GCL Gelato 270 - San Junipero
Jonathan Takagi
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ABOUT GCL mbGELATO DIVISION mb SUBSCRIPTION THREADmbGUILD

What is a Geek Chat League?

A Geek Chat League is a weekly discussion-group format for people who love gaming and enjoy talking about games. It is intended to foster depth and familiarity, producing engaging content and worthwhile interaction. Members get to know one another, establish shared interests, and generally develop a friendly and productive environment.

Of necessity, each division of GCL is kept relatively small (typically between 12-16 members, though individual divisions may incline one way or the other). A tight-knit discussion group tends to function more smoothly than a free-for-all. It allows individuals to be heard and understood, and for each participant to keep up and enjoy multiple topics as the week progresses. The format is geeklist-based, and lists are not published to the BGG front page.

Policy: If you're a lurker or have otherwise discovered GCL Gelato, feel free to read along with us and see what the members have to say on everything under the sun. If you have a constructive comment or something else you think would add to the discussion, consider posting it — if it's helpful, respectful, and polite to the discussion group as a whole, as well as to its individual members.

The Black Vienna

mbleroy 43 (Roger)

The Black Mirrors

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This video has nothing to do with the list topic this week, but I just saw it for the first time yesterday and I enjoyed watching it, so I'm putting it up. It made me want to purchase a Rockbox.



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1. Board Game: Smoke & Mirrors [Average Rating:6.10 Overall Rank:10795]
Jonathan Takagi
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In last week's list, Jacob mentioned having a deep hatred for the TV show Black Mirror. It made me think about what I know about writing and acting. I am not a really good judge of either. I know that the most celebrated episode of the most recent season was "San Junipero".

Spoiler (click to reveal)
The basic premise of the episode is revealed after a few minutes. What appears to be a somewhat conventional love story taking place in 1987 is actually a virtual reality all taking place inside computer servers. Customers upload their minds to the service and take weekly 5 hour visits to a virtual playground. Users have the option of having their minds uploaded permanently to San Junipero upon death.


There is some very heavy handed foreshadowing in the beginning of the episode, though this is a common facet of many stories in which they basically show you the end of the story at the beginning, but lacking context, you don't realize it.

Question 1: Is there a book, tv show, or movie that you enjoy that does this? What about in the world of games. If you can see where the story is going to end, does that affect the journey for you?
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2. Board Game: The Heavens of Olympus [Average Rating:5.70 Overall Rank:10754]
Jonathan Takagi
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They strain to depict different moments in time. In 1987, for example, you see Max Headroom, hair and clothing styles are typical of the era. Some of the songs you hear are
Spoiler (click to reveal)
"Heaven Is a Place on Earth" by Belinda Carlisle, "Girlfriend in a Coma" by The Smiths, "Don't You Forget About Me" by Simple Minds, "Addicted to Love" by Robert Palmer...
(I did use the phrase "heavy handed" above!)

My friend this year on Facebook is doing a post a week where we all talk about our favorite songs from each of the past 52 years. 1987 was three weeks back.

Question 2: Do you have a favorite song or album from 1987? What do you think about music released that year? What about a game? Tell us about it!

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3. Board Game: Exploding Kittens [Average Rating:5.89 Overall Rank:3894] [Average Rating:5.89 Unranked]
Jonathan Takagi
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Part of the reason the episode clearly is set in the US, according to the creator, was to thumb his nose at his critics who he knew would accuse him of selling out by moving from the BBC to Netflix.

Question 3: Can you think of an instance where an author/musician/director/game designer purposely intended to blow up the consumer's idea of what her previous work was?
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4. Board Game: Black Hat [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:7227]
Jonathan Takagi
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Tangentially related to the topic, you can definitely see how much computers, or technology corporations, know about us. Perhaps they know us better than we do.

I read an article in which a researcher that uses data collected by Google (in a tool called Google Trends) to admit that the 2016 US election result was not surprising to him when he analyzed all of the racist searches Americans do on Google. He calls Google "digital truth serum".

Question 4: If you're willing, share with us some of your recent Google searches. If you want to see a detailed account of what you have searched for, go here. If you're not willing to do that, care to share the "Recently Viewed" games on BGG?
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5. Board Game: Braggart [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:2708]
Jonathan Takagi
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The same researcher said:
Quote:
People like to say that they're anxious about more global concerns about Trump and what he might do to the world, rather than more selfish concerns about one's own economics or health or legal problems. I think people exaggerate. There's a lot of lying about what we actually care about and what actually moves us and what actually makes us sad, what actually makes us anxious.


