GCL Mafia 337 - Was He Slow?
Charlie Theel
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St. Louis
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Welcome to GCL Mafia Division's weekly geeklist!

GCL Mafia Members:
• Please add an item to represent your gaming life for the week of July 3 - July 9, 2017.
• List any games played along with your thoughts/opinions.
• Also, feel free to share gaming news, life updates, random thoughts, or anything else you deem appropriate.

GCL Mafia Geeklist Format:
• A weekly game can be spotlighted and discussed. The poster will pose questions about it to encourage conversation.
• Themed questions are optional. They can be gaming-related topics or non-gaming-related topics.
• A top five question can be asked for by this week's current-list writer, with members offering suggestions.

Current Roster:

• Happymrdave
• tallgrant
• annowme
• Dolus
• ecargo
• Epsilon_Balls
• captainraffi
• touchstonethefool
• cferejohn
• jshufelt
• fdubois
• timotheous
• charlest
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1. Board Game: Jungle Speed: The Extreme Expansion [Average Rating:7.18 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.18 Unranked]
Charlie Theel
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Do you have any notable stories where a longer game ended abruptly fast? Something like a 90+ minute game ending in say a single turn? Or maybe someone just flipped the table out of anger and you had to pack it up and go home?
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2. Board Game: Dead of Winter: The Long Night [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:166] [Average Rating:7.81 Unranked]
Charlie Theel
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St. Louis
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You surely have a good story about a filler play extending to an insufferable amount of time. Let's hear it.
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3. Board Game: T.I.M.E Stories [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:58]
Charlie Theel
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St. Louis
Missouri
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Should a game's T.I.M.E range on the side of the box always be a pretty tight range? Is it fine if a design truly has largely variable play time such as something like 30-120 minutes?
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4. Board Game: T.I.M.E Stories: Lumen Fidei [Average Rating:7.71 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.71 Unranked]
Charlie Theel
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SPY x2 (new!)
The Walking Dead: All Out War x2
Ascending Empires x1
T.I.M.E Stories: Lumen Fidei x1 (new!)
Tyrants of the Underdark: Expansion Decks – Aberrations & Undead x1

Writing Stuff
I opine on the usefulness of the deluxe mats for Walking Dead: All Out War.

My third piece for Ars, I talk about The Godfather: Corleone's Empire.


TS - Lumen Fidei
Best scenario thus far. So much good stuff going on, great deal of meta-story advancement (make sure you've played the other scenarios first!), fantastic ending, really fantastic. Mystery, lots of fighting, surprises. It had it all. Including a big puzzle in the third act that's a bitch to solve and grinds the game to a halt. Clues online in the FAQ, good luck. Without the obtuseness of the puzzle this would be perfection.

SPY
These games are seriously annoying to tag with a Geeklink as the titles are buried. The game was pretty good though being a deduction/memory thing and I enjoyed it. One of the better POG from the second set thus far.

Ascending Empires
I like this game quite a bit but it falls just short of being a favorite. Something about how cavalier it is with the 4x tech advancements and how it can sometimes be a little slow despite being a fast playing game. But I do love the mix of dexterity and strategy game and there's nothing like it.

Walking Dead: All Out War
Played this with a buddy. We continued my campaign cooperatively together, then played a skirmish. The skirmish was more noteworthy.

I fielded a group with pre-Woodbury Governor, some punk named Sandra, and a thug leader named Derek. Opponent had Rick and Dale.

I pushed up the right flank but caught an unlucky break when Rick got on top of the RV and shot Sandra in the head. Right in the dome, killing her in turn two of the game.

Derek took a shot at Rick but missed, drawing a Walker onto me. The Walker had previously stumbled into a camp fire at the center of the table so the corpse was aflame. This causes it to roll an extra die in combat. It of course bit me and Derek became infected meaning I could lose health each round until I died and turned into a walker.

Governor pushed up my left flank trying to secure some of the supply tokens (the victory condition for the game) but had some walker trouble. He fended them off until Dale got close and made some clever moves to draw more to their area and get the Governor surrounded. He was of course bit when taking on 3 walkers and it was looking grim. I tried to engage Dale with my cattle prod and wounded him pretty bad, but couldn't turn the tide.

Meanwhile, Derek was blown away Rick and everything went south. Great game even though I was lit up.


On My Mind
Random old review copy request from GW came in with Gangs of Commorragh. Dark Eldar gangs fighting up in the sky and weaving around spires sounds like fun.

The Chameleon looks great. I need to turn this review around very quickly for Geek & Sundry though.

Emilee and I went and saw Baby Driver Saturday night. We ate at a taco place beforehand and Em ended up feeling kind of shitty. This caused us to leave Baby Driver half-way through. I was loving it though and ended up going to see (and finish) it Sunday solo. This was like the third or fourth time I've seen a movie by myself and honestly, there's something serene about it. Hard to explain, really.

But Baby Driver, damn. I'm not a huge Edgar Wright fan as comedies tend to be something I don't seek out too often, but BD was definitely a large step more serious than his other films. It reminded me very much of a Quinten Tarantino flick at times and I really dug it. The opening sequence and credits long drawn out shot are fantastic. The action, utilizing 0 CGI, was phenomenal. The ending was just so-so but overall, I loved this movie. Was actually glad to watch the first half twice.

Finished the first season of the Handmaid's Tale. Peggy kills it. Great show. Also finished American Gods which ended pretty strong. Starting current season of Fear the Walking Dead now and I'm still not really a fan. Kind of want to just abandon it.

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5. Board Game: Grand Austria Hotel [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:101]
Jim Parkin
United States
Stow
Ohio
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 N/A   Tournay
 10   Keyflower
 8   Grand Austria Hotel
 10   Gloomhaven
 6   Summoner Wars x2
 10   Ascension: Deckbuilding Game x21



This week, we actually had a single evening wherein Penny went to sleep after her dinner-time feeding and didn't wake up within twenty minutes to hours of sadness! Granted, she still managed that the six other nights.



Grand Austria Hotel
When we realized Penelope was down for the count, Anastasia all but ran to the shelf and grabbed this to start setting it up. We've both wanted to return to this one for a while and decided to capitalize on the quiet hour or so to get it up and running. It was a game based nearly 100% around staff. The Emperor and Politics bonuses were mainly focused on staff, and since we decided to draft beforehand, it made the game REALLY tight. I had very few end-game scoring staff cards, but I had just about every single "break the game mechanic" staff cards, so I tried to brute-force my way to big points on the board. Anastasia, on the other hand, grabbed as many end-game scoring cards as possible. In the end, I won by three points (175 - 172). If Anastasia could have gotten a single coffee cube at the end, she would have won. I did my best to deprive her of that cube, and eventually succeeded.

