Father v. Son Two-Player Board Game Tournament
Jason Vicente

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Connecticut
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My 13 year old son and I play many board games together. He has his fair share of victories usually besting me in Dice Masters, Summoner Wars and Baseball Highlights 2045, not to mention what a tough chess opponent he has become. His trash talking and braggadocio has prompted a board game battle royal where we will play every two-player game in our board game collection, best two out of three for each game, to determine which of us will have bragging rights for the next year. I intend to list the games and our plays below with cool indicating a win for Dad and indicating a win for my son. I would love if other parent-child competitors would join in with their own friendly competition and share them here with us.

Added May 6, 2016: This list started at around 21 games and has grown to 70+. One of the main reasons for this abundant propagation is to address my desire to play many of the unplayed games in my collection. Thus, I compared my collection with games reasonably and enjoyably playable by two according to boardgamegeek.com and added them to this list. Of course, being a list of competitive games, this left my unplayed cooperative games accumulating dust on the shelves. So, the following geeklist was developed to address the cooperative game omission: Playing All of My Cooperative Games

Here is the list of games we intend to play in this Father v. Son Tournament:

13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis

13 Minutes: The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962

1775: Rebellion

1960: The Making of the President

1st & Goal cool cool

7 Wonders Duel

The Adventurers: The Pyramid of Horus

The Adventurers: The Temple of Chac

Alchemists

Alien Frontiers cool cool

Android: Netrunner

Arcadia Quest

Archaeology: The New Expedition

Arimaa

Around the World in 80 Days cool cool

Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn

Automania

Backgammon cool cool

Baseball Highlights: 2045 cool cool

The Battle of Five Armies

Battle Line cool cool

BattleLore (Second Edition) cool

Black Fleet 2-player variant

The Blood of an Englishman cool cool

Blood Rage

The Bloody Inn

Bottom of the 9th

Carcassonne

Carson City: Big Box

Castles of Mad King Ludwig

Caverna: The Cave Farmers

Champions of Midgard cool cool

Chess cool

Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure cool

Concordia

Covert cool

Cry Havoc

Cyclades: Titans

CV

Dastardly Dirigibles cool cool

DC Comics Dice Masters: Justice League cool cool

Deadwood

Dominare

Dominion

The Dragon & Flagon

The Duke

Elysium cool

Empires: Age of Discovery

Epic Card Game

Fabled Fruit cool cool

Le Fantôme de l'Opéra

Food Chain Magnate cool cool

Formula D

Fury of Dracula (Third/Fourth Edition)

The Gallerist

Gold West

El Grande Big Box

Great Western Trail

Le Havre

Hive cool cool

Holmes: Sherlock & Mycroft cool cool

Imperial Settlers

Inis

Karuba

Kemet

The King's Abbey

Kingsburg

Last Friday

Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game

Last Will

Letters from Whitechapel

Level 7 [Omega Protocol]

Lords of Waterdeep

Lost Cities cool cool

Mage Wars Academy

The Manhattan Project

The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire

Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers vs. X-Men

Merchants & Marauders

Merchants & Marauders: Broadsides

Mission: Red Planet (Second Edition)

Mr. Jack

The Networks

New York 1901

Ninja Camp

The North Sea Runesaga

Onitama cool cool

Othello cool cool

Orléans: Deluxe Edition

Penny Press

The Pillars of the Earth

Power Grid

The Prodigals Club

Puerto Rico

The Pursuit of Happiness

Quadropolis Classic Variant

Quadropolis Expert Variant

Race for the Galaxy

Raptor cool cool

Risk: Star Wars Edition cool

Room 25 cool cool

Royals

Rum & Bones

Run, Fight, or Die!

San Juan (Second Edition) cool

Santorini cool cool

Scythe

Seasons

Shakespeare

Small World cool cool

Snow Tails

Sola Fide: The Reformation

Specter Ops

Splendor cool

Star Realms

Star Trek: Fleet Captains

Star Trek: Frontiers

Star Wars: Imperial Assault

Star Wars: Rebellion

Stockpile

Stone Age

Stratego cool cool

Stronghold (2nd edition) cool

Summoner Wars

Survive: Escape from Atlantis!

Sushi Go! cool

Tail Feathers

Terraforming Mars

Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization

Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride: Europe

Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries

Ticket to Ride: Märklin cool

Ticket to Ride: Switzerland

Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 1 – Team Asia & Legendary Asia

Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 2 – India & Switzerland

Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 3 – The Heart of Africa

Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 4 – Nederland

Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 5 – United Kingdom & Pennsylvania

Tides of Time

Tikal

Trickerion: Legends of Illusion

Twilight Squabble

Twilight Struggle

Ultimate Warriorz cool

Valeria: Card Kingdoms

Valley of the Kings

The Voyages of Marco Polo

Wizards of the Wild

Welcome Back to the Dungeon

Welcome to the Dungeon cool cool

The World of Smog: On Her Majesty's Service cool

World of Yo-Ho cool cool

World's Fair 1893

Xiangqi

YINSH cool

Zombies vs Cheerleaders cool cool

We may add other games to the list as time goes on, but in the meantime, LET THE GAMES BEGIN!

Patrick is back in the lead 26 - 25.
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1. Board Game: Chess [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:453] [Average Rating:7.11 Unranked]
Board Game: Chess
Jason Vicente

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Connecticut
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February 14, 2016: My son, Patrick, chose our first battleground. His favorite game is Chess. He's in a couple of Chess clubs and studies the game every week playing three to four hours per and participates in local tournaments where he has won trophies. Not bad for a 13 year old. He's improved a great deal and expected to destroy his Dad. Though Patrick wanted to be white, we chose sides randomly. Patrick prefers playing white because he can immediately adopt an aggressive strategy. As chance would have it, he was white for both games. His aggression paid off in our first game as he quickly got me on the ropes and relentlessly attacked my pieces finishing me off within 20 moves. His aggression failed in the second game. Using the modern defense opening I was able to concentrate my king's knight and king's bishop in a powerful alignment with pawns as buffers followed by a castle resulting in my king being safely nestled amongst knight, bishop, rook and several pawns. Despite this apparently impregnable defense Patrick quickly broke it down leaving me with little more than a pawn to hide behind. Unfortunately for him, breaking down my defenses cost him his queen. Whittling away at his pieces I finally checkmated him after a promoted pawn joined my remaining knight and rook to trap his king. So right now this portion of the tournament stands at 1 - 1.

