GCL Amoeba 322 - Disparities...
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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Welcome to this week's Game Chat League Amoeba discussion group!


If you found us randomly (via subscription, perhaps), you're welcome to join in with constructive conversation -- we're friendly symbiotes in real life, though vicious competitors at the game table. (Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most dangerous predator on earth!) Read the links above for more info. (If you're shy, just thumb the list so we can see who's stalking us :-) )

Current hosting rotation:

Jeroen (jmdsplotter)mb
Scott (qzhdad)
Eric (Eric Brosius)
James (jdludlow)
Justin (jrebelo)
Kalle (Kuula)
Joshua (Joshuaaaaaa)
Carlos (Sprocket314)
Mikko (msaari)
Doug (phrim)
Jason (Bond8089)
Garry (garry_rice)
Jimmy (Butterfly0038)
Larry (larryjrice)

Quote:
Being in several, disparate bands is what I thrive on.

- Trevor Dunn
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1. Board Game: Range War [Average Rating:5.50 Unranked]
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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What are a couple games that you really enjoy and rate highly compared to the general masses? (Feel welcome to use Friendless Stats or just wing it.)
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2. Board Game: The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Game [Average Rating:3.26 Overall Rank:15323]
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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Which game(s) do you rate much lower than the general masses of BGG or people in general? Why do you feel those games are over-rated (or not as enjoyable for you)?
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3. Board Game: Lose Your Shirt [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:7061]
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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If you first play results in a huge disparity in the scores, how does this affect your likelihood of playing again? Does it make a difference if you win or lose by a large number of points?
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4. Board Game: What's Different? Matching game [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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Is there a wide disparity within the type of games you enjoy? What might be a couple examples?
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5. Board Game: History Up To Date [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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What game(s) do you think have had the longest divergence in date of plays? What's the longest you've gone between plays of the same game?
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6. Board Game: NMBR 9 [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:816]
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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 8.0   Gloomhaven

The journey continues as we won again. This play makes Gloomhaven a dime for the year. No one retired...yet. But there are three of us who are very close. I just need to go to the swamp and we just revealed a location there and another guy just needs to take out one more elite. If we both retire, a third character will also retire so our party could look very different soon.

 7.0   NMBR 9 x2

I'm not very good at this game. Meanwhile, I taught it and someone new to the game scored over 100 points. I've gotten to 80 twice.

 6.0   Eldritch Horror

We won easily. One of my friends the last 7 years in Irvine is moving up close to San Francisco in a week or two so we're trying to get in a few more games before he goes.

 6.0   Sagrada

This one might be growing on me. I am enjoying it more with repeat plays and don't think much dice manipulation is really necessary for this game puzzle. It is part of the intrigue.

 3.0   Merchants of Araby NEW!

Never again! This game is all about bartering. I dislike bartering in real life and don't enjoy it much in games. I don't mind in Settlers where it is pretty easy to figure value but this one is a bit more obtuse and free wheeling. As well, the game begins to drag more and more each round as you try to squeeze out the best deal on every person's turn. Ugh.

Acquisitions:

Funagain's Sale...

Discoveries I've enjoyed this when I've played.
The Great Zimbabwe I regretted selling this last time before trying it...now I want to try it at the least.
Ice Cool Looks like it could be an entertaining dexterity game...

Manoeuvre: Distant Lands I had forgotten about this pre-order from years ago...until I received an email my card had been charged...

Other:

Anyone playing the Race for the Galaxy App? If you want to play live, my friend code is GWEH4TQQ.
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7. Board Game: Solarius Mission [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:2005]
Mikko Saari
Finland
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2 x _8_10 Days in Europe
1 x _8_Trambahn
1 x _8_Solarius Mission
1 x _8_Honshū
1 x _8_Hero Realms
1 x _7_Quadropolis
3 x _7_Dungeon Rush
1 x _7_Cottage Garden
1 x _7_Fugitive
1 x _6_Afrikan tähti
1 x _5_The Mysteries of Peking

Nothing new this week, but can't complain: this was a solid amount of gaming, considering I couldn't make it to the weekly game night this week.

I'm especially happy with playing Cottage Garden and Quadropolis with both of the kids - it's always a bit hard to get my daughter to play something more complex and new to her, yet she usually likes the games if she does play them.

