GCL Mafia 224 : Feldmania and Luna
Fabrice Dubois
France
La Garenne Colombes
Hauts de Seine
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Welcome to GCL Mafia Division's weekly list! If you stumbled onto this list by accident (or on purpose!) and want to know more about the Game Chat League concept, please see the GCL Mafia wiki page. If you want to look at past GCL Mafia lists, go here: GameChat League: Mafia Division Subscription Thread

Our current roster in order of preparation (next week's poster in bold):

touchstonethefool
bobcatpoet
charlest
Thesp
Dolus
ecargo
Epsilon_Balls
Beloch
Happymrdave
captainraffi
fdubois

The first few items are intended to foster discussion.

Please add an item to represent your gaming life for the week of February 16-22 2015. List any games played along with your thoughts/opinions. Also, feel free to share gaming news, life updates, random thoughts, or anything else you deem appropriate.

Rules for the list are:
1) A weekly game is spotlighted and discussed. The poster will pose questions about it to encourage conversation.

2) Themed questions are optional. They can be gaming-related topics or non-gaming-related topics.

3) A top five question is posed by the previous poster and answered by the current poster. These top fives are usually game-related, but can include other topics as well.
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1. Board Game: Luna [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:398]
Fabrice Dubois
France
La Garenne Colombes
Hauts de Seine
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I am a recent Feld's games fan. It is weird because i don't like fiddly, weird and pasted on theme games, but i must recon that Feld has designed some very good games --too me :

In the Year of the Dragon : i enjoy the puzzling aspect of this game (how to deal with known events with changing conditions (characters, actions) each turn) and the way players are racing and competing for characters recruitment and action selection. The turn order track is strongly integrated into the game.

Macao : the action point allowance system ("the wind rose") is brilliantly done and makes, IMHO, all the game that would have been so-so without this mechanic.

The Castles of Burgundy : very cool way to introduce yourself and your family in the Feld's world. Brillant gateway Feld's game.

Bora Bora : perhaps the most point-salady Feld game i have played, along with AquaSphere and Trajan. But the theme is really present into this one and i like the way dice are used.

AquaSphere : only 2 plays but i enjoy how you are planning your actions on 2 separated boards.

I have played Trajan and didn't like it at all (poor theme, mini games all around not integrated as a all).

I am considering Luna.

What are your thoughts about this game ?
Is is worth a place on shelves ?
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2. Board Game: Hansa Teutonica [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:109]
Jeffrey Drozek-Fitzwater
United States
Houston
Texas
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Hansa Teutonica: Got to the Tuesday meetup and someone immediately asked to play Hansa because it plays five. Considering three of the five were new, I was a little hesitant, but went with it. They all ended up liking it! The boyfriend and girlfriend really enjoyed blocking each other. But, as new players tend to do, they didn't want to bump. I got in a few cackles talking the new players into blocking the only other person who knew the rules. But with 3/5 of the players rookies, it dragged- it took two hours.

Insider Trading: Prototype from one of the developers of the upcoming Pass the Paint. Basically, it's a six-turn tableau building game in which you build an arithmetic formula to determine your point. It has promise but needs a lot of work. Not enough game in it yet.

Suburbia: A four-player game in which the first player was murdering us via turn order. He got the County Assessor, Homeowners Association, and Shipping Center. I figured it was going to be a massacre. I was also unhappy because my private goal was fewest greens and someone having the HOA tends to discourage the purchase of greens. It also looked like he was going to take the most buildings and fewest borders goals, as he didn't need to build lakes. So I had to find another way. I was able to get the National Park and the Mountains and most money got stolen from the first player on the last turn. I ended up winning by a single point, which was very surprising. I didn't think I had a shot.

Hanabi: Five-player game, one was new. We did OK; one of the players is the kind who will think himself into crazy places nobody ever intended. We got 18 or 19.

