Welcome to GCL Mafia Division's weekly geeklist! And also thank you for paying attention to the oft-neglected header.
GCL Mafia Members: • Please add an item to represent your gaming life for the week of April 10-16, 2017. • List any games played along with your thoughts/opinions. • Also, feel free to share gaming news, life updates, random thoughts, or anything else you deem appropriate.
GCL Mafia Geeklist Format: • A weekly game can be spotlighted and discussed. The poster will pose questions about it to encourage conversation. • Themed questions are optional. They can be gaming-related topics or non-gaming-related topics. • A top five question is generally skipped these days, but if people ask for one I might make one anyways.
Love 'em even if a few games get scuttled from time to time.
The growth of the tabletop gaming hobby has been quite impressive over the last few years, as has the growth in the amount of games being published. However, in the opinions some (maybe many?), the volume of games has surpassed what physical stores can carry and what less-hardcore players can keep track of. This has made some declare that we're ready for a "market correction" - a bursting of the bubble, so to speak, although whether this will just be "fewer games published" or "many companies going out of business" - naturally nobody knows.
Do you think the industry will see a correction in the near-ish future? Why? What do you think the cause is, and what do you think will happen? If you do not think the industry will have this happen, why do you think the growth in the number of games being released is sustainable?
Love 'em even if a few games get scuttled from time to time.
There's been quite a bit of groaning from longtime BGG users over (theorized) changes to the BGG ranking system. It seems to be much easier for games to move up the rankings than it used to be - in fact, the average year of release for the top 10 is now 2013.5!
Do you think this the value of the "top games" is gone now that it seems to be so easy for new games to show up? Or do agree the new games are just that much better and that the complainers are excessively swayed by nostalgia for older titles?
Love 'em even if a few games get scuttled from time to time.
How long do you think people stay involved in the hobby? It's probably hard to give a blanket average, so feel free to mention different types of players if you like. How do you think it compares to other types of hobbies?
Love 'em even if a few games get scuttled from time to time.
My wife and I went to Kinokuniya Books in Dallas this weekend to indulge in some Japanese book shopping. So let's have a little discussion about Japanese games. A few years ago, Love Letter made a big splash and put Japanese microgames on the map as "a thing." Are there any Japanese game designers you like? Are there any characteristics of Japanese games you do or don't like?
No real new gaming this week and no weekend game night due to a weekend trip to Dallas.
We played three rounds of Dominion this week and finally tried out the upgrade kits for the base game and Intrigue. I enjoyed the new cards quite a bit. The Intrigue ones felt non-aggressive compared to what I was expected (they're much more combo-y), which isn't really a bad thing, it's just not what I was expecting. I didn't feel like the new cards were huge changes or anything - the game didn't feel totally reinvented, as you might expect - so it more or less just felt like we got a couple mini-expansions.
One of our matches lent itself to very large combo-heavy decks and that's the one where I did the best, and another my wife cleaned my proverbial clock as I wasted time trying to set up a bunch of very specific combos that didn't really pay off.
The card of the week is Soothsayer from Guilds - which is amazingly powerful if you can get it early game. I got lucky and had five copper in my opening hand and I raced to pick that one up, and ohhhh man did it pay off. I get a gold and you get a curse? WOW. Now that's power. The extra card draw they get seems like a piddly comfort compared to deck-building advantage.
Rattus is a nice area control game I hadn't played in a very long time. We had a nice 3P game of it with a lot of stabbing and pushing and prodding - which is exactly what this game encourages. I like the "you keep roles until they are taken from you, but they also expose you to danger" setup the game has. It's unique and I don't think anything else does that.
If I had a complaint, it's that your first several rounds feel like they're not really that relevant to the overall score, as there's almost no chance any cubes you place early will actually survive until the end of the game. So yes, it's important to the flow of the game to always watch what other players are doing and to not let anyone pull too far ahead (as is the norm for area control, really), but I do sometimes feel like those early cubes are just dead before they even hit the board.
