BK's Hardcore 10x10 in 2017 List
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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A new year means a new set of games to challenge challenge myself to get them to the table for multiple plays among all the games to choose from among our collection.

For my Hardcore 10x10 in 2017 list I've chosen the following 10 games I'll play 10 times.

I'll maintain details of my progress on this list and a summary status of My Selections on the official challenge list.


KEY:

___ = needed plays
___ = completed plays

___mb = Me
___mb = Wife

__Other: mb= RR, mb= CG, mb= JF, mb= MR, mb= DE, mb= Other

Feel free to subscribe and follow my progress and post comments along the way.

My earlier lists: 2016 / 2015 / 2014

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1. Board Game: Five Tribes [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:55]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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Five Tribes uses a mancala mechanism for moving a handful of meeples (pick up) around the board and collecting the last color dropped on your turn (deliver) which determines the kind of benefit or action you may take as you attempt to amass the most points based on a variety of options. My BIL gifted us this and two expansions for Christmas and I foresee it being both fun and a quick climber in my annual Top 50 games list come August.

Pre-2017 Plays: 3x

Progress:


16-Apr - mb(232)/mb(232)
After church the girls went down for naps and my BIL and I hung out and played a 2p game of Five Tribes which he gifted us for Christmas. It took a few minutes to refresh our memory from our play at that time and then got to it. I was amassing Viziers and Elders the first few rounds while grabbing cards via Merchants. My BIL was claiming tiles and working the Builders as we both called upon our share of Assassins. I was collecting quite a few cards which made him nervous but he wrestled away the Elders majority, had more coins and kept the cards scoring closer than either of us expected to finish with a rare tie. I guess we'll have to get together and play again soon!

24-Oct - mb(208), mb(175)
I taught my wife over lunch to get the plays rolling for our 10x10 Challenge. She liked the game but misunderstood the card set scoring thinking it was matching sets, not diverse sets, that rewarded points. Had she gotten that straight it would have been much closer game. We'll probably play 1-2 more times then add the first expansion into the mix.

25-Oct - mb(218), mb(207)
In this game of I did worse with my money where my wife doubled hers. I did better with my palaces and camels while my wife improved her djinns and oasis to pull of the win. I think we will mix in the expansion starting with our next game.

26-Oct - mb(277), mb(231)
Our Thursday morning coffee game included The Artisans of Naqala expansion for the first time. The mountains were an interesting and subtle twist. The VP and magical items with the purple artisan meeples were an interesting twist that had a minor role. The most notable impact to the scoring of this first play was the increase in camel/tent points which went up significantly due to the additional tiles that now make it a 6x6 grid with a couple offering some additional points and the tent bonus.

27-Oct - mb(273), mb(255)
I felt this game was going to be close with my wife edging me out and after more than doubling my points in money at end game scoring the uphill battle became real. My djinns and oasis chipped away at the margin but her tile ownership was significantly more than mine. But my djinn bonus on my four VP items and card bonuses pushed me over the top for the win.

31-Oct - mb(265), mb(225)
My wife outscored me in nearly every category for a convincing win. Every time I thought I had a nice move she found made a better one. Nice win, love. Unless we are teaching new players who may not be able to take it all in Artisans will just be part of our standard setup.

02-Nov - mb(302), mb(281)
This game produced both our highest scores to date. I think both of us felt the other person was leading the entire time. I had some good things going but I wasn't sure that it was enough. I had one djinn that doubled the value of my elders which produced big points to go with my artisans that were mostly unmatched and accounted for the difference in what otherwise was a fairly even accumulation of points for the win.

03-Nov - mb(301), mb(224)
It was my morning with some significant margins in 4 or 5 of the scoring categories that led to a dominating win. In my mind it was working a strategy around one of my djinns and leveraging one of the magical items I got to further leverage that strategy. I think we'll add in the additional djinns from the small expansion we haven't played yet in our next game.

07-Nov - mb(236), mb(204)
We introduced the Thieves expansion into the mix which had very minimal effect in this play. My wife dominated points through the accumulation of Viziers, Elders and Artisans (60 to my 6) and crushed me in items and card bonuses. I focused on higher point valued tiles and dominated 99-45 there but it wasn't enough to secure the win. The expansion introduced only a few cards and is mostly unnecessary, but does add another consideration with some "take that" opportunities.

09-Nov - mb(276), mb(246)
We finished off our 10x10 plays with a close one with the exception of the controlled tiles where I doubled my wife's score. I was a little worried at first as I used multiple double turn opportunities to secure high point tiles. The Thieves, once again, were a non-factor from a "take that" perspective, but were kept for points.
We didn't get this one to the table until late in the year, but as I hoped my wife liked it. Over our 10 plays we introduced two expansions. Artisans was a nice addition offering a number of welcomed additions, although the base game can hold its own. Theives didn't grab us, nor is it a significant addition. It does offer some "take that" to the mix, but we generally don't attack each other in our games unless necessary, so it will be a subtle part of our future plays.

