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GCL Eclipse #250 - The Winner's Podium
Jason Lott
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Given that the world's eyes are on Rio this week for the Olympics, how about awarding some medals of your own?

PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING

If you're a lurker or have otherwise discovered GCL Eclipse, feel free to read along with us. And if you have a constructive comment or something else you think would add to the discussion, consider posting it—if it's helpful, respectful, and polite to the discussion group as a whole, as well as to its individual members. However, if you'd like to join in regular discussion, first post to the current discussion list inquiring about the possibility of becoming a member, with full discussion privileges.

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to inquire.

Thank you for respecting these guidelines in our place of regular discussion. We hope the discussion we create here is rich, informative, and, most of all, fun for members and nonmembers alike.

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Rick Goudeau
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1. Board Game: Gold Medal [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked]
Jason Lott
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Rather than impose a lot of items on you, I'll let you take your pick here. Choose at least one of the following situations, and then create an item where you award your Gold, Silver, and Bronze winners! Use whatever subjective criteria you like - think of it as old school gymnastics. Also project your own experiences into who these gaming crowds would be for you.

1. You've got some newer friends over, and they are curious about your game collection but haven't experienced board games beyond Monopoly. What winners do you reach for?

2. You've got a group of moderately experienced gamers over after work. It's a school night, so you only have time for a game or two. Which ones hit the table?

3. Three of your best gaming buddies have cleared their schedules and are ready to settle in for up to 6 hours of gaming. What do you pick for this lucky opportunity?

4. It's a long holiday weekend and your family has gathered. There's about an hour before dinner hits the table, and 7 relatives want to play a game with you. What's your choice for this big group?

5. You got a hot ticket for a big gaming convention. You decide for your first game you'd rather teach a game you know already. What game do you pick, and how many players do you want to join you?
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2. Board Game: Karuba [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:390]
EGG Head
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1. You've got some newer friends over, and they are curious about your game collection but haven't experienced board games beyond Monopoly. What winners do you reach for?
Karuba mostly multiplayer solitaire, guaranteed not to scare anyone off with too much direct conflict. has the race element for the competitive newbie
Quadropolis
Colt Express

2. You've got a group of moderately experienced gamers over after work. It's a school night, so you only have time for a game or two. Which ones hit the table?
The Voyages of Marco Polo
Russian Railroads
The Princes of Florence

3. Three of your best gaming buddies have cleared their schedules and are ready to settle in for up to 6 hours of gaming. What do you pick for this lucky opportunity?
Terra Mystica
Brass: Lancashire
Nations

4. It's a long holiday weekend and your family has gathered. There's about an hour before dinner hits the table, and 7 relatives want to play a game with you. What's your choice for this big group?
7, really? We couldn't have only 6?
Kaleidos
Pow Wow
Codenames: Pictures

5. You got a hot ticket for a big gaming convention. You decide for your first game you'd rather teach a game you know already. What game do you pick, and how many players do you want to join you?
Yokohama with 2 others

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3. Board Game: Airlines Europe [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:320]
United States
Belvidere
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1. You've got some newer friends over, and they are curious about your game collection but haven't experienced board games beyond Monopoly. What winners do you reach for?
Gold: Airlines Europe - My go to light casual game.
Silver: Cosmic Encounter - Monopoly is primarily a press your luck, negotiation, direct interaction game.
Bronze: Carcassonne

2. You've got a group of moderately experienced gamers over after work. It's a school night, so you only have time for a game or two. Which ones hit the table?
Gold: El Grande - I break this out every game night.
Silver: Kemet - A good way to get out some aggression in a few short hours.
Bronze: Seeland

3. Three of your best gaming buddies have cleared their schedules and are ready to settle in for up to 6 hours of gaming. What do you pick for this lucky opportunity? (Too bad I can't have 5-6 friends come over for this long)
Gold: Clash of Cultures Usually only about 4 hrs long, but with kids won't fit in on a weeknight.
Silver: The Republic of Rome
Bronze: Twilight Imperium (Second Edition)

4. It's a long holiday weekend and your family has gathered. There's about an hour before dinner hits the table, and 7 relatives want to play a game with you. What's your choice for this big group?
Gold: Ca$h 'n Guns (Second Edition)
Silver: The Resistance
Bronze: Citadels

5. You got a hot ticket for a big gaming convention. You decide for your first game you'd rather teach a game you know already. What game do you pick, and how many players do you want to join you?
I'd pick games with high player counts and long durations:
Gold: Dune - 5 players (including me)
Silver: Diplomacy - 7 players (including me)
Bronze: Civilization - 7 players (including me)
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4. Board Game: I Don't Know, What Do You Want To Play? [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:6555]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Hmmm... very difficult questions for me to answer...

Quote:
1. You've got some newer friends over, and they are curious about your game collection but haven't experienced board games beyond Monopoly. What winners do you reach for?


Depends entirely upon the friends. In some cases, none. In some cases, Settlers. In some cases, In Teufels Küche. In some cases, Civilization. Well, OK, not really Civilization. But - there's no fixed go-to for me.

Quote:
2. You've got a group of moderately experienced gamers over after work. It's a school night, so you only have time for a game or two. Which ones hit the table?