I've heard the expansions for Rattus are really good, so I'd like to give those a shot sometime as well. I'm curious what they change - and heck, there's like five of them, so I imagine the game is pretty different by the time you've added all of them (assuming you can add them all at once, which I'm not sure about).
Sadly, no games this week. Skipped our usual game night for dinner with friends of the family (which is fine - I don't get a chance to drink 1973 Riojas all that often).
Alistair's been pulling out Rory's Story Cubes a lot recently, sometimes telling stories to us, sometimes to his stuffed animals.
Also, I made the mistake(?) of trying out a tweak to My First Stone Age with him, which suddenly made him realize "oh hey, I can change these rules?", and suddenly it became a game about using the tusks to attack bad guys.
In a similar vein I basically gave him our finished copy of Pandemic: Legacy and he was merrily making up stories with all the bits this afternoon.
As I'm typing this I'm waiting to board a plane to New York for the week. I brought a couple games (because I'm an optimist that way) - Dick (which is kind of a tradition with my work friends), No Thanks, Coloretto, and 13 Days (because evidently one of my new coworkers is something of a gamer, or at least a magic player).
The Brooklyn Game Lab is right down the street from where I'll be staying - I may check it out (though I think it's mostly a youth activity center, but I'm still kind of curious).
All my gaming this week was at the Ding & Dent meetup in Chicago. Quite the adventure. When I set it up with Bonus Round Cafe, I was really just focusing on a day that would work in my schedule and give us enough time to promote it for 2 episodes before the actual meetup. I didn't pay attention to where the shop was and when I realized I had a minor panic. With traffic, it was showing at about 1.5 hours from work or home to get there. Oy. So I set it up with Katie, left a little early and...got there 40 minutes late. Traffic was atrocious that day (of course) and it took a little over 2 hours to get there.
Once I got there, it was great. All but 2 people there when I arrived were podcast listeners and I got to play at least 1 game with everyone. I had brought Secret Hitler, thinking it'd be a good game to merge groups and play a bunch of people but a lot of attendees were kind of burned out on it so we played some 6 and 8 player games. Got 2 of those in before moving over to play Watson & Holmes with a couple other listeners. Loved this; immediately think it's better than the SHCD formula for multiple players.
The meetup officially ended at 9 as the bookstore was closing, so a few of us went to a nearby bar for a few beers. One of the regular listeners, Herb, put Strike out onto the table and we played a bunch of rounds of that. Um...amazing. I need this game in my life. Stupid, simple, perfect for bars and late nights.
Got home past midnight, but loved it. I wasn't sure what turnout would be like and was really happy to meet people and play some games. Would love to do it again.
On my Mind Easter was a lot of fun. Raffi figured out the egg thing, but not the candy thing, which meant we got all the candy and he had fun chasing eggs we threw into the yard all day. He fetches better than Bear.
I didn't take pictures, because I'm a dope, but I did cook more recipes from the GCL Exchange.
Travis' Cajun Chicken Pasta dish: On a hunch, I doubled all the seasonings amount since we tend to like things spicy and punched up. It was the right call for us, except salt. I forgot salt doesn't work that way so it was a liiiittttlle salty but still really good. We also used whole milk instead of heavy cream. Raffi particularly liked the pasta. Would definitely make this again.
Grace's French Dip: Worlds easiest recipe. Very tasty, though canned soups have a decidedly canned soup flavor. Not a problem, especially given how easy this was to cook, but I'd love to try a "from scratch" version of this dish one day. Again, Raffi ate a bunch. We had a friend over for dinner for this and she took the recipe home.
Also Grace's Chicken Corden Bits: So. Um. Due to an Oxford Comma related misunderstanding, I thought the instructions for this were to fry chunks of chicken in a pan and also fry chunk of bread in the pan. I was actually supposed to bread the chicken chunks and fry them like a normal person would assume. HA. Well...still came out tasty except that the fried bread was a little rich for Katie's system. We just put the leftovers on toast the next day without fried bread and it was really good.
I believe the only thing I have left to make is something Jim posted.
