GCL Amoeba 223 - Speed
Jeroen Doumen
Netherlands
Eindhoven
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GameChat League - Amoeba Division 223
ABOUT | AMOEBA DIVISION | SUBSCRIBE

Welcome to this week's discussion list!

If you stumbled into this geeklist by accident take a look at the pointers provided at the top. Constructive on-topic comments from visitors are welcome and we're happy about new regular contributors, but please refrain from adding items if you are not a member of this GCL.

The hosting rotation:

Eric (Eric Brosius) mb
Jevon (cadavaca)
Joshua (Joshuaaaaaa)
Mikko (msaari)
Doug (phrim)
Toms (Painkiller)
Carlos (Sprocket314)
Garry (garry_rice)
Larry (larryjrice)
Jeroen (jmdsplotter)

With a new land speed record being set a few weeks ago (and collisions last week), this inspired the topic for this week. Let's discuss various aspects of speed.
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1. Board Game: Particle Accelerator [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Jeroen Doumen
Netherlands
Eindhoven
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The inspiration I was talking about of course is the LHC particle physics experiment at CERN. They achieved a 7 TeV beam in April, and 13 TeV proton-proton collisions last week. Do you have any interest in physics? Particle physics? Or do these terms mainly leave you scratching your head?

(For those interested, there's a great website at http://www.lhcportal.com/ where you can track the experiments live.
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2. Board Game: Mad Scientist University Course Packet: Physics [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked] [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Jeroen Doumen
Netherlands
Eindhoven
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Did you ever play any physics-themed games? Any good ones?
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3. Board Game: Blink [Average Rating:5.94 Overall Rank:3632]
Jeroen Doumen
Netherlands
Eindhoven
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Coming back to gaming, one of the first things I thought of are the real-time (card) games. Do you like them? Which ones have you played?
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4. Board Game: Light Speed [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:2386]
Jeroen Doumen
Netherlands
Eindhoven
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Another aspect is the time a game will take (relative to the time claimed by the publisher). Do you have any stories to share about games played really quickly?
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5. Board Game: Can't Stop the Turtles [Average Rating:5.98 Overall Rank:11091]
Jeroen Doumen
Netherlands
Eindhoven
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How about horror stories of games seemingly taking forever and forever? Any to share?
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6. Board Game: The Record Game [Average Rating:5.25 Unranked]
Jeroen Doumen
Netherlands
Eindhoven
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And just for fun: what's the fastest (physical) speed you've ever played a game at? What type of vehicle, and what game?
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7. Board Game: Argent: The Consortium [Average Rating:7.74 Overall Rank:437]
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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New to Me:

None

Return Visits:

d10-8 Argent: The Consortium
d10-6 Rolling Japan
d10-7 ZhanGuo
d10-8 The Voyages of Marco Polo

Musings:

Talk about slow playing game - Argent: The Consortium was three player and took 3 hours even though no one was new. People tend to over-analyze this one due to all the information on the board I think. We even talked about this before the game and I talked about how I play more from my gut instinct on this one and start more planning in the later rounds as more information is known. One other player indicated he tends to do the same (or at least that is what I understood him to say) but his play style indicated otherwise.

The Voyages of Marco Polo continues to be fun to explore.

I enjoy tableau building games and enjoyed ZhanGuo. Thankfully, this one doesn't feel as obtuse and a mishmash of mechanics as so many What's Your Game titles often do. There's still plenty of mechanics in play, but they tend to flow together/connect more than perhaps I feel in other games by them. That being said, I like the idea of the variant proposed by another game designer of drafting the initial set of cards 7 Wonders style.

One of these days, I will find a way to get single digits in Rolling Japan.

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8. Board Game: Camel Up [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:385]
Mikko Saari
Finland
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http://www.lautapeliopas.fi/ - the best Finnish board game resource!
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2 x _8_10 Days in Europe
1 x _8_Erzähl doch mal...
1 x _8_Le Havre: The Inland Port
1 x _8_Splendor
1 x _7_Dragonheart
1 x _7_Camel Up
1 x _7_Eight-Minute Empire
1 x _6_Monad

My son found Monad boring. I can see why; it's not the most thrilling game for a nine-year-old. It is quite repetitive, especially with two players when you play for five monads. Once you get a monad, you're pretty much back in the beginning... quite the grind. Too bad, because it's kind of neat otherwise.

