GCL Amoeba 220 - Old bones
Carlos Moreno Serrano
United Kingdom
Guildford
Surrey
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GameChat League - Amoeba Division 220

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Welcome to this week's Amoeba discussion list. If you have found us through a subscription and are wondering where you are, see the links above. Non-trolling comments from non-members are welcome and encouraged, but please leave adding items to the members.


Garry (garry_rice)mb
Larry (larryjrice)
Jeroen Doumen (jmdsplotter)
Eric Brosius (Eric Brosius)
Jevon (cadavaca)
Joshua(Joshuaaaaaa)
Mikko (msaari)
Doug Faust (phrim)
Toms (painkiller)
Carlos (sprocket314)


I recently went to a 12-hour job interview with an extremely demanding Danish hiring manager. During the interview, one of the things he wanted to change in his team/programme/account is that everybody in his team was well in their fourties or older and that he needed some young fresh blood to push and drive initiatives that older folks would consider "I'm too old for this shit". He said a few examples but in the end he ended up giving the job to another 40 year old instead of to me..., but that is another story.

This week's topic is about old bones: things and game habits that have changed over the past few years. So what makes you say "I'm too old for this shit" in your game environment?
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1. Board Game: Old Town [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:3771]
Carlos Moreno Serrano
United Kingdom
Guildford
Surrey
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What things or habits have changed in your gamer life as you age?
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2. Board Game: Old Men of the Forest [Average Rating:5.61 Overall Rank:10875]
Carlos Moreno Serrano
United Kingdom
Guildford
Surrey
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What things or habits have changed in your personal life as you age?
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3. Board Game: Old World New World [Average Rating:6.41 Overall Rank:10444]
Carlos Moreno Serrano
United Kingdom
Guildford
Surrey
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How about the people you game with?
Any changes to do with people?
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4. Board Game: Old Dinosaur [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Carlos Moreno Serrano
United Kingdom
Guildford
Surrey
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How about the games you play?
Any changes due to ageing or is it just an "evolution"?
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5. Board Game: The Game of Authors [Average Rating:4.41 Overall Rank:15303]
Carlos Moreno Serrano
United Kingdom
Guildford
Surrey
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Have you narrowed your choices (games, types of games, people, etc.) due to the passage of time or you have become wiser and more specialised as you now know exactly what you want and how you like it?

How about patience, do you have more or do you have less than before?
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6. Board Game: The Old Contemptibles [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:8477]
Carlos Moreno Serrano
United Kingdom
Guildford
Surrey
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Any funny story about a young whippersnapper that had to be put in his place?
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7. Board Game: Poseidon [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:1346]
Jeroen Doumen
Netherlands
Eindhoven
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4x _7.50_ The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
1x _7.75_ Russian Railroads
1x _7.50_ Town Center
1x _7.25_ Hyperborea
1x _7.00_ Poseidon
1x _6.00_ Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island
1x _5.75_ Hermagor
1x _5.50_ Submarine
1x _5.50_ WordARound
1x _5.50_ Maori
1x _5.50_ San Ta Si
1x _5.00_ Dobble
1x _5.00_ Gloria Picktoria
1x _5.00_ Legend of the Lost Dutchman
1x _4.00_ Heat


A decent week of gaming, almost returning to the normal scheduling again after some traveling.

We played Poseidon with our Friday evening group, but though it's a decent 18xx intro game, I have the same objection as to Steam over Holland: the fixed number of turns. We stalled a bit on the initial trains ships, but then zipped through and ran about 4 ORs ERs with the diesels E-ships. Still fun, but I should convince people to play 1846: The Race for the Midwest instead as an introductory game .

Submarine was quite fun - I played a simple solo scenario to sink an enemy convoy. Got caught out on the wrong side with the low-value shipping, but managed to swing around and nail some tankers. Though the random wild maneuvering made half my torpedoes miss...

Legend of the Lost Dutchman was ok, but a little bit disappointing - I had expected a bit harsher environment, and some more control over what the equipment actually does for you. And missing the motherlode twice did not help either .

Russian Railroads is still fun .