February 21, 2016: So this past week I spent a few hours reviewing chess openings published by thechesswebsite on Youtube - a great resource. I decided to implement the Ponziani opening which was stated to be a rarely used white attack - one that enables black to hang himself. Given my son's impetuousness it felt like the perfect strategy. I executed the opening as instructed. My son followed precisely the line of action described in the video, but after exchanging 7 or 8 moves I forgot what I was supposed to do. Mayhem ensued. My son quickly dismantled my defenses and checkmated me. A brutal beginning to a Sunday morning that would not improve once we moved our attention to 7 Wonders Duel.
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2. Board Game: 7 Wonders Duel [Average Rating:8.10 Overall Rank:16]
Board Game: 7 Wonders Duel
Jason Vicente

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February 21, 2016: After a humbling defeat at Chess, I felt confident in picking 7 Wonders Duel to have my revenge. What hubris!!! We purchased the game a month or so ago and in our first play I enjoyed a military victory that left my son visibly distressed. "How could the old man beat me in such a strategic game?" I felt certain he would focus on the military strategy enabling me to get a win either through Scientific Supremacy or Civilian Victory. I immediately started collecting science cards and by the middle of the second round needed only one more symbol to win. But that one symbol proved elusive. When they came up, my son sold them before I could get to them. The end result, my son scored 50 victory points while I had 45.

The second game proved more humbling for me. Aware of the science victory strategy, my son took precautions collecting science cards immediately. He scored the Strategy Progress token that adds one more attack when playing military cards. This would deal me a devastating blow at the end. My son quickly accumulated resources and built his wonders, but left one undone - Mausoleum, which allows you to build a discarded card. During the third round, my money was low and a 3 attack military card costing 8 coin (the Courthouse) came up. Unable to purchase it, I thought I saved myself by selling it for coin. That's when my son completed the Mausoleum wonder searched through the discard deck to pull and play Courthouse which when combined with the Strategy Progress token scored him four attacks giving him a military victory half way through the third round. Oh the shame of it!
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3. Board Game: The Duke [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:535]
Board Game: The Duke
Jason Vicente

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February 27, 2016. Unbelievable! Has my thirteen year old son eclipsed me??? Patrick is now on a five game winning streak with one of his strongest games coming up - DC Comics Dice Masters: Justice League. We played Duke twice today because that's all it took for Patrick to win this portion of the challenge. The games are hard to describe but essentially he kept my Duke running while adding new tiles until I was trapped. I'm still scratching my head wondering what went wrong. And his trash talking is only getting worse.
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4. Board Game: DC Comics Dice Masters: Justice League [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:1226] [Average Rating:7.36 Unranked]
Board Game: DC Comics Dice Masters: Justice League
Jason Vicente

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Connecticut
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March 7, 2016: Today we started our DC Dice Masters portion of our tournament. This has been a true strength of Patrick's with rarely a win coming my way. Recently, however, I have enjoyed a run of wins in games other family members typically dominate. For example, I've had decisive victories in Stone Age our last two family game nights, a game my wife never lost until last week. So despite the stench of impending doom I entered the battlefield seeking to inhale the fresh air of faith.

Patrick fielded Aquaman: Orin; Batman: World's Greatest Detective; Black Manta: Artificial Gills; Captain Cold: Master of Absolute Zero; Catwoman: Femme Fatale; Flash: Connected to the Speed Force; and, breaking a little from the DC universe, Hulk: Gamma Powered; Rocket Raccoon: "Blam! Murdered You."

My team consisted of Aquaman: Arthur Curry; Batman: Bruce Wayne; Firestorm: Atom Rearranger; Hawkman: World's Finest Attacker; Robin: Boy Wonder; Superman: Man of Steel; Wonder Woman: Champion of Themyscria; and Zatanna: Actual Magician. My focus was on putting a majority of reasonably costing Justice League members on the team including ones that reduced the cost of purchasing (Aquaman) and fielding (Wonder Woman) heroes.

As usual Patrick came on strong first getting a Flash and Aquaman then getting a Hulk with whom he would try to dominate the battlefield. He struck the first blow giving me 8 damage. Though I did not obtain a powerful die like the Hulk, I collected many 3s and 4s allowing me to chip away. He again used Hulk to bring me down to 3, but left himself open with no defenders and 11 hit points remaining. My Wonder Woman enabled me to field Firestorm and Zatanna. With no one standing in their way they attacked wiping out all of Patrick's hit points. Hooray!!! Hopefully, another victory will put this game in the win category tomorrow and we can move on to games where the old man has an edge.

March 9, 2016: In the spirit of the Miracle on Ice, I defeated the Russians - well my cocky thirteen year old son - in one of his strongest games. Using the same character cards previously assembled we played one of the longest games of DC Dice Masters we have ever had - well over half an hour. Patrick kept whittling away at the team I would field, but eventually the lower cost of purchasing and fielding my team allowed me to accumulate a force he could not stop. With three attacks I brought him down to 1. At one point he assembled enough fire power to destroy me in one shot but again the lower cost of fielding dice afforded me by the Wonder Woman card enabled me to amass a defense sufficient to ward off his attack. Finally, Patrick had three dice on the field while I had two. I needed two more to get one attacker through to finish him off. Fortunately, I was able to field three more dice to end the game. An unexpected but very much welcomed victory. Hopefully this will turn the tournament around.
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5. Board Game: Stratego [Average Rating:6.09 Overall Rank:2534]
Board Game: Stratego
Jason Vicente

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Connecticut
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March 14, 2016: My son and I played the first game of Stratego today. It's a game I've played for many years developing various feints and traps. Although Patrick has grown more aware of my tactics he's still fooled by some. For this game I placed my flag in the center of the last row, surrounded it with a 5, 6 and 7 and then surrounded the group with 5 bombs. This enables me to quickly dispose of the miner after the diffusion of one of my bombs and makes it difficult for my opponent to pinpoint the position of my flag since the bombs protect a relatively large area as opposed to the one spot they usually protect in a corner. Being a chess player, my son was trading pieces with me to clear the board in hopes of finding my flag. We traded generals, captains and colonels. Noticing what he moved and didn't move I was able to locate his flag - in a corner as usual - and capture it while he still could not find mine. After capturing his flag, Patrick turned over five of my pieces before finding my flag. He was sure it was the first piece he turned over.