Camel Cup turned out to be great fun with the kids. They already requested it again, and I'm sure we'll be playing it quite a bit. I've played the game year ago, and pretty much forgot about it – not much interest in playing it with the gamers, but it works really well with my kids.

Le Havre: Inland Port keeps on entertaining me quite a bit. It's an excellent game.
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9. Board Game: Star Realms [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:87] [Average Rating:7.63 Unranked]
Toms Leikums
Latvia
Jelgava
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3 x Star Realms
1 x Love Letter
1 x Kingsburg
1 x Memoir '44
1 x Hey, That's My Fish!
1 x Revolver Expansion 1.1: Ambush on Gunshot Trail
1 x Hawaii

Great mix of games played last weekend. A bit of everything:
@ 4 player filler fun with Love Letter;
@ My copy of Star Realms has finally arrived, and we had 3 plays already;
@ After lukewarm first expression Kingsburg proves to be a good game, and sees lots of tabletime;
@ Just one play of Memoir `44. The game needs to be played 2 times, because you know - in some scenarios both sides play very differently;
@ Revisiting Hawaii; not sure, but could be candidate for Out of the Dust GeekList.

I am glad that Star Realms is as good as in mobile phone. Playing against real opponent is even better part. But bookkeeping, grrr, so hard for me to get used to counting things myself. I miss the reminder about unspent attack/trade points; made couple mistakes already.
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10. Board Game: Beyond the Rhine [Average Rating:8.45 Overall Rank:4432]
 
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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Just five plays this week.

 8   Quartermaster General -- We had an awkward number, so we decided to try this game with 5. All my previous plays had been with 6. One player played both Germany and Italy, as suggested in the rules. I was Britain (after this game I have now played every country except the US.) Germany/Italy started by going after Russia fairly hard, and I got the Australia card and started duking it out with Japan. The US also chose a "Pacific first" strategy. But Germany/Italy suddenly shifted focus (their naval cards came out) and he decided to try "Operation Sea Lion", and took England as my naval cards dried up. I could still play from my base in Australia, but with no other European threat, he then took Moscow and the Axis won a automatic victory for occupying two Allied capitals.

I also took part in a discussion of this game this week. It made me think that, in some ways, Quartermaster General is like a 6-player trick-taking card game. You go around the table in order, and every player in turn plays a card. Sometimes you get to play an interesting card, but sometimes you just follow suit. And indeed, sometimes you have a good hand and sometimes you have a bad hand, but maybe your partner(s) will have a good hand.

Furthermore, just like in a trick-taking card game, you get into a rhythm. The card plays take a little longer to resolve than (for example) in Bridge, but not a lot longer. As mentioned above, it's so fast that having extra people, each of whom can focus on one country, avoids delays that are present when one person tries to play multiple countries.

If I were to try to play Bridge with 2 players each playing two hands, I don't think it would be as enjoyable. In our 5-player game, it felt like walking with a leg cast on. Every time we got to Italy, the Italy/Germany player had to re-orient himself to which hand he was playing.

 9   Merchant of Venus -- Next we played a 4-player game of Merchant of Venus to $3,000. I had horrible luck. I was chosen to be first player, tried to go north, and rolled a total of 5, losing out on the IOU. And it continued to be bad for quite some time. Eventually I started to recover, but it was way too late. Joe Rushanan won with a Transport that sported both a Red Drive and a Yellow Drive.

 N/A   Beyond the Rhine x2 NEW! -- I received this new OCS title in May and set up the smallest scenario, "Operation Queen". The actual playing area for this scenario is about the size of a sheet of letter paper. I played solo for a while on one day and then a little more on a second day (I count this as two plays, but I have to admit that the 100 hours of playing time Friendless Stats credits me with for these two plays is a bit overstated.) At this point I realized that I had been mis-remembering some important OCS rules, so I cleaned it up and went back to read the series rule book again to refresh my memory. I'm hoping to get a 2-player game in, perhaps with Joe Rushanan.