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2. Board Game: Amerigo [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:301]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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My wife gifted me this for Christmas. When asked what tenth game to add to the challenge she said this one, of course! "It could be all Stefan Feld if it were me." You got to love that. So there you have it. More Feld exploring for us in the new year.

Pre-2017 Plays: 1x

Progress:


15-Jan - mb(149), mb(129)
This was a refresher play of Amerigo for me (been a few years) and a learning game for my wife. Learning a new game with her is always a frustrating experience, only worse when she's tired. True to form it was a challenge, but we got through it and she felt the game play was straight forward. I like the game as much as I recall and I think my wife will in time.

17-Jan - mb(158), mb(138)
The major difference in scoring was I had multiple buildings on nearly every completed island my wife only had one. I also did a bit better on my goods multipliers which my wife hasn't quite grasped. I think she will be better positioned next time and it should be a closer result.

10-Feb - mb(153), mb(133)
I won with a bit of a break as my wife had a pile of building materials that she couldn't get built due to a low showing of green cubes the last round that could have been a different result had the cubes fallen a different way.

11-Feb - mb(170), mb(150), mb(149), mb(137)
We started an hour earlier in hopes of getting two games in. I had this preset to save time and it was a learning game for the other three players (two are AP prone which signaled to me potential trouble). It took nearly an hour and a half to get through first two years, and I started pushing them to finish the remaining three in much less time which we did to some degree. Ultimately, it was fairly close and everyone enjoyed it. My buddy who always wants to win badly placed second, one point ahead of me, which was the next best thing for him.

14-Feb - mb(147), mb(135)
There were no large islands on this one so we scrambled to populate and cover the islands. We succeeded in covering the entire map and it was a close finish but I pulled away with the goods multipliers for the win.

15-Feb - mb(178), mb(157)
I trailed the entire game until end game scoring where my goods production pushed me significantly past my wife. She was building masterfully and even taking opportunities away from me but along the way she didn't purchase enough production tokens to seal the deal. She's a bit frustrated and wants to take a break from this one for a while.

06-Apr - mb(126) ,mb(112)
We were under fierce pirate pressure from the first round with 3, then +2 and +4 pirates in the first three rounds which hindered our ability to progress elsewhere wisely. I went for lots of ports on the three big islands in hopes of capitalizing on big scoring upon coverage where my wife went for a better tile multiplication strategy than she has historically done. In the end, time was not on my side. I had lots of building presence but failed to cover only one big island and in the last round which produced little return for the investment. Wife played the superior game to claim her first win.

07-Apr - mb(147) ,mb(142)
We were on an exploration craze navigating the islands to mark our territories and then got busy settling and harvesting our crops for a fairly close result. I think we are both enjoying the game but my wife feels it lacks a little intensity.

11-Apr - mb(165) ,mb(143)
We ran fairly even until the last round when I scored a 33 point building turn that separated me as the victor.

26-Apr - mb(155) ,mb(122)
We completed our 10x for the 10x10 challenge with a bit of a lopsided score. I had the building and production engine going while my wife struggled on both fronts.
I really like this game the more I play it, although it can feel a bit samey. Once you learn the flow it can move quickly. I'm waiting for my wife to give me her thoughts after completing this for the challenge which I feel will be a bit on the meh side given she only won 1x in our 2p games. As for Felds it probably ranks in the middle tier for me.

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3. Board Game: La Granja [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:135]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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La Granja is another title I picked up in the Origins Math Trade that I am excited to try because of the common reference to its Feld-Rosenberg feel. Multiple people have commented how it sounded like a game that my wife and I would enjoy.

Pre-2017 Plays: 0x

Progress:


02-Mar - mb(41), mb(38)
Brutal learning game as is often the case for the two of us. But after all the frustration and arguing it ended and it was fairly close. The game itself is clearly a mashing of mechanisms from other designers including our favorite, Feld. It felt very fiddly the first time through with many choices to be made which implies more plays are required before we get the sense that we are in any way controlling our destiny. It was okay for me, not sure how my wife felt, so we'll reassess after a play or two.

03-Mar - mb(49), mb(45)
This game played much smoother than the first. Things started to click and more combinations were played for a fuller experience. Wife was a bit disappointed losing again and feeling as if this is going to be another game she just can't win at. I don't believe that she saw a couple of impressive combos in the game that tells me she is seeing opportunities. I hope she stays interested so can evaluate if this is a game for us and we can finish the 10x10.