Keyflower
I got utterly trounced in Keyflower on BGA with some FTL folks. One of the players was new to the game and basically leeched off of my village and outbid me on my tiles, but never scored much himself. This left the third player to conduct their game in near-total isolation, and she won by a landslide with all of the upgraded storage and production tiles. Womp womp. Oh well, I enjoy this game far too much to care, as I immediately setup a rematch. Hopefully newbie player will learn from his mistakes (he scored, seriously, less than twenty points).

Gloomhaven
My sisters took Anastasia to a lavender farm on Saturday and I stayed home with the kiddos. It was lovely, actually, until the very end when both kids slipped into 100% melt-down mode (see image below). I got a call by the three of them on their way back saying that I should start setting up Gloomhaven because they all wanted to play. I did my best to corral the kids while doing so (it was easier than I anticipated!), but Penny continued to be really sad after we started, so we had a slow go of it. We played about half-way through The Decrepit Tomb (or something like that) with Cragheart and Mindthief being total bosses while [redacted] and [redacted] helped to clean house. We ended up taking pictures of the board state and packing it up before my sisters had to jet.


Tournay
I indulged far too much hubris in this rematch with James since I held onto the Cathedral and never did anything else. The events drained my denier too quickly for me to ever realistically playing it for big points. Getting a little more familiar with the available cards and card-types has helped a lot. I like this one a lot.



On My Mind:

I'm RPG Geek of the Week!

Link with correct formatting --> HERE
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6. Board Game: Mega Civilization [Average Rating:8.28 Overall Rank:822]
Dave K
United States
Austin
Texas
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Lots o' gaming over the weekend and the additional days off for the 4th.

9.5  Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization
8.5  Great Western Trail
9  Notre Dame

7.5  Mega Civilization NEW!

Through the Ages was a _very_ military-heavy game. At the end the person who went heavy into military ended up being able to steal enough points through wars to win - and I was one turn off of being able to plunder points from someone to make up the difference. Doh.

I still like this game a lot but this was a slightly frustrating play of it. I really feel like the military is the most interesting when it's a side element to the game and not the primary thing that determines the winner. I realize it does just happen sometimes. So... yeah. Still a great game but this play reminded of why I didn't like the first edition of it as much.

Great Western Trail was another close match. We had several people try some very different strategies - the setup on the board was really good for an engineer-driven one, but I didn't really have any jersey cows at first to discard (meaning the early engineer acquisition bonuses would be skipped), so I didn't go for it. Alas, I wish I could have. It would have been interesting to try to make it work.

The group really dropped the ball when we let one player get all three of the permanent certificate bonus tokens. It was... pretty sad. This handed the game to that player essentially - in my mind I called it when that happened, and good on him for seizing the moment when they came up. I'll need to remember to push harder to prevent that from happening (or even better, to make it work for me) on the next play.

The one person who tried to go heavy into buildings didn't do so until too late, and as I have discovered myself, trying to go into big buildings too late doesn't work well. It didn't work well for him either, but he wasn't bitter about this as he realized why it didn't work.

Notre Dame I think is now well north of a dozen plays for me. We had a new person join our north Austin group that is an old friend of Grant's from back in the proverbial day that recently moved back to down. He hasn't been into modern boardgames much but was interesting in trying some out, and I pushed for this one as a good choice for someone comparatively new. Thankfully he really enjoyed it.

This play was funny for me as I ended up taking six messenger tokens - I'm not sure I've ever had more than three before. It worked pretty well though, as no other players were really pushing for them, so I had my choice of a lot of tasty high-point ones. I also correctly predicted how many rats were going to come up for a few rounds and staved off the plague with a timely use of the minstrel to move a bunch of cubes into my hospital rather than hire the doctor, which gave me a few extra moves over the other players.

Finally, the big game of the week was MegaCiv, which I greatly enjoyed as an experience but thought was kind of good-but-not-great as a game. As a large social event (we had 17 players) it was a terrifically fun time. The basics of the game are good, but I can't shake the feeling that the best strategy in the game is to have peaceful neighbors and to "not draw bad cards" - the former of which you can try to influence, but you can't really control, and the latter of which you have no control over at all.

The western part of the map has a lot of constricted movement and contention, but also a lot more high-value spaces that are close to each other. I was on the eastern part of the map, which has a lot fewer interesting spaces, but also more room - meaning that it was easier for us to just kind of spread out as desired and not have to fight much. That really helped as it meant we all could just focus on building up trade-related technologies, which we all did.

I do see multiple paths through the technologies which seem viable, but there's also a lot that just seem questionable. I really would have preferred it if all the cards were good, but I definitely did not get that feeling. On a second play I'd like to try going heavy on the religious ones though - some of the late ones in that series seem very powerful (although I'm pretty sure they'd make your neighbors hate you ).

Trading was probably the best part of the game - it was a lot of fun to go around the room and peddle your wares/cards to everyone and if you got a good haul, it generally balances out the calamities you end up with along the way. The calamities kind of are required for the game to function, but the fact that they are mixed randomly into the decks mean that it's possible to just get totally hosed - which did happen to a couple people. The disasters seem like they should do some self-balancing in the game by giving stuff to the players who are falling behind, but it didn't really work right. We had one round where a player near the front of the pack got hit by disaster and shoved back, but then received a bunch of free stuff because she fell slightly behind the person who was genuinely struggling to catch up after a terrible round.

I guess ultimately while I had fun (and would play again) I don't really feel like my victory (I did manage to win) felt like it was the result of a lot of great decisions or anything... I feel like I just played decently well and the cards didn't screw me. Not really the greatest feeling?

On a side note, I think the thing that makes good trading games feel so satisfying is the combination of trading and the something to do with the cards that lets you see the results on a map. This was one of the key things that made Catan click, and it works here too. Everyone loved seeing their tech cards accumulate and then be able to do different things on the map once they had them.

OMM

I finally beat Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Overall I loved the game - I'd probably rate it the 3rd best Zelda overall? I think the game had two main things that held it back, one of which they probably could have fixed without huge implications, but the other I think is just a fundamental flaw of the design.

The first is the side quests - some are fun, some are kind of a grind, but almost universally the rewards are just junk in comparison to the effort it takes to complete them. Some take hours and the reward is 50 rupees, which you can get almost instantly by just selling random junk. So... basically you should only do them for the fun of doing so, not out of the expectation out of getting anything good.

The larger flaw is the flip-side of the "everything can be done in any order" design philosophy the game follows. On one hand, it avoids the linearity that some people didn't like in the Zelda series. But on the other it means that the game kind of struggles to keep things quite as interesting late in the game as they were in the beginning. By the end you've done dozens of stasis puzzles, used the magnet power to move boxes endlessly, and wondered why the ice pillars were solely restricted to water and thus not used nearly as often as the other powers. The enemies and bosses only scale a little bit, so once you have a moderately strong collection of stuff, you're pretty much the same power level as you will be until the very end (when you suddenly acquire some crazy weapons).

The shrines are cool, but they're not a replacement for deeper and more interesting dungeons. The "dungeons" (I use the term loosely) that are present are really cool, but they are quite short, and there aren't many of them.

