GCL Mafia 340: And Viewers Like You
Jim Parkin
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Stow
Ohio
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Important Links:
GameChat League: Mafia Division Subscription Thread (links to past lists, subscribe for weekly notifications).
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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 24th - July 30th, 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:
jshufelt
fdubois
timotheous
charlest
Happymrdave
tallgrant
annowme
Dolus
ecargo
Epsilon_Balls
captainraffi
touchstonethefool
cferejohn



This week's list takes inspiration from the four endearing-if-bizarre autotune remixes of PBS' biggest educational hit shows, and some moderately-spurious questions based on them. So there.
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1. Board Game: Reading for Detail [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Jim Parkin
United States
Stow
Ohio
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Some games require a lot of time spent reading rules and supplements to prepare, or have a lot of in-game text and minutia to pay attention to while playing, such as on players aids, cards, or sections of the board. This often results in perceived "heavyness" of the game in question.

E According to your preferences, how much is too much in terms of reading while prepping for or playing any given game?

E What's the most reading you've had to do for a game you enjoyed and considered the investment worthwhile? Conversely, the biggest letdown?

E Would you rather all games lean towards strong, albeit complex, iconography, or just spell stuff out in writing?
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Jim Parkin
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Stow
Ohio
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I won't bore you with eye-rolling puns about how to "cook up" a great game night or finding the "recipe" for successful strategy (despite being a dad and loving bad puns/dad jokes). All the same, Julia Child, brusque as she was, stressed presentation and experience as much as what actually ends up on a platter.

E Supposing you have a table surrounded with good, welcome friends who like to play the game at hand, what can make the experience better?

E When making a specific game a centerpiece, do you add music or other themed fare/food to ramp up the session?

E Do you have any amusing or long-running traditions with certain players and/or certain games?
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3. Board Game: Bob Ross: Art of Chill Game [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:2003]
Jim Parkin
United States
Stow
Ohio
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Arguments as to the right intersection of chrome, bling, and playability have flared all over BGG for years, and at times, been brought up in this GCL. None of us would say a game must be only well-produced to be enjoyed, nor would any of us argue that the best game is a spreadsheet and poker chips.

E That said, can you qualify the "point" at which (if you're a "this looks awesome" gamer) a normally-not-interesting-to-you "drab game" nevertheless captivates you?

E Likewise, can you qualify the "point" at which (if you're a "who cares what it looks like" gamer) a normally-not-interesting-to-you "overproduced" game nevertheless captivates you?

E Would you rather have a single badass miniature with no game attached, or ten brown Eurocubes with two-hours of great game underneath of them?
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4. Board Game: Hi! Neighbor [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Jim Parkin
United States
Stow
Ohio
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We tend to play games with people who like games, primarily because most humans tend to follow the path of least resistance given their perceived social comfort zones (don't worry, Grace, this is not a formal psychological declaration). At varying times, however, we're inclined to ask new players, family, non-gamer friends, or strangers to walk up and play with us.

E Who is the last person you didn't know well but asked to play with you?

E When is the last time you made someone else uncomfortable at the table and didn't mean to do so?

E What is the best gaming memory you have featuring mostly players you didn't know well at the time?
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5. RPG Item: The French Invade Texas [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Jim Parkin
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Stow
Ohio
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REVERSE TOP FIVE!



I ask YOU for five answers to MY question:

Where in the world is Fabrice Dubois?
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6. Board Game: Navegador [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:162]
Dave K
United States
Austin
Texas
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A very light week for me. Got to play a good ol' cube pusher though!

8.5  Navegador
7.0  The Lost Expedition

Navegador is probably my favorite Mac Gerdts game. I think after revisitng this and having played Concordia semi-recently as well I'm pretty sure I prefer Navegador. As a quick aside, I feel like his other well-known title, Imperial, is a very cool concept that falls apart in the endgame and is unfortunately a fatally flawed design.

I don't get that feeling at all from Navegador. This one is smooth. That's the primary way I'd describe it - you have a somewhat straightforward set of actions you can take, you have a rondel that determines which ones you can choose from, and you take (usually) quick turns and try to build up as you sail (har har) into the endgame. It's a clean design that is more reminiscent of euros from the early 2000s than 2010. In addition to the rapid-fire turns, another thing this title has going for it is the way it forces you to take a balanced approach. You need to balance out your tableau to have productive turns, but also have to specialize in order to score points. It's extremely successful at this, and it permeates the decisions you need to make.