04-Mar - mb(66), mb(46)
Wife had a big game (which was good news for the future of this game). Obviously she played well. I thought I made a brilliant opening move which ultimately led to lots of unused opportunities because the delivery engine was too strong for a weak harvest production for most of the game.

13-Apr - mb(57), mb(53)
It was a close scoring game from the opening round with my wife securing the victory in the end. She was a bit surprised and felt it was a rewarding and mentally stimulating game... which is always good to hear as it means we'll play it again soon.

11-May - mb(61), mb(58)
I focused on pig farming while my wife more traditional gardening while are deliveries were essentially the same. She ran off to an early lead while I was setting up for more of a midgame push. After I did, she mustered a late surge of deliveries to put herself back on top for the win. This one was a bit more back and forth and tense (in my head) the whole game.

12-May - mb(69), mb(57)
My wife is on a roll. She dominated the entire game. I felt good about my different approach to this one I just didn't keep pace, losing for the fourth time in a row.

26-May - mb(58), mb(57)
I knowingly chased from behind the entire game and closed fast but wasn't sure if I managed a successful come back. I was a few deliveries short of being able to get another boost and my wife did a great job of keeping me out of the middle, effectively limiting my scoring potential. When it was all said and done she came up the winner by a single point much to her surprise and she continued her winning streak.

24-Aug - mb(68) solo
In my understanding of the solo game it wasn't clear if/how you score the dummy player so I don't now if I played it correctly. I finished with 68 points and it wasn't a bad experience. I could see how this would be terrific for learning how the game plays, but I was hoping for a clearer competition. So I guess if I were to play it solo again, I'd try to beat my best score? Or maybe I played it incorrectly.

21-Sep - mb(57), mb(54)
We started our morning out with some La Granja over coffee. We both were trying a different approach and for the most part were successful in carrying it out but in the end it seemed like we had pretty low scores but they weren't that much different than our historical plays. In the end it was my wife who won, again.

14-Nov - mb(71), mb(54)
This felt like my most productive play of La Granja thus far with both of us feeling that I held a commanding lead with things falling in place the entire game for a win. With that said, I don't know how my score holds up in the big picture of things. This also completed our ten plays for the 10x10 challenge.
The future of this game in our collection remains to be seen. It was okay, and I appreciate all the things the design does. In fact I feel it does them well. But it felt more mechanical then enjoyable for some odd reason. As for my wife, she feels like I win it all the time yet she has won twice to each of my wins thus far. So our minds are a bit unmade at this point. Time will tell.

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4. Board Game: Istanbul [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:98]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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I first tried Istanbul at Origins 2014. I was only given a two round demo at the time, but at the 2015 show I actually got to stumble through an all newbie play of it for an hour before we had to call it. I acquired it in the Origins 2016 Math Trade so planning on getting it played at least 10 times before deciding its long-term fate in our collection.

Pre-2017 Plays: 2x (partials)

Progress:


29-May - mb6, mb4
My first full play through. I had to refresh myself on the game play and taught my BIL. It played much quicker this time around than either of the previous partial demo games. In part it was 2p and both of us move fairly quickly. Ultimately I won 6-4.

29-May - mb6, mb4
After a few hours at the pool and my nephews birthday party, my BIL and I played another quick game with the same result. I mentioned he was letting me get all the mosque tiles uncontested which allowed me to then move much quicker to the finish.

29-May - mb6, mb4
This time my BIL claimed one of the mosque tiles while I was getting a wheel barrow expansion and money. I then went for the some other things and perhaps lingered a little too long while he was acquiring rubies at the Sultan's Palace. With a sense of time running out, I completed the other mosque tile and raced for the other with enough money to buy the last needed ruby if I could get there, but alas I came up a couple turns short to suffer defeat.

09-Jun - mb6, mb4
Taught my wife how to play and she went on to win. I'm seeing a pattern in the scores to date, but I'm sure that will change. Speaking of which, I think it is time to mix up the tile arrangement from the basic learning setup next time.

23-Jun - mb6+, mb6
In the evening, we finally got back to Istanbul still set up on the table. My wife triggered the end game but I was able to match a sixth ruby and finish with 4 more Lira for the tiebreaker. As the saying goes, money isn't everything but it is a tiebreaker at Game Night.

30-Jun - mb5+, mb5, mb4, mb3
In the evening our friends came over and we taught them how to play Istanbul. They went on to decide who won via a tiebreaker. They were impressed after being a little intimidated by the layout before we started.

30-Jun - mb5, mb4, mb3, mb3
We reset and rolled for first player and played again. As expected things played faster and we minimized their propensity to be AP which is always a good thing. My wife and I getting out to fast starts but she claimed the win in a hurry before the rest of us could put ourselves within reach to challenge her.

