What Did You Play This Week? September 11-17, 2017
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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With the week behind us it's time to post your week's mini-session reports and stories to answer our favorite question:

mbmbWhat did you play this week? - Edition 438


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1. Board Game: Uchronia [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:2065]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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Busy week with some gaming mixed in...



Tuesday
1x - Uchronia - mb

I worked the Construction activities to my advantage building lots of buildings in our morning coffee game of Uchronia, some of which provided bonuses for each building of that type. We also discovered that we haven't been playing the monopoly bonuses when a player builds a building of that type. So a fun game and one in which we learned a new rule. Not atypical for us. I claimed the win, 21-15.

Thursday
1x - Uchronia - mb

This game of Uchronia was much closer than the score indicates (21-14). I stole a monopoly late which resulted in a big point swing and gave me the victory. We remembered to play with the monopoly bonuses this time. We are playing faster and I for one am enjoying it--not sure how to read my wife on this one yet.

Friday
1x - Castles of Burgundy: TCG - solo

It was a game of leap frog each round matching the CoB:TCG AI blow for blow and I managed to squeeze out enough to win by one. It is nice to have a quick, fun solo option for days like today when I'm up early, the wife is sleeping in and I'm looking for something to start the day over a cup of coffee.

Saturday
1x - Castles of Burgundy: TCG - solo

I started my Saturday with a solo play of CoB:TCG over coffee. I got off to a slow start but matched the AI through each round only to see a big point gap to close which I almost did in that last round.


I had a busy week in and outside of work while battling sickness at the start of the week, yet I still managed to get in a couple of 10x10 games and some solo play.

meeple Keep playing...
BK's Hardcore 10x10 in 2017 List at 78/100
BK's Top 75 Games - 2017 Edition
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2. Board Game: Mice and Mystics [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:206] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
Robbert Vervuurt
Denmark
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It seems I have finally found the right group of people to play Mice & Mystics. For some people it was too heavy, for my GF it was "too weird", but for my Pathfinder group, it was perfect! One of our members is on exchange for half a year, so our Pathfinder story is paused. M&M was the perfect game to scratch that RPG-itch, without it being too complicated or without starting a new story for just a few months.

We played the whole first chapter, including the side-quest (finished it successfully), and we all survived until the end of the game. I really like the way how some of the bigger enemies (Brodie or the crow) also target enemies, making it a lot more believable in a way (since, how should Brodie communicate with cockroaches?).

Can't wait until the next chapter! I'm also very lucky that I have gotten my hands on a painted version (though colors of the main mice are off, which I don't understand ).



Forbidden Island 1x *new for me*
Had this game on the shelf for about 1.5 years, finally sat down to learn the rules, so I could explain my GF. A nice, thematic game that can scratch that Pandemic-itch in a shorter time-span. Both my GF and I prefer Pandemic though, since it just offers more of a game. But again, perfect in case there isn't that much time to play a game.

Qwinto 5x *new for me*
Qwixx gemixxt 7x
Qwixx 3x

Both my GF and I love these games. Quick to pick up, difficult to put down ("just one more round"). We never tried Qwinto before, but it definitely offers a lot more challenge than any of the Qwixx-games.
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3. Board Game: Thunderbolt Apache Leader [Average Rating:8.13 Overall Rank:715] [Average Rating:8.13 Unranked]
Fernando Robert Yu
Philippines
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It was a week full of managing pilots and planes for me!

Monday

Thunderbolt Apache Leader = 2 Plays

Day 3 Mission 5

Divot (Harrier), Cougar (Apache), and Gator (Cobra) takes on Tank Battalion 6A which shortens loiter time by 2 turns!


Setup: SAMs and Helicopters and a bunch of slow pilots makes this a tough mission despite the great scout roll and UAV support offsetting the reduced loiter time.


Post mission: Very early AA wounds Divot as he is forced to exit leaving the helicopters to do the brunt of the work. They manage to reduce the battalion to half although the Apache is damaged and Cougar is shot down but later rescued for a net VP total of 2.

