Recent gaming: Clash of the Gladiators, Raj, Maori, Speicherstadt
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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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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1. Board Game: Clash of the Gladiators [Average Rating:5.89 Overall Rank:4276]
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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Anticipating the upcoming GMT Warehouse Weekend in Hanford, I wanted to think of some "filler wargames" we could play in between the heavier stuff. I posed the question here on BGG, and got a lot of suggestions. No one thought of this one, though, which suddenly popped into my head. A Knizia dice-off about gladiators fighting each other (and animals) to the death?! I probably hadn't played this one since it was new, back in 2002. The dice play a large part in the outcome, which won't appeal to everybody. However, I think this is a good one for the purpose I had in mind.

(Now that I think about it, Colossal Arena would be another contender for the wargame filler I'm after. Except that I don't enjoy that one!)
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2. Board Game: Raj [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:1776]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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This game is the American re-issue of Alex Randolph's amazingly brilliant mechanism: the simultaneous reveal, where ties cancel. It's one of those things in gaming you figure was just always there, like rolling dice, moving a marker from space to space on a board, or high-card-wins in a tick-taking game. But no, I think Randolph invented it for Hol's der Geier. Then it was a simple card game. For once, an American publisher made it BETTER for the mass market here, replacing the scoring cards with scoring tiles, and giving it the barest of themes. When we were first discovering German games in the 1990s, Raj was one of the few titles you could go buy at an American shopping mall (back when those had toy & game stores). There have been times I've thought about getting rid of this game, because it seems so slight. But then we play it again, and it's a crowd-pleaser. Best with 4-5 players.

PS-Somewhere in my collection I own Sid Sackson's personal copy of Hol's der Geier, which I acquired as part of his estate sale. It has a little note from Alex Randolph to Sid inside, maybe just Randolph's signature. I should try to find that.
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3. Board Game: Maori [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:1570]
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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You're used to seeing this down below in my online plays, but this week I managed to get in a face-to-face play. Everyone seemed to like it. Not a lot of laughing, as everyone was quietly concentrating on their play (and we just played the basic game--imagine the Advanced or Pro versions!). I've replaced the wooden conch shell meeples with real scallop shells (small) that match the artwork on the tiles. Not really pimping it out, just a little enhancement.
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4. Board Game: The Speicherstadt [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:568]
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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I understand this game gets some grief from anyone burned out on euros. Fair enough. It's a spartan thinker of a game, especially with a full complement of players. The theme IS there, but it's admittedly the sort of mundane, real-world subject that won't excite anyone looking for orcs or starships. Maybe those are all the reasons I love it! It surprises some to learn that this is a Feld game, because it's not the sort of point salad game with many moving parts that he's known for. Consequently, it's my favorite Feld design. Well, this one and The Name of the Rose, another un-Feld design.
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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!
badge
http://www.WargamesToGo.com
Avatar
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robotrobotrobot Online boardgaming robotrobotrobot

A Few Acres of Snow I've always said the original Entdecker is my favorite game. This one is right up there, and could easily be considered my all-time favorite.

Campaign Manager 2008 Still having more fun with this than it might deserve.

Port Royal Both with and without the expansion.
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