 10   1846 -- Yesterday evening I played just one game, a 4-player game. We randomly removed MC, Meat Packing and C&O. Well, actually the C&O's removal wasn't random; Brett asked to remove it because it irritates him. Kevin had Priority, and after the initial draft and first Stock Round we had the following:

Kevin: LSL, O&I, 4 NYC @ $80
Brett: C&WI, Big 4, 2 IC @ $80, 1 B&O, $20 cash
Eric: Steamboat, Tunnel Blasting, 5 B&O @ $60
Marsha: MS, Mail @ $70, 3 GT @ $60, $10 cash

Marsha really didn't want to pay even $70 for the Mail Contract, but she took it to keep me from getting it for $60, which left her short on cash.

It was an interesting start. Unlike a game I recently described in which I had far fewer shares than my opponents, in this game I had a big share advantage, with the corresponding disadvantage that I had fewer shares in treasury.

In OR 1.1, Marsha connected Detroit to Port Huron and Sarnia with the MS, paying $60 but creating cheap runs for the GT, which bought a pair of 2Ts. I bought a pair of 2Ts and did no building (I was hoping the green trains would break, allowing me to upgrade Wheeling and start milking the Steamboat Company. Kevin started the usual Erie-Cleveland loop, but he surprised me by buying only a single 2T. The NYC loves 2Ts. I've bought as many as four 2Ts in the past, which is admittedly going overboard, but just one seems too few. This enabled him to run for only $8 a share in OR 1.2. Brett bought the last 2T and the first 4T.

In OR 1.2, I ran for $19 a share and half-capped, double-jumping from $50. In fact, I would half-cap just about every single OR until I bought my second permanent train. The downside of this is that you might suffer from low dividends collected, but I had more shares than my opponents, and the B&O was paying huge money, so I double-jumped all the way up to $180, half-capping the entire way. I felt like Joe Rushanan, who is a half-capping guru (and who wasn't in this game.)

Brett had to leave a pair of ORs before it was going to end, so we called it. I was obviously going to win with my powerful B&O and other good shares, and there didn't seem to be a point to try to play Brett's vacant position to sort out the other places.

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11. Board Game: Ladybohn: Manche mögen's heiss! [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:3785]
Jeroen Doumen
Netherlands
Eindhoven
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2x _7.50_ The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
2x _5.75_ Coda
1x _7.75_ Bohnanza
1x _7.50_ Ladybohn: Manche mögen's heiss!
1x _6.50_ Die Siedler von Catan: Das Kartenspiel
1x _6.25_ Sheep & Thief
1x _6.00_ Antike II
1x _5.50_ Hyle
1x _5.50_ Airships
1x _5.50_ Pacific Northwest Rails
1x _5.00_ Mare Nostrum
1x _5.00_ Guatemala Café
1x _5.00_ Goldland
1x _4.00_ Pitagoras


A decent week of gaming. Broke out Ladybohn, and remembered how much fun Bohnanza is...

Mare Nostrum disappointed a bit, but it probably needs more players. It just seemed too far away to really attack the other players, and the number of caravans is severely limited. But I still really like the trading mechanism. Yes, we played with the expansion .

Pacific Northwest Rails was interesting. An older roll-and-move style of game, and I'm not 100% convinced we played with the correct rules (as a matter of fact, the rules newspaper does not even state what you're supposed to do on a turn...). We did have good fun though.

And Sheep & Thief is still cute - looking forward to playing with the Golden Sheep soon.
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12. Board Game: Goa [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:111]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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On Friday, I was at a monthly rotating game night, this time at Micah's house.

_8_ TransAmerica - This was with me, Anni, Marc, Micah, Randy, and John L.; everyone but me and Anni was new (Micah had played Trans Europa). I was glad I grabbed this one when it turned out we needed a filler for six while we were waiting for more people to show up. In any case, my game was pretty unimpressive--we only ended up playing three rounds, and I lost by over five in two of them. I could complain about my cities, but it's rare to actually get a good hand in this game. Randy won the first round convincingly, and no one else could ever catch up, as he did well in the subsequent rounds too. Randy won pretty easily.