22-Jul - mb(5), mb(3+), mb(3), mb(2)
My friend suggested this one as he enjoyed it when we introduced him a last month. We played fairly quick after a quick run through the rules. I struggled until it was too late in the game to make a comeback and managed to claim 2nd place on a money tiebreaker. The birthday boy finally got his solo win for the day.

22-Jul - mb(5+), mb(5), mb(3), mb(2)
All the other tables were still playing their games so we reset and this time I pulled out to an early lead, setup a solid finish only to see another player tie it up and win on money for the decision. It was an exciting game. I tried to push the pace to make it a race, rather than play a more methodical and typical style game for me. It was an epic way to finish a long day of gaming and another successful RayCon.

04-Aug - mb(6), mb(5)
My wife's aptitude in racing games continues. I mistakenly thought I had one more crystal than I did taking a route I thought would allow me to leverage a 0 move card for a double crystal purchase only to watch my wife beat me to crystal number six for the win to take a 2-1 advantage and complete my 10th play for this year's 10x10 Challenge.
Istanbul exceeded all of our expectations proving to be a fun, engaging racing game. Having played it for the challenge I'm baffled why the game seemed to take so much longer during my two previous demos. Regardless, I'm already thinking of picking up the first expansion for this one and see what coffee adds to the mix.

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5. Board Game: Mice and Mystics [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:255] [Average Rating:7.37 Unranked]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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We started and finished our 10 plays for the 2016 10x10 with a month to go and still have more than half the scenarios to play. We are enjoying it so much that my wife agreed to add it to this year's list to complete the story. Finish what you started, right? She officially likes it.

Pre-2017 Plays: 10x

Progress:


17-Mar Chapter 4: The Forging of the Beast [All] - Fail
We returned to where we left off after our last play for the 2016 10x10 challenge with a few corrected rules with yet another attempt at the fourth scenario. Things were a bit slow going as we had to dust off our memory of how to play and we didn't get through the battles very efficiently. Ultimately we failed with both parties one tile shy of the last scene. Still an engaging game and we're leaving it out for the weekend.

21-Mar Chapter 4: The Forging of the Beast [All] - Fail
We were sluggish from the start with poor attack and defense thus getting way behind on the cheese wheel for multiple surges before splitting the party and getting to our next tile. So our efforts were futile and we suffered our worse defeat yet. Ouch!

24-Mar Chapter 4: The Forging of the Beast [All] - Success
We moved swiftly through the first encounter and split up into two parties. Nez's party made quick work of the minions they encountered making their way to the Forge while Collin's party struggled with the pesky spiders and a cave centipede that pressed them through multiple surges. Fortunately we had some good defense (rolls) in the last round where a wound may have ended yet another attempt, but the adventurers saved the day. Onward...

25-Mar Chapter 5: Cat-n-Mouse [Colin, Filch, Lily, Nez] - Success
This scenario had the most intricate setup and flow of any scenario to date but we easily cruised through it and accomplished our objective. After our beat down in the previous one that took six tries we aren't going to complain. And onward...

30-Mar Chapter 6: Barksburg Fields [Colin, Filch, Lily, Nez] - Success
There was much ground to cover which we made good time with only a few skirmishes to slow us down until we reached the courtyard. There we found a minions in force that captured all but Lily who survived with a little help from Brodie before claiming victory. The last tile was exciting and challenging the rest felt like a bit of roll and attack or move to deplete our health before the big battle.

17-Nov Chapter 7: The Missing Tome [Collin, Lily, Maginos, Nez] - Fail
We had to refresh our memory a bit as we setup and got started. This was a different scenario with our first exposure to a Quest Deck that threw us off a little, but I think we figured it out. We suffered a special surge on the starting tile that reduced our chances, and after two failed explorations our attempt ended in failure.

01-Dec Chapter 7: The Missing Tome [Collin, Lily, Maginos, Nez] - Fail
This our second attempt at this scenario unfolded very similar to our first in that we suffered a special surge on the starting tile that reduced our chances as we took a beating. Add to that we had a random explore tile draw that was not connected and another that left us only obstacles and no way to get to an orange side. So with another surge and a swarm of minions we conceded defeat.

04-Dec Chapter 7: The Missing Tome [Collin, Lily, Maginos, Nez] - Fail
We got off to a better start in our third attempt at this scenario. We cleared the first tile avoiding a surge, but experienced two on our second tile before all our mice succumbed to capture as a hoard of minions celebrated at our expense, again.

12-Dec Chapter 7: The Missing Tome [Collin, Lily, Maginos, Nez] - Fail
We were immediately overwhelmed by full press of roaches and took some wounds in the process of clearing the room. We managed to exit to the next room and heal a couple wounded comrades before climbing the ladder to no avail in finding the tome. We fought off a mass of elite rats and had one more shot at the quest deck only to come up empty handed once again. I liked some of the new twists for this scenario, but it is time to move on...