Again, it depends. Right now, I've pull something off of my unplayed-in-2016 list. Rails of New England? Spekulation?

Quote:
3. Three of your best gaming buddies have cleared their schedules and are ready to settle in for up to 6 hours of gaming. What do you pick for this lucky opportunity?


Again, no fixed ready answer. What is everyone in the mood for?

Quote:
4. It's a long holiday weekend and your family has gathered. There's about an hour before dinner hits the table, and 7 relatives want to play a game with you. What's your choice for this big group?


Not to play a game? Though Codenames isn't an awful idea, if I got 7 relatives with me I suspect a game probably isn't in the works, at least not with 8 of us.

Quote:
5. You got a hot ticket for a big gaming convention. You decide for your first game you'd rather teach a game you know already. What game do you pick, and how many players do you want to join you?


Who am I and what have I done with - er - me? Not that I'm not happy to teach a game, but at nearly all of the gaming conventions I attend the games I choose to play are typically new games. Not _all_ new games, but a number of them...
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5. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:298] [Average Rating:7.21 Unranked]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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Quote:
1. You've got some newer friends over, and they are curious about your game collection but haven't experienced board games beyond Monopoly. What winners do you reach for?

Settlers of Catan for gold! This is an easy pick. First of all it is one of the few games my wife enjoys. But secondly, it has dice rolling like Monopoly, making it sensible to folks with that expectation. However, I only play Catan with 4. So if we are more...

Don Pepe for the silver! Yes, this is super silly, and even a bit mean. But I would expect everyone to roll with it and have fun knocking off each other's gang members.

And I will award the bronze to The Three Musketeers: The Queen's Pendants. I would offer this to folks who like RPG's. I would play the Cardinal's forces, and do my best to beat them. But they would learn how to cooperate with in-game activities and set objectives. I might handicap the game slightly to give them some advantages, depending on their aptitude to playing a new game.

Quote:
2. You've got a group of moderately experienced gamers over after work. It's a school night, so you only have time for a game or two. Which ones hit the table?

The honest answer is likely to be whatever is newest on the "not too complex" pile. But if I am working from my collection, as is, I will say:

Saint Petersburg for the opener - it is quick but has some depth.

Um Reifenbreite for the main course - it is scalable, so we can race for as long as time/interest permits.

Quote:
3. Three of your best gaming buddies have cleared their schedules and are ready to settle in for up to 6 hours of gaming. What do you pick for this lucky opportunity?

18xx for the gold! The exact game would be up for negotiation. I own 1817, so I would enjoy eventually playing it. But I'd be up for any of several other titles in circulation around here.

Rails of New England for the silver! I played this once (with Joe Huber). But I'd like to try it again with a larger table of gamers. It always loses out to 18xx, but my interest level remains.

Empires of the Middle Ages for the bronze. This is a speculative pick. I have heard of this game for years. I recently received a copy. Looks interesting. I'd like to try it. But there are many other older games that I could have listed here.

Quote:
4. It's a long holiday weekend and your family has gathered. There's about an hour before dinner hits the table, and 7 relatives want to play a game with you. What's your choice for this big group?

With 8? Casual game players? It's gotta be:

Master Thieves for the gold! (Everyone knows this game, right?)

Timber for the silver! No one knows this game though. It is one of the handmade games from Historien Spiele Galerie (Historien Spielegalerie). In this game you play the Canadian Lumberjack Olympics. Race across a stream over rolling logs, chop down a tree, and race back to the original shore. First one to do so wins! Completely random, but completely fun.

And I gotta call out Time's Up! for the bronze! Might be a challenge to complete it in 1 hour. But we could cut the # of cards to keep.

Quote:
5. You got a hot ticket for a big gaming convention. You decide for your first game you'd rather teach a game you know already. What game do you pick, and how many players do you want to join you?

So many ways to go with this one...

I would probably opt to go with a game I have played a small number of times. A game I have enthusiasm for, but still need more time with. Currently I would pick:

Kohle & Kolonie
DRCongo
Niña & Pinta

These are my personal top 3 heavier games that I have been wanting to play more of.
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6. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:134] [Average Rating:7.45 Unranked]
Peter D
United Kingdom
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UK
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1. Gold: TTR every time. It just works, every time.
SILVER: Thebes. The luck of the dig means all can compete. And the theme really engages everyone.
BRONZE: Incan Gold. The pure push-your-luck edge-of-your seat festival of laughter and ooooos engages non-gamers especially.

2. GOLD: World Without End, as it is quick to explain and meaty to play in a couple of hours. And new players can compete as there is not a steep skill learning curve.
SILVER: The Speicherstadt. Fast, meaty and so many interesting decisions yet very quick to explain and play on a school night.
BRONZE: Ra. Another fast yet easy on the rules gamers game, which very few will dislike.

3. GOLD: Madeira. It is such a great game but can take a good three plus hours with four players, which it really needs to be at its best.
SILVER: Brass. Again a game which is often too long for a weekday and needs the luxury of three plus hours.
BRONZE: Kevin said it too but if I had five I would go for Kohle & Kolonie. It is a 4 hour game but worth every minute.