March 16, 2016: We completed the Stratego portion of the challenge today. This time I used a symmetrical setup to lure my son to the wrong end of the board. In the first game I setup my flag as follows in the center of the board:

[-------------------------Bomb-----------------------]
[--------------------Bomb 7 Bomb-------------------]
[-----------------Bomb 6 Flag 5 Bomb-------------]

For the second game I did the following:

[Bomb--------------------------------Bomb]
[7 Bomb---------------------------Bomb 7 ]
[Flag 6 Bomb-------------------Bomb 6 5 ]

Based on the first game, Patrick thought I hid my flag in the center again. He realized late in the game that my flag must be in a corner and picked the wrong one. By the time he penetrated the decoy on my right flank and realized his mistake, I was able to destroy all of his miners that he lined up in his last rank with my colonel. Then it was just a matter of finding his unprotect flag for the victory.
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6. Board Game: Risk: Star Wars Edition [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:872]
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Jason Vicente

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March 16, 2016: After completing the Stratego leg of our tournament we started learning how to play Risk: Star Wars Edition for the next challenge. Patrick played the rebels while I was the Empire. Many have stated that the rebels enjoy an unfair advantage in this game. Admittedly, the victory can come quite easily and quickly for the rebels once the shield is disabled since a single roll of a 6 can end the game. That's exactly what happened here. Early in the game Darth Vader and the Emperor defeated Luke. I destroyed all but six of the 52 rebel ships including the Millennium Falcon scoring bonus card after bonus card. My attacks were relentless. Throughout the game my son's frustration was apparent. Yet, on the brink of losing he finally disabled the shield got four B-Wing fighters next to the Death Star and rolled two 6s out of the four chucked. A victory grabbed from the jaws of defeat. Fortunately, since we were just learning the game, we agreed this would not count toward the tournament. We hope to start this part of the challenge tomorrow.

March 18, 2016: We played three games of Risk: Star Wars Edition and the Empire won all three times. It wasn't even close. Unfortunately, my son was the Empire twice. I will have to review the Board Game Geek entry for this game and look into the rule modifications. After hearing how easy it was for the Rebels to win, I'm stunned at how easy it is for the Empire to completely dominate. In the first game (I was the Empire), I focused on defeating Luke and then poured out as much of my tie fighter fleet onto the board keeping them between the Rebel fleet and the Death Star. An easy victory. In the latter two games my son embraced the role of the Empire (we switched sides for the second game and then picked sides for the third game randomly) announcing each anticipated destruction of a sector of my fleet with typical braggadocio. Despite defeating Vader in the first game and redeeming him in the second it simply wasn't enough. Patrick focused on getting more bonus cards, attacking the Millennium Falcon first then clearing sectors and destroying fleet markers with the Death Star. The relentless number of cards he accumulated didn't give me a moment to catch my breath. He'd play a bonus card, clear another sector and get another bonus card destroy a fleet marker and get two more bonus cards. It was brutal!
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7. Board Game: Baseball Highlights: 2045 [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:452]
Board Game: Baseball Highlights: 2045
Jason Vicente

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Connecticut
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March 20, 2016: I have never beaten my son in this game. I don't know why he has my number when it comes to this particular game, but he does. Today was no different. He used the Baltimore Orioles (he loves the color orange) while I played with the Pittsburgh Pirates (although a Yankee fan I have a deep reverence for the Pirates because of fellow Puerto Rican Roberto Clemente's tenure with the team). So we had a rematch of the 1971 and 1979 World Series except Pittsburgh would not overcome Baltimore this time around. Patrick always builds his teams around speed assembling an offensive juggernaut. Even with cards canceling hits and picking off runners, it simply wasn't enough to stop his machine. He won the World Series 4 - 1 scoring an average of 7 runs per game.

March 27, 2016: For our second game Patrick and I kept our teams from our last bout. I decided to adopt a different tack this time focusing on increasing the amount of currency free agents provided to purchase future free agents during the regular season rounds in order to bolster my roster in preparation for the World Series. The regular season games were irrelevant. Nonetheless, I won the regular season games and dominated during the World Series winning 4-1.

The rubber match proved a nail biting experience. We decided to start with new teams. Patrick played as the Cincinnati Reds, while I used the Kansas City Royals. Patrick figured out my previous strategy mimicking it so that our rosters were quite comparable throughout. Indeed, he probably had an edge winning the regular season series and taking a 3-2 lead in the World Series. Nonetheless, strong defense - canceling hit after hit and picking the off runners as well as an excellently timed double play - kept me far enough ahead to take the last two games and win the World Series, a remarkable victory given that today was the first time I ever beat Patrick in Baseball Highlights 2045.
 
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8. Board Game: BattleLore (Second Edition) [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:221]
Board Game: BattleLore (Second Edition)
Jason Vicente

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Connecticut
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April 8, 2016: My son and I spent the last couple of weeks learning and playing Battlelore 2nd Edition in preparation for this tournament. Today we played our first "official" game. Patrick's trash talking became worse since he defeated me during our test run (Daqan 16, Uthuk 14). For this game Patrick played as the Uthuk in order to show me how to properly use that faction while I played as the Daqan. We mustered our own armies both opting to include command tents for the extra five muster points - not necessarily the best decision as you will see. Patrick used the Howling Giant Hills scenario and I the Blind Muir Forest. Patrick included an army of three sets of Flesh Ripper Brutes, two groups of Obscenes, several Viper Legions and the Chaos Lord excluding any Blood Harvesters. My army included two sets of Riverwatch Riders, a group of Rune Golems, three legions of Citadel Guards, four of Yeoman Archers and the Roc Warrior. Patrick immediately sought to take my command tent to earn the two victory points available for its destruction. Using his Obscenes he was able to capture it. I countered by sending several units including my Roc Warrior to extricate the Obscenes,but Patrick was ready playing the Lore card Bone Spurs which protected the Obscenes from any damage while causing the attacker to inflict damage on himself. It was a brilliant countermove that cost me my the Command Tent and gained Patrick 2 victory points. Unfortunately for Patrick, much of my force lay near his Command Tent and two turns later, I regained the two victory points I lost. What remained was to keep him off the victory point spaces while I maintained a strong presence in the middle (as required by the Blind Muir Forest to earn victory points)and kept possession of at least one of my victory point spaces. I used a Calvary command card attacking one of Patrick's Viper Legions that possessed a victory point space since the beginning of the game. The enhanced attack enabled me to send the Vipers into retreat allowing me to advance and take over the victory point space giving me the three victory points needed to win 16 to 12.