Day 3 Mission 6

Gumby (Thunderbolt) and Hack (Harrier) takes on the Mobile HQ deep in enemy territory in the final mission of the campaign.


Start of the 6th and last mission of my first campaign. SAMs and AAA vehicles will make things tricky.


End of Mission 6 and End of Campaign. The HQ is destroyed although poor ridge evasion rolls makes both pilots very stressed after their return. I get a final score of 16 VP which is enough for a good rating for this campaign.

Saturday

I start another campaign and randomize the Libya 1984 Campaign and the Rapid Deployment scenario. I again select the random plane and pilot selection giving me 29 SO and with only 3 aircraft types available in 1984 I get 2 A-10A Thunderbolts, 2 AH-1 Cobras, and 1 F-16 Falcon. This scenario is tricky since I cannot replace pilots and planes in the first 2 days of this 4 day campaign. I draw exactly 33 VP worth of enemy battalions and with some reducing my daily SO as well as preventing my pilots from stress recovery I knew I had to make these priority targets in order to survive this campaign.

Thunderbolt Apache Leader = 5 Plays

With 9 enemy battalions I decided to fly 3 missions on the first day with the aim of at least halving the targets in order to remove their special abilities. I went for the “softer” targets with low VPs first although that Artillery Support Battalion had to be dealt with as it removes 2 SOs at the end of the day and that could be devastating. I also decided to invest in ECM pods since I needed to avoid AA fire since I could not replace men and planes early in the campaign.

Day 1 Mission 1

I had Dart's F16 take on a hopefully soft target alone.


Start of the Mission: Dart’s F16 flies solo over a dangerous battlefield as every enemy unit has AA capabilities.


End: Dart just manages to halve the battalion although the F16 is badly damaged and I gain 1 VP.

Day 1 Mission 2

Again I had Thor and Scuttle go for soft targets with the aim of reducing the number of battalions which could advance in day 1.


Start: Thor’s A10 and Scuttle’s Cobra spot a supply convoy.


End: 4 turns is enough as both pilots totally wipe out the battalion with the Cobra getting bullet holes. Another VP for me.

Day 1 Mission 3

The last mission of the day has my 2 fast pilots (Viper’s A10 and Grandpa’s Cobra) attack the Artillery unit.


Start: Those SAMs must go NOW!!!


End: The fast pilots prove their worth as the SAMs are neutralized early and the battalion is destroyed although Viper becomes unfit due to stress. I gain 6 VP for a net score of 8 after the first day. I am also lucky the front line battalions did not get to advance as they would have caused stress to all my pilots if they did.

Day 2 Mission 4

This time I go for 2 enemy battalions as I felt 3 missions a day is pushing it.


Start: Mohawk (F16), Gumby (A10A), and Scuttle (Cobra) take on a Tank Battalion which is protected by AAA, SAMs, and a couple of helicopters!


End: I manage to destroy the battalion although the F16 has to exit early and the Cobra and Thunderbolt needed extra time to do the job. The Falcon and Cobra take damage and Scuttle becomes unfit due to the stress from running out of fuel. I gain 5 VP for this mission.

Day 2 Mission 5


Start: Thor’s A10 and Freak’s Cobra fly deep into enemy territory in order to take out a fixed command installation which denies my resting pilots recovery of stress points.


End: The job is done but the stress of flying so deep is too much for both pilots as they become unfit!

The 3 VP I gain gives me a total of 16 VP after 2 days of missions. I also spend 2 SO's to let all my pilots recover 2 points of stress.

Sunday

Thunderbolt Apache Leader = 3 Plays

I again decide to go for just 2 battalions at the front line in order to prevent them advancing into my territory.

Day 3 Mission 6

I decide to rest 2 of the Cobra pilots as they needed to recover from stress.


Start: Increased enemy air cover is negated by F15 cover as Gumby’s A10 and Dart’s F16 attack the tank spearhead.


