GCL mafia 227: If You're Not First You're Last
Charlie Theel
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St. Louis
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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 wiki and/or the Mafia wiki. If you want to look at past GCL Mafia lists, go here: GameChat League: Mafia Division Subscription Thread. Also, if you want an easy-to-use tool for collating your plays for the week, try out Thesp's GCL Games Played Tool!

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

Thesp
Dolus
ecargo
Epsilon_Balls
Beloch
Happymrdave
captainraffi
fdubois
touchstonethefool
bobcatpoet
charlest

Please add an item to represent your gaming life for the week of May 25-31, 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 some random member of the GCL 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: Least Common Multiple [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Charlie Theel
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St. Louis
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In lieu of a game of the week I decided to pose a couple of questions. The first - What is the game you own that you enjoy the least or critically see as the worst in your collection? How and why did you acquire this game? Why do you still have it?
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2. Board Game: StarCraft: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:345]
Charlie Theel
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St. Louis
Missouri
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What game do you enjoy the most out of all the games you do not own? Why don't you have this game? Do you think you'll ever acquire it?
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3. Board Game: Euro Risk [Average Rating:7.84 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.84 Unranked]
Charlie Theel
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St. Louis
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"Top 5 Euros that are kind of OK, I guess"?

Love the wording. I'm not including any hybrid games like Hyperborea, Eclipse, Cyclades, Mage Knight, etc. because those are some of my favorite games. These are pure Euros only.

5. Colosseum - This is a great game with some interesting mechanisms and a stellar take on set collection. It has a lot of different moving parts and phases but everything really kind of coalesces beautifully. There's also just enough theme for me to seek my teeth into.

4. Settlers of Catan - Classic and I'm continually disappointed in seeing hardcore gamers bag on this nowadays. It's enjoyable, downtime is minimized due to acquiring resources during other player's turns, and it's a constant game of pulling a slot machine lever.

3. Carcassonne - Fantastic and perfect as a 2 player. Love how it can be cutthroat and full of dickish blocking and other times more relaxed. Highly replayable and laying tiles to form an attractive and colorful view of the French countryside is nice.

2. Troyes - A mess of mish-mashed mechanisms but I love it. Love how interesting the dice mechanics are, love how it does a good job of slowly introducing options (via cards slowly appearing and new events, etc.). Also like how mean and interactive it can be for a Euro ("Suck it, I'm taking your six.")

1. Tigris and Euphrates - Surprise, surprise but I think this is clearly Knizia's best. I really love the scoring system and the forced balance of supporting all colors. Love the map and tile laying and the thematic tension of warfare, both internal and external. The addition of the monuments and treasure cubes are just enough to spice it up.

I think I've said this before but Lost Valley would have a good shot at being on this list (maybe even near the top?) if I ever got to play it. If you consider that a Euro, at least.
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4. Board Game: Camp Grizzly [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:2311]
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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 N/A   Unpublished Prototype x2
 7.25   SafeBreaker x2
 7.15   Escape: The Curse of the Temple x2
 8.4   One Night Ultimate Werewolf x2
 8   Shadows of Malice: Seekers of a Hidden Light x3
 8   Merchants and Marauders: Seas of Glory
 8   Camp Grizzly NEW!


Reviews
The Review Corner - Greed
2d6.org - Shadows of Malice: Seekers of a Hidden Light



Camp Grizzly
This game may be up there among game of the year contention for me. It's not particularly innovative mechanically, but it has an atmosphere and personality that just melds with my brain. It's like running into someone and hitting it off, instantly becoming best friends. In our play one player narrowly won by diving off the docks and out-swimming Otis. I bit it by getting chiseled in the head by the masked man and a buddy was torn apart while trying to hide in a closet. If I didn't come across that poor little girl with asthma that I had to carry and that slowed me down, I may have made it.


Unpublished Prototype (Shiv 2.0)
I had two playtests this week of the new Shiv that I'm showing to Action Phase Games at Origins this week. The first one was helpful in that it confirmed my suspicion that the way of selecting/drafting your robots into your gang took too long for the weight of the game. A couple other small suggestions arose in play.

