GCL Swedish Meatball Division #311 - Whose prize is it anyway?
Vivienne Raper
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The SdJ and KdJ nominees were announced while I was getting around to creating this geeklist. The BGG announcement attracted the usual sneers about how real gamers are above Kingdomino and the SdJ jury should have nominated The Campaign for North Africa (were it republished in German in 2017).

Anyhow, I recently bought Kingdomino and are considering purchasing an EXIT: The Game escape room game to play with my mum. So the sneerers can go pound sand... And, in the meantime, I thought the SdJ/KdJ made a good kicking off point for a Swedish Meatball list.

As usual, Meatballs should add an item with the games that they've played during the week and non-Meatballs are welcome to comment.

Upcoming:

Sorp222 <= Eligible for next week's award
chearns
AAArg_ink
lacxox
bnordeng
jugular
hanibalicious
smorange
ellephai
drbobjack
osirus
Malibu_babe_28
qwertymartin
Veemonroe

Hibernating:
fateswanderer
sgosaric
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1. Board Game: Kingdom Builder [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:451]
Vivienne Raper
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My favourite SdJ winner is probably Kingdom Builder. It's quick to play, easy to learn but hard to master, and endlessly variable. My husband's favourite is doubtless El Grande - he remembered the rules 12 years after playing it once and for the first time.

What's your favourite SdJ winner, and why?
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2. Board Game: Exit: The Game – The Secret Lab [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:591]
Vivienne Raper
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Which of this year's nominees do you think will win the prize, and why? Doesn't matter if you haven't played them yet - I haven't played either of them yet either, but - hey - what does that matter?

I think Kingdomino for the SdJ and EXIT: The Game for the Kennerspiel.

My reasoning: For the SdJ, I haven't heard of Magic Maze, but apparently it's mostly notable for its innovation. I suspect the Knizia is too fiddly for a family audience. For the KdJ, EXIT: The Game clearly fits the SdJ/KdJ criteria better. Terraforming Mars is too complex. Raiders is a variant on worker placement and isn't widely available (so problems with scale up for German supply).


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3. Board Game: Kingdomino [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:185] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Vivienne Raper
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As mentioned above, I find the sneering at the SdJ/KdJ as not relevant to BGG readers exceedingly annoying.

Do you find the SdJ useful to guide your purchase decisions? Is it relevant to your gaming group?
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4. Board Game: Scythe [Average Rating:8.30 Overall Rank:7]
Vivienne Raper
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Do you take notice of any other board gaming prizes? Which ones? If not, why not? And who do you think benefits most from prizes? (apart from the winners)
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5. Board Game: Rococo [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:197]
Vivienne Raper
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The SdJ and KdJ are supposed to celebrate quality. So are there any games that have won prizes, but completely bombed with your group?

[Rokokois probably the definition of boring IMO. It was nominated for a KdJ award].
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6. Board Game: Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:59]
Vivienne Raper
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And are there any games that you feel were cheated of an award (either a runner up or not nominated at all)?
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7. Board Game: The Doom That Came To Atlantic City [Average Rating:6.03 Overall Rank:6631]
Vivienne Raper
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Slow going on the gaming front after the house move. I did play half a game of The Doom that Came to Atlantic City after it came out of storage. I thought mum would like it, but it is quite complex to explain to someone who has never read any Lovecraft and last played Monopoly about 50 years ago.
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8. Board Game: Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:66] [Average Rating:7.83 Unranked]
chearns
Canada
Montréal
Québec
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Busy week, not much time for games, so we only finished the game that we had started the week before. While I had my doubts as to the potential, I figured for a buck fifty in a thrift shop, why not?

MC was extremely sceptical. Her first question to me after I described it was, why would you play with more than one person? Which was precisely the question I had asked myself on this very GCL.