Monikers x2: It's basically a more Internet-culture Time's Up. I enjoyed it, though my partner for the first game was brutal.
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3. Board Game: Mage Wars Arena [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:143] [Average Rating:7.73 Unranked]
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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Mage Wars

This time I played the Beastmaster against the Warlock. Another teaching apprentice game, and another person who loved the game like me. I'm really wanting to get a round robin tournament set up soon. Partly to get other people playing it more so I can have opponents, and partly so I can get several more games in cause it's that awesome.

I picked up a local gamer's personal collection on cheap, so I now have all of the expansions. I just finished constructing the recommended spellbooks and have:

1 ea Apprentice spellbooks for 4 basic mages
3 ea Full spellbooks for 4 basic mages
1 ea Full spellbooks for 8 expansion mages (except the second Warlord. Two of his cards are in the first Warlord's spellbook).

I just need to photocopy some player boards, and I think I can host a tourney.
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4. Board Game: Elder Sign: Gates of Arkham [Average Rating:7.88 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.88 Unranked]
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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New Games

I Go! x1
Elder Sign: Gates of Arkham x1

Old Games

Elder Sign (with Elder Sign: Unseen Forces) x1
Wits & Wagers x1
Linko! x1
Little Devils x1
Fleet (with Fleet: Arctic Bounty) x3

I just passed 4,000 total recorded plays! W00t!

I was completely surprised to learn that I Go! was a Colovini design (but then less surprised to learn it was originally called "Corsairs" and had a pirate theme, as opposed to the "super generic drug store toy and game aisle" version we played).

While the basic idea of the game shows some promise (try to collect as big a set as possible of max two colors; draw one, discard one, such that your hand is always 12 cards; being the first to call game end denies additional time for other players to get bigger sets, but doing so gives other players opportunities to fill in any gaps in your run), in the end it was kind of hard to tell when exactly was a good time to stomp on the breaks. I understand that it was sort of the point, what with the mix of imperfect information on hand and the metric crap-ton of suits, but I'm not sure I dig it. It was a bit more "choose when to make your leap of faith" than I generally like, but I do appreciate the design. May have to try this one again.

I also got to try Elder Sign with the Gates of Arkham expansion, and it changes things up in some interesting ways. Firstly, the deck of adventure cards come out face down, and on the back they're color coded for difficulty and have a "when entered" effect for the first time a player decides to go there. The "Gift Shop" are has been completely re-vamped as well, with most of the trophy spending options stripped away (though with a "spend 2 trophies to discard a face-down adventure card," which gives you some more control about what's out there). Finally, Other World adventures now are bound to regular adventure cards with Gates, which prevent players from attempting the regular adventures until they've resolved the corresponding other world adventure.

All in all, it was an interesting change to the game which simultaneously made it a bit easier but also much harder. Gone are the times when you could buy up items with trophies or even purchase an Elder Sign, now your only way of getting additional cards are through adventures, which can create a nasty downward spiral if you're not careful about what adventures you choose. This is mitigated somewhat by the additional card effects (some of which are positive, though at a time cost) and the higher control over adventures. We got absolutely slaughtered (though we were playing with a full compliment of 6), so any complaints about the game being too easy should be sufficiently addressed with this expansion.

The only gripe is that, due to the card backs playing a significant role in the game, it largely makes the original deck of adventure cards (plus the ones from the first expansion) almost completely incompatible with the new ones, unless you don't mind the new affects only applying to about 25% of the cards.
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5. Board Game: News@11 [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:8024]
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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News@11x2 New!
Castles of Mad King Ludwig
Ca$h 'n Guns (Second Edition)
Ghost Blitz

News@11
Starting playtesting this and I don't think we stopped laughing for the entire time we were playing. It's a very funny storytelling game in the vein of Once Upon a Time and Fiasco. Pretty excited about it after only one playtest.

Ghost Blitz
This probably only counts about half, but I played with some friends 3.5 year old son. I took out all the cards that you have to grab a toy based on what is not pictured and only played with the ones that have an exact match. He got the hang of it pretty quickly and it was cool to see him get faster and faster at recognizing the items. It never occurred to me that it could be used as an educational/developmental tool. Also, it'd be a great way to help teach sportsmanship as you can control who wins or loses pretty easily.