13-Dec - Chapter 8: Seeking Sorrow [Collin, Lily, Maginos, Nez] - Fail
The only sorrow found in this scenario was our own as the minions dished out a world of hurt. We were constantly under a swarm of attacks with multiple surges making our hopes of successfully completing our objective nothing more than a dream.
There were times when continuing our adventure was exciting. However, it was a bit discouraging and deflating over the last few plays as we were tired, the rules were not always clear, and we were not in the best place to puzzle through what we were suppose to accomplish. It became a roll and end the misery experience the past few plays. We still want to finish the adventure. Perhaps some time on the shelf and revisiting it at a later date with fresh eyes and perspective will allow us to inch forward.

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6. Board Game: Kingdom Builder [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:494]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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I first tried Kingdom Builder with the family at the 2013 Origins Game Fair and were underwhelmed. However I repeatedly heard that I should give it another try and allow a few plays for the depth to surface. I acquired a copy at the 2016 show and am ready to explore it more with this year's 10x10 Challenge and make a judgment of my own.

Pre-2017 Plays: 4x

Progress:


24-Jan - mb(51), mb(35)
My wife did not remember trying this years ago at Origins so it was essentially a learning game for her and a refresher for me. I was really focused on interpreting the rules correctly as that last time we played we didn't play things correctly and missed my wife running away with the end game objective scoring. Wow! She crushed with the Knight card. I knew what she was doing, but didn't do much to keep pace or counter it.

26-Jan - mb(40), mb(28)
Farmers, Fishermen, Workers

26-Jan - mb(73), mb(63)
Ambassadors, Lords, Merchants

26-Jan - mb/mb(41)
Ambassadors, Citizens, Hermits

We played three games with the same board tiles with randomly selected objective cards each time. We are started to see more of the strategic depth that I have been waiting to experience, which is a good thing. My wife is even enjoying it, getting it and exceling. It was appropriate to split the first two plays this morning and then ending the third with a tie. Everyone was happy.

In the evening we played two more with a heavy Nomads expansion focus.

26-Jan - mb(53), mb(40)
Citizens, Discoverers, Merchants. We used all Nomad expansion boards.

26-Jan - mb(72), mb(70)
Ambassadors, Workers, Lords. We relied heavily on the Caravans and Nomads tiles in this one.

27-Jan - mb(49), mb(44)
Discoverers, Families, Shepherds. Fairly close one.

27-Jan - mb(62), mb(45)
Farmers, Hermits, Lords. In our second coffee game it came down to my wife having difficulty building into the fourth sector where she was only able to build one settlement which allowed her to score, but not many points.

We are enjoying the simplicity of the design with tons of variety which makes it feel different each time and require careful thought as if you have a new puzzle to solve each time which is that piece of the game that everyone talks about that I didn't see in those early plays.

30-Jan - mb(67), mb(48)
Fisherman, Knights, Shepherds. I focused on a water strategy to take advantage of the Fisherman which my wife didn't realize until it was too late. It took her a couple of turns to get over to the water to keep pace.

31-Jan - mb(66), mb(47)
Fisherman, Merchants, Miners. Wife took control of the game midway through and not much I could do to keep pace.
I have long been skeptical of Kingdom Builder, dismissing it after my first play a few years ago as a gateway game that we have outgrown. It is simple enough to teach, easy to learn the basics but with its variety players are presented with a unique puzzle each play and a variety of special actions that offer a welcomed level of depth. I'm glad I gave it another shot as we've found another game we enjoy together and can share with others.

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7. Board Game: The Oracle of Delphi [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:520]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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Stefan Feld is our favorite designer and I've always had at least one of his designs in each of the Challenges I've participated in. This year I've chosen a non-point salad game. Oracle is a race game to complete a variety of achievements by navigating the board, collecting, attacking, and delivering items to secure the win.

Pre-2017 Plays: 0x

Progress:


01-Jan - mb
My wife gets stressed out learning new games, especially those with lots of pieces, rules, and choices intertwined like in this game, so it was painful trying to get through it. After all that and with a little hint I shared with her at the end she beat me triggering the end game one turn before I would have won with the tiebreaker.

03-Jan - mb
It was another very close race. It went much smoother with an understanding of how the game plays and a comfort level with the iconography. Ultimately, my wife got back to Zeus with one Oracle card, but I got back with 2 for the tiebreaker.

05-Jan - mb
We set up a random board and tried all 12 objectives for the first time. My boat allowed me to remove one before the start, but I took one too many gambles to jump ahead and it may have cost me the win. Regardless, my wife played this one better than me and earned her win. I'm impressed and not buying into the negative criticisms of the game.