So while that all sounds complain-y, this game overall was just great - those are me nitpicking. I'd still put A Link to the Past for the SNES as the best one, and Ocarnia of Time for the N64 as the second best. BotW handily beats Wind Waker (which I thought was very weak for a mainline Zelda) and Skyward Sword (which was a mixed bag), and I think it's probably better than Twilight Princess, which was my #3 formerly.

I'm holding off on starting any other big games for a little while as the new Dragon Quest comes out at the end of this month, and I'm looking forward to that being a nice, large game for me to sink my teeth into.
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7. Board Game: Hansa Teutonica [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:113]
Joseph Shufelt
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Since Matt will be AWOL this week, I'll... take his place?




 9   Race for the Galaxy
 9   Hansa Teutonica

It's honestly not intentional that I played two of his favorite games.

Hansa Teutonica, we sorta stumbled through again. I need to get this played more often just to smooth out the rules. It isn't a complicated game, but there are things we just keep tripping over, and referencing the rules is a hell of a burden.

I went early with gaining more actions, then income, then I went Coellen-Warburg, picking up privileges while I could. I didn't go heavy with route building. I ended the game with a fairly decent score (For me in my limited experiences). I think the real difference was that someone completed the Arnheim-Stendal route early. He eventually beat me by 9 points.

Race for the Galaxy was a bit of a burden. I taught 3 new players how to play it. It was only the second time I've played it with 4 people. I forgot how difficult it is to play with people who don't know how to play well. They were picking roles that were totally counter-intuitive, and I was banking hard on them making what I would consider "good decisions". For most of the game, we had very little production and consumption was done in the game, which I think really hands the game to the player with New Sparta. I wasn't too far off from winning, but I had a hard time getting decent cards down.

------------

OMM. Finished the recent Orange is the New Black season. Where the hell was THAT last season? This season was fantastic!

I just placed an order for Ethnos, and I'll probably be buying Great Western Trail on Wednesday. I'm still tossing up between that and Lorenzo Il Magnifico (Which I think is the one more likely to be hard to find in the future).
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8. Board Game: Win, Lose, or Banana [Average Rating:5.38 Overall Rank:15773]
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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Deception: Murder in Hong Kong x4 NEW!
Mafia x4
Broken Peace (fan expansion for T.I.M.E Stories) x3 NEW!
Jump Drive x3 NEW!
Secret Hitler/Hamilton x3 NEW!
Fuji Flush x2 NEW!
Love Letter: Batman x2 NEW!
Race for the Galaxy: Xeno Invasion x2 NEW!
Rumis+ x2 NEW!
SHH x2
The Big Book of Madness x2 NEW!
The Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game x2 NEW!
7 Wonders Duel NEW!
BOO NEW!
Betrayal at House on the Hill
Betrayal at House on the Hill: Widow's Walk
Chemistry Fluxx NEW!
Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure NEW!
Concept NEW!
Dead Last NEW!
Dixit
Empire Builder
Firefly Fluxx NEW!
Fische Fluppen Frikadellen NEW!
HUE NEW!
Heads Up! Party Game NEW!
Mü & Lots More
New York Slice NEW!
Notre Dame
ORC NEW!
Patchwork NEW!
Ponzi Scheme NEW!
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico: Expansion I – New Buildings NEW!
Ra
SOW NEW!
Scythe
Scythe: Invaders from Afar NEW!
Seasons
Sheriff of Nottingham
Sticheln
Telestrations: 12 Player Party Pack
The Princes of Florence
Tichu
Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 4 – Nederland NEW!
Unpublished Prototype
Win, Lose, or Banana
Witch's Brew
Witch's Brew: The 6th Player & The Amulets & The Magical Abilities NEW!
Zendo NEW!

Spent 7 days at a scum meet and another few days seeing family and friends in Seattle. Definitely a much more rewarding experience than board game conventions, which are still great experiences, and a reminder of how much more fun games are with the right group of people.

To highlight GCLers I got to meet up with:
Joe Peterson
United States
Hillsboro
Oregon
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Robin Levins
United States
Round Rock
TX
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Rolling dice and taking grains!
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Rolling dice and taking grains!
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Neil Wilson
United States
Tacoma
Washington
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Aditya J
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Tallahassee
Florida
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We definitely lost and missed several other regulars, but it was still a blast. We also did a locked room while we were out there.


Mafia x4
We played 2 standard setups, a homebrewed bastard mod game, and 1 game of Quantum Mafia.

Quantum Mafia is a much more a game of quantum theory than a game of mafia, but was fun to play nonetheless. There were Werewolves, 1 Seer, and the rest were town. But everybody is every role at the same time. You don't know what you are until you are measured, and measuring yourself changes the outcome. Hello, Quantum Theory. So you make decisions based on whether you're alpha werewolf or the seer. And your Seer results eliminate worlds that can no longer be true. Lynching a player determines that players role definitely (measures), and potentially collapses the number of possible worlds as well. e.g. if we lynch the Alpha Wolf, then we realize that all of his kill targets are dead! And as a result, we measure their roles, and since a wolf can't kill a wolf, his victims are by definition good guys. This was definitely an interesting game and Jeep did a great job coding up a quick moderator for this game for us.

The bastard mod game was one run by Robin and based on the going-ons of the meetup for the week. The theme was the investigation of the stolen scones (Jennifer and I bought scones, they went missing, apparently left behind at the bakery). There was at least one vanilla townie, but the other roles were based on games and events of the week. One player was the "Maddy Cult". Each night they target somebody to convert into Maddy. If everybody alive is Maddy, the cult leader wins. The theme of this is that Phoebus requested photos before his arrival, and only ever got pictures of Maddy. Eventually, after requesting a game picture, he was given a picture of people playing a game with Maddy's face photoshopped on everybody.

I was Hamilton, mafia, who won if I was elected secretary of the treasury. And my mafia partner was the awkward Blokus piece, role blocker. We had a couple of pillows that were part of the game as well. The Fish of Suspicion and the Log of Logic. It turned out that both of these were red herrings brought into the game by myself (Log) and my partner (Fish) with no in-game effect other than the paranoia that comes with including them.

The town had a Catwoman from Batman Love Letter (1-shot seer on Night 2), and Zendo Master (gets to know the zendo rule whenever this is a Koan. The rule was "The koan contains exactly one mafia" and it included my partner and a dead townie in the koan.

My partner claimed meatball, from the Fische Fluppen Frickadelin game, and suggested the Fish of Suspicion forced his vote in the game. He was still lynched and revealed a liar. I claimed weak doctor - the Medical Kit from Betrayal at House on the Hill. I used this to argue I stopped the Night 2 kill from happening, but in truth we could only kill on odd nights so we weren't allowed to kill night 2. It came down to the Zendo Master making a 50/50 guess between myself and a claimed townie. Zendo Master chose me because I was from Betrayal and could've turned traitor.


