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Recent gaming: Get The Goods, SHH, Operation Sea Lion x2, Metromania
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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Aug 16-28, 2016

The past couple weeks were spent traveling to France, working there, and sightseeing on the weekend. My new life, in other words. I won't be seeing my regular game group in SoCal for a long while, and I haven't yet settled into a new group in France. So gaming has been a bit different lately. Still good, just different.

-Mark



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1. Board Game: Gloria Picktoria [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:2309]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Some know this as Gloria Picktoria, others as Reibach & Co. I was introduced to this Alan Moon filler in the edition that came in-between: Get The Goods. I may have even mentioned this on the recent podcast. Back in the late 90s, it was incredible to find a "German game" at all, even in a game store. Here was this American edition of a German set-collecting card game (ok, by an American designer)--available & inexpensive. I've still got the same copy from 20 years ago, the box repaired by clear packing tape. It's a favorite for Candy & I to play together, even though it's not specifically recommended for two players. We think it plays fine without any modification.
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2. Board Game: SHH [Average Rating:6.58 Overall Rank:3628]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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(It gets a bonus star for the whole Pack O Game concept.)

I thought I'd head back to the Paris game group for English-speakers last week, but when that night came around I was hot & tired (heat wave in France), and just wanted to stay in. I cancelled my RSVP, and was able to play this one with Candy. The Pack O Game titles are kind of ideal for my situation now, with very limited space while temporarily living out of a suitcase in a hotel. I've played several (BUS, TKO, FLY, HUE, TAJ, GEM), but this was new to me. Candy had seen none of these, and she was really charmed by the design aesthetic. The games are normally quite modest in their play, too, which also appeals to her. I know she likes word games, so thought this would be a good one for us. It was! The artwork is really great in the game, and adds to the experience. It's a co-op that would be more difficult with more players--we almost achieved the maximum score on our first try. Admittedly, we cheated a little with unintentional body language, when the rules specifically prohibit communication. This was a learning game. When we try again we can try to be completely noncommunicative. (Though something tells me that will be less fun to play.)
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3. Board Game: Operation Sea Lion [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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A Spanish wargame magazine, later purchased by a Dutch company, and now available as electronic back issues in English...which I played in France. Got that? The real magazine wargame would've had a map and basic counters. My PDF version was a thousand times more available (I'd scoured Spanish ebay for the original, and put the call out on the grognard Twittersphere), but it was essentially a PNP title. No worries, a simple bit of crafting and it was done. I made it weeks & weeks ago, but only had the opportunity to play now.

I'll write up more thoughts in my Wargames To Go geeklist for the current topic. I've been studying the Battle of Britain, and it took me a little while to understand how important Sea Lion is to understanding the context of the Battle of Britain. But I didn't want to play a big game on the topic. The magazine treatment is about right for me.
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4. Board Game: Operation Sea Lion [Average Rating:6.41 Overall Rank:9999]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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A second magazine wargame about Operation Sea Lion. Though this one is larger than the previous, it's still pretty modest by wargame standards. Small map, small counterset, and moderate playtime. Lots of little turns with lots of die rolls meant I ran out of steam pretty quickly, but others would probably enjoy this game even more.
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5. Board Game: Metromania [Average Rating:5.93 Overall Rank:7267]
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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Whether in California or France, I typically keep a handful of online boardgames going all the time. Almost always with friends, but I'm happy to play with strangers, too. Sometimes I include even briefer comments about my online games in these weekly reports, other times I leave them off. This time I'm singling out one online game for "the full treatment."

Why this one? Because it's new-to-me. It's also got an Essen connection--it was one of the titles I anticipated in its debut year...back in 2006! Wow, I had no idea it was that long ago. I never had the opportunity to try it, and the reviews were lukewarm, so I forgot about it. Now I'm looking at new games to try online, and I see Metromania is on BoardgameArena. As an added bonus, I now take the Metro every day as part of my normal routine. It must be time to try! (Even though I know learning from an online implementation isn't the best way to learn ANY game.)

I quickly finished four plays, and have another couple nearing the end. That's an advantage of online play--you get to play quickly, and more often. After those plays, I'm not sure what to make of it. I like the wide-open routing of the various rail lines. That's different from my favorite subway game, On The Underground. The scoring is the tricky part. It makes thematic sense, but is hard to visualize before the endgame (when almost all of the points are awarded).
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