GCL Phoenix 333: CCCXXXIII (21st May 2017)
Rich P
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Welcome to the 333rd instalment of GCL Phoenix discussion lists. More information about the group can be found here and info on GCLs in general is here.

Members are encouraged to add an item to the list and we love comments and discussion from visitors too.

Active rotation:
familygaming <<<Next!>>>
grasa_total
hawk-x-
indigopotter
John Rogers
karlfast
Lowengrin
rynelf
Taibi
TheRocketSurgeon
Tigrillo
woodnoggin

Phoenix alumni: archivists, BennyD, Bruzza, chally, darker, Dormammu, Eeeville, enzo622, Hawkeye77, JohnRayJr, judoka, leroy43, Morganza, Mr_Nuts, ravenskana, Smintie, tjshields, topherr, Yokiboy

**********

When I noticed that this week's list would be the 333rd, I looked for topics relating to that number. So here are a few discussion points connected by three threes.
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1. Board Game: Beyond Hadrian's Wall [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Rich P
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Sheffield
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According to Wikipedia, the year 333 saw Emperor Constantine the Great pull Roman troops out of Britain and abandon work on Hadrian's Wall.

Have you ever abandoned a boardgame partway through? Which game and why? If not, are there any circumstances where you would do so?

Relatedly, are you content to concede a game or have a game conceded to you, or would you prefer to play it out in full? What factors affect your decision?
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2. Board Game: What Shall I Wear?: A Fashion Game for Girls [Average Rating:4.60 Unranked]
Rich P
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I googled 333 and found Project 333, a fashion challenge:

Quote:
Project 333 is the minimalist fashion challenge that invites you to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months.


Quote:
33 items including clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear and shoes.


Does this sound like a challenge to you? Do you have a large, varied wardrobe you like to make use of? For me, this is barely a challenge at all - I travelled for a year with fewer items of clothing! The small print makes it even easier:

Quote:
What not: these items are not counted as part of the 33 items – wedding ring or another sentimental piece of jewelry that you never take off, underwear, sleep wear, in-home lounge wear, and workout clothing (you can only wear your workout clothing to workout)


I guess if you're really into fashion, this is a difficult challenge to undertake. It brought to mind the various boardgame challenges you see on BGG. I'm sure the target audience for Project 333 would be just as baffled by BGG users' challenges as I was by this one. What would a comparable boardgame challenge be? Play 33 different games in 3 months? Play 333 different games in a year? Reduce your collection to 33 games? Which of these would be a sufficiently interesting challenge?

What do you think about imposing challenges such as these on your game playing? What about challenges in other aspects of your life?
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3. Board Game: Waterworks [Average Rating:5.49 Overall Rank:14100]
Rich P
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Waterworks has game ID 333 in the BGG database. From a quick check it looks like only Carol and DJ have played it (and both rated it 5).

But speaking of waterworks, have you ever seen a player driven to tears in a game? Which games provide the strongest emotional response to you? Is it possible for the game itself to invoke that response or do you think it's necessarily a result of other players' actions?
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4. Board Game: Rotation [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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Wurtsboro
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Jeremy - May 28th
Alison - June 4th
Carol - June 11th (moved Marc to end of July)
John - June 18th
Karl - June 25th
Michael - July 2nd
Dave - July 9th
Morten - July 16th (out of order)
Chris - July 23rd
Marc - July 30th (out of order)
Nicolai - August 6th (out of order)

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5. Board Game: Ancient Terrible Things [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:1399]
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Ancient Terrible Things - new! x2

(plus a bunch of Yahtzee, and some Can't Stop together on Sam's phone).

I had picked up Ancient Terrible Things last fall, and wrapped it for Christmas. But Sam mentioned too many games under the Christmas tree (mostly the fault of the Target sale, buy 2 get 1 free, plus 20% off, plus free shipping... I got a bunch of little things). Anyway, I put a few things back in the closet to wait until anniversary/birthday/etc.

