Heavy Games on Your Table - April 2017
Chris Smith

Cold Spring Harbor
New York
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Welcome to
Heavy Games On Your Table
April 2017




E What is a Heavy Game? That is tough to define, but generally games featured on these lists are complex euros, 18xx, wargames, and other games that require a significant investment in time or thought.

E Please post entries only for games that you have actually played this month, and include a description of the session, interesting things of note, photos, analysis, etc! The list is designed for more in-depth discussion of heavy games.

E Please subscribe to this thread to be notified when a new GeekList is posted each month!

E If the games on this list interest you, please consider participating in discussions in the Heavy Cardboard Guild and the Deep Cuts Guild

E Please add only one entry per game. If someone else has already added a game you are playing, just add comments!

E After the next month's list is posted, this list will be re-sorted alphabetically to make finding games in each list quicker.

E Any GG donated to the list will be re-distributed to the top few contributors at the end of the month (quality, not just quantity...)

E Thumb the list if you like what you see!
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1. Board Game: Age of Steam Expansion: Moon and Berlin Wall [Average Rating:8.03 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.03 Unranked]
Jesse Whitehead
United States
Chattanooga
Tennessee
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First game on the moon! What a crazy map. I loved it, but I definitely got screwed a little by forgetting about the day/night cycle. Looking forward to trying to this one again!

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2. Board Game: Dominant Species [Average Rating:7.85 Overall Rank:48]
CARL SKUTSCH
United States
New York
New York
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Agricola, Sekigahara, Concordia, Innovation, COOKIE!!! (and Guinness)
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First game of Dominant Species, 2 player with my wife. Not sure if we'll have a second as it is more aggression than she likes (a lot more). Then again she came close to winning in the end, which may make her reconsider. She's also a good sport.

End of game situation. (Bugs are red; Mammals are green)


I played the insects, she got the mammals. I'm sure our strategy was mediocre in a whole bunch of ways. We didn't have a lot of extinction (until a bunch at the end) but we weren't playing super aggressive. In the end she managed to catch up to near my score and would have won if I hadn't badly nailed her with a Predator event on the last turn of the game. A bunch of places switched from her to me as a result.

One oddity (perhaps) was that our species ended up looking similar in terms of consumption. I ate 3 grubs and 1 meat and 2 grass; she ate 3 meat, 1 grub and 2 grass (although at one point she had both sun and water). Nobody ate any seeds.

Final Scores:
Insects - 221
Mammals - 200

I liked the game. The various levels you have to be thinking on make the game pretty thinky. One turn I thought I had her nailed with a Competition action but she did one to me which came before mine and zapped me in the place I was going to zap her (We each had only 1 species in this one Savannah hex, so when she saw me put down an attack on Savannah, her defensive move was clear.)

I'd really like to try it multiplayer but I don't know a bunch of folks who'd be willing to spend 3+ hours on this hard a game.
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3. Board Game: Fire in the Lake [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:428]
Todd Carter
United States
Neptune
New Jersey
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I was able to play a live game of this today with four players. Usually, I'm either playing this online, playing it two player or at conventions. So, it was really refreshing to coordinate schedules and get this on the table. Pretty much everyone needed refreshing. So, we used the short scenario with Eric Guttag's tournament variant.

I was the VC and had a very strong opening where I terrorized everything I could. This shocked the US player into making me his special target and I was caught flat footed after a tax. So, I wasn't able to maintain opposition in some of the more powerful provinces I terrorized. (I really needed the money though.) I would pop up somewhere the the US would take vengeance. Meanwhile, the US had the bright idea of bringing as many troops as possible onto the map and the ARVN decided to take every action conceivable to govern away the little support US had. So, we were in a triangle of beat down. US were neutralizing the VC, the ARVN were sapping away US strength and the I was just barely getting by but also trying to sap away patronage with my subversion.

Then, then NVA attacked with a well timed invasion and took major gains in land. On the final card (MACV) of the second coup, the VC could have either done nothing and let the ARVN tie the NVA and let the ARVN win or ambush and take away ARVN COIN control and let the NVA win. Of course, I let the NVA win.

