused about XiangQi as he thought he might be. We didn't work up to the full version, but we did the small and intermediate size intros. I took the 3 games with the smaller set up, and David took the two with the medium set up.

Mini-reviews for these new-to-me games:
Quote:
Great way to introduce shogi. Even with 4 pieces per side and a 3x4 play space, the 'bughouse chess' style of add-and-drop plays means that there is still a a remarkable amount of play space for this little intro game. This reminds me of pawn+bishop+rook learning matches I used to play when learning chess.

Plus, the aesthetics are super cute AND super functional (i.e. the moves are indicated on the pieces).

Quote:

Great further introduction to shogi. Here, gone are the fast moving pieces and in come the lumbering defensive pieces: this is a bit slower and strategic than its little sibling Let's Catch the Lion but that is part of what it's trying to teach (i.e., how do your 'cats' and 'dogs' support your 'chick' frontline)! The space is a bit larger (5x6 compared to 3x4 for the smaller and 9x9 for the full) so there is a bit more room to tactically and strategically navigate plays. The 'lion touchdown' rule is great here as the alternate win condition discourages defensive lockdowns and gives players the means of putting pressure on.

Plus, the aesthetics are super cute AND super functional (i.e. the moves are indicated on the pieces).


Following this, we played Wir sind das Volk and alternated roles - David was ready to play the West and it had been a while since I had played the East (not since my first game!). It came incredibly close as David was sucking my socialists dry (that doesn't sound good) and would have stomped out my ideology altogether if I didn't have a card in hand that would allow me to weather that storm. However, during David's heavy strike, I was hitting hard in terms of social unrest in an undeveloped corner of the board (piling on 10 unrest cubes - with a few protests going on elsewhere). I took the win, but it was down to 'one cube.' I have yet to see the wall go up, but this is my first game where I actively regretted not putting it up. Losing one build point is always better than 2,3,4, or more.

Following this, I introduced David to Gods (one of my favorite games to play online). I took the learning game - however, David is a quick learn and took the game (despite the hundreds of games under my belt). As mentioned earlier, I am still amazed at, after ~250 plays, I can still be pleasantly surprised by this incredibly unassuming game (with an incredibly old-school design aesthetic; i.e., simple, clean, deep).

We followed this up with 3 games of Innovation to end the night (it's almost a ritual at this point). David took all three: one to a gunpowdering score rush, one to a math-tech-rush, and the other to a somewhat behind self-service win.
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6. Board Game: Flash Point: Fire Rescue – Honor & Duty [Average Rating:7.61 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.61 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.61 Unranked]
Bryan Maxwell
United States
Burtchville
Michigan
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Dead of Winter x 1

We had a 4-player game of Dead of Winter at the shop on Wednesday night. We cruised along pretty nicely most of the way; it was a medium scenario that required us to have no more than 3 zombies in total at all external locations. We lost a bunch of morale in the last round, getting down to 1 before winning the game. There was no betrayer, though I was suspicious in general (my secondary objective was "if there is a betrayer, they have been exiled").

Flash Point: Fire Rescue w/Honor & Duty x 2

Kat and I dusted this off and played the Honor & Duty boards for the first time. This was our go-to game for our group of 4 for a long while (my wife and I, and 2 of her friends; a fairly light group). It's funny how games get filed under one player count or another for me, then I become blind to it at other player counts.

This expansion has one board with an airplane hangar, and the other side has a subway station. We played the airplane hangar and lost terribly; the plane's engine caught fire then the entire wing went up like a tinder box. We also hadn't chosen the best roles for 2 players, I think. I had the Fire Prevention Specialist (neat, but expensive) and she had the Generalist.

Our 2nd play on the subway station board went much better. We had the Rescue Specialist and the CAFS Firefighter. I think this may be the best duo for 2 players.

Nice to play this one again.

Viticulture x 1

We wrapped up the day with a play of Viticulture. We used the extended board and some modules from Tuscany, but none of the tier 3 modules that really change the game up drastically. I won 40-36.



