GCL Gelato 282 — Conventional Wisdom
O.Shane Balloun
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Bellingham
Washington
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A Geek Chat League is a weekly discussion-group format for people who love gaming and enjoy talking about games. It is intended to foster depth and familiarity, producing engaging content and worthwhile interaction. Members get to know one another, establish shared interests, and generally develop a friendly and productive environment.

Of necessity, each division of GCL is kept relatively small (typically between 12-16 members, though individual divisions may incline one way or the other). A tight-knit discussion group tends to function more smoothly than a free-for-all. It allows individuals to be heard and understood, and for each participant to keep up and enjoy multiple topics as the week progresses. The format is geeklist-based, and lists are not published to the BGG front page.

Policy: If you're a lurker or have otherwise discovered GCL Gelato, feel free to read along with us and see what the members have to say on everything under the sun. 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.


The Sage

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The Merely Wizened

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Conventional Wisdom
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O.Shane Balloun
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Bellingham
Washington
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Lest you think this GCL 282 is about wisdom, it is actually about convention, or rather conventions—game conventions, that is. This Geeklist is all about game conventions and how they reveal our preferences.

To begin...

With pride and slight trepidation allow me to announce that I have launched my own game convention in my hometown of Bellingham, Washington: Cascade Games Convention, a.k.a. CascadeCon, debuting on January 19–21, 2018. You can read all about it at the website.

I would love to see any or all of you here early next year if you can make it. Especially those of you who might be closer...<cough> <hack>Roger</hack></cough>

Anyway, I am very excited about this because I'm holding CascadeCon in a location that I've always enjoyed as a venue for events and because it will be a way to draw in a host of friends at the same time.

What's the conventional wisdom on starting a game convention? Who knows. But it has been quite a bit of fun running through a small business plan and executing on it. My brothers (the main force between the design company that put my website together) did a stellar job, and we had a lot of fun working together (or at least I did). I'm very happy with the website. There are certainly improvements to be made, but phase 1 came out right.

What's a project you've undertaken recently, the outcome of which leaves you satisfied?
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2. Board Game: Here I Stand [Average Rating:7.94 Overall Rank:165]
O.Shane Balloun
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Bellingham
Washington
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My foray into craft and hobby boardgaming began in 2001, with a prologue beginning in my childhood, but it took me until 2014 to go to a game convention. It was Dragonflight in Bellevue, Washington.

In general I enjoyed myself but there were moments where its size, combined with me not knowing anybody, further combined with me not being sure about hosting any games at a convention I had never attended led to a bit of downtime for me.

That said, I was able to meet some interesting players and play some awesome games. Here I Stand comes to mind.

What was the first game convention you attended? How was the experience for you?
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O.Shane Balloun
United States
Bellingham
Washington
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After Dragonflight, I began looking for a smaller, homier convention, a search which somehow led me to Game On!, a wargaming-focused but not wargaming-exclusive convention of 150 attendees in Issaquah 2.5 years ago February. Right away I decided to host games even though I was totally new to their scene. Had a great time playing Fief: France 1429 among other things and even won a prize in the raffle—Nuklear Winter '68: Heart Of Darkness.

I had never heard of the publisher (Lock N Load), but the Game On! guys and LNL are good friends, so LNL kept them stocked with giveaway items. Super fun.

Jeff and friends put on a really fun convention, mostly because they focus on keeping it fun, seem to attract solid people, and make an effort to welcome new attendees.

What was the first convention you really loved? (This can be a particular year of a convention you attended previously.)
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O.Shane Balloun
United States
Bellingham
Washington
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After Game On!, I was infected with the bug and started looking for other conventions that I might enjoy. After getting to know Harold and working with him a bit on the final ruleset for Liberty or Death: The American Insurrection, I decided to go visit balmy San Diego to attend his San Diego Historical Games Convention.