Question 5: Can you name one of your guilty pleasures? Can you distinguish what the difference is between a guilty pleasure and something you legitimately enjoy?
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6. Board Game: Das letzte Paradies [Average Rating:5.72 Overall Rank:10457]
Jonathan Takagi
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In the episode, heaven literally is a place on earth, as Belinda Carlisle sang about.

Monday Question - Name a place you've visited that you consider to be a little bit of heaven on earth. Is there a place you haven't visited that you imagine to be that way?
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7. Board Game: Zaxxon [Average Rating:4.16 Overall Rank:15083]
Jonathan Takagi
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Mackenzie Davis, one of the stars of the episode, also acts in The Martian and in the upcoming Blade Runner 2049. She is probably best known for acting in the AMC series "Halt and Catch Fire", a show about that the early days of personal computers.

Tuesday Question: What was the first computer you owned or used? Do you remember the first time you used the internet?
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8. Board Game: Reiner Knizia's Amazing Flea Circus [Average Rating:5.79 Overall Rank:6210]
Jonathan Takagi
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Black Mirror showrunner Charlie Brooker created an expanded Spotify playlist for "San Junipero" (viewable here). One of the songs was "Public Enemy No. 1" by Public Enemy.

Wednesday Question: Do you know of or like any songs or albums where the artist used their name or their band's name in a title? Are there any artists that you like that insert themselves into their own work?
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9. Board Game: DVONN [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:345] [Average Rating:7.44 Unranked]
Jonathan Takagi
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In the Spotify playlist I referenced yesterday, there also appeared the song "Heart and Soul" by T'Pau. I always wondered where the band name T'Pau came from, so I googled it. Apparently it is a Star Trek reference, and T'Pau was the name of a female vulcan character. I guess female names in Vulcan start with T'P.

Thursday Question: For you language nerds, can you think of any interesting consonant patterns in a language you speak or have learned? We already know that some of our international members are fluent in English, but I'll ask this anyway - how well would you say that you learn foreign languages? Is it enjoyable for you?
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10. Video Game: Dragon's Lair [Average Rating:5.51 Overall Rank:6291]
Jonathan Takagi
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In the episode, characters are seen playing arcade games like Pac-Man and Bubble Bobble.

Friday Question: When you were younger, did you ever go to arcades? Would you still go today? Is there a memorable arcade game that you played?

There aren't any real arcades around me now that I know of. Most of the games at Chuck E. Cheese are primers for gambling games in casinos in the future. I love that that is what it has turned into.

I loved visiting arcades in Japan. There was a crazy one that I visited that was outfitted like almost a haunted house. The rhythm games are crazy and there are whole genres of games that we never see on this side of the ocean. I especially enjoyed the game in one of the urinals that measured the length (in time) and volume of your urine and awarded you a rank based on your performance.

When I was young I wanted to play more video games than I did - both me and my parents were too cheap. I remember wanting to play the Star Wars games, Tron games and Dragon's Lair.
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11. Board Game: Medici: The Card Game [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:2074]
Jonathan Takagi
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 10   Can't Stop x10 - I think 8 of these were on Yucata, but I had 2 good plays on the table as well. One of them, my 100th logged play of the game, was particularly satisfying. One of my opponents ever so shamefully was about to win, yet stopped just short of closing out one of the rows, begging to be taught a lesson. I was able to take two rows from the bottom and close them out, stealing what should have been his victory. My motto when playing is "I'd rather have no board presence at the end of the game than roll as shamefully as you just did."

 9   Mamma Mia! - Another triumphant perforamcne, where I ended up lucking out, making four pizzas in the first round.

 N/A   Medici: The Card Game NEW! - Are auctions really that out of style that Knizia is being forced to make auctionless versions of his auction games? The funny thing is that the game actually works. I'm not sure I would ever choose it above Medici, but it's better than one would think.

 10   Nertz - Squeezed in one last play before my main nertz opponent leaves for the summer. Upon his return, for my 400th logged play, we plan to play Nertz all night. We usually play to 75, but on that play we will go to 500!

 8   Pickomino
 9   Saint Petersburg
 N/A   Santorini
 8   Take it Easy!
 6   Thurn and Taxis
 9   Time is Money

 8   Würfelwurst - It's been a long time since we've pulled out this one. I, like always, am drawn to the sausage, but it ended up killing my score.