April 10, 2016: Today we played the second game of the BattleLore (Second Edition) challenge for our tournament. Patrick played the Daqan while I was the Uthuk. We both opted out of including Command Tents given our experience with them in the first game. Patrick fielded three sets of Riverwatch Riders, two groups of Golems, two groups of Yeoman Archers, one troop of Citadel Guards and the Roc Warrior. I had the Chaos Lord, five sets of Blood Harvesters, one group of Viper Legions, a group of Obscenes and two sets of Flesh Ripper Brutes. The board contained only two spaces with victory points making their accumulation more difficult. Indeed we came close to wiping each other out. Patrick focused on eliminating my Blood Harvesters while I sought to get rid of his Roc Warrior. My slow moving Chaos Lord proved useless. Near the end of the game, Patrick had only one Riverwatch Rider and one Yeoman Archer. Yet, playing the Assault Lore card enabled him to destroy the Chaos Lord leaving me with only the Obscenes left. Each side rushed to the available victory point spots to accumulate the necessary 16 for the win. Patrick's more mobile troops reached his spot first while my lumbering Obscene took a couple of turns to reach the closest victory point spot. The result: Patrick 16, Me 15.

You can find a couple of images from this gaming session here which include my first attempt at painting miniatures - the Obscenes are just awful, but the Roc Warrior and Chaos Lord aren't too bad:

Board Game: BattleLore (Second Edition)

Board Game: BattleLore (Second Edition)

Board Game: BattleLore (Second Edition)

Board Game: BattleLore (Second Edition)


April 16, 2016: Absolutely brutal! Not only did I lose, but it was a humiliating loss: 16 to 3. This game demonstrates the importance of proper troop deployment. As the Uthuk, I played the Staking a Claim scenario while Patrick's Daqan again played the Barrow Mounds of the Gatesmen. This placed two victory point space on my right flank. Since Patrick needed to control hills to obtain victory points with his Golems, I focused much of my calvary (the Flesh Rippers) on my left flank where his only hills resided. I placed the Viper Legions and Blood Harvesters on the right flank believing they could easily control the two victory point spaces in their area. I was wrong. Patrick placed his entire calvary on my right flank. Since he went first he immediately took over those victory point spaces. I spent the first three turns trying to remove him from those victory point spaces unsuccessfully. After three turns I was down 9 VP to none. I finally knocked Patrick off of the two victory point spaces and started collecting a VP here and there but Patrick countered every Lore card I played destroying my plans. On the final turn, he regained control of a hill with a Golem and the two victory point spaces and simply ended the game without further battle.
 
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9. Board Game: Othello [Average Rating:6.10 Overall Rank:2668] [Average Rating:6.10 Unranked]
Board Game: Othello
Jason Vicente

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Connecticut
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April 18, 2016: Despite my recommendation against it, my son insisted on adding Othello to our list of games. This is a game I've never lost and the strategy is fairly simple: get the corners then the side spaces. It was nice to come back and serve some humble pie after my humiliating loss in Battlelore 2nd Edition. I won the two games we played 55 to 9 and 52 to 11. In the last game Patrick had no legal moves to use his last piece. Next up, Small World!
 
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10. Board Game: Small World [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:241] [Average Rating:7.27 Unranked]
Board Game: Small World
Jason Vicente

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Connecticut
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April 29, 2016: We played Small World today. Initially we planned to play Specter Ops, but Patrick changed his choice last minute. He started off strong in the first game using Mounted Ghouls to take a wide swath of territory. Given that Ghouls continue to attack after entering decline, Patrick placed them into decline after two turns and turned to Seafaring Sorcerers. He used the Seafaring power to add the water spaces to his cache of territory knowing that he will not lose them to me in later battles. My strategy was similar using the Wealthy Dwarves to accumulate gold early and hoping to keep mines to get the bonuses while in decline, but Patrick wiped them out fairly quickly. I then adopted the Peace Loving Amazons which allowed me to wipe out the declining Ghouls and still get the 3 gold peace loving bonus. I then turned to the Lava Slingmen which did not provide enough power to grab territory despite their ability to attack on non-adjacent lands. Patrick finished me off with Alchemist Pixies which swallowed up a ton of territory. The result: Patrick 97 Dad 62.

The second game did not start well for Patrick. He started with the Berserk Wizards which did not give him the strength he thought it would. He only conquered four territories and decided on an immediate decline. I had better luck with the Pillaging Kobolds that provide a nice large army and allowed me to whip through the native tribes getting pillaging bonuses along the way. This established a strong lead that I was able to defend with the Underworld Ice Witches that provided opportunities to attack non-adjacent territories and use snow globes for added defense. Patrick struck back with the Fireball Shrubmen, which allowed him to permanently maintain forest territories. He then used Copycat Skeletons to obtain the second power of Hordes allowing him to conquer quite a bit of territory while adding more Skeleton troops. Nonetheless, I followed with Hordes of Halflings which quickly gobbled up much of the territory Patrick had taken. He just didn't have the time to make up for the initial failure of his Berserk Wizards. Dad 90 Patrick 67.