Hero Realms is on the fast track to fifty plays, it seems, my son likes it quite a bit and never says no to it.
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8. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:2240]
Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
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 9   Unpublished Prototype -- Once again this week I conducted a playtest of a prototype. We had two brand-new players; one of the important things in playtesting is to keep getting input from new people.

Other than that, the week was busy with getting my son ready for his move to Cincinnati. He and my wife just left in the car; she's going to help him with the driving (it's about 13 hours not counting stops) and general organizing. They're splitting the trip into two days, stopping tonight at my brother-in-law's place in Enola, PA, and completing the trip tomorrow.

But I did just buy the iPad version of Race for the Galaxy last night, thanks to Larry's mention of it in a GeekList item a little above this one. We played a 2-player game and he won a close victory. Actually playing the game isn't that hard, but figuring out all the associated functionality will take time.
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9. Board Game: Schotten Totten [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:370]
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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9 Schotten Totten 30 plays for total of 30 logged (previously played a lot on Yucata) all with Hanson. These were played in four sessions and it's become our go to short game. (And I bumped up my rating at least partially in response to his reaction.)

8 Terraforming Mars 3 more plays defeats although one was a two point loss. All 2-er with Hanson. Still enjoying it.

9 Mottainai2 plays with 5 players (one new). Lots of fun, may have made a convert.

7 Patchwork 2 plays with Hanson before breaking out ST. Solid 2-er.

9 Stroop 1 2-er. We didn't get to play with the production version (air-freighted over), but the prototypes are nicely done. Looking forward to having a copy to play more.

8 Yokohama 1 4-er, 2 newbies. Still enjoying this one even after getting last (although total score spread was 92-107).

8 Power Grid: Brazil/Spain & Portugal 5-er game, map was new to four of us, we played without Amazon region. Weird game in that two or three 5 city plants came out very early. Three of us powered 13 and 2 powered 12 on the last turn. Nice tight game.

7 Sushi Go Party!5-er, 2 newbies (I think). We played one of the standard learning decks. Solid party game.


8 Dominion: Empires 3-er. Empires was new to one player. This play wore out its welcome with the legionaries slowing play and my running several archives most of the time. This expansion has lots of fun cards. It was still fun, but it was approaching midnight with a two hour drive ahead....

Divestments
The Barbarians was sold off, unplayed. Just too many good new games to fight through rules and punch out old games.

tentative
confirmed good
confirmed ok
played under "protest" (or a new try)
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10. Board Game: Yokohama [Average Rating:7.97 Overall Rank:104]
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
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8.0  Paperback x4

Four plays against the Smarter AI on the iPad app...not convinced they are overly smart once you know how to play well...did have a first for me though-drew six cards for one of my turns late in the game and they were ALL wilds...talk about a worthless hand

7.0  Race for the Galaxy x2

Couple of plays on the new app.

7.0  Concordia: Salsa

Play on BAJ...

7.5  Yokohama

Taught this to two newbies and refreshed one veteran...enjoyed it with four.

7.5  Project: ELITE

Two player game on medium...we got smashedshake I really need to make an insert for this one before playing it next time...takes almost as much time to set up as it does to play it!

6.0  Kingdomino

Taught two others how to play and squeaked out a 42-41 win.
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11. Board Game: 1817 [Average Rating:8.67 Overall Rank:2033]
Rebecca Carpenter
United States
Seattle
Washington
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1817 x3

I think our group overpays for privates, 72-80%, and has a tendency to overextend for 2+ trains and choice token spots like Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Charleston. Not that those things are bad, they're quite good, but the cost to aqcuire them can mortaly weaken a position. I've been having a lot of success with an Albany/Cleveland start. It doesn't require much bidding power to lock in, which allows me to buy more trains with less debt, and enter in SR2 with lots of cash.

Babel x1
Babel's randomness overstays it's welcome in a game much longer than it should be.

Metropolys x1
My first play. I enjoyed the spatial puzzle and auction, but don't see it having much replay value for me.

Chicago Express x2
I taught this, and after the first game the table begged, okay, said they wouldn't mind playing again.