Saturday we were sitting down to play a game, and I decided to get it out. I told Sam I had put a present leftover from Christmas on the table for him, and he thought I was kidding, but nope, I was serious. So he got to unwrap a present, and then showed me the foolishness of getting him a game with dice zombiezombiezombie

Sam was ahead, and on my last turn, I could have made 13 points (9 for card, plus 4 for bonus of having 3 of same symbol). It wouldn't have put me ahead, but it would have made my score more respectable. Despite lots of re-rolling, I couldn't get the last 5 I needed.

We played again today, and I had a helper card that let me turn any die to a 5; I lamented not having that card last night. In today's game, I went with a yellow/money strategy, starting with the person that gives you an extra money, which helped me to get a card early that gave me a yellow die (free to re-roll). I also got 3 yellow cards, earning the 4pt bonus card. It was Sam's turn to be one die short on his last turn, with a 9pt card (and a 4pt bonus card) on the line.

Somehow it reminds me a bit of To Court the King, with more bells and whistles. It's a pretty good fit for us, and a nice change of pace.

Outside of gaming: 18 years ago today I was graduating from college, as Facebook reminded me this morning.
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6. Board Game: Pax Porfiriana [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:377]
Alison Mandible
United States
Cambridge
Massachusetts
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 5   Button Men

That has now fully run its course. Goodbye, Button Men! You were pretty okay.

 6.9   ConHex NEW!
 6.9   Pax Porfiriana NEW!
 5   Zooloretto: The Dice Game
 N/A   Unpublished Prototype
 3   Connect Four
 3   Way of the Dragon NEW!
 4   Just4Fun Colours NEW!
 3   Just4Fun NEW!
 2   Capt'n W. Kidd NEW!

So I finished my first game of Pax Porfiriana this week (vs. Phoenixes Morten and Nicolai). Sometime during the game, I got to wondering what other games I could sample by playing them on Yucata.de. Also, I was on a long train ride. So suddenly I was making a geeklist of all the game the site offers sorted by BGG rating, and then I was considering trying all of them as a way to press my novelty-loving (and game-rules-reading) buttons even though I'm focusing on replaying familiar games with my partner these days.

Which somehow led to me playing most of the WORST games on Yucata, because I was curious whether they were really so bad and whether people really played them.

The answer is yes, the bad games are bad. They also tend to be simple; I started rounds of several better games on the site, like Carson City and A Few Acres Of Snow, but those take longer to play and so I haven't finished them yet, and I only log games after finishing them. So uh anyway.

The game of Pax was interesting. I see that there's a lot of order to the cards that I think isn't explicit in the rulebook (for instance, troops that change the regime generally set it to their own color). This is a tough balance with production of card-centered games; if you put all of that in the rulebook you risk learners thinking they need to memorize it, rather than being able to rely on the cards, but if you don't put it in the rulebook you're teaching the rules but not the landscape of the game.

Anyway, I toppled at the wrong time and then Morten loosed anarchy on the world. But it was close until then!

 7   Seasons
 9   Santorini
 7   Mysterium

Traveling this week, I played a few familiar games with coworkers who were part of the New York office's Wednesday boardgame group. The game of Seasons was against one of the lowest-AP gamers I think I have ever met. It was a blowout, because I'd played before and that's how Seasons is, but her plays were all sensible and relatively well-thought-out, just never worried over. I aspire to be like that when playing new games!

 8   Quantum

My string of online Quantum games against my old bandmate has gone on long enough to make risky plays feel light and easy. It's like when I used to play tournament Scrabble; by midday, flubbing one game hardly bothered me because there was always another coming along soon.

 6   EXIT: The Game – The Secret Lab NEW!

Is this even a board game? It's a timed puzzle.

Slicing up cards and writing on them is fun, but this had no atmosphere and an inane plot. (Plot spoiler, does not affect gameplay at all:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
When you get out, it's revealed that the apparent deathtrap you were in was just a harmless experiment on "human reactions under stress". S and I looked at each other and said, nearly in unison, "There's no way an IRB agreed to that."
) My experience with escape room puzzles (both here and in real life) is that they fall into an uncanny valley by blessing any canned codebreaking puzzle as long as it has "stuff just sitting around", never mind that the stuff sitting around is scraps of paper with "match the letter to the number" puzzles not often found in ordinary human habitats. Unless those habitats belong to puzzle people, I guess.

