Heavy Games on Your Table - June 2017
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Welcome to the June Heavy Games on Your Table Geeklist



Welcome to
Heavy Games On Your Table
May 2017




E The term "Heavy Game" can cover a wide variety of titles. Generally, games featured on these lists are complex Eurogames, 18xx, wargames, and other games that require a significant investment in time or thought.

E Please post entries only for games that you have actually played this month, and include a description of the session, interesting things of note, photos, analysis, etc! The list is designed for more in-depth discussion of heavy games.

E Please subscribe to this thread to be notified when a new GeekList is posted each month!

E If the games on this list interest you, please consider joining the heavy game discussions in the following guilds:
- Heavy Cardboard Podcast Guild
- Deep Cuts Guild.
Heavy Cardboard's Podcast and videos are also great resources.

And if the 18XX games on this list interest you, be sure to check out:
- The Dual Gauge Podcast and Guild

These Podcasts and their guilds also focus on heavy games:
- Punching Cardboard Podcast and Guild
- The Deep End Gaming Podcast and Guild

These Podcasts cover boardgames in general, but feature some heavy games content and coverage that is worth checking out:
- The Good, The Board, and The Ugly Podcast and Guild
- Board Game Blitz Podcast and Guild
- Low Player Count Podcast and Guild


E Please add only one entry per game. If someone else has already added a game you are playing, just add comments!

E After the next month's list is posted, this list will be re-sorted alphabetically to make finding games in each list quicker.

E Any GG donated to the list will be re-distributed to the top few contributors at the end of the month (quality, not just quantity...)

E Thumb the list if you like what you see!
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1. Board Game: Triumph & Tragedy [Average Rating:8.32 Overall Rank:423]
Matthew B
United States
Maryville
Tennessee
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Paris and Moscow were within my grasp due to a huge air force in Berlin upgraded to Heavy Bomber (with the 3 range they were supporting both fronts). However, despite punching through the Red Curtain through the Ukraine and finding very little depth of defense, my eastward push stalled and the Americans soon entered the war thereafter.

Great game, and I can't wait to get it back to the table. I went with a fairly historical plan of attack as the Axis (although there was very little fighting in Africa), but there are certainly many ways to approach it.
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2. Board Game: 1846: The Race for the Midwest [Average Rating:8.09 Overall Rank:566]
Stefan Ebner
Austria
Vancouver
British Columbia
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(I'll slowly add all my HeavyCon games, since this was the first might as well start with it)

Managed two games during HeavyCon and I am more and more interested in the genre Still need to figure out what I want (building vs stock shenanigans). Also am only on my 6th play now.

Game 1 I can barely remember just that I, again, learned a lot. Started with Erie and went to Detroit and Chicago later on. Did a couple of double runs but - seems to be a general problem of mine so far - I could not keep up with stock purchases due to mismanagement of personal money.

Game 2 I decided to try double private train companies and see how that goes. I did start decently enough but day 3 of the con did not help my brain cells Same as above, companies were running great but I constantly was behind on personal money to gain stocks. Still a great game and as is with any 18xx I currently play - somethin new was learnt
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3. Board Game: 18SS [Average Rating:7.14 Unranked]
Ron
Austria
Vienna
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We had this weird little 18xx on the table two times this month. It redefines the 18xx basic concept of tokens - you only need them for your route(s), but you ignore them for all other purposes (like building and tokening). It also jumps right into the action, omitting the yellow phase and those boring 2-Trains ...

Although it felt a little strange, we all liked it (that's why we played it two times) and I wrote a little review/session report about it: 18SS – familiar on the outside, different on the inside, but still 18xx.

Here's an image of the final board:
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4. Board Game: Cuba Libre [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:487]
Ron
Austria
Vienna
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The second COIN game, Cuba Libre, was played this week in my Gaming Dungeon. We had the full compliment of players; I had the Directorio, my wife the 26 July and our two friends the Government and the Syndicate.

From the beginning on, the Government made quick progress, while I struggled to survive, being attacked from Batista's troops and from the commies. The focus then shifted to the powerful government, and the 26 July quickly became entangled in terror enterprises to bring the people to their side. Meanwhile the Syndicate began its rise in power and I tried to prevent that. With success; just when I thought I could win the game, my commie-wife managed to fulfill her victory conditions just before the last Propaganda card was drawn.