On my Mind
It was a long week for me. I got rear ended on Tuesday in my brand new car which sucked. No one got hurt, and the damage is relatively minor, but I need a whole new bumper. It's in the shop now. While dealing with that, we had to get the house ready for the baby shower on Saturday. That was lots of fun it and it was good to see our families.

Finally saw Age of Ultron and was pleasantly surprised. Katie liked it more than the first, though I'm not sure if I did. I had low expectations though, so it was nice to see them exceeded.

EDIT: GeekWay stuff!

I doubt we'll get in until 8pm on Friday night at the earliest just saw when registration closes, so it will be before 8 pm!. I've got the Resistance game at 9 am on Saturday and am planning to play Hyperborea with Charlie and possibly more stuff. Cave Evil would be great, and since you're rereading rules I'll up my anticipation factor. My buddy and I are taking our Imperial Assault sets so we can do some skirmish mode games. Feels weird to take a game like that with a friend when we live nearby, but since I rarely play on weekends anyway may as well take the opportunity. There are a few games on the Play & Win wall I'd like to play (Hyperborea and Specter Ops at the top), but when I'm not doing something scheduled I'll probably just wander.

@Charlie - We can probably plan Hyperborea for Friday or Saturday night. Friday would have to be late. As for the other games, do you know when you'd want to play them? I don't have anything scheduled for a specific time except Resistance.
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6. Board Game: Neuroshima Hex! [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:211] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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Neuroshima Hex! x3
RoboDrome x1


Cash 'n Guns 2nd Edition at The Review Corner


NH!
Replaying Neuroshima Hex! has seen my rating on it creep up just a bit (it was already rated high for me). I like how distinct and unique it feels and it sits in this really weird place of satisfying my thematic urges while still honoring its abstract roots. I think the random tile draw, which completely annoys most die-hard abstract players, is helpful for me enjoying it more as well. I dig variety and changing experiences over strategic skill development. I wrote my review yesterday and it should be going up on Fortress Ameritrash tomorrow.

Robodrome
Robodrome is a buddy's game that also made it to the final round at Geekway. We've played it quite a bit already and it's well balanced and solid.


On My Mind
Geekway is this week and I'm finally starting to get really excited about it. Re-read the Merchants and Marauders rules this weekend and now need to read the expansion rules. Will probably need to re-read Cave Evil's rules too before then. Everything else I plan on or might play I should be good. It's refreshing that the one game in the play to win I really want to try (XCOM) doesn't require reading rules before hand.

I should be getting an advanced copy of Shadows of Malice: Seekers of a Hidden Light today. It releases at GenCon and is the expansion to the kind of odd yet very good fantasy game I reviewed a few months ago. After much work I also got into contact with Ameritrash Games who just came out with Camp Grizzly, and they're sending me a copy for review. Another game that looks unique and different and I'm hoping is as great as Nate Hayden's similarly themed Psycho Raiders. I love these weird games that kind of stand out.

I've been watching Daredevil and enjoying it. The dialogue and plot I'm not too enamored with, but the choreography in the fight scenes has been excellent. I also enjoy the atmosphere. It does seem like it peaked with that amazing hallway scene in episode two though, as 3/4/5 have been nothing special.

Also watching season four of Homeland with the wife and really enjoying it. It makes me want to pull the board game back out (not that I needed much convincing).

Speaking of GF9, they're releasing a WWE game in July. What? That came out of nowhere. I'm much more looking forward to their Black Sails game but if anyone can pull off a wrestling game about characters I don't even care about, it's GF9. They sent me a press release and it does sound pretty interesting.


I don't think I've posted this here yet, so in case anyone is interested - we have a geeklist with Review Corner reviews:
http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/189209/reviews-miniature-m...

Also, MM created a mailing list for notifications when a new review is posted. The signup is on the Review Corner main page.
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7. Board Game: Russian Railroads [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:70]
Dave K
United States
Austin
Texas
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No new games this week, but some solid plays still.