Broken Peace (fan expansion for T.I.M.E Stories)
This took our typical 3 runs to complete, though it probably should've been 2. As my cousin put it "It was fun until it wasn't." This was definitely a great scenario, but a few crippling issues ruined the experience. Our third run was "Let's cheat and find our way to the end and mostly stop actually playing because this is literally impossible with where we're at."

First, despite my efforts, I'd apparently used the wrong version of the file that had errors. So a map piece to a crucial room was never discovered. Two locations, actually. I fixed the text of my printed cards for anybody who plays this in the future.

The other critical issue was a puzzle solution that was too obtuse. I'll put it in a spoiler, but I highly recommend reading the spoiler if you attempt this scenario.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
If you've played TIME Stories before, you know that sometimes a puzzle tells you to grab a certain card. Well, the solution to one of the puzzles in broken peace has you grab a card. Unfortunately, it doesn't actually tell you to grab a card. So there's no indication that you have the right solution or you're even doing the right thing to grab a card without doing it, seeing the card, and presuming that you are correct. If you're wrong, there's no indication that you were doing the right thing and got the wrong answer, because there was never any indication that you should take a card as a solution to the puzzle.

I'm not sure of the best way to fix this, but it's probably something like adding to one particular card "If you figure this out, take the referenced Item # card" with that card also stating "You should only take this if you solved the puzzle."


Other than that, the theme was excellent, the challenges and gameplay were great. With those issues fixed, I definitely recommend this scenario. That last issue was definitely very frustrating, however. Now onto the spoiler goods.

I realize I haven't mentioned the Theme. It's the peace talks for WWI.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Do not click unless you want to spoil Time Stories Broken Peace
Spoiler (click to reveal)

You begin to find out that there are bombs set up throughout the building that need to be diffused. Though it's not very clear, there's a combination of an item and a code to disarm the bombs. We figured out the codes, but weren't a huge fan of that puzzle.

There are also a lot of ways to "save TU" in this scenario, but you quickly discover that the TU spent is way more expensive than the TU saved by going through the steps to save that TU.

e.g. You can take a Taxi to the off-map locations to use only 1 TU each way instead of 3. But you have to get money and hire the taxi instead of just going straight to the location, and as far as we could tell, the return trip forces you into the streets, a location that's not useful to return to.

Also, there's a bomb that can be diffused with either an item or 2 TU. The item requires going to a location, spending time to collect ingredients, then going to another location and spending time to combine the ingredients. Okay, 2 TU is much cheaper and easier. We're doing that.

As part of going about the scenario, I liked these elements, But as far as re-runs, it was annoying to think "Wow, these time savers are really a waste of time."



Jump Drive
I am undefeated in Jump Drive. Hooray! This is very much Race for the Galaxy light, and point income gets out of control quickly. It's very fast and fun, and easy to get to the table. Much friendlier to introduce to new players than Race for the Galaxy.

Secret Hitler/Hamilton
We played a Hamilton themed version of Secret Hitler. We definitely had a lot of fun with this. My most memorable play was the last round where I was Federalist. I was passed one of each card, and had no choice but to pass a Federalist law or lose the game. I played my position so well that nobody else could tell if it were myself or the President who was the bad guy. But we knew for a fact that I wasn't Hamilton. I sold myself on being a good guy due to passing a good law on the first turn as well. Unfortunately, for the two choices we'd left the current president to kill, they chose our Hamilton and we lost. It was very close, though.

The Big Book of Madness
This game was awesome. I highly recommend playing it. But I do not recommend buying it. It's a cooperative deck builder where you're facing foes in a book of madness. Unfortunately, as seen in our final game, it can definitely suffer from a single player running the game for everyone. So I would love to play this again on hard mode solo, but then I'd be done with the game for good. It's very enjoyable, but we found it too easy. Our first game we handicapped ourselves not understanding how the "x" in spells worked, since there were no "x" cost spells. We barely won. Our second game we correctly played where "x" was just multiples of the cost and the circled number in the effect. For most of the rounds, we eliminated all threats by the second or third of 5 turns.

The Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game
This kept hitting the table as a "Huh, this looks interesting, let's try it." There are better games out there. Don't bother with this.
It looks like it should be a deck builder. It's not. There's a scenario you play. You choose the scenario, and deal out all 12 cards in a random order determining how you face the scenario. It's very fitting and thematic if you've read the books. Then you take your 10 or 12 card deck, and you draw a number based on the number of players. Anywhere from 4-7 cards. Drawing cards is very rare, so this is most likely your hand for the entire game. Essentially you need to have more cases solved than monsters left alive at the end of the game, and you can't overkill given your limited resources, so this was done well, but it makes it easy to decide to not bother with the most difficult cases/monsters and do just enough to squeak out victory. The decisions and lack of variation in turns, made the game just meh.

Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure
Clank was a decently made game, but my opinion was put into words clearly by my cousin. "I would play this a few more times, but not a lot more times. Like I would play the other board. And the expansion board, and then maybe the other side of the expansion board. But then I probably wouldn't ever play it again." It was a well made game, but it just didn't wow me.

Fische Fluppen Frikadellen
This game is great. We played a 5-player game to learn the rules so that we could have experienced players for a 15-player game. But unfortunately we ran out of time before hitting the table. It's very simple. You buy, sell and trade goods at different merchants. Eventually you trade goods (either sets, full houses, or uniques) for totems. 3 totems wins. With 15 players, you play on 3 boards on separate tables, and you have to physically change tables for each totem. And you aren't allowed to know anything or discuss anything about the other tables.

Ponzi Scheme
I requested this game and it finally hit the table. While I was playing Scythe. Fortunately, Jennifer played it and loved it. While we were in Seattle at Café Mox, they had a copy for $30 that was opened and played at a local tournament. We bought it and played. Only 3 player, but we had a lot of fun, even though all 3 of us went bankrupt at once. Oops! We're hoping our local game group will enjoy it, but we're skeptical. They're not as into the economic games.


Unpublished Prototype / The Last Bastion
This is my cousin's next game he's working on, and I think it's pretty awesome. It's a deckbuilder co-op where you're defending multiple fronts. So a small amount of "tower defense" feel. It's also got promises of campaign mode or scenario mode available. Jennifer, who hates play testing games, also really enjoyed it. So that really shows the game's promise. I have play test files, so I may print the game at some point to play test locally.

Win, Lose, or Banana
This was quite the game this weekend. I blame Robin. Only a little bit of actual Win, Lose, or Banana was played, but a lot of the story-mode app version was played. Turns out I'm a superhero and I can fly. Good thing I jumped out of that airplane to skydive without a parachute and discovered my superhero ability!

Zendo
Thank you Timothy for turning me on to the pyramids games. We only played Zendo, but that's the big one I've been wanting to try, and some of our attendees brought it as their favorite game. I definitely enjoyed it and look forward to playing it more. I'm still torn on picking up the pyramids for the future as I don't see myself getting it played locally, but perhaps if a good deal comes along and I have expendable cash, we shall see.