I quickly did a second iteration so we could play a few days later and this game went off superbly. Play was more smooth and it felt like Shiv 1.0, albeit with more variety and more content. Very happy to be left feeling good about this to kind of boost my mood for the pitch. Never thought I'd be closer to getting this signed to a publisher than my fantasy climbing game (which is pretty much ready to go at this point) but if things go my way I'd be in a position to maybe attempt to get 3 games signed this year, although that's of course a longshot (dream big, eh?). Need to hook Action Phase with re-theme, and get my fantasy game into a publisher's hands so I can finish up my family Euro card game that was in playtesting at the end of last year. Have a large revision I still need to make on the next iteration.


On My Mind

Like most weeks I spent a lot of time watching movies. No good shows are currently airing (besides GoT) so I've taken the time at night to catch up on some more films.

First up I mentioned we started Harry Potter early in the week. We decided to abandon the first one half way through due to boredom. I'd kind of still like to watch them all but I decided rather than force my way through I'll wait until Lila is old enough and try to enjoy them with her.

Wife convinced me to watch Sex Tape. Pretty much what you'd expect. Then we watched a couple of Neill Blomkamp flicks in Elysium and Chappie. Both pale compared to District 9 but Chappie was a bit endearing. I really enjoy the South African gritty feel to his movies and the touch of surrealism but his follow-through on the plot is somewhat lacking here. Elysium was very standard, nothing special overall. Chappie's plot was better, but the end consciousness thing was kind of ridiculous.

I also was able to re-watch Interstellar. Not quite as epic on the small screen but still in love with it. So many great things about it and one of the most entertaining and quickly moving 2 hours and 45 minute movies that I can remember.

Origins this week. Exciting stuff even though it won't rock quite as hard as Geekway. Meeting a couple of friends from FAT that I've never met before and hoping our booth gets some traffic. Only release I'm really looking forward to is Spyfall. I think Dark Moon could be fantastic too and I have a 50/50 shot of Buonocore sending me a review copy (due to it being heavily requested).

In terms of reviewing I got Camp Grizzly up next, then I have the new Sons of Anarchy Calaveras club expansion (their special ability is pretty nasty), and the new Spartacus expansions - Shadow of Death. I also have Aetherium being sent to me which is an odd miniatures board game from a small company that sounds really neat. It sounds like the offspring of Wiz-war and Shadowrun. Finally, I should be getting Specter Ops as well.

I succumbed to the large stretch rewards on Project Elite last week, which looks like Escape mashed up with maybe Gears of War. I'm only about 50/50 on whether I will actually keep it or sell it off. Looks a bit expensive and overproduced for what it is, but then again I love when a game is overproduced. I also hopped on the Mare Nostrum - Empires bandwagon as I've been immensely satisfied with Academy Games latest Kickstarter strategy carried over from Fief. Basically they don't do KS exclusives, instead offering stretch rewards in the form of expansion content that other people can purchase later at a higher price. So the value is definitely there and I have the confidence in Uwe to deliver a quality game.





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5. Board Game: Mage Wars Arena [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:146] [Average Rating:7.73 Unranked]
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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I didn't get to play any games the prior week, and then everybody bailed on game night this week except for the person who can't show up until 8:30pm. I taught him this, and he was up for the full game, making it my first full game of Mage Wars (non-apprentice) ever. It was a lot of fun, and I'm surprised by how many people I've taught the game to. I really need to make a cheat sheet of the keywords that matter.
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6. Board Game: Dungeon Lords [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:189]
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Coconuts 2
Dominion: Adventures + Guilds 2
Dungeon Lords 1 NEW!
Elysium 1 NEW!
Lanterns: The Harvest Festival 1 NEW!
Vegas + Las Vegas Boulevard 1

Dungeon Lords was excellent. I don't know how Vlaada does it. His games are so unique and interesting. Everything just fits together so well. It's definitely a different game than Dungeon Petz and I cannot compare the two or say one is better than the other right now. As for the play itself, I worried a bit about teaching a new game of that complexity to four new players (myself included), but it went rather smoothly (though, I likely missed at least one or two rules). Everyone enjoyed it and I just submitted an order for a copy of the base game, expansion, and Kickstarter upgrades from the BGG marketplace (for only $40!).