A historical outcome. The commies took over meeple

All in all, I'm still not entirely sold on this game. I still find it too weird; having two of your events in a row hurts you badly. Nevertheless, it's very enjoyable, especially with all that historical references. I bought Falling Sky: The Gallic Revolt Against Caesar (also COIN) too; I hope for a better game with the bigger board.
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5. Board Game: Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001 – ? [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:291]
Chris Smith
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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His marvels of artifice pale in comparison to the developing machinery of his mind.
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I've played this game a number of times. My opponent just recently picked it up and wanted to give it a whirl.

We play a number of CDGs and other complicated games, but this one was the most difficult for my opponent to grasp. There are so many questions before starting:
- Soft/Hard world posture and being aligned as the US, what does it mean?
- How to change governance from Neutral? from Ally? from Adversary?
- How can US deploy/withdraw troops?
- GWOT?
- Minor/major jihad?

We slogged through a game that I easily won as the US. I figured the jihadists are much easier to play for a first timer because knowing when to switch US posture isn't obvious. You waste an entire turn discarding high OPS cards. The jihadists are definitely more linear in their game plan.
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6. Board Game: High Frontier (3rd edition) [Average Rating:8.59 Overall Rank:1252]
Josh Conner
United States
Medford
Oregon
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Learning the rules by playing the basic game solo. Launched a rocket to Luna and was able to build a factory along with a colony on the Crater Shackleton polar rim. My next destination was Mars with the hope of building a factory and using it as a jump off into deeper territory. Unfortunately, my rocket was destroyed in an attempt to use an aerobrake to touch down on the planet. Hopefully tonight's attempt will go better.
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7. Board Game: Arkwright [Average Rating:7.89 Overall Rank:622]
Jon Weber
United States
Coal Valley
Illinois
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Finally got a play in of this game. Wow I was amazed. It was very elegant in gameplay but very taxing in terms of thinking through a strategy. I really enjoyed this quite a bit.

In my play of the game I went for a strategy around bread and clothing. In our 4 player game I only competed with 1 other player for clothing and 1 other for bread. I did a terrible job managing quality of my goods and money. I realized after the fact how critical this was. But man this game was so fun. I'll play it any time.
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8. Board Game: Trickerion: Legends of Illusion [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:175]
Jake Blomquist
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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Played this one a couple days ago (maybe technically in May? But it seems like late May plays are fair game?). We used everything except the unique player powers.

It was a three player game and I don't remember the scores exactly, but I believe the winner was in the 180s, I was a little over ten points back, and the then the last guy was maybe twenty behind me.

I was playing one of the gear specialists, and in my starting hand of power cards was the card that gave me a point per shard at the end. So these two things pointed me toward aiming for Horror Saws (a trick which also gives a point per leftover shard). I started with living piano, a dove, the worker that gives me an extra trick, and for that trick I took card manipulation. The plan was to get Vanishing Bird Cage at 16 but that ended up not happening. My opponents both started with the special worker that came with a basic worker and I believe both chose starting tricks and resources that meant they started with their tricks prepared.

Turn one they performed but my level one card gave me two points and three dollars on a turn where I didn't perform so I didn't feel bad skipping the first round of performances. I went to the market to get all of my level one materials and order the rest I needed, then I prepared tricks and went to the dark alley to grab a card for later. Turn two we all performed, and then turn three they were out of tricks and so were building up, and all I did was one big Sunday performance with everything I had left. This shot me up ahead, making me last in turn order for a couple turns.

Turn four I grabbed the resource worker and went back to the market. Unfortunately by then some of the stuff I wanted was gone, so I needed to place one more order and go back the next turn. I also thought I was being pretty clever by shifting the prophecy that turns money into points for performances back to the last spot, so it would be out on turn seven, since I knew that the level three trick I was going for paid a lot of money. Unfortunately this would end up biting me.

Turn five, I was getting ready to grab a trick or two, and I noticed that one of my opponents looked to be going for Horror Saws as well, so I made sure to grab that right away. I also needed one last trip to the market to get everything I needed to prepare it. It would have been nice to get away with only two trips to the market, but unfortunately it didn't quite work out. I also had the card that made all of my level three tricks worth three more points each to perform. Turn six was mostly just more performing. I made a miscalculation not having enough tricks available to properly take advantage of the money to points prophesy and the one player who had multiple copies of three good tricks all prepared pulled way ahead in turn seven. He didn't have any cards that were worth endgame points (just his level three trick, which he scored about 12 for) so I was able to close the gap a bit during endgame scoring where I got probably about 30 points, but it wasn't quite enough.

