GCL Amoeba 329 - What's Your Legacy? (2017-06-26)
Joshua Gottesman
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GameChat League - Amoeba Division 329
ABOUT | AMOEBA DIVISION | SUBSCRIBE

Welcome to this week's discussion list!

If you found us by accident you're welcome to join in the conversation -- we're friendly symbiotes in real life (and, in fact, we're looking for more interested and interesting people). If you want more info about the GCL in general or the Amoeba division in particular, follow the links above for more info. (If you're shy, just thumb the list so we can see who's stalking us). Please refrain from adding new items to the list if you’re not a member.

The current hosting rotation:
Carlos Moreno Serrano (sprocket314) mb
Mikko Saari (msaari)
Doug Faust (phrim)
Jason Obermeyer (Bond8089)
Garry Rice (garry_rice)
Jimmy Okolica (Butterfly0038)
Larry Rice (larryjrice)
Jeroen Doumen (jmdsplotter)
Scott Russell (qzhdad)
Eric Brosius (Eric Brosius)
James Ludlow (James Ludlow)
Rebecca Carpenter (CoffeeRunner)
Kalle Malmioja (Kuula)
Justin Rebelo (jrebelo)
Joshua Gottesman (Joshuaaaaaa)

Amoeba alumni and friends are always welcome to contribute! Amoeba alumni are also welcome to ask to return to the hosting rotation. We miss you!
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1. Board Game: Last Will [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:323] [Average Rating:7.24 Unranked]
Joshua Gottesman
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Yes, yes, this is an obvious lead-in to asking about legacy games. However, it's also asking about your personal legacy. I'm guessing that most of have pretty substantial game collections. And, as an e-mail I received from a financial planner the other day was entitled "Turns out, we all die." So, have you made any plans for what happens to your game collection on that unfortunate day? Will it go to your kids (if you have them)? A local game cafe? Or just be part of your estate that your non-gaming relatives will have to figure out how to monetize?

Personally, I'm lagging here. I've been cutting down my collection a bit for time/space/financial reasons, and there's still hundreds of games in it, and I should probably at least be able to give some direction on where I want them to go. Hopefully it's not an issue for a long time, and I've seen enough TV to know that buses can come out of nowhere at any time!
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2. Board Game: The Teachers Game [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Joshua Gottesman
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I don't have kids, I'm not sure how many on the list do. However, I do have nephews and I do try to teach them my love of gaming, although they have actually picked up some of that on their own. What's your gaming legacy going to be. Do you actively recruit people into the hobby? Will people say "I'm a boardgamer today because of <insert your name here>?"
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3. Board Game: Student Bodies [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:5295]
Joshua Gottesman
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Now let's flip that last question on it's head. I suppose a few of us got into the hobby by seeing a game on a store shelf somewhere and saying "Wow, cool!" Then a purchase, then a life-time of love. And some of us probably had a friend/relative who helped us make the transition from Monopoly to real games.

In my case, we used to play a fair number of games as kids, and always mainstream. Besides Clue, Monopoly, Scrabble and the like, we had Landslide and Sub Search and others. However, they were just games we played, not a real hobby. And then one day I was at my aunt's house, and her son (my cousin) had a copy of Tactics II set up. I was fascinated by it, begged him to teach me, and knew I wanted more. From that has grown a 40+ year hobby.

What was your experience?
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4. Board Game: Risk Legacy [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:231]
Joshua Gottesman
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Las Vegas
Nevada
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And now, let's get to the Legacy Game question. And heck, posting this, I didn't realize that Risk Legacy is now 6 years old, so we can say "legacy games have been around for a while." What have been your experiences with legacy games? Do you like them? Find them gimmicky? Can you not stomach tearing up cards or defacing maps? Can you not justify paying $50 for something you only use once (and before you answer that, how much did you pay for that last concert you attended that was over in 2 hours)?

For me, the experiences have been mostly positive. I've played several and like the concept.

Risk Legacy - I quit this after one player one something like 5 of the 1st 6 games. 2 of the 4 players in this had no sense of strategy and no killer instinct, and the player who had won all the games (admittedly, 1 was because of poor judgment on m part) had such a huge advantage that it just wasn't fun. I told the group they could keep playing it on weeks I wasn't there, I just had no desire to continue.

Pandemic Legacy - Because of my schedule, I missed about half the games of our group's play of this, including everything after August or September. I enjoyed it, though, and would definitely get into another campaign and don't feel it would be ruined by my former play.

