GCL ECLIPSE # 302 The Universal Shift
Dan
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With the eclipse last week, I've heard people talk about the effect on peoples lives below the surface, changing habits, or jobs, or relationships.

What shifts have happened in your gaming life in the last year or more? How has the universe shifted your gaming habits?

Next up:

Meghan Naxer
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Kent
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PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING:

If you're a lurker or have otherwise discovered GCL Eclipse, feel free to read along with us. And if you have a constructive comment or something else you think would add to the discussion, consider posting it—if it's helpful, respectful, and polite to the discussion group as a whole, as well as to its individual members. However, if you'd like to join in regular discussion, first post to the current discussion list inquiring about the possibility of becoming a member, with full discussion privileges. For more info, see the GCL: Eclipse wiki

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1. Board Game: Murder Mystery Party: A Taste for Wine and Murder [Average Rating:6.90 Unranked]
Dan
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Have your gaming tastes changed? Are there games that you liked, that you no longer pull off the shelf? Are there games you ignored, but now feel yourself drawn to?
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2. Board Game: Funny Friends [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:1627]
Dan
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Have you seen gaming friends come? Have you seen gaming friends go?
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3. Board Game: Seasons: Path of Destiny [Average Rating:7.90 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.90 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.90 Unranked]
Dan
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Sometimes when we play games, we have set strategies that we often follow. Have you ever changed your default strategy? How did it work out?
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4. Board Game: Container: The Second Shipment [Average Rating:7.30 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.30 Unranked]
Dan
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Do you ever change the way that you store your games? When was the last time you updated your shelves?
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5. Board Game: Change Horses [Average Rating:5.37 Overall Rank:14214]
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Sometimes in the middle of a game, you find that you need to change course (change horse?) and pursue a different goal. Have you a gaming story recently where you've had to change course in the middle of a game? Was it for the better, or worse?
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6. Board Game Publisher: Asmodee
Dan
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Any opinions on the industry shifts that have been going on? Game company mergers? Kickstarter trends? Convention changes?
 
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7. Board Game: Photosynthesis [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:345]
Daniel West
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Springfield
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This was a good week for the new hotness for me. I got to try three new to me games.

Photosynthesis was my first new to me game. It was interesting, but I did feel in my initial game that there was a runaway leader issue as the player who was not blocked early got more light points to plant more trees to produce more light points as the game went on. I do want to play it again to see if my concerns will be repeated, especially since the system within this abstract was a lot of fun.

Whistle Stop was my next new to me game. I enjoyed it and definitely want to give it another try. It managed to fit everything in a typical train game into a lightweight package. I did miss the geography element which was given up for the sake of tile laying, but that was a minor gripe. Still, this was a well done game.

The Quest for El Dorado was the last new to me game, which was also fun. The challenge of figuring out how to slowly grow your deck to deal with the changing terrain challenges is interesting. In the end, like the other new games this week, I will definitely play again, but am not sure I'm going to buy it.
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8. Board Game: Capitol [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:1374]
Geeky McGeekface
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Manassas
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So I've been trying to bring some older games to game night, stuff that's really good IMO, but not well remembered. People have been willing to try them, because they're new-to-them. I started with a couple of Wallace titles. Steel Driver was a big hit; Tempus less so, but it still proved that it's a solid game, if not the life-changing experience it was originally hyped to be.

Last week, I brought Capitol, one of my favorite Moon/Weissblum designs. It's a city building game from 2001, in which, uniquely, the buildings are constructed off of the game board, only to be magically teleported to the building site once they're completed. The reception was decidedly cool. No one hated it and most of the folks would be willing to give it another try, but none of the other 3 players were that thrilled with it. I, OTOH, thought it was as great as ever, despite my finishing last. I love the tension and timing of the game, as an opponent's newly constructed 4 story building looms over everything, as well as the fact that everything can change with a single card play. I think it's held up very well over the last 16 years.