Overall, fun game and I'll have to try to play this more in the future. Though, I've never seen the US do so poorly or such a race for victory between the ARVN and the NVA.
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4. Board Game: War of the Ring (Second Edition) [Average Rating:8.40 Overall Rank:12]
Scott Daniel
United States
San Diego
California
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Hadn't played in almost two years. I don't own the game, but my friend picked up the anniversary collector's edition and we played it again. We agreed we really need to make an effort to play this more often. Very thematic and interesting game.

As a big fan of the books (and movies), it really captures it well. I won as the shadow player via a military victory.
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5. Board Game: The Gallerist [Average Rating:8.02 Overall Rank:65]
Siddharta Govindaraj
India
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Played a 4p game of Gallerist. This is probably the heaviest game that I own, both in terms of gameplay as well as raw weight. I could get some exercise just lifting the box. It's also easily the prettiest heavy game with some gorgeous components.

I like the way kick out actions give players a turn on someone else's action. It's a clever mechanic, trying to make you guess where someone might take an action and occupy that space. It seems to happen more by accident though, I don't think anyone is really trying to outguess the opponents. They just do their best move and if they get a kick out, then lucky. I would want to play once where I focus on choosing actions on kick out potential and see if the extra actions can overcome the points lost from doing suboptimal moves.

One downside of this mechanic is that it is very easy to get confused on the turn order. "Ok now its my turn" "No its not, its a kick out action" "Wait, what I did previously was my kick out action, now its my actual turn" "No he did the previous turn, then you did the kick out, now its that person's turn". This is the only game where we actually use the current player token to keep track of whose turn it is.

This game is also a point salad, and if you don't understand all the ways you can score, it can lead to some suboptimal moves. The yellow player didn't compete much in international auctions because she didn't need any of the artwork. But the art won in the auction also scores points for its sale value which can be pretty huge.

In the end, purple managed to squeak through by just one point! Final score -- Purple: 140, Blue: 139, Yellow: 108, Orange: 96

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6. Board Game: Merchant of Venus (second edition) [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:611]
United States
Seattle
Washington
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Merchant of Venus was originally published in 1988 by Avalon Hill, and reprinted in 2012. Today we played the "classic version". It was my first time, and I listened to the How to Play Podcast a couple of times in advance and felt 100% ready to play when I sat down at the table. There's a little bit of math in this game, a quality I enjoy, and pick up and deliver. I created a route that couldn't be affected by terrible dice rolls. I ended up winning, and think assesing when to stop exploring and start setting up a loop with space stations was key. I prefer Merchant of Venus to other space exporation games, like Xia and Eclipse. It was a touch fiddly, and not always possible to plan turns while others played. I would play again, but not seek out my own copy.
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7. Board Game: Indonesia [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:190]
Roberto Bueno
Spain
Gijon
Asturias
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Not a bad starting of the month

A game of Indonesia with the upgraded map here on bgg.

A game I really love, and it seems I'm playing worse every time I do.

A couple of failed mergers on two ship lines connecting the west and the East (one on the inner side, the other on the outer), I focused on the only Shiap Faji industry on the map

Another failure on a last merge with a small ship Company made my two Industry a powerful ones with lot of expenses on shipment
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8. Board Game: Antiquity [Average Rating:7.89 Overall Rank:197]
Roberto Bueno
Spain
Gijon
Asturias
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And another good one to start the month on this list

Being a good guy and leaving alone the new guy (was really tempted to launch San Giorgio against him) made a really tight game.

Explaining some of the phases one time and another, and playing attention to what others were doing (following they were with the rules), made my growing not as fast as I would like.

As in many of these games I took Santa Maria (yes, She is good anytime, but having to fulfill 2 different conditions makes me think is the one I have to pick up when there is someone new).
Santa Maria was fighting versus 3 San Cristofori.... tight game, 2 of the Cristoforis changed by the end of the game to Santa Barbara, building all their buildings, at the same time the powerful Santa Maria ended also all her buildings and all houses for her population.

