What We're Playing - May 2015
Sarah Reed
United States
Rancho Cordova
California
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The idea behind these lists is to post what you're currently playing, or just played. It's interesting to see who's playing what, to see if people are playing the same things, and to ask questions that might otherwise be relegated to a forum about a game with the benefit of the responses coming from someone who has it fresh on their mind.

Here's last month's list: What We're Playing - April 2015

This Geeklist idea was created by:
jes m
United States
tulsa
Oklahoma
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A subscription Geeklist has been created for those who want to be notified of when a new list is posted: The What We're Playing Subscription List
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1. Board Game: Istanbul [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:91]
Chris Bailey
United States
Broomfield
Colorado
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I played Istanbul for the first time last night. I find myself wanting to play shorter games these days and this one was great.
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2. Board Game: Carcassonne: South Seas [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:740]
D G
Denmark
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Been playing this a few times lately. We're on vacation in the mountains - where it rains a lot

Fast, fun, nice colors.
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3. Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:37]
Gene Haas
United States
Lenexa
KS
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We are going to play the top rated game in my collection next. Still painting the gears. Put a base coat of black on them. Will dry brush with silver next.

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4. Board Game: Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:126] [Average Rating:7.62 Unranked]
Noreen
United States
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We played this for the first time yesterday using the intro scenario and based on that we were concerned that the game was too easy. We played again this evening with a random setup. Our game lasted a whole 15 minutes before we lost
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5. Board Game: Splendor [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:118]
Zoe M
Canada
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We played a couple games of this tonight, since it was pretty late so we didn't want to do something long. Again, I tried not to think too hard, and it didn't lead to the best results, but it was still enjoyable.

ETA: This brought us to 10 plays for our normal 10x10 challenge!
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6. Board Game: Fantasy Frontier [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:5085]
Jørgen K
Denmark
Copenhagen S
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At last month's Twosday game event, a regular joining Canadian coupleshowed interest in this game, but as I was reserved to a prototype play and show-off of the coming Danish designed bloodline card game, Among Nobles, and they did not want to sit and waste time on reading rules (our event is sadly very short due to the café's opening hours) and as they too has brought games and they therefore could host a game or two, I promised them to bring it at our next event on the Twosday of May.

This means that this will be played Tuesday 12th. After the game, I will update the thread
The photo chosen this time is from another game event one summer at my local café. The players involved at that time were from five different countries (Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary, Netherlands and Denmark - the Eastern Europeans teamed up).

After-play update (late, sorry)
ARGH! First an angry roar because I have to rewrite what I was writing because I hit the special "Prev page" button next to my "Left Arrow" key.... ARGH!

But I had a good game; three other players who were all new to the group - and to the game, but they picked it up pretty fast. The players was
- Eva, a Danish woman who drifted with The Skyflower (one free move or +1 to move)
- A Swedish guy who commanded The Jougganaut (+1 to defence)
- I was governing The Royal Vanguard (any six non-food resource can be used for building)
- And a Mexican girl who was assigned The Academy (+1 hand limit of Research cards)
This was the player order, chosen by die-rolling.

This was the most bloody game I have been a part of! And the battle of the New World started with some nasty blows to my Royal Vanguard, some of the damages I chose not to repair, and my air ship actually did fly crippled during the entire game, as I did not find every thing worth fixing. But not only did the Skyflower chose to attack me the first round, but every of my new friends enemies did! The game had a few pattern recognition going on too, and the best part was when I was missing 9 points and I scored a 6 point for one and I was just showing off another one giving 5 points (I had just lost one of my 6 non-food resources that I planned to build me second (I think) township with to the Swedish Pirate so I could not build as my plan B was); just to realize that I had misread the 5-point pattern that I thought I had also flown on top of! DAMN!

The Skyflower had two townships, Sweden had also two (thanks to hos Pro-builder card making him only needed two builders per build!), the Mexican Academy had one or two, and the same with me.

The winner however became the Swedish pirates. And it seemed like everyone liked the game - so it was just perfect!

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7. Board Game: Merchants & Marauders [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:201]
Adria D
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Sun, May 3

More M&M with Seas of Glory. This was a 3 player game with everything from the expansion thrown in.

I liked the new stuff (not used the other day). The favors are neat, and the crew loyalty module is pretty interesting. The event cards that put out more NPC ships if there aren't many out are fun.