All of which leads me to a Big Philosophical Question. My opponents were all experienced gamers, but I'm pretty sure none of them were active in the hobby during the early days of the century. So my question is this: Is there a significant difference between the games released circa 2000 that would make them less appealing to a gamer with less than 10 years experience in the hobby than one who was active at that time (like me)? Certainly Capitol (and San Marco, another Moon/Weissblum game released the same year) are considerably more straightforward than the meaty games of today. Capitol has only 4 pages of rules and it's quite easy to teach. But I don't consider it to be light, or even a middleweight, because the decisions are tough and there's a lot to think about. So I'm wondering if these experienced, but still less seasoned gamers might have found the game to be less appealing than current fare, because there was less complexity to title.

If so, I could understand the sentiment. A lot of older gamers look back wistfully at the designs of the 90's, which were decidedly simpler and much more interactive than those of today. While I like the greater interactivity of these games, I still find most of them too straightforward and tend to prefer the more complex titles of the past 10 years. But I still love Capitol and San Marco, as well as a bunch of other games from the 1999-2004 timeframe. They may not be as bursting with details and mechanisms as today's stuff (much of which I also love), but they're still great games and often easier to teach. And I don't seem to be the only older gamer who likes these games--in a recent poll on the 2001 game year by the Spielfrieks user group (which has more than its share of greybeards), Capitol was quite liked. So what I'm wondering is, have newer games become the benchmark of what the modern gamer is used to, to the extent that older and more straightforward titles seem too basic?

So here are my questions for the group. If you've been in the hobby less than 10 years, do you find that many games from, say, 1995-2005 seem too straightforward for your tastes? And conversely, for those who have been in boardgaming since the turn of the century, are there younger players in your group that are resistant to these older games? Just wondering if my game was an isolated data point or a real shift in perception. Thanks!
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9. Board Game: The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire [Average Rating:7.89 Overall Rank:208]
Geeky McGeekface
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So yesterday, I got to try out Energy Empire for the first time. I liked it. It doesn't do anything spectacular, but it was a good solid game and appears to have a lot of replayability. I managed to win (mostly because I was able to trigger the game end, giving me lots of workers and energy for a very profitable last turn), but I'm not sure how I'd approach the game the next time. It seems like a lot of things can work, which is usually good, but here, it almost seems too unfocused. Still, it was fun and snappy and there were plenty of decisions and I don't ask too much else of a game.
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10. Board Game: La Granja [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:113]
John Bandettini
United Kingdom
London
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22nd August at LoB

Tuesday was Katy, James and Joe night and I had decided we could do a little farming in Majorca. Of course that meant La Granja. It’s a game I have been meaning to play for ages, but had not got around to it. Then I saw one of the LoB members offering a copy for sale at a very good price, so I pounced.

The game actually reminds me of Terraforming Mars. It’s not that the game play is particularly similar, but that each game is really driven by a deck of cards and what you do with them.

In La Granja each player has a player board, with some bits cut out. Where you place the card determines what it does. I had read some complaints that at six rounds the game is too short. You just start to get an engine going and the game is over. I can see this to a degree, but it mostly means you need to really maximise your card play.

I was planning to build a farm extension as my first play, but I was dealt what looked to be a very nice combo, so I went for that instead. This meant I played a field where I could grow grapes and the Vintner helper, which allowed me to move my grapes from the field to any den. This looked to give me some flexibility and meant I could empty my field every turn even if I did not make a delivery.

I wanted to get five roof tiles so I had to make sure I always had enough money. (One of the reasons I was planning to start with a farm expansion to get some income. Instead I made sure I did well on the Siesta track for the first couple of turns, to make sure I could get 4 coins from the dice selection action. (Getting points for the Siesta track was also good.)

I went for a combination of Barrows and delivering to craft buildings. I lost two of my workers from the market due to other players barrows, but managed to deliver a couple myself and kick other players out. In fact Katy spent most of the game with no workers in the market. On the other hand she always seemed to have lots of goods on her board.