The rubber game played out similar to the second game, but Patrick made some innovative decisions to attempt a comeback. He started with Heroic Igors but failed to take advantage of the heroes resulting in the combination underperforming. The Bivouacking Priestesses allowed me to establish a well protected tower that gave me four gold each turn for a few turns before Patrick took Dragon Master Giants using the dragon to destroy the tower. He moved on to Were-Leprechauns distributing pots of gold through the territories he conquered knowing I was unable to conquer and steal them. On top of the conquered territories, he gained an additional five gold with this tack. I turned to the Mercenary Barbarians which gave me a large army and the ability to reduce by two the number of troops needed to conquer a territory for one gold each. I spent quite a bit but cleared most of the board assuring victory. I took the Hill Goblins to Patrick's obvious disappointment, which let me build on that lead. Up against what seemed certain defeat Patrick went down the line of available available races to purchase the Marauding Homunculi. This allowed him to wage two campaigns which was a brilliant move. It just didn't pan out. Final score: Dad 83 Patrick 57.

We watched Rodney Smith teach Stronghold 2nd Edition on his Watch It Played channel as well as having a playthrough to prepare for that portion of the tournament. I was the Defenders and Patrick the Invaders. Patrick resorted to some unusual gameplay strategies which I'm sure he will revamp once we start play for the tournament. Given the length of time the game takes we may play other shorter games between plays of Stronghold.
 
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11. Board Game: Stronghold (2nd edition) [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:1023] [Average Rating:7.56 Unranked]
Board Game: Stronghold (2nd edition)
Jason Vicente

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May 1, 2016: Our most contentious game to date. A disagreement regarding breaching the walls resulted in an extensive review of rules, FAQs, Rodney Smith's Watch It Played video and a request for information on a Boardgamegeek forum. Apparently, my 13 year-old son understood the rules better than I. I was the invader and he defended the stronghold. My theme for the game was relentlessness. Keep on attacking sending troops after troops; sacrificing some but making sure to reduce Patrick's defenses. When my catapults and trebuchets did not knock down walls I detonated orcs to remove those defenses. Patrick persistently trained troops maximizing the strength of his army. In the middle of the game, Patrick gave up the use of the workshop to get more hour glasses to continue training his army. This made it easier to reduce the number of walls he had for defense. By the end of the sixth round 50% of Patrick's walls were gone. At the end of the last round we had the following situations at five different wall sections:

First, Invader had three trolls, two orcs and a banner on one wall (total strength 14). Defender had one wall section and four soldiers (total strength 9). defender loses two soldiers.

Second, Invader had two trolls, an Orc and a banner (total strength of 9). The defender had two veterans (total strength of 6). Invader advantage of 3. Defender loses a veteran leaving him with one veteran.

Third, Invader had two trolls, a goblin and a fury of goblins order (total strength 9). Defender had two soldiers, one marksmen and the green hero (total strength 7). Invader had an advantage of resulting in the defender losing a soldier.

Fourth, Invader had one troll, four orcs and a banner (total strength of 12). Defender had two veterans, a soldier and the red hero (total strength of 11). No losses.

Fifth, Invader had five orcs and a goblin (total strength 11) the defender had two soldiers and a marksmen (total strength of 5). This means the invader would have an advantage of 6 which would be enough to breach the walls! Patrick, however, was able to use unearthly glare to prevent the resolution of melee at this particular wall section. Consequently, no breaches occurred and Patrick won the game.

May 6, 2016: Having learned my lesson from the last game, I took a different approach this time. Instead, of "relentless" attack at various locations, I sought to focus and overwhelm. I started by attacking my left flank because of the marauders you can obtain when passing the far rampart, but Patrick laid traps and built caldrons that closed much of that area off for my troops. This lead to my shifting focus to the right flank, sending orcs to detonate walls leaving Patrick without walls by the fifth turn on that flank except for one section. I had an overwhelming force at one wall with a siege tower. Patrick would drop unearthly glare on that section to prevent the breach. I added a quartermaster to give me some maneuverability to quickly bring forces from the foreground to the walls that Patrick left less protected. On turn six I had formidable forces on each of Patrick's wall sections on the right flank completely abandoning any attack on his left flank. He didn't seem to think things through and left one of the sections poorly defended, resulting in a breach as I brought 4 trolls to bash through the only walled section. Our next play, I will be the defender.

May 13, 2016: Well, there are times when my thirteen year old son can make me look quite foolish. Today was one of those days. As the invader, Patrick took a minimalist approach trying to keep the number of hour glasses I received down and it was like trying to find water in a desert. I used spies in an attempt to increase the number of units he needed to build items, which helped a bit. Patrick, however, did very little maneuvering. He built a siege tower on my left flank, but I blocked it. Of course this left my right flank open. So Patrick built a siege tower for that flank and accumulated 6 trolls which he deployed against the front wall section there. I became so concerned with that attack, moving my forces to that area, that I neglected a wall section on my left flank thinking Patrick had abandoned the attack in that area, but he didn't and took advantage of my neglect winning in four rounds. Devastating!
 
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12. Board Game: Arcadia Quest [Average Rating:7.74 Overall Rank:160] [Average Rating:7.74 Unranked]
Board Game: Arcadia Quest
Jason Vicente

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Connecticut
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May 15, 2016: Today we started Arcadia Quest. We played a pre-season game in the District of Hammers. Patrick selected Johann, Nibbles and Greensleeves as his heroes while I opted for Darryn, Scarlet and Wisp. Patrick took a bold approach quickly killing one of my heros (Darryn) and completing the "Find the Lost Weapons" quest to obtain the victory as well as a nifty hammer as a reward. He then selected the Moon Gate scenario for our first official tournament play. This proved more challenging with more monsters and objectives that proved more difficult to access especially after monsters began spawning. We both took to killing monsters with some of our advanced attacks that gave us numerous dice to use in melee. I was probably too timid about attacking Patrick's hero fearing my characters would die - which they did anyway without consequence since they pulled "no curse" cards later. Nonetheless, Patrick killed a Hammer Beastman to get to the gate control, closing the gate, earning the victory and the title of Guardian of the Gate. This may prove to be a fairly quick part of this tournament.