Cthulhu Wars First game on Primeval Map and it was very good. I was Yellow Sign and came on strong late, but too late. Cthulhu kind of ran away with this game.
The best part about this map is that glaciers pop up over time, taking ownership of gates in specific spaces. What this does is drive people towards building gates and fighting over a central set of spaces. It almost reminds me of Yggdrasil in Blood Rage. Also, everyone ends up with tons of power because the empty gates give power to the collective, very weird and different play in that regard. I could see this map working very well at 3 players as well. Really enjoyed this map, especially more than Dreamlands and maybe even more than Yuggoth, mostly due to its simplicity.
We also used neutral great old ones for the first time. Azathoth made an appearance and was very interesting, boasting powers that affected everyone at the table. Sleeper player ended up bringing Az into play.
The Cthulhu player acquired Cthugua who is ridiculous. He basically created this chain combo of submerging and attacking people, sparing them with kills so that he could earn Elder signs. It was too late but all three of the non-Cthulhu players ganged up on him in the latter half of the game. Dude still won and I came in second with 15 Doom (counting Elder signs).
I went early Hastur and was doing very well collecting my own Elder signs, but I lost KiY to Cthulhu and that slowed me down. I couldn't safely re-summon him with Cthulhu head hunting. It was brutal.
Artus Meh. I won though. It has that Five Tribes can't plan for anything thing, and it's very much a big puzzle. If I'm playing a game with Knights there's no way I'm trying to arrange them around a dining room table.
Vikings Gone Wild This game is enjoyable but it can suffer from serious AP with those who are prone to it. It does remind me of Imperial Settlers mixed with Ascension/Dominion (it has cards available to buy like Dominion and a row that is unpredictable like Ascension).
I slightly wish attacking was more punitive for the defender if they lose, as it's somewhat friendly in that regard. I love the goals it gives you as it offers direction in what could otherwise be construed as a pretty messy game. I doubt I will be keeping this but it was pretty fun.
On My Mind A lot of work on terrain for Shadow War. My previous plays have been with makeshift terrain and using odd objects just so I could get plays in and write about it. Here's my finished stuff so far (all of this comes in the boxed set):
Easter went very well (we host). It was pretty relaxing and much of it was taken up by the Blues dismantling the Wild. But now we have 6 extra pounds of ham. Lila had a blast and loves hunting for eggs.
Grant - I don't really know what to say. This series reminds me of when the Blues played LA in 2012 and completely outplayed them for multiple games, being stonewalled by Quick. I will say I think yesterday's game was pretty even with the Blues dominating the first and maybe half of the second period. That game 1 though was ridiculous. Even game 2 the Wild deserved far better.
Not many plays this week, barring plenty of iOS Ascension, almost all of which I lost!
Gloomhaven was quite fun, as we finally folded in Eee's new class to the mix, meaning that we played four-player with all advanced/unlocked classes, making for a really interesting exploration of interactions and team strategy. We effectively cleared the whole map with several turns to burn, so we're considering bumping up the difficulty for better rewards and a tighter finish. Eee's new class is exceedingly cool, and a killing machine (as opposed to her slow, reliable Brute). It also seems like our current slew of personal quests will be easy to complete much faster than our original round of goals, so we could see even more turnover/prosperity in the next month(s).
John Company was excellent. We played the long campaign game, wherein the players begin in the early company scenario (normal game) and shuffle in the company de-regulation cards to the event deck, meaning that there are a few opportunities for the monopoly to be revoked and all company positions scrapped save the regional presidents and chairman, and players stop working collaboratively and roll back onto their heels as family companies as private enterprise. The negotiation was quite good, and there was a lot of excitement as the entire skeleton of the game changed, though still on the momentum of the early game. I am really smitten with this design.
On My Mind: Penelope is due is five weeks. We've basically finished all of our house projects, and the nursery is entirely set up save a few wall hangings. We have a lazy game day at our place at the end of the month, then nothing at all in May, on purpose.
