GCL Swedish Meatball Division #326/7/9/etc -- It rolled off the table...

Lacombe
Louisiana
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Suddenly a shot rang out! A door slammed. The maid screamed. Suddenly a pirate ship appeared on the horizon! While millions of people were starving, the king lived in luxury. Meanwhile, on a small farm in Kansas, a boy was growing up.
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Welcome to this week's discussion list for the Swedish Meatballs, a division of BGG's GameChat League.

Only members are to add items, but sometimes the cat drags in something off the street and that's ok, too.

Rotation :
AAArg_ink <- up next!
lacxox
bnordeng
Jugular
hanibalicious
smorange
ellephai
drbobjack
qwertymartin
Osirus
chearns
VeeMonroe
NateStraight?

Tied up :
Malibu_babe_28
Sorp222 [vacay!]




A long-lost Meatball returns! wow

By my rough estimation, I "rolled off the table" as it were something like 3 years ago (coincidentally the point at which we stopped being able to double-team snot-monsters). It's cool to roll back in and see this thing still going strong!

In keeping with this theme of starts and stops, old and new, I present to you this list.
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1. Board Game: Don't Drop the Meatballs [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]

Lacombe
Louisiana
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Suddenly a shot rang out! A door slammed. The maid screamed. Suddenly a pirate ship appeared on the horizon! While millions of people were starving, the king lived in luxury. Meanwhile, on a small farm in Kansas, a boy was growing up.
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"It rolled off the table.... and onto the floor...."




What's your favorite game that doesn't fit on your game table? How / where do you manage to play it?

Do you play / enjoy any games that don't require a table surface at all? Are these still "board games" in any sense?

What is the appropriate etiquette when a die goes off the table? What is your preferred method of preventing this horrific faux pas?

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2. Board Game: Circle the Wagons [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:3026]

Lacombe
Louisiana
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Suddenly a shot rang out! A door slammed. The maid screamed. Suddenly a pirate ship appeared on the horizon! While millions of people were starving, the king lived in luxury. Meanwhile, on a small farm in Kansas, a boy was growing up.
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"Fall off / jump on the wagon"




Have you ever had a gaming "relapse" / hiatus? What was the reason? How did you "recover"?

What's the last gaming bandwagon you joined? What's the last bandwagon you unjoined and why?

If you had to choose an uncommon thematic mode of transport for a pick-up-and-deliver game, what would it be?

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3. Board Game: The Hobbit [Average Rating:6.03 Overall Rank:3290]

Lacombe
Louisiana
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Suddenly a shot rang out! A door slammed. The maid screamed. Suddenly a pirate ship appeared on the horizon! While millions of people were starving, the king lived in luxury. Meanwhile, on a small farm in Kansas, a boy was growing up.
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"There and back again"




Do you enjoy hiking? How rough/wild of a trail/hike? What are your favorite places you've been?

(This is one of the things I've been doing with my time--and my kids--in my absence from BGG.)

Why do you think it is that most races (and race games, by extension) are unidirectional when the recurring mode of travel in most of our existences (to work and back home, etc) is bidirectional? Why is "there and back" such a rare objective?

What is your favorite game in which pieces first have to move to various locations and then travel somewhere else in order to accomplish an objective? Do you prefer games where pieces are constantly in motion to new objectives, or do you like "Point A to Point B" style objectives?
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4. Board Game: Völuspá: Lightning Bolt [Average Rating:7.01 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.01 Unranked]

Lacombe
Louisiana
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Suddenly a shot rang out! A door slammed. The maid screamed. Suddenly a pirate ship appeared on the horizon! While millions of people were starving, the king lived in luxury. Meanwhile, on a small farm in Kansas, a boy was growing up.
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"Like a bolt out of the blue"




What's the last game that unexpectedly and utterly dumbfounded you and left you with a feeling that you'd really played something special / weird / unique / extraordinary?
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5. Board Game: Old Town [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:3741]

Lacombe
Louisiana
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Suddenly a shot rang out! A door slammed. The maid screamed. Suddenly a pirate ship appeared on the horizon! While millions of people were starving, the king lived in luxury. Meanwhile, on a small farm in Kansas, a boy was growing up.
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"Just like old times"




Do you still play the game that got you into the hobby? What game(s) do you play now that give you the same kind of enjoyment as that initial "spark" that birthed you as a gamer?
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6. Board Game: Time of Crisis [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:1053]
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Games night

Abluxxen - it's interesting playing this after so much Fuji Flush as it really does feel like the 'advanced version'. I really like it but that feeling is not universal in my group.