Viticulture - I've only played part of the legacy version of this, and really enjoyed it, especially the "no permanent defacing" part. I don't know if we'll get back to this, and I would like to at some point.

SeaFall - Okay, I get why people rage quit this. We played 2x on Saturday, and in each game someone had a fit about something, and I am still bitter about a major reveal that basically torpedoed my chance of winning the campaign. I've gone from first to worst and see little chance of reversing my fortunes, so I'm playing out the string. That being said, I enjoy the overall concept, even if I think this is an imperfect execution.

Gloomhaven - In theory I'm in 2 campaigns, although I haven't played in either for a while (schedules, again). Except for set-up/tear-down time, I think this is a fantastic game. I'll get my own copy from the 2nd Kickstarter in a few months, and will either play it solo or with a group, because I think this is worth playing.
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5. Board Game: Churchill [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:505]
Joshua Gottesman
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
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Hey, it was 46 lists ago that I last was the list creator. So it's good to be back in the swing.

Saturday was my only gaming day this week, with the exception of my various VASSAL games, however it was a good (overall) Saturday of gaming. In my early group, we started off with a light game, Mamma Mia!. I was ready to think "this is a stupid, light card game", and that was actually only partially true. There is strategy in the game, although clearly if you have a Rain Man type in the gaming group who can memorize long strings of card plays, that person will have a huge advantage in the game. As a filler, I'd play it, although I won't rush out to buy it.

Because it was only 3 of us, we then played Churchill, I've played it a few times, one of the other players had played it once, and one was new to it. I was the US, and I was focused on winning countries and hearts and minds. The other 2 players were a little slower out of the gate, and then got the hang of it. I discovered a rule I had been playing wrong (it takes a production to activate a Pol/Mil chit). However, Churchill isn't a tough game.

So, the game "ended" with me ahead by about 7 points. We just missed getting both Axis powers to surrender (Russia missed its roll to advance into Manchuria, but Germany surrendered and we had the bomb) so it came down to the adjusted die rolls. The final scores: UK 35, US 34, USSR 34. Really close. And I know people hate the die roll at the end. And, honestly, I've come to realize that's just one of many die rolls in the game. If Russia makes that advance die roll, I win. If I roll better on my Chief of Staff in a conference, I win. If the German fronts go to different places, maybe Russia wins. So, I don't sweat it too much. I think both players enjoyed it, and I still think it's a fine game.

That was it for the morning group, then I went to a schedule play of our SeaFall with 3 others. I think we're through 8 games now. As I mentioned above, I got royally screwed in about game 4, and am still trying to recover, and have gone from first to last (I'm 23 points out now) and see no hope of recovery. That being said, we're probably only halfway through now, and I do get 5(!) bonuses at the start of the next game, and the problem that royally screwed me has been at least mostly neutralized, so maybe a change of strategy will improve my fortunes. I definitely don't like this as much as Pandemic Legacy: Season 1, and I still enjoy the overall concept and most of the mechanics.
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6. Board Game: My Little Scythe [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:8851]
Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
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 7   Century: Spice Road NEW! -- On Monday evening last week, we were standing around wondering what to play when I saw that Bill brought his copy of Century: Spice Road. I've heard enough about it that I wanted to try it, so we played a quick 4-player game. Many people say it reminds them of Splendor, but it reminded me of Concordia, because you have to decide what order to play your cards in and when to pick them all up again. There's certainly luck in the game, but I suspect there's a lot of skill (as there is in Splendor.) I was amused by Doug Garrett's rant on Garrett's Games and Geekiness after Shelley beat him and he wanted to resign rather than play it out; I'm sure she's played out many games in similar circumstances! At this point I don't feel obliged to buy a copy, but I'll certainly play it a number of times, and we'll see how I feel after that.

 8   Yokohama -- At this point we divided up for the longer games of the evening. There was still a group slogging its way through SeaFall, a legacy game that hasn't gotten nearly as good a reception in our group as Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 did. But I believe this may have been their last session.