 8.5   Russian Railroads
 7   Five Tribes
 7.5   Shadows over Camelot


Russian Railroads is really good. I haven't played it in a while so I had somewhat forgotten about how much I like it. The worker placement aspect of it is very streamlined, but the player boards are very detailed and intricate. So it's got this odd mixture of being really simple (in placing workers) yet really complex (in how almost everything else is intertwined). Reminds me a bit of Kanban: Driver's Edition in that way (although RR precedes that by a year).

If you like meaty games and worker placement, definitely give it a try. It's held up well over time - many people when they first play it will declare that "strategy X is overpowered, this game is broken!," but if you look at the organized play games online (of which there are many) you'll see that there is no guaranteed strategy.

More plays of this might raise my rating to a 9, but I'm going to leave it where it is right now and not split hairs over that 0.5.


Five Tribes with 3 people who actively avoided over-analyzing was actually quite fun. We got the rules explanation done in like 15 minutes and the game itself took about an hour. It's much more fun when you play it this way. 90+ minute games of FT get old quickly, but in this format, it was enjoyable.


Shadows Over Camelot is generally a good time. This time I was the traitor but I strangely had few chances to do anything... evil. I didn't get good cards to bury and only two truly bad events ever flipped, and the group had enough Merlins to cancel them. It came down to whether one quest would fail at the end, and it didn't, so I lost. Hrm. It was possibly the least exciting time I've had in that game as the traitor but it was still fun to play.
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8. Board Game: Dominion: Adventures [Average Rating:8.21 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.21 Unranked]
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Coconuts 5 NEW!
Dominion: Adventures 3 NEW!
Colt Express 1
Greed 1
Hab & Gut 1
Medici 1
Scrabble 1
Valley of the Kings 1 NEW!
Wiz-War (eighth edition) + Wiz-War: Bestial Forces 1 NEW!

Beer Pong with Monkeys Coconuts was exactly what I hoped it would be. My parents seemed to enjoy it as they contributed to three of the five plays. Although it felt like it provided less laughs than Toc Toc Woodman, I enjoyed it just the same and I am glad to have some solid dexterity games on the shelves. I own PitchCar, which used to get a lot of play, but hasn't in years due to its setup time and being a much lengthier game than the aforementioned two.

Dominion: Adventures adds more Dominion-y goodness. I beat Matt in the first two games pretty handedly, using the Hireling in the first game (winning 68 to 47) and having 7 of the 10 Magpies in my deck in the second game (winning 42 to 15). I'm not sure if he'll let me play with those cards again. The third game was a close race to buy provinces, but Matt eked out the win with Royal Carriage and Miser combos. (Note: I don't expect you all to care about which cards we played with, but I linked them there in case you're curious about the new set.)

Valley of the Kings does an interesting twist on deckbuilding with the idea of using cards either for its money, action, or "entombing" which is where it is taken out of the game to count for points at the end of the game (and you cannot score points otherwise). Also, unlike other deckbuilding games, you go through the entire set of cards. The game probably needs another play or two for me to decide if these new takes on deckbuilding work well or not in the game. I want to like it, but the game left me feeling like I wanted something a bit more out of it.

Bestial Forces added some fun new cards to Wiz-War, but our game took too long. It felt like people were being too slow with the game, especially considering everyone had played before. I was only able to summon the lame genie as others had the cool creatures out already. And I was out about 2/3 through the game, which also sucked. We've been playing with the "cards in front of you don't count against your hand size" variant (I can't remember the official name), but I think it's time to introduce some other variants in it to speed things up. I've read some stuff in the forums on this and am also using this opportunity to prod Charlie into retelling me what variants he uses so I don't have to find it in the previous GCL that we talked about it in.

