GCL Alchemists #13: Euros
Sloan Lee
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Welcome to this week's Game Chat League Alchemists Discussion Group! Please refrain from randomly posting. If you want to join, simply geekmail one of us. You may subscribe to these geeklists here (and find links to previous entries):

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1691830/gamechat-league-alc...

Reminder: Members be sure to answer the questions below, but also create a post of what you have played since out last list -- feel free to post any thoughts that strike you relevant. The date listed is the Friday of the weekend the list is due but anytime that weekend is great. Don't forget that you can use the following link to organize your games-played entry:

http://www.robandkriskris.com/gcl/

ALCHEMIST UP NEXT
Sloan (Sloan Lee) 6/2
Ian (KissellMissile) 6/16
Nathan (N Jones) 6/30
Adin Hrnjic (TheDarkHarvest) 7/14
Mark (mshnd06) on 7/28
Ingmar (Inmarg) 8/11
Girven Kissell (girvdog) 8/25
Ronnie (redward) 9/8

This week's GCL post is all about Euro Games!!!

UPDATE:
We need to welcome a new member to our disreputable company: Adin Hrnjic (TheDarkHarvest). I'm sure his addition will improve the general quality of things around here. Like Ian, he has no avatar:

Adin Hrnjic
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Massachusetts
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1. Board Game: Euro-game [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Sloan Lee
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1. What is a pure Euro – and what sets it apart from other types of games (like abstracts or Ameritrash)?

The BGG glossary says something like “see German Games” – but then the entry for German Games is not descriptive at all. It says something like, “games made in Germany” or something unhelpful like that. Given this, I’ll try my own definition here (and you guys can provide a better definition):

Euro = Players take meeples or cubes (or pieces of cardboard), place them on the game board with an eye towards efficiency maximization (often by means of resource conversion or point-multiplier combinations). Players then either place more pieces on the board, take the pieces up for another round, or push them around on the board for a while (again, with an eye towards efficiency) until victory points (or prestige points) come out the other side.

[Bonus toward being a Euro game if the setting of the game is anywhere in the ancient Mediterranean or Renaissance Italy. Additional bonus points if there are no dice. Yet more bonus point points if the game is designed in Europe. Even more bonus points if the map is done in various shades of muted browns that make people complain about how ugly it is.]
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2. Board Game: Euro Quiz [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Sloan Lee
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2. Name the best (or your favority) pure Euro game that you have played? Why is it your favorite game of that type? No Ameritrash-Euro hybrids need apply.

El Grande is probably my favorite – but my top five games are all Euros. The next closest to El Grande is Kraftwagen or Hansa Teutonica. When I want El Grande, but don’t have time for it, my go-to game is China. Concordia could rank up there with the top five, but I just need to play it a couple of more time before putting my final stamp of approval on that judgment.
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3. Board Game: Euro [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Sloan Lee
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3. What was the last pure Euro that you’ve played? Give us the break-down about what you thought of it.

Lorenzo il Magnifico – In this worker placement, you use your family members to acquire cards (military, economic, and ecclesiastical cards) and resources (such as stone and wood) to turn them into victory points. This is a solid Euro, and (thanks to Ian and Girven at BGG Spring Con 2017) I had a lot of fun playing it – despite coming in second place behind Ian (who worked wonders by being excommunicated in the second of three ecclesiastical reviews). I find myself thinking about it and wanting to play it again. I’d give it an initial rating of three out of four stars… where:

4/4 = Must own this magnificent treasure
3/4 = Want to play but don’t need to own – Might pick up at right price
2/4 = Can take it or leave it
1/4 = I don’t want to play this again
0/4 = The very thought of this abomination causes me mental anguish

Use this scale to rate the game you played.
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4. Board Game: Junk [Average Rating:5.39 Unranked]
Sloan Lee
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4. What was the worst (or least favorite) Euro game that you’ve played? Why did you find it disagreeable, terrible, boring, or whatever?

Here are a couple of Euros that I will probably never play again.