You can see a couple of pictures of the game here with minis I painted:

Board Game: Arcadia Quest

Board Game: Arcadia Quest


May 18, 2016: As predicted, this proved to be a short a quick battle. As the winner of the previous game, Patrick chose the Manor as the next scenario. Patrick played aggressively, dispatching one of my characters (Wisp) and then sending all of his characters up against Schmetterling. Although his attack seems powerful - his attack of four dice fall upon all close enemies - when one fails to roll more than one hit, the impact is minimal. I tried to get to Schmetterling from the other side hoping that Patrick wouldn't be able to finish him off and I could get him on my next turn. Sadly, Schmetterling fell at the hands of Johann and Patrick took another victory.
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13. Board Game: World of Yo-Ho [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:3893]
Board Game: World of Yo-Ho
Jason Vicente

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Connecticut
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May 22, 2016: Today we learned the innovative and exciting game World of Yo-Ho. It is a beautifully designed game and quite intuitive requiring little rules explanation. By the end of the trial game, which I won, both my son and I felt we mastered the game's mechanics. In the first tournament game, Patrick demonstrated that he mastered the art of warfare. During the first half of the game we both completed missions accumulating clams and reputation. At this point I had a substantial lead. Patrick, however, collected some deadly weaponry and spent the second half of the game chasing me and engaging in battles, most of which he won. With 654 points to my credit, I positioned myself to complete the mission of find the sacred cow that would have given me enough points to eclipse the 700 needed to win the game. Patrick would not have it. He came up to me and attacked again. My arsenal was depleted. I only had one cannon ball to use during the battle. The result was a victory for Patrick in the battle and the overall game as he gained enough reputation points to reach 736.

May 27, 2016: We played the World of Yo-Ho twice today. The game had some surprises with equipment and weapons we had not previously seen, which made the battles more exciting. Patrick defeated me in one battle using a fire cannon ball that kept increasing in strength each round. Thus, even though I used 5 weapons and he only 2, I lost the battle. Nonetheless, I was able to accumulate 715 victory points rapidly completing missions while Patrick lagged far behind with only 310. In the second game, Patrick changed his tack focusing on missions. Nevertheless, the luck of the draw placed many missions side by side for me making it easier to quickly complete them. I won 718 to 477.
 
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14. Board Game: Mage Wars Academy [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:1635] [Average Rating:7.24 Unranked]
Board Game: Mage Wars Academy
Jason Vicente

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Connecticut
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May 22, 2016: In addition to starting the World of Yo-Ho portion of the tournament, we also took the time to do our pre-tournament play of Mage Wars Academy. This is far more complex than the World of Yo-Ho and it took a fairly long time to work through the game as we frequently looked up different spells and effects. Nonetheless, the game proved quite enjoyable and a nail biter. Patrick always believes that the best defense is a great offense. Consequently, he rarely used the guard action to protect his wizard. As the Beastmaster, I conjured up many beasts to protect me and attack Patrick. He saved up his mana to conjure powerful attackers and developed his Lightning Raptor to it's full charge capability. Thus, while I whittled away at his unprotected Wizard, he would destroy beasts with one or two attacks, trying to get to my mage. He finally did scoring big damage against him. It became intense as I cast heal spells and increased my life points hoping to last long enough to use my Razorback to attack and finish of his Wizard. At the beginning of the game, Patrick's dice rolls were persistently good, while mine rarely landed any damage, but when it came to the end of the game fortunes reversed. Despite being within 4 damage of killing my mage, Patrick rolled two weak attacks leaving me with just one life point. I needed 5 to defeat him and used my Razorback with an enhanced melee attack granted by an enchantment and rolled six critical hits giving me the victory. Despite winning, I am not confident that victory will grace me again in this game during this tournament. Patrick is already plotting a new course mulling over the mistakes - as few as they were - that he made during this first play.

June 10, 2016: The kid just finds a combination he likes and uses it relentlessly. Here, as the Wizard, he combined the Lightning Raptor and Sailfin Hydra with Giant Size to get 5, 6, 7 or even 8 attack dice while raising his life by 5 for a few rounds. He would plow through any guards I put up and get a large hit on my mage. True, my rolls were ridiculously bad and his ridiculously good. I shot nothing but blanks while he got multiple crits per roll. The result is that he dominated both tournament games. Patrick chose Food Chain Magnate for our next game.
 
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15. Board Game: Food Chain Magnate [Average Rating:8.15 Overall Rank:28]
Board Game: Food Chain Magnate
Jason Vicente

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Connecticut
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June 13, 2016: Today we began our tournament play of Food Chain Magnate. What a brilliant game it is. I've played it continuously on Boardgamecore.net and though I've lost every game - some by huge margins - I've enjoyed everyone. My son enjoys it as well and we both thrived on the cutthroat competition the game encourages. For our first game I quickly obtained the Luxury Manager to maximize profits selling pizzas in my corner of the board. This enabled me to get to the $100 threshold to use my CEO as a CFO giving me a 50% boost in income. Patrick had a long term strategy getting a Guru then obtaining the Brand Director in hopes of filling the board with demand for burgers. He nearly turned the board around to his benefit. but I started a lemonade marketing campaign to counter his strategy since he did not have the ability to make drinks yet. Thus the board filled with burgers and drinks and he could not fulfill the demand, while I hired some burger cooks so I could make the sales. In the end I made $342 while he made $275. It was closer than I though it would be, but the victory still went to Dad! But I am still trying to figure out why he hired 8 waitresses.

June 17, 2016: Patrick, and I had some time at the hotel before my other sons joined us for our Gaming Marathon With My Four Sons During Father's Day Weekend. So, we played Food Chain Magnate to continue our Father v. Son Two-Player Board Game Tournament . This is one of our favorite games (10.0). My son is a quick study undertaking the strategy I used previously to defeat him (cutting off a corner of business and using the luxury manager to maximize profits) to collect a good return every turn. By the time I spread my empire I could only gather modest profits losing 295 to 235.