The final thing that the game does very well is the "two-stroke" economic engine. The way colonies sell raw goods and factories refine them is also a nice and slick approach that I'm surprised has not shown up elsewhere. If there was one thing I _think_ might be off about the economic setup, it's that gold seems to be a tad stronger than either sugar or spices - although I have certainly seen people clean house on the value of sugar too, so it's definitely not that way every game.

We also had a short and brutal round of The Lost Expedition, once again with five. This time the game didn't work all that well with the full count - maybe my last game with five was a fluke? At any rate, we handled the first morning and evening decently well, but on the second morning we had terrible cards and I don't think anything we did would have let us win. Hrm.

I still enjoy the game - and infinitely more than The Grizzled (surprising nobody) - but nothing cools enthusiasm for a co-op like a game where there was no way you actually could have won no matter what you did. C'est la vie I guess. It's not leaving my collection from this though.

OMM

Work last week sucked. Suuuuuuucked. I've tried to not let it drag me down but it's hard to ignore.

Dragon Quest XI should arrive Monday - YAAAAAAY! Looking forward to getting my JRPG on. Also, an English version was confirmed for release in 2018. Also yay!

Board Game Bash is going on next weekend here in Austin (it's the largest gaming con here, although saying that - it's not _that_ big, maybe 250-ish people?). Looking forward to that a lot, although a lot of the people in our usual groups that go most years are passing this time. Unfortunate but I plan on having a great time anyways, so neener neener to them.
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7. Board Game: Raxxon [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:2802]
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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The Chameleon x3
Skull x3
Rum & Bones: Second Tide x2
Raxxon x2
Deadline x2 (new!)
Escape Room: The Game x2
Fief: France 1429 x1
Sons of Anarchy: Men of Mayhem x1
Time's Up! Title Recall! x1
Star Wars: Rebellion – Rise of the Empire x1

Reviews
One of the weirdest reviews you'll ever see. Check out the Raxxon Papers at Ding & Dent.

I'm somewhat harsh on the printing deficiencies of the Tyrants of the Underdark expansion. At the RC.


The Chameleon
I've basically decided this is not worth pulling out with less than 5. But with 5+ it's pretty solid. Enjoy it much more than Spyfall and it doesn't have any obvious flaws besides the fact it's kind of a throwaway experience and has less investment, since it's basically a five minute game.

Deadline
This game attracted me because of its Noir theme. It promised to do the narrative Sherlock Holmes style game with modern mechanics. Well, it succeeded, but I don't think I actually prefer it to any of the SHCD influenced designs. The narrative here is divorced from the card play/hand management and broken apart in an odd way.

Basically, you're playing mini games of the Grizzled (it's different but one of those play cards to a public row type designs) to earn clue cards that give you a piece of the overarching story. It's fine, but the slow drip of story information had me losing interest. I think it does what it sets out to do but it's not really my thing. Everyone else I played with (two different sets of people) all liked it though so maybe I'm crazy for not liking it more.

Escape Room: The Game
We finished up the final two scenarios. I do think I like this one slightly more than Unlock!, but they're pretty close. Unlock! feels more tense and visceral, this feels more grounded and physical.

I absolutely loved the nuclear bomb scenario. It kind of reminded me of Diehard 3, which is a plus. Also, I solved the puzzle on the outside of box 3 (effectively the second stage) and thought the solution was exceptional. I love stuff like that.

On the downside, the Mayan temple was bullshit. The puzzles were too obtuse, especially the final one. Even after reading the solution we didn't quite see how someone would reasonably figure it out without a wild guess.

Time's Up
It took three tries of kneeling on the ground and pretending to throw a ring into Mt. Doom before my partner realized I was acting out Lord of the Rings. He also didn't get Alien by me performing an animated 30 second rendition of the chestburster scene. Just one of those days.


On My Mind
I'm almost caught up on review games. Need one more play of Rise of the Empire this week and another Deadline. Should be able to write up Zoo Ball, Deadline, Rum and Bones, and Rise of the Empire all this week. If I have the energy.