He had the card that let him ignore the point requirements for other cards and also a 36 point card that made the +0 spots +2s for him, which because of the former card he was able to get out very early and have for most of the game. This sort of illustrates one of my issues with the game, which is that sometimes those cards can combo together really well but it's sort of just a crapshoot whether you get a nice combo. Possibly some sort of draft is warranted, but the game is already probably longer than is justified.

As far as I'm concerned the best part of this game is plotting a path through the tricks that gives a nice mix of money, points, and shards while minimizing the number of needed trips to the market. Shards being especially important if you play with the tiered power cards, which I basically always want to since it gives the planning at the beginning a bit of an extra dimension.

The problem is that then the rest of the game is less engaging. It's not bad, there are some opportunities for clever play, but mostly it feels like a pretty by the numbers euro. The action selection is somewhat unique but I sort of feel like it both encourages AP in trying to plan everything out, but then also relies on double think and so is unpredictable enough to make that planning somewhat of a waste. It's pretty similar to the action selection in Asgard, but in that game there's a bit more flexibility. Asgard is great by the way, and criminally underrated, but probably only at four players.

Overall I like the game a good amount, but it does suffer a bit in my rankings since the core of the game is fairly standard beyond the action selection (which really I have mixed feelings about) and the planning aspect up front (which is great, but mostly done before the game even starts). Not quite a good enough game that I feel the need to own it or play it regularly, but I always enjoy myself playing it and sometimes am even in the mood for it in particular.
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9. Board Game: 18Ireland [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:5138]
Derek Yeung
United States
Paradise Valley
Arizona
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Taught 18Ireland to my local game group here after learning it at Heavycon.

It's Hex Trains - not 2/3/4/5 stations.

Played with
Joshua Kocur
United States
Glendale
Arizona
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, Rob, and Andrew.

I started with DKR, Josh started with Ulster, Rob with Wexford, and Andy with LER.

What's good for me was that I started a major with myself for two companies that I controlled. I then started another minor to purchase the 6H train to rust.

We forced a merger for Josh with only a 1H train and $1 between the two companies. Note to self: Don't try to always control lots of the minor companies - you may have it dumped to you!

I started another major and won the game controlling only the two majors.

Key - Dublin is the center of everything.
People should invest in DKR immediately (40 per round until green, it pays out $8).
Forced mergers are not a good thing.
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10. Board Game: 1889: History of Shikoku Railways [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:1281]
Adam Brocker
United States
Gilbert
Arizona
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Played a quick game of 1889 with:
Derek Yeung
United States
Paradise Valley
Arizona
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Still have not figured this game out. In my last game, there was a brutal train rush as one of the players were pushing the trains.

This game, players played much more conservative. I did well in the early game setting up a couple companies with some good runs. I wasn't​ prepared for the end game an Derek grabbed the last company which propelled him to victory. Game ended with a bankruptcy as Derek does his company on Brent with only Diesels available.

All 3 of us were familiar 18XX, so we were able to get it knocked out in 3 hours.
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11. Board Game: 18Scan [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:3505]
AJ
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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Lucas and I had a two-player learning game on Saturday. We definitely made some mistakes and not insignificant ones (such as not realizing the first two rounds that a Company can only buy one train of a type in a single operating round, and some bigger ones like me not realizing the 4D was four cities for double the revenue... oops) but are keen to try again - next time more competitively.

Warning: Some long winded and likely boring thoughts below

Interesting but lengthy private/minor company auction with up to 6 separate auctions: Players bidding to select the next private or minor (paying face value for their choice).

After the initial stock round Lucas ended up with Minor 1 and the Stockholm Ferry. I ended up with Minor 3 and the Zeeland Rail Company (with president's share of DSB). We both passed, so the initial stock round ended and only DSB floated (if all 6 minor/privates are purchased a normal stock round begins).

In subsequent stock rounds, Lucas floated VR (SR 2) and purchased Minor 2 (SR 2) from the pool and I floated SNJ (I think SR 3... but it could have been SR 4) and bought the Lapland Ore Mine (whichever round I floated SNJ) private from the pool. NSB never floated.