4. GOLD: Telestrations. This is always a laugh and everyone always enjoys themselves, young and old.
SILVER: Dixit
Bronze: Codenames. But as long as there are no real young kids around. I do think it needs 12+


5. I don't really 'do' big games conventions but if I did i don't think I would distinguish between this and (3) above.
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7. Board Game: Power Grid [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:34]
Rick Goudeau
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Moody
Alabama
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1. You've got some newer friends over, and they are curious about your game collection but haven't experienced board games beyond Monopoly. What winners do you reach for?

As an introductory game night I looks for something with readily digestible rules
Gold: Settlers of Catan - Been around a while and reliable. I guess the Michael Phelps of boardgaming.
Silver: Ticket to Ride: Europe - also never disappoints.
Bronze: Acquire - Another old reliable. Any game who's rules fit in the box top can easily be explained

2. You've got a group of moderately experienced gamers over after work. It's a school night, so you only have time for a game or two. Which ones hit the table?

Now to a bit more meaty games
Gold: Power Grid - Another reliable game that never disappoints
Silver: Concordia = has been moving up the more I play it the more I enjoy it.
Bronze: Brass: Lancashire - Time to build industry any way doesn't brass look somewhat like bronze.

3. Three of your best gaming buddies have cleared their schedules and are ready to settle in for up to 6 hours of gaming. What do you pick for this lucky opportunity?

Now we are talking Time to break out the good stuff
Gold: Friedrich - I have to slip in a wargame and this is one of the better 4 player ones
Silver: Silverton - I can deplete my mines with the best of them. Hmmm, campaign game anyone? Also Silver seems so appropriate.
Bronze: Conquest of Paradise - A nice combination of exploration, civilization building and warfare. It hurts when you are closing in on win and someone cleaves you empire in two,

4. It's a long holiday weekend and your family has gathered. There's about an hour before dinner hits the table, and 7 relatives want to play a game with you. What's your choice for this big group?
With this number and a short time we are looking at a party game.

My collection is pretty weak here
Gold: Take it Easy! - a bingo puzzle
Silver: Category 5 - at least the common selection and resolution phases will keep the game moving
Bronze: Apples to Apples is the only other game I have that would handle the player load.

5. You got a hot ticket for a big gaming convention. You decide for your first game you'd rather teach a game you know already. What game do you pick, and how many players do you want to join you?

All sorts of longer games that I would love to get back to the table with like minded folks.
Gold: Struggle of Empires - 6 total I like the alliance auctioning mechanic, where it pays to keep your friends close but your enemies closer.
Silver: Triumph & Tragedy - 3 total, Covers the prelude to WWII. When else could the Great Game be played out in the 20th century.
Bronze: Sword of Rome - 4 total. A good CDG where each faction plays different. Heck I'll even play the Etruscans.
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8. Board Game: Olympia 2000 (v. Chr.) [Average Rating:6.08 Overall Rank:6155]
Jonathan Franklin
United States
Seattle
Washington
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1. You've got some newer friends over, and they are curious about your game collection but haven't experienced board games beyond Monopoly. What winners do you reach for?

GOLD - Settlers
SILVER - Splendor
BRONZE - Ticket to Ride

I cannot say any of these excite me, but there we are.

If I were more selfish, I'd say Wildlife Adventure, The City, or Ricochet Robots.

2. You've got a group of moderately experienced gamers over after work. It's a school night, so you only have time for a game or two. Which ones hit the table?

GOLD - PR
SILVER - Goa
BRONZE - A few rounds of Race [edit: should have Ghost Stories here]

3. Three of your best gaming buddies have cleared their schedules and are ready to settle in for up to 6 hours of gaming. What do you pick for this lucky opportunity?

I am of two minds on this one - so I'll answer twice

Known games/can teach -

Merchant of Venus, Ghost Stories, and Xia [edit: really should have Mage Knight here, rather than Ghost Stories]

Underplayed/Would take some ramp up -

Splotterfest! R&B + Antiquity


4. It's a long holiday weekend and your family has gathered. There's about an hour before dinner hits the table, and 7 relatives want to play a game with you. What's your choice for this big group?

GOLD - Codenames
SILVER - Incan Gold
BRONZE - Inspeaquence, Ricochet Robots, or Concept depending on the group

5. You got a hot ticket for a big gaming convention. You decide for your first game you'd rather teach a game you know already. What game do you pick, and how many players do you want to join you?

Some games are great con games, so I went with that aspect of the prompt aka stuff you like and cannot normally get played.

GOLD - Space Alert w/ exp.
SILVER - Baseball Highlights 2045 (mini-tourney)
BRONZE - Daytona 500
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9. Board Game: Rise of Augustus [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:817]
John Bandettini
United Kingdom
London
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Jason

The answers to these questions probably change on a daily basis depending on my mood. So here are today’s answers, tomorrows will be different.