They were definitely good masters, too. We rotated masters, the winner of each round becoming the next master, and everybody did well at being master and not making it too complex. I think the rule that had us held up the longest was "Must contain exactly one purple pyramid."
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9. Board Game: 1846: The Race for the Midwest [Average Rating:8.07 Overall Rank:487]
Chris Ferejohn
United States
Mountain View
California
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Played some good games this week. Not a lot of them, but the *quality* is the important thing.

 8   Endeavor

Had just 4 this week for my Friday night game night, but they were all "real" gamers (man that sounds snooty, but you know what I mean). So we pulled out one of my friend Wade's favorite games, Endeavor. This may have been the first time in my 6-8 plays of this I've gone down the slavery route – I literally feel guilty doing it – but it was pretty self-evidently correct here due to a) someone else already having started it and b) culture (and thereby enough workers to make war particularly viable) being pretty hard to come by the way the board was set up. I managed to win the culture war, but (as per usual) I ended up losing several important pieces to war (which really only came into play on the last turn, but that was enough), I placed second to Mikhail (his first game, but he's good at this shit) by like 3-4 points.

I feel like this game had it's moment in the sun and then very quickly faded away – it's a bit hard to get these days, but not much pined for. I think that's a bit of a shame because I think it is a really neat design and there's not really anything else I've played that's very much like it.

 8   Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure

After Endeavor we had time for a 3 player game of Clank. I still really enjoy this and I still am looking forward to more expansions. As I've played it more I've started to discover there's a bit of an inflection point where you want to get *some* combat ability early (to pick up gold/marketplace items, fight through monsters), but at some point you need to pivot over to movement so you can get out of the dungeon at the end. That works nicely with the natural inflection point that this sort of "push your luck" game tends to have. My friend heather said she wished that getting out first/fast was a more viable strategy, but I feel like part of the point of the game is that you want to try to be the last one out, but if you push that too far, you might die.

 N/A   1846: The Race for the Midwest NEW!

The first flight of the unNAMed heavy Board game project (LocAl 1) (or NAMBLA) was a success as we played a 4-top of 1846. This was my 4th 18xx ever. It was a first for my friend Mikhail. We also had
Greg Silberman
United States
Portola Valley
CA
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, a moderately experienced 18xx player and
Burster of Bubbles, Destroyer of Dreams.
United States
Sunnyvale
California
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, a ludicrously experienced 18xx player playing one of her favorite 18xx games.

We proceeded to make a goddam mess of the board, with the limited tile supply biting all of us at various times. I got off to a fast start using the Michigan Southern and Michigan Central minors to really quickly build out a E/W connection from Detroit to Chicago, running for 40 (off of a 3/5 and 3 2s) twice before the 2s rusted, but then I got mired for way too long with just a single 3/5.

We ended up running just one major each as the cluster of tile nonsense made floating another company seem pretty damned risky. I had a point where I could have either floated the NY Central to go with my kinda viable Grand Trunk, but I eschewed it in favor of trying to make the Grand Trunk viable, and while it was nominally viable, it was pretty solidly the 3rd best company on the board.

In a shocking result, the results went 1. Morganza 2. Greg. 3. Me 4. Mikhail. However, Mikhail reasonably enjoyed it and was willing to give 18xx another shot at a later date as Morganza put it, "a new 18xx player means we all win".

OMM

Had a table at the Game Kastle Flea market. And followed that up by posting my unsold games to a couple of local email lists.

Out:
Andean Abyss – Even if this heavy game group gets to it, Morganza and Greg both own it (and Greg owns several other COINs as well).

Bohnanza – My family never really cottoned on to this one, I find it fine, but not a favorite, and as others have pointed out in this GL, it's not really a filler as it takes around an hour, and there are just other games at that length/weight I'd rather play (Clank, Ethnos, TTR, Ra).

Mr. Jack in New York – My wife and I played the original and this quite a few times, but it just never comes up any more with the other 2-player options we have.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Game – A surprisingly decent game that uses (but is not exclusively) roll and move and does a very good job of tying thematically to its source material. It was just another one that I knew wasn't going to get to the table again. Some self-described huge buffy fans picked it up; I expect it will be a hit with them.

Brass – I've got the kickstarter version on the way (both of them actually), so I think I can live without it on my shelf for a couple months.

Diplomacy – A 1976 copy I'd picked up just to have, and I'm trying not to have games "just to have" any more. It's not like it was a super nice copy of it and it's not like it's hard to find if I suddenly want it again.

Cosmic Encounter + first 3 expansions – When you have all experienced players you can (but not necessarily will) have some good games of this. In my experience new players almost always flounder, and even with all experienced players it can fall right on its face.

Mage Wars Arena – If I was 15 years younger with a consistent gaming partner and/or competitive scene, I would be all over this game, but it really feels like it needs a lot of play to open up.

In addition, gave away:

Dead of Winter – Friend's daughter really liked this, so I gave it to her.

My brother in law is starting a board game club at his high school, so I gave him some stuff that is playable in a lunchtime:

King of Tokyo
Incan Gold
Dungeon Roll
Say Anything
Jaipur
The Resistance (still keeping Avalon)
Black Stories
Lemming Mafia

In:
1830: Railways & Robber Barons – Avalon Hill version. Got it for $50 unpunched, which is decent. Of course 10 minutes later I found a guy selling a worn-but-playable AH copy for $20 (yeah yeah, I could have bought it and resold it, but I don't like doing that). I did tell the guy he should probably bump that.

1856: Railroading in Upper Canada from 1856 – $20, unplayed. Same guy as was selling 1830. Opinions on this one are a bit mixed, but it should be resellable if it comes down to it.

Stephenson's Rocket – $15. Never played this, but heard good things, and price was good (same guy as above - he was really trying to unload stuff).

Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper – Free. Same guy had a $5 pile that he would throw in with anything $20 or more. I've heard good things about this and seems like it could be good for my wife and I. And if not, hey doesn't take much space and the price was right.

The Castles of Burgundy – $15. My first ever (I think) re-acquisition. It seems like a really good fit for my Friday game nights and honestly I'm not totally sure why I cut bait on it in the first place.

Whew. That was a lot of typing. I will stop now.
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10. Board Game: Here Come the Rebels [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:2376] [Average Rating:7.61 Unranked]
Grant Johnson
United States
Cedar Park
Texas
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 N/A   Swivel NEW!
 8.5   Codenames x2
 N/A   Here Come the Rebels NEW!
 10   Space Alert x5
 9.5   Caylus
 N/A   Notre Dame

Pretty robust week for me. This is quite a bit of gaming, especially with a D&D session on top of things.

Here Come the Rebels: Have been trying to get this onto the table for several months, and finally did so. It's a true hex and counter wargame. It's also very interesting and tense- it is possible that a player may get several actions in a row before his opponent gets a turn. That's commensurate with the system- the officers sometimes have good or bad days, and you can't always rely that troops get where they're supposed to be on time. In our game at South Mountain, Longstreet didn't get his corp in gear fast enough. By the time he got mvoing Joe Hooker's corp had been brought up and seized the pass, and Longstreet wasn't able to shove him out of the way. Marginal Union Victory.