As the game progresses (and trains rest), more shares are required to float companies (Only 20% initially with incremental capitalization, but 50% in phase 5 with full capitalization). The SJ cannot float (although shares can be bought prior) until phase 5 and is a merger company (inheriting tokens, capital and assets of the minors). Minor companies are exchanged for SJ shares so Lucas was able to get the presidency (and 60%) of SJ.

We are 18xx newbies (have only played 1846 and 1830 before) so take this with a grain of salt, but we really enjoyed this and felt the map was tight enough for two. In addition to some interesting things introduced that we did not see in 1846 and 1830, the potential to get this down to 2-3 hours with experience make this a title that we can play and get some more experience in between opportunities to play 18xx with a larger group.

As it was our first game, we didn't really token each other out of areas (companies cannot visit off board areas that are tokened... unless it is their token), but we will certainly be more competitive next game.

Also... for some reason my image of game end state is flipped (it wasn't in the original pic). Not sure why this is or how to change it...

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12. Board Game: 18MEX [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:2863]
Damian White
New Zealand
Auckland
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My group are slowly moving up the introductory progression of 18xx titles, and with 1846 and 1889 now behind us, managed a first play of 18Mex a few weeks ago, and a second 4-player game this weekend gone.

After a half-hour long Privates auction -- nobody was letting anybody get away with anything for cheap -- the game progressed nicely up until the handbrake came off, then it was a manic downhill rush to bankruptcy.



When the player controlling the MNR floated the NdM, they were able to float a second company at full capitalization at the same time, due to being able to dump their first, low-par company. Two other players also floated new companies in the same SR -- both at high if not full capitalization -- and all that fresh capital injected into the game just as the handbrake came off exaggerated the games' already harsh train rush. Not surprisingly, the player who had that first low-par company dumped on then -- and as a result, didn't have the capital to float a new company -- couldn't weather the storm.

We're finding the NdM's merger an interesting new take on the genre, and I foresee serious and strong bidding for the MNR during our next game.

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13. Board Game: 1817 [Average Rating:8.67 Overall Rank:2045]
Paul Schorfheide
United States
Houston
Texas
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I got another 3 player 1817 in last night. We had another of our usual 4P join, but one of the players from last month had to miss due to acquiring a dog recently. Hopefully we'll get to 4P in the next few weeks.



I started 4 companies with Charleston, NYS, and double Cleveland. One player did the Louisville-Cinci double bridge and Richmond, and the last player got Pitt and Baltimore. There was a lot more cooperation this time than the last game. The double bridge player got left behind in the midgame, but we did have an interesting bit where we took all 5 shorts out on one of his companies but he ended up just squeaking through and ended up with a much stronger, well-capitalized company after the OR set because of it. I used my shorts to rush the first 6T, which probably hurt me more than anyone else due to my overbuying 3Ts, but my goal was to spread out some cheap permanents and hope the game ran a bit long until the 8 was exported. I didn't account for pushing the ME (Richmond) into liquidation which by this point had also acquired a Baltimore token. I was too loan heavy at this point to mount a serious bid, so it was taken for a song and built a 4T based mega-corp (Shawmut.) The 4Ts lasted way too long and I am confident I was behind at this point, but luckily the turns withholding at the end to buy an 8T kept it's price and dividend low enough that I was able to squeak a win.

Paul: 11175
S: 10833
C: 6543

I definitely made some mistakes this game like undercapitalizing my Charleston company without enough for double-lays, and neglecting the Detroit-NYC shortcut with Rutland for too long. I was so busy eking out a few extra dollars on the old coal routes that I didn't realize how valuable building through Detroit was until later in the game.
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14. Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:37]
Holger Schmid
Germany
Koblenz
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It has been nearly two years since my last play of this game. So, I was excited to finally play It again. It was a 3 player game lasting 2,5 hours in which I tried a new strategy. While one opponent went the skulls route and the other one focused on buildings, I chose a corn and temples based approach. It worked o.k., it became plain that I could use some more practise after such a long pause. I think, it was a good idea to take two ressource techs from the start. It generated the income for the offerings and made the collection of the needed building material for the temple steps monument quite fast.

Below you can find a picture of the final board state. Religious dominance for the victory...

