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GCL Mafia 288: Repeat Performances
Dave K
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Austin
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Important Links:
GameChat League: Mafia Division Subscription Thread (links to past lists, subscribe for weekly notifications).
GameChat League Wiki (for general information about the GameChat League concept)
GCL Mafia Wiki (for specific information about this division)
Thesp's GCL Games Played Tool (an easy-to-use tool for collating your plays for the week)

Welcome to GCL Mafia Division's weekly geeklist!

GCL Mafia Members:
• Please add an item to represent your gaming life for the week of July 25 - July 31, 2016.
• List any games played along with your thoughts/opinions.
• Also, feel free to share gaming news, life updates, random thoughts, or anything else you deem appropriate.

GCL Mafia Geeklist Format:
• A weekly game might be spotlighted and discussed. The poster will pose questions about it to encourage conversation if they feel like it.
• Themed questions are optional. They can be gaming-related topics or non-gaming-related topics.
• A top five list might be posted but we've been pretty bad about this.

Current Roster:
• tallgrant
• Thesp
• Annowme
• Dolus
• ecargo
• Epsilon_Balls
• captainraffi
• Timotheous
• fdubois
• touchstonethefool
• bobcatpoet
• mith
• charlest
• Happymrdave
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1. Board Game: Repeat or You're Obsolete [Average Rating:5.50 Unranked]
Dave K
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Whether it's on a 10x10 list or reviewing a game and claiming something is better/worse because of replayability, most boardgames are expected to be entertaining to be playable multiple times.

How many plays do you generally get out of the games you have? Do you feel this is enough? What do you think is a good "baseline" for how many plays you think you should expect to get out of a game?
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2. Board Game: The New Era [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:851] [Average Rating:7.58 Unranked]
Dave K
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Austin
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Do you still actively seek out new games? (Not necessarily "the new hotness" as in "it was released recently," but new as in "games you have not played before.") What makes you more likely to seek out a game that you have not played?
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3. Board Game: Hot Numbers [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Dave K
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Now let's talk about "the new hotness," as in releases that have just come out. How much attention do you pay to the games that are coming out now? Do you pay more attention than you used to, or less? Why?
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4. Board Game: The Old Contemptibles [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:9092]
Dave K
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What makes you more likely to seek out an older game? Do you actively seek out older titles that you hear about? If yes, why?
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5. Board Game: Spare Time Bowling [Average Rating:3.90 Overall Rank:16263]
Dave K
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Austin
Texas
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I went bowling the other day, which I haven't done in many years. Do you bowl? Do you play any other "indoor sports" like shuffleboard or darts?
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6. Board Game: Favorite Five [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Dave K
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Give me some ideas for a top 5 list!

Top 5 Internet Cats

5) GrumpyCat. She's one of the most popular but I put her a little lower on the list because she's kind of a one-trick kitty.

4) Cat Food Breath. Mostly a twitter cat, there's actually not a lot of pictures of her. It's mostly her owner making cat jokes. Still a fun read for cat people.

3) Henri Le Chat Noir. A very cute tuxedo cat whose ennui and French art film appearance are a fun running gag.

2) Cole & Marmalade. A pair of rescue kitties that became internet sensations. Lots and lots of videos of them.

1) Maru-chan. A Japanese cat with an uncanny love of boxes. Maru was YouTube famous before cat videos were a big thing.


SeriousCat and BusinessCat get an honorable mention, but I don't know what their names are, and I think they're more known for meme pics than for being "internet cats."
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7. Board Game: Tales of the Arabian Nights [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:1803]
Dave K
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I've been on a bit of a narrative game kick recently, so rather than a single featured game this week, I want to have a featured game family.

How do you feel about "narrative" games? By this I mean games that have an explicit listing of narrative passages that accompany the gameplay. This frequently comes in the form of a paragraph book (such as in Tales of the Arabian Nights, or Agents of Smersh, etc), but can also be on cards (Arkham Horror).

Do you enjoy this type of game? Is there anything you feel is a particular strength or weakness of it? Do you own or plan to own anything that fits into this family?
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8. Board Game: Tournay [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:821]
Dave K
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I have made doubly sure not to accidentally include anything from last Sunday this time. For reals.