Like Game On!, SDHistCon seemed to attract solid people and was wargaming-focused (though again not exclusively so). I did learn Food Chain Magnate there, and while playing, Harold pretended to poke fun, "O.Shane, I don't see any tanks in this game." I quipped, "Harold, this is economic warfare." He chuckled and walked along. (I am gratified to say that he eventually began playing it himself a year or so later and really likes it.)

I'm headed back in November for my third year and will be hosting Dune and Mega Civilization.

Where have you traveled to go to a game convention?
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O.Shane Balloun
United States
Bellingham
Washington
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Just last year, I finally made it up to Surrey, British Columbia, where I was able to meet Roger in person (and he is lovely to game with, by the way) at BottosCon. BottosCon completes my trifecta of wargaming-focused (but not exclusive) 150 person conventions.

It was really fun because my dad, who became a naturalized Canadian citizen some years ago and lives on Vancouver Island, made it over to the mainland to join me. He no longer travels well because of poor health, but he had a fantastic time, and so did I.

My dad, Roger, three other people (including my Bene Gesserit protege), and I played Dune. Roger and Anthony legitimately won in an alliance, but then Io (BG), stole the win by prediction! I was very proud.

Where have you traveled out of your country to game at a convention?

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O.Shane Balloun
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Gen Con. What to say? I attended for the first time last year (2016). My whole family loved the spectacle. Because our son is homeschooled, we qualified as educators to both attend the free industry day on the Wednesday prior and be admitted early on the first trade show day, thereby enabling me to acquire early copies of SeaFall and Terraforming Mars. We also just bought and bought and bought games as if we were a family dying of thirst in the Gobi and games were the only thing that could slake us.

Another highlight was playing a 9-person game of Mega Civilization with Peter Adkison (majority owner of Gen Con) in his suite on the Tuesday prior. I was 'teamed' up with him because he had a lot of things to do (go figure) to prep for the conference, so basically I played his game and he came to check up on my progress every so often. I had first met him playing in an 18-person MegaCiv game he hosted, so the follow-up experience was appropriate. He's very gracious and it was quite a bit of fun to really get to know the same guys over the stretch of a whole day. Between them, and the dozens of people I met over the half-week, I made some great new friends.

Tell us a good story about making friends at a game convention (or gaming in general).
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O.Shane Balloun
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Bellingham
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In all the years I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area (which is where I was introduced in earnest to our beloved hobby), I never once attended a game convention there. I have now since learned of both Pacificon and Celesticon, which are held on the same weekend (Labor Day) each year and are both virtually down the street from one another. As I recall (and this is fuzzy, so correct me if you know better), there may be some bad blood between the two conventions, which is why you don't see Pacificon on Celesticon's website (even though the latter mentions other conventions in the area).

Regardless, I now want to attend one of them, but I keep forgetting to time a trip to the Bay Area over Labor Day weekend. Maybe next year in Jerusalem.

What conventions would you like to attend in the future?
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8. Board Game: WBC: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
O.Shane Balloun
United States
Bellingham
Washington
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The World Boardgaming Championships are on my short list to attend in the future. If for nothing else, the size of the open gaming just seems magnificent. Of course, it's probably time I enter a Dune tournament. How will I place?

Have you played in any board game tournaments? If so, how was your experience?
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9. Board Game: ESSEN [Average Rating:6.12 Overall Rank:10575]
O.Shane Balloun
United States
Bellingham
Washington
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Oh SPIEL, how I desire you so. How I long for you. When will I meet you?

There's nothing really preventing me from going to Essen, except that each year something else seems to come up. This year I will be on a cruise that has been scheduled for a few years (!).

Have you been to Essen? If so, tell me one or two things that you experienced or observed but did not expect.
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O.Shane Balloun
United States
Bellingham
Washington
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Speaking of vacations, my wife and I have wanted to go to Cardboard and Sun for some time, and almost pulled the trigger this year, before realizing we were going to be away from home too long for what ever else is going on in our lives.