I'd like to try again- I liked the system really well. My gaming partner is still mulling over the combat system- even with a strong force advantage, attacking is somewhat risky in the game. That fits with a lot of my understanding of how the war is fought, but I'm likely to do some more research and dig into design notes.

Also now conflicted as this game is being reprinted in the near future as part of a bigger set. I definitely want the other parts, so it may be worth it to get the whole shebang. The map for this is absolutely wonderful!

Space Alert Good missions with 2 crews. Both sets demonstrated what we love about the game- the chaos of communication during the mission and the absolute need for teamwork to solve problems. It's also fun to have more than half the missions end in failure and ship destruction!

Caylus: Relatively tame game with noobs. As a first timer it is difficult to understand where the big points ride in (collecting and mining favors) until you see someone cruise. They played decently enough, but I was always sucking up to the King at the castle and I cruised.

Notre Dame: Blerg. Sat downwind of Dave and got handed his cards. Dave was very good about keeping the best cards for himself. He said he had several opportunities to hatedraft and chose not to, but I also knew that he never passed anything game breakingly good my way. I didn't stop his cruising around in the carriage and boy howdy he rode it to a big win. I was a distant second, thought 2-5 were quite a bit closer than Dave's margin of victory over me.

Code Names: I just wanted to note that I offered "Excalibur" as a clue for "Casino" and "Knight". Yeah buddy.

Swviel: What is important is that I beat Dave. I also backed out immediately after as I figured 1-2 more plays would wreck the 70s era rope and send someone tumbling to the ground.

On my mind: I don't know why summer is going to be so busy, but it is. I think I have one free weekend in the next 6. It's all fun and interesting stuff, but I'm going to miss just kicking with nothing to do.

I need to play more trombone.
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11. Board Game: Spider-Man [Average Rating:6.14 Overall Rank:11839]
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Arkham Horror: The Card Game – The Miskatonic Museum 4 NEW!
Word Slam 3 NEW!
Arkham Horror: The Card Game – The Essex County Express 2 NEW!
Barnyard Roundup 1
Cacao 1
Capital Lux 1
Carcassonne: The City 1
Century: Spice Road 1 NEW!
Imperial Settlers + Aztecs 1 NEW!
Joking Hazard 1 NEW!
Kingdomino 1
Lords of Waterdeep + Scoundrels of Skullport 1
Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization 1

---

Arkham Horror: The Card Game – The Miskatonic Museum: This was a tough scenario that made me do several change-ups to my deck with each loss. It's always impressive how different the scenarios feel and how well they're able to do that just through cards.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
The Hunting Horror was so annoying, but thematically well implemented.

Though I was tempted to keep it, I decided to destroy the Necronomicon. Getting into the restricted hall was really hard as you know from setup that you have to get through at least three rooms first. On the last play, the restricted hallway as the fourth card I drew, which helped. I was able to continuously evade the Hunting Horror and just hop my way into the last hall and grab the clues.


Arkham Horror: The Card Game – The Essex County Express: Unlike Miskatonic Museum, this was a much easier scenario. Apparently I did not miss the rule that Raf and Chris missed, which I was sure I was going to. I'm always uncertain whether I'm actually playing the game correctly anyway and I just realized in typing this entry up that I played something incorrectly.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
When some enemies spawned, it said to put them in an empty location. I put them in the last car on the train, knowing that the next time the doom agenda goes off, they'd all get wiped. However, I just realized I treated "empty" as "without investigators" and not "without enemies or investigators". So, looks like I'll be playing this scenario again.


Word Slam: This went over well with my family. Unlike Time's Up! and even Codenames somewhat, this seems to even the playing field more in terms of player abilities. As you learn the cards in the deck, there's more thought as to how you're going to convey your clue to others. We tried the medium difficulty deck and things got pretty tricky, so I can only imagine what the other two more difficult ones are like. Overall, a really solid party game.

Century: Spice Road: Very mechanics. Much dry. Wow. This played quickly, so it'd work well as a filler and I'd play it again, but the actually play was everything people hate about Euros. With the pseudo deckbuilding in it, I got the feeling that I better quickly figure out what cool combos I can do with the cards available when I'm not altogether convinced it's about your cleverness versus the cards that come out. Or, maybe I'm just bad at looking at a row of cards and immediately figuring out which will best play off each other, at least in something pretty abstract/generic like this. For example, should I get the card that lets me convert one cinnamon into three turmeric and one saffron or get the one that lets me convert two cinnamon into two turmeric and two saffron? I DON'T KNOW. And I'm not sure how much I care to do the math.

Imperial Settlers: Aztecs: After eight months of this sitting on my shelf, I finally got to playing the Aztecs expansion. It's always fun to explore a new faction and figure out what their schtick is. The pray mechanic is essentially pushing your luck to flip cards and match whatever color you called out so as to gain resources. through blessing tokens, you can guarantee that you'll get something, but the prospect of more was too alluring. The gods did accept my golden chicken offerings at first and then forsook me.

Glad I got to play this though as I do enjoy the game a lot (and many in my group do too). The last time I played was a really rough one against a guy who had super-tuned his Romans deck, so it wasn't much fun for me with a generic deck. Though I'm more comfortable with deckbuilding after Destiny and AH: TCG, I'm not sure I really feel it's something I want in Imperial Settlers. I like just grabbing the base deck and an expansion, shuffling, and just going.

Also, this also marked my 25th play of Imperial Settlers. I'm really wanting to play again and also bust out 51st State too.

Joking Hazard: Apples to Apples with Cyanide & Happiness comic panels. There were a few amusing combinations, but there's nothing new or interesting here.

---

On My Mind:

I started watching GLOW. I don't think these first few episodes have hooked me as much as Orange is the New Black did, but it's interesting enough. Matt and I finished Outside Man, which was a great British documentary miniseries looking at South Africa and Russia. We also saw Spider-Man: Homecoming yesterday. It was fine. It was a pretty generic superhero movie and although I wasn't expecting something spectacular, it didn't quite live up to expectations. The second post-credits scene was pretty hilarious though.
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12. Board Game: LYNGK [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:1571] [Average Rating:7.71 Unranked]
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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Tiefe Taschen
Pairs x2
Fuji Flush x5
Fleet: Crab Meeples
Fleet
LYNGK x3 NEW!
The Golden Ages: Cults & Culture
The Golden Ages

Only one new game this past week, but it was a doozy. LYNGK is the newest entry in the GIPF series and a sort of synthesis of all the past titles. It's got a deeper complexity than any of the other titles I've played, but still manages to be simple enough that learning the ropes isn't too hard.