5  Elder Sign: Unseen Forces NEW!
8  Tournay NEW!
7  Tides of Time NEW!
7  Birds of a Feather NEW!

10  Advanced Squad Leader
7  Blokus
8.5  Arkham Horror
7.5  Ingenious
8  Elder Sign
8  Lost Legacy: Fourth Chronicle – The Werewolf & Undying Heart x3
8  Celestia

Elder Sign: Unseen Forces is perfectly... ehh. It doesn't really add anything especially interesting, unfortunately. It most just makes the game harder. The new characters are probably the highlight, as some of them have really neat (and sometimes very powerful) abilities. The blessed/cursed dice are okay. Being cursed _really_ sucks, but it isn't especially common. The new encounter cards includes a lot that are both difficult and don't give elder signs, which basically just increases reliance on outer world cards to get signs. Meh. The new monsters are sometimes crazy powerful, which I'm again not sure if is an improvement.

I have heard the two other expansions for Elder Sign are significantly more interesting and actually change the game up some rather and offer more than just "more of the same but harder."

A fine example of an expansion that doesn't really add much, although it's not offensively bad or anything.

Tournay was quite fun. I'm a fan of Troyes, which I suppose might help, although this game actually doesn't really play that much like Troyes (but being from the same designers and artists, comparisons are inevitable). You don't actually get many turns, so even though each turn you don't do much, you do need to think very carefully about what you're going to do. The buildings seem to have advantages over the characters, as their abilities tend to be more powerful, but he fact that the characters give you a benefit without having to actually spend a turn activating them means they can be pretty nice if you get them early.

The events didn't seem to have a huge impact on the game. Nobody bought the buildings that let you re-apply the bad ones to your opponents, which might have made them more noticable. Not really a plus or minus, it's just something I noticed.

Overall, a nice euro-y euro that I would like to play again.

Tides of Time is a perfectly nice 2p game that works well, although I'm not quite as grabbed by it as some people seem to be. It's fine and I'd play again. 2p drafting is tough to get right, so it's laudable they got it to be interesting. I guess I'd prefer the cards to be slightly smaller - the super-sized ones just make it a little more awkward to hold than anything, although I guess that would hammer home the fact it's a microgame even harder.

So... I guess it's good but not all that remarkable in my mind?

Birds of a Feather was better than I expected. I thought it sounded kind of meh, but it was actually reasonably fun. It's light and quick. You want to play certain cards at certain times to try and sway what cards the other players set out, but it's over really quickly even if you fail to get the cards you need to show up.

The unusual theme is a slight plus too, although I'd be hard-pressed to say the theme really impacts the game. Most of the time you're just looking at the icons and not what birds are actually on the cards.

Another slightly unremarkable but pleasantly fun light game.

Advanced Squad Leader was a good time but woooow did I roll badly this time. I think in the first two full turns I never got anything better than a 9 (and you want to roll low on 2d6 in ASL, not high). The scenario was a bloodbath, and essentially all of the blood was mine. A good time still and I got to learn how to use vehicular smoke on the offense a little better, which I had wondered about.

Blokus is still fun. I'd recommend it to abstract game fans still, and 4p abstract games are rare, so it still has that going in its favor.

Arkham Horror was a nice addition to my minor narrative game kick I'm on. We had 6 players, which normally is a slightly rough number, but it worked well enough. We had the big baddie that "ate" cultists when you pulled them, which was rough. Normally the easy and squishy cultists are what you like to pull... We had some crazy monsters out on the board at times, but we were very fortunate with the gate icons and the monsters lining up well to let us get rid of them without having to fight them. It looked like we were going to get beaten but things turned in our favor after a series of gate closures cleared the board, and we were able to close things out thanks to a ton of clue tokens making some extra seals possible.

Ingenious was good with 3. I am guessing with 4 it's fine too, if a bit more random. It's quick to teach, which is also a nice bonus. I think getting this for $10 was a steal and it is probably quick enough to make a good weeknight game.