 10   Saint Petersburg -- After the big games broke up, we still had time for another game. Bill suggested Saint Petersburg, and I wasn't going to say no to that! Joe R. got a Mistress on the first turn, and asked, "isn't this supposed to mean I win?" It's a big advantage, but you still have to make good decisions after that. I wasn't too far behind him at the end, though I would have been happier if I had gotten an orange upgrade when I had first pick (I still wouldn't quite have won, though.) I've played more than 200 games of Saint Petersburg, so I don't mind the amount of luck. On a recent Ludology podcast they observed that luck is more acceptable in a solo game than in one with many players, and that it's more acceptable in a short game than in a long game. I'll add that it's more acceptable in a game you plan to play many times than in one you only plan to play once. This is of course somewhat correlated with game length, but not entirely. 2038 is not a short game, but I'm happy with the luck element because I plan to play it often (I think I'm up to 14 plays now.)

 10   1846: The Race for the Midwest -- On Friday night we had a special event: Lucas Bleicher from Brazil was in the Boston area for an academic conference last week, and we arranged a game for him after the conference was over. John Delaney and Joe Huber joined me and Lucas. I picked him up at the train station and we started at 6:15pm. Lucas had played 1846: The Race for the Midwest, but he wanted to see how we play it (and how it's possible to finish in 2 hours!)

We randomly removed the Steamboat, Michigan Central, and C&O from the game. After the private draft, we had (in priority order):

Joe: Meat Packing, Tunnel, $280
Lucas: C&WI, Mail, $260
Eric: Lake Shore, O&I, $320
John: MS, Big 4, $160

Joe floated the GT at $70, and Lucas floated the B&O at $70. I then floated NYC at $80, and John, who was thrilled to find the IC still available (its extra cash is valuable to a player who has spend a lot of privates as John had,) floated IC at $80. Joe bought two more GT shares, Lucas bought a GT share, I bought two more NYC shares, and John couldn't afford anything more.

During the first set of ORs, Joe issued all of the other five shares from the GT treasury, raising a huge amount of cash. In SR2, John, who had priority, bought a GT share. Joe then sold a GT share, so that there were 5 in the Bank, and started buying up IC shares. Unfortunately for John, he couldn't sell his GT share, and he couldn't afford to defend the IC, so Joe wound up with a powerful IC (it had bought in both independent railroads) to go with his GT presidency. It was all over but the shouting. So much for the theory that the stock rounds in 1846: The Race for the Midwest are always placid! And we finished our game at 8:15; it took exactly 2 hours to play. Lucas observed that the use of a spreadsheet takes additional time off the game, even if you're already using poker chips.

 6   Kribbeln NEW! -- Did I mention that Joe had just gotten back from Germany and was playing in a jet-lagged state? The game started at 12:15 Central European Time, but he seemed to play just fine! He bought a number of copies of Kribbeln at a shop near his hotel in Germany, and I bought one. Claire and I played a game on Saturday. It's Yahtzee-esque, but with different goals each round. We tied exactly.

 7   My Little Scythe x2 NEW! -- Over the past few weeks, Claire has been assembling a copy of this PnP game. It is of course very cute. If you haven't seen the video of 5-year-old Vienna explaining it, stop reading this and watch it right now. In any case, having finished making the game (and I have to say that Claire did an excellent job,) we had to play it. And then play it again. I suspect it will get a lot of play at our house con next week!
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7. Board Game: 1822: The Railways of Great Britain [Average Rating:8.44 Overall Rank:3186]
Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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 10   Roads & Boats
 10   Tichu
 10   Agricola
 10   Bohnanza
 10   18NY
 9   1822: The Railways of Great Britain x5
 8   First Class
 8   Dixit x2
 7   Riff Raff
 7   Potion Explosion
 7   18Ireland
 7   Castellion
 6   1844/1854
 3   King of Tokyo

Sorry I haven't been around for a while. I have been and continue to be in over my head trying to finish my dissertation. I've got a firm deadline of 7 weeks from this coming Friday. By that day, I have to have defended and submitted a signed document. It's going to be close. My schedule now is wake up, work, sleep, repeat. Mixed into that is driving to-and-from work and trying to spend a little time with Amanda and the kids. I'm fortunate that I'm able to spend work time working on my research (it supports other students' research as well as mine). Without that, there's no way I'd even be close to finishing.

The above games are a complete list of all my plays since April 10 (the day after Ohio HeavyCon ended). Basically, I've continued my weekly 18XX game on Sunday night and nothing else. This past week I had two game days with my kids, one on Father's Day and one on this past Saturday. I think that basically covers all my plays.