It took us three nights and twenty four clues to fully solve the case. Only twenty more than Sherlock Holmes himself. Well, we knew who the murderer was earlier than that, but when we went to the quiz book we realised that they wanted to know more than just who the murderer was so we continued on to figure everything out before reading the answers to the quiz.

We were both very impressed. We did, it turns out, have a lot of fun doing this together. I doubt I'd ever play the competitive rules, the game does take forever (four or five hours to do the first case, but that is likely related to the fact that both of us must read the clues ourselves, we don't read them to each other), and I wouldn't play with just anyone, but I expect to play through all ten mysteries.
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9. Board Game: Hero Realms [Average Rating:7.72 Overall Rank:187]
 
Brad N
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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.NA. Hero Realms - 3 Players
_9_ Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases - 1 Player (x2)
_8_ Acquire - 4 Players
_8_ Burgle Bros. - 4 Players; 2 Players
_8_ Kingdom Builder - 2 Players
_8_ Carcassonne: The Castle - 2 Players
_7_ For Sale - 3 Players
_7_ Circus Flohcati - 3 Players
_7_ Catan - 4 Players
_6_ Blue Moon City - 4 Players
_6_ 10 Days in Europe - 4 Players

With the kids...
_8_ Odin's Ravens - 2 Players
_7_ Bohnanza - 4 Players
_6_ Dimension - 2 Players
_6_ Small World - 2 Players
_6_ Batik - 2 Players
_5_ The Big Book of Madness - 2 Players
_5_ Guess Who? - 2 Players


(1) Hero Realms - Played this with 2 coworkers at lunch. It does seem like it would be best with 2 players. For the most part, I'm not a big fan of deck-building games where the cards available for purchase are randomly drawn. This is where Dominion is better than other deck-building games, IMO. Legendary is the only one I can think of like this that I've enjoyed, but it plays differently (and I play it differently as a purely cooperative with my son). Hero Realms wasn't bad... I think I like Star Realms better, but I did play that with 2 people which seems like the best number for both games.

(2) Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases - I had a mediocre performance on case 6 and a complete and utter failure on case 7. This is a tough game and I'm astonished at how much I enjoy the game when you consider how terrible I am at playing the game. Reading chearns' description of his play this week reminds me that I'd just rather play this game with people... that isn't happening though, so this has become my first real game to play alone and that's working out okay.

(3) Acquire - Whenever I play Acquire, I'm reminded of how far ahead of his time Sid Sackson was. Impressive game and still fun to play.

(4) Burgle Bros. - For players who don't mind a bit of overhead, this may be the most fun cooperative game out there. The storyline that comes out of almost every game I play is fantastic. The loot, tool and event cards are so well themed and the tiles on the board with guard movement often create very interesting situations.

(5) Kingdom Builder - 99 Plays.

(6) Dimension - This game caught my eye a few months ago as one that Marie might really enjoy. Each player has 15 spheres (5 different colors, 3 of each color) and a board with a place to build a pyramid with 6 spheres in the base, then 3 spheres, then 1 on top. Six rounds are played and in each round you flip 6 cards that show the "rules" for that round. These include things like, total white spheres=1, no white spheres on top of anything, all black spheres much be touching orange spheres, blue plus green spheres = 4, etc. Players are timed to build a pyramid that meets as many requirements as possible. You get 1 point per sphere used, a bonus if you use all 5 colors and then you lose 2 points per rule (card) that you break. Our FLGS provided a demo copy to play and Dane and I gave it a try. Good, simple, spatial fun.

