GCL Amoeba 335 - Fusion
Jeroen Doumen
Netherlands
Eindhoven
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GameChat League - Amoeba Division 335
ABOUT | AMOEBA DIVISION | SUBSCRIBE

Welcome to this week's discussion list!

If you stumbled into this geeklist by accident take a look at the pointers provided at the top. Constructive on-topic comments from visitors are welcome and we're happy about new regular contributors, but please refrain from adding items if you are not a member of this GCL.

The hosting rotation:

Larry (larryjrice)mb
Scott (qzhdad)
Eric (Eric Brosius)
James (jdludlow)
Justin (jrebelo)
Kalle (Kuula)
Rebecca (CoffeeRunner)
Joshua (Joshuaaaaaa)
Carlos (Sprocket314)
Mikko (msaari)
Doug (phrim)
Jason (Bond8089)
Garry (garry_rice)
Jimmy (Butterfly0038)
Jeroen (jmdsplotter)

Let's discuss some hypotheticals this week - fusions.
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1. Board Game: Fusion [Average Rating:6.14 Overall Rank:8655]
Jeroen Doumen
Netherlands
Eindhoven
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Take the last two games you played. How would a game look like if it combined those mechanisms?
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2. Board Game: Mecha Duel [Average Rating:6.40 Unranked]
Jeroen Doumen
Netherlands
Eindhoven
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What are your two favorite game mechanisms? How would a game ideally look if it had both of those? Which is your favorite (existing) game combining them?
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3. Board Game: Theme Park [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Jeroen Doumen
Netherlands
Eindhoven
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What are your two favorite game themes/settings? How would a game ideally look if it had both of those? Which is your favorite (existing) game combining them?
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4. Board Game: Mix It [Average Rating:6.11 Overall Rank:7460]
Jeroen Doumen
Netherlands
Eindhoven
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Which two things should never be mixed in a game?
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5. Board Game: Gentes [Average Rating:7.68 Overall Rank:1343]
Jeroen Doumen
Netherlands
Eindhoven
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1x _X.XX_ D'r Af
1x _9.25_ 1846: The Race for the Midwest
1x _7.00_ Gentes
1x _6.00_ A Feast for Odin
1x _6.00_ Nizza
1x _5.50_ Imperial Settlers
1x _5.50_ Die Drachenbändiger von Zavandor
1x _5.50_ Guru
1x _5.25_ Kasjba
1x _5.00_ Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Game: Diablo II Edition
1x _5.00_ Smugglers of the Galaxy
1x _4.00_ Admiral
1x _4.00_ X-Files

A slightly slower week gamewise, as many people were on holidays. So we played a bunch of older games .

I still quite enjoy Nizza. Not because it's such a brilliant design, but there simply is something in swinging pawns around the board on short anchored ropes/chains.

Kasjba was a pleasant surprise. It's quite simple (move through a changing maze), but it's simplicity made it enjoyable.

We also had not yet played Die Drachenbändiger von Zavandor. It's not even that bad as a game (though it's rating is horrible), and the illustrations are fantastic!

A package arrived during the week, and it contained Gentes . We quickly got it to the table (next day or so?). And were not disappointed: it's a quite fun take on worker placement. But instead of having workers, it's modeled as a time track, where each action you pick (from a limited set) costs an amount of time. And you can "borrow" some time from your next turn to do more now. Good fun!

The 1846 game was a teaching game at the office. I'm slowly converting some colleagues .
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6. Board Game: 1846: The Race for the Midwest [Average Rating:8.09 Overall Rank:560]
Mikko Saari
Finland
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1 x _8_1846: The Race for the Midwest
1 x _8_Dixit
1 x _8_Hero Realms

A very quiet week, because my son was busy in a coding summer camp.

Our weekly game night consisted of a four-player game of 1846. Nice game, except I made the biggest single blunder I've made in at least couple of years. I had decent PRR, with a small train problem, so I decided to start Erie in order to fix the problem.

Yeah, problem well fixed: I ended up buying a very expensive train for Erie, which made me lose all my money and all shares except two Erie shares. Well, I didn't have to worry about PRR anymore... Final scores were 8500-8100-5600-2000 or so. Bummer. If I had just bought IC stock instead of starting Erie, I would've done much, much better.
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7. Board Game: The Godfather: Corleone's Empire [Average Rating:7.68 Overall Rank:407]
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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 8   Gloomhaven

We are considering bumping up the difficulty - we've become proficient as a party with our current hero team.

