Family Weekend Board Game Marathon in New Hampshire
Jason Vicente

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Connecticut
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This past weekend I went up to New Hampshire with my son Patrick for a weekend with my three other sons (Matt, Joel and Kieran) and daughter-in-law-in-waiting. We try to get together at least once every other month. I last visited during father's day weekend when we played 9 rounds of Codenames: Pictures, Blood Rage, Arcadia Quest and Shakespeare. This time we were more ambitious slotting twelve games to play during this visit all playable by 6 players - we got through all of them but one. Below you will find an assessment of our plays in play order.
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1. Board Game: 7 Wonders Duel [Average Rating:8.10 Overall Rank:16]
Board Game: 7 Wonders Duel
Jason Vicente

Avon
Connecticut
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Friday, July 14, 2017: I have keys to my son Joel's apartment so when I arrive early, as occurred today, I can allow myself in. During our time waiting for Matt, Joel and Kieran to go see Spiderman: Homecoming, Patrick and I were able to play a few games of 7 Wonders Duel. We previously played this game as part of our Father v. Son Two-Player Board Game Tournament where Patrick soundly beat me except for our initial play where we learned how to play the game and I enjoyed a military victory. Now we are playing it to satisfy an entry in our The Passionate Knight's 10 X 10 Hardcore Challenge which is our contribution to 2017 Challenge: Play 10 Games 10 Times Each. Well it appears that patterns rarely change. I again won military victories the first two games while Patrick won a civil victory 69-65. We wanted to familiarize ourselves with the game again before adding the expansion - 7 Wonders Duel: Pantheon. We intend on play a few more of the base game before making that addition. Even without the expansion, the game is a wonderful quick play with several possible outcomes and implementable strategies that the player must consider or suffer an early loss, as Patrick did. You have the military victory where one of the players moves the conflict token completely to his opponent's end; The science victory where one player collects all six different technology symbols; or the civil victory where one tallies all of the victory points accumulated after the end of the third age. It's a great game. It is one Patrick and I continue to enjoy and look forward to playing, and after reading the rules for 7 Wonders Duel: Pantheon I look forward to adding it to the base game. By the way, Spiderman: Homecoming was really good.
 
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2. Board Game: Ultimate Warriorz [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:2259]
Board Game: Ultimate Warriorz
Jason Vicente

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Connecticut
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Friday, July 14, 2017: Reinvigorated by an enjoyable movie experience with Spiderman: Homecoming, we returned back to Joel's apartment and played Ultimate Warriorz after extensive analysis of the film. As usual, my son Joel, who suffers from "Dice Hate Me" syndrome began disparaging the game after he was eliminated in the fifth round. In particular Patrick's character "Agaric" frustrated him and the rest of us. Patrick and I played this game as part of our Father v. Son Two-Player Board Game Tournament and Passionate Knight's 2017 Alphabet Basic Challenge (our contribution to The Alphabet Board Game Challenge - 2017 Edition) and I must say whether we played with two, three or four characters each Agaric always survived and was the one who eliminated most of my characters. Unlike most of our previous plays three characters remained standing after the final round, but as one might expect, Patrick won as usual with his little pugnacious, difficult to attack, musketeer with 13 points to Matt's 9 as the dragon Zamioculcas, and I with 8 as the bull, Sorgho. Kieran as Jojoba and Joel as Bonzai, were eliminated prior to round 7. Despite the early elimination, Kieran was anxious to play it again when Hayley joined us the following day. This is a game that can be frustrating, particularly when you have a trash talking son that seems invincible, but it is also one where winning doesn't matter that much to me. I just enjoy playing the game.
 
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3. Board Game: Guillotine [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:1141]
Board Game: Guillotine
Jason Vicente

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Connecticut
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Friday, July 14, 2017: We decided to end the day with a pleasant little filler: Guillotine. In Guillotine, you are an executioner during the terror of the French Revolution. You seek to gather the most valuable decapitated heads (think Marie Antoinette, King Louis XIV) while avoiding the martyrs and hero of the people, who will bring down your score. During your turn you have the opportunity to manipulate the line of nobles anticipating head removal - perhaps you push someone to the front of the line or remove someone altogether or reverse the order of the line, etc - before collecting the head at the front of the line. My wife, Debbie and I, learned this game at a gaming meet up and quickly added it to our collection. Although the subject matter is gruesome, the artwork is well done, the executions bloodless and the playable cards quite amusing with some interesting ways of maximizing scores. Although not the best game available, it remains a very pleasant filler. Of course, Patrick won again scoring 15 points while Joel simmered because Kieran stole Marie Antoinette from his collection.
 