Ponzi Scheme - a brutal session with an unpalatable selection of loans on offer and 3 or even 4 market crashes. Both Andrew and Katy went bankrupt while Joe and I had only 3 industry tiles each. I won on leftover cash. After four plays I'm still fumbling in the dark as to correct valuation and strategy. That makes me want to play all the more but turns others off.

Polterfass - so good that I had to write a review explaining why: Polterfass - push-your-luck and blind bidding walk into a bar...

Kribbeln - there's a ton of luck in this Yahtzee-ish roll & write but it is quite fun.

Pairs - a Port nightcap

Lunchtime games

Marrakesh - the second half of last week's game and the first half of a new one. Wild swings but great fun - really glad Joe has taken to this.

Jump Drive - a 51-50 squeaker for me

Games at home

Jump Drive x2 - another single point victory and a bigger one.

Bonus Saturday night games

Time of Crisis - the four of us who played last time had arranged to get together for another session before we forgot all the rules. This time I was determined to establish a Pretender Empire, which I achieved in North Africa, pulling back Joe's early lead (from becoming regular Emperor). But it turns out Pretenders are rather vulnerable to military attack and I hadn't focused on defence. Joe's second wind gave him an easy win. Three and a half hours again but absolutely brilliant fun.

Kribbeln - to wind down while we finished our Laphroaig.
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7. Board Game: Hanamikoji [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:318]
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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Alone on Monday night:


 7   Caverna: Cave vs Cave
Another solo play, this time I managed to reach 50+ points which felt like a real achievement. So yes, a solo play win is something that feels simply good without any concerns. Also while in most games it works the opposite, this time it helped me enjoy and appreciate the game more. Still waiting for a possibility to play 2-player.


Thursday, a game publisher's yearly event:
I went there for a bit, two halls full of tables presenting games, and since I proofread most of their 300+-page catalogue (that was printed especially for this event) I knew what 2017 games they have on offer. Since last year I quite struggled to reach 50 games for my yearly list now I did look up which games are new and intended to try them - of course only the short ones as you just can't have time to play real big games there. So I saw a pre-release copy of Rajas of the Ganges, the game was explained to me over the busy board (well, even for the Brandts it felt a bit too much of a JASE with lots of action possibilities and a point salad scoring) but could not even start to play before the explainer had to return to his table. I played some short games instead...



 7.2   NMBR 9 x3 NEW!
Okay, I rather liked it and soon the explainer (who played with me) started to play as well, finding out he likes the challenge after all. In each of the games I could improve my score (from 45 to 68, still far from the suggested 100 points) and I can see there is quite a lot to learn. I'm still unsure about long-term replayability but until then, it's a fine one.

 6.7   Das Vermächtnis des Maharaja NEW!
Well, I could not play Rajas but played Michael Schacht's Maharaja instead. It's a typical Schacht card game (see e.g. Gold!, Call to Glory, Don), pretty simple, pretty good but nothing extraordinary. choose to take money from the bank (thus lowering the prices for everyone) or buy a ware (a numbered & colored card) from the market in order to fulfill one of the combinations shown on a few cards (that score you a few points and also might have an extra effect, maybe even forcing you to discard one of your wares). In a true Schacht fashion, only the wares that you have at least two of score you the points shown. I quite enjoyed the game even if it didn't give me the chills.



 6.5   Crocofant NEW!

Mechanism-wise pretty boring kids' game (36 tiles, two dice, find the combination on the cards) somewhat saved by the look (one of the dice shows a skin pattern and the other one some animal so you can see a crocodile-skinned elephant, a crocodile with the stripes of a tiger etc.) which is quite cute. However I guess they should have found more different animals than leopard and tiger (even though their pattern is of course rather different). The other rule is a memory game where you roll the skin die and try to find an animal with that pattern, as soon as one of you succeds you start to roll the animal die, so it's practically Memory made harder. The above rating is for a children's game - it's good for kids but even then I find it too derivative.

 7   Rally Run! NEW!
And another example for how 70 to 80% of kids' games is a variant of Memory. Well, actually it was rather fun at that, being surprisingly confrontative for a kids' game. It's a race game that would fit an item in this list as well: your cars have to reach the middle tile and then return to a corner defined by the face-down marker found by your car there. But you need to find fitting tiles for your car to reach that tile and quite a few of the tiles are dead ends; also instead of revealing a tile next to your car, you can swap two tiles. It was surprisingly fun for what it is.