 9   Terraforming Mars

Played on the Elysium board. It was interesting to have different focus in milestones and achievements and the map was different.

 7   Capital Lux

One of my favorite newer fillers that continues to see play.

 8   The Godfather: Corleone's Empire NEW!

Really enjoyed this one. Eric Lang often hits the sweet spot with area control for me and he creates an interesting blend of Ameritrash and Euro game. You could definitely see some influences of his previous designs in this one but it still felt different. The fourth and final round was a blood bath as all but a couple figures ended up in the Hudson River.

 7   Cthulhu Wars NEW!

I don't ever anticipate owning this one but I enjoyed my play. It plays quick and I always appreciate asymmetric factions done well.

ACQUISITIONS:

Lisboa
The Godfather: Corleone's Empire
Lignum - acquired the new Capstone Edition
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8. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:2242]
Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
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 N/A   Unpublished Prototype x2 -- As I mentioned in my WBC GeekList, Claire played Bob Stribula's newest crayon rails prototype, Hibernian Rails, at WBC (in Heat 1 of the tournament, as a matter of fact.)

We told Bob we'd like to help playtest it, and he e-mailed us the files. We PnP'ed it on Saturday, and we've played a 2-player game and a 4-player game so far. We're enjoying it quite a bit, and it really shone with 4 players. One person said "it's already clearly better than British Rails or China Rails."

We were able to make up all the components ourselves except the board, which I took to Staples to have printed out and laminated. It came out just about as nice as one of the commercially available roll-up boards from Mayfair.

Funny observation: When I placed my order at Staples, they asked whether I wanted to pay extra for expedited production. I said no; I could wait until it's ready. They said they'd probably have it by Sunday. By the time I finished my 5-minute drive home, they had sent me an e-mail saying it was ready. I guess that's their tactic to smoke out people who are willing to pay the extra charge!

It's great to see that even though I didn't play 1846: The Race for the Midwest this week, some Amoebas filled in the gap for me!
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9. Board Game: 1868 [Average Rating:7.38 Unranked]
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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 9   Qwixx x2 We played one regular and one Gemixxt. We used the row scoring for the latter, but it's not clear whether it should be the row or the color. (We also neglected to remove a colored die when "its" row locked.)

 N/A   Gulf, Mobile & Ohio Four player game, again not overly well received by at least one of the players. I think I need to come up with a better way to explain the game. Also, I'd like to come up with a "typical" first turn, so that with new players, everyone would start with some holdings, there'd be track on the map and we could start with Turn 2. Any thoughts?

 8   Grand Austria Hotel Another marathon game, I may just have to be more careful with whom I play this one. I must've done a good job teaching though, because the only newbie won.

 N/A   1868 NEW! We tried this new map with three. I am not sure what to think. The companies are all identically equipped with tokens and four of the five start in the same (lucrative) city on the south edge. The fifth starts on northeast corner in an 00 space, so it can't be started until three trains break. It uses 1830 tiles and a bank of $9000 which seemed a little long. The last round was simply running three ORs with maybe two tiles laid. Ours might have been a weird game, though as one player didn't start a company in the first SR. Also, two of the most lucrative offboard locations had the single token B tiles. I tokened both of them with the same company and never ran to both in a single OR. If another company had had one of the gateways, the game might have advanced a little faster.
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10. Board Game: Inis [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:122]
Rebecca Carpenter
United States
Seattle
Washington
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 5   Caverna: Cave vs Cave NEW!
 7.5   Inis x2 NEW!

Summer is sort of an "off" season for gaming for me, but a short one - I live in Seattle.

Inis
Have you seen this art in person? It has got to be one of the most beautiful games in the world (I'm not biased at all towards the numerous curly haired redheads whistle). Inis is a drafting and area of control game from Matagot. The designer worked on it for eight years, and it shows in the brilliant polish. Inis gives players an impressive amount of control over the game-state considering it's short play time; around 45 minutes 2P. It's a superb 2P too.

There is a small element of randomness that I'm considering implementing a house rule to tighten the game for us. In 2P, two of the 13 drafted Action cards allow for drawing a random Epic Tales card. In our last game I drew an Epic Tales card that allowed me before the following draft phase to set aside any card, and at the end of the draft swap it out for a card from my hand. Using this I set up a winning play that my husband was powerless to stop. Of course I had made a lot of choices leading up to that point which helped secure a victory, however it felt a little cheap, he was close to a win too. I'm considering playing with six Epic Tales cards face up that players can choose from (then replenish) or choose draw a random, secret Epic Tales card from the deck. I think this falls within the spirit of the game where battles are resolved without dice, and hands aren't dealt but drafted. I suspect such a solution isn't part of the design to help streamline games, but I don't mind if it adds a little time to our sessions. Will test and report back!