However, like YINSH, this is a title that I think I'm going to need to play a whole bunch before I even begin to feel comfortable starting to strategize. There are enough moving parts that understanding the impact of how the board is set up at the beginning along with how and when players claim colors (which locks down movement of those pieces to a single player but makes them INCREDIBLY powerful) have lots of implications.

That said, it's a really interesting design. Not sure how much I like it yet, but I know I'm going to have some interesting plays as I start to wrap my head around it.
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13. Board Game: Cthulhu Wars: Opener of the Way Expansion [Average Rating:8.48 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.48 Unranked]
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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Stop Thief!
Cthulhu Wars: Azathoth Expansion x2 NEW!
Cthulhu Wars
Cthulhu Wars: The Sleeper Expansion NEW!

Note: we played with more expansions than that but I got tired of fighting the app and stopped logging them.

Stop Thief!
Played this in FL with my little brother and some of his friends from high school. As one of them noted "Man I've been playing games with you up here on this table since I was in elementary school". zombie

I've never played the original, so don't really have an appreciation for what this does better than the old one. This one works pretty well; an app handles the hidden information and gives you clues with audio and visual hits. Each investigator is a little different, as movement is based on a unique set of cards. It works really well but I've yet to find a particular hook in the action. Each new crime works functionally identical to the previous one, and the action doesn't really ramp up from crime to crime so the tension doesn't change. There isn't much you can do to get after the person winning, so really you're just hoping that other people are guessing incorrectly when they try to catch the bad guy. It's fun, but not as fun for me as Downforce. I think it's great as a game for kids and family though. If the goal for this was to make the kind of game that you play with grade school kids and give at their birthday parties than 100% success A++. I'm just not sure it will have long legs for enthusiast gamers, except as a filler type/end-of-day thing where it has tons of competition.

Cthulhu Wars
Through a combination of serendipity and The Grind, someone who works with Petersen games reached out to Charlie and I hoping to get some coverage of CW and offering to complete our collections to a certain point in exchange for some reviews. Obviously jumped at the chance since CW is one of my all time favorites. Set up a game with some friends where we decided to just go nuts and throw everything in. All the expansion factions, neutral expansions (not 100% of the content in each one), and new map. It was wonky and wild but a lot of fun.

I played Opener of the Way which was really interesting. I over-focused on building gates and got very spread out on the map. On the Primevil map, gates quickly become abandoned and unclaimable. It's great for power, bad for a faction that needs 12 gates on the map for a spellbook. Because I focused too much on gate related chicanery, I didn't get enough units on the board soon enough. I was in a good position, and attempted to rush to the end of the game with Rituals. That unfortunately left me power-poor to go after Cthulhu who always had more power than us and we couldn't kick him off the gates. I came in 2nd, but by 9 and it wasn't too close.

I think I should have been more aggressive from a combat perspective, and should have pressed the Wind Walker player to fight more. Tim played him again (he'd played at Geekway) and I think he was expecting another long game of building up, where this one moved much quicker. Cthulhu Wars is the best, I really do love this game.

On my Mind

Raffi turned 2! Raffi (and Katie's) birthday was this weekend. We had a party on Saturday for him with a slip and slide/water balloons and stuff. His godbrothers were in town so on Sunday we all went to the local aiport diner to watch planes take off. It's hilarious seeing them play together. They're 6, 2.5, and 2, and Raffi just copies them and does everything they do. We've got some videos of them cracking each other up having a not-really-conversation on the stairs.

I don't think I'm going to get to game this weekend, as an impromptu business trip just popped up. LAAAAME. On Friday I'm officiating a friend's wedding, so Katie and I are going to stay downtown and have a date night (my sister is going to watch Raffi). NOT lame.

Also, part of why I've been a little quiet lately is I've been working on a media network for Ding & Dent. It's something I've wanted to do for a very long time, having started the process last year before it stalling. The soft launch is today; our website is up and I've got the social media running. Bigger announcement will be in a couple episodes but for now you can check it out here. I'd love any feedback/questions/etc as we build this thing.
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14. Board Game: Pandemic: Iberia [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:78]
Philip Newman
United States
Richardson
Texas
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Plays since May 23, 2017

 10.   Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 x2
 8.5   Pandemic Iberia NEW!
 7.0   Scrabble
 6.5   Kodama: The Tree Spirits
 6.5   Labyrinth NEW!

All 2 player with Aerial except Legacy.

Labyrinth was cute, and I think will serve its purpose nicely (playing with Luke when he's old enough). Aerial won Kodama, with my tree looking very strange at the end (my first six cards were all played in a line to the right; didn't have any Kodama that were worth much, so was mostly optimizing scoring features as I played them).

Pandemic: Iberia was a cool twist on regular Pandemic. There is less focus on treating and more focus on preventing, and movement is more restricted early with no flights or station hopping (but you can build a system of rails to get around the board later in the game). Hard to say how the difficulty compares, we got ridiculously lucky draws for our first two colors and won pretty comfortably on Normal. The first module which adds patients moving toward hospitals looks cool, and having the different diseases get special abilities is an obvious simple drop in for a bit of added difficulty. Looking forward to playing this some more.

Pandemic Legacy, oh boy. We played on Saturday, and it had been almost 4 months since our previous plays. Since I've dropped the ball on recaps, here's a quick summary:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Through 9 games, we were 8-1, with our only loss coming in June (I think?). Yellow is COdA, and up to these games it had not spread to any other color city. We have all four positive mutations for Black (Actually Just Indigestion), and six permanent military bases on the board. We have a permanent research station in Delhi, in addition to the Atlanta one. Several rioting, but nothing worse yet.

We've played every game with Medic and Dispatcher, and all but the first with Quarantine Specialist (she's not available in January). Usually those roles go to Aerial, Adam, and Casey respectively, though I have played all of them at some point. We used the Operations Expert several games in a row to build up bases, and have subbed in Scientist now.

We successfully searched the Virologist in Game 8, but not the Immunologist in Game 9, so we have two searches going into Game 10.

Spoilers for September in next section.


Game 10:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Everyone had their usual roles, with me taking the Scientist. Aerial started and took care of two of the locations starting with three cubes (in Red), with the help of an extra action from starting with Casey.

I started with two black, and very quickly got a third (from Adam I think, using Dispatcher to move us around) to immediately cure it. The board was in pretty good shape, so we focused on the searches. Immunologist already had 2 spaces from the August win bonus, so we took care of it first - I think Aerial had a matching card, and we discarded one other yellow. We saw a path to getting the Paranoid Soldier taken care of as well (with dog tags on Adam and Casey and a matching card from me), at which point everything blows up - we've been betrayed!

(Adam and Casey have already completed a playthrough with our friends Philip and Kelly, so they knew this was coming, but specifically tried to avoid discouraging me from going after the Paranoid Soldier. I had wondered if there might be some sort of traitor element, given the Bioterrorist role in On the Brink, but this was a nice way of doing it without turning it into PvP.)

