GCL Gelato 266 - How Opaque!
Patrick Pence
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Tallahassee
Florida
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ABOUT GCL mb GELATO DIVISION mb SUBSCRIPTION THREAD


A Geek Chat League is a weekly discussion-group format for people who love gaming and enjoy talking about games. It is intended to foster depth and familiarity, producing engaging content and worthwhile interaction. Members get to know one another, establish shared interests, and generally develop a friendly and productive environment.

Of necessity, each division of GCL is kept relatively small (typically between 12-16 members, though individual divisions may incline one way or the other). A tight-knit discussion group tends to function more smoothly than a free-for-all. It allows individuals to be heard and understood, and for each participant to keep up and enjoy multiple topics as the week progresses. The format is geeklist-based, and lists are not published to the BGG front page.

Policy: If you're a lurker or have otherwise discovered GCL Gelato, feel free to read along with us and see what the members have to say on everything under the sun. If you have a constructive comment or something else you think would add to the discussion, consider posting it — if it's helpful, respectful, and polite to the discussion group as a whole, as well as to its individual members.

The TransPARENT

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The Opacity

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1. Board Game: Opaque War: Ukraine 2014 [Average Rating:6.17 Unranked]
Patrick Pence
United States
Tallahassee
Florida
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This week's list is inspired by the episode of Heavy Cardboard that I listened to a few weeks ago. Our own Cole Wehrle sat down with Edward and Amanda to discuss the concept of game design.

https://www.heavycardboard.com/episodelist/2017/5/3/7r218z5s...

The part of the conversation about Cole's enjoyment in the game design process segued into the concept of "opacity" versus "transparency" in board gaming.

Quoting from Dave Ross' gaming and design blog: "A transparent game is one whose basic strategies are available even to first-time players; an opaque game is one whose basic strategies are only revealed to those who have played the game many times before."

I'd like to open the floor to discuss this further- it would be good to hear whether people enjoy their games to reveal their gameplay and strategies slowly over time, or upon the first couple play. What are some of your favorite "opaque" games? Do they stand up to repeat play? Is there a difference between "heavy" games and "opaque" design?

I'm sure we can get a lively discussion among this group. So, this week will be fairly light on individual questions. I'm looking forward to hearing where this takes us!
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2. Board Game: One Night Ultimate Alien [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:2025] [Average Rating:7.34 Unranked]
Jonathan Takagi
United States
San Marcos
California
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 7   Skull x3 - Taught this to some students that really got into it. I remember reading about this game before it came out and I never really saw people react the way early reports said that they did until now. Each flip ended up being a nail biter.

 10   Nertz x2 - My friend is doing a project where each week we discuss our favorite songs of the past 52 years. This week we are in 1986 and we usually play someone's "power song" in which they are expected to dominate the nertz round. This week it was fun to see a friend really amp up his game during "Push It" and "The Final Countdown". Those are both songs I don't really like at all, but it was fun to see his nertz game magically improve with those songs.

 N/A   Secret Hitler x2 - I was able to convince the students that they shouldn't offer to randomly discard a policy card when they are dealt 3 fascist policies. If you were a skillful shuffler, though, that would be a really powerful tactic to use.

 6   N-Tropy - Some students pulled this old one out this week.

 9   No Thanks! - I don't know if anyone else uses the term "bridging" as much as we do when playing this game but it's a very common term to be heard.

 N/A   One Night Ultimate Alien NEW! - One Night Ultimate Vampire was already a little too much, and we really didn't play it very much. I didn't read about this before backing it and it seems like they may be hitting a dead end. There are very few roles included, the main new aspect seems to be the app randomizing things, which is not a positive development in my opinion.

 8   Pickomino

 9   Promi-Klatsch - I noticed this week that a person outside of people I play with finally rated this game, and they rated it a 1. I initially reacted with rage, but then I realized that it was just one of those shill accounts that has probably never even played the game, so the rating is meaningless.