In the picture bellow, the Terrain tile on the far right is "Mountains". When any number of clans were moved into the Mountains, the player must put one back into their supply. I combined that effect with Festival to make my fortress impenetrable.


Our new cat, Rook, spectated from his ringside seat:


Caverna: Cave vs Cave is light. Probably the second lightest in Uwe's 2P small box series, which I'd rank from lighest to heaviest as:

Hengist
Caverna: Cave vs Cave
Babel
Le Havre: Inland Port
Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small
Patchwork

The goal of Caverna: Cave vs Cave is to excavate personal player boards (caves) to later furnish with rooms. There's an action track that, similarly to how actions become available in Agricola, expand by one at the start of the eight rounds. Some actions allow for excavating or building/furnishing rooms. To excavate players remove cave tiles and those tiles turn over to become the rooms available to build by either player. Some actions allow players to use a number of built room abilities, which are often gaining or converting resources. Depending on the phase players get 2-4 actions per round, alternating first player.

Turns are brisk thanks to a personal resource track that makes conversions simple, I really liked using it. There is some tension over actions spots, but there's always something else useful to do if taken, so not a lot of denial opportunities. There's a race to certain buildings, but since they vary in resource costs, and have wall requirements, it's possible to predict which one you'll get. A neat wrinkle is a spatial building wall requirement, but it turned out to be less of a spacial/planning puzzle than I hoped for.

The random order that the rooms come out makes furnishing caves tactical. The rooms have some very powerful combos, but might come out too late to set up for.

For me Cave vs Cave was a disappointment, but I could see it being good for a duo that doesn't like conflict and maybe needs randomness to handicap the better player.
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11. Board Game: Cthulhu Wars [Average Rating:8.02 Overall Rank:222] [Average Rating:8.02 Unranked]
Jason
United States
Irvine
California
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8.0  Cthulhu Wars NEW!
8.0  First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet NEW!
8.0  Stockpile
8.0  The Godfather: Corleone's Empire NEW!
6.0  Quests of Valeria
6.0  The Bottle Imp

Acquisitions:
Pathogenesis
Agamemnon
Trickster: Champions of Time
Monarch
The Guardians: Explore
A Handful of Stars

A really interesting week of gaming. I bought an insane amount of stuff for Cthulhu Wars, and while we only used one expansion faction, it was fun to get in a 5p game. I had a rough game as Cthulhu himself made like miserable for me for 2 turns, and instead of spending my power to deal with him, I spent it trying to take the lead, and this mistake really took me out of the game. Really fun area control game, with an insane amount of replayability. Looking forward to more plays.

The Godfather: Corleone's Empire was another area control game we got to the table. While its not fair to compare it to blood rage, because they stand on their own and are very different games, I am going to compare it to blood rage and say that I like Blood rage better, but this is a very good game. At this point Eric Lang is just a master with area control, and he put out another great game here. This is probably my favorite game to come out in 2017 so far, but it is obviously still very early.

I haven't played Stockpile with the expansion, and while I liked the game before, it is MUCH better with the expansion. Actually, I see no reason why you would ever play without it as it just adds more interesting choices without adding too much complexity.

I was so interested in First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet that I pre-ordered it directly from the publisher. The app is definitely a cool feature, as it takes over the event deck from Robinson Crusoe and makes it a little more surprising when things happen based on the choices you make. The best way to describe it is as Robinson 2.0. It did have a few english issues still (mostly in the app) which was disappointing, but at least most of them can be fixed in software updates.
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12. Board Game: Innovation Deluxe [Average Rating:8.42 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.42 Unranked]
Joshua Gottesman
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
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This was a pretty good gaming weekend. I went to both gaming groups on Saturday, and played some Silver Bayonet: The First Team in Vietnam, 1965 live on VASSAL Sunday. That was good because I'm playing with a guy with whom I used to game almost weekly until about 2 years ago, when our schedules stopped meshing and we had other distractions. We've started gaming again, and it's been a lot of fun.