In the end, one Cristofori/ Barbara was out having to put a graveyard onto one of the buildings, the other Cristofori/ Barbara had 52 spaces without pollution and the powerful Maria had 58... giving an amazing victory to her
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9. Board Game: The U.S. Civil War [Average Rating:8.35 Overall Rank:1523]
Matt P
United States
Kansas City
Missouri
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In a way too early ranking this is a 10. So far it is the best wargame I have played to date and it has provided one of my best game play experience, especially for a wargame. Playing as the Union I did not keep on schedule with the approximately 4 VPs you need to capture each round (did not play nearly aggressive enough until turn 4 or so). The CSA were able to claim victory after one final battle at Harper's Ferry resulted in a draw in the Fall or Winter (can't remmber of 1862.

The game turns just flew bye during our session and after 4.5 hours+ of game play (not including rule learn/teach) we almost dove right back into another play. Can't wait till this one hits the table again. Can't recommend it enough. The rule book is pretty easy to get down especially with some familiarity with wargames. Once you start to think about the rules they just start to make sense.
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10. Board Game: Gunslinger [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:1629]
Chris Laudermilk
United States
Orange County
California
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I guess I'll add another old Richard Hamblen game to the list.

Played my second-ever game of this and had a blast (snicker). Once the rules are digested, the game starts to flow pretty well and make sense. This is a recurring theme I've found with his games.

We had fun blazing away at each other and marveling at how bad at shooting our guys were. There was a definite story that unfolded as we played, and it helped having Pandora up with "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" as the seed. It even happened to pull the iconic gunfight theme as we wound the game down and my last guy got gunned down. JUST as he picked up a dropped pistol & readied it to fire. Definitely playing again.
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11. Board Game: Terra Mystica [Average Rating:8.21 Overall Rank:10]
Siddharta Govindaraj
India
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4p game of Terra Mystica. This is another game that we've played a ton of (75+ times). The factions in this game were Darklings, Yeti (from the expansion), Witches and Giants. The extra bonus scoring was the largest distance between any two connected buildings.

Right at the start the giants went for the sanctuary to unlock the double shovel action, and then proceeded to cut off the darklings from their 1-shovel expansion spots. That pretty much left the darklings trapped in the top left of the map. Witches also cut off the yeti, but yeti was able to upgrade shipping to the maximum and take the last available spot and connect their two towns together. Witches managed to get two towns as well, while giants expanded along the top of the map.

Final scoring was within 10 points of each other. Yeti won, giants second, witches third and darkling fourth. Witches really should have got one more town. Their +5 bonus points for each town is super useful. Giants had an opportunity to cut off the two yeti towns but didn't see the move, and yeti was able to max out shipping and connect the two towns by the end. Otherwise giants could have won.

I really like this game at 4 player count. There is a lot of fighting for spaces and you really need to be able to adapt as others build on spots that you were eyeing. The competition for the power actions is also fierce, and its easy to get blocked out of an action and pretty much end up with a wasted round. Yeti has an advantage here as they can use a spot even if it is covered. I've never played the game at 5 players and can imagine the chaos

Here is the final board state -

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12. Board Game: 18GL [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:4977]
Chris Smith

Cold Spring Harbor
New York
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This past weekend (Mar 31-Apr 2) I attended DErail in Newark, DE, a train game convention run by Pierre LeBouef.

A 5-player game of 18GL was my first game of the con. I didn't know anyone when I arrived, so I hesitantly butted in when I heard some folks planning out an 18xx to play. Fortunately, everyone was welcoming and there was plenty of room to join in. As my 18xx experience is still limited, I was open to trying anything new, and 18GL seemed to be a popular choice for several of the veterans. It's apparently old enough (2005) that the experienced players were looking to revisit it.

The game introduced some new concepts for me, in particular hex trains and government/merger rail absorbing failing companies. I played rather timidly, as I felt a bit nervous as the new kid sitting at a table with long time sharks. One of the players in this game, for example, held the 18xx title at the World Boardgaming Championship for nearly 15 years. I tried to not take it personally when the experts counted my runs for me or made change while I was still puzzling out why I had to hand in a $2 chip in order to get back an even $25.

While I think my nervousness kept me from really expanding into the game or trying to compete, I still had a good time running my companies. I ended up with the presidency of the Conrail (merger company), which meant I got to build out some big runs, which is fun even if not strategically ideal.