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8. Board Game: Quelf [Average Rating:5.31 Overall Rank:15326]
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
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Just one play this week, and that was Quelf. Had a junior high lockin at our church this past weekend and I played this with our youth pastor and a couple of youth. All I will say about this game is that at least my cards didn't tell me to put on lipstick ...although I did spend about 15-20 minutes towards the end of the game just staring at the table to avoid looking other players in the eye and thus having to say "I've got you now!" (or lose spaces on the movement track).

I won't say I'll never play it again, because it probably will come out again at a youth event (since the game belongs to the youth pastor AND we currently have almost all girls in the jr high youth group), but it certainly isn't high on my list to play again

P.S. Actually, I guess I did play one more game, as the jr high group also played Giant Dutch Blitz, which uses homemade cards that are around 2'x2', with teams of 3 or 4 situated at 4 corners of a half court basketball court. One person runs 1 card (and only 1 card!) at a time out to the center of the play area and plays it on the appropriate pile while the other two players split the score pile and shuffle pile responsibilities while keeping an eye out on where they can get their cards played. Great fun!
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9. Board Game: Star Wars: The Queen's Gambit [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:548]
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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New to Me:

NONE, unless you count the Eldritch Horror: Mountains of Madness expansion.

Return Visits:

d10-7 Battle Line x3
d10-8 Castles of Mad King Ludwig
d10-6 Eldritch Horror
d10-7 Five Tribes
d10-7 Patchwork
d10-7 Star Wars: The Queen's Gambit
d10-7 Witch's Brew

Musings:

Twas fun to revisit Star Wars: The Queen's Gambit. Fortunately, the good guys won although I made sure that I put as many Gungans as possible in harm's way and only a couple Jar Jars survived.

We beat one of the new bosses in Eldritch Horror: Mountains of Madness quite easily although a couple of us had to resort to a second character after going insane. Didn't really think Mountains added much outside of some interesting cards and the new unique item deck.

Five Tribes was a runaway as I spent points to go first several times to gain a ton of points. I was playing with one new person and one person who was intentionally not spending many points and it didn't work out for either of them. I always am interested in this game in seeing what moves people choose that I miss...

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10. Board Game: Nations [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:97]
Toms Leikums
Latvia
Jelgava
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2 x Memoir '44
2 x Neuroshima Hex!
1 x Scrabble
1 x Kemet
1 x Ra: The Dice Game
1 x Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy
1 x Nations

I chose Nations as my title pick this week, because this particular play might be significant. It was only second time we played this game. I won the first one, but this time, oh, this time I completely crushed my opponent with 32 points against 15. My girlfriend is not even close a sore looser, but these two losses, especially second one might scare her off this game. Come on, I have some idea, how I terrible would feel, loosing new game 2 times in a row, and second time without any chances to compete, starting from first 20-30 minutes in game. That's what she said - the game just is 'not for her'. I know this feeling so well, and now I am afraid that Nations might not be played again soon and in future it will happen only if I insist. But the game has so much to discover. We haven't even tried special abilities of nations (B sides). And there come doubts, did I really need to buy all these war cards, seeing that my opponent has no chances to win. It seems there are many options and styles, how to win in Nations, and being too aggressive definitely can ruin experience for other player.

Anyway - it still was one great week of gaming, including 2 battles on Sword Beach from Memoir `44. We checked the previous play results for Sword Beach scenario after these 2 games, and there's one fun fact - all 4 plays the score was identical 5-2 in favor of Germans.

There's a reason, why many think Borgo army is the most powerful in Neuroshima universe. In our 2 play match between Borgo and The Hegemony blue mutants won both times, lead by each of the players.

As usual - Legacy still stands great, but I think I've identified overpowered patron card. Not that it ruins any fun. And it's interesting to see if (OK, most likely it is not if, but when) Legacy gets into my H index.
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11. Board Game: Terra Mystica: Fire & Ice [Average Rating:8.51 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.51 Unranked]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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On Saturday, I was at my parents' house for Mother's Day.