Saturday was overall good, and a bit of a mixed bag. We only had 3 of us in the morning group (tomorrow we'll have 5, which is more typical) so we played The End of the Triumvirate which I haven't played in quite a number of years. It's a good game, and has a lot of back and forth, and beat on the leader. However, at the end of 5 years, someone is going to be consul twice and win even if there hasn't been a win under the other 2 ways. And that's how it went here, with me realizing I couldn't stop Caesar from getting his 2nd consulship until it was too late. This is a good, not great game. I'd play it again, and I don't mind if that "again" is 6 months from now.

We then played 2 games of Innovation Deluxe, one with the base set only, one with the Innovation: Cities of Destiny expansion. I'm starting to figure out how to use the expansion better, although that still didn't lead me to a win. I did win the 1st game with a lucky early card that got me a nice point lead I was able to maintain. I'm very glad this is hitting the table more frequently. I really like this game.

That was actually all our gaming with that group (or I didn't record something), as one of the players is very, very slow and methodical. He added about 45 minutes to End of the Triumvirate. In fact, I was invited to an evening game of Scythe Saturday night, and declined, partially because he was going to be one of the players, and I didn't want to deal with the game taking forever.

Instead, I went to the FLGS for gaming, and played a mixed bag. Only 5 of us were there (normal is at least 10) and one of the players likes lighter games. So we started off with Lovecraft Letter which is a decent Love Letter variant. I'm just mostly over LL, so I don't rush to play them. That didn't show here, though, as I won the game with a sanity win!

Then, partially to keep this guy from having a hissy fit, we played Ta-Da!. My expectations were very, very low for it. It turned out to be a silly, fun game, that I would play at a party, and probably not as part of a normal gaming session.

One player stat out the next game, which was Tiny Epic Quest and this game evolved a lot differently than the 1st game of it I played. I didn't catch any major mistakes we made the 1st time, I think the dice just made this more enjoyable, plus a few lessons learned from the 1st play. I came in 2nd and had fun. Importantly, a lot of the Itemeeples came out this time, and the game showed more depth. I'm more excited about it now.

The final game of the night was Speculation, which I had played a couple of years ago and thought was decent. It's not Black Friday and nobody had a copy of BF with them, so that didn't matter. There's a lot of luck in this game and a lot of attempts at mind-reading, and it's a short, relatively harmless game. I didn't win. I may not have even come in 2nd. And it was fun.

This weekend should be gaming tonight, tomorrow and Sunday.
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13. Board Game: Clinic [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:2752]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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On Saturday, we went to a monthly game day at Mike's.

_6_ Port Royal (new!) - This was with me, Anni, and Andrew; only Andrew had played before. I started out by buying a pirate, and generally tried to buy stuff that was available. That led to buying one or two of the guys that give bonuses when you take certain color ships, but after that I started to realize that money wasn't really the limiting factor. From there, I really started to focus on the guys that had symbols that could be turned in, in hopes of claiming one of the big-point contracts. Well, as it turns out Anni ended the game, but on my last-licks turn I was luckily able to get one last symbol so that I could claim the biggest contract. I was well behind at the point, and I still came in last--but at least it was only last by one point. Anni won.


_7_ Orléans - This was with me, Anni, Micah, and Andrew; Micah and Andrew were new. In the beginning, everyone went after knights to increase the draw size, but I was the only one who focused on scholars early on and and took the lead on the book track. In this way, I was able to pick up both tokens from the book track. By paying attention to the turn order, I was able to pick up a few more of those through by sending chips to the other board. I didn't start moving around until later in the game, and didn't really focus on gathering goods at all. Basically, I just tried to stay ahead of events that took goods. I felt a little bad for Andrew, as he based his whole game on collecting goods, and then the "pay 1 per 3 goods" came up three in a row on rounds 15-16-17. Anyway, I started just building lots of cities toward the end of the game, and maxed out the book track. With all the multipliers I had, I won pretty easily.


_6_ Clinic (new!) - This was with me, Mike, and Saleena; no one had played before but Mike had read the rules. I decided to go right away after the multi-building strategy, placing another building in the far corner of my initial placements. I bought some a couple more entrances so that I had entrances right next to all of my treatment rooms, and the extra patient admit points didn't hurt either. I had these grand plans to start building upward and expand into more different specialties, but by the time I got around to it, I judged there wasn't enough time in the game. So, I decided to just try to be as efficient as possible with what I had. I didn't end up getting a lab, so I basically made due with white doctors and used nurses to bump them up. I felt like I was behind for a lot of the game, so I thought my lack of ambition would do me in, but it was really too late to change course. In the last round, though, Saleena was out in front, so she got the last crack at admitting patients, and by the time her turn came around, Mike and I had cleaned them out. That really put her at a severe disadvantage, so when all was said and done, I finished in second.