I almost hesitate to post about Cardboard & Sun, for fear that more advertising will lead to it filling up the year(s) I want to attend! It looks like a perfect vacation to me. Basically, you ferry out to a Greek Island, hang out at a condo next to the beach for a week, and play the proprietor's collection of board games during that time. [Fun fact: Rahdo goes every year, though I'm confused about why Greece is materially better than where he lives (Malta), though when something is 1% better for Rahdo, he raves about it as if it were 50% better. ]

What is your ideal vacation?
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11. Board Game: Geek Out! Pop Culture Party [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:5915]
Jacovis
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
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Howdy Gelati!

I did not get to play anything this week board game wise, but we had our first meeting of our Pop Culture club at my school, and we had 19 kids show up to play board games and read comics and talk about whatever geeky things they love. What surprised me is that 16 of the kids were there specifically to play board games, so I had bought and brought in a bunch of the classics and a few newer titles for the club, and we had almost twenty kids exploring games, making friends, and having a great time. It was a huge success, and more kid have come up to me this week to tell me they will be there.

I also got Destiny 2 this week, so I've been playing that. It is quite good, and I'm very impressed so far. I also finally got my hands on a Nintendo Switch deal from Groupon with Breath of the Wild and Mario Kart, so I'm glad I have that on the way to me.

Other than that, just busy getting situated and taking classes. Progress grades for quarter one got turned in Friday, so halfway through the first quarter already. Time flies!

I hope you all have a great week!
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12. Board Game: Lisboa [Average Rating:8.25 Overall Rank:132]
"L'état, c'est moi."
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Vancouver
BC
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This is the week that was:


 8   Terraforming Mars x2
My week started and ended with games of Terraforming Mars. On Sunday after Lisboa Jonathan and Dave and I played on the Elysium map and I eked out a win over Dave, who's apparently a formidable opponent and has played many many times.

Yesterday my wife wanted to play so we tried the Hellas map and she promptly crushed me, taking two of the three milestones and sponsoring two awards to my none and building greenery and cities in all directions while I kinda looked like a deer in headlights the whole game. laugh

 8   Lisboa x2 NEW! w Jono & Dave
Jonathan and I got our copies and were keen to play. Our first game on Sunday took 4.5 hours total, including learning the rules cold (although I highly recommend this rules video) The second game on Wednesday night took 2.25 hours and went much better. I like some of the things Vital's done with this one, and I think of the games I've played (Vinhos, Gallerist, and Lisboa) I think it's the best one, but like Gallerist the best. So far.

 7   The Castles of Burgundy ww
That comment about deer in headlights applies here too, as my clever wife hammered me in this game too.

 5   Thurn and Taxis w Gelati on Yucata
Rediscovering this one. I like it better than I remember.

 6   The Rose King x3 w Tommy on Yucata
I somewhat randomly picked on Tommy to play this with me on Yucata, and I had last played it in 2005! It's an abstract with a whiff of chance as there are cards to determine where you can place your power stones, but I already revised my rating up from 5 on this one.

 7   IKI NEW! ww
My wife and I both really liked this one. We can definitely see that it would be better with more players and I'll be trying it out on my TNC some time. Nonetheless, we liked it and will play it 2p again.

 4   Sticky Chameleons NEW! with the crowd at Dave's Pop Culture
OMG. This is probably the funniest thing I've seen since the infamous Kackel Dackel with Rusty night at BGG Con yeas ago.

Dave's Pop Culture is a board game shop in Ladner that Jonathan frequents, and they have game night on Wednesday. The Dave in the name is not the Dave I played Lisboa with, incidentally.

The game comes with these sticky stretchy tongues and the player on deck rolls a pair of dice to determine which colour and type of bug needs to be grabbed. You then flick your tongue at the bugs and you need to get the right bug and not catch any wasps.