Heading toward finals for school. Our Wednesday night group may be shrinking for a few months. Times, they are a-changin'.
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7. Board Game: Trollmaster [Average Rating:6.89 Unranked]
Dave Peters
United States
Belmont
California
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Powers:Coleridge:Milton: Faith...must be, if anything, a clear-eyed recognition of the patterns and tendencies, to be found in every piece of the world's fabric, which are the lineaments of God.
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That's Tim Powers' fictional Samuel Coleridge "quoting" John Milton in _The Anubis Gates_.
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Scorecard for the Week/Month/Year as of 25Apr2015:

13/53/280 plays of 12/29/114 total games, with 1/2/16 expansions employed.
Plays with 12/17/71 distinct opponents.

0/1/17 games acquired (plus 0/0/7 expansions.)
0/0/4 games sold/traded (plus 0/0/0 expansions.)
1/2/10 games ordered (plus 0/0/3 expansions.) - Pax Pamir.
Orders for 4 games and 0 expansions still outstanding.

With Son #2:
1x _7_ Machi Koro (with Harbor Expansion) - His choice of comfort game. This was quite entertaining. The game began with everything breaking his way - and I lagged dramatically behind. But at the 11th hour, I managed a ferocious (if ultimately unsuccessful) comeback - to the point that I had a 1/6 chance on my final roll to win the game.
1x _7.3_ Torres (74 months dusty) - I found this charming and friendly. He was distinctly less impressed. Well, at least on the cosmic scale; he thought it was Much Better than last week's Taluva, but not one that he's vying to reprise.
1x _7.3_ Yavalath - Another game - but (finally!) this one was won by good play, rather than an opponent blunder. Nice to see that at least one of us (i.e. him) is developing some competence at it.
1x _6.7_ Ingenious - He'd watched his sister play last week with my Mom, and wanted to try it himself. It looks so harmless, but there's a lot of reward to playing nastily. He was playing a lot better by the end: I think he realized (eventually) that reducing my score was at least as important as increasing his.

With the Monday lunch folk:
1x _7_ Panic Lab - This is silly. But it's a great player-summoning ritual. Worked great in this instance.
1x _7.7_ トロルマスター (Tororumasutā 'Trollmaster') - Very cool to get this back in play. I think it's quite excellent, even if I am the only person to have ever recorded a play of this here. I know others have played it (I've inflicted it on a bunch of folk that have BGG accounts, at very least!) It's a bit more random than the Serious Gamers might want; but it's also very fast - so if everything goes wrong, it's easy enough to play again.
1x _7.3_ The Bottle Imp - Lovely to have this back in play, too; it'd been (subjectively) quite long since my last play - even if it hasn't quite been the two years to fire my "dust" notifications.

With the Wednesday Night gang:
1x _7_ Panic Lab - More player summoning; more amused perplexitude. It's a bit easier than Bongo! - which is probably a good thing: that one manages to scare new players at least as often as it attracts them.
1x _7.3_ AquaSphere New! - Bless me, Phoenixes, for I have sinned. I have played the forbidden Feld and I liked it. What penance do you have for me?
Ever so slightly more seriously, it's pretty cool. The game permits planning; conspiring; the balking of others' plans. Things I generally enjoy in games. I really liked the timing effects of the "programming" conceit; and it was fun.
On the other hand, I'm not remotely convinced that it makes any thematic sense. The "I'm collecting gems so that I can get more victory points the next time I send one of my James Bond Villain collection of mini-subs to part of the facility that I can easily walk to" is just weird. And getting bonus victory points for having signed plaques from department heads of all six sectors? Perhaps in some federal bureaucrat fevre dream that makes sense. We just did it because "that's the way the game scores."
1x _7_ ヴィラネックス (Vu~iranekkusu 'Villannex') - Paul introduces it to Scott as "This is a tiny game of getting in the other players' heads. Pure doublethink. It'll be over before you decide you don't like it." Works for me. And the game does, increasingly; it's surprisingly amsuing.