Hengist (2015). I’ll just say it. I thought this was an awful game. You play cards to move your Vikings around to pick up treasure tiles… no resource conversion, no depth, just random stuff stacked on more random stuff. It was like the combination of a Euro with a bad race game – and I really don’t like race games. Despite having no dice, it was just painful. Having said that, I'll add that there are some people who might like the game -- and that's fine. Rating: 0/4

Navegador (2010). I really wanted to like this game – and I love some of Mac Gerdts’ other games (especially his splendid game, Concordia). Also, this game has so much going for it: (a) a cool rondel, (b) point multipliers, (c) a dry colonization theme, (d) ships sailing around the world, (e) lots of muted browns on the map. However, the market system in this game just vomits all over it and ruins everything – and it doesn’t help that the ships can sail in basically only one direction (Rules: “Go east young man!” Player: "I'd like to go West." Rules: "No! Only east is available!" Player: "But I can see west right there." Rules: "Shut up and go east!"). Rating: 1/4

Dishonorable Mention:

Tesla vs. Edison: War of Currents (2015). Here is a game I wanted to like so badly. It has a map of America at the advent of the electric age – with actual historical events woven into the cards that affect game-play. But the game is too long, and the market system in it makes me dislike it. However, I will say that the expansion for this game fixes some of the worst aspects of the game’s market system – and makes the experience a bit more enjoyable. But all of that should have been in the base game. Rating: 1/4

(see the previous entry for the ratings break-down)
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5. Board Game: Euro Touring [Average Rating:4.12 Unranked]
Sloan Lee
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5. What is the Euro that you have not played that you are most looking forward to playing? Combination Euro-Ameritrash games are welcome here.

Here are mine:

The Princes of Machu Picchu (2008). From the rulebook: “When Priests and Virgins sacrifice llamas, the Scouts advance on the Inca trail.” That rule alone makes me want to try this game – and it doesn’t hurt that it has a rondel.

Finca (2009). Mallorca… Island of the Wind. In this place of golden beaches and a light-blue sea, the almond harvest is at hand -- and juicy oranges, lemons, and figs are ready to be picked and taken to the market. Listen to the wind which propels your windmill, and then take in the course of the yearly harvest the sweetest and most valuable fruits from the land. Load them on your old donkey cart and travel around the island, selling them everywhere, and you may soon be the richest farmer on the island. ---- And the windmill is a rondel!!!
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6. Board Game: Mare Mediterraneum [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:7368]
Sloan Lee
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6. What is your favorite Euro game set in the Mediterranean?

Mine is Concordia. Play your cards carefully and crush your opponents as you build your empire.

Another favorite is Serenissima (second edition; 2012) even though it has dice and a slight Ameritrash vibe. Tom Vasel dumped on the second edition, but I had a blast playing it. So, when it comes to this game, disregard the tall man in the fedora. It is a easy-going and breezy Euro that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
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7. Board Game: Europa Universalis [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:4065]
Sloan Lee
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7. The Hard Question: What qualities go into making a Euro a good one?

I think that the most important quality that makes for a good Euro is it forcing you to make hard (or at least interesting) decisions. However, this has to be balanced against the tendency make a game that is too restricted in its decision space – because another quality that a good Euro needs is flexibility in pursuing strategies (as this contributes to variety and replayability).
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8. Board Game: Art Attack! [Average Rating:6.50 Unranked]
Sloan Lee
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8. The Tangential Question: Who are some of your favorite European visual artists (if any)? Please post a link to some of their artwork.

I’ll give four (chronologically):

J.M.W. Turner (British, 1775-1851) – An unclassifiable artist whose work can be gorgeous – even as it confronts the fact of evil.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tO2EzumziDk

Albert Goodwin (British, 1845-1932) – He creates stunningly beautiful landscape work – at points sublime.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVImnBoXmUw

Zdzisław Beksiński (Polish,1925-2005) – This master of all surrealists has work that is often disturbing and creepy, but does not shy away from themes of death or religious imagery.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFC20XFwAxU

Andrew Goldsworthy (Scottish, 1956-present) – An environmental artist whose work is thoughtful, well-executed, and obedient to objective principles of beauty.
http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/andy-goldsworthys-rivers-tide...

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9. Board Game: Guildhall Fantasy: Coalition [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:3249] [Average Rating:7.27 Unranked]
N Jones
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Richardson
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Crossing x2
Santorini x8
Pairs x2
Guildhall Fantasy: Coalition NEW!
Oh My Goods! x2
First Orchard
Kulami x4 NEW!
Mechs vs. Minions x2
Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
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10. Board Game: Dungeon Lords [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:180]
Pater Absurdus
United States
Carrollton
Texas
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10  Dungeon Lords x2
I got to play this with a friend for his second time and he did really well which was good to see.

10  Innovation x2
Penelope learned this and has played 3D now. I am excited to get to play it more with her now.

10  Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization x3

9  Fearsome Floors x2

9  Hyperborea
I really enjoy this. It can be easy to set up mega turns with multiple actions. They are a lot of fun but can lead to boredom for anyone waiting between turns.

