GCL Amoeba 337 -- Everyone's tried these games but you (2017-08-20)
Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
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GameChat League - Amoeba Division 337
ABOUT | AMOEBA DIVISION | SUBSCRIBE

Welcome to this week's discussion list!

If you stumbled into this geeklist by accident, take a look at the links 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:

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

[Other Amoeba alumni are welcome to ask to return to the hosting rotation! We'd love to have you back with us.]

This week's topic:

I'm stealing/modifying something that Jennifer Schlickbernd asked in a recent GCL Eclipse list. She asked "What top 25 games haven't you played?" But I'm going to ask about a different top 25: the Top 25 games on the Most Rated list. I could ask about the Most Played list, but this data is misleading because some people record millions or billions of plays for a favorite game. So I'm taking an easier road. Here's a link to the "Most Rated" games:

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/browse/boardgame?sort=numvoter...

Every game on this list has at least 28,000 ratings on BGG.

My questions for this week:

(1) Of the games on this list, which ones haven't you played? (Or, if you've played them all, which wouldn't be surprising, which ones have you played the least?)

(2) Why haven't you played these games? I haven't played them all, but there's not a single one that I'm not aware of. Have you deliberately avoided them, or has the opportunity just not come up?

(3) Which of these games have you played most often? What is it that has drawn you to this game so often?
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1. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:237] [Average Rating:7.32 Unranked]
Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
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The first game on this list that I haven't played is Arkham Horror, which has been rated by 30,674 different BGG users. The main reason is that none of the groups I've been part of focuses all that much on what are called "thematic games" (though I think many of the wargames I play are "thematic games", that's not what the term commonly means.)

I have played a different game in this general category, Betrayal at House on the Hill, which has over 23,000 ratings, because my current group often plays it near Halloween. But although I wouldn't flee in horror from a play of Arkham Horror, the playing time seems (from what I understand) to be longer than I think I'd want to spend on a game like this.
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2. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:49]
Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
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The game on this list that I've played most often is Race for the Galaxy. I've played it more often than any other game. Including games played with one or more expansions, I've played it 627 times (and that doesn't count thousands of electronic plays.) It's one of my .10!-rated games. I find that the different cards you're dealt every game makes it an unending challenge.
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3. Board Game: Forbidden Island [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:584]
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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Of those listed with at least 28,0000 ratings, this is the only one I have not played. I never saw a reason to acquire and play it as it is a simpler derivative of Pandemic and I didn't see any reason to simplify Pandemic. That said, if someone wanted to play, I would be willing to do so.
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4. Board Game: Munchkin [Average Rating:5.94 Overall Rank:3346] [Average Rating:5.94 Unranked]
Jeroen Doumen
Netherlands
Eindhoven
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The top one on that list I haven't yet played is Munchkin. I'll likely get around to it sometime, but it's (I guess?) not a game to go out of my way for.
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5. Board Game: The 7th Continent [Average Rating:8.72 Overall Rank:18]
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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New to Me:

The 7th Continent d10-7

Probably best as a solo game, this one can still be fun as a team game. Just feels odd that anyone can take a turn at any time. The puzzling is interesting and the save game mechanism is pretty solid. We started the first scenario and
Spoiler (click to reveal)
just got off the island via the submarine
. Curious to see what is next and if we win the scenario or run out of time. Having never played before, I don't know what to expect. It is definitely a bit on the fiddly side with all the cards, but I do find it interesting to see what happens next.

Return Visits:

Gloomhaven d10-8

We won again although one character was nearly "dead" if we went another turn due to the boss effects and how he tends to run his character(s). This was one of the few times we didn't bother killing every monster but instead just focused on the boss once we hit its room.

=======================================

Didn't get as much gaming in this week due to coming down with a cold and also the busyness of work right now as the University starts up on Monday. Good to have students back again - we'll see how long I'll be saying that!

ACQUISITIONS:

Twilight Struggle - Acquired the Collector's Edition. Not really necessary, but it is one of my favorite games so I caved when I was able to pick up a local copy. I must say those card sleeves are just odd.
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6. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:72] [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked]
Jeroen Doumen
Netherlands
Eindhoven
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The one I played most. For a couple of reasons I think: I enjoy it, B. enjoys it even more, and it's been kept fresh by a bazillion expansions and promos.
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7. Board Game: Dixit [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:193] [Average Rating:7.32 Unranked]
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
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Of the first 25, it's just Dixit that I haven't played...I've at least tried all of them once. I know this is in the game group, and I know my associate pastor just picked up a copy...so maybe I'll try it someday...that said, I'm not chomping at the bit to do so.