Elder Sign was a crowd pleaser as usual. We had 2 new players, and both said they'd play again (a good sign). I tossed in Unseen Forces to see how that would change things up, and as I noted above... I'm not especially taken with the expansion. It's not a highly strategic game to begin with - there's a lot of things way outside your control, so "cards that are harder" doesn't really come across as especially interesting. So I might not use Unseen Forces much, but I am interested in seeing what the other sets add.

Lost Legacy: Werewolf fulfilled its duty as a filler admirably. I do like that set quite a bit. Next time I'm going to see if we can get Undying Heart a few plays, although I do worry it's a little heavy on player elimination. Werewolf is very good, and surprisingly non-violent (minus Village Council, which is practically guaranteed to eliminate someone).

Celestia was a hit with the players looking for a lighter game. I do think this is a solid design and an easy recommendation, but I think 8 plays or so in like a month is too many. I'm going to put it away for a little while so I don't get too burned out on it.

That said, I'm pretty convinced this is one of the best light/filler games released in quite a while. It has gone over well with the not-really-into-gaming players and longtime gamers. Here's hoping this shows up on the assorted "good games to give as gifts" lists this Xmas, as I think it'd be a great fit for a lot of people.
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9. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.01 Overall Rank:22]
Jim Parkin
United States
Stow
Ohio
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 9   Lords of Waterdeep
 8   Elder Sign x2
 10   Agricola

This was a light week for games for me, primarily due to cramming a final exam and writing a paper for a class that ends today. That said, I got to enjoy three of my perennial favorites, which is lovely.

Lords of Waterdeep -- I got utterly shafted playing a three player game with both Undermountain and Skullport. I was too conservative, frankly. My opponents just hammered the corruption action spaces and churned out quests. It did not help that one was The Builder and managed to get all of the quests that pop free buildings and add extra money/bonuses when she uses her own buildings... it was a beautiful synergy, and it crushed me. I ended the game with the least corruption, but the least points, too.

Elder Sign -- First off, I must commend this tiny game. Just enough puzzle, narrative, and dice for what I want it to be.

Game #1: Carolyn Fern and Ashcan "Mother $&!?@%" Pete cleaned house after Hastur drove Dexter Drake and the brawny dude insane IN THE FIRST ROUND.

Game #2: Azathoth... First, Jennie Gray got killed by a cultist. Then Sister Mary was obliterated in a tragic accident when a portal opened and she was driven insane. After that, Gloria Goldberg was consumed by fire in a burning hallway. Last, but not least, Harvey Walters fought the fight to thirteen out of fourteen Elder Signs, but Azathoth's cruel game denied Harvey any ability to earn the final Elder Sign necessary to drive the eldritch being from our plane of existence. The clock struck midnight, the final stroke of doom arrived, and the world was consumed by madness and destruction...

Agricola -- I played a really tight game with my wife, and we tied! I went all-in for farming as I had several occupations and many minor improvements that boosted my plowing and sowing throughput. I had TONS of food, which is usually an indicator that I have invested too much into simply staying afloat, however in this case, I pocketed a lot of bonus points as a result as Lord of the Manor scored very well. My wife's strategy was very eclectic, and it paid dividends since she didn't score a single negative point at the end!

On My Mind:
I got my fifth Geek Citizenship Star today, which is very cool. I would have never expected a single one, and now it is maxed. I finished my paper last night and am frantically turning in things today.

A good friend of mine is moving to Qatar for two years at the end of the month, so he's coming over tonight for a long night of games as a bon voyage.

My Pokemon Platinum Wedlocke challenge continues to steamroll me.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Everyone dies.

As always, my RPGG PbF games are going well and are a blast. I am especially glad for the Hourglass Realm to let me indulge so much D&D 5e!
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10. Board Game: 51st State: Master Set [Average Rating:7.72 Overall Rank:270]
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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Wazabi
Unpublished Prototype
Keyflower
51st State
Guild Ball

Big game day on Saturday.