We finished in about 5.5 hours (roughly 9:30 to 3). On the whole, it was a good game to start the con, as it wasn't too stressful and I got to try a game I probably would have a tough time playing elsewhere. I came in last (which will become a theme for the rest of the weekend), but I enjoyed myself and looked forward to the rest of the event!
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13. Board Game: 1817 [Average Rating:8.72 Overall Rank:1931]
Chris Smith

Cold Spring Harbor
New York
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My second game of at DErail was a 4-player game of 1817.

I had been looking forward to this one, as I'd heard 1817 had all sorts of shenanigans that gave it a very unique flavor. I also got to play with some folks I had met via BGG, so that was another cool upside.

Unfortunately, I didn't have a great experience playing this one. I think there were two problems:

1) I was already fairly tired from traveling the day before and the previous ~6 hours of 18GL
2) I was the only player totally new to 1817 at the table, so it was a baptism of fire

1817 has some very different strategy elements, and I didn't know how to handle them. I was way more afraid of debt than I probably should have been, and I had no idea when (or why) to grow my 2-share companies into major companies. So, even though I had a reasonable start with the Major Coal private and a decent location in Charleston, I was leagues behind the table by minute 90 of a 5 hour game. I felt fairly disconnected after that, and I spent a lot of time wondering if I should just bankrupt myself so I could go do something else. Fortunately, Bruce (the previously mentioned 18xx mega-champ) was so far ahead (something like 10 active companies versus 2-3 each for the other players) that we called it early, and I got a merciful end to my suffering.

Although I didn't enjoy this play, I actually really liked the game as a whole, and I could see myself becoming a big fan once I've had a gentler introduction and some more experience. It was very instructional to see how Bruce used shorts as quasi-loans to accelerate new companies, and there seems like a ton of corners and nooks to explore in the strategy here. Certainly looking forward to more plays in the future.
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14. Board Game: The Great Zimbabwe [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:331]
Jake Blomquist
United States
Vestal
New York
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I bought this about a week ago on a whim and just got it to the table tonight (last night? Wednesday night). We played three player. I've played a few games of FCM and neither of the other two have played any Splotter games. I'll say more about my impressions at the end but let me spoil it now by saying that I was really impressed by this game and am looking forward to playing it more.

I ended up second in initial bid order and bid two cows to go first. There were only three clay on the board and they were all pretty close, so I put down a potter on all three, priced it at three cows, and grabbed anansi. I thought this would be an interesting first move, but what ended up happening was the other two just set up a bracelets and a masks and set them at one and were happy to ignore clay for a while. The guy who did bracelets also took Tsui-Goab so he was fine, and the guy who went masks got Engai, and then the next turn took shaman.

Then for most of the rest of the game the turn order bidding went "one cow, pass, pass."

I was low on cows for a while. I think I started two new monuments for the next two turns while the other two started one then upgraded both. I was able to then upgrade my three with my clay (this was one nice thing about my starting move, I could never bid for turn order and still be pretty confident I had my clay access) while Tsui-Goab placed a monument and Engai got into diamond cutting. He was also consistently putting out more resources with his shaman.

Turn five Tsui-Goab and I did some more upgrading and Engai placed and were all getting close to our VRs. Turn six they both did more upgrades and I finally realized that I was falling far enough behind since no cows were coming in that I had to do something. I got advanced masks and priced them at three, since there were a ton of forests on the board thanks to the shaman player, but it was too little too late.

Like I said, up until now the first round auction went to two and every other auction stopped at one. I think this one hit every bid from one to six, though had I been paying more attention I should have made sure Engai raised to seven, which would have won it. For some reason he thought he only needed to go second. But Tsui-Goab went first and just used up all of the diamonds and bracelets to go past his VR and make it much harder for either of us. He ended at +6 and neither of us could even pass our VR. I think Engai might have been able to get to around -2 but that was it, and then at that point the best I could do was probably about -8.

I'm sure many of you who have played a lot of this are shaking your head at some of the stupid stuff we did, but hopefully you can forgive us since it was all of our first games.

I think that by providing all of those resources to everyone Engai just made it easier for Tsui-Goab to keep his VR relatively low and still have plenty of resource access. I also think my opening was probably hurt by the availability of resources and if I really wanted to make Anansi worth it I would have to have gotten into advanced resources sooner. But, live and learn, this seems like the kind of game where the first play is always going to be pretty wonky, and I definitely know things I could do differently next time.