The whole idea behind the game just doesn't really give me much interest, and certainly not the mechanism.

That said, I'd much rather give this a try than ever revisit Arkham Horror or Munchkin ever again...

As for which ones I've played the most, that is also largely due to an app being available. Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne are both apps my son and I have played together a lot and I played a lot of Stone Age on Yucata I think a number of years ago. King of Tokyo gets a few plays every year at our youth retreat, so that has added up over the years as well.

Dominion got a lot of play when it first came out, but not for several years now...same with 7 Wonders.

I only own a physical copy of 4 of the top 25 any more - I've either moved on to other games or play them largely on my tablet.
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8. Board Game: Abraca...what? [Average Rating:6.59 Overall Rank:1943]
Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
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I played just three games this past week, on Monday night. But they were all unusual plays. And none was a first play; I already knew I liked them!

_9_ Merchant of Venus -- There was a game of 1846: The Race for the Midwest starting up, but it worked better for me, given the people in attendance, to join a Merchant of Venus game that was starting up. We chose to play to a goal of $3,145 (a number that Joe Huber made up on the spot.) Why restrict yourself to playing to a round number when you can have a different goal every game?

My game went just about as well as a game could possibly go. Joe started by heading north to the Interstellar Biosphere system, and I headed west to the Colony World system. He found #7a and I found #8, using the IOU to help me buy an Impossible Furniture, spending only $30 cash. I thought he had the advantage because #7a can deliver Chicle Liquor to #8, but not vice-versa. But then I went southeast to the Giant Planet system, found #1a, and earned $180 from selling Impossible Furniture. I decided not to buy a spaceport; I simply spent the IOU from #1a on a Bionic Perfume. I then headed east into the Multi-Generation Ship system and found #5. I couldn't deliver Bionic Perfume there (not quite,) but I would be able to deliver Melf Pelts to the Space Station Planet system, where John had discovered the Eeepeep, so I bought Neutron Port, which looked like it would be handy in this game. My pilot die wasn't right for that, though, so I used a pilot die of 6 to go southeast to the War-Torn System, where I discovered #3, the Niks! This not only allowed me to sell my Bionic Perfume for $140; it also let me pick up Mulch Wine for delivery back to Neutron Port.

Well, it just kept going like that. I did relatively little potato jumping, but my opponents found four jump gates in the northeast part of the board, so I built ports and factories and bought a Transport to increase my revenue per trip; it was so easy to get from pick-up to delivery in this game. Some of the others did interesting things; Joe bought both a red drive and a yellow drive, but I made it over $3,145 quickly. My three opponents combined had slightly more money than I had at the end (to be fair, some of them had valuable goods still in transit on board their ships.) But it was one of the luckiest games of Merchant of Venus I've seen in more than 50 plays.

_8_ Abraca...what? -- Joe suggested this next, and I was happy to play; I had just looked at it the previous week and thought it would be nice to play it again. It's a game in which deduction is important, but you don't win by deducing; you win by killing your fellow mages or by casting all your spells in a single turn. In the first round, I saw that my opponents had the '1', both '2's, all three '3's, and three of the '4's showing. This promised to make things easier for me; I didn't need to endanger myself and waste time guessing the low numbers. I lay low for a little while, but when the last '4' didn't show up, I decided to try for it. I cast '4' successfully, giving me a spell stone. I then cast, in order, '5', '6', '7' and '8', emptying my hand and (by rule) killing all my opponents. I got 3 VP for killing them and 1 VP more for having a spell stone at the end. With 4 VP, I was halfway to the 8 VP you need to end the game, and none of my opponents had any VP!

In the next hand, my opponents once again had a lot of the low numbers, including the '1' and both '2's (like in Hanabi, you can't see your own spells, so you must deduce or guess.) Perhaps because of the odd distribution, there was a surfeit of self-inflicted damage, and after a few turns around the table, John to my left was down to 2 life points. I had a spell stone already, so I decided to try to kill him. I cast '5', costing John and Joe a life, followed by '6', costing John his last life. This gave me 3 VP for killing John and 1 VP more for having a spell stone, putting me at 8 VP and winning the game. The final scores were 8-1-1-0 (Joe and Bill each got 1 VP in the second round for surviving.) I had to take a few chances, but they sure turned out well!