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15. Board Game: Pax Porfiriana [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:377]
Brian Pierce
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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A friend and I dusted off Pax Porfiriana last night for a head to head game. He had never played, so it took a little bit of time to go through the rules and get him up to speed.

Early in the game I invested heavily in Loyalty points and was in a fairly dominant position compared to my opponent. However, he was able to do a good enough job to manipulate the regime and get around the first two topples. In the mean time he built up a good number of Revolutionary points and aimed to win on the 3rd topple while in the Anarchy regime. We were in a neck and neck battle with each of us blocking the other from getting enough to win on that topple. It looked very much like it was going to come down a money tie breaker, so my opponent played several orange cards on my enterprises to steal a good amount of money.

Big mistake, as I was able to pull off a win by buying a Public Card (Teddy Roosevelt), switching to U.S. Intervention, and taking advantage of all of the Outrage points my opponent just gave me for the win.

Overall I remembered why I enjoy this game. The swingy nature adds a fun element and the real game is in manipulating the current circumstances to your favor. I love the central mechanic of trying to build up different types of victory points while trying to control the regime during scoring cards to win. A very fun and challenging game feature that adds tension and a tough puzzle to solve as things get near the end. My friend enjoyed the game, but was a bit burned out by the end of things. I definitely think it would behoove us to play this one a few times in quick succession to lock in the small rules and open up the game behind the rules for my friend. probably good advice for all Phil Eklund games.
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16. Board Game: Neuland [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:1883]
Bleicher
Brazil
Belo Horizonte
MG
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I just had my third play of Neuland an hour ago and I still feel dizzy.

Holy crap, this is by far the most brain burning game I ever played.

I had a couple of 2-player games which I enjoyed very much. But playing it with four was a bit uncomfortable to me. Not that playing it with two made it less of a brain burner - definitely not - but with four it seems there are just too many turns lost due to the fact that the game doesn't truly scale with the number of players. Yes, the victory condition change to making less points, but the fact there is now four people trying to build the same buildings with the same infrastructure makes it something to be worried about.

I still rate this game a 9. It is just unbelievable that a game with such a ridiculously small ruleset can result in such ridiculously complex gaming. It is one of those games when at the end you really feel you accomplished something amazing. But I guess I'll avoid four player games at least until I get a bit more experience.
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17. Board Game: Great Western Trail [Average Rating:8.28 Overall Rank:9]
James Schultz
United States
Massachusetts
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My second play. We played three-player as I wanted to see how it felt versus a four-player game which I thought had too much downtime. Three-player was much better. It still felt like I was in competition for building spaces, employees, cattle -- but I didn't have to wait longer for my turn. So far (only two data points!), I prefer 3p.

I knew this time I did not want to focus on cattle like I did in my first play. I thought I'd focus on buildings, but I ended up with a smattering of everything but was able to thin my deck into a lean machine and leverage ribbons into good deliveries with just 2s and 3s (helped by a couple station master permanents). I also completed four objectives, which was enough to get the win! Final scores: 94-75-66.

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18. Board Game: Roads & Boats [Average Rating:7.74 Overall Rank:271]
Morten K
Denmark
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As a treat to ourselves after cleaning the apartment my girlfriend and me played our second play of Roads and Boats. We decided to set up the 2-player beginner map again since we didn’t feel that comfortable with the game after a long break. Last time I learnt that controlling the end game through the wonder was important so I quickly built some bricks in the shorter lower layers of it and set up an engine that could churn out cheap resources around my home tile. I had found a place downriver where I could set up my gold to stock engine so I decided to go heavier into the water than the land transporters. I made an error of course and upgraded to steamship yard much too early without having the resources necessary to build the ships so I stalled a bit when I was supposed to speed up and was forced to not add more bricks to the wonder for quite a few rounds. My girlfriend on the other hand got her lorries and her stock factory and seeing I didn’t lay any bricks decided she should. In the end she won by 20 points despite thinking she had no idea why she won (she said) and didn’t know what to do differently to improve. She complained a bit about not being able to do all the things she wanted but also said she’d like to play it more often to get to know it better. And when I went to bed with her already asleep she mumbled ‘I beat you in the game’ in her sleep so I’m quite sure she’s interested in playing it again!

I forgot to take a pic so here's one from our first game.