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4. Board Game: Last Friday [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:3082]
Board Game: Last Friday
Jason Vicente

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Connecticut
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Saturday, July 15, 2017: There are several games I have patiently waited to play waiting for the right number of players to maximize the game's enjoyment. Last Friday is on the top of the list sitting on the shelf since December 2016. I placed it on the Passionate Knight's 2017 Alphabet Basic Challenge to assure that the year would not end without playing the game. It is a hidden movement game with a few twists. The game goes through four phases or "chapters," each with a different goal. The premise is that 6 campers come to Camp Apache for a free vacation as an award for helping fix up the camp. The camp, however, has an ominous history that includes the drowning of a suspected murderer whose body was never found. In chapter 1, when the campers arrive they participate in a treasure hunt for hidden keys that will allow them to enter into one of six cabins situated around the camp site. During this treasure hunt, they are likely to come across the corpses of the two owners of the camp which serves to emphasize that a murderer is lurking about. The campers need to find a key and enter cabin to survive the chapter, while the maniac weeks to eliminate as many campers as he can before the escape into the safety of their cabins. At the end of 15 rounds, dawn arrives commencing the second chapter. The embolden campers now become the hunters and the Maniac the hunted. The purpose of this chapter is to find out who is the Predestined one - the individual who captures the Maniac. Of course, it possible that no one will capture the Maniac making the camper closest to the Maniac the Predestined. Then in Chapter Three the Maniac hunts the campers again seeking to kill the Predestined to win the game, if the Predestined survives chapter three, then the campers help the predestined find and kill the Maniac in chapter four. The back and forth of the hunter/hunted roles makes for a tense game for everyone. The tension felt as the campers hunted me down was extraordinary and the jubilation they felt when they killed me in the final move of the final round of the final chapter is precisely the exhilarating gaming experience we all wish to enjoy. I know some have expressed problems with this game, and I can see a weak set of campers unable to triangulate the Maniac's position feeling frustrated and disheartened. Indeed, half way through the final chapter the distance between the Predestined and the Maniac appeared insurmountable, but Matt - the Predestined, as it turns out - encouraged the other players to continue on to an almost inconceivable victory. I find this to be a solid hidden movement game worthy of it's place among Specter Ops, Fury of Dracula (Third/Fourth Edition), Letters from Whitechapel and the silly, but still fun, Nuns on the Run.

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5. Board Game: Junk Art [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:400]
Board Game: Junk Art
Jason Vicente

Avon
Connecticut
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Saturday July 15, 2017: I could tell that some in the group were skeptical when I brought out Junk Art. Some decried the instability of the table as we ventured to build the tallest structures of art during a three city tour through New York, Amsterdam and our home town. Despite the initial criticism and skepticism, I persuaded everyone to try it since I needed the game as my "J" in the Passionate Knight's 2017 Alphabet Basic Challenge. Concerns aside, everyone appeared to thoroughly enjoy the game laughing as they built their rickety art, scolding others that touched the table too harshly threatening the demise of their artistry. The game revolves around obtaining fans in each city of an international tour. Matthew ran away with this one scoring 17 fans. Only Kieran came close with 15, while the rest of us did not obtain more than 8 fans. I had 5.
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6. Board Game: BANG! The Dice Game [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:550]
Board Game: BANG! The Dice Game
Jason Vicente

Avon
Connecticut
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Saturday, July 15, 2017: BANG! The Dice Game was an immediate hit with my family when we played it for the first time last years. My son Kieran felt compelled to purchase his own copy to play with other groups of gamers. It's a nice tonic to cleanse the gaming pallet from previous plays and can be completed within 15 to 20 minutes, which we did. Both times I was an outlaw. As it turned out Patrick was an outlaw both times as well. I kept my role close to the vest and enjoyed the eliminations of others since I was the vulture and healed up to two health points when another character fell victim to a bullet or arrow gasping his last breath. Again, nothing exceptionally earth shattering, but a really solid filler that splits up an evening nicely between more complex games.
 
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7. Board Game: Captain Sonar [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:146]
Board Game: Captain Sonar
Jason Vicente

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Connecticut
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Saturday, July 15, 2017: Captain Sonar proved to be the belle of the ball. By far one of the best gaming experiences ever placing it with T.I.M.E Stories and Pandemic Legacy: Season 1. During the explanation of the game, again, some became despondent and felt overwhelmed. Our initial play was done on a turn by turn bases with the easy Alpha Map. Considering the role of the Radio Operator to be the most critical requiring strong deduction skills, I knew that Patrick and Joel would fit the role perfectly. Thus, Joel was on my team and Patrick on Matt's. Matt and I played rival captains and first mates while Kieran worked as the engineer for Matt's team and Hayley the engineer for mine. The initial play through lacked the tension I thought the game would have, but as soon as we turned to the real time game - WOW!!! Full on tension, quick decisions, a simple mistake could cost you the game. At one point I screamed out an expletive realizing when the opponent surfaced we were right next to each other. My assessment of my sons was right on as both performed their roles effectively. In the first game I was able to terminate Matt's submarine with two torpedoes, while in the second a torpedo and a well planted mine ended my crew. This is a fast paced exhausting game requiring a breather afterwards. After three plays my heart could take no more, but it's definitely on the list whenever there are at least 6 (or hopefully 8) players. A 10 out of 10!
 