_5_ Betrayal at House on the Hill - This was with me, Anni, Jon, Tina, Lauren, and Mike L.; everyone had played before. Jon, Lauren, and I all managed to fall down into the basement right away, but Lauren found the stairs up and used them. The only thing I found before the Haunt started was an adrenaline needle, which can be used to help pass a skill check. Mike triggered the Haunt, and the traitor turned out to be Anni (Anni is always the traitor). In this scenario, we needed to pass six skill checks in certain rooms or with certain omens, but in the meantime the rooms of the house started to fall into the fiery abyss, beginning with the basement. That put Jon and I, who were still in the basement, in a bind, especially as Jon couldn't get to the stairs. Others wanted to me get out of the basement to get away from the abyss, but it seemed to me like a lot of the rooms we needed were in the basement, so I stayed and explored around some more. I quickly found one of the rooms we needed, and used my adrenaline to pass the skill check (actually, it turns out I would have passed without it). Unfortunately for me, Anni used the opportunity to trap me with the abyss, so I had no choice but to heroicly die. Being eliminated, I didn't pay that much attention to the rest of the game, but Lauren saved Jon from the basement with the mystic elevator, and the rest of the team completed the other skill checks to beat the scenario.

_6_ Shadow Hunters - Same group here, everyone had played before. I was a neutral, Charles, who I had actually been in my previous two games of Shadow Hunters. Charles is pretty hard to win with, as his win condition is that you have to kill someone after two people are already dead. I used the same strategy I used last time--try to kill off the other neutral just to increase the pile of dead people without making the game end. I soon discovered that Anni was Bob the item collector, and started attacking her. The hunters and shadows had started fighting though, and soon Lauren the Werewolf was dead, with one of the hunter players following soon after. I still was focused on killing Anni, as she had the lowest life remaining, and killing her would give me a solo victory. Well, Jon, who had revealed as the Vampire, ended up killing Anni off just to gain a few health. It came around to my turn, and I figured that I didn't have much time until someone else killed someone, causing the game to end. Unfortunately, my move gave me a Holy Robe, which makes it much harder for me to kill people. Jon had the lowest health, so I attacked him, doing 2 damage. I flipped to use my special ability to attack him again, doing another 2 damage, killing him to win the game (along with hunters Tina and Mike).

On Sunday, Anni and I went to Gil's place for some games.

_7_ Rattlebones (new!) - This was with me, Anni, Gil, and Alex, only Anni and I were new. The board setup featured 2 +1 VP spots in a row on one side, and 2 arrows in a row on the other side. I decided to dedicate one die to VPs, and another die to something else which I hadn't really decided on. Well, it wasn't long before I completely abandoned the other die, and focused completely on the VP die. I tried to position my monkeys to land on the +1 spots with the remaining pips on my die, and tried to put lots of arrows on the other sides. This worked pretty well, as I quickly got up to +5 VP, and then just started cashing in. I won pretty handily.

_5_ But Wait, There's More! (new!) - This was with me, Anni, Gil, Alex, and Ethan; only Gil had played before. This is a game about pitching products, and voting on who had the best pitch. Suffice to say, not in my wheelhouse. I don't remember what we pitched in the first round, but in the second it was a broom. I remember picking that it "made life-like sounds" for my first card (which was odd because Anni chose a card saying that hers was silent), and then for my random card, I got that it made ultrasonic noises. Heh. In any case, I stumbled my way through, and was surprised I didn't come in last. I don't remember who won.

_9_ Terra Mystica: Fire & Ice (new!) - This was with me (Acolytes), Anni (Ice Maidens), Gil (River Walkers), Alex (Alchemists), and Ethan (Witches). Anni and I were new to the expansion, while Alex and Ethan hadn't played TM before at all. The Acolytes expend Cult Track points to terraform, so I judged that I needed priest income right away, so I spent the first turn building a temple (grabbing the 2 points per Dwelling bonus). On the second turn, there was a bonus for big buildings, and my fortress gave me an extra Cult Track bump for every priest I put there, so I scraped together my resources and build the fortress on turn two. Having only a temple and a fortress on the board put me a little behind the 8-ball as far as actually collecting resources is concerned, but fortunately I was able to sustain myself on round-end cult rewards. From there, I played a pretty standard game, expanding my two initial placements into towns, and trying to line up my builds with the round rewards. I built myself into a fairly sizable lead in the mid-game, but Anni was able to come back with her points-for-temples special ability, and Gil won largest area in the end bringing him back into the thick of things. I managed to maintain my lead through final scoring though, with Anni 2 points behind me and Gil 1 points behind her.