Still, I found this enjoyable and yet a tiny bit unsatisfying. Minor design spoiler, no solutions revealed:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
There are three puzzles, maybe more, which initially appear to call on the players' real-world knowledge, but the game then feeds you the information you need. It's like getting a clue that says "the first half of the code is the total number of Grammys awarded to Michael Jackson", and then later you find a clue which says "the second half of the code is '83', and by the way Michael Jackson won 15 Grammy Awards". Why bother?
.

 6   Dice Stars x2 NEW!

A dice-rolling scoresheet game (q.v. Qwixx) from Bruno Cathala. A flaw: Players choosing to trigger endgame is a big part of the strategy, but this is a strong incentive to constantly stop and add up everybody's scoresheet to see if you're in the lead. Which is no fun.


 8.9   Puzzle Strike (Third Edition)

Our first game (sadly we didn't get to do a best-of-three) with some fan-made chips from the internet. I thought Junk (Black Banner / This chip does nothing. When you buy it, +$3. You may only buy this once per turn.) played to my strengths but S said she thought it helped *her* more-- as DeGrey, my economy was going to be fine anyway, while it let her buy gems she wouldn't have had access to. Still, this felt lopsided.
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7. Board Game: Super Big Boggle [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:6661]
Dave Peters
United States
Belmont
California
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Powers:Coleridge:Milton: Faith...must be, if anything, a clear-eyed recognition of the patterns and tendencies, to be found in every piece of the world's fabric, which are the lineaments of God.
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Scorecard for the Week/Month/Year as of 20May2017:

5/25/206 plays of 4/15/105 total games, with 0/1/18 expansions employed.
Plays with 8/15/62 distinct opponents.

1/1/15 games acquired (plus 3/4/9 expansions.) - Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King, Alchemists: The King's Golem, Arkwright: Noblesse Oblige and Haspelknecht: The Foreman Promo Tile.
0/1/13 games sold/traded (plus 0/0/2 expansions.)
4/6/18 games ordered (plus 2/4/10 expansions.) - Axiom, BLUE, Arkwright: Noblesse Oblige, Haspelknecht: The Foreman Promo Tile and Green. And my P500 of Time of Crisis was charged (which - by my accounting - means I ordered it. I'm not counting my order of the reprint of Navajo Wars until it charges!)
Orders for 8 games and 2 expansions still outstanding.

With family:
1x _7⅔_ Super Big Boggle - Not quite the traditional Mother's Day play: that would be the 5x5 grid. But the 6x6 grid is fast becoming a family favourite: there are so many words there that we all feel like we're getting somewhere (even if most of them get lost to multiple discoverers.) Perhaps we'd have a chance if son #1 were home for the summer.
2x _7_ Boggle (8 years dusty) - Hadn't played the 4x4 grid for years. This was a travel version, on a picnic table at an outdoor cafe while we waited for our food. (It gets counted as two games because daughter #1 didn't play the first couple rounds while she visited with a friend (a waitress on break.) And then we all played a few more.) It followed the usual Boggle pattern, though: my wife scored more points than the rest of us put together!

With the Monday lunch group:
1x _7⅔_ Foppen - A player-summoning game, since Ting wasn't there yet (and trick-takers aren't as much his thing as the rest of ours. Even if Foppen isn't really a trick taker. We play tricks, even if we don't care who wins them!)
1x _7⅓_ Mogul (48 months dusty) - Hmph. It's really chaotic with 6: likely more so than would make me want again to play it at that number. I think the game is fine, in principle: but with six of us, there's too little opportunity to sell (subjectively): so the scoring is both valuable and lumpily assigned. Of course, our best player won; so it's not completely wrong...

Owned-and-unplayed: 0 (+0/-0)
Owned-and-played-once: 91 (+1/-0) - Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King was bought.