With cool folk at BAP:
1x _7.3_ Three Kingdoms Redux New! - It's quite charming! The theme is rendered strongly in the game goals and mechanics; the scoring is sensible; the game itself quite tractable. I liked it.
Admittedly, for a first play, there were several things that slow us down. The initial selection of nobles (I got to choose two-of-six; but on what basis? I had little idea at that point what the effects were of the cards, let alone whether there was any hope of achieving a synergy between them and others I'd conscript later.) was a bit of a crapshoot - and the set of powers of the other players' nobles was mostly beyond my ability (desire?) to track. Then we added a bunch of Buildable Things (again with special powers.) Oi. We had special powers coming out of our ears.
I have no difficulty believing that much of that is thematic; historic; sensible. But I'd need to play several times before I was able to manage that data effectively, I expect. It might be worth it: who knows?
1x _7.7_ Alchemists New! - I really enjoyed this one. The mock-academic theme (publish early! publish often!) is amusing; and the timing effects (modulo a bit of left-right binding, which I think doesn't bug me too much) entertaining. I'd've been happier still if I'd not botched my understanding of the dynamics late (making an "Oh, that was totally stupid" error, rather than my usual "Oh, I didn't see that ramification of my decisions" error); but at least that's a blunder I'll never make again.

With most excellent GCL folk online:
1x _8.5_ Brass: Lancashire - Cool stuff: this one saw a distinctly different pattern from many of our previous games. I'm still not certain that my understanding of the game was advanced by this one other than the "Oh, interesting; that can happen, too, can it?" reaction. I need a bit more understanding of how I can push the game in the direction I want (or need!)

Owned-and-unplayed: 1 (+0/-0).

Outlook for the week: Not on call this week (yay!); likely the usual suspects otherwise. It's been a few weeks since I've lobbied for a Wednesday Night game (1849: The Game of Sicilian Railways was my choice; I've tried to be good since then): perhaps I'll try to get Indonesia to the table.
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8. Board Game: In the Year of the Dragon [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:222]
Jon
United States
Urbana
Illinois
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Games Played:

_6_ Takenoko x1
We had a guest, E., who wasn't familiar with modern board games, and my daughter asked him if he wanted to play this one so my wife and I joined in as well. Rules were quickly understood and the game was enjoyed by all. This time I won with 37, my wife 26, E had 25, and my daughter 20.

_8_ Mangrovia x1
Saturday morning with coffee and a game with my wife and daughter. End scoring pushed me ahead with 93, while my daughter had 88, and my wife 80.

_7_ In the Year of the Dragon x2 New!
Got this in a math trade sometime ago and finally got a chance to play it with the boys. An early privilege and buddha scoring got me the win with 106, my youngest son 98, and oldest son 76.

Second game my oldest son helped me teach this to me wife and daughter. I managed to maintain a lead and win with 98, this time oldest son did better with 90, my wife had 82, and my daughter 74. Oldest son likes this, my wife thought it was ok but I don't think she'll request it much. My daughter needed some advice during the game.

_8_ Vikings x1
We had another guest over, K., and we taught her this one. She enjoyed it but fell behind in end scoring with 38, I did ok with 65, but my wife won the day with 70.

_7_ Sanssouci x1
Four players wiht my wife, oldest son, and daughter. I managed a close win 92 to my wife's 89, while son had 77 and my daughter 73.
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9. Board Game: Eldritch Horror [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:47]
Lo
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Games Played

_8_ Brew Crafters x3
_7_ Eldritch Horror x2

The Week's Games in Review

I really don't have a lot to say about either game in general. And not really anything specific about our plays. I will say that if Brew Crafters stays in regular rotation for another half dozen or so plays, I may bump it into my top ten. And Eldritch Horror could get bumped up a notch as well if P continues to request it and I'm forced to grow to like it.


The Week Ahead

Other than an 18xx session this Sunday afternoon, nothing has been planned. No, that's not quite true. Tuesday evening, P and J are supposed to come over for dinner and a game.

Unplayed games of note still in shrink: Yunnan, De Vulgari Eloquentia, Marvel Dice Masters: Uncanny X-Men and Revolution: The Dutch Revolt 1568-1648. Also The Hobbit saga expansions for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game: Over Hill and Under Hill and On the Doorstep.