!. Non-gamers
Gold: Rise of Augustus Everyone knows how to play Bingo right?
Silver: Winner's Circle Betting and racing and very easy to teach
Bronze: No Thanks! Quick to teach, quick to play

2. Experienced but short on time
Gold: Kingdom Builder What did you expect. No other game packs as much game into 60 minutes
Silver: Deus A Civ game that actually feel like a Civ game and plays in 60 minutes
Bronze: Roll for the Galaxy What a brilliant idea to add text to the tiles

3. Best gaming buddies
Gold: Grand Austria Hotel THE game of 2015
Silver: Millennium Blades So far my top game of 2016
Bronze: Guilds of London It was well worth waiting for

4. Family Gathering
Gold: Say Anything My daughters favourite game so always the first to reach for
Silver: Snake Oil Always goes down well with a large crowd
Bronze; Time's Up! Title Recall! Guaranteed laughs

5. Hot ticket
Gold: Scythe Nearly everyone wants to play it
Silver: Mystic Vale Card building rather than deck building
Bronze: Guilds of London Still fairly hard to get
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10. Board Game: Codenames: Pictures [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:225] [Average Rating:7.38 Unranked]
 
EGG Head
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Games played recently:

 


Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy NEW! Have had this in my collection a while. It was fun but a bit too much luck in the baby draw to be a favorite
Histrio NEW! gorgeous production, light simultaneous bluffing game, unfortunately played like I thought it would
Holmes: Sherlock & Mycroft NEW! dull, no deduction, set collection
Unpublished Prototype
Costa Rica x2 NEW! push your luck game, I liked it more than I thought I would
Tiffin NEW! light game
Imhotep light game
Guilds of London NEW! not good for 2 players, suspect better with more. Nothing really felt that interesting.
Alan's Adventureland NEW! another set collecting game, convulted scoring at the end spoils a light family drafting game
Mythe NEW! 3D pop up board? need I say more? Push your luck game, almost outstays it's welcome but doesn't. Will have to play more often.
Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King Taught this one, always seem to lose at it. Not bad for a light game
Codenames: Pictures NEW! I was surprised I enjoyed this more than the words
Rolling Japan ooh did we do poorly!
Neos x2 still love this one

Went to GenCon, didn't play anything from the board game world that inspiring but had a great time catching up with some old friends from GoF. We did a True Dungeon with a full team of 10 and had a blast! The only one I didn't get to try or get an explanation on but wanted to was Captain Sonar.

Acquisitions: Via Nebula, Imhotep, Twelve Heroes, Codenames Pictures
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11. Board Game: Jump Drive [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:940]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Highlights of games played 7/26-8/8:

I actually managed to play 29 games while on a very busy business trip out to California, which is far more than I expected. Lots of unpublished games I can't really speak about, but still a number of games I can speak to...

Take The "A" Chord (Joe=1) - A trick taking card game with a nice theme - but not enough meat to it, I think. I'd like to try it one more time, but I expect that to be it.

Yokohama (Joe=8) - I brought this to Meeplefest expecting it might be popular, and it was. I'm still enjoying it, though it feels more like a top-200 game for me than a top-50.

Vulture Race (Joe=1) - Cute, silly game. Would play again willingly; won't lose any sleep if it doesn't happen.

Spy Tricks (Joe=1) - A deduction trick taking game. Which involves a bit more guessing than I might ideally prefer - but there is also some reasonable amount of actual deduction. I liked this quite a bit, and can picture picking up a copy.

Ark (Joe-20) - I always found this a clever game. And I never quite understood why it didn't get a better reception - one would think gamers would enjoy a game about following rules...

Arboretum (Joe=1) - Not bad, but felt very Lost Cities-like but less compelling.

Dr. Eureka (Joe=2) - Very clever puzzle solving + dexterity game. Would play.

Dream Islands (Joe=1) - Another puzzle game, but here the (random) order cards arrive in makes a big difference in the difficulty of the puzzle.

Balloon Challenge (Joe=7) - I played with the correct rules for the first time, and - I'm still not sure. Unfortunately, I'm afraid the game might shine best for me somewhere in between the extremes of counting each card for the balloon as the number on the card (my incorrect understanding) and counting each card as +1 to the balloon size (the actual rules). Will try it again, but I'm not sure this game will stick for me.

Jump Drive (Joe=6) - As it's not yet available, I'll simply state that I enjoy the game more than I enjoy The City, and will be purchasing a copy.

Concordia (Joe=18) - Played with salsa, as folks wished to; I found it didn't really detract from the game.

Victory or Death (Joe=1) - Not nearly as interesting as Quartermaster General. The subject doesn't help, for me, but Sparta is less fun to play than Russia.
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Froggy McFrogface
United States
FORT COLLINS
CO
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When green is all there is to be, it could make you wonder why. But why wonder? I'm green, and it'll do fine: it's beautiful, and I think it's what I want to be.
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My god! I knew I hadn't reported my plays and acquisitions in awhile, but when I went back and checked, I discovered it was early June since my last report. This summer has been crazy busy on a number of fronts. So without further ado, a long list of games played this summer:


June 6-12


Craftsmen June 7: Once & Future Gamers, 3p. This is pure Euro for sure. A very interesting game that requires quite a bit of thought and planning. It is also multi-player solitaire. As Skippen was teaching it to us, he pointed out that Tom Vasel called it "complex for complexity's sake," and I can see exactly what he meant. There's a funky mechanic, for instance, around the currency, in which sometimes the color matters, (think Alhambra,) but other times it doesn't. And because you're working to maximize your action, while the other players wait, the downtime can be a bit much. Still, I really enjoyed the puzzliness of it, and would happily play it again.