Tsui-Goab also seems pretty powerful in his ability to use up all of the resources of one type and thus make it much harder for anyone else to get the big upgrades. But that could very easily have been due to the oddities of this particular play.

Ultimately though, all three of us were very impressed and could tell that there's a good amount to explore in this game. The way you set your own VP requirement is really interesting and I can see how there seem to be radically different yet presumably equally viable (depending on what everyone else is doing) approaches by sending your VR really high and having to take advantage of all of your powers or playing for a lower VR and hoping to take advantage of opponents' infrastructure.

I also really like the way that the cows mostly stay within the system and sort of just move from player to player. And the turn order auction is great, especially later in the game when it matters more and so the values get really high. Though it's very possible that we should have been bidding up turn order more earlier.

Overall, I'm really looking forward to getting more plays of this to try out different stuff. It's a fascinating game and just thinking about the possibilities is exciting. Plus it was surprisingly fast. I think teaching and playing took 90 minutes total. I'm sure the game will slow down a bit once we learn better how to make each other's lives harder, but then we don't have to teach so under two hours seems very reasonable.

Also, not that I usually care much about this, but I know Splotter is usually criticized for it's production values (and also maybe art?) I think this game has excellent art, and also very good components. Though even if it didn't, I wouldn't regret at all having paid $100 for it.
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15. Board Game: 1880: China [Average Rating:8.26 Overall Rank:2245]
Chris Smith

Cold Spring Harbor
New York
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Third game of the con for me was a 5-player game of 1880.

I really enjoyed this one. Pierre was very helpful in explaining all of the quirks specific to this game, so I felt much more confident trying out a strategy.

I started a 40% presidency right off the bat in Beijing/Peking, and my plan was to transition to a 20% company to keep building track for the first one. I was set up to connect with my foreign investor very quickly, so all told I had a decent start.

Unfortunately, while Beijing had decent runs, I only had one other player up North, so the three southern companies had a development advantage which was then exacerbated when my 1-phase company lost its track license. I also had the poor fortune of being the only starting company to not make it to the second bonus region on the stock chart before the Cultural Revolution, so I lost quite a bit of bonus income until Communism ended.

While I still finished last, this game was the first of the weekend where I felt like I was making plans and trying them out, so it was a very enjoyable experience made better by a table of friendly players. I also thought the game was great. The quirks and chrome and whatnot all worked really well and created a unique, fun flavor. I was sad to see it's hard to get now, but I geekmailed Lonny and made sure I was on their mailing list for the next reprint!
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16. Board Game: 18Ireland [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:4713]
Chris Smith

Cold Spring Harbor
New York
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After playing 1880 until 2AM and traveling back to my hotel, I spectacularly failed to get up in time to join Pierre's game of 18OE that started at 9AM. I felt bad missing it, but the upside is that I was able to rest up for a 4-player game of 18Ireland that started around 2PM.

Ireland was a very cool system. I really liked how the narrow gauge worked, as you had to use it efficiently to make up for the relatively short reach of the hex trains. I also felt like I had a much better understanding of the mergers in this game, as the process reminded me a bit of Indonesia.

Unfortunately, I believe I made a key mistake in the opening by starting the Dublin South railway (DKR). Having just played 1880, I thought the "rocket" ability (running a train on the first OR) of the DKR would be powerful, but I missed that A) this game doesn't have the share price bonus regions like '80 and B) the DKR's run wasn't enough to move the share price where I started it anyway.

So, I had a bit of income in the early game, but without a company in the juicy middle of the map, I had little control over the track development, so when I was finally able to get into the fray, there were very limited options. At one point I thought I might be able to link up to one of the profitable companies and use my share advantage to steal it with a merger, but it was merged away before I had a chance. It just took too long to link the DKR up.

Shortly after that, I fell victim to a clever play where one of my opponents merged a company, which converted some of my stock to the new major, and then dumped the resulting company on me in the following stock round. I thought that was very interesting, as it wasn't like 1830, where I could be careful to not own too much of a risky company. Rather, I would have had to think about what my shares could BECOME in order to avoid such a risk.

In any case, I was happy to avoid bankruptcy, which I had heard was common with this game. As a funny twist, I still came in last behind a player who DID go bankrupt! But I think that's because we played 1830 rules, where bankruptcy ends the game, which is not actually the case for 18Ireland. We were all ready to move on, though, so it was a good point to end things.