Cardboard bits went flying in all directions. People were smacking one another with tongues (as you can potentially steal the bug from someone else by tonguing it before they have the chance to peel it off). It was a riot.

 4   Lovecraft Letter NEW! @Dave's Pop Culture
We continued Wednesday night with this Lovecraft themed version of Love Letter which has doubles of every role since some are sane and some are insane. You win with three insane chips (each chip is a win) or two sane ones. I managed somehow to get two sane wins and took victory.

 6   Las Vegas @Dave's Pop Culture
We ended the game evening with a full complement on this little dice chucker. I managed to come in a distant second.

What's Going On:
NFL: The NFL season has resumed. I'm in two pools - the NFL Suicide pool (pick one winner each week, no repeating teams), and the NFL necricide pool (pick one loser each week, no repeating teams). I like it because of its simple elegance. If you pick wrong you're out and done.

I'd like to get past week five this year. meeple

New cat?: We've been thinking about getting another cat and have made the first step by applying through a local society that fosters cats all over the city rather than having them in a shelter. I know it's hyperbole, but I somethings think it would be less work to adopt a child. Their application process is interesting to say the least, and the ALL CAPS insistence of "NEVER EVER" doing x y and z is well meaning but eye roll inducing. I get it though. They don't want the cats back, and they do want to make sure that the people taking care of the cats will treat them well.

We're visiting a potential match on Tuesday.

Blake & Mortimer: I've read almost all of them now. I'm on #23 out of 24. My favourite is probably La Machination Voronov, although I also really liked Le Serment des Cinq Lords.

Anyone have recommendations for something in the same vein as Tintin and Blake & Mortimer?
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13. Board Game: The Rose King [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:994]
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 7   Thurn and Taxis
 5   Up the River
 8   The Rose King x2 NEW!
 6   Pairs
 6   Archaeology: The Card Game x3

Hello Gelati new and old!

I went to a gelati place of sorts today. We had hoped to capitalize on a bit of sun (forecast is for 8 days of rain) by riding 20 km to a pancake house, but then dark clouds appeared. So we turned back and went to De Lachende Vis, our local eetcafé. It was our first time going indoors to the pub section to eat, and they have a real billiards (3 balls, no pockets) table! The boys and I both got a thrill from seeing that. I ordered a lovely raw salmon sandwich (sourdough, garden greens, herb butter) and for dessert ate a sorbet: lemon.

Gaming on Yucata has been great: Roger thumped me first at Rosenkoning, and then surprised me with a last-turn victory (I think, I felt like I was ahead most of the way) in the second. An addictive little 2P game. Four of us are also enoying our second slugfest in the world of 16C German mail delivery, and sometime in prehistory, though my moniker Tommy Snake Eyes has been painfully true in that last one.

No new acquisitions, though my employer may pay for some DIY sets of Container, since I'm teaching English for Entrepreneurs and offering to add a few board game evenings to my teaching schedule.

Much of this summer I've spent on a physiotherapy table to deal with the guitar strings that are my trapezius muscles. It hasn't helped much, and they've gone from a 4x/year irritation to a 4-month agony. A little reflection led to me recognizing 3 major lifestyle changes:
- chinups 5x/week
- cyclecommuting 2x25mins daily
- laptop PC
Instead of relying on reactive treatments, I've decided to tackle this at the source. I can't do anything about the commute (nor do I want to, as it's pure joy). But I've quit the exercises. As far as the PC goes, I can't afford a desktop. But my work has provided a flex station (plug-in keyboard) and a standing desk, and I've started consulting a friend of mine who's been in IT (and handsfree) since 2010. Here's hoping.

Peace and happy gaming to all of you this week!
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14. Board Game: Village Port [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked]
Jonathan Takagi
United States
San Marcos
California
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 8   Race for the Galaxy

 N/A   Downforce x3 - This has really become a family favorite and it's nice to see the kids start to take to the strategy. The main joy in race games is to see someone else's car completely blocked.