In the weekend:



 8   Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails
Playing the world map (and re-learning it for Saci). The game itself lasted little more than an hour and once she got the hang of it, we both enjoyed it again. Then she won by something like 271:212

 7.5   Hanamikoji NEW!
I did give a 'two-player' solo try the game on Monday evening just to have some clue what it is like, so I knew it's hard. It's so hard that I'm not even sure how much skill and how much luck decides the outcome At least that's how I felt about the first round with Miska, but the second round (where ties don't change the 'winner' of a geisha seemed like I had more control - and I won, with both of us winning 3 geishas but me reaching 11 points as well. I still need to play it quite a bit more to have any clue - it feels rather hard despite the simple rules and I'm not sure (yet) how much I can control the game.

 7   Orchard
 7   The Little Orchard

Early morning plays with Veronika.
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8. Board Game: Chicken Cha Cha Cha [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:1384]
George Leach
United Kingdom
Godalming
Surrey
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 N/A   Chicken Cha Cha Cha

Just one game this week with my two year old. Its a nice memory variant.
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Seth Brown
United States
North Adams
Massachusetts
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10th Annual Alphabetic Boardgame Challenge!

Today we decided to kick off this year's ABC, which turns out to be the 10th one! Hard to believe we've been doing this for a decade, but indeed we are! Full descriptions through the link, naturally.

So far today:
*Ascension - Debbie kicked my butt in two straight
*Burger Joint - I stayed ahead to win
*Caverna Cave v. Cave - My early gold focus let me grab the big buildings and win

More updates on the ABC geeklist throughout the week!
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10. Board Game: Magic: The Gathering Challenge Deck – Face the Hydra [Average Rating:6.97 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.97 Unranked]
chearns
Canada
Montréal
Québec
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Onirim x6 - Solo plays are slowing down. Am I getting over the solo games on my phone bug? Of course, plays over all slowed down this week. I did after all begin my stage this week which takes up a lot of my time, so perhaps that is what is behind this.

Magic: The Gathering x5 - While we did play one competitive game (which had a massive creature stall, bad for her aggressive deck, good for my Embalm deck, I eventually bounced her creatures with Reach and swarmed in with my army of flying pumped up zombies), we played four games against the coöp Face the Hydra deck. Played at Easy level, we curb stomped it twice, played at Normal level, we were kicked to the curb in short order. Not sure what happened there. Is it that different between levels? Or is it that the variance from the draw and luck that made the difference. Further play will tell. Coöp magic is awesome, but I would prefer if it went a bit longer. The games are over quickly with the Hydra and they haven't been close, yet.

Seasons - I keep thinking I should like this game more than I do. It seems like it should be fun. Trying to find interesting combos and all that. But the combos bore me as do the cards. Is it because I'm playing at Apprentice level? Does it become a lot of fun if I were to play with the rest of the cards? Are the rest of the cards cool and these ones merely basic (like Dominion versus its expansions)?

Can't Stop - She got the 6, 7, 8. I was this close to getting the 2, the 4, and, uh, two steps away from the 12. This game never even felt close. Can't Stop? Couldn't start.
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11. Board Game: Château Roquefort [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:1081]
Brad N
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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_8_ Burgle Bros. - 2 Players
_8_ Kingdom Builder - 2 Players
_7_ Château Roquefort - 4 Players
_7_ Bohnanza - 4 Players

With the kids...
_8_ Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game - 2 Players (x2)
_7_ Finca - 2 Players
_6_ Batik - 2 Players
_6_ Herbaceous - 2 Players



(1) Château Roquefort - A fantastic, nice-looking, abstractish game where each player gets four mice to race over the rooftops to find cheese. Get two mice on the same type of cheese and you get that cheese; get 4 different types and you win. There is an Azaming Labyrinth aspect too where the tiles under the rooftops can be shifted by sliding in a tile. And, sometimes, this can cause a mouse to be lost through the hole in the floor. It's a nice-looking game that appears to be for kids and, in my experience, does work pretty well with kids. It can also be played by just adults as we did this time. I lowered my rating from 8 to 7... not because I enjoyed the game less than before but because I just decided 7 is slightly closer to correct. 7 feels too harsh, but 8 feels too kind. It's the rare game that actually fits between 2 digits in a 10 point scale (for me).