End: the tanks prove too tough as it is only reduced to half. This is enough to give me 3 VPs though.

Day 3 Mission 7


Start: Viper’s A10 and Grandpa’s Cobra go for the Dismounted infantry which is protected by enemy helicopter cover.


End: A successful mission and end of the day pilot and plane conditions and a total of 21 VPs after 3 days of operations.

Day 4 Mission 8

With my pilots mostly recovered from stress I decide to go all on the last day and attack 2 battalions which hopefully will bring my total to at least 26 points and the best rating.


Start: Dart’s F16 and Grandpa and Scuttle’s Cobras attack the Scout Battalion only to see that is is bristling with a lot of anti aircraft firepower!


End: A disastrous mission has both Cobras shot down and the F16 riddled with bullet holes as I halve the battalion but gain a net 0 VPs! This means I will be unable to achieve the best rating for the campaign.
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4. Board Game: Kashgar: Merchants of the Silk Road [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:1711]
Doug Mann
United States
Corpus Christi
Texas
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With no gaming group and a list of chores, I didn't expect to game at all, but with window washing (from Hurricane Harvey) accomplished Sunday morning, Sheryl and I were able to work in a game of Kashgar just after noon. She got the start card giving her an extra caravan, put a spice merchant in it and trashed her patriarch, and edged me 25 to 24. My farmer strategy didn't pay off until the end, and I fell victim to the one short problem on my last large contract. She picked up a small contract for 3 to hit 25, and my cinnamon prince was too far back to pick up the wheat field that came out. Darn!
Kashgar from a previous play.

Rating: 6.8 out of 10.


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5. Board Game: NMBR 9 [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:816]
Stéphane Athimon
France
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Hi Everybody,
I hope you are all fine.

For us, we played on 4 different days but not at the weekend (time dedicated to translation and Handball) .

So this week we played four different games.

One really New, one new from last week, one from last year (for us) and the last one is really an old one : Time's up.


We played a game with my wife against two of our children and once again we were defeated by them.
I think it was our last game with the Familly set, I will try to find something a little more challenging for all of us


One of the other games we played was NMBR9.
We had 9 games of NMBR9. 8 2-player games and 1 3-player games.
This is a great game. I was wondering why they didn't add one more set of numbers so that you can play with 5 players (it is the only flaw of this game for me).
We had a great time playing it.


The other game we played a lot was Century : Spice Road.
We had 5 games of it, mainly 2-player games excepted one game with all the family (5 players).
It is still a discovery for us as we still try to find a clear and adapted strategy to win. Some of our results were close but not all of them.


We also had a game of 7 Wonders : Duel. But it seems that after NMBR9 and Century : Spice Road, we were a little disappointed. I may have forgotten some important rules, I'll have to check :-)

In term of translations, a good week too as I have completed Samhain for Giochix and Feudum : Queen's Army for Mark Swanson, The Arrival : Tribal Traits for Game's up.

Have a nice gaming week.
Thanks for reading
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6. Board Game: Bruxelles 1893 [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:251]
Joe H
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Gaming Groups

On Wednesday Tony, Dan and I started with The Voyages of Marco Polo. Dan was Kubilai Khan (giving him starting position in Beijing). Tony was Niccolo and Marco Polo (giving him two travellers and a camel at the start of each round). I was William of Rubruck (giving me 2 additional trading posts and allowing me to place trading posts as I move through any city). Dan took advantage of his position and placed a trading post in the "choose any bonus at beginning of round" city. Tony also took advantage of his two adventurers by travelling to two cities very early and securing their first arrival bonus. That put me behind the 8 ball but I soon got ahead of Tony on the Northern path. Dan got an early lead and stayed out ahead of the pack for the remainder of the game...doing a great job of travelling and using one of the bonus action spaces that allowed him to convert a gold and a camel into VPs. We allowed Dan to hit the Khan's Favor too many times and let him easily get the resources to fuel that action space. I made a big effort getting contracts completed and secured the bonus for most contracts. In the end, Dan far outpaced us with me taking 2nd.