 N/A   Village Port NEW!
 7   Village - Village is probably one of the worst offenders when it comes to JASE games. Pure cube pushing, pure and simple. Initially I dismissed the game but this time I had a lot of fun playing. The Port expansion makes the whole traveling action a lot more attractive and fun. It is neat to see the divergent strategies people take.

 8   Le Passe-Trappe Grande - I think they redid the sizes on this one. My friend just picked up one of these and it seems halfway between the old medium and large sizes. This one is just about right. I went in cocky but ended up getting destroyed.

 4   Cosmic Encounter - This is absolutely not my type of game but I can see why people like it. I like that you don't really get to choose who to attack. I also like the temporary alliances. I love it when people carry grudges in games.

 4   Blokus - This play was on "Giant Blokus", which made the game so much better. I loved the big chunky pieces. I could never go back to regular Blokus again.

 8   Splendor
 7   Luna
 10   Can't Stop

 8   Yspahan - I had the worst ever luck in rolling camels, which pretty much destroyed my game. I didn't finish last due to my caravan work, but winning was not possible.

 9   Time's Up! Title Recall! - It was satisfying to see my opponents struggle trying to describe "The Celestine Prophecy".

 9   Promi-Klatsch - Winning Promi-Klatsch is so satisfying, the only game where a win feels better is Nertz.

 10   Nertz - Last place!

 N/A   Imhotep x2
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15. Board Game: Firefly: The Game – Wash's Lucky Dinosaurs Promo Card [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked]
Ron
Austria
Vienna
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Game Week

 10   Firefly: The Game x2
 10   Advanced Squad Leader
 6   Witch's Brew NEW!
 9   Can't Stop
 9   1824
 8   Star Trek: Five-Year Mission x2
 10   Eclipse
 10   Eldritch Horror

On Monday afternoon, Firefly: The Game and all its expansions still sat on the gaming table in my Dungeon, and so Andrea and I used the opportunity to play another game. Again, we used my homebrewed epic scenario, and for the first time I chose the SS Walden as ship – a very slow freighter, but with a huge cargo bay. Andrea had the Artful Dodger. We played for 4 reps, $18,000 in cash and then a final contract with pick-up and delivery from/to a randomly determined planet, where you also had to misbehave three times. I got incredibly lucky when I drew Wash as a pilot in the second turn of the game, but got screwed two turns later when he got eaten by Reavers along with my ships’ mechanic. I struggled a little to put together a new crew but I gained on Andrea and finally thought that I can win that game easily, when she finalized a deal with Niska and sold him eight Contraband for a whooping $6,400. So she made the second goal and went for the final stage, which she achieved without any difficulty. What a great game. This one in particular and the game itself. I really love it. Much more than Merchant of Venus, which usually is described as “similar”. Nonsense, I say! meeple

Tuesday saw another Advanced Squad Leader battle between me and JP, or better said my defending Chinese and JP’s attacking Japanese. We played for more than four hours, and were about to start the last third of the scenario. JP finally gave up, as his situation wasn’t very good – too many Chinese defenders still in good order in the key building and not enough time left to kill them all in bloody hand-to-hand combat; the Japanese way to conquer objectives.

Friday was 18xx game night, and the game of choice was 1824: Austria-Hungary. We played slowly this time, so after that, it was too late for another 18xx game, and we decided to play a couple of smaller and lighter game. I haven’t played Witch's Brew before, but it turned out to be a very entertaining little card game. We ended the evening with a game of Can't Stop, a true classic.