All that said, the plays have been good. My opinion of 1822 continues to go up. It'll never been good as '17, but it has some interesting aspects. The one I'm most taken with is the amount of player control over the train rush. Choosing not to bid on minors makes the early train rush much faster which can be good or bad depending on your position. That's probably the one thing that's kept me interested in it.

If you're wondering when I played Roads & Boats, that was with Amanda and my two kids (ages 15 and 11) on Saturday. It was their first time playing and they did fairly well. My youngest rushed the wall, putting in more bricks than the neutral player! As a result it was a short game (turn wise) with only 18 or 19 turns before the game ended. I won with one stock certificate and some gold. My daughter finished in second with gold and her massive wall with Amanda finishing a couple of points behind her with one coin and some gold. The scores were approximately, 183, 87, 83, 24.

I'm not sure how much I'll be on BGG in the next few weeks but after that it should (fingers crossed) get better. Hope all is good with everyone else!
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8. Board Game: Hero Realms [Average Rating:7.72 Overall Rank:188]
 
Mikko Saari
Finland
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1 x _9_Love Letter
1 x _8_Attika
2 x _8_Linko!
1 x _8_Splendor
1 x _8_Lewis & Clark
1 x _8_Spyfall
1 x _8_Flamme Rouge
5 x _8_Hero Realms
1 x _7_Potato Man
1 x _7_Concordia
1 x _7_Terra
1 x _7_Factory Funner
1 x _7_Flip City
2 x _7_Santorini
1 x _7_A Few Acres of Snow

Not a bad week! Had to skip the Wednesday games night, but I played lots of games with the kids.

Potato Man was surprisingly fine with just two players.

Concordia was great with two and the Britannia map.

Hero Realms is going to make 50 plays this summer; we play it constantly with my son. It's maybe slightly unbalanced; someone claimed the winner is often clear too early. I've been looking at that since I read the claim, and I kind of agree and on the other hand don't agree - sure sometimes you get on a roll and just steamroll your opponent and yeah, maybe that happens more often than in Star Realms, but it doesn't happen every time, sometimes there are swings and it's a short game so it doesn't matter much anyway.

Factory Funner is going to leave the collection, if my son agrees. I'm not terribly keen on it (I now dropped my rating to 6). Maybe it's because we play it with two, but I just don't find it much fun.

Lewis & Clark was fun, after a long break.

No purchases, but I did book a room for the Lautapelaamaan con weekend; I thought I wouldn't go, but I'm going and taking my son with me - it's time he sees what that con looks like, now that we're skipping Ropecon this summer.
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9. Board Game: Colt Express [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:298]
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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Due to volunteering at my church's VBS and also camping out at night with the junior high youth group, didn't get in many games last week! Heck, didn't get that much sleep either but I think I am about recovered now.



 10.   Race for the Galaxy x9

Challenging to get in plays when you can only play between 1 - 5 PM ET for 6 days or so!

 7.0   Colt Express

Fun to play this with the nephews and nieces. Bullets were flying left and right and a couple people had bullet riddled hands.

 7.0   Flash Point: Fire Rescue

Garry, Caleb and I resumed the tradition of playing at least one map of this co-op. We lost pretty badly rescuing only 4 before the beach-house collapsed due to loss of structure cubes.

 7.0   Project: ELITE

This, on the other hand, was an easy win.

 6.0   Eternity

It was looking pretty good for me up until the final trick of the game when I won with a red 1 which apparently was the only trump remaining in the game and not one I could bury. Sigh.

 6.0   Ticket to Ride

Taught some family members this one and I wouldn't be surprised to see it played more often in the future. It was a morass in the middle of the USA.
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10. Board Game: Sidereal Confluence: Trading and Negotiation in the Elysian Quadrant [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:958]
Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
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I want to mention that my friend TauCeti's new game Sidereal Confluence: Trading and Negotiation in the Elysian Quadrant was apparently available at Origins. This is a game unlike anything else I've played. My best summary is that it's what you get if you make the trading phase of Advanced Civilization into a game in its own right. It's a very wide open trading game with highly asymmetric player positions and many, many options. I played it twice in prototype and enjoyed it.
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11. Board Game: Project: ELITE [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:1029]
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
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Limited gaming thus week largely due to it being Vacation Bible School week...very tiring but very rewarding and enjoyable

7.5  Project: ELITE

Larry, Caleb and I won fairly easily - did a recovery mission at medium difficulty.