Next, Dan taught us Arboretum, a game I own but is on my shelf of shame. This is a brainburner. Every choice is tough and every discard seems like a choice between all bad alternatives. I would say this is Lost Cities with a couple of extra dimensions and on steroids. Dan had a very compact tree with lots of opportunities to score and he had solid scores on Dogwood, Magnolia and Oak. I made a huge score on Cassia and another decent scoring on Maple but my tableau was very stretched out. Tony's was more compact than mine and he scored on Olive, Royal Poinciana and Willow. Dan's tableau earned him the victory while my Cassia-centric scoring was enough to give me second.



Finally, Frank and Danny joined us and taught us Between Two Cities. This is a tile drafting game with cooperative city building between neighboring players so that each player's score is the lowest of the two cities they contributed to. The scoring for each city reminded me a lot of Quadropolis and the point value progressions seemed thematically right. Tony's scoring was most consistent, with both of his cities scoring identically and pretty high. Unfortunately for him, Dan contributed to one of those cities and the city he built with Danny was the highest scoring. I too was consistent but not in a good way, having built the two lowest scoring cities. Lots of quick, easy fun and definitely a game I'd play again.



On Thursday night I helped set up the venue for Kanata Con and then got in a game of The Castles of Burgundy with Louie and Rod. It was Rod's first time playing and Louie's second and they both did great. Rod focused on completing areas and jumped out to a big lead. Louie had plenty of flexibility in taking and placing tiles and by the end of the game finishing off his farms caught him up to Rod. I was focused on getting and selling goods and end game scoring. I had plenty of cash going into the last round but the tiles available in the market were mostly useless to me. In the penultimate round I wasted an action grabbing a building it didn't make sense to build (and I didn't) and it ended up costing me the victory as I finished 2 points behind Rod. Had I sold a good instead of grabbing that building I would have scored an additional 8 points. Still, we all made moves we regretted and it was a fun game with two people I hadn't had a chance to play with before.


Kanata Con
Every September one of the game groups I belong to runs Kanata Con. It's a great 2 days of lots of boardgaming. I helped out all weekend and spent much of Saturday helping with the garage sale and teaching games.


I began Kanata Con on Friday by introducing Paul, Ashley and Shah Automobiles. Ashley and I spent most of the game out front but Ashley had some nice blue cubes that would give her Hybrid Engine. I took blue cubes to defend against her. While I got a boost from the Hybrid Engine it left the Turbo cubes open to exploitation by Shah. He had a big last turn and came from far back to blast pass the finish line and end the game. With the inside track on Ashley I was able to finish second. On Saturday I taught Luc, Chris, Dan and Bill. We played with the basic setup. The game was very swingy and the blue cubes (Hybrid Engine) that I played were constantly confounded as Chris bought blue if it meant blocking me. Aargh. And, to top it all off his last move blocked me in and helped him secure 3rd place. Meanwhile, Bill who was in last had some fortunate draws of green cubes (gearboxes) that vaulted him into first and then far across the line, nearly lapping the last place car as he ended the game.



[New to Me] Later Louis I joined Louis, Ashley, Shah and Brent in my first game of Colosseum, a game I wanted to play for a while. I was in the bottom part of the standings for most of the game and never was able to get a 4th spot in my Coloseum. But, I chose my last mid-sized event wisely and was able to pull some last minute medals. Brent had a huge last turn for 88 points and I shocked myself by putting on the only smaller show and boosting that with lots of bonuses to get 83 points and finish 2nd. Lots of fun.



[New to Me] Next, Bill was good enough to introduce Jamie, Jose and me to Bruxelles 1893. Despite finishing dead last I really enjoyed this game. Sometimes Euros are considered multiplayer solitaire. This was not. We were in each other's faces the entire game. Jose was able to do that more successfully than the rest of us and won with 94 points, 10 more than second place finisher Bill.