On Saturday our friends asked for a game of Eclipse, so I set that one up. For the first time I included the Eclipse: Shadow of the Rift expansion and I also played the Octantis and dealt with their special abilities for the first time. It was a huge and intense game with lots of battles, but in the end, the girls were defeated and the final epic battle between Sascha and myself went to my friend, despite my huge guns! meeple

We continued to game in space, with two games of Star Trek: Five-Year Mission, both at the Captain level. Well, the poor Enterprise was destroyed twice. However, another great game night! meeple

Sunday was a rainy afternoon, the perfect time to play Eldritch Horror again, this time against Shub-Niggurath and with the Dreamlands sideboard. After we got defeated two weeks ago by the King in Yellow, this time the Ancient One was defeated by us and had to go back to the abyss. I’m sure we will encounter him in another game again meeple



New Games

Some of you might have already noticed that Andrea and I are very much into Star Wars (beside other things). Now many, many thanks to Svetlana
❤ Svetlana ❤
Russia
Moscow
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She sent me Love Letter: Star Wars, which is – because of copyright and license reasons – only available in Russia. It’s basically the same game as the normal LL, but of course with Star Wars characters, therefore I’d rate it an “11” (Aldie, would you please modify the rating system? Thanks!). The cards are of a very unusual size, and marked cards would totally ruin that game, so I’m still looking for fitting sleeves.

Philibert also sent me a package with the expansion for Star Wars: Rebellion – Rise of the Empire and a tower defense game in the Star Trek universe: Star Trek Panic based on the game Castle Panic. A promo card for Star Trek panic exists, and it didn't came with the game ... damn, I have to track that one down! Damn OCD! soblue



I hope you all had a great week too! meeple

EDIT: I forgot - here's an image of our Eldritch Horror setup from Sunday ... it needs a lot of time to set up all the components, shuffle all the card stacks and find the stuff that the investigators start with. Wendell would easily finish WiF's Barbarossa scenario in that time! meeple

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16. Board Game: I've Never... The Outrageous Game of Truth [Average Rating:5.07 Unranked]
¡dn ʇǝƃ ʇ,uɐɔ ı puɐ uǝllɐɟ ǝʌ,ı
Canada
Chestermere
Alberta
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Here's a new experience for me. I've never made a geeklist item containing the games that I've played over the past week.
I'm including the Sunday before last because It was part of the Labour Day "festivies" (*not an accurate description). Thus:

Clubs x 1
Guillotine x 2
Dixit x 1
Around the World in 80 Days x 1
Backgammon x 3 (*coincidentally the exact colours of my board)
Jaipur x 1
Tally Ho! x 1
Age of War x 1
Eurorails x 1
Patchwork x 1

So the Labour Day weekend, we were at a friends' place and they had a young (well, younger than us by 25+ years) relative who was visiting as well.
We began with a game of Clubs; I won it. I'm pretty good at this game.
We moved on to Guillotine; everyone always picks on me, and this night was no different. It's been years since I've won it. So we played twice. Ouch.
The young lady had never played Dixit before, but I knew that her cousin had, and that she would like it. So I added it to the bag when I found out that she'd be there. I went on a hot streak, and won this game going away. So far, a good night.
The luck continued. We ended (finished at almost 1:00am) with 80 Days-- an old time, out-of-print, game that is easy to teach and pretty fun to play. I sqeaked out a 1 day victory over the host.

Now it is Tuesday, and 2-player game night. We started with backgammon. All of our games begin with the doubling dice already applied (2) so the first double offered will be for 4. And we always play dime a point.
I'm always brown, because my opponent insists on white and having the board set up counter-clockwise for his runs. We almost always play a 3 game rubber, and this evening was no exception. I ended up down $0.20; one win and two losses with 2 games having the doubling cube at 4.
We moved on to Tally-Ho, and I was able to slaughter him. The game can be cruel, sometimes, if the trees surround your hunters/ animals or if the guns are all pointed the same direction. But it's a great ga,e for two people, otherwise.
Next up was Jaipur; we took the full 3 rounds to decide the game, and I won the final round by a mere 2 points.
The dice were hot in his favor, once again, during Age of War. This one wasn't even close. Big loss for me.

