GCL Amoeba 218 - Tax Time (2015-04-26)
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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Welcome to this week's Game Chat League Amoeba discussion group!

Visitors are welcome and encouraged to post constructive comments, but please leave posting new items to the members. We're friendly symbiotes in real life, though vicious competitors at the game table. (Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most dangerous predator on earth!) For more info on GCL and the Amoebas, please use the links above.

Current hosts:
Toms (painkiller) mb
Carlos (Sprocket314)
Garry (garry_rice)
Larry (larryjrice)
Jeroen (jmdsplotter)
Eric (Eric Brosius)
Jevon (cadavaca)
Joshua (Joshuaaaaaa)
Mikko (msaari)
Doug (Phrim)


mb Tax time has come and gone in the United States. Time to relax and play some games... about taxes! mb
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1. Board Game: Power Grid: Taxes [Average Rating:6.83 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.83 Unranked]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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What are your favorite games in which you have to pay taxes to the game?
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2. Board Game: Tax & Spend [Average Rating:4.50 Unranked]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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On the flip side, what are your favorite games where you take on the role of the tax collector and collect money from the game to help fund your operations?
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3. Board Game: Tax Evasion [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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Have you played any games in which you get to levy taxes on the other players?
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4. Board Game: Audit: The Tax Game [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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Which game most accurately represents the process of a government collecting taxes from its citizens to fund projects the benefit everyone?
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5. Board Game: 1862: Railway Mania in the Eastern Counties [Average Rating:8.18 Overall Rank:2349]
Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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I played only 7 games this week as I caught up with things I didn't do while I was at the Gathering.

 8   Mottainai x4 -- As I mentioned in last week's list I played this 5 times in little more than 24 hours at the Gathering. I got a PnP copy which I played 4 more times this past week. The first two were 2-player games with Claire. She did quite well, winning both of them (though I think I forgot to credit myself with interest in the second.) I then taught it to two different groups yesterday. There is a lot to this game, and it's streamlined.

 8   1862: Railway Mania in the Eastern Counties -- We had a broad request for an 18xx title, and this was selected. We played a 4-player game. The initial company draw was highly unusual, with 5 Freight companies, almost all of them clustered in the northwest corner of the map. John and Marsha started Freight companies. Michael started an express company near London, but not in an ideal spot. I decided to start a local and let it build cash while I speculated on other player's shares.

In this game it's typical to start a second company that runs a different type of train so you can merge and get a company that can run multiple train types. What I did instead was start a second local to take advantage of the "dit trail" I had already built with my other local. Both started as non-chartered companies and had shares in treasury for a long time, so they piled up cash both from dividends for those shares and for the per-hex payout on local trains. My opponents should have bought out most or all of my treasury shares, but my companies never looked like the best earners at any point in time. Eventually I managed to get two permanent local trains in each company without ever withholding. Then, just at the last minute, I merged them to get a company with four permanent local trains and splendid tokens, which I owned 70% of. No company of mine ever bought a non-local train. This gave me an endgame run of $100 a share and allowed me to push my stock price up to $750. It was a large margin of victory.

Some people complain about 18xx players being so serious and "never having any fun." I feel obliged to remark that at one point it was observed that there is only a single G-train in the game. We sung a few lines of "The Lonely G-Train" from Francis Tresham's off-Broadway adaptation of "The Sound of Music"! It seemed like fun to me.

 6   Savannah Tails -- I got this game a few weeks ago in a trade and wanted to try it, but we were only able to play with 2. I'm sure that isn't the sweet spot.
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6. Board Game: 7 Symbols, and 7 Nations [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:7977]
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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New to Me:

d10-6 7 Symbols, and 7 Nations
d10-7 Deep Sea Adventure
d10-7 XCOM: The Board Game
d10-5 Unpublished Prototype (Japanese game about eggs) 3x

Return Visits:

d10-8 Antics!
d10-4 Citadels
d10-6 Feudality
d10-9 Keyflower
d10-8 Mage Knight Board Game
d10-5 Rum & Pirates
d10-7 Welcome to the Dungeon
d10-7 Witch's Brew

Musings

Played a number of Japanese games a couple friends have and enjoyed them for the most part. Not sure about the Egg game - my team lost all three times despite the different birds in play. Played Dungeon of Mandom but using the Zelda PnP wizard deck which changed things up a bit. Also played the 7 Nations trick taking game which was fun but I'm uncertain whether I'd really play it all that often compared to other trick taking games. In this one there is really only one chance at best of a color making it around. Deep Sea Adventure was quite fun even if I ran out of air all three times...although I was so close to making it back the last trip with 26 points...sigh.

Twas good to come back to Keyflower and scrape out a narrow one point victory - we also used Merchants.