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19. Board Game: Anachrony [Average Rating:8.16 Overall Rank:78]
Chris Broadbent
United States
Covington
Washington
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I forgot to snap a picture, but last Saturday, I had my first go at Anachrony.
We played with the simple timeline (without penalties or benefits) and without the doomsday track and other in-box KS expansions and with the A side of the boards as it was everyone's first game.
I had a few things to say about it in the discussion on the Heavy Cardboard forms (here). I won't belabor that here.
The game was rather enjoyable. There are lots of things in the box we didn't use, but I don't think it is particularly heavy in the configuration in which we played it.
In our game, I recruited Engineers heavily as it was part of my evacuation bonus. Because of that, I always had plenty of energy cores (until the last couple rounds, but I wasn't significantly constrained). I made sure to pick up a water-generating building early. I also picked up a couple of early buildings that gave a point for using them. Slightly less than a third of my total score was gained through those buildings.
I had thought that the first era after impact would be the last because of how many exosuits were fielded, but apparently, I was the only one pushing to end the game. I could have ended the game in the second post-impact era, but I made the mistake of sending my scientist to the watering hole, and I was unable to use the last main board space because it required a scientist and I only had an administrator. It didn't have a huge impact on the game - the person in last place was able to pick up 10+ points in the last round, but the person in second and I each only gained a handful of more points. I won by 10 points; if the game had ended a round earlier, the player in last would have been left with 30 or 40 points to my 60 or 70. Since he owns the game, it is probably best he pulled up closer to the other two players in the last round.
I will play Anachrony again, but I will do so with more of the optional fluff to see what it adds and/or with removing one era before and after impact to make the game both faster and more tense.
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20. Board Game: Le Havre [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:36]
Holger Schmid
Germany
Koblenz
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Last game night, we had the chance to play „le Havre“ (that is widely considered as one of the best Uwe Rosenberg designs) with a total of four players. It was my first game although I had some experiences with “Caverna”. After a short explanation, we were all ready to go and I figured out how important it is to be able to pay the steadily increasing food costs in order to avoid the witches’ circle of bonds and interest.
In the end, it was a super closed game with just one point difference between the first an second player. Admittedly, in the last two turns we all were quite eyhausted after 3 hours of play at ca. 29 °C and made some sub-optimal moves. Nevertheless, it was a great experience.

It was quite ingesting how the different players branched out in different businesses: one player started a cattle imperium producing lots of meat and leather, another player built up a construction centered strategy with a sawmill, clay pit, construction firm and building firm. My third fellow player tried to max money production by getting resources in bulk e.g. from the farm and building supplies store and refining them to more valuable goods. The refined building materials and the cash gave him the opportunity to build and buy point scoring buildings like the docks or the town hall towards the end of the game.

My approach was a little different: it somehow fits to tell a story about what happened during my turns.
When I was young I stated to work in the small fishery of my father that was small but enough to feed my family. However, this was not sufficient any more when I wanted to impress a girl I totally had a crush on. So, I convinced my father to opened a smoke house to refine the caught fish. It did not take very long until the fine quality of our fish was recognized in town and other residents visited our fishery and smoke house generating us some money we could invest in a charcoal burning to produce our own high quality charcoal for our famous smoked fish. However, by the time we were engaged, our inshore fishing grounds were endangered by overfishing so our family invested in two wooden ships. These two ships helped feed the family and were able to exploit new offshore fishing ground while the old ones could regenerate. In those times after our marriage, our family was the only one to have two ships and we decided to build up a shipping line. Our family members helped modernizing the two shipyards in town- even if we did not own them. The profits from the shipping line helped us during the construction of a new iron ship. This was the first iron ship in town and my oldest son became captain! While our famous smoked fish still guaranteed a steady cash flow and the provision of our family, the great operating range of our iron ship laid the foundation of a trading station with started to flourish under the supervision of my beloved wife. In the following years, this trading station was the only way to get steel in town: our family started to trade the high quality fresh fish for steel. It did not take long, until we were able to build the only steel ship in town commanded by our oldest daughter which was quite a shock for many conservative residents. With a fleet of four ships, new ways to generate the needed energy to power all the ships had to be researched. As a result, we constructed a coking plant to refine coal to a superior energy carrier. Shortly before my retirement, our iron and steel ship were trading on the important trading routes bringing our famous smoked fish and our high quality coke and charcoal all over the world.
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21. Board Game: 1822: The Railways of Great Britain [Average Rating:8.45 Overall Rank:3182]
Matt Wilson
United States
Edenton
NC
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I played a game of 1822 at Origins on Saturday night with Joe, Tim?, and Tony (I might have those names wrong - I was a bit tired after playing heavy games all day!).