Now that I've played this, I'd like to hear from those of you who have and what you think (as I now have more context for discussing the details/specifics of the game).

Elysium was good but not great. I liked how the purchasing of cards worked, but there were a few things that irked me in the game. For example, there were some attack cards that just didn't feel like they fit in the style/spirit of the game. Other things just felt overwrought. Also, perhaps my Ameritrash friends (GCLers included) are rubbing off on me because I found the theme made the game pretty dull to look at and less appealing. All that said, I still think it's a good game and I would play it again. I just don't think it's one I'd buy. As for its KdJ nomination, I think it's fair enough but Orleans is a better and more interesting/innovative game.

Lanterns was lackluster. Although it's an okay family game, there are better family games out there. As for design, the exchange tokens were pointless, especially since you could only earn them via platform tiles, which were randomly acquired anyway. Additionally, scores at the end were really close, which makes me think it doesn't really matter which sets you try to go for. Also, the constant giving/collecting of cards is fiddly. I glad I got to try this out, but I am fine never playing this again.
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7. Board Game: Elysium [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:316]
Dave K
United States
Austin
Texas
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Quite a bit of gaming this week - yay!

 6   Coconuts NEW!
 6   Wild Cats x2 NEW!
 8.5   Elysium x3 NEW!
 6   Starfarers of Catan NEW!


 9   The Princes of Florence
 10   1830: Railways & Robber Barons
 10   Race for the Galaxy
 8   Power Grid
 8   Mysterium x2
 9   Lost Legacy: Flying Garden x2

Elysium was a pretty big hit for me and one group I played it with loved it and the other liked it a lot. I played it once each with 2, 3, and 4 players, and I feel like 3 is best, then 4, and 2 wasn't quite as good. I really like the way the game plays quickly and is full of tough decisions about what you want to spend your precious choices on. Both this and Orleans seem like worthy candidates for the KdJ. I'm leaning towards Elysium right now because I really like the way you "purchase" your cards and I like the 8-decks-pick-5 setup, but I'm not 100% certain yet.

My liking of "cleverness" might be at work here, but the way you use your columns to take the cards and quests really is what I enjoyed the most. Every time you buy anything you are shutting yourself out of other options, and you know it. And so does everyone else. That makes each and every pick tense as long as there is anything that is remotely useful to you left, and there usually is. (Although when there is not, naturally it's not nearly as cool.)

The gods don't directly play off of each other all that much, but sometimes you can set yourself up with some pretty neat combos. I do like how the game forces you to take apart your own combinations in order to actually score points though, which prevents it from being "just another tableau" game. This mechanic isn't entirely new - I know Valley of the Kings did it last year, and maybe others - but in this case it works quite well and adds an extra aspect to the card selection.

Normally I'd make an 18XX the title game, but since I was able to play one last week as well (TWO IN A ROW WOW) I let the other KdJ nominee take it. We played a nice 5-player game of 1830 and I tried a new strategy that might be feasible in a 3 or 4 player game, but it didn't work out here. I started the Pennsylvania at a high par price early game (since somebody else got the C&A), but it never really paid off.

It looked like I was doomed to a slow decline as I stuck with the company even though the stock and routes were turning out mediocre, but I was able to buy into a very late-start B&O at just the right time and get someone else who was looking to acquire companies to take the Pennsylvania from me. He bit off more than he could chew after someone tanked a stock to change purchasing order and the new president went bankrupt, causing the game to end and me to end up a very surprise winner (since the other players had all bought heavily into other companies in preparation for a long game). I think it was mostly a fluke that I won, but I'll pretend it was a cunning plan. laugh

Starfarers of Catan is something I have wanted to try for a long time, and I'm glad I did, but it was even more swingy than I was worried it might be. The game definitely has more randomness than base Catan does, and it has the exploration randomness from Seafarers, but add in the event cards and the random amounts you move with only some spaces being easily utilized early in the game... *sigh*. I think it might be just a bit too random for me.