Ordered games: Orléans.
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10. Board Game: Würfel Bohnanza [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:1509]
United States
Wurtsboro
NY
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Würfel Bohnanza x3

Between the snowflakes this week, I managed to get a bunch done in the yard. Lots of vegetables and herbs starting in a sunny kitchen window as well. The big (joint) accomplishment was chopping out a stump for a young tree that was just a little too big to dig up (I dug up 5 other young trees and gave them to friends). I tried out my weedwhacker for a minute, and, after I rake the lawn for any stones or mulch, I'll likely try out the lawn mower this week as well.
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11. Board Game: Doubles [Average Rating:3.50 Unranked]
Nicolai Broen Thorning
Denmark
Ebeltoft
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Games Played Week 17:

_7.5_ Archaeologia x3 (new to us)
_7.5_ Clinic x1 (new to us)
_7.5_ Dungeon Petz x2 (new to us)
_7.2_ Epic Resort x2 (new to us)
_7.2_ Le Havre x2
_8.0_ Puerto Rico w/ New Buildings x2

The Week in Review:

What a week! Consistently playing doubles - aside from Sunday, when the theme of the first game pulled me in so much that we ended up playing it three times which unfortunately left too little time to play not two but only one...

J. and I have been taking advantage of the fact that evenings have been busy with confirmation preps of which I take a backseat and let the creative women in my family do the talking. Instead he and I have played a few classics.

On Tuesday I introduced him to Puerto Rico and he took to it with gusto and proceeded to beat me in the first game, with some helpful proddings from myself in terms of options available during the game. The decisions were all his own.

Now, in the 2nd game there was no remorse and I hammered him with a shipping strategy from the get-go and he never had a chance. By now it had gone past 9 pm and we called it a day - but he was very pleased with the game.

Thursday we met again, this time for a game he had been wanting to play for 4-5 years, so I duly obliged, though I have never been a big fan. Le Havre was put on the table and we talked a bit about it in last weeks list, so I will just say that I have improved my rating slightly so it was not all bad...

In the first game we played the short game and it was fairly tight. For the 2nd game we played the full version and I think J. had not realized the difference between a starting bounty as we had in the 1st and the penniless people we were in the 2nd.

That said, another game off the list for him and something he wants to play again. Before I went home I said, he now only needed to play At the Gates of Loyang to complete the trilogy - so that is was we will be playing this week.

V. and I had the weekend to ourselves, so we spent Friday evening watching TV series and then kicked a few unplayed off the list and perhaps even into rotation.

Saturday we sat down for Dungeon Petz which is an older game. V. enjoyed it very much. I liked it too, though it seemed there were few actions available, thanks to 6 dummy imps. Based on theme alone, though, I am sure it will get played. The step on assigning needs was a brain-burner but it all went well - we played it twide.

After lunch we wrestled with Epic Resort and another hit with V. and partly me. The game is set in a fantasy universe, where the heroes are tired of fighting and go on vacation at your resort hopefully. Unfortunately the evil of the world follow them and so try to wreak havoc.

Each player has 2 attractions with room for one more. There is a deck-building mechanism in that you can train your workers (some of them) in the form of various cards into more specialized workers that can help you get money to buy better attractions and flair to attract tourists and heroes.

Every round new arrivals come to the docks and sometimes they are bad. They usually hit the resort with the most of something, so there is a balance between having enough money to buy and spending it all and similar with tourists, the more you have, the more likely you are to be hit.

Of course, the heroes will help defend the targeted attraction but that means they wont recoup health for this round.

Points are scored based on all attractions that you have by the end of the game, as well as all heroes who have managed to recover all their health at your resort.

All in all a fun game but there is just something nagging me about it, maybe the fact that our scores were very similar in game 1 and 2 or the fact it seems to be fairly straight forward what to do - get tourists to get money to get attractions - while at the same time also letting heroes rest in your resort. The rating above is very tentative.

Sunday we finally got to try Archaeologia as we now have both English rules and card descriptions. The game is about earning fame by offering artifacts and collections to the museum. We are talking dinosaurs to bronze age to antiquity to vikings.

The game is 16 piles of tiles. Pre-historic at the bottom, rocks on top, followed by earth and grass. You move around the "board" trying to uncover pieces that will score you points - or to sell on the black market for money to fund bigger excavations.

You can use the sonar to peek through piles for those missing pieces, you can search through grass at no expense, but going further down will cost you money and you need the proper tool - shovel, pick-axe and brush.

There are event cards that can help you or hinder your opponent. You also have a secret goal that can give you additional points and some funds.