This was a close game. Darin came in first, I was second with 9 points, and Randy was third with 7 or 8 points. On the last turn, Darin and I both had 9 points. I left port, in my galleon, and scouted for the French Man'O'War. I had some rough dice luck and died. Darin also attacked a Man'O'War on his turn, but he was more successful than I. Had we both been successful, the win would have come down to money on the tiebreaker. Had we both failed, we would have tied with no tie-breaker - neither of us had stashed any gold yet, so returning with a new captain would have started us both in our home ports with 10 gold. We both would have stashed for a point, and then tied at 10.
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8. Board Game: The City [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:1724]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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This was a busy weekend for me! We were going to brunch with family on Saturday, but we squeezed in a quick two plays of The City before we left. A nice light filler-weight tableau builder. Lisa and I each won a game.
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9. Board Game: Rent a Hero [Average Rating:6.40 Overall Rank:2192]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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After brunch, we went off to a Denver Games get-together. I was enthused when I saw that our host had what looked like a Deadlands: Doomtown rulebook, as I have been curious about that, but it turned out just to be the rules for the Deadlands themed Seventh Hero.

This is a light filler game of passing cards secretly around trying to recruit a full set. Amusing but not spectacular, and it seemed a bit longer than similarly weighted games like Love Letter.
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10. Board Game: XCOM: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:495]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Then we tried XCOM. This was really nothing like what I had expected; "FFG" and "App required" had been enough to keep me from even glancing at this. I assumed it was a miniature combat type game; instead it is more of a resource management game. Sorta. We had a lot of fun with it, but the gameplay actually seems kind of week; it seems like its designed around a real-time element to make very simple actions seem exciting. Granted, I had what was probably the least interesting role (I was in charge of the app), but Lisa, who was controlling the squads - which seemed like the most interesting role - felt the same way. I'd play it again, but not one I would buy.
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11. Board Game: Cthulhu Wars [Average Rating:8.01 Overall Rank:223] [Average Rating:8.01 Unranked]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Of course, a game of Cthulhu Wars! We only had three players though. Lisa had declared that now that she had won with each faction, she would let someone else win. Which she did...in the sense of coming in 1 point behind that player after a fairly brutal fight. I wound up as kingmaker, having no real chance myself; I made a foolish move early that resulted in the new player grabbing a gate that I had built first turn, and I never really recovered from that.
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12. Board Game: Tajemnicze Domostwo [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:421]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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We then played two games of Mysterium, first with 4 players and then with 6. We lost both games, but they were very fun. It is always interesting to see that sorts of clues different people give; it really illustrates the different ways people think.

It also makes Mysterium much more fun when you have at least one player that interprets clues in wildly amusing ways.
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13. Board Game: Colt Express [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:306]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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We wrapped up with Colt Express. A lighthearted game of trying to grab loot while shooting and punching the other players. I got into a few nasty shootouts with other players, and as a result was drawing a lot of wounds!
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14. Board Game: Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:126] [Average Rating:7.62 Unranked]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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After having said that Lisa and I weren't likely to go see Avengers 2 on opening weekend, we of course went and saw Avengers 2 Sunday morning.

We hit the earliest showing and it wasn't very crowded at all; even getting there only ten minutes before, we were able to get great seats. But since we got there so close to showtime, we didn't get a chance to play my Avengers themed Love Letter variant that I'd brought along.

Great movie! Probably the best action movie I've seen. Though it did feel like they tried to fit in a bit too much stuff. It could have been two movies pretty easily. Granted, that's preferable to the many movies these days that stretch minimal content out way longer than it need (I'm looking at you, Hobbit!)

At any rate, after coming home we were very much in the mood for a good super-hero game. Pity we don't actually have any good super-hero games.

But we made do with Legendary. Our randomizer gave us Magneto and some X-Men and Guardians of the Galaxy characters; maybe we should have rigged it to be more Avenger-themed. We made swift work of Magento (co-op variant); I think we only had one scheme twist come up!
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15. Board Game: Tobago [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:389]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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And we played a game of Tobago. A very pretty game about placing clues to narrow down the locations of treasure. Fairly different from a lot of games and a lot of fun, though there is a hefty does of luck.
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16. Board Game: Solitaire [Average Rating:4.29 Overall Rank:15632]
Jørgen K
Denmark
Copenhagen S
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Very good news!

Not only is Solo-Halma on the list again this month But I have also been more successful! This time I ended my game with two pegs left - almost a win.

I will possibly be playing a lot of solitaires this month as Tatiana is travelling to Bulgaria and England so I have no friends around to play with - at least not that often...