 N/A   Scythe - It's been a while since we've done this one, but it was a good play with very little conflict. It was inspiring to see how lopsided the victory was - no one was even close to the leader. If only I had noticed how he had achieved it.

 N/A   Star Wars: Destiny - The second play was more interesting than the first, but my lack of experience with CCGs means that there are quite a few cards I don't understand at all. Maybe a seasoned player can see the utility of most cards but I'm going to need to vary up the cards beyond the starter sets.

 9   Time is Money - It felt good to have a dominating victory at one of my favorite games. There's nothing better than grabbing fistfuls of cash!

 8   Wits & Wagers Family - It was neat to have one of my kids suggest this, even though it's been ages since we've played. My youngest son almost won, which was surprising.


This has been a good week in other areas. I followed the keynote from Google IO with interest. It's getting pretty scary what Google is becoming capable of. If I hadn't already sold out my entire life to them I would probably be getting frightened, but because I'm all in I find it exciting.

Also I am itching to see the titles being screened at Cannes this week. Though I don't follow movies like I used to, it's always refreshing to see what people are up to. It was interesting to see the minor dust-up regarding Netflix. It shows just how difference French cinema culture is than ours. I have no reverence for the theater experience, I think it's all greed. But then again I have no problem watching an entire movie on my phone, which is probably not the ideal viewing experience.
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3. Board Game: Game of Trains [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:2403]
Jacovis
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
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Howdy Gelati!

Here is my week:



 8   Game of Trains x3

My fellow teacher likes all the old regular stand-bys in the family card game world (Phase 10, Uno, Skip-Bo, etc.), so I decided to teach her Game of Trains after school last Thursday. She caught on quickly, and was dealt a rather perfect set of cards the first two games, but I made her work for her third victory.

Overall, she loved it and went and ordered her own copy on Amazon right there. I have promised to teach her at least one other new game before the year ends, so I have to decide what that will be. I think it will be Cribbage just because.. I mean it's Cribbage!

On the online front: El Grande is interesting, and it looks as though I have not been able to fully grok all of the nuances just yet, but I am having a blast. Pax Porfiriana I am still not entirely sure if I am playing it correctly, but again I really love the system. I have a buddy of mine who wants to start getting together every other Thursday over the summer to play games, and I've added Pax Pamir to the list of games I'd like to play when we get together. We will have others joining us when they're available, but the two of us are locked in.

Talon is going to end in a bloody mess for the Talon, and Stig is loving every second of it

I just started and invited everyone to Russian Railroads on Yucata as well, and I'm looking forward to that. I really like that game. I think I like Snowdonia a bit better, but even though it's very abstracted railroads it feels very "train-y" if that makes sense.

I'm also looking forward to Tommy's and my game of Warriors of God to take off soon, and over the summer I'd love to get in another game of 18xx with the Gelati.

Since I've gotten Twilight Struggle on my phone it is much easier to get to my turns in that, so if anyone wants to play TS online, my handle is jacovis!

Once school gets out I plan on purging a large amount of my games to get ready for downsizing for the move to Hawaii in a couple of years, so I will let you all know ahead of time what's on offer and give a Gelati markdown.

I am, however, still bringing in a select few games, mostly GMT, so I am expecting Pericles and Time of Crisis any day now, and I can't wait. So much awesome to hit the table!

It was a pretty crazy week, but we only have 3 more weeks of school, with this upcoming week being the only full 5 day week! The following week is Memorial day Monday, and the last week of school is only 4 days long, so that's that.

I am excited and terrified at the same time, because I have a bunch of essays yet to grade, plus their finals once they get them done, and then boom, the year's over and I have to get all my stuff out of there. It's all pretty crazy, and it's hard to believe this was my first year teaching as a "real" teacher; it feels as though it has been ten years since the beginning of the year!



