Mark Johnson's Recent Gaming (2016)
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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A collection of mini "session reports" that I try to post regularly. In the old days (pre-BGG), we used to share these kinds of things over email, in mailing lists. In some ways, I miss those days, and this is my personal experiment in bringing it back (a little). In that mailing list era, we wrote them LONG, because shared session reports were the way we all learned about games. They don't need to be long anymore, because anyone interested in a game already knows it, or can look up pics, rules, etc. easily enough. So let's see if I can write short session reports, and if they'll be of interest to anybody here.


As for star ratings, here's my thinking: this is a reflection of my personal enjoyment & excitement about the game, both for this specific outing, and my anticipation of future plays. It's not exactly the same thing as half my overall rating of the game (which is an attempt at something more objective). That is, I may rate a game an  8  in the database, but in a session report it may sometimes feel like , , or !

Comments are welcome & encouraged.

-Mark

Boardgames To Go Podcast
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Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
flag msg tools
designer
That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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http://www.WargamesToGo.com
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Jan 1-10, 2016

First list of the new year! I started posting these lists in 2015 and had so much fun I want to keep going this year, too.

I managed more wargaming than usual, as well as a regular boardgame night.

-Mark
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Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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http://www.WargamesToGo.com
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Jan 11-24, 2016

I skipped the previous week because there was only a single game played then. Now I've gotten back into it, starting with a euro-wargame hybrid from Sid Sackson. Lots of other gaming, too, both face-to-face and online (at bottom).

-Mark
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Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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http://www.WargamesToGo.com
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Jan 25-31, 2016

Holy cow, the stars aligned for me last week, and I managed to get in a huge variety of boardgaming. I met the lunch group at work for the first time in many months, I saw a friend one evening to drop off a game ordered from TimeWellSpent, I played with the weekly game group, another friend came to visit, I played a solo wargame, and even did some online gaming. When you see the list below you'd think I went to a convention or something, but it was just what happens when everything falls into place.


-Mark
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Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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http://www.WargamesToGo.com
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Feb 1-7, 2016

Back to normal, meaning a normal amount of games played in the past week.

-Mark
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Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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Feb 8-14, 2016

No game group, but I did get to spend the weekend with my college kids and play some family games. (I'm a few days late with this report.)

-Mark
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Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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Feb 15-21, 2016

Back to a good week of gaming. A REALLY good week, in fact.

-Mark
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Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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Feb 22-28, 2016

A pretty normal week of gaming, including a lunch session at work. Plus another try at Pandemic Legacy (fingers crossed).

-Mark
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Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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Feb 29-Mar 6, 2016

A bunch of good boardgaming, and a new topic for wargaming (since I'm working on my next series for WGTG).

-Mark
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Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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http://www.WargamesToGo.com
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Mar 7-20, 2016

I didn't get around to posting one of these lists last week, so this one is DOUBLE sized with goodness. Played quite a few good games recently, both old & new.

-Mark
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Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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http://www.WargamesToGo.com
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Mar 21-27, 2016

No normal gaming group, but I still got in some good stuff with the daughter & her boyfriend, home for spring break.

-Mark
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Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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http://www.WargamesToGo.com
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Mar 28-Apr 3, 2016

On the weekend's SoCal Games Day (our 66th!), I pre-arranged some older games that wouldn't have made it to the table otherwise. Also met with a gamer friend who'd been away for years. As you'll see, I'm also making progress on my Battle of Britain subject for the next Wargames To Go podcast series. I'll be recording the first episode in that miniseries pretty soon.

-Mark
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Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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http://www.WargamesToGo.com
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Apr 4-10, 2016

Got in a little good gaming for a week that ended on my 50th birthday. Wow, 50. Lots to think about there. With regard to hobby gaming I realize I've been at this for over thirty-five years. That time includes high school & college roleplaying, on-again/off-again wargaming (now on-again), a short-but-intense Magic:the Gathering time, and the past two decades of eurogames. Or, as I like to call them, "family strategy boardgames." It's all been very rewarding & enjoyable. Most of my friends come from this shared interest.