I spent a good 30 minutes or so very frustrated in the middle but things turned around near the end, although even if I had done the smarter choice on my last two turns and grabbed an extra 3/4 points I would only have had 12, far short of the 15. I'd play again sometime but I think my copy might get sold off since the box is huge and the game is worth a fair amount.

Mysterium was a big hit with my wife at gameday and we played twice, once with 4 and once with 5 players. We lost the first game without getting to make a guess, but we managed to win the second with just one guess at the end. Fun was had by all.

Speaking of my wife, she managed a very nice Power Grid win on the USA map. She beat me by $9 with us both tied for powering 17 cities in a 5 player game. Nobody else was really close to us, with 3'rd place only having 15 cities and very little money.

I am firmly convinced the USA map is fundamentally broken with the west coast essentially being unplayable. An experienced player decided to try and brave starting there, but it didn't pay off at all and it left her with a very rough midgame, and that plus one round of the plants not being nice to her at all shut her out of contention.

I'd like to try the Deluxe version sometime to see if the reworked map is better - I'm hoping it is.

This is getting long, so the other highlight was teaching Race and Pandemic to a person who owned them but had not yet played either. He greatly enjoyed both and understood the strategy in them quite readily.
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8. Board Game: Greed [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:1388]
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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New Games

Unpublished Prototype (Working Title: Kaiju Corp, by Eric B. Vogel) x1
The Captain Is Dead x1
Lost Legacy: Second Chronicle – Vorpal Sword & Whitegold Spire (Whitegold Spire) x1
Greed x1

Old Games

Wizard x1
Lost Legacy: The Starship x1
BANG! The Dice Game x1
Race for the Galaxy x1
Hansa x1

A nice mix of new and old this week!

Designer Eric Vogel is a local 'round these parts and has shown at our regular gaming group to test out prototypes. He was there again last week with one he was tentatively calling Kaiju Corp. It's sort of a mash-up between Machi Koro and Deus, where you're building up a card engine that gains you money, development points, and monster attention. Money gets your more buildings, development points gain you different flavors of VP cards, and monster attention eventually boils over and causes one of a variety of Kaiju to attack your engine. There's a draft row of building cards that replenishes every round, and on your turn you take a card from the row, either buying it with your money or discarding it to trigger all the buildings you own of that color.

The Machi Koro aspect is that some of the buildings trigger on opponent's turns, but they also tend to attract Kaiju more quickly than self-triggering buildings. The "buy or activate" choice is similar to Deus, though it's different enough that it's not a direct comparison. I thought it was pretty good, overall, it feels like it's been through the rock-polisher of development for a good while (Eric said that he'd been working on it since before Machi Koro came out, when I asked about the comparison). It sounds like it's a few more playtests away from being ready for the inevitable KS campaign, so keep an eye out.

I didn't expect much from The Captain Is Dead (aside from wrongly thinking that was some sort of hidden role/traitor game), but ultimately it was a pretty standard co-op that has what I imagine to be Space Alert levels of "things going wrong." I suppose the hook for TCiD is that you start out being very competent, as most of the ships systems are functioning giving you quick access to all the important stuff. As the game goes one, various systems fall offline (or are destroyed), forcing players to spend their actions and skill cards on getting stuff back up and running in order to better fulfill the main objective of fixing the warp core. On the whole, I didn't feel that there was a whole lot of new stuff here, but the entire package was well designed and I certainly didn't mind playing it. Plus, the art design was super cool.

I'd been meaning to try the Whitegold Spire set of Lost Legacy: Second Chronicle – Vorpal Sword & Whitegold Spire, but the fact that the scoring is different from the main game meant that I usually wanted to use it for a second play (after I'd used one of the earlier sets for teaching any newbs). I finally got time to do that on Saturday with one of my semi-regular groups, and I really liked how the points scoring changed things. The game was very much about manipulating your discards, which sort of lumped it in with Lost Legacy: Flying Garden, but the fact that the person who finds the Lost Legacy isn't necessarily the winner was really cool. While supposedly you can mix this set with any of the other ones, I'm not entirely sure how it would work out, though I am curious to try it.

