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Recent gaming: Myrmes, Mr. President, Pandemic Legacy, Battle over Britain
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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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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1. Board Game: Myrmes [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:387]
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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As in, a solid game, one that I would play again. I tried to learn Myrmes first through online play (Boite a Jeux, I think), and I was really boggled. Online is never the best medium for learning games, and this one's got enough complexity in it to make that a challenge. It's not THAT complex, but face-to-face play made it make more sense. I made a strategic error in claiming one of the bonus scores early, hoping to get those piggyback points for players doing this later in the game. That worked, but you consume one of your key pieces whenever you claim those bonuses (the ant "nurse"), and I hamstrung my game by giving a nurse up so soon. All of us then were late to realize the scoring potential over removing & overbuilding new pheromone trails. Also the strategic tradeoffs in hunting the big bugs for food (& glory!). As you can tell, there's some good thematic stuff in here.
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2. Board Game: Mr. President [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:4061]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Did I rate this 5 stars last week? I think so. I still really love this game, but have to admit that the dice play a signficant factor. The way you USE the dice mitigates their randomness (and you still need & want SOME randomness), but a lot rides on the outcome of a Presidential debate. Which, is maybe what you want in an election game. Those are important.

I was really pleased to get this back to the table so soon, since the rules were second-nature now. We had 4 players, in a 2 vs 2 partnership of VP & Pres candidates. That's the most fun way to play this game. It felt pretty close, until a debate performance near the endgame gave my side a big edge. Turns out we'd been more successful campaigning, too, which added to our advantage. In the end, our national victory was a landslide.
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3. Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 [Average Rating:8.67 Overall Rank:1]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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To be honest, this game is kind of hanging on by a thread. I enjoy it, but my goal of playing this with my mostly-nongamer wife as a couples game that tells a story is struggling. Every time, it feels like a chore for her, especially when I need to look something up or get a little confused about the new rules. For a game that everyone seems to love (#1!), there are a lot of people who agree with me that their outings suffered some rules mistakes or confusion. It doesn't bother ME so much, since we make it through. But it threatens to unhinge my overall goal.

At any rate, I tried extra hard and we made it through the March game without any errors or slowdowns. That's good! We even won, which is surprising, since we're at funding level 0 already, and playing with only two pawns. Though I understand it's about to get very intense & ugly in April. Hmmm...
 
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4. Board Game: LCR [Average Rating:3.15 Overall Rank:14756]
 
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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I've neglected to include this game when I played it earlier. You see, I'm part of a couples' "Bunco" group. I use the quotes, because we gave up on Bunco after just a few monthly sessions, and switched to LCR. I talked about this on a podcast back then. Well, the group is still going, still meeting almost monthly...and still playing LCR. I'm resigned to it. The point of the evening isn't the game, it's the socializing. It's a potluck dinner, the husbands & wives all talk, we play a couple games for low-stakes money, and then we have dessert. It's an ok time. Just about everyone else is really happy with the game, specifically because it doesn't require any concentration to get in the way of jokes & stories that keep going while we play. I can live with that.
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5. Board Game: Battle over Britain [Average Rating:7.75 Unranked]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Interesting. Another high-level, abstract model of a wargaming event by Gary Graber and Minden Games. Just when I figured I never needed to play another tactical air combat game (they're just so tedious--wargames are NOT the medium for this subject), here's this oddball. It uses a deck of cards to model the energy-based combat of WW2 fighters, where relative position is important for firing, but height/energy advantage is the real key for winning a dogfight. So here I was, playing 13 consecutive contests of Spitfires vs 109s, Hurricanes vs 110s, and even a Defiant and Stuka or two. Playing the game feels generically like a hand-management card game, but it still involves differentiated stats for the planes, and rolling on a combat results table. Even critical hits are represented. Did it feel like I was just playing a traditional card game? No. Did some Battle of Britain shine through? Yes, I'd say it did.

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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
Avatar
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robotrobotrobot Online boardgaming robotrobotrobot

Industrial Waste One of my favorite business games, albeit a lighter one.

Port Royal: Just another contract... I really like what the expansion brings to the base game.
 
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