I also think I did quite well in the last US Math Trade. I have not done a math trade in a long time, but between ultra-cheap in-house shipping through my company, and a pile of games on the trade pile in the basement, I thought it was time. Seeing as I traded a PnP game I built, a "fair"-condition game, and a single promo for whole games, I'm pretty pleased. I plan to build a much nicer version of Secret Hitler using the Secret Palpatine files I have, anyway.
We had a long weekend filled with way too much food. I really don't want to eat anything today. Ted had an awesome time dyeing eggs and going on a little candy hunt at my folks' place. It was lovely.
The Golden Camel UberBadge is a mystery. Nobody knows where it came from or how it got there.
No one expects the Spanish penguin!
We hosted Easter dinner with some friends from our church, and then played a few games of Telestrations afterwards. I got a lot of comments on my good pictures, and I'm pleased that my drawing ability is improving such that I can make good pictures.
My favorite picture was when my word was Mousetrap, so instead of taking the easy route, I made a massive picture of Mousetrap: the Game.
When we ordered, I decided "Oh, 2 6-pack telestrations is so much cheaper than 1 12-pack telestrations. Let's do that!" I forgot that I would get 6-page packs instead of 12-page packs, so it's not the same. Oh well, that's fine. And there was no timer in our box, so we basically had unlimited time. Fortunately it wasn't a problem except for when one person was left still needing to erase their entire board (me), but that's got nothing to do with a timer anyways... so
This weekend we're going to have a Switch Day party. Unfortunately, no Mario Kart, yet. But our friend will bring a Wii U and maybe I'll have another friend come who owns Fast RMX. Should be fun, especially since our game nights haven't resumed, yet
Numbers and preferences meant no Zendo this week. Ca$h 'n Gun$ was with a different group from last week's play. Lots of fun, but I was ganged up on again.
I'm really liking the variety of Sushi Go Party, though I don't think I'd play with more than 6. Possibly not more than 5.
On my mind
Benjamin was on Spring Break from his Mother's Day Out class, so on Thursday he and Karyn came to visit me at work so they could see the office, and meet my colleagues. The security guard was quite surprised when he asked Benjamin to spell his name for his visitor badge, and he rattled it off really quickly.
Easter was good. Benjamin went to a couple of Easter Egg hunts, and we got to talk to all three of my siblings and their families. FaceTime is a wonderful thing.
1846: Fun game with 3 players. We actually did not get one of the big railroads into play- by the time anyone had capital to think about it Trains ran $800, and that was pretty miserable when other companies were paying out $50/share.
We called the game because when all the companies had permanent trains, one player had about twice as much stock as the others, and most of it was in the good companies. I think the advantage was his PAR was set lower, which meant that in early turns he owned 30-40% when the other railroads only had 20%. His runs were somewhat similar in payouts, but he got twice as much cash, and was buying into more stock. I'm going to take that into the next time I play it. This one is pretty fascinating to me still.
On my mind: I got a candy thermometer this week and tried making Turkish Delight. I had it once about 4 years ago and enjoyed it. I did manage to botch it- I did all the early stuff correctly, and got the correct texture out of it. But I need to do something to help the candy dry out- as it was it still was sweating after I'd coated it with powdered sugar, which led to it getting a crunchy tiny crust. While its not inedible it wrecked the delicacy that goes with it, and I think I failed. But I'm willing to try again, and I'm also willing to branch out into other candy now that I know I can do it!
No board games played at all this week. I decided not to go to game night, because I was in a bit of a mental funk. But after having a rough night and a pseudo-fight with Kim, things have snapped for me. Learned a lesson, and it was a hard one to learn. But it was good that I learned it.
But since there weren't any games played this week, I'll expand beyond what I normally count:
I usually get plenty of digital games in each week though. Grace and I have been playing Tash-Kalar several times per week for a few weeks now.
Starting out, she would steamroll me, and then after a couple close matches, it flipped where I started to steamroll her for several games. But now, things seem to be flipping back to the "close games".