There was a huge garage sale at the Con, with many new in shrink games being sold by someone who was moving. I picked up Taluva, a game I'd played before and, despite its abstract nature, really enjoyed. Bill taught the game and then Dan, Maryève , Bill and I gave it a whirl. Dan and I seemed to be in the lead with Maryève nipping at our heels. Unfortunately, we were paying too close attention to each other and not enough to Maryève. Before we knew it, we realized that Maryève would be able to place her third temple with her past tile placement and there was nothing we could do. I finished second with a couple more tents placed than Dan.



[New to Me] I closed out the night by playing three games of Deception: Murder in Hong Kong (a game Maryève picked up at the garage sale) with Dan, Bill and Maryève. Maryève started out as the first forensic scientist and then rotated that role to Louis and Bill, the first two murderers. We played with the standard setup in the first two games and solved both with no additional clues and on our first guess. So, in the third game we increased each of our tableaux to 5 methods and 5 pieces of evidence each. And the investigators solved the murder with no additional clues and on our first guess. Despite the lack of high drama I enjoyed the banter over the clues and would gladly play this again.



On Saturday morning I was busy with all the garage sale items being dropped off and bought. But once the craziness subsided I was able to get a game of Santorini in with Tony. Tony was Artemis, giving the power of double movement. I was Demeter, giving the power of double building. In the beginning I kept getting confounded by him jumping on to things I built. Several times we both thought that the other could win on the next turn...we were wrong. Eventually, the board became more clogged and my building powers seemed to become stronger relative to his movement and I was able to get the win.



Maryeve had run the garage sale and picked up a brand new copy of 7 Wonders Duel. I taught it to her and then we played. She was cutthroat. In the first game I couldn't get any brown resources and watched helplessly as she pushed on military and quickly built 4 wonders. All I could really do was grab blue through linking. Maryeve scored 63 points with a quite even distribution of points. I lost with 56 with more than half of my points coming from blue buldings. I got my revenge in the second game, winning the race to 4 wonders. Maryeve pushed on science a bit. I won 72-38 with 32 points coming from blue cards.



During a short break I was able to teach Bill NMBR 9. It went quick and I spent a long time laying a foundation which helped me get a 58-29 win. This is a nice little puzzle, that I'd happily play as a filler but couldn't see myself buying.



Solo Gaming

On Monday I played a solo game of Roll Player. I was a Dragonkin (+2 strength, -2 dexterity) Cleric with a Street Urchin background and a Hermit alignment. For the first time I was able to complete all my attribute requirements (with a lot of last turn manipulation). Helping with this (and earlier) manipulations were two skill cards "Slight of Hand" of and "Concentrate" whose alignment "costs" offset each other. I scored 34 points (with more than 1/3 coming from attributes" to earn a "Clan Leader" ranking.



On Tuesday I played the terrific Pandemic Iberia again. This time I played the Rural Doctor and Royal Academy Scientist. I built a good rail network to help get my specialists around the board. The 3rd and 4th epidemics struck within one turn of each other triggering outbreaks 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8. The cards just came out wrong. When the last epidemic occurred had the cards in hand to win the game in the next 2 actions.



Later on Tuesday I played La Granja: No Siesta. I had a hard time getting the market barrow's going. I did complete one of them for maximum points and chose the scoring for roof tiles (which I was able to get the full 6 points for). Of my 47 points 19 points came from roof tiles (regular points + bonuses) and 10 came from warehouses and stables. There are lots of good decisions and cascading effects in this relatively simple game.
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7. Board Game: Cry Havoc [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:358]
Walter Kolinski
United States
Chicago
IL
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The Dragon & Flagon


Tyrants of the Underdark


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8. Board Game: Pi mal Pflaumen [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:1913]
Nick Shaw
United Kingdom
Plymouth
Devon
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An interesting choice of 'game of the week' this week, as you'll see in my report.

No pics so far, as I'm pretty busy with other things.

Game Group
A great fun evening, teaching all 5 of the games played to new-to-the-games players, and to one person who was entirely new to modern boardgames (I believe he really enjoyed all the games he played)!