_8_ Fast Food Franchise -- For our closer we chose this Tom Lehmann-designed favorite of ours, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. It's a good closer because people can leave as they go bankrupt. Well, Joe had a great start. He founded Steak 'n' Salad in (I think) Washington, and Bill and I both landed on it on our first time around the board. I started a scrawny Family Style in the Southern US, John started Noodles in Chicago (we were using the expansion) and Bill started...I don't remember; he didn't survive long. Somehow we managed to avoid hitting Steak 'n' Salad too many times, landing instead on the event space between Philadelphia and Washington several time, and John's noodles started to grow. I used a Hostile Takeover to buy out Joe's market in New York once (paying him $140,000 to get a market was better than paying him $150,000 in rent and getting nothing,) but it wasn't long before I was out too. But John made a remarkable comeback, building his noodles up until their revenue when hit was equal to Joe's (more franchises, but less income per franchise.) He also started Dark 'n' Gooey, which grew nicely as Joe hit it. At one point Joe looked to be in trouble, but then he came back and John was almost out, but then John came back. Joe conceded when it was clear that John was about to hit $1,000,000. Joe was probably going to survive, but in addition to winning by bankrupting all your opponents, you can win by accumulating $1,000,000 in cash.

This is an enjoyable game, in the roll and move genre, but with many important decisions. If you can find a way to try it, I recommend it. For a 25-year-old game, it's a lot of fun to play.
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9. Board Game: The 7th Continent [Average Rating:8.72 Overall Rank:18]
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
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Summit: The Board Game 2
The 7th Continent 1
Bärenpark 1
Burgle Bros. 1
Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure 1
Daytona 500 1
Fields of Green 1
Guillotine 1
Telestrations 1

I miss the tool

Caleb and I have been enjoying 7th Continent...

Spoiler (click to reveal)
unlike Larry, we did not find the second item to unlock the submarine, so we exhausted almost all of our health to build and sail a raft over to the continent (where we have promptly died in a follow up play today)...so we'll be starting over but with a much better idea of what we need to do for the sub.


Caleb and I also tried Summit in co-op mode. We enjoyed it, but the event cards certainly can take away...and give a little bit back occasionally Caleb barely made it back down alive...we thought he was a goner!

Really enjoyed my first play of Barenpark although I played poorly. I'd put it up there with the best if not the best of the tile laying Tetris type games.

I don't think I ever really have to play Guillotine again...
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10. Board Game: Clippers [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:2096]
Mikko Saari
Finland
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2 x _8_No Thanks!
1 x _8_Clippers
1 x _8_At the Gates of Loyang
1 x _8_Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King
1 x _8_Honshū
2 x _8_Hero Realms
1 x _7_Déjà Vu (new!)

A solid week of games. I was most pleased to get Clippers on the table. I've only now managed to play it three times in five years, but it's always been good fun. Despite the component issues, it is a fun game, with interesting decisions. Playing ports or taking bonus tiles? Not an easy decision to make.

Deja-vu is a solid game of memory and speed. I noticed it didn't have a text review in English, so I wrote one: Deja-vu – Do you remember playing this game?

I made a Uwe top 10 list recently and that made me want to play At the Gates of Loyang. My son was happy to join me. What a charming game.

(My current Uwe Rosenberg top ten is:

1. Ora et Labora
2. Fields of Arle
3. A Feast for Odin
4. Merkator
5. Agricola
6. Le Havre: The Inland Port
7. Caverna
8. Glass Road
9. Patchwork
10. At the Gates of Loyang