I do need to download and print a couple of new boards that another gamer has designed...the oil rig in particular sounds intriguing. He's also working on a campaign, which is something else I'll be taking a close look at when ready...

7.0  Race for the Galaxy x5

Lost a few more games of this online

8.0  Flash Point: Fire Rescue

Player designed Seaside House board...one of the things that makes this interesting is that the deck gun cannot be used on the back half of the house as it extends off a "cliff" over the beach.
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12. Board Game: Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: Jack the Ripper & West End Adventures [Average Rating:8.08 Overall Rank:360] [Average Rating:8.08 Unranked]
JR
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Only one new play for Naomi and I this week as we took on our second case of Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: Jack the Ripper & West End Adventures. Similarly to the first case, we didn't much concern ourselves with trying to "beat" holmes to the solution and took our time exploring the leads available trying to actually solve the case entirely. Again similarly to the first case, we came up with about 80% of the solution but missed a key motive piece which would have made it hard to prosecute!

We are enjoying the game, however, and I think this is an ironic list entry in that I just talked about how I hate legacy games and would never get into them. This probably doesn't meet the definition of legacy for most, but that the game can only realistically be played once puts it more or less in the same group for me. Two important factors compelled me to try this game despite the single-use nature. The first is the theme, which while not original is pleasing and fresh at least to me. The second is the fact that the game is not a consumable like what I think a technical legacy game is. Once Naomi and I are finished playing through the entire game, I plan to trade it off in like-new condition toward another game (perhaps play the first Consulting Detective game that we haven't yet tried).

Anyway, it gets thumbs up from each of us: thumbsup thumbsup

Upcoming
This coming weekend we are getting the local 18XX contingent together for our second game in a couple weeks.
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13. Board Game: High Frontier (3rd edition) [Average Rating:8.59 Overall Rank:1252]
Jeroen Doumen
Netherlands
Eindhoven
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1x _7.00_ High Frontier
1x _6.50_ RED
1x _6.25_ Santorini
1x _6.25_ Melting Chess
1x _6.25_ SEVEN
1x _6.00_ Greener
1x _6.00_ Moon Harvesters
1x _6.00_ Fabled Fruit
1x _6.00_ BLUE
1x _6.00_ Formule Dé
1x _5.50_ EXIT: Das Spiel \[Dash] Die vergessene Insel
1x _5.50_ Diskwars
1x _5.00_ Mini Park
1x _5.00_ Medical Frontier
1x _5.00_ EXIT: Das Spiel \[Dash] Die verbotene Burg
1x _5.00_ Particle Accelerator
1x _5.00_ Locomotion
1x _5.00_ Wörtersee
1x _4.00_ Dragonriders
1x _4.00_ Ebola Monkey Hunt
1x _3.00_ Star of the Guardians

Quite the list of games again this week.

We finally got High Frontier (3rd edition) to the table. There were fewer changes than I'd been led to believe; I still enjoy playing this quite a bit. Though I kept losing my factory parts to radiation storms yuk.

I also got in a good number of Nestorgames, most of which got played last week. We played RED, Melting Chess, SEVEN, Greener, Moon Harvesters, BLUE and Particle Accelerator. Most of them quite fun; only the latter was a bit sillier than expected (as it's a flicking game).

Mini Park was quite cute. We played the advanced version, where it's harder to determine what you score for. I picked mine too early, as I hadn't seen it could be blocked a bit easily (and expected road splits to show up).

Medical Frontier was a slight disappointment. The description sounded good, but in the end it's just a set collection game that's a bit too dependent on which cards show up on your turn.
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14. Board Game: Greed [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:1373]
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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 7   Orient Express
 6.5   Oktoberfest
 9   Keyflower
 9   Greed
 7   Carcassonne: The City
 8   Between Two Cities

This week's gaming was all on Saturday at ROBA, then at my house afterwards. Dinner was sloppy jo's instead of the usual pizza, but the beer was still flowing!

I managed to get out for a short bike ride Saturday and Sunday I attempted to ride my age in miles. The first half went great, but I didn't eat anything before or during the ride, so when I reached a coffee/ice cream store half way home, I called for a ride. So I rationalized that 40 miles was well over my age in kilometers!
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15. Board Game: 1832: The South [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:6420]
Rebecca Carpenter
United States
Seattle
Washington
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 8   1822: The Railways of Great Britain
 9   1832
 8.5   1848: Australia
 N/A   18CZ
 9   Bohnanza: The Duel x2
 N/A   Unpublished Prototype 1820 & Fourth Age x2

The 2017 Portland 18xx tournament is in the history books. My guess is there were around 35 attendees, a great time had by all.