I'll try to recap to the best of my memory. This is only my second game of '22, and I haven't played it to completion yet. I made some disastrous mistakes.

SR1 saw a lot of bidding. I ended up winning the MR concession for ~130 but didn't take any other minors, though I really wanted M8. I passed and only took the concession so I could be first in the next SR.

In the next SR, I went a little crazy and ended up taking three minors - 5, 6, & 18. I forgot I had bid on one of them! At some point I also won the CR concession; my thought process was to merge it with M6. MR would acquire M5 and M18 could run late into the game. I think I also converted the CR concession and parred it at 90, spending the rest of my personal cash.

Well, the next SR, no one bid on any of the minors. After 5 L/2 trains were removed I think there were only a couple left in the game. I panicked, as my minors were too poor to afford upgrades yet. I bought a 2 with CR and upgraded one of the locals (I think it was for M6, can't remember).

Someone (I think it was Tim?) bought the first 3, and I fell off a cliff. I knew I was hosed right then. I had 2 trains across 4 companies. I did some train juggling for a little while until I was able to afford a train or acquire the trainless minors, but the expensive terrain separating CR and minors 5 and 6 further slowed me from acquiring them.

By the time we called it, I had a 4T in CR and only had M18 still operating with a 3T. The 6 trains were about to break after about 6 hours, but it was after midnight and there was a clear winner.

I think it was Tony who tried a private-heavy strategy, and he was receiving I think around £70 in private income, but he also had a trainless minor issue to deal with, albeit less severe than my own.

Tim? used the offshore tax haven on Joe's company, the LNWR, which was amusing to me but not to Joe.

I'd like to play again, but I'd be much less ambitious about running multiple minors. As in my currently-running PBEM game, I never took any privates and although it probably didn't hurt me, it was probably a missed opportunity.
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22. Board Game: Three Kingdoms Redux [Average Rating:8.11 Overall Rank:917]
Brian Pierce
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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Sorry for the lack of pictures....

Earlier this week I got together with two good friends to try out my copy of Three Kingdoms Redux. I have been eagerly wanting to play this game for a while, but have held off a bit because the gamers I have been playing with mostly are newer to the hobby (I’m in the process of converting some old friends after moving back to St. Louis, and it is working well!). I was surprised to find that the rules explanation went very smoothly (despite being a bit lengthy) and they both easily understood the basics of the rules and gameplay. We randomly chose sides with myself playing Wei, Matt playing Wu, and Steve playing Shu.

Wei focused on building up an engine early (developing farms, building some enhancements to provide better actions, etc.), Wu geared up for a strong military push, and Shu focused on trying to combo a few state enhancements for maximal effect. The Shu player lagged behind significantly on military VPs throughout the game, ending with only 14 compared to the 25 and 21 of Wu and Wei respectively. As the Wei player, I was successful in balancing most of the different competitions across the game, scoring solid points in most categories. The game also took us quite a while to play (4.5 hrs), but we definitely expect this to drop down in future plays. The game ended after 9 rounds with the Wu player stationing their 5th general. Final Scores: Wei – 46; Wu – 37; Shu – 34.

I LOVED this game!! Just to mention a few of the awesome things:
Bidding for action spaces – This is so much fun and adds so many layers of complexity to selecting an action space on the board. What order should I do this in? What space are they going for? Is this enough power? Should I bump it up a little bit or risk it? Several times in the game we stumbled into perfect situations where the bids of the other players (or their bidding power left) really forced a very tough decision by the other players.

Variable powers for generals – We dove straight into the full game (with general powers, drafting, etc.) and loved the different powers. It was a bit overwhelming at first to manage all of the generals, but the game naturally has some stationed and new ones come in so it remained manageable. I also really enjoyed the extra decisions that some general’s powers added. Well, I can get an extra horse if I take this action, but I really wanted to develop my farm this turn. Should I use the bonus or not? Great decisions!