Our plays took 60, 30 and 30 minutes and were a lot of fun. Sometimes frustrating and there is a bit of luck of the draw, though you can use sonar to mitigate this to some extent at the cost of actions.

For a budding archaeologist like me it is a winner.

After visiting my parents and an ice-cream we headed back home and tried to make sense of Clinic. It took some doing and we made a number of rule-errors but we had fun. The game took 2 hours and that was a bit on the long side, but hopefully we can get it down with more plays.

As I was going through the rules forum on the game's BGG page I noticed Kurt asking questions, so I am thinking we have already covered this game (which was also only printed in something like 2-300 copies) so I will spare you the details. If anyone wants to know more, let me know.

The Week Ahead:

More Clinic today with V. and At the Gates of Loyang with J. tomorrow and that might be it for the next 10 days or so. M.'s confirmation with a big party is on Sunday and final preparations are this weekend.

Next weeks is full of Uni-related stuff, so we have to saviour the good times we had this past week.

In gaming news, I succumbed and ordered Orléans and it has been sent out today. Yesterday I ordered 1 each of the Sierra Madre Games Essen releases, even if I have 2 of them already... though now in new, bigger and better releases...

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12. Board Game: Metropolys [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:651]
SJ S
United States
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 9   Bridge
 9   What's My Word?
 5   Neos
 9   Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective
 7   Rolling Japan
 9   Metropolys
 8   Haru Ichiban
 9   Carcassonne: The Castle

more supervised Bridge play. i'm learning to overcome transportation problems. just when i think i understand it, transportation becomes more difficult!!

Sean and I played What’s My Word mid-week and i actually beat him! he is sooooo good at word games that i never thought i’d beat him at one. i chose my 2 guess words carefully: FRECKLE really stumped him!!

Neos is harmless enough. it is a simple little multiplayer solitaire. i didn’t love it, but didn’t hate it either. speaking of MPS, also played Rolling Japan - this one i like!!

we gumshoed our way around London solving the case of the Mystified Murderess. yikes! this case was a little nutty. i read after the fact that this is one of the weakest cases of the set. i still enjoyed myself thoroughly - it’s fun! - but i was disappointed when i read how Holmes solved it. cheater.

i lost to Sean in Haru Ichiban which seems totally unfair considering it was his first game and i’ve played half a dozen times. still enjoying this lovely little thing.

a first play of Metropolys. i loved it. to connect to the topic for this week’s list - this is exactly the kind of game that i love: simple rules, interactive, spatial. i enjoyed the interesting twist on the auction mechanic. i completely blew it and got smushed in scoring….

…. but got revenge in The Castle!! bwah ha ha! i love this game!

mb mbyour weekly moment of Elephant:mb mb
elephants are very long-lived. Asian elephants can live into their 70s and African elephants into their 50s. what is the cause of most elephant deaths? predators? heart disease? stroke? cancer? none of those! it is because of lack of elephant dentists! the diet of elephants abuses their teeth. after decades of wearing them down eating wood and rough vegetation they lose their teeth. they starve soon after their last set is shed.
getting a tooth check up: looks like this one might need a filling!
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13. Board Game: Massilia [Average Rating:5.45 Overall Rank:13664]
Max Maloney
United States
Portland
Oregon
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"If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason." -Jack Handey
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Games Played

_9_ Roll for the Galaxy 2
_8_ One Night Ultimate Werewolf 3
_7_ Massilia 1 New!
_7_ Super Motherload 1
_7_ The Palaces of Carrara 1
_7_ Sticheln 1
_7_ Valley of the Kings 2
_7_ Seasons 1
_6_ Historia 1 New!
_6_ Deus 1
_5_ La Isla 1 New!

Week in Review

Roll for the Galaxy and Super Motherload continue to be the most popular games of 2015 in my gamer circle. That's fine with me, as I enjoy both. I am on a big winning streak lately in Roll for the Galaxy: my total win rate is 73% over my total 23 plays (about half 2P and half 3-4P)!

One Night Ultimate Werewolf came out almost randomly after being dormant for a long time and everyone at the table found themselves wondering why we hadn't played in so long. The following day, I picked up a copy of the Daybreak expansion at game day. I expect more plays of this over the next couple months as we explore the new roles with renewed enthusiasm.