I only got to complete two of the craft buildings on the last turn, which in a way is good timing as I scored 6 points each for them. I thought it was going to be close, though pretty sure Joe was out of it. He was indeed as we started announcing our scores. I had one more point that James and the same as Katy. Whilst I was looking to see if there was a tie breaker, Katy realised she had miss-counted something and actually had three points more for the win.


Next up was something totally different, Bucket King 3D. I have never played the 2D version but I can’t see it being as much fun. Trying to win the game really takes a back seat to trying to destroy your opponents pyramids. Although of course if you do that well, you will win the game.

Katy and James had played it once before at Essen when it came out. We all built our pyramids and Katy’s presented a unique challenge as she put all three of her blue buckets in the centre of her pyramid on the bottom row. This of course meant the first colour played was blue. She survived and commented that she would not have played them there if she did not have plenty of blue cards. Then the next play was blue cards, and the third and we finally got her on the fourth play of blue. Then it was time to play another colour.

I don’t know that there is a lot of skill in the game, its more just dumb fun. But this dumb guy managed to hang on to enough of his pyramid to win the game.

We finished the evening with some fillers. Qwinto, Timeline: Inventions and Timeline: Music & Cinema and I managed to win them all.


23rd August at LoB

I like Orléans a lot, so I am not sure why I have only played it a couple of times. I finally got the two expansions for it so I felt it was time to get it played. We played four player, but could have played seven if the game supported it. I realised that the deluxe edition plays five but my regular version only supports four. After I got home I ordered the upgrade kit, which as I had a hard time finding it, must be virtually sold out in the UK. (I got in from board game extras, and as soon as I ordered it, they showed as out of stock)

Last time I played, Ben (some of you may remember him) got the technology that allowed you a technology cog every round and wiped the floor with everyone. As often happens when I try to copy Ben, for some reason it never seems to work so well for me. I managed to finish a very distant third. The main reason being that I just did not move very far along the development track.

This game reminds me of Thurn and Taxis and Saint Petersburg. Not in the gameplay but in the tightness of the game. With good players, make one mistake and you are out of the game. I made more than one mistake. We only played the base game, so this is going to see more plays in the coming weeks as I want to use the expansions.

Second game was Automobiles. I finally caved at the weekend and bought the Destination Fun Combo Pack package. So this was the first chance to try out the Automobiles: Racing Season expansion. We played with one of the new tracks and the star drivers. I just mixed in all the new cards with the old ones and to be honest I am not sure if we used any.

I was the only one who had played before and got off to a great start. Lapping two of the other players quite quickly. However one of the other players was buying most of the blue cubes and that’s something I should have contested. A couple of bad draws meant the two lapped cars managed to get ahead of me again, though only just. But the blue cubes were really kicking in. We both finished the race on the same turn, but he managed to finish one space in front of me.
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11. Board Game: The Fox in the Forest [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:702]
EGG Head
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 N/A   Photosynthesis NEW! Nice looking abstract. I supect will be best with 2.

 N/A   Codenames Duet x4 NEW!Nice 2 player variant of the original

 N/A   The Quest for El Dorado x3 Really enjoying this deck building race game

 N/A   Tribes: Early Civilization NEW! Disappointing game. Random tile draws for the resources for the tech tree and the point events are all geared towards one tech.

 N/A   Raxxon NEW! My one and only zombie game. I was intrigued by the marketing of this game. The game is a coop where you are solving the puzzle of getting zombies or people you need to save in groups.

 8   The Fox in the Forest This is fast becoming a favorite of ours as a 2 player trick taking game. I still feel like Khmer is a better game. But this is fun too.

 N/A   Camel Up NEW! Finally tried this one.

 N/A   Bunny Kingdom NEW! Drafting game from the designer of MtG. Needs some more plays to see if it's a keeper.
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