_8_ Battle Merchants - This was with me, Anni, Gil, and Ethan; only Anni was new. Gil was again playtesting a new set of Kingdom cards for this game, and this time he actually stacked the deck to make sure he could try to abuse a particular strategy. I started out with a strategy to advance really far in two weapon types, even though that didn't work out so well last time I played (but that was only because others did the same strategy better than me). This time worked a little better, as Ethan and Anni played a more generalist strategy, and Gil made lots of crappy weapons. I boosted up my axes and maces, primarily through free skill cards, and sold mainly to the orcs, who were my starting race. Over the course of the game, I was able to pick up a Kingdom cards that gave me 7 and 10 end-game points, and also picked up one that gave me an instant $5. I was the first one to acquire a "master craftsman" bonus, and got that bonus for both of my weapon types. That bonus really helped my economy, especially as I could craft/sell vorpal weapons. My weapons were pretty dominant on the board too, though by the end Ethan and Anni had caught up to me with some of their weapons. I felt like I had a pretty good lead at the end, but I ended up only winning by 2 over Gil.
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12. Board Game: 6 nimmt! [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:576]
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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8  Roll for the Galaxy -- My daughter and son came over yesterday for Mothers' Day and we played this. It was the first play for my son, but he picked it up just fine, missing a win by only 2 VP.

8  6 nimmt! -- We followed with a game of this classic. I still wonder why anyone would want to play 6 nimmt! when they could play 6 nimmt!. We played the latter version, and my wife won (fittingly for Mothers' Day.)

8  Quartermaster General -- We've had quite a run of interest in this. I played Germany this time, and although it took longer for me and Italy to finish off Russia than it sometimes does, we eventually managed, and this was enough to swing the balance in our favor, even though Japan and Italy were both out of cards by the end.

6  Tricks and Deserts -- This is a clever new trick-taking game from the Japanese trick-taking collection that recently came out. I'm not one to go crazy over lots of trick-taking games, but this one is pretty good.

6  Jericho -- We needed a quick filler, so we played Tom Lehmann's "filler with a learning curve." The last time I played it was in 2008. The score at the end was 19-18-17, with me at the tail end.

8  Puerto Rico -- We discussed several options, but rejected them for length, and finally settled on this classic, which we finished in 30 minutes with 3 players.
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13. Board Game: Fields of Arle [Average Rating:8.17 Overall Rank:55]
Mikko Saari
Finland
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1 x _9_Fields of Arle (new!)
2 x _8_Jaipur
1 x _8_Kyoto Protocol
2 x _8_Patchwork (new!)
1 x _8_Mahjong
3 x _8_Ribbit
2 x _8_Nile DeLuxor
1 x _8_Stich-Meister
1 x _7_Fleeting Foxes
1 x _7_Ghost Blitz
1 x _7_Colt Express
1 x _6_Battle Sheep
1 x _6_Familienbande (new!)
1 x _6_Pandemic: The Cure (new!)
1 x _5_Phantom Rallye

Not a bad week! I got the Finnish edition of Colt Express, and while I got it from Lautapelit.fi, I asked them to send me Fields of Arle and Patchwork in the same box - I've been thinking about getting those games for a while now, and now just had to do it.

I wanted Fields of Arle, even though I wasn't quite sure if I could actually play it. Long two-player games are a difficult category. However, my son was interested in the game – he's a fan of Agricola – and I thought ok, let's give it a go. There's quite a bit of English text in the game, but my son managed it just fine, and played quite a decent game. I don't think there's much chance of him winning me in the game any time soon, but we both enjoyed playing the game. It's a great game, one of Uwe's best big games (well, I haven't played Ora et Labora or Caverna).

Patchwork must be one Uwe's best small games, then. A fun little filler, where you must fill your board with quilt patches. There's a bit of a economy to worry about, a time track for turns and Bunte Runde -like method to picking the tiles... and it's surprisingly difficult to fill the board well, and the penalty of not doing so is quite heavy. So, quite a delicious little game.

