GCL Eclipse Division: Episode 288: Games, Just Games
Jason Lott
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Cheverly
Maryland
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I was watching a documentary on the life of George Lazenby, who played James Bond. I thought perhaps it might make a good theme for a list.


PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING

If you're a lurker or have otherwise discovered GCL Eclipse, feel free to read along with us. And 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. However, if you'd like to join in regular discussion, first post to the current discussion list inquiring about the possibility of becoming a member, with full discussion privileges.

If you are interested in becoming a regularly-contributing member, please contact:

EGG Head
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Next up:

Meghan Naxer
United States
Kent
Ohio
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1. Board Game: 007 James Bond: You Only Live Twice [Average Rating:5.67 Unranked]
Jason Lott
United States
Cheverly
Maryland
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You Only Live Twice

1. How long will you keep a game in your collection if you haven't yet played it twice?

2. What's the last game you played twice in a row?
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2. Board Game: Octopus' Garden [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:4188]
Jason Lott
United States
Cheverly
Maryland
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Octopussy

1. What's the last game you played 8 times in a year?

2. What's your favorite game to play with 8 people?
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3. Board Game: Casino Royal [Average Rating:3.00 Unranked]
Jason Lott
United States
Cheverly
Maryland
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Casino Royale

1. What is a game with a gambling mechanism or theme that you enjoy?

2. Do you like casino gambling for real?
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4. Board Game: 007 James Bond: Live and Let Die [Average Rating:5.27 Overall Rank:13207]
Jason Lott
United States
Cheverly
Maryland
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Live and Let Die

1. How do you feel about games with a player elimination aspect? If you're not a fan, is there a way that it could work for you?

2. What do you do when a game has a lot of downtime while other players take their turns?
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5. Board Game: Never Say Die [Average Rating:4.33 Unranked]
Jason Lott
United States
Cheverly
Maryland
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Never Say Never Again

1. Is there a game you said you would never play again, and eventually you went back on that pledge? What changed your mind?

2. What aspect or style of a game would prevent you from ever wanting to play it, even once?
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6. Board Game: The World of Smog: On Her Majesty's Service [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:1911] [Average Rating:6.97 Unranked]
Jason Lott
United States
Cheverly
Maryland
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On Her Majesty's Secret Service

1. What's your favorite game that has a royalty theme?

2. Tell us a secret about your gaming habits that we would be surprised to know.
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7. GeekList: BixCON Away 2017
Froggy McFrogface
United States
FORT COLLINS
CO
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When green is all there is to be, it could make you wonder why. But why wonder? I'm green, and it'll do fine: it's beautiful, and I think it's what I want to be.
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I just returned from a great new event! It even coincided with my (and John B's) birthday! Read (and see!) all about it here!
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8. Board Game: Emperor's Choice [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:5910]
Daniel West
United States
Springfield
OR
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I once again have a good number of new games tried since my last update.

First, there is one I realized I forgot to mention before, Red Flags, a silly party game about weird blind dates. A group of guys decided to get a few laughs out of it at my FLGS, and the game was successful in that endeavor.

Mini Rails was my first new game of the week, fresh from Tokyo. It was an interesting take on stock and route building, a lot like Paris Connection, but I think I prefer this more. More plays will tell.

Sheep 'n' Sheep was the next new game. This had a very similar feel to me as Wind the Film! in that the rules were fairly simple, but the challenge of managing one's hand is very tough.

Painter Detective was the dessert of the evening, and unsurprisingly, the less one is skilled in memory or artistic aptitude, the funnier the game gets. Highly recommended for a party setting.

Emperor's Choice was the game of the night Thursday, also straight from Tokyo. It was fun. It uses the auction system from the first half of For Sale, which I'm a big fan of, in order to collect sets of tiles that can potentially score points. I managed to amass a large army of 17 of the 28 available soldiers for hire in the game, and for some reason, my opponents wanted to deactivate the scoring card that gives a point per soldier hired. I can't imagine why.