And finally, I managed to get Greed to the table for a 4p game, and it was as good as I thought it was going to be based on previous time spent futzing around with the game. Everyone really liked it (with those that had played 7 Wonders appreciating the greater simplicity of Greed), and though it was a bit of a rough start for new players (handing them 12 cards and saying "go!" can be a bit overwhelming if you have to read all the text), we were soon up and being gangsters in no time. The game was also surprisingly thematic, one of the new players made huge bank playing a holding, using the "relocation" action to pick it up and then play it the following turn with more development markers on it, and then finally burn it down for the insurance money over the course of the game. I very much enjoyed playing and am glad to have this one in my collection.
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9. Board Game: Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game [Average Rating:7.74 Overall Rank:65] [Average Rating:7.74 Unranked]
Paul S
United Kingdom
Leeds
West Yorks
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Fantastic weekend at the UK Games Expo, with my first chance in ages to play some new stuff, and lots of oldies too:

Machi Koro
Splendor
Kakerlakenpoker Royal
Love Letter
Forbidden Island
Lost Legacy: Flying Garden
Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game
Piña Pirata
Hanabi
One Night Ultimate Werewolf
Quack a-doodle Moo!
Tales & Games: The Hare & the Tortoise
Zombie Dice

and maybe a couple I've forgotten (there was a rather excellent open-top double-decker bus converted into a bar where we managed to enjoy some sun on Saturday afternoon...)

Dead of Winter was probably the highlight of the gaming weekend. A victory for 3 of us; though a bunch of lucky dice rolls probably made it a little on the easy side.

Quack & Pina pirata were glorified snap! Though the addition in Quack of having to memorise and shout out animal noises added some hilarity.

Machi Koro I've wanted to try for a while, and nearly bought it once since it's at a sensible price point. Glad I waited. It did nothing for me at all, and I in fact declined the 2nd game. Just dice rolling. No sense of theme at all, and certainly no sense of building a place. Just meh.

I really liked Hare & Tortoise and would have bought a copy had not everyone sold out. Very clever quick filler with oodles of charm.

Splendor was something else I've wanted to try for ages, but just proved that Euros are really not my thing. It's nicely designed, with lovely bits, and easy to learn with some tough decisions but in the end it left me cold (despite a beginner's-luck win). I don't think I'm capable of (/interested in?) doing the maths that will let me plan long-term, given the way the thing escalates in the later game, so I have to rely on a lucky card flip and that leaves me thinking, what's the point? A shame, since some of my group really like it so I guess I might have to put up with it again.

Zombie dice is a game I've played lots solo on iOS but never in the flesh. Great fun in a group of 6 (as was Kakerlaken).

New acquistions:

Tajemnicze Domostwo
One Night Ultimate Werewolf Daybreak

but both bought on the last morning so not yet played. Very restrained, I thought.

I'll try to upload some pics later tonight. We are all ready to book again for next year.


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10. Board Game: Panamax [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:476]
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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Panamax New!
Night Witches New!

Light week for me, as we've been busy with nesting stuff.

Panamax
Katie and I finally got to sit down and give this a try, which we'd both been looking forward to. I must say, it has the worst rule book out of any game I own. Once we finally figured out how to play it went very smoothly but the book sucks, and we both commented on how the iconography isn't as intuitive as a lot of other games. That being said, we both quite enjoyed this one. I know that some of the tactics and bumping aren't as present in 2p but I think that's actually better for Katie when it comes to learning it. Funny enough, her first role at Exxon was in supply/logistics and she coordinated, among other things, barge shipments up and down the Mississippi. She wants to go back into that side of the business as her career, so it's no surprise she blew me out of the water in this one. We'll play again soon, for sure.