_6_ Tiny Epic Quest (new!) - Same group here; only Saleena had played before. I was looking for something filler-length while Anni finished her game, but this turned out to be a lot more involved than that. I tried to do a bunch of stuff on a lot of different fronts, but it might've been late enough that I wasn't thinking straight--after clearing out a temple I forgot to claim the associated quest card, and then Mike took it two turns later. Oops. Anyway, we played far enough into the game that we got what it was about, but it was really late, so we decided to call the game after four rounds without scoring.



THOUGHTS ON NEW-TO-ME GAMES

Port Royal is a light push-your-luck card game. On his turn, a player reveals cards until either he wants to take one, or two ships of the same color are flipped. In the latter case, that player "busts" and loses his turn. Otherwise, after the player takes a card, the other players can pay that player a coin to take one of the remaining cards. Cards can either provide a player with coins, grant special abilities like extra coins when taking a certain color or when a certain number of cards have been flipped, or provide icons that can be redeemed for big-point public contracts. This is a pretty simple game, and like many games of its ilk, card flips tend to trump any sort of strategy. This one didn't really stand out to me.

Clinic is a complex logistics game about building and running a hospital. Players have to build facilities of different medical specialties on a three-dimensional grid board, hire doctors, nurses, and staff members to run the hospital, and then compete with other players to attract patients who they can treat given the services offered and the experience level of the doctors. The game also makes the player deal with things like having sufficient parking for everyone, and the time involved in moving through the facility. I found it very odd that doctors, once hired, gradually become less and less skilled--this didn't make much sense to me, it was very hard to prevent, and it had a huge impact on the game. Also, the competition for the limited pool of patients can get quite fierce toward the end of the game, and it's very easy to get screwed just due to turn order. I also thought that the game was too short (not to mention the patient pool) for the grand complex that the player boards seem to imply that one should strive for. On the whole, I thought this was a bit of a disappointment. I do like complex logistics games, but this one just had an unfinished feel to it, like it needed some more refinement to get everything balanced correctly.

Tiny Epic Quest is a game that's based on Zelda-style adventure video games. Each round is played in two parts--a movement phase and a dice-rolling phase. During the movement phase, players draft movement cards and then that player, as well as all of the other players, can move one of their three pawns on the map board according to that movement card. Then, during the dice-rolling phase, players roll a number of dice whose faces correspond to various spaces that their pawns may have landed on--torches and scrolls help explore dungeons, goblin faces help defeat goblins, mushrooms help you learn spells, etc. However, these faces can be used by all players, so while players can keep rolling dice in turn indefinitely, they have to decide whether they're helping themselves more than other players. There are also a number of quest cards available that can be claimed by exploring certain dungeons or moving to certain places. The scoring of the game encourages players to go after a mix of goblins, quests, and spells. While the game was cute and definitely evoked the adventure game feel, I didn't really find much tension in the game, and on the whole thought that the game was longer than it needed to be. After a while it just seemed like I was doing the same things over and over again.
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14. Board Game: Founders of Gloomhaven [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:6248]
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
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GCL tool isn't working right now, do I'm just going to list the one game of note I played last week...played a two player game of this game with my friend Chris and we both really enjoyed it.

It combines a little bit of a "hand builder" (a la Concordia) with a lot of spatial placement of building tiles that range from level one to three...the tricky thing is that diagonal is considered adjacent, and you may not have your own buildings adjacent to each other. The board is also divided into three sections, with each person having three tiles they (and only they) may use to cross over into the next area. Level two buildings require one or more level one buildings...Level three buildings require two or more level two and/or one buildings...and then you have the prestige buildings which generally require level two or three goods and are used as the game tower.

As the board starts to fill up, it can get more and more challenging to find valid placements for some of the buildings you are seeking to build, and the other player's may build buildings that cut you off. All connections must be traced via roads - you cannot pass a good through another building into the building that requires it.

Some small concerns - players own specific resources and can hold it for hostage without ever putting it out into the board until they gave a place they can build it and only they have access. I did not see this, but I know Isaac is working on addressing this...I suspect this is more of an issue at higher player counts.

There are also two level one goods that convert immediately into a level two goods - it can appear to give a boost to the player that controls one or two of them early in the game, although I think it is ultimately balanced pretty well.

Icons are really too small on the tiles...they need to be larger!

Looking forward to more plays! This was on a pnp copy that I built for myself.
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