Unfortunately we had given the upgrade to the Quarantine Specialist that forces us to choose that role as the traitor; losing Dispatcher would have been bad too, but the QS has been the star role so that was pretty devastating. Casey also had a six card hand, and lost all that. Even just not losing her two blue cards might have saved the game.

Anyway, it still seemed like we were in good shape, only one outbreak and well on our way to our second cure (plus both searches complete). Then yellow blew up (I think starting with an Epidemic hitting a city that had been drawn from the player deck?).

With three turns left in the deck, we had a path to getting Adam the last cure on his turn, but no good way to protect everything other than Self Sacrifice. We considered taking a bunch of scars to win the game, but then realized that Adam didn't have a spare action to do it on his turn, and I think Casey was going to have trouble doing it as well for some reason. So we decided to just infect normally on Aerial's turn rather than giving the Medic a scar in what might have been a lost game anyway, and we hit our 8th Outbreak.

Brutal loss, but excellent story twist. We did sabotage one military base (Los Angeles). Don't remember what upgrades we took, I have them written down at home.


Game 11:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Casey took the Soldier, which we made Rivals with the Scientist. Because of the way the player cards fell, I took the Medic (and ended up first player; I think the Medic or QS has started almost every game), Adam took Scientist because he had a black card, and Aerial got the Dispatcher. (I say Aerial, but she was dealing with cranky sleepy child most of the game, so we were mostly playing for her.)

This was an amazing game. The first half went almost as badly as it could have. We drew our first three Epidemics as early as possible. Since I had taken care of our other two starting threats (both Blue) on my first turn, the only three was in Yellow; I started with One Quiet Night, so we decide to block that first infection to make sure Yellow didn't blow up. In retrospect, we might have been better off holding on to it, but impossible to say for sure. I don't remember how we dealt with it on Aerial's turn, but the early plan was for Casey to use Grenades and claim them from the discard pile. We still ended up with an outbreak (whatever had been added by the Epidemic, I think, I don't remember).

Then the second Epidemic hit before Casey's second turn, and Yellow blew up again. And then the third Epidemic hit, again right before Casey's turn, and things got real bad.

At this point, we were at 7 outbreaks, four or five yellow cities full of faded, and a couple other problems in other colors. The other big issue was finding a path to win. Because we had already completed all the searches, and because the old "military base in every region" objective was destroyed by the previous game's twist, we only had three objectives and needed to complete all of them. 7 Quarantine markers seemed difficult at the start of the game, before yellow got so bad. Now, it seemed impossible. For that matter, even surviving to the next Epidemic seemed unlikely.

So, we decided to go for a short term goal of eradicating Red - I had a cure in my hand, and there were only red cubes in one city, so we needed to survive to Aerial's turn to accomplish that. Somehow we managed that, with lots of grenades and a couple quarantines (plus Adam took a scar after getting stranded with faded after a quarantine; Casey had also taken a scar from a chain outbreak by then).

We survived the 4th Epidemic, which was in the middle of its stack. And as far as not losing to an outbreak, we were in pretty good shape. It also helped that we had so many more cards drawn between Epidemics. However, keeping quarantine markers on the board was a problem. There were four yellows in the infection pile, any of which could remove a marker if we triggered the last Epidemic.

The blue cards also did not land right at all, which was our next big problem. Nearing the last round, Adam had 1, Aerial and I both had 2, and Casey (who can't cure) had 3. Our plan for the last round went something like this:

I placed two quarantine markers (Cairo, which had joined the ranks of the faded this game, and Kinshasa). That was my whole turn, nothing was in danger of outbreaking so no need to cure.

Aerial arranged to end up in New York with Adam so that he could get that card. Washington would have been better, but it was rioting.

Casey made two entirely pointless flights in blue in order to discard those cards, which allowed Adam to discard four cards to claim them from the discard, which got him to four for the cure. Casey also put down the 7th quarantine marker. If Casey had had one more action, she could have Self Sacrificed to guarantee the win, but wasting two actions just to discard cards prevented that.

Adam only needed three actions to cure, but had no way of getting a Quarantine down if one was needed.

At the end of Casey's turn, there were three cards left in the player deck. If the Epidemic was last, all we needed to do was avoid drawing one of the quarantine marker cities (which would be a new draw from the deck). Odds were pretty good in that case.

If we drew the Epidemic (which we did), we needed to draw 4 cards and avoid the four yellows plus the city drawn for the Epidemic (Moscow), out of the 16 cards we put on top. This had about a 25% chance of success. (Much better than the 0.1% chance I had given us earlier in the game.)

We drew Los Angeles, and came up one marker short.

Tons of fun, but super frustrating to come back so close to winning.

We're going to try to play again later in the month, so hopefully we won't have nearly as long a wait to try to turn things around. Don't want to open Box 8! Africa is a mess, and South America isn't much better. At least we got a couple positive mutations on red.
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15. Board Game: Die Schlacht der Dinosaurier [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:6755]
Jim Parkin
United States
Stow
Ohio
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Did anyone else know this exists?

I feel desperately compelled to play it, because dinosaurs. Also the word, "dinosaurier."
 
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16. RPG: Meta Forum Post [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Jim Parkin
United States
Stow
Ohio
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As presiding RPG Geek of the Week, I feel this is the right time to start another GCL play-by-forum game (or two). I'm already up for revisiting Everyone is John and leading that if anyone would like to play. In addition, I've taken a look a few other one-shot RPGs that would make for easy and interesting PbF games and I'm happy to GM. If you're interested, cast some votes below and let me know if you'd like to play.

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Poll created by Annowme
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17. Board Game: Dead Last [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:2109]
Timothy Hunt
United States
St Louis
Missouri
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9  Nefarious
N/A  Honshu NEW!
N/A  Fruttirelli
10  Zendo x8
N/A  Tic-Tac-Toe x2 NEW!
N/A  FUSE x2 NEW!

Oops. I commented on other people's stuff, but forgot to ad my own play list, which means I'm probably the dead last person to add their plays to this list.

July 4th we had a board game potluck at a friend's house. You can tell it's a board game potluck because people ask "What did you bring?" and they aren't talking about the food.

Fruttirelli is a kid-friendly game which Benjamin loves. Get your animals to gather some comestibles and then return home. Largely random, but wholly age appropriate.

Nefarious is a favourite, and people generally agreed that they preferred my original edition to the more recent one that came out.

Honshu is a small game about building a garden that has certain features. I think I like it, but would need to play again.

Zendo at work, still not tiring of it. I'm glad to be doing a lot more student-ing these days. I think it was a great decision to get this at work regularly.

Tic-Tac-Toe with Benjamin, at his request. I'm not going to go easy on him with this one because I want him to learn. First game I won, second game was a draw. He appeared to put a lot more thought into the second game.

FUSE played at lunchtime. I really enjoyed it, but I know Karyn wouldn't. The pressure of the timed game would frustrate her no end.

Not much on my mind this week. Trip to England in October is happening, but I think I should probably start planning more than just the flights
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