(7) The Big Book of Madness - This just isn't a very good game. The artwork is nice, the theme is all good and it looks like fun. However, when I've played it, I find it just isn't that fun. I see it was a Kennerspiel des Jahres recommendation and that surprises me... partly because I don't think the game is super fun and mostly because the game has too many rules and things to keep track of for what it is... that really doesn't fit with the award from what I've seen.
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10. Board Game: Ulm [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:881]
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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Wednesday, gaming club:



 7.2   Ulm NEW!

4-player. I'm not a Günter Burkhardt fan but he's a solid old-school Eurogame designer. Most of his games I tried employed a variant of his (seemingly trademark) mechanism of going around a square grid and taking a tile/action from /building something in the given column or row (I haven't played Knupferkessel & Co., but Herr der Ziegen, Kilt Castle, Casa Grande and Maori all had this). Ulm has traces of this mechanism in two parts of the game. 1.: you have a 3x3 grid of tiles representing actions, you choose one row or column, from the side push an action tile randomly drawn into the given row or column, then execute the three actions there. 2. One of the possible actions is going forward with your boat along a linear track (river), and another possible action is executing an action from the given "column" - one available action space from the two sides of the river.
So, we have two quite innovative actions here (even though the river part is qutie like Egizia, but you go down the river only once, with different boats for each player, and as you could also stay where you are, a Keltis-like incentive is added, scoring negative, then more and more points in the end depending on your position on the river. The new mechanisms are quite good and quite fun, so the result is... ehm, a JASE with two new good mechanism elements. I liked it, it's a good one, but it's still a JASE.

 7.4   Fabled Fruit x2 NEW!
Such a light and simple little game, yet with this one Friese manages to achieve what the ambitious and intricate 504 could not: there are lots of small games in the box, yet it's not overwhelming to learn the new rules all the time. Is the actual gameplay great? I wouldn't say, but it's not bad. What makes it a lot better is the anticipation of the new cards, new rules coming to play, during each play and in each play that follows. I think it rightfully got the SdJ recommendation; too bad the game is way too expensive for the experience of a simple, light cardgame (even with the variety).

 8.5   Times Square x3
Recruited a new fan for the game. I won the first two games in the first half (before shuffling the cards) but I won the third one only near the end of the second half.


In the weekend:
We were at a kindergarten party on Saturday (games, kid concerts, horseriding etc.) and friendly families visited us on Sunday (these fine women all have kids now, and they visited us), so the weekend was all about parties. Well, and we also played...


 8   Wettlauf nach El Dorado x2
Friday night with my sister. First she started fine as she saw how quick I am getting rid of my value 1 cards - but as it was her first deck-builder she got stuck then, as she got rid of her money cards before acquiring higher value ones so I won when she was still trying to recover at the middle of the way. She played much better the second time but she didn't take the board differences from the previous set-up into consideration enough (we turned up all the tiles) and I managed to turn the market against her. Still, she was on the last board when I won.

 4.5   Nine Men's Morris
At the kindergarten party, on a huge board (made of a bedsheet), with Miska who won.

 6   Memory
Also at the kindergarten party, a huge version, with Borcsa.

 7.5   Katego
The only game Saci played in the weekend. I had extreme luck while Miska and she did not - they rolled 6 and 5.5 on average (respectively) while I rolled 8.33 on average. With a more even distribution this little gem is fine, but this time I ended up winning 37:12:12.

 7.2   Forbidden Desert
With Miska, an exciting but still easy-peasy win.

 7.7   YINSH
7th GIPF game (of the 8) I taught to Miska; I think it is the second one that he really liked (after TZAAR - it seems he's largely agreeing with the BGG crowd. )

 8   Chess
With Miska who won.

 7   Orchard
 7.5   The Magic Labyrinth
 6   LEGO Batman
 7   Dreaming Dragon
Various short kids' games played with the kids of the friendly families mentioned above.
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11. Board Game: Hit Z Road [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:1198]
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Monday: lunch at Joe's

Jump Drive - still addictive but I felt completely screwed by the card draw in 2 of these.

Tuesday: games night at Joe's

Fuji Flush - standard starter

König von Siam - Sam recently picked this up in a maths trade and I was keen to play after far too long without (3 years!). Still wonderfully opaque - I was convinced I had it in the bag in the midgame but somehow it slipped out of my grasp.