Night Witches
This has gotten going enough on the PbF for me to want to write about it. It's very different from the other RPGs I've played and I like it so far. It does put a lot on the GM to get creative and determine what is going on, as typically the only guidance the GM gets is "something bad happens". Also, the game is designed to be really hard, and you have to be good, lucky, and extra lucky to have your character survive. You're supposed to want your character to succeed and advance, just like in an RPG, but from the outset you have to be willing to let her die as well. On just our first mission, we lost 2 NPC pilots most of us are seriously hurt, and two planes are out of flying commission. We're hurting bad, and two of us are under investigation by the NKVD. I really like this quote from the current GM.

Quote:
Marks will eventually lead to death but they also fuel the story in interesting ways. Bad stuff will happen when you roll unless you're lucky or have a big mission pool, that's just how the game is built. It wants to stress you, put you through the wringer, break you psychologically and physically and see what happens.

Rewind to the choice Dan made for a consequence after Section B's attack run. If he takes two Marks instead of an Enemy Fire roll Plane 3 isn't shot down, there's no damage to Plane 1 and the subsequent wheels down roll never happens. That's Plane 1 and 3 still flyable, 5 total harm saved among Section B, a Mark on Sasha avoided, two NPCs alive and probably a heroic welcome! Plus Hanna and Vera ended up marked anyway.

Those little things can really escalate quickly in this game. Now, as first missions go it was damn cool, but it is worth bearing in mind for future that rolling won't usually end well!


For the PbF there are actually two flight squads, or "Sections" going on with a common in character thread so we can talk between missions. If anyone is curious, here is the communal thread and here is my flight Section, Section B which includes our disastrous first mission.

On my Mind
Tons of baby stuff assembly this weekend, and two classes at the hospital. I'm glad we went, as it's been valuable to learn a lot of stuff that the doctors say you aren't supposed to do that's different from what our parents were taught to do. Hopefully they're receptive when we tell them this stuff. It's also a little scary because it makes me wonder what we're being taught to do now that will be verboten when our kids are having kids.

I finally started watching House of Cards. I really like it, and thought it was amazing until a couple of plot points hit (in spoilers) and now I just think it's really good. I will say the acting and casting is top notch. Robin Wright, holy crap...

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Ok...so...Frank kills two people? Come on. I know it was dramatized but for the most part it was all believable in a general sense. Totally bought into the wheeling and dealing, trading favors, light blackmail (graymail?), etc but was super disappointed to see him kill two people and a CONGRESSMAN at that. Some major holes in the investigation too =/. About 1/4 of the way into Season 2 right now so maybe things will change.


We also saw Mad Max which was very good. While I don't normally go in for action flicks and thus probably don't enjoy it as much as most people, there were a lot of things I loved. The switch that lowered the wedge into the sand to put out an engine fire was an example of the amazing world building that went on. It makes so much sense for so many reasons that they would design their rigs like that so it's just really good attention to detail. I wish there had been a little more exposition but overall it was a very good movie.

EDIT: Thank you in advance for the opportunity to post a bunch of Ricky Bobby gifs. Talladega nights is my 2nd favorite Will Ferrell film, behind only Casa de Mi Padre in my book.
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11. Board Game: Castles of Mad King Ludwig [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:82]
Philip Newman
United States
Richardson
Texas
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Plays since May 26, 2015

 10.   Dominion x5 (Goko)
 6.5   Witness x2 NEW!
 10.   Brass (OOTH)
 9.0   Hanabi (Robin's site)
 7.5   Mysterium NEW! to Aerial
 7.5   Castles of Mad King Ludwig NEW!
 6.5   Flash Point: Fire Rescue
 6.5   RoboRally

We visited Austin this weekend, and (with Claire and Chance) joined gameday at Robin and Kristen's. We were the first to arrive, and Aerial wasn't feeling well when we got there, so she sat out for the first game while Robin taught us Castles of Mad King Ludwig. We all enjoyed it - Claire and Chance were talking about picking it up to try with his family, and it will probably be on my list of possible purchases next time I order games. Chance and I tied for first (119, I think?)... and tied on the tiebreaker as well (4450 sqft) which was awesome.