Wazabi
This is a very light little filler, but one that was easy for a 6 year old to play. You've got a pile of dice you're trying to get rid of. One face draws a card, one face gives the die away to someone, and the other 4 give you symbols you use to play your cards. The cards let you move dice around, draw cards, force your opponents to discard, etc. It's technically possible to win on the first throw of the dice if you roll all "give the dice away symbols" but it's all good. It isn't trying to be anything deep and we had fun warming up with it.

Prototypes
Two Jon Gilmour prototypes, one was my own. The first, Space Farmers, is a game I played at Geekway. Saul and Carrie (two of the glinks) asked to join the playtest. The big change from last time I played was that everyone's ship is now unique. Made for a fun twist, though I didn't care for my power too much. Very fun game that I'm looking forward to seeing on shelves.

The prototype for Project Boozeshake also went well. We're narrowing in on how we want to implement the base mechanics in a positive way. I think we're a couple revisions away from focusing on the math behind the scenes, then after that we can start adding some of the other systems we want to. Excited about it, and we're going to meet with the publisher at GenCon.

Keyflower
Really good! I'd been looking forward to playing this for a long time and I'm glad it finally hit the table. The bidding and moving your losing bids around injects a really nice amount of tactical play. It can also be pretty aggressive which surprised me. This strikes me as the kind of game that can get tense with people familiar with it. I will say though...man this is a perfect example of how a Euro can have excellent mechanics and be dry as fuck. This game needs a Hansa Teutonica retheme. Hope to play again soon, I hope Katie likes it because it's on my shelf.

51st State
Nah. Not for me. I gave it another shot, wondering if maybe I'd like 51st State over Imperial Settlers. I don't like how there isn't a base conversion rate, so you always need some card or another even if you can get a hold of resources, which feels like it's overly dependent on draw (even if I know in my brain I just suck). It also isn't fun to play while losing. Passing and watching others continue to play isn't fun, and it seems to snowball. There also aren't small mini goals or feelings of accomplishment. Everyone is doing the same thing so it's constant comparison to others. I would play it again, but only if it was what everyone else wanted to play and there weren't other options. I wouldn't leave game night or sit out, but I'd try to get something else out.

Guild Ball
Brewers are slow but when they gang up on someone, holy shit.
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11. Board Game: San Juan [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:235]
Grant Johnson
United States
Cedar Park
Texas
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 N/A   Unpublished Prototype
 8   San Juan NEW!
 N/A   Paperback NEW!
 N/A   Mord im Arosa
 N/A   Industria NEW!
 9.5   El Grande

San Juan: Nice return to a classic. This gets overlooked a lot because of Race for the Galaxy (and now Roll for the Galaxy, which also appeared on another table during gaming). But there's a solid and fun game here, albeit with less replayability than Race. Makes me sad I haven't had it out in several years. Going to have to revisit this one again soon!

Paperback: Paperback was fun, and I enjoyed creating the words. The system worked better than I expected it to. That being said, I think this one will get old fast. I'll probably play it again if asked (especially if trying to kill 45 minutes between games), but I feel no need to own it.

Industria: I was really skeptical of this one, and didn't feel much better during the rules explanation. But once the game got rolling I got interested, and it just got better as the game progressed. I really enjoyed it. I'm still turning some of it over in my head, but as it was pretty fun to play I'll likely look for it again.

El Grande: Ah, the joy of teaching this old classic to a unsuspecting new gamer. Love how simple it is to grasp how the game works, and love how it changes. Would really have enjoyed it with more (we played with 3), but one of the other attendees at game night said he'd worn out the interesting parts of the base game (we were not using expansions) and elected to not partake. Sadness.

Unpublished Prototype: Not quite ready to talk about this one yet. Maybe soon.

BONUS
Overwatch: I am getting better at it and starting to climb in ranked play! I also get to play online with Grace and her husband, which is just about always awesome to do!

On my mind
Long Expected Party: This week is Austin War of the Ring Day. I'm always excited for it, especially because its a great excuse to barbeque. I'm really happy to have this event going on, and it'll be exciting to see old friends and make new ones. Plus I get to play my favorite game!

I'm a little bummed to be missing GenCon. I think it was the right choice not to go this year, but seeing several friends who are meeting up (and that I won't see in person at all this year) makes me sad.