It's hard to tell exactly why these phases have taken place. But one thing that has happened more now that we have some more experience is that turns seem to be getting more and more dramatic. Where before my turn begins I go "Holy hell, how am I going to get out of this?" - and suddenly by the end of your turn I keep thinking "I'm feeling pretty good about this, now!". Until Grace is done with her turn. Then I'm very confident I will lose again.
Additionally, after several weeks of things not aligning, I finally got together with my old friends and played Edge of the Empire. My friend who GMs is amazing. He both is very well prepared and has an incredible (on-the-fly) imagination. We had some encounters that were very memorable and it was very engaging, but they were all "off the cuff" because we, as players, didn't do ANYTHING that was planned. After running this campaign for about 3 years, he has a great grasp of our characters.
On my mind In 167 hours, I plan on standing in line for Pirates of the Caribbean and not thinking about work.
Additionally, we got some very good progress on our yard this weekend. The rain stopped on Saturday and Sunday. I removed 6 tree stumps (Only about 8 more to go!), we got things planted in our vegetable garden, planted some decorative plants and flowers around the back patio. It's all coming together.
We had planned to go see Beauty and the Beast, but we were so tired and it got so late, we didn't make it.
A Fake Artist Goes to New York: This is a great 5-10 minute hidden traitor drawing game. My mom was particularly amused by, especially playing as the QM (Question Master - the one who decides what everyone is drawing). It worked a lot better with five than four and I am guessing the sweet spot is around 5-7. Still, definitely an enjoyable filler.
The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire: Pretty enjoyable, though it ended a bit sooner than I thought it would so I was building up for a much bigger engine. I also misunderstood a rule, consequently gimping myself of energy for several turns. I wouldn't mind playing this again, but it's nothing particularly standout. I did like it more than my one play of The Manhattan Project though.
Jackbox Party Packs: We played nearly every game in these three packs yesterday, some of them more than once. Here's what we played: YOU DON'T KNOW JACK, Fibbage, Lie Swatter, Earwax, Bidiots, Quiplash, Bomb Corp, Trivia Murder Party, Guesspionage. Everyone really enjoyed Quiplash (thanks again to Grant for introducing it to me during my Austin visit!) and Lie Swatter. Bidiots is a bit more gamer-y than the rest and although the horror theme is a turnoff (and it's certainly done in a funny way, not scary), I really liked how Trivia Murder Party worked. All in all, $60 well spent to have these around, especially for larger family gatherings.
On My Mind:
I've made some decent progress on all my work that's needed to be caught up on, however I still have a good chunk more to go. As you can see, I made sure to set aside for some gaming lest I go crazy with all the grading. I also need to write some reviews, but for obvious reasons that's been pushed to the back burner until my school stuff is in order.
Other than that, Matt and I watched the first episode of the new MST3K, which had some pretty funny moments (and man, was that movie awful).
"Watch, but do not govern; stop war, but do not wage it; protect, but do not control; and first, survive!" - Cordwainer Smith
"Aint that just the way"
No games this past week, due to an un-expected health crisis (Yikes!)
Some background, I have pretty bad Asthma along with seasonal and pet allergies, and my girlfriend and I have been living with her cats for the past two years. We've tried a lot of things to help keep my conditions under control (I had an existent, but not well defined, Asthma plan and we've made half-hearted attempts to keep things clean and the cats out of rooms I frequent).
Unfortunately, it's meant that I've tended to be more sick and miserable than usual as the impact to my health was never really brought under control (though I love the cats dearly, there's no arguing the detrimental effects). I knew a few months ago that there was a good chance that all it was going to take was some opportunistic malady to send me over the edge and potentially into the hospital, and that very thing happened on Wednesday.
On Monday I found that I had come down with what felt like a cold (which later turned out to be a bronchial infection), which steadily got worse as the days wore on. I was having trouble breathing with a pretty heavy cough, but managed to keep going with generous doses from my inhalers. By Wednesday, however, I was feeling really miserable and decided to spend some time at my Parent's place down the road to try and recuperate. I was so sick looking that when my Mom came to pick me up, she suggested that we call 911 to get an ambulance over, which I quickly agreed to as I felt particularly awful.
