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Recent gaming: Splendor, Treasure Hunter, Patchwork, Deep Sea Adventure, Fading Glory, Rise of the Luftwaffe, One Zero One
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 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 promoting 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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1. Board Game: Splendor [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:103]
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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A bonus star this time, since my own feelings about the game are more lukewarm. But I have to admit that everyone else seems to love it, and it was a perfect pick to play with some new people. We had a a passerby who happened to be a young German woman on a business trip to America. She said she mostly plays Dog and Cheating Moth with her friends back home in Bavaria. She quickly took to Splendor and tied me for the win. Meanwhile, the guy who brought & taught it has his young (10? 12?) son play with us, and he did great. That's a winner of a game for a public group.
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2. Board Game: Treasure Hunter [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:1193]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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I continue to really enjoy this light drafting game, and look forward to the expansion. This particular outing I couldn't do anything right, and Greg stole my strategy of cashing in on the dogs, helped by the goblin scoring bonus tile. He crushed us!
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3. Board Game: Patchwork [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:49]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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I am really horrible at this game, which I love. I can beat the AI (medium) in the iOS version, but against a real opponent my record is something like 0-5. That includes games against first-timers, like the one against Vanessa(?) at B&N. I've been beaten by not having enough buttons on my quilt, and being too poor. I've been beaten by spending too much to get patches with buttons...that led me to finish my quilt with too much open space. I guess the winning strategy is the balance I haven't found yet.
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4. Board Game: Deep Sea Adventure [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:542]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Pricey for a little box, but I swear I've gotten more plays & successful game outings (where everyone is laughing, enjoying themselves) out of this little Japanese boardgame than almost anything else the past year. It's been a huge success.
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5. Board Game: Fading Glory [Average Rating:7.55 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.55 Unranked]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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This wasn't at the public game night, but rather a tele-face-to-face game that my buddy DaveO and I played over Skype! I know we can play wargames remotely using Vassal, but the Napoleonic 20 system is simple enough to manage a game in a single session over video chat. We tell each other which counters are moving where, and both have game boards at our own tables. We shift the camera to watch each other roll dice. Very cool & fun. This was a rematch of our Salamanca scenario/map that we played at the GMT warehouse. This week we have plans to try the Borodino scenario. I know the system has its limitations and detractors, but I love it.

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6. Board Game: Rise of the Luftwaffe [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:2060] [Average Rating:7.06 Unranked]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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This was the Battle of Britain campaign game, which I solo'd as part of my current wargame podcast series. I'd playtested the new version for Wild Blue Yonder at the GMT warehouse a couple weeks ago, and wanted to see what the earlier, simpler version of the campaign was like. I never thought to play Down In Flames as a solo, but in practice it works about as well as traditional 2-player wargames played solo (i.e., it's fine).

As usual, I really enjoyed the exploration of the campaign. I'm beginning to feel that the execution of the individual missions is kind of a dramatic, drawn-out combat resolution system (since the play of the cards is fairly obvious), but there are some real decisions to be made in the mission option selections, and I know I made some tactical blunders in the cardplay. So perhaps there's more going on, after all. Regardless, I find it very fun to play out, and always learn something about the larger context of the conflict from the nature of the missions (targets, which planes are used, etc.)

In this outing, the British won a slightly greater than historic victory, but it wasn't a blowout by any means. That's refreshing, because in some other recent Down In Flames campaigns I was struggling to score enough points in bombing to compensate for the lost points from bombers damaged or shot down. Here the victory point balance felt better.

I don't own Guns Blazing, the other version of this system that includes a Battle of Britain campaign. I've read through the rules, though, and see enough differences that I don't think I'll track it down. If I'd never played the original Down In Flames system, I'd probably be happy with the version published by the designer's own label. As it is, though, I'll stick with my old copy.
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7. Board Game: One Zero One [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:2914]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Once in a while I get in a lunch break game with a friend at work, and keep a number of smaller games in my desk just for this purpose. Jason says he won't play En Garde with me anymore because I always win, so we're trying other games where he usually beats me. Seems that way, at least. One Zero One was the first in the "Mike Line" of little titles from Grail Games. Definitely a good one for a quick game at the office. We've still got the advanced/variant cards to try, not to mention an expansion if we want it.
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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
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robotrobotrobot Online boardgaming robotrobotrobot

Carcassonne: South Seas Having a first play online is rarely a good thing. I'll give this on the benefit of the doubt, because I was a little unclear on the new scoring system. Though I'll probably still end up thinking it's trying to fix something that wasn't broken. I'd rather just play Carc.

Carolus Magnus Another problemmatic one for me. I love the ideas in this game, but the execution always feels like the fun drained out somewhere. (Lots of Colovini games feel this way to me.)

Maori Back on the upswing, since a friend & I often play the Pro variant 2-player.

Industrial Waste About the best ultra-light business strategy game going.

Just4Fun Even when I win I don't really enjoy this. Maybe in-person it'd be better? I doubt it. Not for me.

Nations Dice A solid, nothing-wrong-with-it rating from me. Just not super exciting, either.

Port Royal We play with & without the expansion, now. I definitely enjoy the expansion.
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