Sea of Clouds was the last game I tried, but we ran out of time, so I only played a portion of the game. It was unique drafting/set collection with gorgeous art. I'd definitely like to try a full game.
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9. Board Game: Tokyo Highway [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:2953]
EGG Head
United States
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I have made a good dent in the new acquisitions. I'm happy to elaborate on any games if desired.


 N/A   Taiwan Monsters Brawl NEW! This is more interesting than it sounds. The art is cool. I'm waiting for my copy to arrive to give it another go. The monsters employ a grid to enhance their power

 N/A   Numeracy Legends and The Rainbow Unicorn NEW! Super cute kids game. First in a series of 3. If only I knew some kids to share it with.


 N/A   Mini Rails x2 NEW! Evokes Paris Connections only even simpler. I'm not sure I'll be able to purposefully win at this game but it will be fun trying.


 N/A   Kikkasai NEW!

 N/A   Jandwich NEW! Mah Jong inspired.

 N/A   Honest Rabbits NEW!

 N/A   Colortopia NEW!This was a fun speed game. I may ned to track down a copy.

 N/A   Animania NEW!

 N/A   Sheep 'n' Sheep x4 NEW! This is a good card drafting card (tile) placement game. More thinky than Honshu and super cute sheep. Will be a keeper.


 N/A   Painter Detective NEW! Silly Fun.


 N/A   Hakoniwa no kuni "The Reclamation" x7 NEW! This game is similar to Onitama. Love the hand made pieces.


 N/A   KIKA NEW!

 N/A   Emperor's Choice NEW! Auction based medium weight gamer's game. Has potential, need a few more plays. Suspect will be a keeper.


 N/A   TOKYO HIGHWAY NEW! Ok I love this game. It's fun and too cool for school. I thought our highway system turned out pretty cool


 N/A   Hyakke-Yagyo (百鬼夜行) NEW! Fantastic illustrations of the Yo-Kai, it's another Mah Jong inspired card game.


 N/A   Nubia: Ancient Kingdoms of the Nile NEW! This seems to be a reimplementation of
Guild. I think I like the original generic castle theme better although the addition of God cards is interesting. I think it's a bit streamlined as well.


Also two games not in the database yet Hatsuden a 2 player card game kind of Lost Cities like.

and Ninja Scroll another 2 player game with bluffing and trying beat your opponent's strength
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10. Board Game: The Blood of an Englishman [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:1806]
Meghan Naxer
United States
Kent
Ohio
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Recent Plays!

Big Game Day:
Last weekend we had a big game day at a friend's place and got to play some big group games!

Diamant: I picked up the European edition when I was in the UK last month and so glad I did! Love the look of this edition and it played great at 8 with new gamers and hobby gamers alike. Paul had a fantastic run in the 4th round and won by quite a lot! I busted every round...

Honshū: We split the group into 2 groups, with one playing Mechs vs. Minions and our group breaking out Honshu. We played with 5 and I really enjoyed it! I think I would like it more at 3–4 and I am very intrigued by the sound of the 2-player variant. Definitely goes up on the wishlist!

Las Vegas: This was next up as a couple people left for the day and we joined both groups together. I am glad I finally got to try this one! It was really fun, even though at times it felt like there was a lot of downtime with 6 players. But we were also multitasking with dinner, so I give it a pass.

Shadows over Camelot: The final game of the night was a full table of Shadows!!! One of my favorites! We had all 7 players and some great moments between the loss of Excalibur and getting the Grail (though after 1 knight had perished!). In the end, the whole table was full of loyal knights and we won the day!

New Acquisition!!!
The Blood of an Englishman: I had some free credit at Amazon, so I picked this up (along with the first illustrated Harry Potter book in anticipation of the Pottermore Book Club starting in June!). We love little 2-player games and this is a great addition. I feel like we have a lot of room to grow and improve and so far our first game was really, really close. Looking forward to more plays!

Tuesday Game Night
ZhanGuo: I love this game, but I am terrible at it!!! I got to teach this, which doesn't help with me playing well, but it was still a great time. I really enjoy this game every time I get to play it!

