Recent gaming: Small World, Sushi Dice, Mai-Star
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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June 12-July 24, 2016

As mentioned in my latest podcast, last week my boardgaming was in Paris . . . as it will be for a while. I’ve taken as assignment at work that has me relocating to France for nearly a year. Most of that time will be in/around Paris, and then the final months of next spring/summer will be in Toulouse. If you’re anywhere near these places, drop me a line! Though I’m very busy with my job during the week (and have big plans for weekend trips to see many things), who knows? We may be able to squeeze in a game or at least a meal some evening. To be honest, I’m still figuring out what my temporary new life is going to be like in France. It’s all very exciting for my wife & I. (The kids? They’re in college in the US.)

My first venture into boardgaming in France was via the invitingly-named “English-Speaking Boardgamers of Paris” meetup group. I’m kind of a dinosaur about meetups, as I still think in terms of email lists like it was 1998. But this is the way you meet new people & groups on the internet in 2016, and I can evolve!

-Mark



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1. Board Game: Small World [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:162] [Average Rating:7.34 Unranked]
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 almost chickened out of going, and I'm glad I overcame that feeling. Took a crowded Metro to get there, and stepped from a hot & humid street into an even warmer boardgame cafe. No one appeared to bring any games of their own--we all used games from the well-stocked shelves. Like gamers everywhere, the first obstacle was deciding how to divide into tables and determine what to play. When I saw one group coalescing around Small World, I made my way there. Not because I love the game (everyone knows I prefer Vinci), but because I already knew it. There was enough new to me this night that I thought picking a known game was a good idea.

We had five players: three Americans, one Korean, and one Frenchman. English was our common language, just as the meetup is called. The Korean guy, Kim, seemed to be a pretty avid gamer like me, and he volunteered to teach the game. It took a little bit due to everyone's varying facility with English, but we got through it. The game took over couple hours (5 player is probably not the best), and I made some poor choices, but had fun throughout.
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2. Board Game: Sushi Dice [Average Rating:5.85 Overall Rank:5860]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Two of the guys at our table needed to leave after Small World, but stuck around to play this light filler. It's no Sushi Go (), I'll tell you that. It was ok, but as just a speed dice-rolling game, there's not a lot here. It's sort of like Gamer Bunco.
 
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3. Board Game: Mai-Star [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:2118]
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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http://www.WargamesToGo.com
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Maybe could even be worth a 4th star, but I'd have to play it more to decide how swingy it could be. As a card game played over multiple hands, though, the luck should have a chance to even out. Though there's some direct action against other players, which isn't ideal. It's an attractive card game by the designer of Love Letter, but is closer to a traditional card game than LL. You're trying to go out to end a round (and avoid a scoring penalty), balancing your tactics between playing cards to your tableau for scoring (and some one-time actions), versus playing cards to simply improve your ability to play larger scoring cards later. There are three main suits, plus one more special suit with the most powerful cards that are difficult to play. I'd definitely play this again.
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