_8_ Goa - This was with me, Anni, Micah, and Randy; Randy was new. On the first turn, I got red tiles that gave me a free spice refill every round and 4 money every round. From there, I concentrated on building down the "draw cards" track, while pushing the other tracks where I could to get the free action. I founded the first two colonies early on, but after that I was relying a lot on card abilities to move down the tracks, particularly ones that let me do so without spices. After all, I was very short on actually having plantations the entire game. I tried to get the flag every other turn, which until the end of the game, went back and forth between me and Micah. As the end of the game came along, I found myself with a couple actions and nothing to do, so I drew through cards to find matching symbols, and ended up with 4 of them. When we counted up the score, I was tied with Micah at 52 points. Surprisingly, the tiebreaker was money, of which I had a ton, so I got the win.

_8_ Le Havre - This was with me, Anni, and Micah; everyone had played before. Micah got the Marketplace early on, I so ended up paying him a bunch. However, I was able to make very good use of the Black Market early, getting a whole bunch of iron, and enough grain and cows to start building them up in harvest. I was trying to figure out a way to get the Colliery, but clay was scarce and the Clay Pit was buried. Micah took meager amounts of clay once or twice from the offer and built it that way. After that, he really started pumping out the coal. Both Wharfs were buried pretty far down, one on top of the other, and Micah built them both at once. Having a bunch of iron from the Black Market, I was the first to build an iron ship, and would actually follow that up with another iron ship and a steel ship--no wood for me! I really didn't want to keep helping Micah by going to his Colliery, but I found a way out--one of the special buildings let me make one coal per hammer symbol (and one fish per fishing symbol). I started stocking up on hammers, including at one point grabbing 7 francs from the offer and buying both starting construction buildings. Soon, I was able to get 5 coal (and some fish) per visit to that special building. Of course, I couldn't catch up to Micah's massive stack of coal (we actually ran out of coal and had to use the multiplier tiles). Eventually he converted to coke, and with an incredibly impressive fleet of ships, started shipping stuff. Anni ended up with all of the bonus point buildings despite my designs. I did get some good shipping in, but not nearly as good as Micah's. Micah, however, avoided the Local Court and paid off his loans with his shipping income. At one point toward the end of the game, Micah took francs from the offer--there were 20 francs there! Shame on us for not paying attention to that, I guess. Anyway, as we added points at the game's end, I figured that Micah probably won by a lot, but it turned out I was only 10 behind him. So he won, but much closer than I thought.
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13. Board Game: Keyflower: The Merchants [Average Rating:8.19 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.19 Unranked]
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
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 10.   Keyflower: The Merchants
 9.0   Agricola
 8.5   Freedom: The Underground Railroad
 8.0   Castles of Mad King Ludwig
 8.0   Suburbia
 8.0   ZhanGuo
 7.0   Take it Easy! x3
 6.7   Bohnanza
 6.0   Formula Dé Mini x2
 N/A   The Manhattan Project: Chain Reaction

Caleb has been interested in games again for now, so we played Freedom, Castles, Suburbia, Bohnanza, and Formula De Mini this past week.

Really enjoyed getting to play Keyflower: The Merchants a second time in as many weeks - really like this game! Also really enjoy ZhanGuo, and it was nice to play where I actually felt I knew what I was doing (well, most of the time anyway!). I was at least 30 points behind 2 other players at the end of the game, but the end game scoring brought me back into contention, and the provinces pushed me ahead as I was the only one to have majorities in any province and I had it in two of them. I wouldn't mind having a copy of it, but as 2 of my friends have a copy, I just don't see playing it without one of them.
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14. Board Game: Greed Incorporated [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:1611]
Joshua Gottesman
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
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Okay, this one is for you, Jeroen. First I'll recap my BGG.FAM games, then this past week. Just brief comments.