11-Mar - mb
This was a learning game for the other players and after the first round or two they started to catch on, and quickly. This was the first play where someone actually lost a turn due to an over run of injury cards and it happened 3-4x during the game which added tension to the race. I triggered the end game and finished with two cards but two others also finished in that last round with three and four cards for a tiebreaker finale.

13-May - mb
I wanted to get a Feld game in during my annual all-day game day, BilCon VII, so I chose The Oracle of Delphi because I had a captive audience for a multiplayer game and I could make some progress against my 2017 10x10 Challenge list.

At first two of the players were not really liking or enjoying the game but admitted it could be just that the day was wearing them down and it just wasn't the kind of game they were in the mood for. I felt that was a kind way of saying, I'm not real crazy about it as it doesn't seem very balanced (given they were both trailing at the time), but true to form in my experience, this game can and did change over the course of one or two rounds with a little help to see some additional ways to manipulate dice and leverage cards. Things were evening up and it was race on! Ultimately it came down to myself and my friendly nemesis (and best friend by the way) racing for the finish. I was okay with it, as it was nice to see the wins being distributed around to different players rather than one person dominating everything all day.

10-Aug - mb
My wife continues her streak of dominating in race games. I made a valiant late push and almost caught her but she masterfully worked her dice and cards to pull off an impressive win completing all 12 of her objectives to my 10. I'm glad she picked this to get back to the table. The more I play it the more I like it.

18-Aug - mb
Deciding to spend early turns in Oracle to do lots of peeking worked well for me this morning. I had to do something different to move more efficiently than last game. My wife closed hard in her last turn making it closer than I thought it would be. I'm really enjoying this more with each play, my wife likes it but is not crazy about it.

14-Oct - mb
The ultimate winner was out front from round 1 but her husband closed the gap and was actually the one who triggered the end game but lost in the tiebreaker. We played with all 12 objectives with the end game triggered after a player completed any 9 and returned to Zeus. It was a fun, fairly close game despite most of us being in pursuit from round 1. I finished a close third.

19-Oct - mb
We continued our Feldtober festivities playing a 10x10 Challenge game of Oracle which was also our first play on our new game table. My wife has a reputation for being good at race games and she was out quick setting the pace. I closed the gap and finished my objectives but needed another turn to get back to Zeus allowing my wife who led the entire time to complete her last objective and get back. I won on a tiebreaker with 3 cards.

20-Oct - mb
Our 10th play was a close one where I set the pace but my wife drafted just behind me as we navigated the board. I was setup for the win on my next turn but my wife pulled a combo and got back to finish the round and the game for the win. We finished our plays with her holding the 4-3 advantage in our 2p games.
I'm glad we picked up this new 2016 Feld which was a departure from the typical point salad design we have come to expect. There is still the variety of choices and options, but the race element is a new one to us and one that my wife does particularly well. I was concerned about AP behavior but beyond the initial play I haven't seen this from those who are prone to it in our group. I also don't feel that luck is too loose or powerful in this game as it offers lots of mitigating options to stay engaged in the race--in fact, we've seen some big moves to gain 2-3 objectives in a turn or two. Most of our games have been very close with multiple decided by a tiebreaker.

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8. Board Game: Orléans: Invasion [Average Rating:8.29 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.29 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.29 Unranked]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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Orléans was my Best New to Me Game of 2016 and the most played last year as well. It became a near instant Top 10 of mine and a favorite of my wife. With the variety of expansion modules, especially the challenging co-op, it seemed a no-brainer to add this to our collection to get this game to the table more often.

Pre-2017 Plays: 0x

Progress:


I crossed out the Achievements we mistook to be required objectives that we failed to complete. If not listed, then we completed them.

06-Jan - Invasion (cooperative) - Failed
Role: Innkeeper, Librarian
Fail: Civil Defense (-1), Clothing (-4), Catapult (-1), City Walls (-3), Citizens (-1), City Treasury (-26), Warehouse (-1)

This was our first play and it was admittedly difficult. It will likely take a few plays to figure out how to successfully complete all the preparations before the pending invasion. We experience multiple, early setbacks that resulted in what I felt a constant low supply of money and followers. My wife had the money but not enough plays to get it all transferred. The good news is that she wanted to pass on going out to dinner and setup again and get as far as we could before we left for another engagement. That is a good sign.

07-Jan - Invasion (cooperative) - Failed
Role: Estate Manager, Merchant
Fail: Civil Defense (-1), Clothing (-1), Citizens (-1), City Treasury (-10), Warehouse (-4), Fortification (-2), Individual (Merchant -27)

It felt like we did better overall which is progress that we will take. But we still have more to puzzle through before we successfully protect against the invasion. We are really enjoying the collaborative effort to solving this one.