While we were playing, Dave and his wife showed up, and Aerial joined them for Lost Legacy - she said it was ok but felt like she was at the mercy of the cards. Then she joined us for Mysterium (which she loved, as expected). I was the ghost, and we nearly made it to the last round - I wasn't able to clue Chance's item effectively. Aerial didn't miss on any of hers, yay.

Then Robin talked us into a game of RoboRally with 8, which was about as crazy as expected. I got to the first flag without any trouble, but then got pushed into a laser (which I should have seen coming) after having decided to power down (which was bad timing for that anyway), so I sat there for a round taking damage and coming out worse than before I had powered down. Robin looked like he was going to get to the second flag first, but got caught up in the middle of the board; eventually, Chance got there, and got away clean to claim the third flag easily. Aerial enjoyed it, but misunderstood the board movement at first which messed her up pretty badly for the first half of the game.

After that, we tried Witness. Aerial sat out again, and the girl who joined us gave up in the middle of the second game, but I enjoyed the concept.

Before we left yesterday, Serena joined us for a game of Flash Point (advanced game on the easiest setting). We were all pretty sure we were going to lose early on - one corner of the board started out in bad shape, and then after we had mostly cleaned it up we hit the hazmat over there and caught the whole room on fire. We were fortunate that the people showed up in a different part of the house, and we were able to rescue several quickly to win (with two blocks left in the supply; that corner of the house basically had no walls left). We were also very fortunate to not hit many hot spots (we were probably 2/3 of the way through before we hit the first).

I won the Brass Madness 12 final in a very close, weird game. I developed ports, but Robin and Neil both built L1s early on, so I only built a single L3 toward the end of the canal, instead focusing on iron. Then I got my ships down in the middle of the rail phase and didn't have much else to be doing (the good rail spots were already gone, I had built all my iron), so when I saw that Robin and Purplemore were developing ports to flip their remaining cotton (DM crashed early) I decided to throw down my remaining three (figuring worst case was that one of them built two in Liverpool - Robin did - and four mills were already on the board). I don't think I've every built so many ports in the rail phase, much less at the very end (rounds 6 and 7, one was a double-action). Fortunately Neil built the fifth mill to flip my last port, and the final scores were 150-145-143-143.

We also won our most recently completed Hanabi game (3 player with Robin and Darryl), and have started game 6 in the "mithestile" series. Possibly the easiest win so far? We had a couple cards left in the deck.

Dominion Game of the Week:

mafiascum 48-21 jtomase - A rare board where ignoring Familiar seems the right way to go. I opened Militia/Embargo, which allowed me to delay his Familiar buy and force him to take a Curse when he finally got there. Vault/Tunnel is the way to go here, and Militia has the extra benefit of slowing his Vaults (while he was also drawing his cantrips dead sometimes).
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12. Board Game: Rattus [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:787]
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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7  Rattus
6  Lost Cities x3
7  Spyrium
7  Splendor
N/A  Puzzle Strike x2


Friend who visited for Memorial Day played Rattus, and Lost Cities. The others were Tabletop Simulator.

Rattus - not a very good game with 2 players. Fun quick introduction to role selection p, but definitely needs four people to shine. I recently picked up Rattus: Mercatus and this has me excited to try it. I read the new roles and it has a Hanseatic Trader, so it's got to be good.

Lost Cities - these were amusing. The friend did not have a good handle on this game at all. On her third match she said "ok, my goal this time is to not go negative." She failed that goal.


Spyrium - plays surprisingly well in TTS. I played surprisingly bad though. I made the mistake of going after income as opposed to workers, and then did not have enough to feed my mine/factory engine. My friend did exceptionally well his first match though, picking up all the important things. I lost by 2 points in the end.