The Alliance - This was our favorite aspect of the game. As a bit of background, in high school I used to play the game Diplomacy with these same friends. Every time we are together we can’t help but tell the story of the time Steve backstabbed all of his friends to win Diplomacy, or the time that I double backstabbed everyone by making two agreements and not fulfilling either of them. These are great gaming moments that live on with our group (even though we have never actually finished a game of Diplomacy in real life!). Anyway, multiple times in this game we had similar moments. The Wei-Shu alliance started out so promising. We both instantly agreed to put the token on the Demand Tribute action space. We even engaged in a celebratory clinking of beer bottles to commemorate the occasion. However, it all went south later that turn when Shu decided to wait until his last play to put a token on the alliance space. In the meantime, Wu had put pressure on the space and Wei and Shu needed to agree to both use their final generals to win the space. Wei and Shu agreed to do this for the good of all. However Wei still didn’t take too kindly to the troops that were stationed at the Wei-Shu border earlier in the round. For that reason (and because Shu would get a nice bonus from stationing that general due to an enhancement AND because Steve is a KNOWN backstabber!) Wei decided to block Shu instead, making two of his general placements useless. That is just one example of the great moments that this small little Alliance token can cause.

In the end I thought that game was a blast to play. It is a Euro worker placement game, with a heavy dose of player interaction from the bidding, a beautiful Alliance mechanic, and fantastic asymmetry. I may just be riding off the high of this first play, but I can easily see this game finding its way into my top 10 games ever. I can’t wait to find a way to get this to the table more often! If you have 3 players that don't mind a little interaction and 3-4 hours to spend, I can't think of another game I would rather play.

P.S. Thank you very much Heavy Cardboard for originally putting this game on my radar long ago. Also, thank you to Capstone Games for making it easier to get this game in the US.
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23. Board Game: Liberty or Death: The American Insurrection [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:828]
James Schultz
United States
Massachusetts
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With Independence Day coming up, it was time to play Liberty or Death. Had four players, all playing LoD for the first time and all but one playing COIN for the first time. As a result, we were pretty slow. We took around 1.5 hours to go through the rules, two hours to complete the first year, and 3.5 hours for the next two years. We were playing the medium scenario, but finished after three years after the Indians pulled off an impressive sequence of raids to plunge the total opposition just in time for winter. It took a brilliant stroke, immediately followed by a command + special, and then an event. (There was a British brilliant stroke in there to reset Indian eligibility). It is a real challenge for the Patriots to keep the Indians in check while fighting the British.

(Although after the game, we discovered we forgot to apply "win the day" bonus to adjacent colonies when the current space is already total rebellion. As the British was fighting poorly in NYC, this would have added enough extra opposition in CT and NJ that the Indian's wouldn't have had their +10 victory condition.)

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24. Board Game: EastFront II [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:1263] [Average Rating:8.03 Unranked]
Sam Carroll
United States
Urbana
Illinois
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Played a learning game with Jim P. (Learning for him; I already knew the game.) He asked for the defensive side; I chose the summer '42 scenario because I figured it wasn't quite as brutal for the Soviets as Barbarossa. In retrospect, maybe I should have gone with Summer '43, which really favors the defender, though I think it's a duller scenario.

Anyway, he defended heavily in front of Moscow but somewhat less on the southern plains. My Germans ripped through his center and took Stalingrad in July. I got lucky on my very first breakthrough, finding a lone HQ behind his lines - though oddly enough, it took me a couple of turns to kill it!

Eastfront is a strange beast; coming to terms with the HQ activations and the supply rules takes some doing. Jim enjoyed the game and wants to play again. Hopefully next time he'll trounce me - I suggested Summer '44 (Operation Bagration) for next time, so we'll see if his Soviets can do unto me as my Germans did unto him.
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25. Board Game: Sol: Last Days of a Star [Average Rating:7.72 Overall Rank:1767]
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
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Finally got my pnp copy of this played the other day now that KS copies are shipping



Some thoughts:

(1) It's a wide open game...you need to be able to adjust your plans as needed based on what other players are doing while watching your supply of both energy and sun divers (what I would consider the two currencies in the game).

(2) Timing is pretty important in this game...and choosing when and how to deploy the sun divers is critical. My son crushed my brother and I as he was much more efficient with this.

(3) I like the variability the different suit card actions bring to the game, although their usefulness vary widely throughout the game.

(4) I think it probably works at various player counts, but would definitely be best with 4 or 5.
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