07-Jan - Invasion (cooperative) - Failed
Role: General, Mayor
Fail: Civil Defense (-1), Clothing (-2), Citizens (-2), City Treasury (-2)

We started out sluggish and discouraged but somehow managed to finish strong and started leveraging buildings and the Palatinate more effectively to rally to best finish yet. We are closer and hopeful.

09-Jan - Invasion (cooperative) - Failed
Role: Councilman, Fisherman
Fail: City Walls (-1), City Treasury (-9), Warehouse (-2), Fortification (-2)

We continue to inch forward. I'm am enjoying the challenge. My wife says she is too but ninja it sounds an awful lot like complaining, whining, and frustration at losing.

10-Jan - Invasion (cooperative) - Failed
Role: General, Innkeeper
Fail: Civil Defense (-1), City Treasury (-7), Innkeeper (-1)

We are determined to beat this thing. Mercy! We were really, really close. Oh, well. It was a valiant effort and we are now within striking range of our goal.

12-Jan - Invasion (cooperative) - Failed
Role: Fisherman, Innkeeper
Fail: Civil Defense (-2), City Walls (-2), City Treasury (-8), Innkeeper (-10)

We were off to a decent start but came up short somewhere along the line as the rounds past quickly before our eyes. Doh! My wife said, "I guess this game is going to stay on the table." We might just keep at it until we beat this thing!

13-Jan - Invasion (cooperative) - Failed
Role: Fisherman, Mayor
Fail: Civil Defense (-1), Clothing (-3), Citizens (-1), City Treasury (-15), Fisherman (-1 monk), Mayor (-10 coin, -2 citizens)

We set out with one of us to focus a bit more on money and the other famers for civil defense and failed at both as we weren't getting our engine building to align. We began to scramble and realized we were in utter chaos. I'm impressed with what we did accomplish in those last four rounds, but we came up short again. Grrr!

13-Jan - Invasion (cooperative) - Failed
Role: Fisherman, General
Fail: Clothing (-1 cloth), City Treasury (-15), Warehouse (-3 wheat)

Wow! This was the closest yet to success. We did leverage our extra followers using the Palatinate more this game which was a minor breakthrough, but my goodness this shouldn't be this hard to win. We're using the "easier" roles. What are we missing???

13-Jan - Invasion (cooperative) - Failed
Role: Councilman, Librarian
Fail: Citizens (-1)

Now that we understand the victory conditions correctly (you do not need to complete all the Achievements like we had attempted in our previous 8 plays). Sadly, despite a correct understanding we failed to secure 2 citizens which ironically we only needed the right followers to deliver the already secured goods.

13-Jan - Invasion (cooperative) - Success!
Role: General, Innkeeper

Yes! After a long brutal journey of misplays, we finally secure victory. Let's just say we are relieved. Embarrassed, but relieved. Tired, but we did accomplish something.
We really enjoy Orléans. Given we also enjoy coops, the Orléans: Invasion expansion was perfect for us. It was challenging and fun, it would have been nice to see who we would have done in the win:loss ratio had we not misplayed the first eight games. It just wasn't making sense given how well we felt like we were playing especially those last few mishaps. Something had to be off... me... misinterpreting the rulebook. Doh! Oh, well. Our love for this game continues. I will likely play the solo modules later this year; and hopefully some more multiplayer cooperative mode. I think we are rock stars in this one now!

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9. Board Game: Potion Explosion [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:408]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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My wife enjoys Candy Crush and Bejeweled Blitz so I gifted her this board game implementation for Christmas so that she has something on this list to look forward to playing.

Pre-2017 Plays: 4x

Progress:


Jan-14 - mb(79), mb(56), mb(40)
Our daughter was taking full advantage of her opportunities and not leaving much for the two of us. My wife was struggling and only seemed to set our daughter up for even more success more often than not.

Jan-14 - mb(55), mb(49)
My wife was done out of frustration of always losing, leaving the two of us to duke it out. It was slow going and very tactical as neither of us wanted to give the other any breaks. I had an opening and leveraged my potions to end the game quickly to limit my daughters chances. It worked and I took the victory in game two.

Jan-19 - mb(80), mb(47)
It wasn't very close. Things fell into place for me and my wife wasn't finding (seeing) the big choices to keep pace.

Jan-19 - mb(90), mb(38)
The coffee must have kicked in because she took me to the cleaners and crushed it in game two!

Jan-20 - mb(70), mb(68)
She is starting to see the strategic maneuvers of the game making it a both more enjoyable and challenging. That is a nice place to be for many reasons. Phew.

Jan-20 - mb(70), mb(45)
Ah, well. The momentum stalled in our second play as she struggled to find good combos for most of the game. She started to rally near the end but I had too many actions at my disposal to be stopped.