I caved and placed a large order for Wings of Glory Battle of Britain. Dammit Dunkirk. I think this will get played more often than X-Wing in my group because one guy really hates the dice in X-Wing, and we won't need to really build forces. Just throw some planes out and play for 30 minutes.

I'm also trying to track down Guards of Atlantis. Looking to buy a copy but don't want to pay $100.

Seriously craving more escape room games. Can't wait to get EXIT from Grace. Think we're also supposed to be playing the Stargazer's manor game at Gen Con if Raf brings it.

I bid on a copy of Tiefe Taschen from a D&D listener and he ended up giving it to me for free. I tried to pay him but he gave me a huge response saying why I should take it for free. Really looking forward to playing it.

Buonocore sent me Pit Crew, which looks quite amazing. However, it was missing half of the cards. Waiting on replacements for those. My group has ballooned to about six people regularly showing up so this would work great.

Hoping to crack open Leaving Earth finally and dive into that.


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8. Board Game: 1870: Railroading across the Trans Mississippi from 1870 [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:1175] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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No plays this past week, even despite planning on two days at a convention this weekend. The first day changed to be a day of Pokémon Go and catching legendary pokemon. I showed up to the con simply to pick up 1870. I got my copy in shrink several years ago, but it was missing a rulebook, scenario book, and Tile Sheet 4. I made very poor man's proxies at the time. This let me scan and copy my missing tiles at a higher quality resolution and the proper size on better quality paper.

Saturday, I was allowed to go to the con for about 3 hours. But it's not worth me paying $15 to play 1 or 2 random games I'd never heard of, if I could get into a game, and then leave. So I stuck around, admired and helped with rules questions on the two 1846 games that were running that I missed out on, returned 1870, and picked up Patchwork for $15.

Patchwork we were supposed to play on Sunday, but that also never happened. So no games all week.

Even my Android play of Titan is stalled out. I'm mid battle with another player, but I don't know when he's going to log in to continue the fight.

I did start finally putting together my 1880: China kit (complete sets were sold out, I had to buy a copy where I need to apply stickers and cut out track tiles, but I saved money doing so). I've scheduled a day to play it as well. I just have to see if people are free to play.


Other than that, I've been playing a good amount of Splatoon 2 on the Swtich. Grant has been great teaching me the ropes and we even got to play together for several matches over the weekend. One of my highlights was winning a match were Grant was on the other team. Take that superior-skilled player! The only question I have left to ask is - "Where's Dave?"
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9. Board Game: Here Come the Rebels [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:2234] [Average Rating:7.62 Unranked]
Grant Johnson
United States
Cedar Park
Texas
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 N/A   Here Come the Rebels
 7.5   Wiz-War
 8.5   Municipium
 N/A   The Lost Expedition NEW!

Here Come the Rebels: This is the second learning scenario for us, and the first that made us consider resting troops for movements or attacks on the following day (our first game was a single day and we pushed everything we pushed every unit to exhaustion because of it). The scenario was ultimately weighted in my favor- the commanding Union general and his corp begins way out of position and Harper's Ferry is not easily defended. I also had some fantastic movement rolls early, and it was combined with poor federal movement rolls. I accomplished the Confederate objectives and won a substantive victory.

Afterward we talked about Union strategy- my opponent had to make a choice of either pulling everything nearby into Harper's Ferry and risk being surrounded before he can get relief, or else set up a defensive cordon to prevent surrounding and hope that it slows me down enough. He needs a few things to go right, and unfortunately none of them did. But it was good for learning, and a nice counterpoint to the first game where I (using the Confederates) felt I was similarly handicapped by the scenario. They've both been great for learning game mechanics, but I'm not sure they're well balanced.

We're hopefully going to try the third scenario (McClellan's opportunity) in the next month or two. That's supposed to be one of the best of the entire series, and we should be ready for it.

Based on this game, I'm completely sold on the series. The map is historically correct, comprehensive and absolutely incredible to look at. The campaign game actually stretches from Baltimore into West Virginia and is huge in scope. But the turns go quickly, it's pretty intuitive in how it all fits together, and there are interesting choices to make. Multiman publishing is putting out a compendium of 3 games later this year- this one, Road to Gettysburg, and Rebels in the White House. I'm probably going to pull the trigger on getting it- even with the duplication, it's probably worth it.