(2) Burgle Bros. - Marie and I have been playing this a good amount lately... and we've been mostly losing lately too. This round turned out pretty good with a few scary moments for us robbers. Eventually, we got out to the rooftop with the loot.
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12. Board Game: Mechs vs. Minions [Average Rating:8.23 Overall Rank:24]
Vivienne Raper
United Kingdom
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My mum was visiting so we played Scenario 7 of Mechs vs Minions. It seemed unbalanced with three players.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
We had to transport four crystals to the central tiles before ten minions reached them. With three players there was a spare crystal so someone had to go back for it while the other players defended the tiles. This proved almost impossible
.

We also played Tiny Epic Kingdoms as a triage exercise as I was considering getting Tiny Epic Quest and Tiny Epic Galaxies. It was more fun with three players than with two, although the text was a bit small for my 70-year-old mum, and mum won.
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13. Board Game: Valletta [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:1932]
EXTRA AVOCADO! Sonderegger
United States
Folsom
CA
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So I didn't play this last week, this is just catchup from since baby-birth. So, lots, really.

Valleta 2p 2x

You stole my cog, you upstart swine
and now my engine's sans appeal
revenge it seems is dished and served
the best with malta meal

Simple, delightful deckbuilding. The euroest deckbuilding of all time too- resources are gold, wood, stone, and brick, and you're building up a city with a guy looking towards it on the box. It's actually really streamlined, and allows for a fair few amount of elbows to be thrown. The first time I played, I was excited to maybe play with 4. Now, I think I am really enjoying the 2p game, what with the zero-sum purchases and targeted denial. There's something to be said about deliberately disrupting an opponent's engine rather than just buying stuff and hope someone gets hurt.

Ra 1x 3p

Ra Ra sis boom bah!
I'll shove your pin hat down your maw
Ra Ra sis boom bah!
My lack hats sticks in my craw
Ra Ra bah sis boom!
It turns out headwear spelt my doom.

Oh man, 3p RA is where it is. Introduced new player, she loved it, and won- partially because Emily kept upbidding me by just enough to make me not commit, partially because I didn't have pharaoh in sight. What a delightful set of screws this game gives you.

Mykerinos 4p x1

Raiding tombs is well and good,
as long as people follow rules
rules that are best understood
and broken by rich tools

Slick, quick, and excellent. A streamlined design that's really just delightfully quick and mean.

Copycat 4p ww x1

Money poor and toilet rich
I soon became the table's bitch

Love this game. Megan still unimpressed- despite her lovely play that mirrored my own usual strategies, lopping me off at the knees by outbidding me and jumping ahead every time.

Polterfass 4p ww x1

A barrel of laughs for all involved
where greediness if oft resolved
sometimes lauding avarice
and sometimes giving greed a miss

Like Martin's write-up says, it's one of the best blind bidding games I've ever played, with interesting information points. A++ would overbid again.

Ciub 2p ww x1

As long as I don't roll no skulls,
everything will turn out fine
but oh my vision blurs and dulls
for i have seen the the bony sign

Megan and I really have come to appreciate this lovely dice roller, this game of ebbs and flows, and some really mean drafting with that token placement.

Dice Forge 3p x1

I'm gonna mino-tear it up
for I've got all the sun shards
But in the end i lost it all
to one of those darn gold cards

After falling in love with seasons, we had to try Bonnessee's latest outing. It's much, much lighter, but it rolls along at a lightning pace, and is fairly fun, with mostly positive interaction, save the minotaur.

IKI 1x 4p

Burn it baby, burn it all
But please skip by this market stall

A gerdts through the mirror darkly. But it's a lovely pre-reflection, and therefore satisfying, despite restarting halfway through due to a rules snafu.

Discoveries 3p x1

Too many dice,
Let's play nice-
augh! In a vice!
stolen from my little hands- not once, but twice.

This was just a fantastic play. It puffed along at high speed, and the dice were so much more transient than I'm normally used to. At one point, Megan even filled her die slot it got so crazy. I won by ignoring wildlife, and getting second in the tepees... but mostly by playing like Megan. The veil is starting to fall from my eyes re: this game.

Concordia 3p x1

Sure we're selling bricks and wheat
I guess that iron's pretty neat.
But cause i love the guts of tiny fish
to vend fresh garum is my wish.

Played with friends. Not a bad game, but again, I'd rather be playing Hamburgum or Lewis and Clark, not this silly mix of the twain.