 7   Zooloretto: The Dice Game
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12. Board Game: Ancient Terrible Things: The Lost Charter [Average Rating:7.07 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.07 Unranked]
Ron
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Vienna
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Game Week

 9   Firefly: The Game x2 NEW!
 9   Ancient Terrible Things
 8   1899
 7   1895 Namibia
 7   Men of Iron x2 NEW!

Because of a recent discussion here on Gelato, where I learned that Merchant of Venus (second edition) is better than Firefly: The Game, I came to the conclusion that I have to find out for myself, and so I bought Firefly: The Game. Andrea and I played in on Monday, and it was awesome! It's like Empire Builder Rail Games in space without the drawing element. It's like the awesome TV show. It's great!!! We love it. So started to order the expansions also. I'm more or less complete, except for two promo cards (which are kinda hard to track down) and Firefly: The Game – Artful Dodger. This one I really want! I have a PnP substitute, but I really want the real thing with the miniature and the dice.

Friday was train game night, but in the end, we were only three guys. No problem, I haven't played Namibia - an 18xx for exactly three players - in a long time. After that, we broke out 1899 (set in China and Korea). Because Lonny wasn't there, I managed to win both games meeple
We finished with a little dice rolling using Ancient Terrible Things. Fun game!! I should play that one more often!

On Saturday I met with my wargaming buddy and we tried out Men of Iron for the first time. A quick and fun game concentrating on battles of the hundred years war. We played Cercy and Agincourt - I had the Brits and did historically well: I slaughtered the Frenchies. As we used the historical setup and rules, this was expected and we played it was more a simulation than a game. However, we both admired the smooth system, low on rules, but high on action.



New Games

I bought a lot of Firefly stuff. Now where will I get that stupid Artful Dodger expansion ... out of stock everywhere! I hope that I can get one at the Gale Force Nine booth in Essen - I'll ask a friend to check that out for me.

Because it is an awesome game, I also bought DOOM: The Board Game, the Beer & Pretzel Star Wars: Imperial Assault variant!

Finally the ASL Journal #12 found its way into the database, and I also bought Trivial Pursuit: The Big Bang Theory Edition (unfortunately, I didn't check, and I'm now stuck with the stupid German version ... this will be harder to answer, as we watched the original episodes).

Also, I traded a couple of Drum Roll promos for Trivial Pursuit Video: Star Trek Edition in shrink. Andrea and I agreed that it is time to play Trivial Pursuit again! meeple



Other News

Astrid came to visit from London and will live with us until Friday. On Saturday we'll drive to Tyrol for four days, visiting Andrea's sister and strolling through Innsbruck. I also booked a hotel for a trip to Slovenia in August.

I hope you all had a great week too! meeple
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13. Board Game: Terraforming Mars [Average Rating:8.38 Overall Rank:5]
"L'état, c'est moi."
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This is the week that was:


 8   Terraforming Mars x2
On Sunday last week, my friend Gerry invited us over to play Black Orchestra, and after we successfully defeated Hitler, we played a round of this. I think I won. I don't remember.

Then on Thursday, there were 5 of us so I brought this over and we played with the full on corporate rules. I eked out the win, and it was pronounced good.

 6   Black Orchestra
This was our first game on Sunday.

 6   6 nimmt!
A Sunday palate cleanser.

 9   Pax Porfiriana x2
More Yucata deliciousness.

 4   Marrying Mr. Darcy
Played this with the Emma expansion, which makes the game better. It's still a luck fest, and I know Emma less well than Pride & Prejudice. We did not play with the undead expansion.

 6   The Last Spike
The Kelda did very well and came in a close second to me. My wife trailed.

 7   Kamozza (貨モッツァ) x2
Family game night. Kamozza is great.

 7   Eggs of Ostrich
The Kelda doesn't like this one as much as Kamozza, but she won big.

 7   Secret Hitler x6 w TNC
Jeff asked me to bring this to game night. We played it both before and after Terraforming Mars. It's actually ok with 5 players, but more is definitely better.

 10   Twilight Struggle
Another Playdek game.

 6   Cards Against Humanity
A social game with my convention colleagues this weekend.
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14. Board Game: Maria [Average Rating:7.97 Overall Rank:253]
Wendell
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Yellow Springs
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Had a FTF game of Maria this week with Kolumel (Austria) and noob Suzy (France/Bavaria), me as the Prussians. The Austrians won a victory on turn 5 based largely on routing first the Bavarians and second the Saxons...

Tons of vassal games ongoing.

Live vassal/skype game of Fatal Alliances: The Great War is in spring of 1917. My British/French ally Isaac has started to roll better dice and is (finally) making progress against the Turks in the Arabian peninsula, less so in the Sinai. In May/June '17 the Allies decided they had had enough of the Netherlands' blockade-busting ways and declared war on them; France moved smartly thru, destroying the Dutch army and a German corps that came in amphibiously and has all of the Netherlands in French and American hands. Point of this was to extend the German line - already causing some to be pulled away from the Russian Front. My Russians attacked with abandon this latest turn - my land force pool being ENTIRELY built out meant I knew I could afford losses much more than the Germans, Austro-Hungarians, or Turks.