Wiz War: Always chaotic and always fun. I ended up winning by stealing a treasure off another player's base, turning a wall into water, passing through, and then magically restoring the wall afterward. That ended up being the right combo to win. Other fantastic moments included:
- Absorbing another player's lightning spell, and using it prevent a win by someone else.
- Moving to attack an opponent, only to have him use "Buddy" and make me his friend for the rest of the game.
- Trying to break into a safe, only to see an opponent turn himself into mist and spirit away the treasure inside.

Municipium: Terrible game for me- I was in the bottom of ties and was never in position to activate buildings. Definitely played it wrong. Still think this is a gem of a Reiner game.

On my mind
As Dave mentioned, a local Con happens this weekend. I'm excited to go, but curious to see how it turns out. A lot of our regular group is not going this year for various reasons, so I'll have more opportunity to game with new people. The Con is also moving in a bit more commercial direction, and I'm curious to see how it is affected.

I'm getting along in the planning for my big War of the Ring Day. That's the following weekend.

I need to exercise more this week- I picked up a sore throat last week and used it as an excuse to not get out and exercise.

Also a big high-five to Dolus. We played video games Saturday morning and it was awesome!

Public question based on my thoughts this week

What is your inclination on buying games that you already own, if a new version comes out? I normally won't buy a reprint just because, but in the past week I've preordered a Collector's Edition of a game I own but rarely use, and I'm likely to preorder a bundle that contains a game I already own to get some of the other goodies. Am I alone in doing this thing, or are other tempted?
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10. Board Game: Ethnos [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:244]
Joseph Shufelt
United States
Portland
Oregon
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 7   Terraforming Mars
 7   Ethnos NEW!

Ethnos I may like this more than I think? After the game was done, I thought to myself "That was alright. Not great."

The element of randomness and prevalence of blind draws was definitely noticeable. But I thought about it later, and how much that actually helps the game. There is an element of hand-management and area-control, which the game does well enough at. But what I failed to see while playing was how the game is subtly also a push-your-luck game. Both with playing a Band (Which coughs up cards your opponents will pounce at) and drawing new cards. And as the age goes on, that push-your-luck becomes more and more important. And I realized that was a huge part of the tension and drama.

I liked the different races. Their powers were very cool. This is a game I need to play again to really get a good handle on how I feel about it, but I'm looking forward to it.

Terraforming Mars went a lot better at 5 than I expected. I think it went maybe 2.5 hours including teaching? We didn't play draft, which I still need to try, because that smooths out the luck factor in this game significantly. Otherwise, the luck of the draw is VERY swingy. But I'm sure as hell not going to play this as a drafting game without players having a grasp of the mechanisms an understanding of the cards.

A couple of us tried to keep the game moving, so that we could all get home at a reasonable time, which helped.

D&D I also got to play D&D on Saturday. I made an old, mind-fragmented, conspiracy-theorist monk, and we are going through an adventure book, I suppose. It went pretty well, with one of the better experiences in D&D I've had. Everyone seemed to have had a good time.

OMM:

Getting hot here in Oregon! Meteorologists are expecting to tie or even set an all-time record of heat in Portland this week. (107 degrees). We rarely ever have a week where it gets over 100 in a year. This would be the second time this year we've had a week with a day over 100 degrees.

We've also watched some dogs over the weekend for a friend. 5 dogs will keep you on your toes, that's for sure!
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11. Board Game: PitchCar [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:313]
Philip Newman
United States
Richardson
Texas
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 10.   Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 x6
 7.5   Codenames x6
 10.   Pandemic x2 (CDC Solo x1; 3P Hinterlands x1)
 6.5   Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle
 6.5   PitchCar

Aerial and I finished our two player Pandemic Legacy campaign, I've already posted the write-ups on last week's list. We played one more game on Friday with Adam and Casey, which I will briefly write up below.

Friday we did birthday board games. We started with PitchCar while everyone ate, and I got off to a great start while there was a pile-up at the starting line. I was about a half a lap ahead much of the game, and held on despite a couple crashes on the second lap. Aerial doesn't particularly care for or do well at flicking games, and eventually she went to play with Luke so her car was just an obstacle for a while.