VivaJava: The Dice Game - Haven't played this multiplayer with other gamers ever. Makes a nice change, having an actual competitive feel! However, in the end, it's a roll & write, so it's not super deep. The players all enjoyed it, and I won (woohoo!), but I'm wondering now how long it'll stay in my collection. It's lost a lot of the shiny it had when I first got it. Still nice to bring out once in a while though...

Century: Spice Road - A super-close 4-player game! I was neck and neck with another player for most of the game; I ended up triggering the game end, with 5 points cards. That other player then, on his final turn, managed to purchase the points card that had just come out as a result of me buying one previously, and it gave him the win! GAH! So close, and thus so fun.

Pi Mal Pflaumen - Ok, so here's the thing - I didn't actually play in this game. I taught it, to 5 players. But I was invested enough in the action that I felt like I was playing it (without any of the risk or decision needed!). Really like this cute little cardgame, which has some fun decisions to make in what is effectively a pretty simple bidding & drafting game of completing fruit combinations for points. I'll have to get this one to the table more often I think, as I really wanted to be in on the game too.

Ghostel - Teaching this to 2 others. We had a blast. As inevitably happens when I'm teaching a game, I came dead last, but it was such an amusing game of back-stabbing and points stealing. Sure, it's aimed as a family game, but boy can you make some evil moves! Ha. Great fun.

Zombie Dice - Finished game night with 2 quick rounds of Zombie Dice. I enjoy this for some quick push-your-luck fun. And I won both games! Woohoo! In the second game, one other player had the bad dice luck to keep rolling all shotguns on every turn, right up until after I'd triggered the end-game. His final turn he had the ever-so-small possibility of being able to roll all 13 dice as brains to equal my score. His first roll? 1 brain, 2 shotguns.




Solo
Pocket Mars - Another play through solo (having realised I'd made some rules errors in my last game, so hadn't actually won at all then). I lost again, but got my highest score to date - 20 points! Alas the AI also got its highest score to date too - 24pts. Fun and quick little game.




Playtesting
Ninja fighting game - My friend's game design, which he was aiming as a kind of cross between rock-paper-scissors and Dominion. Yeah, that seems like an odd combination, but it actually works surprisingly well. Build up and attack your opponents with ninja moves, or train to learn better combos for attack. Runs too long at the moment, but seeing the progression over the past few plays is great to see.




Online
Guildhall - Came 2nd out of 3 (20 to 15 to 11). Man, I enjoy this game. I'm not that good at it, but I always feel I'm so CLOSE to being good that it keeps bringing me back. This game exemplified that - I needed just one more completed chapter to pick up a 9-pointer for the game. Another player pipped me to that by just one turn. Frustrating, but exhilarating at the same time.

Die Speicherstadt - Came 3rd out of 4 (37 to 31 to 20 to 13). No matter how many times I play this, I still do badly [with 3+ players], and yet I still love it. The tension and indecision about what to bid on, and the feeling of just needing ONE more round to get the goods you need to finish that one contract, ah, so good. Good old Feld.

Nations: The Dice Game - Came 3rd out of 4 (27 to 27 to 24 to 19). A pretty close game up to the final few turns; I just couldn't get the dice rolls I needed (I had quite a few re-rolls but as usually happens, I ended up rolling mostly the same faces I started with. I still question the quality of the rolling algorithm on yucata. ).

Imhotep - 2 players; lost, 58 to 46. Pretty close game again, but my opponent was always one step ahead of me in every area. I'm still very much undecided about whether I like this game or not. I can feel a little bit of tension in the decisions, but mostly it feels very disconnected, at any player count. May not stay in my collection for much longer (but at least I can play it on yucata if ever I want to).
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9. Board Game: Kingdomino [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:186] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
James Moline
United States
Tampa
FL
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Lots of new to me games this week!