Hit Z Road - this recent Wallace game had completely passed me by (zombie theme, terrible name) but it's been played a few times by the group recently and sounded quite fun. I liked it! Players have to survive over the course of 8 rounds, each round bidding to select the best (or least worst) set of two encounter cards. But the resources you bid with are the same ones you need to fight off zombies AND the resources you have left over at the end make up a big chunk of the scoring. Zombie combat is resolved with handfuls of dice (to cheers and groans) and it's entirely possible to be eliminated before the end. It's not a long game though, and we only had an elimination on the last round.

Insider - an insider win for our quietest player - since he doesn't talk that much normally he avoided suspicion!

6 nimmt! - 9p + we played the remaining 10 cards as a random player, who was winning after 1.5 rounds but ended up only 7th

Sunday: at home

Sarah suggested What's My Word?, hurrah! Amusingly we chose very similar words (PICKLE and BUCKLE) but Sarah got to mine much quicker than I got to hers for a hefty points win.
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12. Board Game: Great Western Trail [Average Rating:8.28 Overall Rank:9]
Seth Brown
United States
North Adams
Massachusetts
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Codenames - a few rounds to open the evening. As I mentioned upthread, I continue to find this a brilliant game. I was very pleased that I got to use "Spiderman" as a clue (to get Web and Bugle), and someone mentioned that a Marvel-branded Codenames was in the works. For a split-second I was excited; I love Codenames and I love Marvel. But instantaneously my excitement faded to annoyance; much of the enjoyment for me is finding opportunities to make those Superhero connections myself; if the whole board was filled with superheroes, it wouldn't be nearly as fun for me. Likewise (not that I tend to enjoy particularly dirty/vulgar-themed boardgames to begin with) having played Codenames Undercover once, I would be happy to never play it again, because the occasional sexual clue in regular Codenames is clever, but in Codenames Undercover it becomes merely annoyingly common.

Great Western Trail - My first play of this, and I'm not quite sure what to think. My initial understanding was that it was similar to a Caylus or a Toledo, where you all can put buildings on the board, and other people have to pay you to use them. Turns out we had all misunderstood the game owner's explanation, and you have to pay people just to move past their building, you can't use them at all. And this is a shame; I think I tend to prefer the mechanic where you pay your opponents to use their buildings. Regardless, the game itself was interesting enough and sufficiently enjoyable that I'd happily play it again if it were on offer.

***

Webcomics?
Some time ago, various people on this list recommended some webcomics to me. I've finally read through a few of them, and will say that Multiplex was amusing and enjoyable while Wapsi Square was terrible and self-indulgent.

Video Game!

A recent Humble Bundle had a game called Morphblade, which is almost like an abstract-ish boardgame, except for the randomness of spawning monsters and random tile types. But it's a weird Elements-type mechanic where your attack/abilities/movement depend on which of 6 types of space you are currently standing upon.
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13. Board Game: Jump Drive [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:971]
Christina Crouch
United Kingdom
Tadley
Hampshire
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Got another 3 games of Jump Drive in with Sarah. Something has dinged in her head and she's absolutely roasting me. We played 3 games and I think she won all three by between 2 and 10 points.

Like Martin, I do think I had some rotten starts in terms of hand, but I did my best. I feel like if you want to start a military strategy you really need to start with space marines or drop ships (but then you end up with no card draw). I do often end up drawing Survey Team early, just so that I have either some eyeballs, draw, or 1 military to get me started. Those early decisions are really tough. You can spend your cards to buy a decent one to set you up for the next turn, and then have an unlucky draw and realise you need a new tack again that next turn. Its almost slightly Innovation-esque in your need to completely revise your strategy every turn.
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14. Board Game: Havana [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:920]
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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chearns
Canada
Montréal
Québec
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Werewolf is an interesting game, because of the experience. It truly feels like a witch hunt. Unlike it's children there is really nothing, I mean nothing, to go on. I feel like I'm in the McCarthy era looking for Communists or in the today era looking for Muslim terrorists. It's just lies. Mob mentality. Picking on the Other. It's beautiful.