Outlook for the week: Who knows, perhaps I'll even get to play Isle of Skye? (I'll take it tomorrow for lunch; but it's not viable if there's six of us.) Likely something on Wednesday this week; possibly some games with my kids (if their homework isn't too onerous, at least.) And only two choir practices.
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8. Board Game: Steal This Game [Average Rating:6.18 Overall Rank:8854]
Chris
United Kingdom
Birmingham
England
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Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars, where you will be forced to drift aimlessly farther into the vast, empty abyss of space until a lack of food, water and oxygen causes you to succumb to Death's cold embrace.
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I like being crafty, learning how to make things, develop new skills and all that. As such, I've made my own version of a number of games. Where do you stand on that? Is it always wrong unless there's an officially endorsed PnP? What if the game is long long out of print and impossible to find? What issues, if any, make it OK to make your own versions of games?
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9. Board Game: Spiel [Average Rating:6.17 Overall Rank:6248]
Rich P
United Kingdom
Sheffield
United Kingdom
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Is it worth having a separate item to talk about the just announced Spiel des Jahres nominees?

SdJ
Kingdomino
The Quest for El Dorado
Magic Maze

Kennerspiel
Exit: The Game – The Secret Lab (+ others in the series)
Raiders of the North Sea
Terraforming Mars

Kinderspiel
Captain Silver
Ice Cool
The Mysterious Forest

I've played five of these. Kingdomino doesn't surprise me as a nominee - I can easily see it winning. El Dorado feels a little heavy for SdJ these days. I don't know anything about Magic Maze.

I'm glad Terraforming Mars got a nomination and hope that it wins. Exit is a disposable puzzle and doesn't deserve a nomination here, in my opinion. I've only seen Raiders of the North Sea being played and it didn't look like anything special. It's nice that Great Western Trail got a recommendation but where's A Feast for Odin? I think the jury got their viking games mixed up and nominated the wrong one.

In a rare turn of events, I've actually played one of the nominated kids' games: Ice Cool. It was good fun. But I also like forests and mysteries so maybe The Mysterious Forest deserves to win.
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10. Board Game: Anachrony [Average Rating:8.16 Overall Rank:78]
Jeremy Avery
Canada
Kamloops
BC
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 10   Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm x8
 10   Race for the Galaxy x7
 10   Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs Imperium
I think Race for the Galaxy has become my favourite game, barely eclipsing Agricola. I think it is almost entirely due to the fact that I have added in Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs Imperium (and, yesterday, Race for the Galaxy: The Brink of War, which I'll have more thoughts on next week), while I haven't been able to afford to expand Agricola in a long while. (I would love the France, Belgium, and World Championship decks, but I waited too long, and not they run $30+ on the Marketplace.) Also, with Xavie in one arm, Race for the Galaxy makes a great 1p game with tons of variety, so it can get lots of play by way of lifestyle convenience.

 10   Terra Mystica x2
BGCOLOR=#00CC00] 10 [/BGCOLOR]  Terra Mystica: Fire & Ice
 10   Terra Mystica: Erweiterungsbogen
Natalie has declared this her favourite game.

 6   Anachrony
snore This one was SOLD this week. For all the layers, the game felt fairly samey play to play. If the buildings had the variety of Agricola, this game would really have some legs, but as is the blue buildings give water, yellow give time travel, etc. So the game becomes more focused on the worker placement than the personal tableau, and that quickly gets stale.

 8   Lewis & Clark
I still like this one, and hope E likes it enough for semi-regular play. I think he prefers more conflict in his games rather than optimizing a plan, but his win this time out showed his skill at reading the game. Came down to a one-turn win. Very cool.


Summer is coming...
A much warmer week meant I was running Rugby Club at lunchtime every day. I have had one or two students from last year drop out, which is disappointing, but we've gone from an average of 10 players last year to an average of 16 players this year, so the games have been on the larger field, and more fun for everyone. We are now hitting 30C regularly, and I am hoping the AC unit that we bought will be sufficient.


Quick little roading...
My brother recently did the nearly-an-elopement thing, so now he is married to his longtime gf. They recently relocated about 75 minutes away in Salmon Arm, so we packed up Xavie to go visit them. Nice little place about two blocks from the lake, with a small creek running through their back yard.

My mom was born in Salmon Arm (her family moved to Metro Vancouver in the 60's), so my brother has completed the circle!