I'd definitely be interested in playing more of this one. It does lack the satisfaction of big, fat runs, but the cramped maneuvering and cutthroat mergers make for interesting play.
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17. Board Game: 18Dixie [Average Rating:7.51 Unranked]
Chris Smith

Cold Spring Harbor
New York
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The same four players moved from Ireland to Dixie as the last game on Saturday night.

This was the first game of the weekend where I felt like I was actually doing WELL at some point, in fact, I even thought I was winning. I was advised that becoming president of the merger railway (either the SCL or ICG, depending on how things shake out) was very powerful, and I managed to get myself into a position where that was just what happened.

I actually stumbled a bit in the early game. I didn't plan my initial draft of the minor companies to coordinate stock in a target major, and I also forgot that towns/dits were "free" with the early trains (even though I had literally just been told that during the game explanation). Nevertheless, the private companies I got ended up being powerful, as I had a guaranteed token in Atlanta and a permanent 1+ train that could add a bunch of value in the late game.

Once I was president of the SCL, I was making some very large runs (I think the biggest was 930?). However, I mishandled the stock rounds a bit, as I was overly scared of getting a company dumped on me, when in fact I think we were well beyond the point of people finalizing their portfolios. As many of my early 18xx games had ended early because we were all beginners playing slowly, I had never seen every single share sell out of the market. I ended up being one share short of the certificate limit, which I think hurt. Also, even though the SCL had big runs, some other companies were also putting up big numbers near the end game, so the gap definitely closed up. Finally, the top two in the final standings had the advantage of a bunch of yellow shares to really stuff value into their portfolios for the endgame.

All told, I still came in last, but at least I thought I was first for a bit! I felt quite good about some of my plays, and I thought I ran my companies well, so that was an enjoyable experience even though I didn't win overall. And in any case, I was still playing with very experienced players, so I think even putting up a fight showed good progress.
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18. Board Game: Age of Steam Expansion: Argentina / The French Riviera [Average Rating:7.37 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.37 Unranked]
Scott Daniel
United States
San Diego
California
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My first game of Age of Steam. One of my friend's favorites, so he has lots of maps, so introduced three of us to the game in a five-player game on the Argentina map. Really interesting game play. I definitely enjoyed the logistics and planning and finished tied for second with the other experienced player.

Looking forward to playing this again. The constant economic pressure really makes for an interesting game.
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19. Board Game: John Company [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:1370]
Scott Nelson
United States
American Fork
Utah
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Not for the weak at heart. Aborted a game after one of the players didn't like the structure (wanted to get a game of zanghuo in, so not in the mood for a heavy 5 hour game) that has many steps and partial co-op, but not really, deal making too, and an auction or two, sortof. It was not zanghuo, so after 2 hours he gave up and went home, never got in the playing of his game. Had a few things pop out at me during this run that I didn't see other plays, which is good so the game doesn't feel samey. The Laws still seemed tacked on, and never did much for our company in the way of a choice (we just did what would be best for the company).

An Infamous Traffic proved to be a take that kind of game where you don't want to help too much and actively crush your opponents' plans. It plays better with more than 2 so sides aren't so easy to take. Unique ideas in that one. JC doesn't feel like it much at all - same designer.

The Colonists Epic board game x2 but only 1 Era each. My wife purchased the storage thing for it, so it will get more plays. I have a feeling with the cost of half of the game itself for something to hold the pieces organized, it should get some more plays.

Ibyron: Tri*land of Discovery. After the 3hex pieces arrived from tgc I had to put it through the test(s). The few changes didn't feel like it changes anything except the shipbuilding is a tad tougher (have to go find a place to build them in now).

My brother, a non-gamer couldn't get enough of my HHH, so I played that more than I thought while visiting him. He also tested expansion ideas and he had fun trying to design his own doctor card based on his twin bro who is a doctor; it had to be tweaked a lot to be balanced, but I let him play it once, anyways.