Friday - 5 AM flight to the con. Registration opened at 10 AM. I literally walked to where my friends were sitting in line at 9:58 AM. Unfortunately, lost my car keys. When I got home on Monday, a friend had to pick me up at the airport, drive me home to grab my spare keys, then take me back to the airport to get my car. I have to remember to go to airport lost and found to see if someone turned in the 1st set. And I digress. I taught my friends Xia: Legends of a Drift System and we liked it so much we played it twice. I still see this one getting lots of table time. We then tried Deus which I had wanted to learn for some time, and I really enjoyed it. I'm now in a couple of games on boiteajeux, and want a physical copy. Then we played Shadows of Brimstone: Swamps of Death, which we all decided was not that good. Way too much die rolling and way too fiddly for the payoff.

Saturday saw us start with Greed Incorporated. I had played about 1/2 a game of it (I took over for someone) in October, 2014 and was quite intrigued by it. This game taught me a lot of lessons. Like "get in on the early prestige, it only gets more expensive", and "dump your companies fast!" We all enjoyed it, and I may search out a copy. It's incredibly misogynistic, though, which may limit its appeal to some of my group. We then moved on to Freedom: The Underground Railroad and won relatively handily, although we had the good luck of not encountering a red card (the bad ones) until the last turn. I'd definitely play it again. Then it was The Lord of the Ice Garden which fell into the "okay" category. I don't think any of us will rush to it. We then played a couple of games of Dominion: Adventures which was pretty cool, although I have some concerns that a couple of cards are broken in the game.

Sunday saw us play 2 games of Kohle & Kolonie which we all enjoyed, although one player claims the wagon strategy is broken. I think its more a matter of lack of experience making it seem powerful. We then tried our hand at Ruhrschifffahrt 1769-1890 which we didn't enjoy as much, and we abandoned it when I realized I had missed a major rule in the game, so the verdict is out on that one. The next games I have on my Monday list because we started after midnight. First, we taught a friend Merchant of Venus and he now understands why we rave about it. And then a couple more games of Dominion: Adventures, again fun, again worried some of the cards are too powerful.

The final day saw us play The Last Spike for which I've pledged on Kickstarter. I enjoyed it well enough. I'm kind of rethinking my pledge as I don't know how much table time it will get, and I'll probably stick with it. Then we played Saint Petersburg (second edition). I have a lot more experience than the other 2, so they expect me to win, I just haven't figured out how to integrate the market into my playing, so I've actually lost the 1st 2 games of this I've played. I do enjoy the new edition, although I miss the old, crappy artwork. Finally, we played Innovation: Echoes of the Past where my friend who can be a jerk was in full jerk mode (he got pissed off that I wanted to actually look for a rule in the rule book, rather than take his work for it...he was correct, and that wasn't the point. He had mentioned some other exception, and that was what I wanted to find, but he got indignant...I'll give him a slight pass because we were all exhausted and on fumes).

It was a fun con, very small, and we just gamed with the 3 of us who came out from Las Vegas, however it gave me a chance to try a lot of games that none of us owned to see if they might be worth getting. I would have happily played with others, and I still had a lot of fun.

During the week, I finished a scenario of Panzer Grenadier: Korean War – Pusan Perimeter that had been set up on my dining room table for months and have started another one. I hope to finish that more quickly.

Saturday I played Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization with 2 friends, and I don't get to play it live that often. This is another game where I have much more experience than the others, so they always expect me to win. Unfortunately, I saw that, while I was leading, I was in trouble on a couple of fronts, and sure enough, I ended up losing by about 10 points. It was a very good game, though. For the evening group, we played Abraca...what?, which turned out to be a whole lot better than I expected. The theme/graphics gave me low expectations, and it turned out to be rather good. I'd like to play it again. Then it was a 5 player game of Praetor where I continue to think the wall strategy is not the way to go. The points look tempting, and it puts one really behind on the building curve. I really want to play this with the B sides, all I've done is the A sides. Then it was Fictionaire, which I had won in a Tabletop Day drawing...let's just say it will be a sweetener in some other offering. It was not well received. Finally, we stumbled through Koi Pond: A Coy Card Game which, once we figured out the rules, was pretty clever. We're not sure we did everything right, and there is a lot of thought required for this one.

Back to normal Saturday gaming this week and actually in town for another couple of weeks before CSW Expo. However, BGG.FAM and CSW Expo have convinced me to pass on WBC this year. For the 1st time I can remember, I want a break from gaming conventions. I just want to take a vacation that doesn't center around games.
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