Mange I wil end up paying Solo-Halma so much while waiting that it ends on my 10x10 Normal list by accident
I also plan to play some Dungeon Quest and maybe Warfighter while being home alone.
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17. Board Game: Würfel Bohnanza [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:1499]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Played a quick game of this over dinner last night. A very light die-rolling game that has a "bingo" feel to it. It's a better game with more players, as the decision about when to abandon a card is a lot trickier with more players.

To explain: You get more points for getting more combinations on a card. You can get combinations on someone else's turn, but it is much easier on your turn. The higher value combinations in particular can be quite hard to do on someone else's turn. So if you have just finished your turn and have several turns to wait, it may be better to abandon a card, take the cash you've got on it, and start on a new card doing the bottom levels, which you'll probably get several of on the other player's turn.

Still, despite being fairly mindless as a 2 player game it is fast, entertaining and easy to play.
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18. Board Game: Ascension: Dawn of Champions [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:1949] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Noreen
United States
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We played this last night for the first time. There is a new mechanic called "rally" that may allow a player to get cards from the center row for free. The rally keyword appears on both heroes and monsters. We thought it was a neat addition to the game.

The multifaction constructs are also really cool. You really need to pay attention to them because sometimes there are different effects for each faction.

Some of the monsters now have factions as well. It allows monsters to be affected by the rally keyword.

We also like the champions/reputation mechanic. It gives you something to do with your leftover runes. You can buy reputation for 2 runes. Building up your reputation to preset levels gives you different perks for different champions.

Overall, we enjoyed our first play. Hopefully we can squeeze another play in tonight between dinner out and some online play.
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19. Board Game: Flash Point: Fire Rescue – Dangerous Waters [Average Rating:7.66 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.66 Unranked]
Zoe M
Canada
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We played three games of this last night, because we kept losing quickly despite being only at Veteran level

We were using the special POIs for the first time (they came with an earlier Kickstarter that we didn't back, but we eventually managed to buy them secondhand). They definitely made things more interesting, especially the ones that could explode.

Our first couple of plays of Dangerous Water, much earlier in the year, had been sort of unexciting, so I thought maybe I was just getting tired of the game and the new expansions didn't provide enough variety. But maybe we just got (un)lucky with rolls that led to a couple of easy games. Or maybe the special POIs make more of a difference than I'd expected. Or maybe it was a combination of the two. Anyway, I'm now excited to play this one some more.
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20. Board Game: Ascension: Deckbuilding Game [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:507] [Average Rating:7.04 Unranked]
Sarah Reed
United States
Rancho Cordova
California
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May 1:
Played with: Ascension: Realms Unraveled
Scores: Sarah:169 vs AI:89. honor 120

May 2:
Played with: Ascension: Realms Unraveled
Scores: Sarah:98 vs AI:57. honor 60

May 3:
Played with: Ascension: Realms Unraveled
Scores: Sarah:83, Owen:61, Noreen:93.
Sarah:167 vs AI:94. honor 120.
Comments: I completed the game against Noreen and Owen that we'd been playing over time. I was so sure I'd win with all the points I accrued in the last round, but Noreen had gotten cards that were worth more. Close game!

May 4:
Played with: Ascension: Deckbuilding Game and Ascension: Realms Unraveled
Scores: Sarah:155 vs AI:84. Honor 120.

And thanks to Brian, I now know there's a hard AI, which is good since I win too easily. Looking forward to playing against it.

May 6:
Played with: Ascension: Realms Unraveled
Scores: Sarah:54, Owen:79, Noreen:88.
Sarah:57, Owen:76, Noreen:70.
Sarah:100, Owen:77, Noreen:61.
Comments: We three met up again to play online. I did terribly the first two games, but got an uber last turn play on the third game. I got the card that lets me defeat or acquire the top card of the deck and it repeats this action for every Enlightened hero you've played that turn. I think I gained/defeated 4 times. And I was still able to gain/defeat some in the main row. But the nice thing about the night is that we each won a game. that always feels good.
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21. Board Game: Dominion: Adventures [Average Rating:8.20 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.20 Unranked]
Sarah Reed
United States
Rancho Cordova
California
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May 3:
Played with: Adventures: Gentle Intro: Ratcatcher, Amulet, Dungeon, Ranger, Duplicate, Port, Distant Lands, Giant, Treasure Trove, Hireling, Scouting Party.
Scores: Sarah:49, Will:9.
Comments: First off, the quality of the components is subpar. The cards are thinner, so I can tell when I'm drawing cards as to which set the cards came from, but thankfully that doesn't impact gameplay. The colors on the face seem a bit more muted, but the backs don't look any different. Thankfully, I didn't get a pack with misprinted backs. Some people have reported misaligned backs. The cardboard is also very lackluster. The art is dark and boring on the chits. I may replace them at some point.