Tragically, the Shuswap Pie Company was closed on Sunday, and the Southern food truck closed up shop last summer, so we don't have any fun eats to report.

Ice Cream Sunday is a new tradition in our household (as I begin my journey to lose 40lbs), so Haagan-Dasz tiramisu gelato was my treat of the week.


Games ordered
The Great Zimbabwe All right, y'all, I'm gonna give it a go. The 4th-to-last copy at OLGS in Canada, so recoup should be easy if need be.
Lorenzo il Magnifico is a bit of a gamble, having my least favourite theme, but mechanically it sounds interesting enough for at least half a dozen plays.



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11. Board Game: Nautilion [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:1571]
Marc Hawkins
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
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 7   Nautilion x3 NEW!
 10   Wir sind das Volk!

Hey, so it turns out I actually played games last week*. I broke out Nautilion after it had sat on my shelf for a little while and played 3 games, including expansions and ramping up difficulty as early as the second play. Here are my initial thoughts:

Quote:
Nautilion, as the fourth game in Torbey's Oniverse 2.0, is a good inclusion that lives up to the pedigree.

In short, Nautilion is a dice management game with, as per usual to Oniverse, a slew of abilities (which come through expansions) which often come to also add complications too! For example, the mercenaries can fill any space in your submarine and are required to not lose the game mid-way, but also prevent you from filling those spaces with the actual crew you eventually need when you reach your final destination; the heroic actions cost you a crew member each (*and* you need to use *all* of the heroic actions!).

The core mechanic is simple, yet effective: 1) roll three dice and allocate them to your sub, the enemy ship, and the lighthouse (which is a "failsafe" that potentially cost you resources that can go towards re-rolling dice); 2) move the two ships. The enemy ship takes out valuable tokens along the way, you pick them up if you are able to place them in your sub (depending on its shape which gives variable difficulty adjacency rules). You need to get to your destination before your opponent, and have a full crew (and a few extra critters if you play with expansions).

The base game is pretty staightforward; I jumped into expansion material quickly. I appreciate how they always seem to make obvious choices not so obvious!


I know that I always say this when faced with a new Oniverse game: "it's not my favorite." We'll have to see with a few more plays if it holds up.

Also, I played Wir sind das Volk! with Tom last week with me as the West and him as the East. My initial hand took Tom's biggest socialist swing out of play right off the bat -- Tom didn't know this and did well to not let me swing politics in my direction, but only had three opportunities to pull things in his direction in the card flops (and including the tanks). The cards that didn't make it into the card market were not in his favour. Unfortunately, he did not play any of them for their political arrow, focusing instead on surviving economically and socially. Every decade after that statistically favours Western political swings; speaking of conceding games and etc. this week, I brought this up and Tom said we should play through to see if there's still wiggle room, but he had his back up against the wall in terms of what he *needed* to play (always politics), often (painfully) leaving other cards for me. Tom still survived until the 4th decade, but it was a spanking (not unlike the ones I had received during the ladder games I partook in).

For a two player game that has so much open information, the game is painfully opaque and requires SO much sensitivity and sensibility. I still think it's my favorite game of the decade, bar none.







*I had played a few games here and there prior, but a single round of Triumvirate or a lopsided game of Canal Grande hardly seemed worth mentioning!
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12. Board Game: Pax Porfiriana [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:377]
Morten K
Denmark
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A very quiet week but it’s been busy with social stuff at work and a guest from Indianapolis staying with us. No games with Lærke for two weeks either and only one game with others apart from a couple of games of Pax Po on Yucata. Now I’m sitting on the sofa with the cat and feeling quite knackered.


 8   Age of Steam
Our little train group got together for our second game of AoS on Tuesday last week. Five had said they’d come but in the end we were only 3 so instead of the basic Rust Belt board we had to find something else. One of them asked for The Moon so I brought that without having read the rules or seen any video of it. It’s the newest steampunk version of it and while it looks great we found that the graphics were a little confusing. The cities on the board didn’t have any indication of whether they were black or white and the old map was different from the way the Heavy Cardboard people played it so I’m confused if it splits vertically or horizonatally. We also included the satellite expansion which I think we shouldn’t have because Viard’s rules on it were rather difficult to understand. Where is the cube added and where is the satellite placed and by whom? Does it count as a city when going through it and can you build through it to the other side of the Moon? The board without these uncertainties proved to be challenging and fun though. The fact that it’s on a round planet so you can build to one edge and continue on the other side of the board gave us plenty of challenges but good ones. And we ended with scores of 68-66-65 and of course with me at the bottom again. I just couldn’t get enough locomotive actions in time. Definitely a map to play again but after some of the simpler ones in the meantime I think.