The top three could really be in any order, and I'd be happy about it.)
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11. Board Game: The 7th Continent [Average Rating:8.72 Overall Rank:18]
Jeroen Doumen
Netherlands
Eindhoven
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3x _7.50_ Jump Drive
3x _6.00_ Fabled Fruit
2x _6.00_ Starship Catan
1x _7.00_ The 7th Continent
1x _6.50_ The Castles of Burgundy
1x _5.75_ Mint Works
1x _5.75_ Time of Crisis
1x _5.50_ Balneator
1x _5.25_ Die, Robot, Die!
1x _5.25_ Schwere Schritte
1x _5.25_ Space Drifters
1x _5.00_ Das Kabinett des Königs
1x _5.00_ Alles Müller
1x _5.00_ Trau Dich
1x _4.00_ Potarutomm
1x _4.00_ Versunkene Schätze
1x _4.00_ Bet Royal
1x _4.00_ Hirnakrobaten
1x _4.00_ TV Wars
1x _3.00_ Gridiron Fantasy Football
1x _3.00_ Twitch

WEll, I'm also jumping on the bandwagon this week: my KS copy of The 7th Continent arrived. We played a 2p game over the weekend with just the first curse. Spoiler: we lost . But we enjoyed ourselves quite a bit,
Spoiler (click to reveal)
we picked up the parts for the submarine but died on the mainland afterwards due to a thunderstorm blocking us
. No problems with the asynchronous play; though we almost always stayed together and performed actions together. Still have to get a handle on getting cards out of our hands more efficiently though.

Our weekly Friday game was Time of Crisis. Enjoyable, though I think I'll skip ordering a copy. somehow, the set of cards one can get for the deckbuilding part seems too restrictive. I'd like to have seen a bigger mix I guess. But teh game itself works well.

We also got TV Wars out for a play. But I don't think we'll be doing that again soon... Though it was amusing to see all the riffs on 80s TV show names.

Other than that, I'm starting to make my way through all the Spielbox magazine games. Some are decent, others are worse .
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12. Board Game: Android: Netrunner [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:39]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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I've played every game in the top 25 of that list. To get to the first one I haven't played, we have to go down to #43 Android: Netrunner. As a two-player collectible game that's really intended to be a "lifestyle" game, this doesn't really fit my current gaming habits at all. I wouldn't mind playing this at one point just to check it off the list, though.

Other games in the top 100 I haven't played:

#51 Star Realms - Not sure if this one really counts as I've played the app (solo).
#54 Memoir '44 - Two-player combat game. Neither of us are completely opposed to combat games, but Anni doesn't like modern warfare.
#66 A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (Second Edition) - I like the source material, but I hate Diplomacy-style games, so I have zero interest.
#70 Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game - Another two-player collectible "lifestyle" game.
#71 Eldritch Horror - I'm pretty sure this one isn't my style, but I'd happily play if asked.
#74 The Resistance: Avalon - I hate The Resistance, and have zero interest in a reskinned version.
#88 Twilight Imperium (Third Edition) - I kept telling myself that one day I'd play this epic space 4x game, but it hasn't happened yet. I guess at this point I'm more likely to play the 4th ed though.
#95 Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition) - I've played the first edition and had fun with it, but campaign-style games are so hard to fit into my gaming schedule.
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13. Board Game: Lisboa [Average Rating:8.25 Overall Rank:132]
Joshua Gottesman
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
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Gaming on Friday night and Saturday all day, going way too late on both nights, so I ended up blowing off my once a month D&D game on Sunday. However, the 2 days I did game were great.

Friday night was Gloomhaven night and we got our 1st 2 new characters (and 1st retired character). We played 2 scenarios to get there. Alas, this game is going to about once per month because of schedules, and it's still great. Before that, though, while waiting for 1 of the players, we played a 3 player game of Honshū which I like as a filler. Not totally up my alley, and still a good game. Final scores in this one were 59, 57 and 56 (me).

Saturday we started off with Raiders of the North Sea. I'd heard good things about it, and hadn't had a chance to play it. A bit too light to be in my favorites (despite me winning convincingly), and I enjoyed it. I'd play it again. Oh, and I'll admit I got lucky with the dice once or twice, although my margin of victory meant that even average die rolls and I would have won.

We then started our Near and Far campaign, playing map 2. I did not repeat my RotNS success here, coming in last on this map, as I didn't get to enough adventures. I'm starting to see where to go for points, and it's a 10 or 11 game campaign, it's not like my deficit is insurmountable. And the game continues to be a lot of fun. I really like how the sidequest mechanism means that it takes longer to reveal everything about a map. I'm also excited for character mode at some point.