Puzzle Strike - average and completely forgettable deck builder. I would play if it was put in front of me, but not more than once a week at most.
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13. Board Game: Elysium [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:316]
Robin Levins
United States
Round Rock
TX
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 10.   Race for the Galaxy: Alien Artifacts
 9.0   7 Wonders: Leaders x2
 9.0   Castles of Mad King Ludwig
 9.0   Firefly: The Game – Blue Sun
 9.0   Starfarers of Catan
 8.0   Elysium NEW!
 8.0   Mysterium
 8.0   RoboRally
 7.5   Finca

Kristen and I had a big weekend! We dropped off AnnaMarie with my parents on Thursday for the weekend. On Friday, we went to see Postmodern Jukebox live in concert, and they were amazing. (Pics of us in the comments.) Then Saturday, we held a huge boardgame day which tallied 20 people in attendance (plus 2 little ones). It was so much fun! Let's hit on some notable plays.

Elysium was the sole new play of the week. It's a special card powers game with some engine-building and engine-tearing-down, and a neat worker placement mechanic. I enjoyed it, but it was quite fiddly in the sense that you're drafting from 13 cards (in a 4 player game) that are available to everyone, and each of these cards have multiple unique facets on them worth considering for how valuable they might be to both you and to others. The 5 round limit helps the game, and I will gladly play it again, but I don't see myself adding this to our collection.

RoboRally was a totally crazy 8 player game where everyone expected (and received) chaos. It was great dusting off Starfarers of Catan again, as it never gets enough play. Castles of Mad King Ludwig came down to an exact tie for the first time I've ever witnessed - even down to the square footage tiebreaker! Firefly: The Game – Blue Sun went towards the 10x10 challenge. We did the scenario which used havens, and it took quite a long while. Race for the Galaxy: Alien Artifacts was notable in that it featured a very close score between a military tableau and a produce/consume tableau (which won)...in a 5 player game, no less! The fact that produce/consume can be competitive (much less win) a 5 player game is a testament to the variety RftG:AA can inspire.
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14. Board Game: Band of Brothers: Screaming Eagles [Average Rating:7.86 Overall Rank:1563] [Average Rating:7.86 Unranked]
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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More KS fun: it looks like they're finally reprinting Band of Brothers Screaming Eagles AND the expansions and updating them, which I've had on my radar for quite some time. Going to be hard to resist but...I really shouldn't. Anyone have any experience with these?

By virtue of it being a 2p wargame, I'm not super likely to get a lot of opportunities. But if they're soloable I could convince myself that one day I'll play them solo. Decisions decisions...

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1456271622/band-of-brot...
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15. Board Game: Hansa Teutonica [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:109]
Jeffrey Drozek-Fitzwater
United States
Houston
Texas
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Hansa Teutonica: This was a five player game in which I never got out of the gate. I was fifth in order, which was really hard. I tried blocking people initially but didn't get paid, so I was last to get my third action. A pretty frustrating game.

A Study in Emerald: This was four players and I finally got to be a Loyalist! Hooray! And I got zombies! Hooray again! This was a really nasty affair filled with a ton of "take that" action. Nobody could even be mad about it because there was just so much. One of the Restorationists got tired of us messing with him, so he Change of Heart'd over to our side, which was the difference. I got to end the game via zombies, though, so that's fun.

The Resistance: Avalon: Nothing special about this session.

Terra Mystica: Why aren't the Alchemists better? I like them a lot and I had a lot of breaks go my way (including the Swarmlings playing super weird) but it just wasn't enough to keep up with the Shapeshifters.

Tichu: I mentioned this game last week. We were playing and the woman sitting to my left was getting quite agitated at me and my partner tending to get better cards. Things came to a head when she was dealing and I refused the deal because she was dealing the cards in an unusual way. She blew up at me. In the middle of her rant, she said she was "distributing the cards evenly," which is either mathematically incorrect or cheating, but I didn't feel the need to point that out. The game ended without resolution; I apologized for offending her and went home. Didn't seem worth fighting over.

Virgin Queen: I was Spain. Things were going OK until an incredibly terrible string of rolling wiped out the entire Armada and most of my army. I was pretty much done after that, praying for a miracle Gunpowder Plot to save things. It got a little contentious near the end; the Protestant player likes to try and tell everyone how to play. The rest of us were getting tired of it because he would get into arguments with England about what England should do and it was making a long game even longer. (England ended up edging out France.) I think I like Here I Stand better.
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