August means football is imminent. I'm hoping that will get me in front of the tv (and thus at my painting table) and back to work on the projects I've neglected all summer.
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12. Board Game: Portal: The Uncooperative Cake Acquisition Game [Average Rating:6.33 Overall Rank:3037]
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Ascension X: War of Shadows 2
The Prodigals Club 2 NEW!
Chaos in the Old World 1 Not technically new, but it's been 5.5 years, so basically new!
Dungeon Petz + Dungeon Petz: Dark Alleys 1 NEW!
Vegas + Las Vegas Boulevard 1
Quadropolis 1
Steam Time 1 NEW!
Stockpile + Stockpile: Continuing Corruption 1 NEW!

Review: I like Ascension X: War of Shadows. Who'd've guessed?

---

The Prodigals Club: Matt and I played this twice, just the two of us. I really enjoy the multiple boards (we only played the society and election competitions) and the Knizia "whoever has the lowest of your highest" scoring. I worry the game might be a little too easy with two as it we were within a few points of one another both games. In other words, unless you're a total dumbass, you can't really suck too hard. I hope to try with more players and the wealth competition soon to see how it changes. I also don't know if this will get same-y after a handful of plays like Last Will did. That said, I'd like to try Last Will again since it's been quite a while since I last played.

Chaos in the Old World: Blood Rage is better, but this wasn't bad. The board is ugly and makes it difficult to see where things are sometimes (especially in the corner). I like Blood Rage's combat system better as it seems a bit more controlled than the dice (and the stupid exploding 6's). I'm also not sure how I feel about the asymmetry. (Yes, I realize I preordered Cry Havoc). However, I'd play this again.

Dungeon Petz: Dark Alleys: This was okay. It added more stuff to the board and we generally didn't know exactly how to integrate it. Doesn't seem to be a necessary expansion at all, but I'd give it another try with experienced players.

Steam Time: I knew nothing about this, but it was a surprisingly decent worker placement game. There can be a little bit of AP since you may have to rethink what you're going to do on your turn if someone else goes where you planned to. This is typical to most worker placement games though. I wouldn't buy this, but I'd definitely play again.

Stockpile: Continuing Corruption: We played with the new investors and forecasting dice. Both were fun and added some freshness to the game. I look forward to trying out the other modules.

On My Mind:

My auction closed last night and I'm dealing with that aftermath. Assuming everyone pays, I've dumped a ton of games and freed up some good space on the shelves.

Moar comix! I finished volumes 2 and 3 of Sex Criminals and read all of Battlepug. I am halfway through The Swords of Glass, finishing volumes 1 and 2.

Matt and I saw Star Trek: Beyond. Meh. It was fine. I just don't think the Star Trek universe is as interesting as Star Wars (and I'm not even a Star Wars fan).
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13. Board Game: Fief: France 1429 [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:809]
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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Codenames x5
Skull x3
No Thanks! x2
Warfighter: The Tactical Special Forces Card Game x2
Blood Rage x1
Fief: France 1429 x1
Ogre: Objective 218 x1
7 Ronin x1
Spartacus: A Game of Blood & Treachery x1


Reviews
Crazy Karts is not good.



I had a buddy's all day gaming event who just games everyone long once in awhile this past Saturday. I supplied almost all of the games (No Thanks! wasn't mine). Games were selected based on birthday boy's request coupled with me pushing for Codenames/Skull.

Fief was the standout game, a five player struggle that lasted 3.5 hours. I was the only experienced player which contributed to that. We used base game plus the tactics expansion and the trait deck.

I ended up in a solid starting position off to the side, but failed to draw a new lord my first two turns (drew a Cardinal card each turn). So my mobility was hamstrung. I also was hit with the plague on turn three but survived, except for a couple of Men at Arms. The plague helped in some ways as it dissuaded others from entering my bishopric.

Two players who were not in particularly strong positions allied on the far side of the map to shore up their borders while I appealed to another player to marry. Eventually we would, just as I grabbed a bishop. My partner would become the first Cardinal (paying 5 deniers), and I made my bishop the second. We controlled pope and I convinced him to let my Cardinal have it (that was a mistake on his part).