Pi mal Pflaumen: Finished up the evening with this awesome game! So beautiful and so much fun. Paul really enjoyed this one and even though it doesn't play at 2, it is officially on his wishlist. And I finally won a game this week! Really close though (46-44-43).

There's a potential for a lot of gaming this weekend in between celebrating our 10-year wedding anniversary and getting ready to travel to TN next week for a music theory pedagogy. Happy gaming, everyone!
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11. Board Game: Ruhrschifffahrt 1769-1890 [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:2067]
Peter D
United Kingdom
london
UK
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I haven't done an update on games played for some time now, so time for a quick run through of some on which I have a comment or two...

Ruhrschifffahrt 1769-1890 came back for a welcome return. I do love this game, the first of the Ruhr trilogy. I am keen to see what the amended rules and the new US board will do on the reprint. I do think a couple of the rules could have been streamlined as there are a couple of unintuitive rules in there which always have me reaching for the (poorly written) rule book.

Kohle & Kolonie also got played from the Coal Trilogy. There is little better than a game of K&K with 5 experienced players of the game. Excellent indeed.


Agricola has seen a good deal of play thanks to a London on Board 2017 competition. After 5 rounds I am very very surprised to find myself joint leader in the league.


Kanagawa continues to delight in that Sunday-afternoon-in-front-of-the-fire sort of way and has seen a few plays.

Great Western Trail has appeared a few times this year. I am no closer to being any good at this game but revel in losing at it every single time.

Flamme Rouge is not tiring. It is a stayer. A talented friend is painting my bike figures and I cannot wait to see them finished.

Lorenzo il Magnifico and Terraforming Mars are both holding up well and seeing a few plays. I am not tiring of these at all.


I played The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire at what was the Counter Eastbourne weekend (now apparently renamed the White Rock Hastings weekend) and enjoyed it enough to purchase a copy. But on second play we all felt it fell flat and was not a great game after all. Now sold.

The Port Royal deck is getting very fat what with two expansions and promo cards. And it is still a popular go-to game coming out a few times over the past few weeks - with gamers and family alike.

I think I mentioned the Hastings epic 8 hour four era four player The Colonists game. On reflection I may sell my copy. Not because I did not enjoy it, as I did, but I can't see it really hitting the table much at all. It is a great game but I am not sure that it is 8-hours of greatness and playing less than 4 eras seems like you aren't getting the full experience. It is an odd one and I can't fully articulate the dilemma of owning this one.

Automobiles was a big disappointment as I am a huge fan of race games. It suffers in the late game from having turns which seem to last a long time and become increasingly fiddley.

Tutankhamen from Mr Knizia came back to the table after nearly 20 years of sitting on the shelf. It is a lovely, classic Knizia 90s game, perhaps only spoilt by the kingmaking endgame.

I know Joe has gone now but we played his Ice Cream when we were at our beach chalet where it rightfully lives. First time we had played this old family favourite for a few years and everyone still loved it. If you are reading this Joe, please design some more games like this!

New Bedford was uninspiring and went straight to the sale pile.


Via Nebula is a keeper for now though playing Steam soon after made me realise it was not a patch on its similar forefathers.


And finally of the games on which I have something to say:Quartermaster General: 1914. This, I do believe, is even better than the original. The scoring is simpler, the hidden card reinforcement card play is just genius, and the game flies by. Though I have not yet played the original with the two expansions so more on that when I have.
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12. Board Game: The Top 10 Game [Average Rating:4.75 Overall Rank:13845]
Geeky McGeekface
United States
Manassas
Virginia
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It's time for baseball, people! Pitchers and catchers report soon and the national pastime is with us again!
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I don't get the chance to play my all-time top 10 games very often. And I'm fine with that; I prefer getting agreement from the group of what to play, rather than imposing my desires upon them. And the thing that's the easiest to agree on is the latest hotness, which is fine with me as well. Still, those games are top 10 for a reason, so it's nice whenever they get to the table.