-Mark
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Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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designer
That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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http://www.WargamesToGo.com
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Apr 11-17, 2016

Just one game session, though it was one of those nights when we play several shorter games. I always like those game nights, more than the ones where we dive into a single meaty game that takes the whole time.

-Mark
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Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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designer
That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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http://www.WargamesToGo.com
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Apr 18-24, 2016

I normally post geeklists on Mondays that give quick impressions about what I played the previous week. This time, all of my plays last week were at publisher GMT Games' in-house event, their Weekend at the Warehouse. This is something that's been happening twice per year (April & October) for quite some time. I'm not sure when the first one took place, perhaps around 2010? I may be way off.

It's an odd thing. It's not a convention. It's not a trade show. It's not a product launch, or a shareholder's meeting, or a gaming weekend at your buddy's house. Instead, it's kind of all of those things. GMT Games is located in the boonies of central California (Hanford--look it up!), and they have an old warehouse that matches the 100 year old farm town surroundings. They make room to set out a couple dozen folding tables and plenty of folding chairs, then invite gamers to come play all weekend.

Did I say gamers? I should've said wargamers. GMT publishes other games, too (e.g. Urban Sprawl, Thunder Alley, Dominant Species, Battleline), and I'd heard friends tell me that plenty of euros are played at the warehouse weekend...but that wasn't true! Yes, there were a few, but very few. The event is focused on wargames, which are still GMT's bread & butter. That was fine for me, since I get plenty of eurogaming, while wargaming is more of a rare treat. But it was a bit of misdirection for a few of my friends who were also attending for the first time. They still had fun, but now know this really isn't their kind of event.

As for me, time will tell. I think I'd like to make it back, and will be sure to pre-arrange some wargames to play with friends & strangers.


-Mark
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Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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http://www.WargamesToGo.com
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Apr 25-May 8, 2016

Last week I skipped this geeklist, because I hadn't really done much gaming at all since the GMT Weekend. Then the gaming came roaring back, thanks to a new opportunity. Although my local Barnes & Noble (Santa Clarita) isn't one of those that has an officially promoted boardgame night, we DO have some local gamers that contacted our store and asked if they could host a monthly get-together in their community room. What a difference a day decade makes. I'd asked the same thing years ago, without success. Now we were welcomed & encouraged. I've read elsewhere online how B&N is encouraging this, and it's exciting. True, we have to wrap up at 10pm, which is rather early, but the value of having an open, public game night in a nice store outweighs that disadvantage. The Tabletop Gamers of Santa Clarita plan to continue meeting the first Thursday of every month at this location. Hurray!

-Mark

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Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
badge
http://www.WargamesToGo.com
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May 9-15, 2016

Another great week of gaming. When my buddy Dave suggested this was happening because I'm now an empty nester, I didn't think that was quite right. What was I thinking? Of course that's the reason. Even when you've got high schoolers around who have their own busy lives, I'd find myself turning down some gaming in order to be at home just in case those kids I love wanted to watch a movie with dad, get dinner together, or other things like that. That was fine, and (truth be told), I'd rather still have kids around and forego some boardgaming. But, they have their own lives to live, and I'm happy for that. A nice silver lining for this empty nest is more opportunity to connect with my friends and get in more games. Especially when my wife also has something of her own to go off & do, I'm liable to rustle up some boardgaming. This was one of those weeks. While she was at a painting class I played a wargame, and when she met her high school girlfriends to celebrate the year we're all turning 50, I had two full days of gaming.

The centerpiece of that was a day focused on Star Wars games. I knew I wanted to try Rebellion, which is normally too long for my tastes. But this was a special occasion, made more special by filling out the day with other Star Wars boardgames.

-Mark
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Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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May 16-22, 2016

Back to a normal week of gaming, which means one game night and a few other oddball opportunities.

-Mark
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Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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May 23-29, 2016

Nothing during the week, then a flurry of gaming over Memorial Day weekend. It was actually just one day, but mostly short games. Also one epic wargame played solo the day before.

-Mark
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Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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May 30-June 5, 2016

The Tabletop Gamers of SCV (Santa Clarita Valley) had their monthly game night at our local Barnes & Noble. Another good time, good turnout, good games played. Plus I got to meet with friends and try out some award-nominated kids' games.