9  The Game of 49 NEW!
Based on this one play the game seems truly hilarious. The way the bidding works and how it plays out is really funny. The game can go a tad long for its depth. It reminds me a bit of Acquire but I actually like it.

8  Codenames x2
This was Codenames Duel which is a fully co-op experience. Both teams act as spymaster and spies. It was excellent! Much better four player experience than the regular game.

7  6 nimmt!

6  Tumblin-Dice x2
I wish this was a touch less expensive. I'd consider picking it up otherwise.

5  Crokinole

N/A  Captain Silver NEW!
This was the least enjoyable game of the con for me. I was really glad when it ended. The mechanic of feeling around in the bag for the various tokens was really annoying and mistakes were expensive.

N/A  Century: Spice Road NEW!
This was a pleasant little game. Turn cubes into cards into other cubes into cards that are worth points. It's a bit like Splendor+.

N/A  City of Iron: Second Edition
It's a strategic euro deck builder with area control. It's a bit to euroy and too minimal in theme to be excellent but considering how little theme is present it was pretty interesting. I look forward to playing it more.

N/A  Cyclades NEW!
I wanted to like this and am glad I tried it. It's really not my bag. The bidding for powers was interesting and the building up of ones little empire and economy was fun. The combat was humorless and unenjoyable for me though.

N/A  Dark Is The Night x2 NEW!
This was not yet published. It was a pleasant mini game diversion but nothing much more than a silly bluffing game.

N/A  Glüx NEW!
I enjoyed this one pretty well. I like the tactical placement and movement. The area control is cool. It went on a little too long so I would consider playing with one less set of tokens.

N/A  Gravwell: Escape from the 9th Dimension x2 NEW!
This one is really silly but pretty enjoyable. It involves a bit of bluffing, luck, and guesswork.

N/A  Jump Drive x2 NEW!
I like some parts of Race for the Galaxy and this keeps most of them while removing the more annoying parts. For example, the production is removed. I didn't like its super minimal length though. I would consider playing to a higher threshold.

N/A  Kingdomino NEW!
This was a decent enough tile laying game. Nothing was really special about it though.

N/A  Magic Maze x3 NEW!
This was pretty fun and interesting. I wasn't sure that I would like a realtime cool like this but it was enjoyable. I would certainly consider buying it.

N/A  Mechs vs. Minions x2 NEW!
This is a bit light for its price but it is quite fun. The programming is excellent. I will likely try to pick this up at some point.

N/A  Sagrada NEW!
As the game draws close to its end the AP is too frustrating.

N/A  Terraforming Mars NEW!
This seems like my kind of game in a big way. The tableau building and hand management is awesome.

N/A  The Mysterious Forest NEW!
A nice little memory game for kids and families.

N/A  Vast: The Crystal Caverns
I am still really loving this game.

N/A  Wettlauf nach El Dorado NEW!
I really enjoyed this and hope it wins it's category. The deck building and race go well together. If this gets an expansion to add depth later then it could be really great. As is it's a very decent gateway or family game.

N/A  Wordsy NEW!
Poor spellers prepare to be frustrated.

N/A  Xia: Legends of a Drift System NEW!
This is a really stupid game with some lame mechanics. It it is also really fun. It was the surprise of the convention. I would definitely consider owning it and am pumped to try it again.
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11. Board Game: The Voyages of Marco Polo [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:40]
Adin Hrnjic
United States
Massachusetts
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Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
San Juan (second edition) NEW!
Castellion x5 NEW!
The Voyages of Marco Polo x3
Onirim (second edition) x3
The Castles of Burgundy
Jaipur
Stone Age NEW!
Concordia x2
Yokohama NEW!

I'll only discuss the new games I played. I don't think I would ever stop talking about the others I played, they are by far my favorites at the moment and I can't stop gushing over them. If there is interest, I'd love to talk about them!

San Juan was meant to just fill the time as I was waiting for a game to finish, but this game took me by surprise. I really enjoy tense and painful hand management games and this did the job. The idea that your cards are your resources, but also the things you want to build is very neat. I want to try this again.

Castellion is my attempt at exploring more of the oniverse games because Onirim is such a great little solo experience. The first two games of this felt random and awful. I pushed through because I wanted to enjoy it so much and something just clicked. Neat power manipulation along with a good level of difficulty!

Stone Age was being set up on a table next to me and I can't turn down new games, so I sat to play. I've been looking for a lightish Euro to take me by storm, but this game just has way too much luck and not enough mitigation for it. Don't get me wrong, luck in Euro games can be done really well, but this was not fun. However, it was breezy, simple, and the group was fun, so I didn't hate it, but I will not search to play this again.