I would later annul our marriage and re-marry the player who was all alone (who had become King due to lack of other eligible bachelors when the vote was called) and we would win through an arraigned secret marriage. Within our intermingled family tree we had Pope, King, a Bishop, a couple titled lords, and Joan of Arc.

Warfighter
I love this game every time I get it back out. There were three of us and our first mission went pear shaped as we hit a shopping mall that just happened to have the entirety of the Taliban window shopping on a day trip. We were eaten alive.

Our second mission went smoother as we inserted closer to our objective in an attempt to rescue hostages. We burned down several groups of militants and gunmen before taking out a technical, RPG team, and suicide bomber on the objective. Suicide bombers are scary.

On My Mind
I was really jonesing for some Fire in the Lake but we never had four people exactly. I'm bringing it to Gen Con and it will happen.

I was also hoping for Captain Sonar but the opportunity didn't arrive. Another game I'm bringing to Gen Con to get played. It looks fantastic and a little more interesting than Space Cadets: Dice Duel.

ANA is sending me Mansions of Madness 2.0 but I won't get it for a couple more weeks as they're all busy at Gen Con. Really looking forward to that. Going to request Doom too (Doom 1e was one of my first loves).

It looks like Portal is sending me Cry Havoc and I'm stoked. So many good games coming out and it looks like 2016 is giving 2015 a run for its money.



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14. Board Game: Medici [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:465]
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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"Watch, but do not govern; stop war, but do not wage it; protect, but do not control; and first, survive!" - Cordwainer Smith
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Medici
The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game
The Bloody Inn
Android: Netrunner x4
Rolling Stock
Basari: Das Kartenspiel
Sushi Go Party!
Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective

No new games this past week, but lots of old favorites, some quick hits...

- Medici - The newest edition from Grail Games, fantastic box size and lovely components. The game itself remains my top "ex-lover" game, in that I can't seem to keep myself away from it, but every time I play it I'm reminded of why I left it in the first place (a bit too dry, oddly not as dynamic as Ra/Razzia). Still, it's got a wonderful simplicity and a great arc of play that fits into the 45 minutes to an Hour timeframe, which lots of games don't really do nowadays.

- The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game - Still good, even at 4p.

- The Bloody Inn - Also still good, I lost our most recent 4p game by getting greedy trying to build 3 cost annexes for their awesome powers.

- Android: Netrunner - Had some decent decks that ended up losing the rock-paper-scissors side of the game against one of my old opponents. He also has been keeping up with the new cards and I stopped after Data and Destiny, so he had all sorts of new toys that really roughed me up. Still frustrating, but still so good.

- Rolling Stock - Always a pleasure to get to the table. Still a training game, but we actually got to the end of it and made some interesting discoveries, namely that opening corporations later in the game with the more powerful companies still made financial sense, even with only a turn or two left in the game, and escalating operating costs make stable companies crash a lot faster than you think. Fantastic game.

- Basari: Das Kartenspiel - Also always a pleasure, need to bring this one to my regular game group more often.

- Sushi Go Party! - Played the "best with 2p" setup from the booklet with my girlfriend, really digging the variety the game has to offer.

- Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases - Played "The Cryptic Corpse" with my girlfriend, we managed to solve the main case very handily, but as always the secondary mystery remained harder to crack (we missed the secondary translation of the cypher).
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15. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.01 Overall Rank:22]
Jeffrey Drozek-Fitzwater
United States
Houston
Texas
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Agricola: There was an Agricola tournament on Sunday. I ended up not going because we moved last weekend, but I thought I might, so this was kind of a warmup. Two of the players were new. I went with the, "Get a ton of resources, figure it out later" tack and it worked pretty well. I was able to max out my family as well as get a stone house. I was fairly animal deficient and had some empty spaces, but I had a lot of grain and some veggies.

That was it. Between moving and our wedding anniversary and the resulting trip to Six Flags Fiesta, there wasn't much room for gaming. The school year starts soon, and we're gearing up for Preservice training starting next week.
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