The good news is that we really enjoy the new mechanisms, though Will is worried that the way the mechanisms work, it creates a run-away leader. We can't say that for sure as we just played with the suggested list of cards for Gentle Intro, but I did win by a landslide as I just out-paced Will and got farther and farther ahead. I did this because I took what I thought was a chance on buying the Giant first. The Giant flips over your travel token. If your token is then face up, you get 5 money and your opponent reveals the top card of their deck. If it cost 3-6, they trash it, otherwise they discard it and gain a curse. If your token is face-down, you get 1 money. So not only did I get rid of cards Will needed, but got a significant money boost which allowed me to get 3 Hirelings over the course of the game. Hirelings are a duration card that stays out in your play area for the rest of the game and lets you draw 1 card at the beginning of every turn. And then when I had a Dungeon out, which let me draw 2 and discard 2, I had extreme card cycling powers and went through my deck every 2-3 turns. Will only managed to buy one Province so with his original 3 Estates, he ended the game with 9. I had the other 7 Provinces as well as a Distant Lands to give me 49 points. We definitely need to play with this more and see how randomization works, especially when combined with other sets. I'm not sure how versatile this set is with mixing with other sets, but on its own, I very much enjoyed what it had to offer.
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22. Board Game: San Juan [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:230]
Sarah Reed
United States
Rancho Cordova
California
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May 4:
Scores: Game 1: Sarah:32, Ventura:16, Mafalda:16.
Game 2: Sarah:37, Carmen:31, Juan:23
Comments: I played 2 games of San Juan on my iPad against the AIs. The first game was against the easy AIs. This was the first game where I ended the game by getting 12 buildings out. I got 25 points from buildings, 1 from the chapel, 6 from the triumphal arch. The violet building focus wins again! In the second game, I went up against the medium AIs and tried to do a production focus. I would have lost if I hadn't been able to build the palace. I got 16 points from buildings, 14 from guilds and 7 from the palace.

May 5:
Scores: Sarah:27, Carmen:23, Juan:18.
Comments: I played against the medium AIs again, trying to go for a production focus. I again just barely won because of the palace. I had 22 points from buildings and 5 points from the palace. Carmen has 23 points from buildings.
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23. Board Game: Star Wars: Imperial Assault [Average Rating:8.13 Overall Rank:27]
Sarah Reed
United States
Rancho Cordova
California
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May 5:
Scores: Rebels won!
Comments: We continued our campaign with Gary as the empire and Will and I were rebels. We played the story mission Under Siege and the odds were stacked against us. We had to defend a base we took from the Empire for 8 rounds. We lost of the Empire killed us both or managed to take 4 of the 5 tokens by being in a room with a token without a rebel being there. It was dicey at first, we felt very overwhelmed by the troops storming in, but then we managed to kill a lot of them. Almost every round, something good for the Empire happened, but by the 5th round, we felt pretty confident that we were going to win. Even when Darth Vader came out, which was scary, there wasn't much he could do at that point to defeat us. So we won! And we got Will some new equipment and both of us picked up a new skill. Next time we play, we're gonna try the side mission to get Chewbacca as we really could use a melee guy.
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24. Board Game: Roll for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:60]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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A quick game of Roll for the Galaxy last night. I managed to win with a lot of my points scored by consuming, and by using the starting tile that gives +$1 for consuming rare earth goods (Asteroid Mining maybe?). We've usually found this start tile harder to use, and winning with more consuming harder to manage. So, yay!

I got pretty lucky; a started with a cost 6 development that gives +$2 for every good you consume, and got a very lucky roll to build it turn 3. This let me get good income while scoring points.
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25. Board Game: Yggdrasil [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:670]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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We went on a bit of a co-op spree this Saturday. We started with Yggdrasil. I think we didn't put in enough angry enemy/Ragnarok cards (it has usually been long enough that we don't remember what difficulty we were usually playing). We played two gods each, chosen randomly. Lisa had Idun and Tyr, while I had Frey and Njord.

Playing with the Asgard expansion, Idun and Frey both have very powerful trance abilities. Idun gives everyone a 2/3 chance of getting an extra action each turn, and Frey lets you use every space on the way down the Vanir track when you activate it. So Idun spent basically the whole game in her trance, giving us all lots of actions. She would fight frost giants and boost the Vanir track (which we ran as often as we could). We stomped the threats to Asgard - only one of them was past the '5' line at the end of the game.
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