On the very light end of things, played Portal of Heroes, Fugitive and Cockroach poker - all a hit with non-deep gaming groups.
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20. Board Game: New Angeles [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:872]
Holger Schmid
Germany
Koblenz
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It was my first play of this game this weekend.
Really heavy negotiations and discussions.
All in all, the game is not difficult. However, to meet all demands of the residents of the city is nite impossible as all beneficial actions have adverse consequneces. This is were the discussions start...
One play took us 4,5 hours. Maybe games will be quicker, now that we know what to do and know some of the cards.
I'm excitied to try this again with a different corporation to see if the asymetric factions really matter and impact how you play the game.
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21. Board Game: Arkwright [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:568]
Chris Laudermilk
United States
Orange County
California
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Third ever play of this, and this time we took off the training wheels & played Waterframe. As veterans well know, this totally opens up the game. I'll probably have to do a couple more sessions of Spinning Jenny to rope others into the game, but it is definitely preferred to go with Waterframe.

My son and I very much enjoyed the play even at 4 hours. Well up until he realized he had no hope of beating me. It was also a long session, so he was getting fidgety. We dabbled in the large warehouse & shipping--I managed to make two deliveries and think I got the rules mostly right. We saw more interesting market pressure from the foreign sales, and definitely more interesting options with the additional development tiles.
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22. Board Game: High Frontier (Third Edition) [Average Rating:8.49 Overall Rank:1223]
Michael Theiss
United States
College Station
Texas
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Finally got to the table.
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23. Board Game: Mombasa [Average Rating:7.94 Overall Rank:66]
Siddharta Govindaraj
India
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Started out this month with a game of Mombasa. This was my first time playing a stock based game, and I was surprised how smooth and fast the gameplay was. I always imagined stock games to be 4 hour affairs for some reason.

It was a 3 player game. One player went the exploration route, one went diamond merchants and one went for goods cards to buy share certificates from the cards. It so happened that the exploration bonus was on the mombasa share track, so there was a combo where the player would do exploration, get the max exploration spot, and then advance on mombasa track. Going ahead then gave exploration bonuses that strengthened this play. Then use the exploration to put out mombasa influence on the map. In the end this person won, going all-in on mombasa and reaching the end of the track. The other players had shares in all the companies, but in this game capitalising on the combo paid off.

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24. Board Game: 1867: The Railways of Canada [Average Rating:7.77 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.77 Unranked]
Steve Carey
United States
West Coast
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A 3P session of this somewhat friendlier brand of 18xx. Single tier stock market, with company mergers being much more important than dumping. The privates are quite vanilla (plain delivery bonuses), unfortunately.

Basically a streamlined version of 1861, the Canadian National Railway rules are rather simple (acts as a repository for failed companies, takes a train each OR during Phases 4-7 to speed the game along). Still, the game took longer than expected.

Placement of stations can be critical, and managing the minor railroads (free placement, just 1 home station token) are just as important as running the public companies.

We enjoyed it a lot (smooth play), the open nature of the game led some some really interesting situations and a very close final scoring.
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25. Board Game: High Frontier (Third Edition) [Average Rating:8.49 Overall Rank:1223]
Steve Carey
United States
West Coast
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I acted as Mission Control for 4 new players, Basic Game of this new edition.

At first everyone was admittedly being overwhelmed by everything, and they were somewhat concerned about the slow opening (acquisition turns). Once rockets went into space however, things began to open up and the mysteries of the solar system started to be revealed.

The winner conquered Mars and was tops in black card production. The second place player claimed the Moon and then went "out there" to acquire other sites (after producing a very efficient black thruster). The third place player managed only a few claims. The last place player failed on *all* his prospecting rolls, so he earned the perseverance Heroism card (3 VP). Poor guy.

It was a cautious session, with all players trying to get comfortable with the map as they were very hesitant of running out of propellant (i.e., spent a lot of time refueling).

By the time we had to call the game, they were really getting into it. Later, one player who said he normally would not care for this type of game said he couldn't stop thinking about it and would play again.

This is a definite improvement over the 2nd edition, but there still are some notable missteps - the rules really should have been edited better, and the introductory booklet throws too much at newbies without a detailed step-by-step. There are some minor errata issues in the game, as well.

I've only played HF about a half-dozen times, and spent a lot of prep time getting ready for the particular session, which really paid off.

This is one remarkable design that is going to entertain for years to come. I can't wait to play again!
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