Massilia is by the same designer as Vanuatu and it has extremely mixed reviews; there was some controversy about a failed crowdfunding attempt that has poisoned many opinions of the game. I found it to be a little less compelling than Vanuatu, but still quite good and fun. It has some of the same very mean play that one might expect from Epron, but has more random factors than Vanuatu did. There are dice (which are mostly drafted from a common pool to perform actions ala Troyes) and cards (which must be taken using dice). These primarily randomize the landscape of the game from turn to turn, so it's the sort of variability that provides uneven opportunities to the players but can be played around reasonably well. I liked it enough to pick up a copy (the store had one on their used shelf that had literally never been played and was dirt cheap). I will probably play it again this week with the Thursday group.

Palaces of Carrara. I don't get to play this game often enough. It's a good one. Seasons is in a similar bucket. It was nice to get some games played this week that I like playing and haven't seen in some time.

Unlike the first time I played Sticheln, this time I went in with some curiosity and enthusiasm to expore it and it made a difference. I enjoyed it quite a bit more. We played the full five hands and had six players (I'm not sure the ideal player count). It took quite a while and table reaction was muted; in fact, the other players looked like I probably did the first time I played it. I have no idea if I'll be able to get it into the Saturday rotation, which is my best shot at it.

I can't summon much to say about La Isla. It's perhaps the least interesting Feld game I've played. It simply didn't have enough oomph to make me care about it.

Conversely, Historia interested me a lot but I don't know what to make of the game. It felt a bit on rails. After the first couple turns, three of the four players settled into stratified positions on the scoring track and no one was able to dislodge themselves from that hierarchy by game end. The fourth player started extremely strong (alone in the Americas, distanced from the three players in Eurasia) but fell off later and was passed by the leader among the 3-player cluster. The Wonder cards were fiddly and time-consuming; they reminded me of the cards in Macao with the protracted player turns during which one goes through all their gaming micro-transactions to make sure they don't miss a VP here or a cube there. There are a couple optional rules that can be added to the game. These seem like they would add goofy randomness (eg, an event deck), but Joel Eddy's review says they improve the game. Maybe it needs randomness to shake up the players and give them room to move? This is one I'd be very interested to revisit but am hesitant to purchase to enjoy that privilege.
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14. Board Game: Melee [Average Rating:5.94 Overall Rank:5290]
Karl Fast
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
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Here is an impromptu review of Melee from Con of the North, the big con here in Minneapolis, with UndeadViking. I approached him and suggested the game. When we finished he turned the camera on, which I wasn't expecting, and then he turned the camera on me, which I wasn't expecting either, and here is the result.

Also, immediately after we finished, Lance (UndeadViking) pulled out his phone and ordered a copy for himself.

I post this partly for the game, and partly so Phoenix folks get a visual sense of me that goes beyond the robot avatar.

The fellow beside me, Gordon, has played the game with me a number of times and is always asking me to bring it to events. It hasn't been a hit with everyone but with some people it's been a huge hit.

If you want to order this, the only place in North America you can get it from is All About Games Maine. I don't know if a publisher is picking this up. I sure hope so, but I wouldn't bet on it even though I like this as much, or more, than Coup: Rebellion G54

I still plan to write a long review for the forums, but later, once my work life settles down.

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15. Board Game: Seaside Frolics [Average Rating:5.79 Overall Rank:12333]
Rich P
United Kingdom
Sheffield
United Kingdom
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I didn't know what to do with my UberBadge, so I left it as a GeekBadge.
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Last week's plays:

-10- Agricola (+Agricola: World Championship Deck – 2011)
-8- Greed (x2)
-7.5- Chaos in the Old World (+The Horned Rat)
-7.5- Concordia
-7- 7 Wonders (+Leaders; Cities)
-7- Deus
-7- Roll for the Galaxy (x4)
-7- Ticket to Ride: Team Asia
-6.5- Bruges (+The City on the Zwin) New!
-6.5- Eclipse (+Rise of the Ancients New!; Ship Pack One New!)
-6- Brew Crafters New!
-6- Colt Express
-6- Entdecker New!
-6- Loony Quest
-6- Mai-Star New!
-6- Manhattan New!
-6- Port Royal
-5- Coconuts New!
-5- Tammany Hall New!
-5- Viticulture (+Tuscany) New!
-4- Argent: The Consortium New!
-3- Café International New!
N/A Unpublished Prototype (x2) New!