Coming up:

This Saturday is a Sasquatch game day and I'm hoping to play 1841. The Portland Tournament is breathing hot on my neck and I'm desperate to get prepared.
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12. Board Game: Vast: The Crystal Caverns [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:480] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
Jeroen Doumen
Netherlands
Eindhoven
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5x _5.75_ Cards Against Humanity
1x _6.50_ Winner's Circle
1x _6.25_ Terraforming Mars
1x _6.00_ 30 Rails
1x _6.00_ Vast: The Crystal Caverns
1x _5.50_ Spiel
1x _5.50_ War Galley
1x _5.50_ Executive Decision
1x _5.50_ Elfenroads
1x _5.25_ The BoardGameGeek Game
1x _5.25_ Frankenstein
1x _5.00_ Legend of the Burning Sands
1x _5.00_ Slapshot
1x _5.00_ Legends of Robin Hood
1x _5.00_ Terra Turrium
1x _4.00_ Sssnake
1x _3.00_ Small Battle On The Roof
1x _3.00_ Columbus
1x _2.00_ Hashtag Me!

A nice big bout of gaming goodness . Quite a few games last week, including quite a few older stinkers.

We played Terraforming Mars again, using drafting for the first time. Not sure I like it that much more with 2p; maybe we will, maybe we won't next time. But I still like the game (and Ishould pre-order the expansion too).

30 Rails is a nice little game. Good fun dice rolling.

Also got Vast: The Crystal Caverns to the table. I was quite impressed after the initial confusion - it's quite fun, and really impressive how the different sides balance each other. I won as the cave .

War Galley was a slight disappointment; there simply isn't much to do strategically/tactically with such simple ships. Especially if you're used to Age of Sail battles .

Executive Decision is really just two "auctions" per turn presented as a game. Not too bad, but B. really hated it. I found it clever enough.

It was good to play Elfenroads again. If only to see how much of this design resurfaces in TtR...
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13. Board Game: 1849: The Game of Sicilian Railways [Average Rating:7.85 Overall Rank:2751]
JR
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Another pretty quiet week of activity from me last week. I had to get the first part of a root canal procedure done and then on the weekend we had some company staying over the night (not the good kind of company, so no gaming).

My only report for the week is the completion of an email-based game of 1849: The Game of Sicilian Railways with my friend's Gregor and Tyler. I had only played '49 once a year or two back and didn't remember much of anything about it and I meant to go into this game playing aggressively to explore some of the reputation the game has for being harsh.

The opening deal of companies was pretty crazy and it put us into a game of chicken right off the bat. Gregor paid a significant sum for the private letting him start the #1 company while the #2 was a total outhouse of a starter. I was the one with the least private income and forced to start the #2, but instead I bought into Gregor's #1, figuring I would sell it out, gain some value, a couple dividends and then move on. Tyler took the bait and started the #2 (IBT or something?). It was total trash as predicted, but he rightly had little available to him after he opted not to buy into #1 hoping I would start the poor company.

I rode the Gregor train for one OR shorter than would have been ideal because I figured Gregor would do something mean, so I sold it all down and started the RCS up north. Using the RCS I pushed trains really heavily to rust out Tyler's trains before he could run again. This worked and I very nearly bankrupted him but he was able to recover by selling I think all of his allowable shares.

This whole debacle immediately turned very badly for me. The position I put Tyler in caused the train rust to advance a step further. Gregor meddled with things ever so slightly and almost immediately I was in the same emergency situation Tyler had been.

Eventually the dust would settle and I would finish the game running a hemmed-in AFT making pretty poor earnings while Gregor dominated the game with two presidencies of very successful corps.

Tyler and I actually stayed neck and neck all game due to our shenanigans and he would eventually get the better of me by a few bucks. During one later-game stock round we were actually completely level to the dollar in total player worth. Gregor pretty much doubled our scores though...

So yeah that game can be pretty sharp!
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14. Board Game: Libertalia [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:297]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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On Friday, Anni and I did the third scenario from Escape Room: The Game.

_7_ Escape Room: The Game -
Spoiler (click to reveal)
This time, we played a scenario in which we had to defuse a bomb that someone had hidden somewhere in town. Like the other scenarios, this one had three parts. The first part involved a big map of town, with various landmarks on a grid. There were also various materials from which we could decide the bomber's itinerary. There was also a shoelace included, which we had to use to trace his path, somewhat confusingly omitting some of the stops. Eventually we figured out that the shape made by the shoelace matched one of the landmarks. We weren't sure what to do with that information though, until a clue told us that the X,Y coordinates of the landmark should be put into the machine. In the next part, we were given a box, but told not to open it until we solved that part. Anni cleverly figured out that a nonsensical phrase printed on the box could be converted into numbers using the image of a telephone also printed on the box. We weren't sure what to do with the resulting number, though, until a clue told us to use an actual phone to call the number! Thought that part was a little hokey, and never would've guessed that without the clue. For the last part, we opened the box to reveal a bunch of puzzle pieces. We thought they had intentionally not included all of the pieces until we found the remaining two still in the box after the game was over. In any case, the two missing pieces weren't an issue. Once we assembled the puzzle, we worked together to solve a nice logic puzzle to determine which wires to snip. We both really enjoyed that part. We finished with some time left to spare.