NEW Kingdomino - My wife and I played a few games of Kingdomino while waiting for our power to come back on. We had a good time with it. It's a really simple game, but it is a nice spatial puzzle. I think we'll end up picking up a copy, as my wife really enjoyed playing it over coffee.
Rating: 6.5

NEW Nations - Understandably very light attendance at this week's meetup. The 3 of us that were able to make it played a game of Nations. I have been curious about this game for a while, and was surprised by how simple the rules actually were. We played the A sides of the player boards, so no special abilities. I struggled to get a coal and money engine going early on, but ended up doing alright in that arena. I grabbed the leader that gave me a single book, but also allowed me to not pay any upkeep for military, which was awesome. I stayed in first place on the book track for the whole game, and that 8 points over the course of the game was pretty big. I ended up winning the game. I really found it a very interesting game.
Rating: 7.5

NEW Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization - After playing Nations, I was even more curious than I had been about Through the Ages, so I was thrilled when the app got released. I've played a couple of games now, and I enjoy the game overall. I won my first game, but I couldn't really say if I had a real strategy. I was always just behind or even with my opponent in military, and I completed 3 or so wonders. I had a pretty good science engine going, and I managed to use all of my population cubes (and keep them happy). In my second game, I was a little less focused, and my engine suffered for it. Despite getting Irrigation early on, I didn't put a lot into it. I produced food very piecemeal, which obviously made it a lot more difficult to get new workers and new buildings out. I only built 2 wonders, in part because I lost and incomplete wonder when an age turned (I forgot about that rule). Despite playing worse, I only lost by 10 or so points. I'm enjoying the game, and I think I'll keep playing. The verdict is still out on whether I like Through the Ages or Nations more. There are definitely things I prefer about both of them.
Rating: 7.5

NEW Lisboa - On Saturday, my wife and I sat down for a learning game of Lisboa. I had watched the Gaming Rules! how to play video 2 or 3 times, and it's very good, but I was not at all comfortable with the gameplay yet. The teaching were a bit difficult to get through, but we made it and got started. The first few turns were slow, and we never really got to the point where we were comfortable building stores and public buildings without looking at the player aids. We did it, though! It clicked for both of us about half to 2/3rds of the way through. I thought my wife was crushing me, as she went for the 5 point building column and scored a lot of points that way. I diversified my stores a bit more, and focused on decrees, though, which helped in end game scoring. I won, but we were both pretty happy with how the game went. We played again on Sunday and things went much more smoothly. The iconography was clicking and we were looking things up a lot less. I need to play this a bit more, I think to solidify my opinion, but I don't imagine I'm going to take a sudden dislike to it.
Rating: 7.5

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10. Board Game: Ora et Labora [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:89]
Tony Fryer
United States
Denver
Colorado
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Ora et Labora
Man, I love this game. I think that although it shares a lot of similarities to Agricola (spatial tableau building) and Le Havre (buildings and resource conversion), that this is his toughest game and his best work for where my game tastes are. It's just fabulous and I want to play it again and again.

Quadropolis
Fun little game, enough plays already, onto the auction shelf now.

Santiago
Still loving this one. Always fun, good mechanics.

Ingenious
Very cool little abstract dominoes game. Our 4-player session was a lot of fun.

Jaipur
Always a fast-playing and fun game. I love the camel mechanic in the game.

Patchwork
I am interested in trying Indian Summer of course, but so far this is the best of his "tetris" games. The button economy is the key.

Caverna: Cave vs. Cave
I think, for me, this may be the best of Uwe's two-player-only variations on his bigger games, but still is not up to snuff. Too long for what I found. I'd rather play Caverna: The Cave Farmers with 2-players. A good friend and I love the big game at 2 and play it faster than this title - with way more good stuff too.

Concordia: Britannia
I really like this map with 3 players, it was fairly tight and a lot of fun. I got crushed in the game, but had a blast, as I always do with this title.