June 13-19


Qwixx June 18: I missed my weekly game group as I was loading gear for a three day bike ride up to Steamboat Springs. Once we arrived, we were two nights in a condo with our friends. I taught them Riff Raff, and got to play Qwixx.





June 20-26


Imperial June 21: Once & Future Gamers 4P. Love this game, but is it a tough nut to crack. I'm came in 4th, but did not really feel that bad about it. Timing is everything in this game. We'll have to try it without the Investor card next time.



June 27- July 3


T.I.M.E Stories: The Marcy Case July 2: My only game session this week was with my wife and some friends, at their home in Cheyenne, Wyoming. I had introduced them to T.I.M.E Stories a while back, with great success. So we cracked open the Marcy case and dove in. I think we had 3 runs at it, skipping the formalities of the 4th run to simply run through to the conclusion. We still failed the mission,
Spoiler (click to reveal)
delivering the wrong girl to the chopper,


but had a great time nonetheless.



July 4-10


Tragedy Looper July 5: Once & Futures, 4P. We played one of the introductory modules on the easy setting, and we survived the third of four loops for the win. Great, fun experience!



July 11-17


Power Grid July 17: A subset of the old Worthy Gamers got together. Since we had 5, we chose this classic.



July 18-24


Zombicide: Black Plague July 19: Once & Future Gamers, 5P. In spite of our valiant efforts, we were ultimately overrun.




Patchwork July 22: Our annual multi-family camping trip! Lots of kayaking, and still plenty of time for some games. This was the first, and I won handily!



Twilight Squabble: We followed up immediately with this. It was my first play, and I must say it was not bad! A clever little game that forces you to anticipate what your opponent will do, and plan accordingly. And it truly does play in about 10 minutes.



Favor of the Pharaoh: Another win! I went 3-for-3 on the day.


We also began a game of Glen More, but a sudden torrential downpour made us scramble, and I wound up putting it away.


Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King July 23: Another first play for me. Great first impression, but I clearly need more plays to better understand the nuances.



San Juan: A classic!




Codenames x4 July 24: Back home, and it was the 10th anniversary for my old game group, the Worthy Gamers. We had fun getting together, and wound up playing this 4 times. It was perfect!



July 25-31


Tragedy Looper July 26: Once & Future Gamers. We played on the advanced side this time, in which we could not reveal to each other what card we intended to play. We had 4 loops to solve it, and had all but one of the roles nailed by the end. So close!



August 1-7


Troyes August 6: My only play this week, at a friend's party.



Acquisitions:


Star Trek Panic: This looks fun, so I got it.

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13. Board Game: Go For Gold [Average Rating:5.67 Unranked]
Shane Larsen
United States
Salt Lake City
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1. You've got some newer friends over, and they are curious about your game collection but haven't experienced board games beyond Monopoly. What winners do you reach for?

1. Dominion - There are about 5 minutes in any teaching game where the learner feels a bit lost. Then, like magic, there's an all-of-a-sudden click, that is priceless to a learning gamer. The whole game and its possibilities open up. Dominion does this better than any other entry game i know of.
2. Isle of Skye - Market valuation, tile laying, and multi-layered set collection scoring all in one easy-to-teach, quick-playing game and attractive game.
3. China - Card drafting, route building, and area control all wrapped up in their simplest forms, and in an extremely fast play time.

2. You've got a group of moderately experienced gamers over after work. It's a school night, so you only have time for a game or two. Which ones hit the table?

1. Glass Road - The best meaty game that plays in a really short time frame. Hands down.
2. Tinners' Trail - TT gets a mention two weeks in a row. It really provides a great, fast game with meaningful decisions at every moment.
3. Roll for the Galaxy - I like the meaty decisions here, while still giving moderate-experienced gamers an easy rule set to consume. It also play at blinding speed, new or experienced.

3. Three of your best gaming buddies have cleared their schedules and are ready to settle in for up to 6 hours of gaming. What do you pick for this lucky opportunity?

Tough one. To make it easier on choosing, I'll pick something new, something hot, and something legendary.
1. Troyes (legendary) - The emperor of all dice-manipulation games.
2. ZhanGuo (new; to me) - Looks very interesting to me. I've even prepped the rules for the occasion.
3. The Golden Ages (hot) - A delicious little civ builder that I'm craving lately.

4. It's a long holiday weekend and your family has gathered. There's about an hour before dinner hits the table, and 7 relatives want to play a game with you. What's your choice for this big group?

1. Codenames - It's the ideal game for family/party situations.
2. The Resistance: Avalon - Another solid options. Although most the time it ends in tears at my house. No joke. Kids and their fragile emotions.
3. Spyfall - I guess if I'm forced to choose a different one, this would be it. If I had Codenames: Pictures, I'm sure that would go in the second slot, moving Avalon down.

5. You got a hot ticket for a big gaming convention. You decide for your first game you'd rather teach a game you know already. What game do you pick, and how many players do you want to join you?