June 25, 2016: Patrick and I played our final game of Food Chain Magnate today and again, he who gets the Luxury Manager will get the CFO power and win the game. I sold about five items per turn at $100 total after getting the CFO power. Patrick obtained a Guru, Burger Chef, Pizza Chef, and the Zeppelin Pilot to counter the strategy, but it was too little, too late as he quickly accumulated funds bankrupting the bank. I was just too far ahead. Final score Dad 615; Patrick 415. We also got the opportunity to start on our other Geeklist playlist Playing All of My Cooperative Games by playing Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game.
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16. Board Game: Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:316]
Board Game: Lost Cities
Jason Vicente

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Connecticut
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July 9, 2016: Today we played Lost Cities. Our first play was a learning exercise for Patrick which he lost, but as the quick study he is he won our first tournament play 40 to 26. I, however, came back the next two plays to win 64 to 20 and 48 to 22. These are pretty low scores compared to some of the games I've played in the past with my wife where she scored as much as 240 points. The problem here appears to be lack of focus where Patrick and I commenced too many expeditions losing significant points on some while not accumulating the eight card bonuses on those expeditions we successfully completed. This is a cool game with tons of replayability and many strategies to try.
 
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17. Board Game: Battle Line [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:217]
Board Game: Battle Line
Jason Vicente

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Connecticut
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July 20, 2016: Patrick and I learned Battle Line yesterday and completed our tournament play of the game today. It looked pretty bleak for me. Patrick won our "Spring training" game and my first win was invalidated because of a rules error. Patrick eked out a win for the first official game 5 flags to 4 leaving me in a hole. I came back strong, however, winning the next 2 games 5-3 and then a dominating 5-1. It was nice to squelch the trash talking. Interestingly, my wife, who recently declared a moratorium on learning new games, watched Patrick and I play then asked if she could play with me. She's played Battle Line at least a half dozen times with me or my son since then. That's a great testament for how much fun the game is. I recommend it whole heartedly.
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18. Board Game: Backgammon [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:1246]
Board Game: Backgammon
Jason Vicente

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Connecticut
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July 25, 2016: We played three games of Backgammon today. Patrick did quite well learning a bit about playing the odds and winning the first game. Experience, however, won out in the final two games as I dominated with Patrick only getting 3 to 5 pieces off the board by the time I claimed victory.
 
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19. Board Game: Raptor [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:365]
Board Game: Raptor
Jason Vicente

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Connecticut
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July 25, 2016: We started our play of Raptor today. Surprisingly, this is a game that Patrick feels he does not play well. I think he underestimates his skill. When we previously played this game (twice) he played the raptors while I played the scientists. I won both games. Convinced that the game is unbalanced to the benefit of the scientists Patrick opted for the white lab coats this time. He did well setting fires to block escape routes for the baby raptors on the end of the board where they congregated. But I had the mama raptor aggressively pursue the scientists eating six of the ten before the game ended. I also used the vanish card to move mama across the board and then called the babies to her. With only one living scientist on the board the path was clear. Patrick had captured one baby raptor, but I had the requisite three escape to win the game.

July 27, 2016: We finished our tournament play of Raptor today. Patrick decided to be the raptors now convinced it is easier to go around eating scientists than capturing live dinosaurs. This certainly proved to be the case in the first game we played today. I sought to trap Patrick's raptors with fire while the raptors relentlessly ate the scientists. Each time I attempted to play a card to increase the number of scientists on the board Patrick matched the card preventing me from that objective. With just one scientist left Patrick trapped me between some rocks and a baby raptor playing the 9 card to assure he would eat me leaving no scientist on the board and the victory in his hands.

The second game played similarly. My frequent attempts to add scientists met with Patrick playing the same numbered card invalidating that play. This time, however, I quickly put to sleep and captured two baby raptors while mama was on the other side of the board. With the last play, just like in the first game, I was between two rocks with baby on one side and mama on the other. With only one action point I first thought to shoot mama, but opted to put the baby to sleep in hopes of drawing a 9 to get the action point needed to capture the baby on the next turn. Well, I got lucky. The 9 came up enabling me to get the third baby raptor and win the game. It was much more fun playing today watching Patrick get into it and coming close to logging this game under his victory column.
 
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20. Board Game: Onitama [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:233]
Board Game: Onitama
Jason Vicente

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Connecticut
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July 26, 2016: Patrick usually dominates in abstract games as he did when we learned how to play Hive today. He dominated in our test game of Onitama s well. But the old man hasn't lost all of his grey matter. I started seeing moves several steps ahead knowing which movement card was coming my way. Consequently, I won the two tournament plays quickly and dominantly.
 
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21. Board Game: Hive [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:237]
Board Game: Hive
Jason Vicente

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Connecticut
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July 26, 2016: Patrick and I began learning Hive today. The rule set seems simple, but the game is quite complex. As usual when it comes to abstract game, Patrick dominated. I guess chess club, tournaments and camp really have payed off when it comes to abstract gaming. Nonetheless, I still felt uneasy about rules regarding "freedom of movement" and "splitting the hive" so I want to spend some time reviewing FAQs and the boardgamegeek Hive web page to make sure we are playing it right before we start tournament play. Some may call it sour grapes, but to me it's just necessary due diligence.

July 29, 2016: I am usually shocked when I handily beat my son in an abstract strategy game. The reason, however, is quite simple. The kid is too aggressive. Whether playing Chess, the Duke or other abstract strategy game the kid goes on the offensive seeking the jugular which a smart patient player can counter. Of course, the best way to deal with such an approach is, as my mother would say, to give him enough rope to hang himself. Patrick brought out his bee on the first move. He wanted to move his pieces from the get go. The problem with such an approach is that your queen becomes surrounded rather quickly. I usually waited until my third or fourth move placing the queen in a position that would require Patrick to help surround his own queen while he sought to surround mine. A well placed beetle and/or grasshopper allowed me to drop the final bug into place to complete the victory. Patrick was so enthralled with the game we played several times after the tournament games. Now with a hefty lead I feel quite comfortable playing some of the games Patrick has never lost like Tides of Time. My daughter had the day off from work so we also played CV which was quite nice. We also finally received The Pursuit of Happiness from the Kickstarter campaign. I'm anxious to get that to the table.
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22. Board Game: Ticket to Ride: 10th Anniversary [Average Rating:8.28 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.28 Unranked]
Board Game: Ticket to Ride: 10th Anniversary
Jason Vicente