I hope everyone is doing well, and has a great week!
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4. Board Game: Star Wars: Imperial Assault – Obi-Wan Kenobi Ally Pack [Average Rating:8.26 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.26 Unranked]
Ron
Austria
Vienna
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Game Week

 7   Sushi Go!
 10   Mansions of Madness: Second Edition
 6   Machi Koro
 10   Elder Sign
 10   Star Wars: Imperial Assault – Twin Shadows
 10   Star Wars: Imperial Assault x3

This was a very nice game week for me. It started Friday with a game of Mansions of Madness: Second Edition; with a new player, we revisited scenario one again. We entered the Vanderbuilt Mansion, but finally failed to prevent the ritual from happening. I guess we're responsible for another armageddon.

Staying with the theme, we then played Elder Sign (in the Arkham Mode) against Tsathoggua, and this time, we won - although only after the doom counter heralded the endgame! So close!

To relax, we then had a game of Machi Koro and finally Sushi Go!.

My wargaming appointment for Saturday was cancelled, due to the company where my buddy is working. Airport security was understaffed and so he had to take the weekend shift. But Andrea was happy to start a new Star Wars: Imperial Assault campaign, and we chose the fan-made EDGE OF OBLIVION (free for download in the file section of the game). It makes use of four missions from the games' figure packs (mainly Obi-Wan Kenobi and Greedo), and we played one on Saturday, and two on Sunday. Andrea's rebels won two, and I managed to win the last one, so it all comes down to the last scenario, which is scheduled for today.



New Games

Because I find the topic totally fascinating, I ordered 13 Minutes: The Cuban Missile Crisis, a mini-game based on 13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis, which in turn is based on Twilight Struggle.

Also, another wave of Imperial Assault minis came in. Java Savenger! This one is so cool!



Other News

I stumbled upon a video in which a girl shows you how to get along in Vienna with only knowing one word of the language ... this might come handy for you, when we all meet in my Gaming Dungeon!



Oida, I hope you all had a great week too! meeple
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5. Board Game: Captain Sonar [Average Rating:7.72 Overall Rank:99]
"L'état, c'est moi."
Canada
Vancouver
BC
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This is the week that was - 14/05/2017-22/05/2017
Games Played:


 10   Twilight Struggle x3
 8   1989: Dawn of Freedom
 7   The Castles of Burgundy
 9   Pax Porfiriana x2
 7   Captain Sonar x9
 6   The Pyramid's Deadline
 10   Power Grid x2
 5   A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (Second Edition)
 6   BANG! The Dice Game x4
 6   Eclipse x3
 7   Pacific Typhoon
 8   Deep Sea Adventure x2
 6   Timeline: Inventions x2

That's 32 total plays from 13 different games.

This is a long weekend in Canada, and on Thursday night I went to my friend Jeff's place on the Sunshine Coast for a weekend of gaming with part of the TNC and a friend of theirs who'd flown in from Montreal for the occasion. The bulk of the above gaming was from that gamer getaway.

In fact, here's the gaming from Thursday-Monday inclusive...
 9   Pax Porfiriana x1
 7   Captain Sonar x9
 6   The Pyramid's Deadline
 10   Power Grid x2
 5   A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (Second Edition)
 6   BANG! The Dice Game x4
 6   Eclipse x3
 7   Pacific Typhoon
 8   Deep Sea Adventure x2
 6   Timeline: Inventions x2

A solidly good time was had by all. We gamed a lot, trash talked a lot, ate a lot (and man was there good food...), and while the guys went out on the water with kayaks I went for a nice 8.32km hike in the woods. It was nice to get out of the city and to be refreshed for what I hope is not too crazy a week ahead.
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6. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm [Average Rating:8.08 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.08 Unranked]
EXTRA AVOCADO! Sonderegger
United States
Folsom
CA
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Havana 2p x1

The humid air is hot and sweet
from old cigars, and blinding heat
and as the sweat beads everywhere
each casts a calculating stare