1. Madeira - 4 players.
2. Grand Austria Hotel - 3 players.
3. Wallenstein - 4 players.
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14. Board Game: Scythe [Average Rating:8.28 Overall Rank:7]
John Bandettini
United Kingdom
London
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2nd August at LoB

My first play of the red hot Scythe. It was the super deluxe copy, so included everything. Due to table space we did not play on the double sided map, just used the regular one.

It’s a mixture of all sorts of genres. It’s probably more of a worker placement game than anything else, although there is resource management, area control and combat. At the heart of it though it borrows its main driver from Euphoria. There are a whole load of achievements you can complete during the game, building all your buildings, winning a combat, completing an objective and many more. When you complete an achievement you put a star on the corresponding area. When someone has six stars the game ends immediately.

You have a choice of four actions each turn, and you can’t take the same one two turns in a row. Each option you choose has two things you can do, one at the top of your player board and one at the bottom. The interesting thing is that each faction has a different combination and they all work slightly differently. One of the criticisms of the game is that your faction board pushes you in a certain direction. I would say this is true, but I don’t really see it as an issue. Rather if you play the game a lot and use different factions it presents a good challenge to play each faction and to try to follow their path to victory.

With my faction I got rewarded for building the four special buildings. As I also had an objective card calling for me to have three buildings seven popularity and no mechs on the board, that was the way I went. I lagged behind early on but managed to get four stars in quite a short span of time. I was getting close to my fifth when the game end was triggered. As I was at the top of the popularity table (which had earnt me a star), my stars were worth the most, even though a couple of the other players had more.

I had not quite clocked that everything converted into money and whoever had the most money was the winner. Although I got the most points from Stars I did not get as much from some of the other sources as a couple of the other players. So I finished in the middle of the pack in third place.

I enjoyed it, which was lucky as I have a retail copy coming in the next couple of days.

We then played Beyond Baker Street, Hanabi with a game included. We played it four player and it was my first loss. One player kept forgetting what he had been told and another player was giving unnecessary clues out. This was not a good combination. We still had a small chance to win. I had what turned out to be the last turn. I had three cards in my hand, I knew what one of them was. If one of the others was an orange 1 (and it had not been played) and I played it to the impossible we won. I played one, it wasn’t (neither was the other one), so we lost.

Finished the evening with a few rounds of Spyfall.

3rd August at LoB

I mentioned last week that Mystic Vale had not been as popular as I hoped, so I decided to disguise it a bit and bring a couple of games that should prove popular as well. Of course this time people wanted to play Mystic Vale.

So that was what we started the evening with. Four player this time. I managed to get a couple of vale cards early on that gave me two extra mana every turn. This was very useful. After that I was just picking up the vale cards that gave points. I was also buying cards that generated points. I caught the other players by surprise when I took the final VPs to finish the game.

When we totaled up I had a fairly comfortable win. I must say once you know the game it’s very fast, a kind of super filler. I am enjoying playing it, but I fear it will probably get very samey after a few more plays.

We actually had five players for Mystic Vale but as it only supports up to four, one couple played as a team. So we now needed a five player game. Thanks to the expansion Kingdom Builder supports five.

Apart from me only one other player had played it, and then only once. Just as I was explaining the game I was interrupted by
Jack Reda
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Herndon
Virginia
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who is in London on vacation and just popped in to say Hi. I finished off the rules and we were away. Picking the boards at random, we got one from the base game, two from nomads and one from crossroads.

The most interesting bonus tiles was the ship and the wall maker. I managed to get both of them, and a few others. We had the in game scoring card, where you get two points if you build in a straight line. So plenty of scoring during the game. As we had a crossroads board, we had a crossroads scoring card. The one that needs seven or more settlements in a diagonal row. I was the only one who scored it.

Although it looked fairly close when we finished, I pulled quite a bit away on the final scoring due to my many scattered settlements and the hermit scoring card.

Finished the evening with a five player game of Roll for the Galaxy. The owner had only played it once and none of the other players had played it, so I was on teaching duty again. One day I might get good at this game, but it was not that night. One of the new players managed to get twelve (actually thirteen as he built two on his final turn) tiles built very fast. He won comfortably, I did manage to come second as I had four blue worlds and was consuming as much as I could.


6th August at My Place

Had a few friends over for the day. Started with Mystic Vale. It’s a game I have been enjoying playing, but I am not sure if I think it’s a very good game. It seems to be very swingy, as I either win it or get hammered. I said before the game that a typical winning score was something in the low 30’s. One of my friends then proceeded to score 60 points.

Next up was Castles of Mad King Ludwig, which I was the only one to have played with the expansion before. One of my friends got a killer combo, finished of purple room with a couple of yellow rooms attached (Giving connection bonuses) and one of the yellow rooms with a purple connection bonus and doubled it using a secret passage for an amazing 23 points. She later on choose to score it again, with the downstairs double room option. Guess who won.

Finished off the day with a four player game of Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game. I have a randomiser for the set up, but it generally produces pretty hard games as there is no synergy between the characters What I have been doing the last few games is picking the mastermind first and then picking the heroes, and making sure at least a couple of them are characters who would fight the mastermind in the comics. We went with Dr Doom, so we included a couple of Fantastic Four characters, The Thing and Invisible Woman. We then added Spiderman and Captain America. As it was my game everyone agreed that I should pick the last hero. I went for one of my favourites, Captain Marvel.