Antics was also fun to revisit and I still really enjoy the anthill mechanic. Would really like to see a longer game employ such a mechanic as this one tends to end rather abruptly and quickly!

Last Tuesday reminded me how much I dislike Citadels and that my nostalgia regarding Rum & Pirates might be a bit dated...besides the fact that during game play it seemed like 3 other players might have consumed a bit too much rum before the game due to violent die rolls and dropping boxes on the board, etc...

XCom was a lot of fun and will likely be something I look at acquiring. We lost badly as I couldn't roll dice as the military guy and lost troops like crazy. That being said, we actually almost had a chance to eke out a victory at the end until once again, I rolled poorly defending the base and it was destroyed. Sigh.

Witch's Brew is still quite fun. Haven't played the remake and don't know that I plan to acquire it as I like the original.

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7. Board Game: Richard Scarry's Busytown: Eye found it! Game [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:3529]
Mikko Saari
Finland
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1 x .10!Dominion
1 x _9_Oregon
2 x _9_The City
1 x _9_Suburbia
1 x _8_Castles of Mad King Ludwig
2 x _8_ZÈRTZ
1 x _8_Marrakech
1 x _7_Yardmaster
4 x _6_Richard Scarry's Busytown: Eye found it! Game

Just family gaming, familiar favourites. This week I got good progress on the hardcore 10x10 challenge, with a game of Dominion, Castles and Suburbia checked off the list. I've still only got one game of Agricola done so far.

We've been busy with a flu that has moved on from one family member to another, so not much contact with the outside world.

The best thing about Finnish taxes? Pre-filled tax forms. I got mine couple of weeks ago. Not only it says I've paid too much taxes and will get a return, it was also almost complete, including all my stock trades, dividends, house mortgage interests and whatnot, I only had to manually add one deduction (which means I'll get even more returns in December). Oh, and I had to explain one case of expired, unused stock options. Everything else, pre-filled and complete.
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8. Board Game: Nations [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:97]
Toms Leikums
Latvia
Jelgava
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4 x Suburbia
2 x Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy
2 x Relic Runners
1 x Arkham Horror
1 x Camel Up
1 x Coloretto
1 x Dominion: Cornucopia
1 x Nations
1 x Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island
1 x The New Era

Tons of gaming last week for my standards. Of course staying home all week helped a lot. One just can't watch TV or surf BoardGameGeek all the time, so I had to turn to solo gaming. At first I researched, which games in my collection are soloable: Arkham Horror, Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy, Nations, Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island, and Suburbia. I hadn't played Nations, and wanted the first experience to be 'real', so 4 games and 5 days to play them all.
I started with Legacy, and all the additional rules, different setup - it just seemed too fiddly. Arkham Horror on the other hand - that's something, with any player count, always a pleasure, if you have enough time. I failed in Robinson again, not observing all the rules correctly, still a good game. But the best part was Suburbia. I didn't even imagine one of my favorite games has such a great solo mode. Dale the Bot is tough. I see, how it depends on how tiles come out, and on goals, but still - in 2 out of 3 games he seemed completely unbeatable.
Well, enough about solo playing, because we also had lots of fun with other games, for example, 2 plays of Relic Runners, and first ever play of Nations. I know Mikko hates the game, but it still is very popular around here. I got the copy from last years Secret Santa. We played first game, leaving out all advanced and experienced cards, and also with equal civilizations (no special powers). I see how adding all those would really improve the game. But it seems interesting enough already. Just maybe a little bit too long.
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9. Board Game: I, Spy [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:3370]
Jevon Heath
United States
Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania
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_8_ 2x Dominion (with assorted non-Adventures expansions)
_9_ 0.5x I, Spy

I, Spy made it to the third scoring phase before one of the players had to leave. That said, it went over very well with both new players... and man, I still dig this game.
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10. Board Game: The King of Frontier [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:3908]
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
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 6.7   Augustus x2
 7.5   Best Treehouse Ever
 4   Farkle
 8   Flash Point: Fire Rescue
 7.5   Hanabi
 7   The Great Heartland Hauling Co.
 7.5   The King of Frontier x2

All games played with my wife's relatives King of Frontier was a big hit, so much that I gave my pnp copy to them to take home with them. Flash Point is always requested by the younger members.

I will say that I've soured a bit on The Great Heartland Hauling Co. after spending my last 6 turns of the game paying $1 to discard all but my 2 cow cards trying to draw 2 more so I could go sell them and win the game...I didn't draw a single cow card. My brother in law was in a similar boat, although not for quite as many turns.
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11. Board Game: Deus [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:302]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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On Friday I was at a monthly rotating game night, this time hosted by Marc and Debbie.