Only in Cuba, could such plans
hinge on siestas and grand dames
and architects and shady spivs
and oh so clever planning gives
the edge to those who see
the greed borne by the bourgeoisie
--
What a wonderful game. I love simultaneous, or quasi-simultaneous role selection. See my love of the Witch's Brew Trio, The race family, and Visby. I also love "race" goals. That is, when a particular set of victory requirements are achieved, they trigger endgame. See Lewis and Clark, Blue Moon City, Kashgar, and many more. As such, Havana is having a bit of a second wind love affair with me. It's absolutely splendid, and the tension with the turn order makes for hilarious monkeyshines. It keeps moving up in my esteem every time I play it. I played against my mother in law, and just destroyed her- but in the way that comes with familiarity with the system and the vicious barbs it throws. She enjoyed it thoroughly, and wants to wield the tools she saw me cut her apart with next time.
What an underappreciated gem. I like libertalia, but Havana blows it out of the water. Ha!

Race for the Galaxy ww x1

We started as a world with mines
not yours, once tapped we saw the signs
and dressed in armor to the nines
and ventured baring fierce canines
but oh in breaking trad confines,
we switched too late- this thus declines
--
My wife started with alpha centauri, and then halfway through the game switched to NGO and Rebel shenanigans, but it left my focused and improved-logisitics-bolstered empire to slam across the finish line. I love playing it in person with my wife. I know that it's been digitized, and I play online, and all that, but even with the tedious setup, there's something wonderful about eating bagels and shmear in the early morning California sun, and spreading your space-capitalist tendrils across the universe with your wife. I'm also astounded that she's pretty much caught up to my skill level- all I've really got on her is a little sharper predictive skills, and a encyclopaedic knowledge of the cards.

What's my Word ww x1

Hers was virgin, mine was circle
again, I dare to rhyme with quirkle
--
Her first guess was car. We both sussed the words, but goddamit she had almost double my points by the end. This game gets better, so much better, as you learn its quirks- now that she has 2000 points from CAR, should she guess C-A-R words to keep up with points, or guess other lower-scoring words to try and go for the 9000 point correct guess? Spoiler- she did both.

Star Realms: Colony Wars 2p x1

Quick! hand me exlax, ensign smith
This captain's log has too much width
I finished all the old bologna
That's why we've named these wars colon-y
--
Taught coworker. Fun was had. She almost blobbed me to death, but one small outpost, and the gradually attritive Imperial yellows popped in a surprise win.
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7. Board Game: Memoir '44: The Battles of Khalkhin-Gol [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked]
Stig Morten
Norway
Kvernaland
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Gaming



N/A  Memoir '44 x3
Played the first three scenarios of this new campaign. My Russians took the first two easily and established a solid lead in the campaign. Bad use of Cavalry in the first scenario was a contributing factor for the Jpanese loss in the first scenario.
Thomas´ Japanese clawed back a bit in the third scenario which was a very cool breakthrough scenario. It went back and forth a bunch of times, but in the end the Japanese ended with a close victory.
I am gonna say that even if the first two scenarios wasen´t very even battles in our plays, the scenario design looks solid.
N/A  Win, Lose, or Banana x15
Tought this to a bunch of kids at the schooltrip. Most hilarious moment was when the "Banana song" was first use. Lyrics was something like this "I´m the banana. I´m the banana. I´m the banana. I look like banana. I smell like banana." The one holding the "Win" card when the Banana song was first sung, was so surprised he chose the singer as the banana. THe singer won with the "Lose" card. The Banana song was sung a lot of times after that, more or less in tune and successful.

10  PitchCar
Got one race in before giving up my spot to the student. 2 player teams meant 16 people made sure the atmosphere felt like Monaco or Indianapolis.

8  Love Letter: Batman x2
This was also in heavy rotation and I thought it to two groups of students.
The fact that you get a point for catching bad guys in this game, makes it a better kids game that the original Love Letter.

TV
Finished Westworld(creepy, weird, but good) and both seasons of True Detective.(First season: awesome. Second season: average, at best.)