The scheme was the one where you lose if five Maggia Goons escape the city. As is often the case, the game started slowly and it was soon looking like we might lose without even taking out Dr Doom once. But the good cards started to turn up and we had soon beaten Doom three times, but now four goons had escaped although we had seen six of the eight plot twists. We finally got the forth hit on Doom just in the nick of time. So who was the MVP (It is a semi-coop game). Actually two of us, it was a tie for most points and there is no tie break rule.


Acquisitions Scythe
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15. Board Game: Prospectus [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:5437]
Jonathan Franklin
United States
Seattle
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It is not fun being jaded.

I played three quite good games - like+ level games, yet I would be ok never playing them again.

Sea of Clouds - A fun idea with a sense of discovery, but surprising design in terms of how much downtime there is. Look at first pile of cards - take it or add a card to it and move on to the second pile . . I'd be fine playing it again, but it was the weakest of the night.

Islebound - The least fighty of Ryan Laukat's games, so I expected to like it and hoped to love it. It has so much I like, but ultimately I did not find its soul aka it did not click with me even though the art is strong, I love logistics, and it has a Istanbulish 2-3 turn look-ahead aspect. Definitely worth a try. Unlike most games, we played 4 and still did not really delve into a few aspects of the game, so there are likely far more strategies out there (we never did the point churning to get the 7 pt. tiles or use the trumpet space even once).

Prospectus - Quite a good stock market game for a variety of reasons - good balance of look-ahead and randomness combined with a strong memory element as almost all the important info is trackable if you want to. The only downsides were that green and light blue on the cards were too similar in our light and it took >2 hours with 4p, which felt a bit long for what was a relatively repetitive process. Still would happily play again.

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16. Board Game: Via Nebula [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:691]
Dan
United States
Bountiful
Utah
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Went to STGCon, a small game event in St George Utah. About 100 people, a few vendors and some events. Took my kids, 9, 11, and 13 down with me, and mostly played with them. I did try to get a game of Diplomacy done, but as I expected, there were no takers. Played lots of light games that my kids enjoyed.




 7   Tsuro x3 - Played the giant version. My son got 2nd place in the tournament they did.

 N/A   Tsuro of the Seas x4 NEW! - Tried this for the first time. The sea creatures that they add take more time the randomly move around on one turn, then it would take to play a full game with experienced players. A bad add, in my opinion, a random element that is way more fiddly than the game was originally.

 8   Ticket to Ride - Fun fact, I sold my Anniversary Edition on BGG, then arranged to drop it off to the buyer on my way home from this trip. Then, at the event, checked the Anniversary Edition out from the game library to play with my kids. Another fun fact, when I went to put my copy in the truck to bring with us, I dropped it onto the street. That was a fun message to send to the buyer. Quite embarrassing! They still bought it, but for a reduced price.

 7   Rattlebones x2 NEW! - Novel game where you change the faces of your own dice to build an engine toward victory. I think it works well, would play again. First time felt fairly random, but having played once, would do a much better strategic plan next time.

 7   Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game NEW! - I like Dungeon Crawls, but in my mind they are separate from my board game hobby. It was fun to finally try this, since the original board game was a classic from my youth. Would play again, but not running out to buy it. Felt similarly about the Silver Tower that I tried about 8 months ago.

 8   Via Nebula NEW! - Was excited to try this. I love Martin Wallace economic games. His other games are hit and miss. This one was light and fun. I'm a little disappointed that you can't do more planning ahead, because the game state is fluid with everyone's actions changing things between each turn, so you can plan, but you will need to roll with the changes constantly. This combined with the competition for the face up mission cards could make it a frustrating game, if others take your stuff all the time, but I enjoyed it. Would play again. My friend did not like it so much.

 5   Ker Plunk NEW! - Giant Kerplunk, very exciting for the kids. Very little strategy, but everyone had fun, and played many rounds.

 8   Dimension x2 NEW! - This was a fun one. It was in the play-to-win area, and so my daughter wanted to try it. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was a fun little rules game, where you have to build a pyramid following a new series of "rules" each round, with a timer preventing you from being able to maximize. The tension of the timer, and the puzzley nature of the game made it a refreshingly fun gem. We did not win it. I may buy it.

 7   Dead Man's Draw x2 - Maya won the Captain Carcass version of this game. I've demoed the game for Mayday at conventions before, so I was familiar. It was a hit with all the kids. They heard about the Dead Man's Draw version, and wanted to try it, so we checked it out of the library. They unanimously preferred the Dead Man's Draw art.

 7   Codenames - Decent party game, not my favorite game. I bought it hoping it would be a hit with family, and it was just so-so. Not sure why it is so beloved, but I can accept that others like it more than me.

 8   Battle Masters - Kids loved this. I played once with my 9 year old, and got many many passer-by's relishing the nostalgia of it from their youths.

 7   Garbage Day (Limited Edition) NEW! - Another game we won. The kids had fun with it. For adults, I think the mechanisms play out too quickly, but dexterity games like this are definitely charming.