-Mark
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Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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June 6-12, 2016

What a great weekend! My son graduated from UC Davis with his BS degree in Plant Science (and an Anthropology minor, a combination that's called Ethnobotany). Meanwhile, my daughter Molly finished her sophomore year of college at Western Washington and drove down to meet us for Sam's graduation. My folks live not far from Davis and my brother & his family made the drive to that central location, too. After hundreds of miles for all of us, we convened for grad weekend and a mini family reunion. I brought the games! I've been bringing games to these kind of family events for years and am pleased to say that have finally figured out how to do it successfully. It only took me twenty years! We had great weather, and played everything on the patio, in the shade. I managed to get everyone playing from my 11year old nephew to my 83year old father.

-Mark
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Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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June 13-July 11, 2016

Yeah, that interval of time is a month. That's how long it's been since I posted one of these. And THAT'S because it's been that long since I've played anything. Seriously, I played no boardgames (besides online stuff) until the last few days. It's been a busy time. (To that end, I've got another podcast recorded, plus 1.5 for WGTG, and I need to get them out!)

Half of the games below were played during a weekend with my brother & his family. They took me on a backpacking trip for my 50th birthday, and my grown son joined us, too. We played one game actually at the campsite, and the rest before & after at the house.

The other games were played at my own home with my daughter & her boyfriend.

-Mark
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Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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June 12-July 24, 2016

As mentioned in my latest podcast, last week my boardgaming was in Paris . . . as it will be for a while. I’ve taken as assignment at work that has me relocating to France for nearly a year. Most of that time will be in/around Paris, and then the final months of next spring/summer will be in Toulouse. If you’re anywhere near these places, drop me a line! Though I’m very busy with my job during the week (and have big plans for weekend trips to see many things), who knows? We may be able to squeeze in a game or at least a meal some evening. To be honest, I’m still figuring out what my temporary new life is going to be like in France. It’s all very exciting for my wife & I. (The kids? They’re in college in the US.)

My first venture into boardgaming in France was via the invitingly-named “English-Speaking Boardgamers of Paris” meetup group. I’m kind of a dinosaur about meetups, as I still think in terms of email lists like it was 1998. But this is the way you meet new people & groups on the internet in 2016, and I can evolve!

-Mark
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Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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July 24-Aug 7, 2016

It's been two weeks since my last Recent Gaming geeklist, and now I'm back with a bunch of titles. Those were all played in the last few days, though! The preparations I'm making for my move to France are squashing most of my boardgaming opportunities. That will hopefully change later, or else perhaps it will be an entire year of squeezing in gaming when I can. Regardless, I managed a great batch of games recently.

Why? Two reasons. My daughter returned home from her college study abroad quarter, and her game-playing boyfriend was over. Also, I made it back to our new, public game group hosted at Barnes & Noble, the Tabletop Gamers of SCV (Santa Clarita Valley).

Another oddity of the last couple weeks is that I had THREE packages from Kickstarter arrive, almost at once. I know other gamers have that experience from time to time, but it was new to me. I continue to be very cautious and skeptical about most products on Kickstarter. As you'll read below, this week's experience substantiates my caution...but also showed how it can be a good thing, too. I guess. I'm still iffy on it, even when I enjoy a game that was financed via Kickstarter!

-Mark
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Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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http://www.WargamesToGo.com
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Aug 8-15, 2016

My last normal week at home before the longterm travel to France. It let me get in one last(?) game night for a while. Add to that a trifecta of quick lunch games, and one more with my daughter's boyfriend Zac. It made for another good week of gaming. Heck I even managed to get out another Wargames To Go episode and record one for Boardgames To Go (to be posted in a few days). Then Lincoln surprised me by putting up the video for Welcome to the Dungeon that I was lucky enough to be part of. A good week!

-Mark
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Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
flag msg tools
designer
That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
badge
http://www.WargamesToGo.com
Avatar
mbmbmb
Aug 16-28, 2016

The past couple weeks were spent traveling to France, working there, and sightseeing on the weekend. My new life, in other words. I won't be seeing my regular game group in SoCal for a long while, and I haven't yet settled into a new group in France. So gaming has been a bit different lately. Still good, just different.

-Mark
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