GOOF Games Day #12: Coooool Water - Games Played
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This past weekend we had another GOOF Games Day. We had a much smaller crowd than usual, and I'm not sure why. Maybe it's a busy time of year with school about to let out; maybe there were too many other things going on; maybe I just didn't promote it enough. One thing I'm sure hurts is the lack of a consistent schedule. If we could make it so that this Game Day happened on the "last Saturday of every month," for example, I'm sure we'd increase our numbers. Sadly, I just don't have the bandwidth to pull off something like that.

Anyway, it benefited me quite a bit to have less people, as I felt like I personally got to play more games. Hooray!

Our theme this time was water: any game where water or a body of water played a major part in the game counted. Our main prize was Tavarua.
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1. Board Game: BattleBoard [Average Rating:5.07 Overall Rank:13377]
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My first game of the day was this crazy classic from the '70s. No, it doesn't have anything to do with the theme, but I always set up one eye-catching, unique, and easy-to-play game towards the entrance. Most people haven't seen this one before, so it fit the bill perfectly.

It's similar to Battleship except instead of calling out numbers you place a rubber plunger/mallet on your side of the board and whack it to send a burst of air through the board and pop up the piece in the corresponding hole on the other side. Yes, it's as silly and fun as it sounds. It was played frequently through the course of the day.
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2. Board Game: Ta YĆ¼ [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:1269]
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I was happy to teach this one to Nathan. It was one of the earliest games I bought, and I'm so glad to have this edition.

He began the game aggressively, which gave me a lot more freedom. Both of his sides of the board were full (and his final score already determined) about halfway through the tiles. This freed him up to concentrate on defense, but also gave me more avenues to pursue. In the end, I squeaked out a win, 25-20.
 
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3. Board Game: Port Royal [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:408] [Average Rating:7.17 Unranked]
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As a few more people arrived, I was able to pull out this more recent classic. I remember when Mark Johnson taught me this game, I was not impressed. However, after many more online and face-to-face plays, I have come to really like it. I repent the error of my previous judgement!

My only complaint now is that I feel like the game can drag on too long. I think that is more due to the players than the game, though. I need to pick up the expansion soon.

This game saw Peter pick up the Admiral and the Mademoiselle really early, and then cruise to an easy victory.
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4. Board Game: Trade Winds [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
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Our next game was a more obscure title from 1960. A friend of mine (who is not a gamer) had been longing for this game from his childhood. After a long search, I finally found it and bought it for him for Christmas. He brought it to GOOF to test the waters with people who might appreciate it.

The basic premise has players work as pirates to sail to Pirate Island, capture booty, and get it back to their home port. Along the way, of course you can attack your fellow pirates and steal their goods. Typical of games from this time period, random card draws also inform the action. Also typical, it had really neat components including custom booty like pearls, gems, gold bars, and barrels.

It was a surprisingly good game. It's not a lost classic or ahead of its time like titles such as Square Mile or Acquire, but with just a few tweaks it could hold its own with several modern pirate games.

Nathan was able to win the last game he played with our group before he moved to Kansas City. So he sailed into the sunset with an impressive pirate victory.
 
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5. Board Game: SOS Titanic [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:1663]
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I forgot about this little gem. It's basically a variation on the classic solitaire game Klondike, but the Titanic theme works really well. As the end of the game draws near, you hear the screams of the ones you couldn't save go down with the ship.

Peter and I did reasonably well, but for the lack of a purple lifeboat. As the mighty liner slowly sank into the frigid waters, we tried increasingly desperate ploys to try to locate that one card. In the end, we had a decent score, and yet still many people perished.
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6. Board Game: Tonga Bonga [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:3310]
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Speaking of games with impressive pieces-- Tonga Bonga! This older, silly race game has some of the best-looking components around. Plastic ships and lots of coins!

Despite the childish nature of the game, it also has some really neat rules which make for tough decisions. You have to bribe other players to get the most movement, but bad rolls (include sick sailors!) can foil the best plans. Plus, every coin you spend hiring crew is one less you have for victory.

Unfortunately, I had a rule wrong which impacted how much money other players had. You must drop off cargo at four different islands, and each time it pays money. I thought you received less money for each person who had been there before you, when instead you must *pay* each previous person. I don't think playing this correctly would have stopped Pete from his runaway victory, but I think it definitely would have tightened the gap a bit.
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7. Board Game: Tigris & Euphrates [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:70]
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I couldn't attend a Games Day with a bodies of water theme without playing the greatest game about rivers ever-- Tigris & Euphrates!

It was surprising to me how no one recognized the art from my old-school original edition of the game. "Why is there yellow on the black tile?" "Do you have a player screen that's not in German?" Bah! That's what I get for playing with young whippersnappers!

The game took a lot longer than I had hoped, but it was enjoyable throughout. We spent a lot of time explaining all the possible consequences of moves to the one new player, and just general kibitzing and taunting as well.

It looked like Charles had it sewn up (maybe if he had burned tiles on his last turn?), but in the end Keith played fiercely and won with a strong lead. I struggled with bad tile draws the whole game (I once swapped out four tiles and drew exact replacements) and barely managed third (or was I last? I don't even remember for sure).

Anyway, I'm always happy to play this one, and it was the perfect end to the day for me.
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8. Board Game: Ice Cool [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:776] [Average Rating:6.92 Unranked]
Todd Derscheid
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Jay taught my daughter Alex and I this cute dexterity game. The weighted penguins are tricky at first, but with time, just about everyone pulled off a couple of good shots.

I'll also say that the multiple rounds with resets is way more forgiving than Pitchcar.
 
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9. Board Game: Floating Market [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:4154]
Todd Derscheid
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Jay and I played a 2-player game of this worker-placement dice-rolling game, then Alex joined us. Lots of cute interactions and neither game was more than 45 minutes long; I'd definitely play this again. Thanks for bringing it, Jay!
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