 9   Food Chain Magnate - This was actually a teaching game for someone who's not a board gamer. One thing I like about Food Chain, is that it is so accessible to even those who haven't played heavy games. The new player loved it, I played with Shane and his co-worker. I have also successfully introduced this game to some of my family members who aren't heavy gamers. The theme, along with the corporate structure make this easy to get into.

That is all! Here's a few photos from the event.

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17. Board Game: Kingsburg [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:277]
Rick Goudeau
United States
Moody
Alabama
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I haven't posted my games played for a while. Since I have another week to get ready for the kickoff of next season, it gives me some time to get my played list together.

Winds Of Plunder The yellow canary didn't do so well this time. I was mostly a pirate punching bag.
Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar Included the Tribes and Prophecies expansion. Did it improve my opinion of the game? Nope.
Rukshuk How well can you balance rocks. Got this a while back for my son and he wanted to bring it out. Lesson learned I'm not that great at balancing rocks.
Here, Kitty, Kitty! A rather simple game, where you are trying to collect cats to live in your house or porch or even the yard. You get different bonuses by collecting the most of one of the 4 types and one of each type. The cat meeples were cute. It would make a good family game.
Lost Cities My wife is happy that she beat me regularly
Jaipur She is even happier that she trounces me regularly.
Tri-Ominos And trounce me yet again.
Fjords At least one that I could dominate my wife, my Go training comes in handy.
Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 5 – United Kingdom & Pennsylvania Still playing Pennsylvania, the stock bonuses are a nice addition to scoring, but it still keeps the base game feel. Not sure if you should pursue stock bonus before cards or not. Something to try in my next game.
Cape Horn I fell so far behind I kept trying to lay sabotage tiles, but
Aqua Romana Had several middling scores and that is where I ended up in the middle.
Battle Cry: 150th Civil War Anniversary Edition New Hope church was going decently for the confederates until the Union sledgehammer got going, then it turned very ugly very quickly. Ceder Mountain went better for the union, they were able to pick apart the Confederates
Ticket to Ride: Europe
Take it Easy!
Bohnanza Not had this on the table for a while, time to collect beans. However, I'm not a good farmer kept coming in last.
Kingsburg Another that has been off the table for a while, I enjoy the way the dice drive your resource acquisition. It makes you look at what the others have rolled so you can decide on how break up your allocation. Used the expansion with the disk to allocate against the attack, makes the winter phase more interesting, and increases the value of the peek.
Concordia Used the empire map. I went for cards too early and had to play too much catch up.
Splendor
Catan
Attika A close game, one turn separated the win from the loss, and no I was not near that turn.
Catan Histories: Settlers of America – Trails to Rails Our friend that likes Settlers likes this one as well, She and my wife were one turn apart.
Martian Rails Played this with the family. I found the Goode's style projection of a sphere provides an interesting variant. The circle routes make sense here. There is a nice mix of bonus and penalty events. Appreciate the mix of color from literature to science in the events and places.
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18. Board Game: Captain Sonar [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:106]
Jonathan Franklin
United States
Seattle
Washington
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Quite a wonderful Sasquatch day

Captain Sonar - a fun 8 person game - we played turn-based, but several played most of the day with some real-time. I liked it, but it is more a social experience than a puzzle/game. Great for cons.

Colony - I appreciate Ted taking on Age of Craft, but this was not for me. Hard to plan ahead and an AP mess without improving on Dominion. I am just not sure there needs to be a Diceminion. It would be better as an app where you grey out all the cards that you cannot buy that turn.

Costa Rica x2 - Learning game and teaching game - 2d Incan Gold. Way too swingy for me - not fun.

Looting Atlantis - Set collection with all special powers cards - not for me. Some stealing and defense cards. Point spread was 209 high and 51 low.

Via Nebula x2 - I really like this game, but missed a key rule - sigh - at the end, the building materials on the unbuilt building sites and your exploiters are moved to your board as -1 each. I get it for the spots you exploit to prevent you from going after tokens that will never be used, but seems awful to penalize those who tried to win and failed. I need to think more on this. I really liked the game without those rules.

Yokohama - Feldstanbul? Easier than it looks. AP-mess? All of the above. This was #1 on my list to get when TMG's version comes out, but I cannot say it lived up to the hype to me. It is hard to plan ahead, as there are a large number of possible moves, but you are blocked from actions those before you have taken. There are key locations that really cause tempo-loss if you cannot go there. The solution in Yokohama, foreign mercenaries, is quite similar to the nephews in Istanbul as a way to get around the block, but they are one time use and harder to get. I'd be happy to play it again, but might not buy it. In the end, if Feld had created Istanbul, it would look like Yokohama.

City of Spies: Estoril 1942 - memory and semi-chaotic interactions with a light deck-building component. It is almost a social game with lots of seduction and assassination to foil the plans of others. At the same time, one guy at our table thought ahead and consistently made good moves, so it is clearly not a 'luck' game, but definitely an opportunity for double-think. I did not like tile 7, which killed one spy on that tile. Not really for me, but I could see it being fun for others.

I'm sure there were other games, but those are the ones I can remember.

I'm adding a new list, newly released games hoping to play
Saloon Tycoon
Arcane Academy
The Networks
Dream House
Terraforming Mars
Evolution: Climate
Kreo




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