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8. Board Game: The Adventurers: The Temple of Chac [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:1368]
Board Game: The Adventurers: The Temple of Chac
Jason Vicente

Avon
Connecticut
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Saturday, July 15, 2017: The Adventurers: The Temple of Chac has been a favorite of my children for a while and Joel was particularly excited when he saw it among the games brought for the weekend. The game is reminiscent of the opening sequence in the film Raiders of the Lost Ark as a bunch of adventurers loot temple treasure while avoiding getting crushed by moving walls, hopping on to hopefully stable stones over a lake of lava, swimming through treacherous waters leading to a deadly waterfall and crossing a rickety bridge with failing planks that could lead to you falling to your death in the depths below all the while seeking to outrun a boulder that continues to build speed with every turn. Definitely an exciting game! It is interesting the different strategies people use to navigate the game. Matthew and Patrick took turns to memorize which portions of the lava lake would collapse, while Joel dashed straight through the closing walls passed the lava lake to the locked treasures requiring combinations to obtain them. Having a good swimmer I obtained four treasures by the closing walls before heading to the flowing waters that reside after the lake of lava. To Joel's disappointment, no one died during today's playthrough. Previous games had adventures unable to safely cross the collapsing bridges or avoid the pull of the waterfall or outrun the boulder which crushed them. Today, everyone escaped and I won a slight victory scoring 24 points while Matt and Joel each had 23 points. The others had in the low teens.
 
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9. Board Game: Fearsome Floors [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:1075]
Board Game: Fearsome Floors
Jason Vicente

Avon
Connecticut
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Saturday, July 15, 2017: Fearsome Floors is a Friedemann Friese alliterated game (Titles where each word starts with "F" like his name). Matt really enjoyed reading the flavor text explaining the game smiling at all of the Fs that permeated the introduction. The game primarily is about escaping a dungeon while avoiding an automated monster that consumes players. It's a nice little game that plays up to 7 though it felt unmanageable with the six players we had playing the game today. Nonetheless, it is an enjoyable game at lower numbers.
 
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10. Board Game: Avenue [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:1728]
Board Game: Avenue
Jason Vicente

Avon
Connecticut
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Saturday, July 15, 2017: We completed our game play today with a new game: Avenue. It's a fairly simple game where cards are drawn displaying one of six paths that the players have to place somewhere on a grid using the paths to connect grapes to farms and castles. It's a cousin of Karuba but departs that game by the interesting scoring method it uses. Each round you score a different random farm not knowing the future farms you will score unless you forgo a revealed path to peek at the next farm. The trick is that each farm scored must exceed the previously scored farm or you get a zero. At the end of the game, each zero results in a -5 penalty. In addition to scoring the farm in the five rounds you will score the grapes connected to two castles on the grid (a pink one and a green one). A round ends after four yellow backed cards are revealed (the other cards have gray backs). The initial problem we experienced during this game play was the lack of straight road that came up. We had curved road after curved road, especially an inordinate number of 2s. Since the game will end before the deck is exhausted a plethora of curved roads now mean a deck rich in straight road that will inevitably appear in later rounds, which, of course, happened here. Somehow Patrick still managed to do well scoring 72 points followed by Joel with 66. Scores fell precipitously from there with Kieran scoring 41, I had 26 and Matt received an incredibly low 6 points. This is a good quick filler that many players can play concurrently. The box says for 1 to 10 players, but there appears no reason why more could not play. As long as everyone has a pen/pencil/marker and a grid you can play this in a bingo hall announcing numbers over a PA system. The numbers are shown at the bottom of the grid with the road they represent depicted. It's a great way to get a large gaming group involved in the same game.
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11. Board Game: Lords of Waterdeep [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:64]
Board Game: Lords of Waterdeep
Jason Vicente

Avon
Connecticut
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Sunday, July 16, 2017: We had two games on the agenda today. Our first game was Lords of Waterdeep using the Lords of Waterdeep: Scoundrels of Skullport expansion. Although we have played Lords of Waterdeep in the past, it was the first time we incorporated the expansion so we could play with six people. We decided to use both the Undermountain and Skullport modules. While the former module adds more action spaces as well as more valuable quests, The latter module add an interesting mechanic: the corruption track. The corruption track involves nine spaces containing skulls (corruption). You can obtain corruption in a variety of ways including from the action spots on the expansion skullport board. Although you can return corruption received from the track either to the track or to other action spaces, there are also cards that allow you to remove corruption from the game, which is significant because each corruption token you possess reduces your victory point total by the number of empty tracks on the corruption track. Thus, if two spaces are empty, each corruption you possess costs you two victory points, three empty spaces, three points and so on. Of course with this cutthroat crew, the track was completely emptied so anyone with corruption lost nine victory points per token. Hayley lost 54 points. Interestingly, Joel, who dislikes worker placement games and only tolerated this one because it's been pimped out with metal coins and acrylic meeples, won the game as he did the last time we played as well. The game lasted more than four hours, however, making a play of 7 Wonders out of the question. Although this is an enjoyable game, the Skullport module is too mean for my taste and will be left out of future plays.
 
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