1832: The South was my favorite game played. '32 uses 1870: Railroading across the Trans Mississippi from 1870's system with the addition of mergers. Price protection is even more interesting when 10 share companies merge into 20 share. Lots of new questions that I would like to explore more. Worked very well as a 3P, glad I bought a copy!

18CZ I enjoyed this and think it will be popular. I'd say this falls within the '35 branch which I like very much. I need more plays before I can comment further.

1822: The Railways of Great Britain It struck me that 1822 succeeds in asking game deciding questions all the way to the last SR.

Unpublished Prototype JCL's 1820 has a free track system I call "choose your own adventure" that is entirely too much fun. '20 introduces open cry auctions that I adore and players lobby for turn order to choose starting locations, brilliant. In it's current state, one share (privatized) companies' treasuries are also the players, which I think is too powerful, and there seem to be a few too many trains, but other than that, this game feels close to finished.

1820 is the ultimate run good company game. Yes clearclaw designed the ultimate run-good-company-game so there's a catch! Only one or two companies will be viable at the end of the game. Trains don't rust, rather they have expensive upkeep costs. Companies that aren't running for enough to cover train upkeep are doomed. Players won't bankrupt, but they will build their track from nothing on a near blank map, optimistically folding little companies into a large one, then watch as their hopes and dreams all wither away until mercifully the British Railway takes it off their hands. All's not lost though! With proper investing, they could still win. Very clever and very long.

Fourth Age is an 18xx set in Middle Earth using the 1870 system. For me it was a sneaky way to get 1870 played, but it currently lacks the polish that 1870 has. I loved it anyways.

1848: Australia I really think that GMT should pick this up next. It's a great transition from 1846: The Race for the Midwest for new players.

Bohnanza: The Duel is my new favorite 2P game. It's not tense, or terribly thinking, but interactive in the best way. Uwe did it again.







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16. Board Game: Lorenzo il Magnifico [Average Rating:7.84 Overall Rank:171]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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Last weekend, I was down in NJ for a game weekend at Tom & Anne's.

_7_ Sagrada (new!) - This was with me, Rodney, Anne, and Nessa; Rodney and I were new. I ended up with green as my color, and the public goals were sets of 3's and 4's, completed columns with different numbers, and something else I don't recall. I was coasting through the first half of the game, ending up with lots of 3's and 4's and green dice, and avoiding the same dice in columns. I even had this bright idea of making sure I had exactly one 3 and one 4 in every column. Well, you know how things go. Eventually, I wound up in a situation where I couldn't place any die in a spot unless it was a red or purple 5. Luckily, I managed to get one before the game was over, but the late game dice didn't turn out my way, and I wound up with like 2 or 3 blank spots on my board. I could've been more aggressive in getting the dice I needed (there was a special ability that let you take both your turns in a row), but I figured since everything was going so perfectly I could just be passive. Rodney won.


_8_ Lorenzo il Magnifico - This was with me, Rodney, Adam, and Nick W.; Adam was new. The third penalty in the game negated points from land, and I wound up with the building that gave me points for purple cards, so I decided to to try go for a heavy-purple no land strategy. This is hard to do without resources, but fortunately I had a leader card that gave me resources every turn, at the low low price of 12 military. Early on, I got a card that gave me +2 to my gear actions (the card that gave me points for purple required a 6), and otherwise just tried to pump up my military. I managed to get enough piety points to avoid a penalty of -1 wood/stone each time you collected it (that would have wrecked the leader card), but wound up taking a penalty that made me play 2 purple dudes to increase a die value. That turned out to be okay, as I was collecting mass amounts of purple dudes anyway to get out a leader card that required having 15 of them. I made sure to take a purple card every round, so soon my engine was churning and I started running away in points. I had figured on taking the third penalty for green points, but it turned out that piety was the best way to get more points in the end, and I ended up with like 20 points from piety in the end. I won.


