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Recent gaming: North Wind, Isle of Skye, Ra, Dr. Eureka, Cribbage, Fading Glory, LCR, Dixit Jinx, Oh Hell
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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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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1. Board Game: North Wind [Average Rating:6.41 Overall Rank:2765]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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I'm sure we all have experiences like this. North Wind is a game that's been on the bubble for me for a long time. I generally love Teuber's games, and this one has an AMAZING production. The fact that some complaints are about it being too light are a counter-signal to me...it means I'll probably like it! Finally it clicked that this was a nautical-retheme and multiplayer version of the Starship Catan system, a game I own & enjoy. I finally bought it. Got it to the table at the first opportunity, where the big, 3D cardboard ships and wooden pieces that fit into slots got oohs & ahs. Off to a good start. Then we played the game. Which wasn't bad, at all. It was just ok, the way all of those reviews & comments always said. Oh well.
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2. Board Game: Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:143]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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This was just announced as one the this year's Kennerspiel des Jahres nominees, and by mid-summer we may hear that it has won. I'd be ok with that, but it wouldn't be my pick. I like the game well enough. In fact, some parts I really enjoy, and think the overall concept is great. I've played it twice now, and both times I felt the fascinating pricing system that seems to add so much strategy to the game is a bit of a smokescreen. I think it doesn't outweigh the importance of drawing good tiles (either to protect or gouge other players as they purchase). That is, something about the money system and the points system doesn't feel properly balanced. I look forward to playing more, though, to find out. The game moves quickly, and right now everyone's kind of excited about it.
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3. Board Game: Ra [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:130]
Mark Johnson
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Boy, you can't go wrong with the classics, can you? Ra never quite reaches 5 stars for me because of the wonky scoring system. It's second-nature to most of us now, but we had a newish player, and explaining the scoring just highlighted how inelegant (if vaguely thematic) it is. But that's the only strike against this one, which is otherwise polished to a perfect finish. So smooth, with just the right amount of tension between the Ra timer tiles, the possibility of disasters, and that amazing sun-tile bidding system. A real joy.
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4. Board Game: Dr. Eureka [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:1321]
Mark Johnson
United States
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Just a quick game as a filler while someone had to step away from the Ra table for a bit. I'm happy to see publisher Blue Orange paired up with designer Roberto Fraga--they're a perfect combination. I'm looking forward to bringing Dr. Eureka to a family gathering next month, where I think it'll generate a lot of fun & laughs.
 
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5. Board Game: Dixit Jinx [Average Rating:5.80 Overall Rank:4860]
Mark Johnson
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Is this the unloved step-child of the Dixit line? If so, that's a mistake. I like this one. It's recognizably part of the Dixit family, with its "just right" level of clue ambiguity, and intriguing artwork (here more like graphic design than those dreamy paintings--still works). It's also very small & portable, and quicker.
 
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6. Board Game: Oh Hell! [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:1815]
Mark Johnson
United States
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This is my once-a-month card game group at work, where we play Up The River/Down The River in an informal league. Regular card games with regular people, and it's very good!
 
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7. Board Game: Cribbage [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:553]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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A friend at work sometimes stops by for a quick 2-player game. I didn't have anything new that I'd brought in, but we spotted my cribbage board in the cabinet. Hurray! We both love cribbage, which I think is one of the very best classic card games.
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8. Board Game: LCR [Average Rating:3.15 Overall Rank:14756]
 
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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I waffled on this one, then decided I needed to generously give it three stars. If you heard my podcast long ago, you may remember that I'm still in a couples' "Bunco" group...one that switched to LCR some time ago. The game is a braindead as you've heard, but seemingly everyone still enjoys it. Or maybe it's more accurate to say they enjoy the time playing it. I have to give the game credit for that success. One of the wives mentioned that she'd introduced it to a retirement facility, and it also went down a storm with those people. Can I really complain about a game, however stupid a game, that makes so many people happy, and gets them playing together? No, I can't. I certainly shouldn't.
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9. 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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A full five stars for excitement. I continue to have a great time playing through each of the four maps/scenarios in this simple wargame about Napoleonic battles. My opponent is new to wargaming, and this has proven to be an excellent system to start with. As simple as it is, we still dive into the rulebook to re-read about specific situations, like advance-after-combat during a cavalry countercharge. To be honest, that's part of the wargame experience...going back into the rulebook. This time we played the Battle of Smolensk, and I managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/208331/item/4637514#item4...
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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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robotrobotrobot Online boardgaming robotrobotrobot

Maori Still having fun, especially the 2-player puzzle in Pro mode
 
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