---

On My Mind

Boring Adult Career Shit: I found out this week that my dissertation manuscript was accepted for publication! I defended 3.5 years ago, but only began seriously revising the manuscript to make it publishable within the last year. (The short version of why it took me so long is because of having a heavy teaching load and being a bit lazy.) I'm also a bit behind in terms of where I should be for publications, so this being my first makes it all the more exciting. Funnily enough though, while updating my CV this week, I actually found that I had an internal publication from when I was a research assistant in grad school. It's on a transportation program, is not all that interesting, and I totally don't remember it, but it's got my name on it so it counts!

Frivolities/Miscellany: Matt and I saw Avengers 2 on Tuesday. I thought it was just okay and was a little disappointed by it. I thought Elizabeth Olsen was pretty badass as Scarlet Witch though.

I downloaded the demo for Pikmin 3. It's interesting and I can't make up my mind as to whether to buy the full version. Anyone have thoughts on it?

My copy of Dead of Winter sold on the marketplace for $50, which I was surprised someone was willing to pay. It's $83 on Amazon and sold out on CSI, but I didn't think it was that hard to find. I guess it's the Wil Wheaton effect? I like the game, but it never gets played and our friends own it anyway if I really want to play it again. (Edit: I found out when posting about DoW that there's a wargame with the same title. Huh. I guess "A Crossroads Game" subtitle serves the purpose of it being a part of the crossroads series and distinguishing it from the previous game.)
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9. Board Game: Scrabble [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:1522]
Philip Newman
United States
Richardson
Texas
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Plays since May 7, 2015

 9.0   Hanabi x3
 8.0   Battle Line x3
 7.0   Friday x3
 8.0   Ginkgopolis x2 (BAJ)
 8.0   The Castles of Burgundy x2 (BAJ)
 7.0   Alhambra x2 (BAJ)
 6.0   Scrabble x2
 10.   Brass (OOTH)
 9.0   Pandemic
 8.5   Terra Mystica

We had a nice lazy weekend at home, so MOAR PLAYS. Highlights:

We played Pandemic again after our narrow defeat last time, and finally won despite a first turn Epidemic causing a couple early outbreaks again. She was the Local Liaison (and we made use of this ability a couple times), while I was the Medic.

We also finally played with the Hanabi Deluxe tiles, which are pretty great, and won our third attempt (with 24 and 21 in the other two). The middle game we got stuck with both yellow 3s in her hand and I wasn't able to clue the second effectively when she discarded the first (so she tried playing it thinking it was the 2).

We tried Terra Mystica with 2 for the first time (her first time at any count). It was ok; we ended up separated for much of the game, which made money tight and limited power production. She was a little overwhelmed by all the options, but enjoyed it (and won; I outscored her during the game, but she swept all the endgame scoring after focusing more heavily on priest production).
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10. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.02 Overall Rank:17]
Robin Levins
United States
Round Rock
TX
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 10   Agricola
 10   Dominion x8
 8   Istanbul

I had the opportunity this weekend to join a board gmae night from an Austin meetup group at a house not far from me. There were 11 or so of us on hand, and I wasn't sure how things would shake out (especially when the first two games people split off to do were Dungeon Lords and Smash Up, neither of which I was itching to play), and I decided I'd head up the third game. There were several available, and I brought a few games, and the two people leftover that didn't jump into Dungeon Lords or Smash Up decided they wanted to try Istanbul, which I had brought. One was fairly new to the hobby, the other cited his favorites as Munchkin, Munchkin Panic, and Cards Against Humanity. Despite by trepidation at that point, I pressed on. And it was an awesome game of Istanbul! A fairly close one as well, as I ended with 5 about 2 turns before an opponent would have. They then wanted to try Agricola, which I had brought, and understood it would probably take 2 hours. I won handily (unsurprisingly, given two new players), but both loved the game and were into it, and were eager to try it again in the near future. It was a great night, and I'm glad I made it out.

Kristen and I wanted to get back into our 10x10 challenge, which had been dormant for over a month. We figured we'd play Dominion during AnnaMarie's nap on Saturday...and ended up playing 4 games of it. We repeated the process the next day. I think Kristen is really getting into the game.
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