Feb-02 - mb(77), mb(48)
My wife had a big turn to finish the game quicker than I expected. This game clicked for her as she was leveraging all her potions and the professor's help.

Feb-02 - mb(79), mb(61)
I did much better the second time around, but my wife continued her dominance with a bunch more potions.

Feb-02 - mb(91), mb(79)
Hopes of the third time being a charm with a big score were dashed with a crushing tally my wife was able to put together. A morning sweep. Youch!

Feb-03 - mb(80), mb(67)
My wife continues her impressive comeback winning streak with her fourth in a row to take the 5-4 advantage in our 2p games. I'll say it again, impressive streak. This play completes our 10x10 plays for this selection.
This game turned out to be a real hit with my wife as I had hoped. I was not certain after the first few plays, but now that she grasps the importance of leveraging her potions and squeezing out every little advantage she has it has gotten more competitive and exciting for us, which will force both of us to elevate our game even more.

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10. Board Game: Uchronia [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:2360]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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Since getting into the hobby I've heard consistent praise for Glory to Rome yet never picked it up when I had the opportunity. So after hearing about this pseudo-reimplementation I set out to trade for it and after multiple tries succeeded. Not it's time to get it to the table.

Pre-2017 Plays: 0x

Progress:


Sep-01 - mb22, mb21
I played a two-handed, solo, learning game. After multiple attempts to read the rules, watch the videos and try to get this to the table I decided to just jump in an play against myself to get a firsthand understanding of how it plays. It was a bit slow going at first, then it seemed a little slow and uninteresting, but then things started to snowball and I was seeing some different choices that produce some point swings and the race was on to see which hand would win. It felt a little bit like a blend between Innovation and Guildhall was what came to mind.

Sep-05 - mb21, mb16
I taught my wife how to play Uchronia over coffee and for once learning a new game was not a painful experience! Things started out similar to my learning game, a little slow, but things got busy in a hurry. I didn't put together much of a strategy or engine of any sorts and watched my wife play a masterful first game for the win. She could see the Innovation and Guildhall references I felt in my learning game. She also said she could see us playing this again, which is great given it's on our 10x10 list.

Sep-07 - mb20, mb14
Both of our morning coffee plays played significantly faster than our learning game. The game is getting very interesting. I got off to a fast start in the first play, and although my wife started closing the gap I won convincingly. But our eyes were open to more ways to use the cards to do more and different things.

Sep-07 - mb20+, mb20
With new insight, our second play got very interesting with some back and forth on the scoring doing to the swapping and changing ownership of the bonus cards multiple times. Ultimately we finished with a 20-20 score with the victory going to my wife on the buildings tie breaker.

Sep-08 - mb24, mb18
Our morning coffee game was once again, Uchronia. I piled up on Construction activities and then just cranked out buildings for a commanding win.

Sep-12 - mb21, mb15
I worked the Construction activities to my advantage building lots of buildings in our morning coffee game of Uchronia, some of which provided bonuses for each building of that type. We also discovered that we haven't been playing the monopoly bonuses when a player builds a building of that type. So a fun game and one in which we learned a new rule. Not atypical for us.

Sep-14 - mb21, mb14
This game was much closer than the score indicates. I stole a monopoly late which resulted in a big point swing and gave me the victory. We remembered to play with the monopoly bonuses this time. We are playing faster and I for one am enjoying it--not sure how to read my wife on this one yet.

Dec-14 - mb20, mb16
We were both tired, a little blurry eyed and the lighting is really poor in the dining room so we were slow registering the various colored cards (orange and red look similar) as well as recalling how to play Uchronia. It caught on and we finished in a short amount of time. I stole a majority late and played a triple trade for the win.

Dec-14 - mb20, mb12
During our evening play, things were much quieter as we plotted in our heads. I thought I was within 2-3 plays from winning when my wife pulled a wing ding of a move to complete a blue building for the win.

Dec-14 - mb20, mb19
We had planned to watch a show before bed, but we were both so tired we opted to finish our last 10x10 play and skip the show. So we shuffled and played the challenge finale with my wife pulling off a doozy with a one point win.
Uchronia proved to be a decent game which reminded very much of a cross between Innovation with its multiple card uses that are played off a central tableau card and Guildhall with its set collection and race to 20 points element. A nice combination of two games we enjoy.

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11. Board Game: Fog of Love [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:688]
 
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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This is one of the few Kickstarter projects I've supported. It advertises a very different gaming experience that interested me. I am intrigued by the relational situations that require players to navigate a variety of life characteristics that factor into end game objectives. I hope this plays as good as it sounds. Given its delivery date continues to inch out I am picking this as my ALTERNATE.

Pre-2017 Plays: 0x

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