Movie
Watched the new Alien: Covenant movie. Stunning visuals, as expected, but felt more like a franchise/movie universe builder which for me diminished my enjoyment of the movie.

New stuff:
Got 3 expansions for Joking Hazard. Gonna make for a few good laughs, hopefully.
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8. Board Game: Pikemen [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:6163]
Avri
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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Last weeks gaming:


 8   Button Men x16
 6   Branches and Twigs and Thorns
 8   Pikemen

I figure you are all far more sick of Button Men than I am. My gaming at SuperDuperGames has taken quite a hit (I timed out of a game for the first time in years) and face to face has been all Button Men, too . . .

-----

Meanwhile, I can see the light at the end of the audit tunnel, and it's looking like a balanced budget after all.

Saw Groundhog Day on Broadway last weekend (after a yummy dinner at our friend's hummus restaurant) and it soared clear of the low bar set by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the week before. If you love the movie, you'll likely love the show - same script / book writer - and there is a lot of technically very impressive business happening up on the stage. The show builds slowly, having to set up the town and the day in the first 20 plus minutes, but then explodes into a whole host of great directions, with high energy, fun songs, and real heart.

Sunday was an odd day. It started very early as I headed off to the home of the official New York Spurs supporters club to watch the final game of a magnificent season. This time last year I sat in the same spot at the bar as we watched Spurs get thrashed 5-1 by 10-man and already relegated Newcastle. The atmosphere could not have been different. 2nd place clinched, coming off the back of a 6-1 win which saw star striker Harry Kane take the lead in the Golden Boot race (despite missing 3 months of the season to injury) it was a party at Flannery's as we led at halftime again already relegated Hull City. If we could keep a clean sheet, goalie and captain Hugo Loris would win the Golden Glove, and it very much looked like the game was petering out to a 3-0 finish.

Then Hull scored.

You could see how upset Hugo was, and I turned to the guy next to me to say, "They're going to wish he'd missed." And I was right.

The whole team woke up again, angry at Hugo missing out, and they flat out domiinated for the next 20 minutes, with Kane completing his Hat Trick (winning the Golden Boot for top scorer with 7 goals in his last 2 games!) and two other payers picking up their first goals of the season. It finished 7-1, and the 1 should have been ruled out for offside . . .

Season starts again in August. COYS!
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9. Board Game: Roll for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:58]
Nikki Ebright
United States
Centennial
Colorado (CO)
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Monday gaming
 8.0   Roll for the Galaxy
 7.0   La Isla
 7.0   Cthulhu Gloom NEW!

Cam's Visit!
 7.0   Quarriors!
 7.0   Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle

TRMN Meeting
 7.0   We Didn't Playtest This Either x3
 7.0   We Didn't Playtest This At All x2

Last week is another blur, so thank goodness BGG tracks my life for me.

We had people over on Monday for gaming and I'd been wanting to get La Isla on the table (and for you Madonna fans, you're welcome for the earworm ). We followed it with a few other games, going a little late as I didn't have work the next day, yay.

You may recall that my son Cam finished his high school credits in December and moved to Florida to live with his dad. They came back for his graduation (which was last night), so Cam came over to hang out one day, eating like a teenager and we played a few of his favorites.

Then on Saturday I went to a fan meeting for Honor Harrington, called the The Royal Manticoran Navy (TRMN). After the meeting we played a few games, and I taught them We Didn't Playtest This At All and the sequel. Good times.
---------------------------------------
I've had a pain in the a$$ cold since getting back from Seattle. It woke me up one night with coughing, sigh. I feel like I'm almost over it...just in time to get on a plane to Dallas for BGGCON Spring, lol.
---------------------------------------
Billy finished the basement kitchen this weekend or maybe this week. I can't remember if I mentioned this one - short version: mold found, mitigation team came out, found more, tore out cabinets in basement kitchen (left them on our front porch), and fixed the mold issue. Billy then got new cabinets (and new cabinets are different sizes than cabinets from the 1960s!), so more new cabinets, returned some cabinets, changed the layout of the kitchen, replaced old countertop (after cutting some away), replaced new sink (old one wouldn't stay), installed dishwasher (that's new), caulked stuff, etc. Anyway, it's now done and hurray.