We played two full rounds of Codenames, guys vs. gals again. We won two games this time (so we're blaming Chance for our shutout loss a couple weeks ago), including one successful four-word clue (Informer, cluing Mouth, Teacher, Conductor, and Mercury). We had a chance to finish 3-3 (with every clue-giver winning one, in fact), but after a conservative game of successful 2 clues we missed on our last one (we had it narrowed down to a 50-50 but chose wrong).

Philip and Kelly left after that, so we got in the one game of Pandemic Legacy (while Aerial tried to get Luke to go to sleep):

Game 12:

Spoilers For
Spoiler (click to reveal)
October


Spoiler (click to reveal)
We basically lost this one on setup, and it was a depressing game. Casey started with a Grenade in hand so Soldier was an obvious choice (now that her usual Quarantine Specialist has been outed as the traitor).

Adam always wants to play the Dispatcher, and there wasn't any compelling reason to give the Dispatcher to someone else. Then we figured Scientist (to abuse Rivals with the Soldier) and Medic (to keep things clear).

What we all forgot (and this despite me just playing October last week with Aerial) is that the Patient Zero search has a bonus for military bases, and that it was going to be very difficult to get anyone to City Zero (Santiago) without a base anyway. Operations Expert should have been a no-brainer choice. Unfortunately, it wasn't, because we definitely didn't use our brains and still left him out.

In theory, Casey could have still completed this search if:

a. We had some good way to get her to Santiago
b. We totally ignored the faded hot spot in Africa (Kinshasa? and later Khartoum was an Epidemic draw)

This would have taken a large number of actions, because we never drew Santiago - even with a couple of yellow equipment in the discard, it would take two actions to draw and another to search for 2 points; I'm not sure in a four player game we would even have had time for her to search enough before the fourth epidemic if she were doing it on her own.

We were able to get cures via the Scientist for Black and Blue relatively quickly, but black still blew up. Eventually red was a problem too, and since we hadn't drawn Santiago and had therefore given up on the search and the game we prioritized eradicating blue to take positive mutations. We managed that, with the Dispatcher moving the Medic through the last few cubes there.

In the end, we didn't end up dying to outbreaks. We were on 7, and decided to let the last outbreak happen in Jakarta rather than risking it happening in a faded city, but forgot that Jakarta only had three cubes because of outbreaks in Sydney and Bangkok. So we waited for a slow, agonizing death by card draw waiting for the fifth epidemic, which never came because it was the last card of the deck.

Hopefully next time we will remember to include the Operations Expert, and avoid having to open Box 8.


Aerial and I decided our next play-every-night game would be to finish Harry Potter; we replayed Game 3 since it had been so long. The pacing in this still feels a little strange. Early on, we were struggling with health (due to a starting Dementor + Draco), but eventually the strength of our decks was just too good. The key turn was with us one attack away from eliminating whichever villain prevents you from drawing cards - I had three draw cards in my hand (Sybil and a couple spells), and fortunately drew a single attack to finish that off. Between the bonus and all the card draw I got up to 8 to add Dumbledore (and put him on top of my deck), then hit 8 and a bunch of attack the next turn as well. Aerial hit 10 not long after that, though by then we were just waiting to draw attack. Villains took our first location, but never got past four skulls on the second. Anyway, cute game, and I will likely be done with it once we play through the whole thing (though of course if Aerial wants to play some more I will be happy to do so).
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12. Board Game: Trash [Average Rating:7.12 Unranked]
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Arkham Horror: The Card Game – Undimensioned and Unseen 4 NEW!
Arkham Horror: The Card Game – Where Doom Awaits 4 NEW!
Adrenaline 1
Arcane Academy 1
Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn 1
Cottage Garden 1
Joraku 1
Qwixx 1
Scrabble 1
Time's Up! Title Recall! 1
Via Nebula 1

Review: Lorenzo is drab, but fun.

---

Not much new stuff this week.

Undimensioned and Unseen: This was probably the hardest mythos pack. I was determined to actually finish it, not just resign and move onto the next one.

Where Doom Awaits: I don't remember if anything notable happened here. I continue to enjoy how the past resolutions/actions you take come back. I'm kind of sad I only have one more mythos pack left.