USA still holds Manila against Japan, primarily because Stewart the CP player has rolled crap against them.

I've also got a PBEM game going - we're restarting (we weren't too far in) to allow us to use the new version of the rules, which seriously revamps the political parts of the game.

Otherwise - live and/or PBEM games of Tunisia II, Falling Sky: The Gallic Revolt Against Caesar, Thunder Alley (where I'm the punching bag for having made the mistake of winning the first race of the season...), and two games of Churchill.
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15. Board Game: Time of Crisis [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:1064]
Cole Wehrle
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Heyo folks. Well, things seem to be finally calming down. For real this time. I thought that I'd be able to return to my usual level of BGG activity a few weeks ago but it proved to be a false alarm. However, now the various projects are moving apace and I've finally had time to play games again. So, in no particular order, here's some stuff I've been playing lately.

x3 Time of Crisis
x3 Colorado Midland
x4 Iberian Railways
x2 Iberian Gauge
x2 Chicago and Northwestern
x1 Northern Pacific
x3 Die Dolmengotter
x1 1889
x3 John Company
x1 Greenland
x1 More Aggressive Attitudes
x1 Gloomhaven
x2 Lost Expedition

x6 Buncha prototypes for upcoming projects

The recent burst of plays is mostly owing to Origins, which I attended with my brother Drew last week. We then spent the weekend playing as many games as we could and the vast majority of the plays I've listed here are from those sessions.

Winsome games got the bulk of play. The big highlight for me, I think, was getting a chance to revisit Chicago and Northwestern and Colorado Midland. Both games turn the standard tropes of train gaming on their head and I'd be happy to play each a dozen or more times in rapid succession.

Speaking of train games, 1889 made it to the table once again with two new 18xxers. The game continue to impress. I think it was probably my 30th play. I'd be happy to play it more, but I think I'm ready to return to 1830 for a short while or maybe head over to 1817 again.

In addition to all the Winsome action at Origins, I also had a chance to play a nearly complete production copy of John Company with Travis (of LPC) and Joe Wiggins (of The Deep End). It was a great game. I'm very happy with how the game turned out and, especially, how well it scales.

We also got a chance to play my current game-of-the-year, Time of Crisis. This is the game I wanted Conquest of the Empire to be. I think the hand-drafting system is revolutionary and I love the twists and turns it provides. So far I've only played with 3, but I'm guessing that four players is the way to go. I'm looking forward to exploring it more and have no shortage of eager local players so I'm sure it will hit the table.

Die Dolmengotter has been getting some play throughout the past week. It took me an embarrassingly long time to get all of the rules right, but now that I've got it worked out I really admire the design. I haven't played anything like it. I guess it feels a little like Bridges of Shangri-la.

On the non-weird economic game front, I got a chance to play the new Hollandspiele game, More Aggressive Attitudes, last night. It's really compelling. I'm interested to see if it has legs. The world needs more simple operational games with low counter density.

Finally, we restarted our Gloomhaven campaign. I'm five missions in at the moment and my opinion on the game hasn't changed. (It's a very good game in a genre that I don't care for. My wife love it, and I'm happy to play it if she requests it.)

Whew, okay. Let's say I'm all caught up now.
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16. Board Game: Kingdomino [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:186] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Stig Morten
Norway
Kvernaland
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N/A  Tic-Tac-Toe x2
Played a few games with my son.
7  Star Realms
Gamenight with Ingmar. I lost.
N/A  Legends of Andor
Lost legend 4 together with Ingmar.
N/A  Kingdomino x2
Lost two games against Ingmar on our gamenight. This is a very cool little game.
10  PitchCar x2
Two games at school with kids. Gearing up for the championship we always have on the last day of school.
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17. Board Game: Trains [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:367] [Average Rating:7.22 Unranked]
Nikki Ebright
United States
Centennial
Colorado (CO)
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MONDAY NIGHT
 7   We Didn't Playtest This Either
 7   We Didn't Playtest This At All x2
 7   Trains
 7   Martian Dice
 7.5   Eminent Domain
 7   Cultists of Cthulhu

SATURDAY
 7   Win, Lose, or Banana x2
 7   Kill Doctor Lucky
 7   A Fistful of Penguins
 7   Deep Sea Adventure
 7   Colt Express
 7.5   7 Wonders x2

GAMES

Our regular Monday night small group was 9 strong (!!) last week. I invited my friend Mike Knight who did VENOM Assault so he and Thomas, who did Cultists of Cthulhu could meet. Mike wanted to try Trains for some game play idea he's working on, so we split into 2 tables for the night. The point of gaming night is for me to get to socialize with a few friends, which I did, but I really prefer to keep us to 1 table if possible.