Familienbande is a cute game with adorable art, and the game play is what you'd expect from Leo Colovini. Fun game, and I'll play it again, because it's just so silly (you work as a matchmaker between bunch of ugly people and try to keep a trait - big ears, huge mouths, long hair and so on - visible in different generations by breeding people the right way), but it's quite luck-heavy and if you get the wrong cards, there's just no way of winning - that's what happened to two of us in our three-player game. When another player got all the cards I'd have wanted, the third player got an easy win.

Pandemic: The Cure is a dice game version of Pandemic. I haven't played Pandemic – haven't felt the need, after playing Leacock's other co-ops – but this was ok. We pushed the game a bit, having six players when it really goes up to five, and I'm sure that didn't make the game any better, but I don't know, I wouldn't be terribly thrilled about this even with fewer players.
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14. Board Game: Xia: Legends of a Drift System [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:160]
Joshua Gottesman
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
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So, a couple of friends of mine got married this weekend, and they rented out a big house (sleeps 18 in theory) for the weekend to do a "wedding/game all weekend" event. The ceremony was Friday night, so not a whole lot happened there, especially for me, since I had been up since about 5:20 AM. Some people may have played games after I left. Saturday I was supposed to be there about 9 AM, showed up about 12:30 PM. Yeah, well, it was a Saturday. We played Steam Park, which I had played once before, where you're building an amusement park for robots. I swear the theme is not pasted on. It's a fun little game. There's space management, pollution (dirt) control, trying for objectives, and a speed aspect, as you roll dice each turn to see what you can do. You can re-roll as many times as you'd like (except the last player) to get the die faces you prefer, however when you're finished you grab a player turn tile, and the farther down you are in player order, the fewer benefits (and the last player gets a penalty) you receive. It plays in 60-90 minutes and has very little downtime.

5 of us then played Xia: Legends of a Drift System to 20 points...well, 18 since it was taking a long time. Xia is becoming a big hit in the group (4 plays over 2 weeks) and everyone liked it, however with that many players and a big objective, there was downtime and it seemed like the last points would never come. I came in 2nd, I made a choice to ram someone to pick up a reward for it, however it crippled my ship so badly I had little chance to gain more points, and this allowed a player who had started slowly to pass me. That being said, after the game I stumbled across a comment on boardgamegeek talking about how you could combine ramming with other attacks. Basically, coming in guns blazing, thus limiting shield usage by opponents. That would have made a difference for several of us who tried ramming. As I said, this game is a big hit with the group and I expect it to be played quite frequently.

I then played Tajemnicze Domostwo, a Polish game that's been accurately described as a co-op combination of Clue and Dixit. While that may sound odd, it works. One player is Casper, er, a helpful ghost, sending dreams to the other players to help them solve a murder. There will be 9 possible suspects, 9 possible locations, and 9 possible weapons each game. I'm not sure if that's "9 of 12" or "9 of 100" or something in between. You have to guess who you're dreaming about (the Clue part) first from clues given by the ghost (the Dixit part), then figure out the location, then the weapon. And you only have 6 turns (days) to do this. Then, once all players have a person/location/weapon, the ghost gives one set of clues, and you're supposed to figure out which of the person/weapon/location combos is the actual murderer. It's pretty challenging.

I wrapped up the evening with Foreclosed!, a fast playing set-collecting game with surprisingly bent card (not flimsy, they just had bowed quickly, still perfectly functional) and pretty poor graphics. That being said, the game is fun, and there's a bluffing/money management aspect to it.

Sunday was a 1 game day. 5 of us played Twilight Imperium (Third Edition) with all(both?) of the expansions, but not all the options. I was the Mentak, which let me make lots of "Mind Taker!" jokes (okay, Mentok, but close enough). The game took a long time, as TI3 does, and we all really enjoyed it. I did not win, although I drew a card on the last turn that would have tied me for the lead. Alas, I ran out of time.

We all had a great time, and we're talking about doing it again as an annual thing. Well, not the wedding part. We figured with 20 people, it wouldn't cost more than about $200/person for the weekend.

This weekend its off to BGG.FAM (a 5 AM flight tomorrow...yay?) for 3+ more days of gaming.
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