---

Quick thoughts on old stuff:

Adrenaline: I still really enjoy this, but I'm not sure how much my group did.

Arcane Academy: This is still impressively simple and solid.

Ashes: I want to run out and buy all the expansions.

Cottage Garden: Played this again so I could write up a review. Still not impressed.

Via Nebula: Alright, but I think it might go onto the next auction pile.

---

On My Mind:

Not much going on. My stepbrother is visiting for a week. He plays X-Wing weekly and likes Summoner Wars, so I'm excited to force all my Ameritrash/1v1 games on him.
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13. Board Game: Avenue [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:1616]
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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Raxxon
Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia
Viticulture
Avenue NEW!

Unlogged: Potion Explosion app plays and many many games of Codenames via Slack.

Euphoria
Played this again with the dads, and trading played the biggest role it ever has. Lots of offers, bribes, and giving resources out to quickly build markets and block people out of them. Tim won by churning through spaces to earn Artifact cards and then aggressively attacking the market spaces. That seems to be the most common way I see people win. I do like Euphoria quite a bit, though it's a sort of Sandbox-Euro in a way that doesn't always feel good. You really need to lean into a single strategy and hump that as much as possible. Everyone liked it, though Matt and Chris are high on Terraforming Mars.

Raxxon
Played a game of Raxxon afterwards, 4p. On its own it doesn't really have anything to recommend it but it also isn't a bad game. Having played it, I wouldn't buy it...but having bought it before playing it I don't really feel compelled to get rid of it unless it somehow starts to sell for a lot of money. I like it enough to want to do the online scenarios, and think the "consequence" system of actions is actually pretty clever. I wouldn't mind seeing that appear in another game in the future.

Avenue
On Sunday I went into the city and played some games with Adrienne from the Greatway Games podcast. We started with Avenue. It's a pretty clever little game where the goal is to connect grapes on a grid to farms. Which farm is scored each round depends on which one you draw from a deck, and the shape of routes you're allowed to draw on the grid also comes from a deck. There's a bit of prepping for the future and a bit of dealing with what's being shown to you. Also, in order to score for a round you must score more points than you scored in the previous round. If you don't, you score 0. That's also a clever twist where sometimes you might deliberately sandbag yourself in Round B to prep for Round C.

Viticulture
Following Avenue, we played Viticulture. Katie didn't feel like she understood how to play after the rules explanation so she sat out, which sucked . I did OK. I generally suck at pure Euro resource-conversion games which is what Viticulture is. I also am not the biggest fan of the Visitor cards, as they can either be extremely powerful or extremely useless depending on what and when you draw them. I'm in the minority, but I prefer both Scythe and Euphoria to this one, though I don't think I'd turn Viticulture down if that's what was on the menu.

On my Mind
I've been painting up my 40k stuff. I got an airbrush last week and have been experimenting with that. It went really well and I'm happy I grabbed it. Made basecoating and shading a large mass of miniatures very easy and quick.

"Pre-shaded" so that I can paint blue over it and not have to worry about doing much highlighting.


About 50% done with this Copper Knight.

Ding & Dent meetup tomorrow night in Chicago that I'm looking forward to. Expect a smaller group but still expect to have a lot of fun!

GenCon in two weeks. I'm mostly booked up, still waiting to hear from Geek & Sundry what my assignments will be and trying to set something up with Dom C. to see new Evolution stuff.
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14. Board Game: Merchants & Marauders [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:198]
Jim Parkin
United States
Stow
Ohio
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Merchants & Marauders
Gloomhaven
Tournay
Grand Austria Hotel



Games. On the table. Good times.



Merchants & Marauders
Every play reminds me why I love this game. I played two-player with Anastasia at her request, and I ended up going pirate in terms of captain (Christian Marquis!) and sloop, but didn't get a bounty until about half-way through the game. I snagged the extra cargo slot in my home port, so I ran a few triples of in-demand goods and started grabbing lots of contraband. I lagged behind Anastasia in terms of early glory, as she managed several pick-up-and-buy triples, and her rumors worked out very well.