On Saturday we got together with some friends and played 5 adults until the kids came home, and then we played a mix of kids and adults. See if you can guess which games got played with whom.

SHINY GARDEN

I've started to get into a routine of working on 1 major project per day. The 5 rotating days? Shiny Garden nonprofit building, Myths and Legends Con, HexaCon, WhimsyCon, and Westercon 71/MALCon 6 (2018). I feel like I'm making more progress than before, yay. Still a bit buried, but getting there.

TRAVEL/EUROPE

I was amused by the Daft Punk video posting; here's why. Billy continues to explore various ways to get us to the Netherlands, and in his searches he came across the Dutch-American Friendship Treaty, or DAFT. When he first told me, I asked if it's a real thing, lol. So now when I'm searching for more info on it, Daft Punk comes up first.

Anyway, it's a treaty that allows people to get residence permits for the other country (2 years) for entrepreneurs. You can't work for a Dutch company, but you can have clients; you're a freelancer. So we're looking into that in tandem with waiting to see if his company makes progress on getting us there.

We're planning on spending some of our time in the Netherlands wandering around and seeing places we would consider living. Tommy, do you/your family want to join us on any of this wandering? I don't know y'all's work schedule, so we've been planning on going on our own, but a local guide is always fun too.

OTHER

We got some rolling shelves. A little bit of a pain to put together, but our garage looks so awesome now! We're working on getting all the nonprofit stuff organized and easy to move to and from the events. Plus the boardgames will go on the shelves a la BGGCON. We're taking all their good ideas.
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18. Board Game: Sagrada [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:168]
EXTRA AVOCADO! Sonderegger
United States
Folsom
CA
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Sagrada 2p ww x2, 2p x1

Glass bits, glass bits, everywhere
and every choice still sinks
the sun's prismatic beams shine through
as my opponent winks
No dice for you, she says with glee
I shame the sacred family
--
Absolutely wonderful little dice drafter. Quick, beautiful, and like take it easy or Rolling Japan, the real fun happens about halfway through when you get to ponder all your terrible decisions and oh god nothing fits anymore I have to pass.

Hanamikoji 2p x1

Ladies of the night take note
our restaurant's beyond compare
We've got the thing you want to tote
and from flute to flow'ry derriere
--
I lost to a first time player. Of course.

Flip City 2p x1

Imagine letters large and bright
in neon bursting through the night
and glam guitar burns fiery riff
auxiliary to burning glyph
FLIPCITY! screams a shirtless voice
behold my works, the 80's, and rejoice
--
I trounced. Man, wind farm really changes the game drastically- and every game the office shows up in means less wasted turns, so, you know, big money. If we had a +buy like park/station it would have been an ideal convenience store table, but the camping grounds meant that it was a straight vp shot. I definitely feel like this game got short shrift from the strategic crowd- with the expansions, it's hella solid.

High Tide 5p ww x1

there was a young man in the isles
who came to the beach for his piles
dipped his toes in the sea
but too far out was he
and a wave swept him out many miles
--
Neat little push your luck game. It's nowhere as neat and slim as Can't Stop, but the production is adorable, and theme wonderful- with the best fudging pun ever (Dice Pool!). I liked it far more than anyone else at the table.

Handsome Tacos 4p x1

Push that cube and shove that disc
feel like old-school Wilson Fisk
a shame if something happened to
that kontor that you just put through
you see I've got this chicken dinner...

and like the rhyme, this crowned the winner
--
I forgot how much I loved that little blue box full of angry thrown elbows. I did get shoved out of Gottingen thanks to a turkey dinner, and thus got put in the very bottom of the league table. But hey, they don't call this game handsome tacos for nothing*. I think the mafia retheme will be very, very fitting.

Noch Mal 2p ww x1

Not there,
not here,
not anywhere
just one more said with much despair
--
I don't know if I like it. It's in the vein of rolling Japan, but I don't see, yet, what it offers that RJ doesn't.

Gekido Bot Battles 2p ww x1, 2p x1

Coding on the fly ain't smart
you're bound to get bug or two
for one small dash or bracket part
and suddenly bot turns on you
--
Eh. The push your luck bit wasn't as big or robust as I wanted. Ah well. I like spexxx better for roll&keep combinations. The bots are pretty though.

*That's right. They DON'T call this game handsome tacos.
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