_7_ Century: Spice Road - This was with me, Don, Dave, Nick W., and Nick V. In this game, I tried to pay more attention to the mathematical value of the converter cards instead of just trying to make giant chains. This seemed to work out pretty well, and eventually I took a card that converted 5 yellow into 2 brown. Of course, that's a pretty good deal, but I had no way of making yellow cubes besides my starter 2 yellow cubes card. For a while, I relied on just taking the first converter card to get yellow cubes, as everyone seemed to be going after specific things and leaving yellow cubes around. I was pretty successful in getting contracts in the first half of the game, and luckily many of my contracts came with gold coins. Of course, as the game progressed my source of yellow cubes petered out, and my engine didn't work nearly as well. I did get up to four contracts though, but I think I finished in 3rd place. Nick W. won.


_9_ The Voyages of Marco Polo - This was with me (Khan Arghun), Don (Matteo Polo), and Nick V. (Berke Khan); everyone had played before. This was my first time playing with the "new characters" expansion, so I decided to try out a new character despite the fact that none of his six random abilities gave me an early-game advantage. It quickly became clear that I was the least experienced player at the table, and I fell behind in points. This wasn't helped by the fact that Don and I had chosen the same route, and he went earlier than me and grabbed all of the one-time bonus chits before I could (I didn't get a single one all game). Most of my special abilities involved turning things into points later, so I did the fairly standard thing and just tried to buy lots of black dice so I could do more things. This worked out for me, as I ended up rolling 6's a lot more than one might think. My movement plans worked out as I had planned (though I had only planned to hit 3 of the listed cities), and I didn't have any major problems completing my contracts. However, both Don and Nick were burning through contracts like crazy, leaving me in the dust. On the last turn, I used a whole bunch of my special ability cards, and was able to make up a big chunk of the points to actually catch up to where Nick was. I didn't do well in final scoring though, and finished in last. Don won.


_7_ First Class - This was with me, Tom, and Nick W.; everyone had played before. I think each of us had played exactly once before, so we went with the A/B modules. My initial end-game scoring card was for cards that advanced my train, so I started out by trying to focus on that. I was fortunate enough to get a track card that advanced my train two by itself, so my train mostly ran itself. To get extra points, I decided to boost up one or two of my initial train cars and x2 them. This plan worked out pretty well, and though I didn't get any points after the first scoring, after the second I took a large lead. My plan continued going strong until the end, but Nick had been building up money all game, and then spent it all during the final rounds. In this way, he was able to get both of his trains to length 12, with his conductor on the last spot at each, plus he has two 12's with x2 cards on them. In this way, he was able to overtake me in the end by a pretty solid amount.


_7_ Bärenpark (new!) - This was with me, Nick W., Dave, and Nessa; Nessa and I were new. The three goals were 3 panda tiles, 3 koala tiles, and having the three big tiles next to one another. Early on, I mainly just tried to get all of my tile boards out, taking panda and koala tiles on the way. I schemed up a way to get all of my big tiles next to one another, and I ended up being the first player to do that. Eventually I managed to get both the panda and koala goals too, but I wasn't the first to do either of those, and the one thing I wasn't doing was actually completing my tile boards. I managed to plan out my end of the game, but Dave ended it before I could, and I didn't get out my last bear statue. Dave won, but I came in second.



THOUGHTS ON NEW-TO-ME GAMES

Sagrada is a filler-weight dice drafting game where each player is trying to fill in a 5x4 "stained glass window" grid with dice. Each player has a unique board telling them that certain spaces have to be filled with dice of certain colors or values. Additionally, there are public goals that give players points for having various sets of dice, and there are rule-breaker cards that players can use a limited number of times. Dice are taken in a snake draft fashion, and those dice can be placed upon a player's board adjacent (orthagonally or diagonally) to another die. However, orthagonally adjacent dice cannot share a color or value. This is an interesting puzzle, as you try to place your dice both to maximize your score as well as leave your options open in the future. As the game comes to an end, it often gets pretty tense as players are looking for more and more specific dice. I thought this game was good fun.

Bärenpark is a light tile-laying game where players are trying to fill up their boards with tetris-style pieces, covering up icons that give them more pieces to place. Almost every source of points in the game is worth decreasing amounts of points the later it is taken, from the medium-sized tiles to the statues for completing boards to the goals earned by placing tiles in certain configurations. This keeps the tension in the game high. However, in addition to trying to compete for these points, players have to make sure always to have at least one tile queued lest they lose a turn. This game really exercises the brain trying to puzzle out which tiles will go where, often a few turns into the future. While it's definitely not heavy fare, I really like the thought that this game requires.
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