On Saturday, I was down in NJ as my uncle was hosting a Mother's Day barbeque.

_6_ Machi Koro - This was with me, Anni, Lauren, and Mike L.; Mike L. was new to the game. We were also playing with the Harbor and Millionaire's Row expansions. I spread out in the early going, trying to cover all of the numbers 1-6, but eventually ended up specializing in rolls of 4 (which got me lots of money) and 6 (which let me steal lots of money). I ended up getting pretty far behind in the early going as I wasn't rolling those numbers, but a few good rolls changed my fortunes. Things were looking up when I activated the card that let me re-roll, but I was still pretty hot and cold. Eventually we got to a point where everyone was most of the way toward winning, but no one could quite push it over the edge. This went on for somewhat longer than I would've liked. Eventually, Mike got the roll he needed to win the game.


_7_ Codenames - This was me, Anni, and Jon, versus Lauren, Mike L., and Mike V. We were playing the variant with half Codenames cards and half Codenames Pictures cards. Lauren remarked in the beginning that the teams weren't particularly fair (they were determined randomly), and I guess that would bear out to be true, as my team ended up winning all three rounds. I was the first clue-giver, and tried to be a bit aggressive right off the bat, giving a 3-clue of "electric", trying to catch a picture of something that looked a little like a kite (I was thinking of Ben Franklin). Well, they didn't get that part at all, but fortunately for me guessed a neutral with the third guess. I was concerned because they were talking about guessing "mail" on the next turn (e-mail and all) and that was the other team's word, but fortunately Mike clued that word for his own team and saved us. From there, I played it fairly conservatively and we won. Both Jon and Anni played fairly conservatively on their clue-giving rounds too, which worked fine as the other team made more mistakes.


_8_ Libertalia - Same group here. We ended up with a ton of high-value cards in the first round, so we were all trying to figure out which cards to save to dominate future rounds, and how to do so. I didn't end up having a great first round, as I think I got two cursed idols. I tried to make a gambit to open the second round--the first set of treasure featured 3 treasure map tokens. Unfortunately, my chef ended up with one treasure map and one cursed idol. Regardless, I ended up doing a little better in the second round, and was able to catch up some. The third round was where I really made my hay, as I ended up with a whole bunch of money, and I managed to snag 3 maps as well as some other treasure. My big score in rounds 3 wound up giving me a very narrow victory over Jon.
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15. Board Game: Tesla vs. Edison: War of Currents [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:1683]
Kalle Malmioja
Finland
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GAMES PLAYED (8.5 - 14.5.2017)

Sorry for the intermittent posting. My new job function in the quality departmant has really taken a hold on me and the former leisure pace of working has turned into do-now attitude.

_7.00_ Sagrada x 1

Finally the slump of board games was over. She asked to play a game and I obviously agreed. I wanted to try out Sagrada as a 2-player game as it was purchased for that purpose. I decided to opt out on the personal grey scoring cards and gave 2 score cards to both and one to the middle. Then both chose 1 card and put the 2nd to the middle. This way we had one personal and three common scoring cards. This was because I didn't like the grey cards as they could be more swingy. She liked it, and hopefully we get to play more.

_4.50_ Tesla vs. Edison: War of Currents x 1 mb

Tesla vs. Edison: War of Currents was played with the expansion Tesla vs. Edison: Powering Up!. It started nice and easy but then around the middle point of the game it become a chore and was dreadfully unpleasant. The biggest complaints were that the events were not inspiring and really didn't help the game at all and the selling of a share was done very poorly.

How could it be a good thing to take back 3-5 steps in a single sell action while gain is just 1 step? That aspect didn't make any sense and it was too easy to thrash other players. We felt that the core of the game, building the cities and the inventions was ok/good but then the designer wanted to add some ameritrash to it and for us that was really demoralizing.
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