Finally, on this weekend, my wife and I played a game of Eurorails on Saturday and a game of Patchwork on Sunday (last night).
I romped to victory in Eurorails, while she finally won her first game of Patchwork-- the most recent addition to my collection. It was the only time she's had a positive score, and I still covered more of my "quilt" than she did, but she had a big button build-up to better offset her blank squares.
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17. Board Game: Port Royal [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:407] [Average Rating:7.17 Unranked]
Julia
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Last week we played (I tried using the tool that was posted here, but it refers to games logged on BGG, and I don't log anything on BGG because I've a much more efficient Excel allowing me extended statistics so, apologies for the poor formatting)


Port Royal (2p, coop mode, all expansions in), 3x
4 months passed since our latest Port Royal games, and it was simply too much. So, we got back to full coop mode. The first game was a very close one, with only one contract to be fulfilled before endgame, the one requiring to conquer 5 different colors of ships. I had 5 pirates ready do defend the harbor and pillage ships, but I was sunk by a Skull-bearer Red ship. Game 2 was kinda easier, if only we didn't have the contract requiring you to lose half of the money during a taxation. Problem with that card is that you need to mantain high the gold level for the whole game, hoping to be hit at the right time. Turns out we had it as very last card of the deck, which allowed us to win and score 3 points (Sailor level). Last game played was a lot smoother, and we won scoring 5 points (Pirate level. Julia: "so, are we Pirate, hon?" / Andrea: "yes, we arr")


Patchwork, 1x
This was quite an odd game. Andrea started and opted to pass on the opening move, leaving me a very bad starting selection of tiles. We mantained a very low economy in the earlier part of the game: we simply never had the buttons to afford the most expensive (and allowing for most production) tiles, so, our engines were burning low. I took a slight edge due to better timing in picking a few key-tiles and gain three times in a row the advantage of pulling a free single-square tile. Then Andrea made a fantastic move (2x1 tile to go top tier on the time track and trigger production which allowed him to get the 8x6 tile AND complete the 7x7 before I could even say "wait..."), and got a slight edge until the very end. My final placement was better than his (5 empty squares vs his 7), but he got 1 button more and the 7x7, which allowed a narrow victory by 4 points only (14-10).


Carcassonne: Gold Rush, 1x
This is our fave Carcassonne of all times (we always play with the Sheriff in), and it's also the most played (102 games so far). It's fast and furious and a lot deeper than standard Carc: first of all you play with 4 meeples in stead of 8, meaning that multiple-assaulting the same areas is not clever because you don't have enough resources; same with farmers, you need to be careful. Then, the tent allowing you to steal golden nuggets mitigates the bad luck of having your meeples stuck in incompleted features. Finally, the locomotive allowing you to double score the railways, the sheriff allowing to block pillaging tactics from gold mines, and the graveyards boosting power if placed close to cities, all of this creates a fresco where you have quite a few items to keep under control, despite the game being very fast (22-25 minutes and you're done). We got a pretty standard game until half, more or less, where Andrea scored 4 features with the same tile, and took a decisive edge that was mantained until the very end of the game (final score: 180-163)
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18. Board Game: Ra [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:134]
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 of 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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19. Board Game: Mystic Vale [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:385]
Nikki Ebright
United States
Centennial
Colorado (CO)
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 7   Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle
 7.5   Eminent Domain
 7   Mystic Vale x3
 8   Roll for the Galaxy

GAMES
We had our usual Monday night gaming on Sept 4th, and only 1 other player came, so we taught her the HP deck builder and a space deck builder. She enjoyed both of them. It's always fun for me to introduce people to new things that they end up liking.

Billy and I got Mystic Vale recently and had been wanting to play it, so we finally got it out on the Wednesday night when a friend stopped by to pick up his Burning Man things (another of our roommates had gone and they carpooled). Loved it. Played again Thursday night with the roommate that had gone to Burning Man, and then again with her and another person on Friday, followed by Roll for the Galaxy with 5, because another roommate had showed up and we wanted to include him. We have the expansion for Mystic Vale so we'll probably add that in soon.