Well, the last couple of weeks have been a real bonanza, because I got the chance to play no fewer than three of my top 10s! Here's how they went.

Goa - This was a 2-player game, something I put in my bag on a whim and which was chosen because my opponent, Phil, had never played it and was interested to try it. I'm always impressed by how well this plays with 2. 4 is definitely better, but the 2-player game is still excellent, which is pretty surprising, given how prominent the auctions are. This was excellent as always; I know of very few games which are consistently good as Goa. I always panic by the end of the first age at how little I've accomplished, forgetting how much more you tend to do in the second half. This game was no exception and I managed a 6 point win. I did think Phil played quite well for a beginner, but experience was the difference.

Ora et Labora - I love Uwe Rosenberg's games: his older card titles, his newer big-box extravaganzas, and his recent run of lighter polyomino-based designs. But my favorite, by a considerable margin, is Ora. I just think it's such a refined design, with so many smart choices. I rarely feel that a game "fires" another game, but I can't imagine playing Le Havre without feeling a distinct disappointment that we're not playing Ora instead.

None of the 3 of us had played the game in quite a while. We played the France version, which I have less experience with, although given how long it had been, that didn't really matter. There wasn't too much of a focus to my strategy. My first building was the Priory, one of my favorites, and I was able to make good use of it, leaching off my opponents' newly purchased buildings. But as far as creating things, I was doing a bit of this and a bit of that. I did make use of my opponents' buildings more than I usually do. One thing I did concentrate on was getting good scoring buildings next to my settlements and I did a good job with that--all of them were worth over 20 VPs at the end. That, and a nice number of VP items carried me to victory, always a pleasant surprise in this game, which I often struggle with. But win or lose, I always have a great time playing Ora!

Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization - Until recently, this could have been my secret as a gamer, and it was a shameful one: Despite the original Through the Ages being my favorite game of all time, I had yet to play the new edition! Not too shocking, I guess; given the duration and intensity of TtA, it's not a game that gets to the table very often. Still, I should have made the effort before this. Thankfully, both opponents were eager to try this (one had never played TtA before), so I finally got this played.

First off, it looks great; the card art is particularly striking. I never had a problem with the components of the original, CBG version, but this is so much nicer. I found it played very similarly to the original game. Some interesting new leaders, but nothing too drastic. The big differences are with combat, but since none of us focused too much on military (despite Napoleon being one of the leaders), it didn't have much of an effect. I like the fact that it's harder to hammer on a player who has fallen a bit behind in the military race. Actually, they may have tamed military a bit too much, as just about every attack was easily defended against. I think the goal is to still let there be a military strategy, but you really have to focus on it, and not just get a 5 point lead or so and make that work for you.

Anyway, the game is even better now (maybe just slightly so), which is pretty sweet for a game you have ranked on top to begin with! Always great to play TtA and getting to play this and Ora in the same day was mind-blowing!

Clank! - I also got to play a game for the first time last month. Clank has been getting a reasonable amount of play in my group, but I've kind of been avoiding it. It's billed as a deck-building dungeon crawler and I'm terrible at deck-building and have little interest in dungeon crawling, so it seemed like a good one to pass on. However, one of my buddies wanted to try it, so I figured I'd give it a shot. And I liked it considerably more than I thought I would. Nothing I'd ever suggest, but I wouldn't mind playing again. For one thing, there really isn't much deck-building in it; deck thinning is rare and the card abilities are fairly straightforward. Maybe it's just that I do better with deck-builders when they're focused on some on-board activity (as in this one and Trains), rather than as just a means to itself. It also doesn't really have a strong dungeon crawling theme. Rather, it's kind of a grab-and-go race, with the tension coming from deciding how much stuff to grab so that you still get back home before the game ends. I thought the design was reasonably refined and there are some nice decisions to be made. The luck factor is a bit higher than I care for, but it wasn't enough to spoil the game. Sadly, one player ended the game early and though I was able to get out of the dungeon, I didn't have enough "dash" cards to make it home and the 20 VP loss was the deciding factor. But all things considered, not a bad game at all.
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