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Connecticut
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September 12, 2016: Starting back into the Father v. Son Tournament slowly after the stroke by playing well known games with simple rules. Studies shows that this is a good fun therapeutic method for stroke victims to use. I did fairly well though I did not win. My son beat me 107 to 96 - a respectable effort on my part. My son tends to draw tickets at the end of the game hoping he can use already established routes to fulfill them. He did quite well using this strategy. We will play this again or the cooperative Burgle Bros. for Playing All of My Cooperative Games tomorrow. Patrick has baseball practice in the evening so he has a limited amount of time to spend with his old man. whistle

October 3, 2016: After playing Burgle Bros. a second time and logging a victory in the Playing All of My Cooperative Games Patrick and I challenged each other again in Ticket to Ride ... And again he won 118 to 108. During the game I discovered that I still have difficulties using working memory. We have sought to score each track as we play them since other maps require immediate scoring. Several times I had to check the math to assure the score was right. It was a struggle to add the various 1, 2, 4, 7, 10 and 15 track values. Patrick possesses amazing processing speed flying through the numbers with an almost imperceptible amount of time elapsing. I had to ask him not to score my trains so I could practice the mental task. It took me a few strenuous moments to calculate the score. Of course, there was no impact to the result of the game, but the exercise shows how much more work needs to be done.
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23. Board Game: Ticket to Ride: Märklin [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:300] [Average Rating:7.41 Unranked]
Board Game: Ticket to Ride: Märklin
Jason Vicente

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October 11, 2016: Patrick continued his dominance in Ticket to Ride games using a very different tactic in Marklin than in the original game. Instead of scrambling at the end of the game to find tickets that are pretty much fulfilled by the tracks already laid on the board, Patrick focused on accumulating large numbers with his passengers, which worked, as he beat me 159 to 145. The addition of the passengers was an interesting twist to an already good game. Patrick still enjoys the original game more but concurred with my assessment that Marklin provided a fun alternative.

October 12, 2016: I came back with a vengeance in our second game of Marklin. I quietly laid out several large tracks quickly depleting my stash of trains, while Patrick kept accumulating cards and laying small tracks. Suddenly he realized that I had fewer than 10 trains left and he still had more than 25. I was also able to complete all four tickets I kept at the beginning of the game and activate 2 passengers to accumulate a substantial number of points nearly doubling Patrick's score 187 to 94. It was a humiliating loss for Patrick, but one from which he definitely learned.

In the rubber match Patrick opted to block my paths and prevent me from completing my tickets. This proved a great strategy since, as I did in the first two games, I kept all four of the tickets dealt to me at the beginning of the game. Consequently, although I accumulated 133 points during the game I had to deduct 55 points from my final score leaving me with 78. Patrick was able to complete his tickets to get the most tickets completed tickets bonus. A brilliant change in strategy won him the game 120 to 78 and this portion of the Father v. Son Tournament.
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24. Board Game: Summoner Wars: Master Set [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:213] [Average Rating:7.52 Unranked]
Board Game: Summoner Wars: Master Set
Jason Vicente

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Connecticut
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October 17, 2016: Being tired of Patrick dominating me on the rails I opted to go head to head on Summoner Wars spuriously believing my odds would be much better. I played as the Fallen Phoenix while Patrick played as the Phoenix Elves. Patrick's strategy is to accumulate magic to summon champions. Rarely, if ever, will he summon a common card. I, on the other hand, like to litter the board with as many cards as possible. In short order he summoned the Fire Drake and Kaeseeall. Although I had the latter champion on the ropes, Patrick was able to decimate my troops with Fire Drake and his summoner Prince Elien finally killing my summoner. A quick humbling defeat!

Patrick and I have agreed not to play with the same faction more than once or with the factions used by our opponent. This will hopefully demonstrate a slightly broader knowledge of the game than if we just stuck with one faction. Of course, if I lose the next game, it may not say much.

November 1, 2016: Another humiliating defeat! Patrick chose the summoner Vlox of the Cloaks while I picked Sera Eldwyn of the Vanguards. The game went well for me at first, but by mid-game I was rolling only 1's and 2's unable to kill any of Patrick's units, while he consistently rolled hit after hit. I tried to get my archers together to score extra dice during my attacks, but after failing to make a decisive hit Patrick used his Champion Violet to kill three archers that were adjacent to one another with one throw of the dice! In the end, the only item left on my side of the board was a wall. Much sadness indeed.

Patrick has gained some ground over the last few challenges and I have yet to find his kryptonite of late. However, my knowledge of football should trump his luck in 1st & Goal. He more often than not fakes kicks or attempts onside kicks instead of making standard plays. He's also enamored of Hail Mary's and the Bomb. He's fairly predictable when it comes to this game. Let's see if I can pull off the victory to keep the lead in this tournament.
 
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25. Board Game: 1st & Goal [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:2219]
Board Game: 1st & Goal
Jason Vicente

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Connecticut
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November 17, 2016: As predicted, this was a game where I dominated Patrick. In the first gsme of the challenge Patrick played the Louisiana Locusts and I played the Milwaukee Monsters. Patrick had a few bad rolls, which combined with some superior play on my part, found me ahead 28-0 at the end of the first half. I spent the second half using run plays to quickly burn through as many cards as possible. Patrick finally got some good rolls, but not enough to bridge the chasm. Final score: Dad 35; Patrick 21.

November 17, 2016: Patrick and I agreed to use different teams similar to our agreement in Summoner Wars. Since Patrick was upset with the weak defense the Locusts provided during our first game, giving as much as 8 yards to my offense on his defense die, he found a defensive juggernaut in the St. Paul Paladins to use for our second game. I countered with a balanced Knoxville Knights team. Patrick quickly discovered that without offense it's difficult to score points. We traded field goals, but understanding the limitations of the two teams I was able to move the ball and conservatively score numerous field goals against his superior defense. I busted the game open with a lucky kick return of 53 yards and then scored on a well timed "bomb" pass. Patrick was clearly frustrated as it seemed he was powerless to reverse his fortunes. Given the beatings he recently bestowed on me I took some pleasure in his defeat. The final result: Dad 23; Patrick 3.
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