Turns out I was suffering from a full-blown asthma attack (which also feature clamminess, cold-sweats, and headaches as one's body reacts to having drastically lower oxygen resulting from an inflamed and narrow trachea), and it had been so long since I'd had one that I'd forgotten what that had felt like. The ambulance guys hooked me up with some albuterol via a nebulizer and got me back on my feet, and we went over to the nearest Kaiser to get me checked out.
Once it became clear that the combination of different allergies suppressing my system had allowed the infection to trigger an attack (and that I'd perked back up after getting the Asthma treated), the doc figured that I'd just need to ride out the infection while making sure everything else was treated so I didn't tail-spin during the recovery. Fortunately, having my parent's place to recover in was a spot of luck, as it was perfectly situated to be a place of convalescence, and I've spent my time recovering here since then.
Sadly, we had to re-house the cats, but luckily my girlfriend's sister lives down the road in their old apartment and was happy to take them on. There'll need to be a deep-cleaning of our apartment later this week to remove all the cat fur and dander, but once that's taken care of I can move back in and resume life as usual. I'll be working closely with my doctor to re-establish a more solid asthma and allergy plan, but I'm on the road to recovery.
I also had a ton of games come in over the past few days that I haven't been able to play or futz around with, but once I'm back on my feet I hope to get them to the table!
9 Fields of Arle x3 (13 plays so far) 9 Great Western Trail x1 (15 plays so far) 9 Navegador x1 (2 plays so far) 7 Patchwork x1 (3 plays so far) 6 Magic Maze x3 New! 4 Railroad Revolution x1 (2 plays so far)
10x10 solo challenge :
1/ Scythe 2/ CO2 3/ La Granja (variant called 'Against Miguel') 4/ Mage Knight 5/ Le Havre 6/ Fields of Arle10/10 (scores : 86/79,5/105/80/90,5/88,5/83/94,5/110/107,5) 7/ At the gates of Loyang : 10/10 (scores : 15/17/16/16/13/15/16/17/14/16) 8/ A feast for Odin 9/ Antiquity (solo variant by El Commandante) 10/ Roads & Boats
Next game : Le Havre.
On Fields of Arle : Two best scores in my 3 last plays with differents strategies :
110 VP : food engine (Shovels/Pottery Wheels engine, Bakehouse, trips) to build the Waterfront House and the 3 red buildings. The Colonist’s House provided me clay from my whool. 83 VP for my village board : my best score so far.
107,5 VP : seeing Carpenter’s Workshop on setup, i decided to go for heavy breeding. In the end, i had 2 stables et 1 double stall, saddlery (no surprise), the Waterfront House and the Church. 63 PV for my village and 15 PV for breeding (6 sheeps, 5 cows and 5 horses).
Thoughts : - the Handcart is great as first vehicule : it allows you to access Brick/Timber while keeping your starting wood. - Sluice Yard Inn rush is really strong : it puts you on rails right away.
On Navegador : my first and last play was in 2012 and my first thoughts about this one was "so-so". I had the opportunity to played it again (5 players) and i was hooked. This game is all about elegance : dynamic gameplay, interaction, shared incentives (can i leech off other players's efforts and/or create separation from them ? (colonies vs factories, type of resources)), strategic but with opportunities to take. I like how this game is polished, how the theme is integrated and the beautiful board. Brillant game and i have found a second hand copy (still in shrink).
On Patchwork : i have introduced my wife and she enjoyed it a lot. So i will buy it ASAP.
On my mind : we went to London. It was crowed (they said +60% visitors since last year) but thanks to a shiny weather, we managed to enjoy our trip from walking in the town. Places we have visited : - Tower of London - London BridgeTower Bridge - Globe Theatre - Westminster & Buckingham Palace (Horse Guards parade etc....) - Hyde Park - Oxford Street - Covent Garden - Piccadilly Circus - Camden Town - Little Venice
No museum as we wanted to benefit from the streets's atmosphere because of the weather.