I got to do a yacht race in Petit Guave and rolled NINE dice to get two successes... and only rolled one! Ach! Shame on my seamanship. That said, by about four glory on the board, we had the pirate man-o-war, frigate, brig, and sloop all out, along with the Spanish treasure galleon and all four naval vessels. It was PACKED. I made out like a bandit since the pirates all held the center band of the board, so I could travel anywhere with relative ease due to my later bounties, while Anastasia was side-lined from the pressure. I ended up winning, but it was a close game. Really fun!

Gloomhaven
Wow, what an amazing session. We ended up all gaining a level just before the mission took place due to a city event reward. My class (tentacle skull) went from being my favorite play style (just curse and debilitate EVERYONE ALL THE TIME) to some of the most satisfying fun I've ever had in a board game due to a new card I unlocked and added to my hand. It's... bonkers. I had to look it up online afterward to make sure I didn't do something with it incorrectly and nope, I had played it correctly to and utterly-lovely degree. It turned our team of wimpy damage dealers into a utility power-house. Amazing. We won the scenario with time to spare and mopped up all of the swag. Sam made out with ninety-seven gold upon final conclusion of the scenario.

Tournay
Another good game with James on BGA. I am still a little shaky on how to play well, but I did pick a strategy and go with it (chain Commerce and Religion to get lots of deniers for big prestige buildings) but James was all Military, all the time. Between events and collapses etc... I fare pretty poorly in the long run. Better play next time!

Grand Austria Hotel
We introduced this to our friends, Jamie and Caroline. We've been playing a lot of Agricola with them and they wanted to try a different Eurogame, so we opted for this one. Overall, it didn't run overly long and both first-timers figured it out quite quickly. I ended up having few customers and most of them didn't reward many victory points upon order completion, but I ended up getting some key scoring staff by chaining as many "draw more staff" cards as possible. We all did well staying up with the Emperor, except Jamie who failed three times in a row but used his staff to buy off the penalties. It was a great game, and they want to play again and draft before we start (yesssss).



On My Mind:
Penny may really be turning a legitimate corner with her colic! She's been sweet and contended for much of the day this last week, and the weekend was especially nice. Very little sadness-for-no-reason, and only fussy like normal infants are fussy. Her personality is starting to come out a bit more and she's rocking a lot of headbands with giant bows, ribbons, and pom-poms. She's getting baptized next Sunday, and Anastasia's family is coming into town for the occasion, which is always nice.

I also finished putting together the first iteration of a giant Quick-Start RPGG Play-by-Forum GeekList, with the intention of consolidating out-of-character threads and rule summaries into single posts which can be easily copy-pasted into new games. Hopefully more games start and more people get in on the fun. I plan to expand the number of games listed, but I'm off to a good start.

https://rpggeek.com/geeklist/227973/i-love-play-forum-and-so...

Joseph and Grace both get some kudos on the list!
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15. Board Game: BANG! The Dice Game [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:462]
Chris Ferejohn
United States
Mountain View
California
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 N/A   BANG! The Dice Game x2 NEW!

I got Bang the Dice Game plus the Old Saloon Expansion for $20 in a BGG auction with local pickup and broke it out on Friday night at my game night. I'd played it once before, and it was as I remembered – it kept the social deduction/hidden role parts that I like from Bang and put them into a 10-20 minute game, rather than one that can drag on for an hour. Didn't try any of the expansion yet (it's essentially 5 mini-modules) other than a few of the characters that weren't dependent on any of the other modules. I think it's a really great filler that can play a fairly wide range of players.

 8   The Castles of Burgundy x2

Played one game of this with my wife (not playing nice this time, so I, umm, won) and also played a 3-player game at my game night with 2 new players. I'm thinking about printing out the expansion boards.

 6   Animal Upon Animal

I'm in Mammoth Lakes this week with my family. Played a game of this with Alistair. There were more extended family here early in the week, but hopefully with fewer people here I'll get a few games in with my mom who won't feel so chained to kitchen cleaning (my dad does all the cooking, and before you say "why don't you offer to clean", believe me we try and she chases us out with bread knives because we load her dishwasher 'wrong').

OMM

It's my birthday! Yay!. I'm 44! Boo!

I made sourdough bread with the sourdough starter my co-worker gave me a couple weeks ago. It came out quite well.

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