Tyrants of the Underdark 4p ww x1

I like to watch my foes all die
and when the people ask me why
or what or who or when or how,
I just tell'em "I'm a drow!"

As always, this game is lots of deckbuilding area-control shenanignnery, and with the new expansion, it's still wonderful. Loved the skinless beholder best though.
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14. Board Game: Captain Sonar [Average Rating:7.72 Overall Rank:99]
Joshua Kuhlmann
United States
Huntington Beach
California
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I'm a few weeks behind, so I'm lumping everything together...

At Home
 8   Fabled Fruit x4
 7   Animal Upon Animal
 7   Broom Service

We've introduced my brother-in-law to Broom Service, and he enjoyed it quite a bit. (Him winning helped, I'm sure.) In deference to Alexandra and the new player, I played handicapped, picking my cards for the round at random. It was actually quite fun and (of course) much more of a challenge. Going far afield for high-value deliveries becomes basically impossible, so the emphasis is much more on making the most of whatever you randomly get. Picking cursed roles at random really hurts, but you're aided by the fact that people have essentially no way of figuring out what you've picked... I lost by ~6 points, a much closer game than I might have expected at first.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Double-turn tokens showed up in Fabled Fruit, and they're quite powerful. Particularly with the gift snake and cards with particular restrictions. The doubling rabbit is still out, but we've become much more adept at managing him. We also played a 3P for the first time in a while -it makes the "richer players donate a random card" very attractive. Staying poor is the name of the game, but sometimes you can get a nice rabbit double and buy a juice (with the help of a double-turn token) and gain some tempo.


At a Friend's

 5   The Werewolves of Miller's Hollow x3 NEW!

A friend held a special werewolf night. While the game isn't my favorite, I was interested in seeing how it would go with a larger number of players. We had ~17, so it was a good-sized group, and we played a few rounds with different variant roles. It's a nice production (shame they're not paying/crediting the designer?), and Werewolf's alright and definitely better with more, but it's not something I need to play again.

At the Meetup

 6   Ice Cool NEW!
 6   Camel Up
 N/A   Robo Rally (2016) x2 NEW!
 7   Captain Sonar NEW!
 4   The Big Book of Madness NEW!

Started off the evening with a quick dexterity game, Ice Cool -it's fast but those penguins are a pain to deal with. I did not acquit myself well, but it's an enjoyable dexterity game, if not quite Animal upon or Riff Raff. I then played Camel Up, which gets bumped to a 6 (with the possibility of going higher) because of better bettors. I still won fairly handily.

I was fixin' to get into a game of Captain Sonar, but by the time I finished my order the game had filled up. So I was introduced to the new edition of Roborally. I hear people's first game of RR generally features an overcomplicated course that takes hours to complete and never finishes, but I feel that I had the opposite experience. We had two very easy courses, both of which were won in short order with minimal bumping. While some upgrades were purchased, none of them were actually used, and the deckbuilding element never came into play. I feel I'd need to play again with a more complex course to really evaluate the game, but from my first play it seemed fine but not a favorite?

I then made it into the Captain Sonar game, taking the simplest role (radar operator). I successfully pinpointed the enemy sub and we took them out in fairly short order, even with their use of silent running. I was seperated from the main action of the ship, but it was still a lot of fun and I'd love to play again with a more complex role.

Big Book of Madness was my final game of the night, which was perfectly acceptable. The action economy is actually really great (you have a hand of usable cards that refresh at the end of the your turn, but other players can let you take actions that let you lend those cards or take actions out of turn. You can, in turn, cause other players to take actions... it can be brain-melty.) Unfortunately, it was stapled to a very blah coop where everything played into simple hand management. This also resulted in an unsatisfying endgame, where ~7 minutes of poring over action sequences led to a "we're one card short, I guess we lose" on the last turn of the last round. That's really not how you want your co-op to end! Feedback in games should be as immediate as possible, not weirdly delayed until the last minute. Still, it was a good night of games...

On the sell pile

 4   Kingsburg x2
 3   Ascension: Storm of Souls

Both of them got misses, and we've already sold Kingsburg. We're trying to sell off Netrunner, Ascension, our extra copy of Carcassonne, and some unopened party games at our next board game night. After our initial 2P Kingsburg round, Alexandra thought it might be better with 3, but the increased downtime of 3P made the game a definite miss (I was fine with this). She enjoyed Ascension a little more but deckbuilders really aren't her thing, so out it goes!
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