 9   Pax Porfiriana x2
I played a two-player game against Nicolai and a three-player against Nicolai and Alison. Both learning games for all of us I’d say. I won both but only because I probably knew the game slightly better than them. Or else they wouldn’t have let me win that easily. Like we certainly shouldn’t have let Alison win so easily in our play this week. Yucata is a good place to get to know it better but I most definitely still prefer playing it in real life.



Games that left my collection this month: Captain Sonar, The Traders of Genoa.

Games that entered my collection this month: A Handful of Stars.

Unplayed games in my collection: Tahuantinsuyu, 1860: Railways on the Isle of Wight, Automobile, Falling Sky: The Gallic Revolt Against Caesar, Stephenson’s Rocket, Splatter SHOOT, Himalaya.
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13. Board Game: Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization [Average Rating:8.63 Overall Rank:3]
Chris
United Kingdom
Birmingham
England
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Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars, where you will be forced to drift aimlessly farther into the vast, empty abyss of space until a lack of food, water and oxygen causes you to succumb to Death's cold embrace.
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Monday at Mine
 6.7   The Game (2015) x2
 8   Age of Steam Expansion #1: England & Ireland NEW!
 9.9   Age of Steam
 4   Statecraft: the Political Card Game NEW!

Still loving The Game. Won with the kids even. Maybe that suggests it's flawed? You'll either do it or you won't?

And on to AoS! Ridiculously the first time I've used any other map than Rust Belt. This map was described as really tough, but I feel like I've at least got a better feel for what that means - as long as you're aware and plan accordingly, you'll survive if not necessarily prosper. Exact memories are getting hazy but what I do know is that I STILL don't know the bloody rules! after playing I realised 1) you roll as many dice as players, not all of them! and 2) I MUST learn the track costs - As I started with Steam, I always just used those costs as they were directly mathematical and easy to work out. Doesn't help that I was also still reading the first edition rules, along with John Bohrer's updates doc. Confuuuuusing! Such a great game and I think my enthusiasm is spreading! WOO!

Harry brought Statecraft as a trial for the Expo too (Writing this in the wrong order, see Colonists!) and I wanted to try as I backed it on KS. ANd man, this is rubbish. Absolute garbage. So little subtlety and nuance, just not worth the effort at all. Will be selling my copy as soon as it arrives. Really should pay more attention to KS campaigns instead of just backing nice, intelligent *looking* things NOT full of monsters / plastic.

At my Darling Daughters behest
 8.9   Loopin' Louie x5
 9   Dr. Eureka x3
 7   Love Letter
 7   Indigo

She might have been after something, but she was asking to play lots of games over the weekend. Maybe she just wants to spend time with me, which is, of course, awesome, but also maybe she's going to start wanting to get down with some proper games. Just need to steer her towards a different part of my shelf!

Thursday
 6.5   Ulm NEW!
 5   The Colonists NEW!

This was... odd... Ended up going to play games with James one of my favourite local comedians. I'd liked him for quite a few years, longer than games have been around, and was almost a groupie... seeing where he'd be comparing open mic evenings etc., and going along. A few years later I found he's doing an Edinburgh Festival show about board games, and also Pandemic Live. Since then we also tried unsuccessfully to book him for a set at my wedding. Coming up to date, he posted on a group I'm an admin of, looking for people to play something with after his own game group fizzled out. So me and two mates went round. They'd no idea who he was but I was in a weird position. But then obviously he's only a local comic, so really just "some guy"...