I've been waiting to play Yokohama for weeks now. When it was described as Istanbul on steroids, I immediately picked up the deluxe edition and got it to the table. The first thirty minutes felt lackluster and fairly boring as I felt like I was making arbitrary choices and was easily getting victory points. The rest of the game, however, was much, much better as I had a sense of what I wanted to do along with the brilliant challenge of carefully placing assistants. If you place them poorly, you see your pool of them dwindle since you aren't going to the actions that will return them. Also the fact that the assistants must be used to mark points on the church/custom/achievements adds more difficulty in when and where you want to place them. Overall, I really enjoyed this and need to try it again. Also, the turns go super, super fast, so I feel engaged constantly.
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Ian Kissell
United States
Fort Worth
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Here were the games I played at BGG Spring, with some commentary. They are ranked from which I enjoyed least to most.
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13. Board Game: Pocket Mars [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:2688]
Sloan Lee
United States
Farmers Branch
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Hey Ronnie,

This short game came across my radar today. What made me think that you might be interested is the multi-use cards. However, it might be too short a game to be of interest. Anyway, I thought I'd let you know about it.

Sloan
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14. Board Game: Lorenzo il Magnifico [Average Rating:7.84 Overall Rank:171]
Sloan Lee
United States
Farmers Branch
Texas
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Games I Played in the month of May



 6.5   Lanterns: The Harvest Festival x2
 7.5   Tournay
 9.5   Kraftwagen
 N/A   Wordsy NEW!
 8.5   Freedom: The Underground Railroad NEW!
 6.5   Snowblind: Race for the Pole NEW!
 N/A   Lorenzo il Magnifico NEW!
 N/A   The Game of 49 NEW!
 N/A   City of Iron: Second Edition NEW!
 6.5   Carcassonne: 10 Year Special Edition
 8.5   Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
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15. Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:105]
Ingmar Hauge
Norway
Kvernaland
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May 30th - June 2oth



 9   The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game x15
 N/A   The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – The Lost Realm x0
 N/A   Ticket to Ride: First Journey (Europe) NEW!
 9   The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – The Voice of Isengard
 8   Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Mummy's Mask – Base Set x4
 N/A   Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Mummy's Mask – Adventure Deck 5: The Slave Trenches of Hakotep x0
 8   Star Realms
 7.5   Legends of Andor
 7   Kingdomino x2
 9   Mansions of Madness: Second Edition

At least a a couple of game nights the last few weeks. One adventure pack left before completing the fourth Pathfinder. I think it will be time to step off the coop gaming for a while after that...
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16. Board Game: Captain Sonar [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:99]
Mark Huberty (General Trashy Meeples the Ambigamer)
United States
Woodbury
Minnesota
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 6   Sushi Go!
 6   PitchCar
 N/A   Ice Cool NEW!
 N/A   Teams of Enemies
 3   Smarty Party!
 N/A   Incan Gold x11 NEW!
 7   Codenames: Pictures x5
 N/A   6 nimmt! x3
 7   The Voyages of Marco Polo x2
 4   Las Vegas
 6   Fearsome Floors
 6   Citadels
 N/A   Witness NEW!
 N/A   Takenoko: Chibis NEW!
 5   Takenoko
 6   Seasons
 10   Codenames x2
 7   Finca x2
 10   Time's Up!
 8   Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases
 N/A   Captain Sonar NEW!
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17. Board Game: Yardmaster Express [Average Rating:5.86 Overall Rank:4332]
Sloan Lee
United States
Farmers Branch
Texas
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"What is the soul of a man? ... ain't nothing but a burning light."
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I wrote another review for my White Dragon Wall of Shame Challenge. It is for Yardmaster Express (which is a re-theme of Backyard Builders Treehouse).

https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/221110/item/5477429#item5...

I need to kick this challenge into high gear so I can make a dent in my unplayed games list this year. I'm going to tear down that wall of shame.

I upcoming reviews that I am working on now for China, The Road to Canterbury, and Theseus: The Dark Orbit.
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18. Board Game: Theseus: The Dark Orbit [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:983]
Sloan Lee
United States
Farmers Branch
Texas
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Sloan's games-played for the month of June:



 7   Splendor
 8.5   Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
 N/A   Pandemic Iberia x2
 6.5   Hive x4
 8   Theseus: The Dark Orbit x2
 6   Timeline: Historical Events x2 NEW!
 6.5   Sushi Go! x2
 3.5   Battleship x2 NEW!
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