A very long weekend at the seaside with the London on Board folks. Lots of new games, most of which I'm indifferent about playing again.

Agricola was tense but fun. I drafted a combo of Well Builder, Water Carrier and Flagon which I was excited about.

Chaos in the Old World was similarly nerve-wracking entertainment. I played Nurgle and misplayed my first turn while remembering how to play (I knew the rules, it was the strategy I was rusty on). Slaanesh had an amazing midgame and threatened to win on the dial quickly. We stalled him and Tzeentch's consistent dropping of corruption gave him the VP win. Khorne was hampered by the Greenskins Invade event and couldn't do much attacking. Played quickly, this reminded me how good the game can be.

I pushed the pace of Concordia from the start, buying cards early and often. I think it made the others worry the game would end before they were ready, so they moved to grab cards quickly too. I hadn't built much presence on the board when the deck emptied, so the tables were turned and the pressure was then on me to expand. I concentrated on Mercurius scoring but missed out on any Cloth cities. Scott beat me to one of those scoring cards too, which was a setback and I knew it would cost me. He won, with me second. Another nice session.

I taught Greed and played two hands. I won the first with a fun Relocation and Liquidation of The Ritz worth more than $200,000. The second game, Kester had picked up on what to do and wiped the floor with us!

Deus was a popular choice but this session suffered from being played at a table next to Cards Against Humanity. Team 7 Wonders went inexplicably wrong for my team - we found it hard afterwards to pinpoint any errors we'd made, yet we came in last. The team game is a terrific way to play since you get to discuss and plan with your partner and learn about their decision-making processes. It's tough to keep track of what six opponents are doing, though. By contrast, team Ticket to Ride is all about constrained communication and I don't enjoy that as much. My team came last in that one too. We were blocked from Hong Kong before either of us had taken a turn.

I was glad to get a chance to play Eclipse again, yet it was a strange game. One player was effectively knocked out early by a devastating attack he couldn't really recover from. I was playing the Descendants of Draco and tried to protect the aliens I discovered. In hindsight, I probably put too much effort into defending those hexes for measly amounts of VPs. The conquering Mechanima were at my borders, so I built a strong defence force. There was plenty of military build-up hinting towards endgame attacks that never materialised, it was slightly anti-climactic. Meanwhile, the Hydrans sat back and built monoliths in a remote corner of the galaxy to secure their win.

More soon(ish)...
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16. Board Game: Magic: The Gathering [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:149] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
W M
United Kingdom
Rugby
Warwickshire
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Feeling sore,

just home from a day playing magic, another preliminary pro tour qualifier - my fourth. I was top of the standings after five rounds ad the cut for top eight then managed to lose the first match against one of the better uk players - a sometime pro tour regular. I had tuned a deck specifically designed to beat the likely field of Esper* control decks which my opponent was playing and indeed beat four of the exact same deck in the swiss rounds, only to fall at the final hurdle.

In the four PPTQs I've come 2nd, 5th, 9th and today 5th again. I really want to qualify for the regional championships but I've so little time available that every event asks a lot of S. and the kids (and my overwhelming work schedule). I keep thinking I'm going to need to take a break until the PhD is out of the way then I see I'm only a few points short from byes at the next GP in London. I'm addicted and entirely blame Rich P.



Learn Magic with Walt:

In Magic each player builds their own deck of 60 preselected cards ( no more than 4 of each type other than basic land) and 'fights' against opponents to reduce their life total to zero in best of three matches (there are other ways to win but that's the most common).

*Esper Control deck: a 'deck' of 60 magic the gathering cards playing lots of Blue White and Black land cards, combined with 'counter' [stop you from playing things] and 'removal' [kill all your stuff] spells]. This particular deck is arguably the strongest deck in the standard format at the moment, containing lots of difficult to kill dragon creatures and spells that grant benefits for controlling dragons or holding them in hand.



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