So it turned out his tastes are a touch more mainstream than our preferences tend to be, and he showed us Ulm. A nice enough mid weight euro, with a fairly innovative action selection mechanism: Draw a tile from a bag, slide it into the 3x3 grid of other tiles, perform the three actions in that row. Neat! Slightly embarrassingly James got smoked by everyone else! But hopefully we'll see more of him either way, and have him playing Dominant Species in no time!

And then Harry had brought The Colonists as part of some volunteer work for the UK Games Expo. A game I thought looked tedious and solitary, yet Heavy Cardboard liked it... so I should try it right? Aaaaand the one era we played was suuuupoer tedious. Astonishingly low levels of interaction, although at least not literally zero - about as much as a simple little AI script might provide? I've no doubt the decisions would become more interesting in the later game, but still... no thanks.

Monday at Mine
 8.85   Keyflower
 6.8   Burger Boss

Keyflower was chosen by my super sexy game night spreadsheet as the game he MUST play, so we did and boy was it tight... 44/43/43! I foolishly screwed up very early on, using a tile I "knew" I was going to win, as everyone else was passing... but of course, putting dudes on it made it far more worthwhile for someone else to then outbind me for, and I lost what as going to be the heart of my game. So then switching from needing resources to dudes for points, I built up a semi-impressive breeding engine and cranked away, not needing *any* tiles after summer, which was an unusual experience. But still, I chickened out on that one last conversion (probably do the the earlier incident) and ended the game as the third passer, and came up one point short! ack!

Tuesday at Georges
 9   Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization
Along with FCM, a super highly rated game that i never ever play. And a key reason I'm keen for our voting system to work. I don't get to refuse to play games like this - long and hurty. I need to do it more, not less! Of course I came last, but oddly not by a landslide as Harry decided to ignore military and got thumped enough at points to at least have my suboptimal self on his coat tails! My biggest mistake was probably agreeing to a science pact with him though, when I hadn't got enough science production going. With the pact in place, he kept using mind, stopping me researching anything! what kind of an idiot would agree to that?!!? hmm... So I was frozen out of researching anything for about 4 rounds, but as soon as I finally got back to 6 science I researched a new lab, Tesla gave me even more science and I then managed to upgrade everything in fairly close succession. A good learning experience on a genius design.
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14. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:139] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Albatros
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Game Played

_7_ Carcassonne x1


The Week in Review

Just the one game of Carcassonne this week...well, really last week now as this post is so late.


The Week Ahead

Lots of plans this week, just none of them gaming.

Unplayed games of note in shrink: The U.S. Civil War, Tin Goose, Francis Drake, German Railways, Pax Pamir and Revolution: The Dutch Revolt 1568-1648.

Unplayed games not in shrink: Normandy '44 and Mottainai.

Ordered but not yet received: Trick of the Rails, High Treason: The Trial of Louis Riel and Yokohama.
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15. Board Game: Hanabi [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:275]
Rich P
United Kingdom
Sheffield
United Kingdom
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Last week's plays:

|9| Edel, Stein & Reich
-8- Clank! (+ Snack Table)
-8- Hanabi
-4- Dungeons & Dragons: Castle Ravenloft Board Game

I visited Sofia, Bulgaria over the weekend – no gaming although I did see a couple of gaming cafes there. It's a nice city with more sights than I'd expected. We took two different walking tours, one of which was focussed on Bulgarian food, and a daytrip out to Rila monastery, very impressive. The only downside was cigarette smoke everywhere. The recent smoking ban has pushed all the smokers outside, to congregate around the door of any building, so you have to push your way through a cloud of smoke to get inside anywhere. I expect that will change eventually, but for now the Bulgarians seem to love their cigarettes. A convenient bonus of the visit was rpg research: my Call of Cthulhu group are a session or two away from the Sofia chapter of the campaign, so I paid attention to anything that would have been there in the 1920s (a period of anarchy and terrorism in Sofia, it would seem).