In the evening, I played 2 games. The 1st was Lisboa, which I had wanted to try. I really enjoyed it (despite doing terribly) and it has the same issue that all Vital Lacerda games have for me. I don't own them, and if I only play them 1x every 3 months, I'll never get any sort of expertise at them. So, hopefully I play this again sooner rather than later. We then played Yokohama, which I'm enjoying although I'm still sporting an o'fer in it. One of the players said it basically didn't offer anything that wasn't in Istanbul and didn't like it. While I see the similarities, I don't think they are all that many similar. Also, I own Yokohama and don't own Istanbul (a game I also like), so it's not that big a deal for me.
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14. Board Game: The Fox in the Forest [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:701]
Rebecca Carpenter
United States
Seattle
Washington
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 N/A   Locomotive Werks NEW!
 7   The Fox in the Forest x2 NEW!
 7   Glass Road NEW!

Locomotive Werks
I was under the impression that LW was a good 3P Winsome. Oh no. No it is not. The dice were too random for James. Hopefully he'll try it again with 5P.

The Fox in the Forest is a fantastic 2P only trick taking game! Points are awarded based on number of tricks won each hand, but, what's interesting is if a player wins only 0-3 tricks then they are awarded the max number of points, 6, and their opponent will have taken too many tricks (they call it greedy) and receive 0 points. I managed to pull that off once. There are also five different cards that give a subtle additional ability that I found numerous different uses for. Very clever game that gives players a lot of control over a "bad" hand.

Glass Road struck me as having a lot in common with Caverna: Cave vs Cave, but I much prefer Glass Roads. I'm not in love with it though. I just don't enjoy the random draw of buildings. They don't ruin the game, but do detract from strategy. Maybe that's okay, it's a short game that fits on my little TV trays and so it can be leisurely played in the comfy chairs.



My 1860 game was cancelled last minute. It was depressing. I'll move mountains to get in an 18xx this week - I don't even care which one!
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15. Board Game: Stroop [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:5374]
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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I didn't put in an entry last week, so this starts a couple Saturdays ago.

Hanson and I were looking for games that I'd traded in the GenCon math trad e and brought up a few to try, Phoenix and Chebache. Both are interesting ideas, but both are on trade pile. Then we went to pick up Zandra from the airport.

Sunday morning before the birthday girl got up, Hanson, Zandra and I played a couple games of Innovation with Innovation: Echoes of the Past. Usually the kids like to only play the base, but they humored me.

Then Hanson had to go to work and Lisa's mom and sister came over so we could go to brunch for Lisa's birthday. After we got home, Zandra and I played Stroop with Aunt Sue, then all of us played one of Lisa's favorites, Duck, Duck, Bruce.

Tuesday after we packed for GenCon, I taught Zandra Bohnanza: The Duel since we'd be teaching it in the Rio room. Wednesday we headed down to help set up the room. I got in a Jump Drive and a Hare & Tortoise and lots of partial games while setting up and refreshing memories. After setting up, we headed to Rock Bottom and played Gulf, Mobile & Ohio and a couple games of Race for the Galaxy: Xeno Invasion before calling it a night.

Wednesday, I got to play Dominion: Empires in the room and Stroop at High Velocity while having a late night beer and snack.

Friday was more Empires and Xeno and a Roll for the Galaxy. I was all set to play some party games, but my oldest was hungry, so rather than have her wander the streets of Indy at midnight, I walked her to Steak n Shake since the RAM's kitchen was closed. Before demo-ing, I also got to walk around the GenCon I exhibit with Tom Wham and Hanson. Tom missed GenCon I, but he had heard a lot of stories and shared them.

Saturday was a good day, I was done demo-ing by 4 and after lunch went back to the Rio room for Tin Goose, Temporum, Jump Drive and Roll for the Galaxy. Then we headed to the RAM for an Unpublished Prototype of Alan D. Ernstein before heading back to inventory the demo games. After that some of us found an empty table back at the hotel and played some Stroop and Word Slam until ~3 AM.

Sunday, we played a Word Slam to show Lisa and then we got to play Felithian Finance with Tom.

Monday was a lot of driving, two minutes of wonder and a game of Stroop.
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16. Board Game: Lisboa [Average Rating:8.25 Overall Rank:132]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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On Thursday, Anni and I played the next scenario for Near and Far.