It's been so good to get more gaming in again!

CONVENTIONS, NONPROFIT, WORK
I've got a lot of emails to catch up on for the conventions. We have a nonprofit board retreat this weekend that I called for and am facilitating. It's time for us to look at where we've been and where we want to go and create some long term strategies, and reassess how we're doing things in general and specifically. So when I have clear brain, that's what I'm working on.

Allergies have been really active the last few days, and that's been annoying. I've started taking some OTC allergy meds and ignoring the prescription ones, since they were making me *so* groggy. I have an appt with the allergy and immunity dr on Monday, and he's not going to like me. I'm not being a model patient. I've quit taking everything he prescribed, mostly because I didn't like the effects. I also stopped going for allergy shots; gearing myself up to go in for pain, followed by bruising and welts has been hard to do, psychologically. Apparently I'd rather suffer from the allergies for now.

I want to look into alternatives to allergy shots and see if there's something else I can do. Or maybe someone else can give me shots that don't hurt. Who knows.

So I'm feeling a bit buried under all the emails and to do items I have, and it's ended up with me being less productive than I want to be. Usually, at this time of year, I just hibernate and recover, so I'm trying to be gentle with myself. But things need to get done, so I'm working on pushing myself with whatever incentives I can!

The fill-in job has been more quiet lately, so I've been watching my bank account slowly dwindle. Hoping to pick up more work soon and/or get the nonprofit rolling with more donations so it can eventually circle back to me in salary or stipend.

MOVING
We are still very excited about moving and have started mentally shifting. Already there's a lot of, what would I take to Europe and what would I leave here? We plan to keep a room in the house and continue to rent out to the rest of the roommates.

Speaking of rooms, Billy and I are in the most expensive one (he does rent by the square foot), and there are 2 storage rooms in the basement that, if combined, could be another bedroom. So Billy is looking into that, and may actually have construction going in October. That's the room we would plan to take when we move, and then rent out the Master Bedroom we're in. More construction! Crazy!

HEALTH
Allergies are up (mentioned above) and body doesn't seem to be happy with US food (not surprising). I have a colonoscopy scheduled for Thurs Sept 28, so expect me to be all wacky from Wednesday to Friday, heh.

DATING, RELATIONSHIPS
Billy and I are still doing great, yay. I was trying to start something with another person recently, but we just could not connect, so we're going back to friends, which is fine. Seems I'm getting surrounded by people I've sort of dated but don't any more, heh.

Billy and I will be celebrating 5 years at BGGCON, so we're getting cupcakes made for the Team Geek meeting (since that's what brought us together, and we're still on Team Geek). I'll have to find the actual formula, but it's our 2^10+2^9+2^8... day anniversary, so that's what the cupcakes will spell out. In Hogwarts colors. Going to be pretty cool.





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20. Board Game: Hero Realms [Average Rating:7.72 Overall Rank:187]
Stig Morten
Norway
Kvernaland
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 N/A   Hero Realms NEW!
Tried this one with Ingmar. just a few new twists, otherwise the same as Star Realms. I managed to take a win through good combos.

 N/A   Commands & Colors: Napoleonics
Another scenario of this one. Been so long since we played it, we were rusty on the rules. Inmgar took an early lead, but I fought back to a narrow win. A good game that is a little more complex than Memoir. Hopefully we get in a few games within a few weeks to get the rules locked down.

 N/A   Flamme Rouge
Stage one of the new Giro I'm playing in the forum. One of the players is the designer of the game. That is pretty cool.

 N/A   Dungeon Roll x2
A pair of this dice roller. Nothing special, but ok as a fast playing game.

 8   Flash Point: Fire Rescue
Played a game of this while I wait for the kickstarter to come later this year. I was looking good untill a HAZMAT chainreaction made me lose. A good game that I bring out too seldom.
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