_4_ One Night Ultimate Werewolf (new!) - This was with me, Brian, Saleena, John C., Randy, and Randy's sister; everyone except Brian and Saleena were new. We settled on a quick filler because we thought Debbie would have a chance to join us before she had to run, but unfortunately she did not. We utilized the app via Saleena's phone. I ended up being the Troublemaker. I considered not switching anyone's cards because I didn't really see the point (and I was a little concerned that it would make noise), but I ended up switching the cards of Randy and his sister. When we were done the setup, Saleena immediately declared that she was the Seer and I was the Troublemaker. Well, okay. Randy asks me what cards I switched, and I wasn't sure whether I should tell or not, but I ended up just telling. In the end, everyone had some sort of alibi except Brian, who claimed he was a Villager. We all thought that the odds were that he was actually a Werewolf, and so accused him. He was a Werewolf.

_7_ Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 1 – Team Asia & Legendary Asia (Team Asia) - Same group here. Randy's sister actually had not played Ticket to Ride before, so she needed to be brought up to speed there. Of the rest of us, I think only me, Brian, and Saleena had played the team game before. I was teamed up with Saleena. Both of us kept a majority of our tickets, and Saleena began by putting most of her tickets in the shared rack. I began the game by building tracks to all the cities on my private tickets that were not on the rack, which got me some odd looks. I was able to finish that task fairly early, and after that we were pretty much on the same page for the rest of the game. Because we kept so many tickets, we didn't need to go fishing for more tickets later, which is especially good here because it's tough to figure out if we're both on the same page. So eventually we tried to end the game just by placing big routes, but I think Brian and John actually did end it. We got the longest route, but the other two teams shared most tickets, so that was all a wash. Saleena had one ticket in her hand that she was cut off from very early, which turned out to be the difference in the game. Brian and John won.

_8_ Deus - This was with me, Anni, Saleena, and John C. Only John was new. I didn't like my opening hand, so I sacrificed it for resources. I still didn't like what I got, so I sacrified again, this time for cards. I ended up with the temple that gave you 4 points per mountain hex you occupy, and I also had a production building that provided one stone per building on a mountain hex. Not a great combo, but I had to do something. Of course, the other players were already on the board, making things a little more difficult, but I started playing a war elephant which let me place on the side of the board and then walk to the mountain space in the middle before anyone else could claim it. At this point, I started drawing all of the right cards at all of the right times. I didn't draw more production buildings, but I did draw another building that let me activate a production building. I also got a ship that let me turn stone into 4 money each, which is pretty much the same as turning stone into whatever resource I need. I was playing a pretty compact strategy, extending as far as I needed for three mountain hexes and loading up on the one mountain hex for production reasons. Of course, then I got out a temple that gave me points for having 3 buildings in a hex, which I surprisingly maxed out by the end of the game. I set myself up to build a third temple, and the one I drew happened to give me four points per temple. I had some other lynchpin cards in there, one that let me draw cards without sacrificing, and a few that gave me some miscellaneous victory points. I ended up winning with like 63 points.
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12. Board Game: Shear Panic [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:1592]
Jeroen Doumen
Netherlands
Eindhoven
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5x _7.00_ Khmer
3x _7.50_ The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
2x _8.00_ Race for the Galaxy
2x _5.75_ D-Day Dice
1x _7.25_ Shear Panic
1x _7.00_ Cartoon Network Fluxx
1x _7.00_ Mottainai
1x _6.75_ Mystery Rummy: Escape from Alcatraz
1x _6.50_ Dicke Dämonen
1x _6.00_ Origins: How We Became Human
1x _5.50_ Risk Legacy
1x _5.50_ Gear & Piston
1x _5.25_ Gameshop Workday
1x _5.25_ Aeroplanes: Aviation Ascendant
1x _5.00_ Just Desserts
1x _5.00_ Hull Breach: Corporate Wars
1x _5.00_ Dodge City
1x _4.50_ Proton
1x _4.00_ Pachisi

A somewhat late entry, but still . We revisited Shear Panic, as I'd managed to acquire a Fragor edition copy (with beautiful played aid and scoring board upgrades from Sterling). It's still a lot of fun, and going from memory the original has just a few extra rough edges. Which is good .

Another revisit was Origins: How We Became Human, which is still a decent simulation. It would have made a good topic a few weeks back: I needed to roll 1-4 to progress into the next dark ages (and next age), but failed that roll on about 12 successive turns... Another player got boxed in in Africa, as he couldn't cross the desert. But still, a fun experience.

We also played Dicke Dämonen, which I got in a math trade. Quite a nice little abstract(ish) game, though I can't see the ghosts winning often. Or maybe that was just the way our board was laid out this game.

Another math trade(ish) acquisition was Gear & Piston, which was also a decent light worker placement game. Collect car parts and build your steam punk car, scoring for various aspects of it.


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