However, it's got that dang moderator. A role which nobody wants except "storytellers" and I don't want to play with them because they get in the way of the game I want to play (which is not the one where I listen to their plebeian purple prose). Which is why I tend towards the children instead. At least then everyone gets to play and the "storytellers" can use their inside (their head) voice.

But, these coins! They look beautiful. I love the idea of a game which is just coins and the only other one I know of is Pieces of Eight. I feel tempted, which is weird, as I'm hardly ever at gatherings large enough to play and where the people at the gathering would be the type that would want to play.

Did anyone else see these? Am I the only one enamoured? Does everyone else think an all coin game silly?
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16. Board Game: Broom Service [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:404]
Joshua Kuhlmann
United States
Huntington Beach
California
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At Home

 7   Spyfall x2

We had my sister-in-law's boyfriend over from the East coast for 2 weeks, so we introduced him to a few games. We played Hey That's My Fish (SIL's favorite game), but I think he enjoyed Spyfall more. He asked to play it again the night before he left.

I think 4 players is a little on the small side (and results in some lopsided spy distributions) but the game was still fun and we developed a fair metagame. My favorite bits were the various attempts at dissembling when asked an early question ("Do you like to travel?" "Well, sometimes, other times I stay at home you know, it depends...")

At the Meetup

 7   Race for the Galaxy
 N/A   Mechs vs. Minions NEW!
 7   Broom Service
 N/A   One Night Ultimate Alien x2 NEW!

Continuing my streak of 7's, I got a rare opportunity to play Race against a San Juan veteran who also hadn't played in a while. I went heavy novelty goods with some synergizing sixes and won fairly handily.

MvM was certainly as well-produced as advertised, but I'm not sure it's for me. There's just not that much there, although maybe with a better understanding of the rules my opinion of the game would go up. For a cooperative game, you're mainly doing your own thing; and it's neither strategic enough to really dig your teeth into nor chaotic enough to appreciate as zany fun. But this could just be the rules problems talking.

After playing a nice 4P game of Broom Service, I tried out the new One Night Ultimate thing but with terribly botched rules. It seems like with experienced players you could get a very interesting game, but there's a lot of chaos and weird things that make it seem more like a casual thing. And for a casual thing, it's way too complex. Based on the way the game was played I'd rate it a 3, but I think it might go up to a 5 with the right rules.
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17. Board Game: Flamme Rouge [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:319]
George Leach
United Kingdom
Godalming
Surrey
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With Sophie
 8   Ingenious

Guildford Gamers
 8   Flamme Rouge x2 - With more time to look at it I can see that the game is not 'nearly excellent' as I had initially thought but simply excellent. I feel like I want just a little more to think about already though. Nuances in terrain, more cyclists to manage or stage races. This might be a game I buy at full price for the first time in some time.

 6   Dungeon Raiders - This game forms the basis of the game experience I want to provide in a fledgling game design I've had in my head for some time. This game is semi-cooperative but it seems to work here. It involves dungeon delving resolved through a simple simultaneous card selection. Five rooms per level and five power cards to be used up (ranging from 1 to 5) and monsters, traps ,treasure room etc. which allow for leader bashing, double bluffing and doing just enough while letting your 'comrades' expend a little more. I'm glad to have got it to the table again and I think it's still just about a keeper.

 8   Coloretto - Some classic Coloretto-ing, taught some new to it players and they seemed to enjoy it (enough that I saw them teaching other people how to play this week.)

At home with friends
 9   Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 - We've still yet too lose, get any scars or have a city have any more than one outbreak (we're in June I think). It's a little too easy but I'm sure there're more spanners to come.

 5   Fabled Fruit x2 NEW! - Such a lovely game idea but the game itself just doesn't interest me at all I'm entirely apathetic to winning or losing it.
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