_7_ Near and Far - For some reason, the cards we drafted this time didn't have very many faction flags required at all--I don't think I kept any cards that required a flag. Since I didn't need flags (and could therefore not bother with quests as much), I doubled-down on eyes and hands in the characters I chose, and was able to fill out my team very quickly. I didn't have any incentive to replace my cat, since it provided a eye and hand on its own. It turns out this was very effective, especially as many of my artifact cards gave me even more symbols. This culminated in getting out my big card, the Iron Crawler, and I finished my artifacts quickly enough that I had time to go fishing for more (and got that one out too). Once I was pretty well set with my artifacts, I did switch modes and try to hit the quests, and ended up with a sidequest to fix an Iron Crawler--this was a little strange since I had just played an Iron Crawler. Well, the quest's conclusion granted me another Iron Crawler from the World Deck, so I had two. That quest also gave me a bunch of red flags, and not having any place to spend flags, I grabbed another red character just so I could grab the Chief. I won by quite a bit.


On Saturday, we went to an impromptu game day at Mike's house to celebrate his son Richie going off to college.

_7_ Lisboa (new!) - This was with me, Brian, Andrea, and Richie; only Richie had played before. Mike explained the rules before the game, but he didn't go through the whole thing, so I ended up not really knowing what I was doing in the beginning. Early on, I was limited by not having money, and when I finally money it wound up being influence that I was constantly short on. I picked up a church tile that let me pay money instead of influence, which wasn't as great as it sounded as I was able to get that same ability on my board in a few turns (and the church guy never did get around again). I was able to do some things right though. My first bonus card was for books, I so concentrated all of my shops on the book row, and I did a really good job at maxing out scoring them with the placement of public buildings. I wound up finishing in 3rd, but I wasn't too far behind the first two players.


_6_ Carcassonne - Same group here; we chose this game as something short as Andrea had to leave soon. Well, Andrea had to leave earlier than we thought, as she left in the middle of the game and we just pulled her meeples off. We included the Inns & Cathedrals expansion. I ended up getting stuck in the unfinishable city early on, and generally placed my meeples whenever I could, so as the game progressed I found myself not having available meeples when I needed them (especially for monasteries). I had placed a farmer early in the game, which didn't look like it would be very good, but I was able to connect enough fields that it ended up scoring pretty well. I also placed my big meeple as a farmer later in the game, which was looking very good for me, but Richie engineered taking over that field from me with his own big meeple plus another meeple. Still, I managed to win the game somehow--I wasn't paying much attention to the score so this took me by surprise.


_5_ Magic Maze - We played a round of this with me, Brian, and Richie; and then Richie's friend showed up so we played a few more rounds with 4. Since I had played before I didn't request an explanation, but this was kind of a mistake, as I didn't know what some of the symbols did and it really dragged the team down. I also had no concept of strategy. When Richie's friend showed up I was no longer the anchor, though, as he knew the game less well than I did (although I think at that time we switched from an "advanced" game to a "basic" game). After a few plays we did finally manage to win. First time I've been in a win, so I guess I know how it works now.


_7_ Trains - This was with me, Anni, Brian, and Davey; only Davey was new but he had played a lot of Dominion so he didn't have trouble. We played on the Osaka board, with a mix of base game cards and expansion cards. Early on, I focused my buying on the Trains equivalents of the Cellar and the Merchant Ship (along with the Silver equivalent). As the game progressed, I found that having a ton of money wasn't really that useful, so I instead focused on the cards that let me build rails and stations. I found myself with a very good board position, having basically the entire southeast city section to myself. I kept doing that until the game ended, and won.



THOUGHTS ON NEW-TO-ME GAMES

Like the other Vital Lacerda games, Lisboa is a complex game full of interlocking parts. There are three major actions you can take on a turn--building a shop, building a public building, or taking a card from the display of end-game bonus cards. Each of these actions has a number of side-actions that can be performed along with it, or instead of it, and depending on how you play your action card, different parts of each action and different symbols on the card can be activated. Scoring points revolves around placing both public buildings and shops, as the latter acts as multipliers for the former. Furthermore, for shops you need money, for public buildings you need officials, and for any action you need influence--and gathering these resources requires following a different path of secondary actions. Suffice to say, this one is difficult to wrap your head around in the first play. Once you start to grok the game, though, it seems pretty fun to try to plan out your path through the game without hitting roadblocks.
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