Kate and I were stopped on the street by a film crew making a documentary to promote the Cyrillic alphabet. They asked us to read out to camera an excerpt from a popular Bulgarian story, in Bulgarian but transcribed into the Roman alphabet. This was supposed to show how much better their language sounds when written in Cyrillic – not really a fair test to ask non-Bulgarian speakers to read it. I gave it a reasonable stab, but there were sniggers from those watching. It turns out, I'd mispronounced an innocuous word and mangled it into a "profanity which cannot be unheard", according to our guide! They'll probably have to bleep that bit out if they want to use it in their documentary. laugh

I did play some games in the week before the holiday. We scored a disappointing 19 in Hanabi, but we were teaching one new player and it usually takes at least one game for them to realise that giving a clue to indicate a single discard is not worthwhile, so we wasted time on those sorts of clues. Is that something you would warn new players about? I'm wary of revealing too much strategy and veering close to suggesting conventions because part of the fun of Hanabi is exploring how the group plays. If you're not going to play multiple rounds with the same group, is it even worth playing?

This was followed by Castle Ravenloft which the friend of a friend had brought along. It's a fairly simple, co-operative dungeon crawl which I first played 7 years ago at London on Board and rated a 4. It turns out that rating is still valid in 2017. The decisions aren't that hard, but seem to involve a lot of discussion on interaction of abilities, rules clarifications etc. slowing the game down. It makes for a boring experience.

This Clank! session was not the best. It dragged on due to the multiple Draw effects in our decks, like when you buy too many Villages in Dominion. Edel, Stein & Reich afterwards was speedy and hilarious fun. I love the double-think of the card play and the delicious choices the gem bartering can provide.
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16. Board Game: KLASK [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:477]
John Rogers
United States
Yakima
WA
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So my uncle got married this past weekend and my brother and sister-in-law came to visit. She has never played a game with me and my brother forewarned her of my crazy interest. But determined to be friendly she decided a few games wouldn't be too painful. The following chronicles her tale in the...

Week That Was


Rating: 6
Plays: 2


They evening began with dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. Seattle (where they are from) has a lot of great restaurants but Yakima kicks their butt when it comes to authentic Mexican food. Anyways after dinner we decided to stop by game night and see what was going on. Whilst trying to gauge Allison's (s-law) interests I broke out Pylos. I thought hey this is fast and simple, let's see where she is with this. Short story she thought it was a bit difficult to grasp and didn't care much for the 3D aspect.


Rating: 3
Plays: 1


Jacob (brother) suggested a co-op. Specifically Pandemic. Sadly it was on loan in our group and the only available title was Shadows. My wife joined in and remembered how much she hated it. I went with a grin and bear it approach. My brother was frustrated by the restriction of only one action. But Allison liked this one much more. She understood draw a card and do what it says and liked that she could play cards to win quests. While we eventually lost, she spear-headed the winning of Excalibur and was quite pleased with herself.


Rating: 7
Plays: 1


Needing to get back home in time to relieve the babysitter, we left game night with the idea of watching a movie. But after getting home Allison suggested another game. I suggested Grand Cru as Allison has an interest in wine; however, she asked if we had any more "together" games and so Robinson made an appearance. With the kids asleep my wife joined us for an adventure on volcano island. Allison enjoyed building things but being a vegan she wasn't thrilled with our need to hunt. My wife went to bed about halfway through and I discovered the next day that she doesn't like co-Ops outside of Pandemic; not enough competition (I love my wife). We lost needing to explore one more temple which was sadly consumed by the encroaching lava and at first Allison felt it was too complicated but liked the feeling of building something and putting it to use. After a bit more prodding about her interests she said she likes games with animals and farms where she can grow and raise things w/o eating them. Guess I'll have to borrow Agricola from my friend the next time I head over to Seattle. Or better still, maybe I'll buy her All Creaturss Big and Small for her birthday.


Rating: 7
Plays: 1


After the following day's wedding festivities I was certain Jacob and Allison would be anxious to get on the road. To my surprise they decided to stay for dinner and they opted for a short game. Well maybe we should try something a bit more competative? Paris Connection was easy to teach and play and Allison was quite cruel in dumping trains even though she basically sealed the win for my brother by raising the brown trains stock by 3 at the end. They both liked this one and Jacob even more so.


Rating: 8
Plays: 10


I ended the weekend introducing Jake to Klask. He took to it immediately and we laughed for the next hour over several sessions. I think he is going to buy this once he gets back home.
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