There were random things in the cabinets from when we bought the house so Billy and I now need to go through that pile, but that may wait until we get back. We've also been going through the garage and putting things on the porch to get rid of, so I need to get those put up online for people to take away (after we get back).

I had started some sprouts in the house so I got those planted outside finally (even got a sunburn for my efforts)...and then it snowed the next day. laugh They seem to be alive still, so I'm trying to remember to water them each day so they can grow roots before I abandon them for a long weekend. Hopefully it won't snow again, lol!

-----------------------------------------
Avri, if you go see Puffs https://www.themarysue.com/puffs-the-play/, *please* let me know how it is! It looks really awesome, but I don't know that I will get to NY before it leaves the stage.

-----------------------------------------

I've been feeling a certain antsiness recently. I'm not sure what it's about. Maybe the potential move to Europe (which continues to move along); maybe it's the constant churning of stuff in the house (I have too much stuff!); maybe it's feeling overwhelmed with all my current responsibilities; maybe it's the constant changing landscape with one of the conventions... Hopefully it'll clear up.

------------------------------------------

What's y'all's opinion on banking in Europe? It came up today about if we would want/need a bank account over there, or do everything with our US based accounts (and local cash).

Beautiful day here today - time to walk away from the computer! See you all later!
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10. Board Game: Terraforming Mars [Average Rating:8.38 Overall Rank:5]
Patrick Pence
United States
Tallahassee
Florida
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The week that was: 5/18/2017 - 5/25/2017



Attika
Blueprints
Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers
Insider x5
Port Royal x2
Skull
Terraforming Mars
Thurn and Taxis NEW!
Tichu

After four straight weekends of Terraforming Mars, I can say that I'm hooked. I really believe 5-player to be the sweet spot for this game. I don't usually buy into the hype, but this has all of the thematic elements and similarity to Pax Porfiriana tableau/engine building that I absolutely love. More plays over the upcoming long weekend, I'm sure.

This week reflects my logging of my Yucata.de plays along with the standard light social deduction games at our weeknight pub gathering.
Yucata has taken firm root among our small group of friends, and we've never played so much! One of our group has 29 concurrent games of Castles of Burgundy running.

Sadly, though, our Gelati Pax game was deleted the other day for lack of activity after 30 days. Yucata is defintely for golks who want their gaming to be omnipresent.
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11. Board Game: Die Ritter von der Haselnuss [Average Rating:5.96 Overall Rank:7919]
T. Nomad
Netherlands
Den Bosch
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Hey, look: I played a few game this week.



 6   Labyrinth: The Card Game
 5   Die Ritter von der Haselnuss x3 NEW!
 6   Backgammon x2

Hazelnuts. I don't even like them very much (more of a Brazil Nut guy), but racing around grabbing them with a squirrel-knight avatar is pretty entertaining. Added to Settlers and Hoity-Toity, that makes Teuber a rare triple-winner in the sweepstakes for this nomad's fickle gaming affection.

Shenomad and I played 2 games of backgammon in the shady end of the best playground I've ever seen. Ever. It's an hour by bike from our house. The summer trip may turn into a playground pilgrimage. We split the games. I'm loving El Grande and my other online games, but may have some bad game-related news for Roger.

Shenomad received her 5-year residency permit last week, and immediately suggested we invest 3-4 years in this earthly paradise that is the Netherlands (those are my words, definitely not hers, making the suggestion all the more remarkable). So nomadism's on hiatus.

With nesting comes acquisitions, and I added both Ritter and the long sought-after Around the World in 80 Days. The local 2nd-hand game scene is much livelier than in Korea, so that's a budding trend. I've also almost finished cutting out Agricola chits.

Oh, and I got one more thing:
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