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11. Board Game: Monochrome Chess [Average Rating:5.93 Unranked]
Carthoris Pyramidos
United States
Centennial
Colorado
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It was a chess variant week for me, including my first two plays of Alice Chess. What a brain-burner that is! In our first attempt, we ended up with a draw: despite my significant material advantage going into the endgame, I couldn't figure out how to make it work, and I got my pieces whittled away by the opposing king. Our second game featured a sort of mass migration from the first board to the second, as I anticipated might happen in this variant. Again, I dominated the middle game and showed some incompetence in the endgame. But I did manage a win this time.



Prp and I also played a three-game match of Monochrome Chess. I won the first game by an enormous margin, but she beat me handily in the second and third.

The only other play this week was a session of Arkham Horror: The Card Game, where we had our latest go at the Undimensioned and Unseen scenario. For a little while, it looked like we would prevail, dogless "Ashcan" and all. But in the end, all we got for our trouble was mental trauma.

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12. Board Game: The Halls of Montezuma [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:4626]
David Dockter
United States
Minnesota
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Santa Anna Counterattacks

Played some The Halls of Montezuma and Enemy Action: Ardennes . Had a blast as usual. Our club mates playing Democracy under Siege stole the show. AAR: G.A.A.R. -- 9.15.17 -- Who Is Number One? Edition


Enemy Action: Ardennes


Democracy under Siege

...and then ordered Rise of Totalitarianism . Can't wait for that one.



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13. Board Game: Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:35]
Kent Pritchett
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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This week I sat down with my oldest son and we had a game of Robinson Crusoe. We played Scenario 3. We managed to rescue Jenny and have all the materials to build the boat but we just needed one more turn to complete it. My son really enjoyed he game and found it interesting.


This weekend I went out to play some games at an event. I started off with World Championship Russian Roulette. This was a nice filler game and I really enjoyed it. The game is a combination of push your luck and bluffing. You are basically playing Russian Roulette and play until someone has 15 points or the teams are eliminated. You pick how many clicks you think you can make with out firing. The thing is you take one card out of your deck before shuffling it and you can take out the lone bullet, but someone can call you on it. There are cards that you can play as well that impact the game. Really a great game if you enjoy bluffing and push your luck.


Second game I sat in on was Sagrada. I was actually disappointed by this game and I do like puzzle type games. Kind of felt like work to me in that you need to not put like or colour dice together. The biggest problem is that you score 0 points for filling in your sheet, nothing zippo, and the objectives can some time be dependant on your card. The hidden objectives are OK, but no points for filling in your window after doing all that hard work. The rulebook was also not the clearest for such a simple game. I was thinking about getting this one because of all the good things I heard but I am going to pass. Still not a bad game just disappointed due to the hype surrounding it.


Third game was Loot N Run another sort of push your luck game that is just OK. Nice little filler to kill a few minutes but lots of games that do this better.


The gem of the night for me was Cavern Tavern. I was not expecting much for this one but I found myself really enjoying it. A worker placement game where you collect ingredients, mixes drinks and serve them to customers in a fantasy bar setting. You have hidden objectives that score points at the end too. It was a close six-player game and I really enjoyed it. You use dice for worker placement. I really enjoyed this one.


This week I also got in a game of Takenoko.
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14. Board Game: Terraforming Mars [Average Rating:8.38 Overall Rank:5]
James Valadez
United States
El Paso
Texas
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THURSDAY and SATURDAY



We got Terraforming Mars about a week ago. My daughter and I played Thursday night in a learning game for her. We both then played with my son Saturday in a learning game for him. They both seemed to really like this game and we'll surely get it to the table many more times.

SUNDAY



Sunday was a Massive Darkness day at the request of my daughter's fiancé. We played quest 4 which is the one which the rooms are falling in. We played twice and died on the first tile. We then played it a third time and completed the quest. We followed it up with the fireworks quest which was fun but seemed a lot harder when we started than when we finished. Either way the entire family loves this game and we'll be playing it for a ling while.
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15. Board Game: Palago [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:5980]
Andrew
United States
Kansas City
Missouri
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Another abstract is my obsession again:



 8.0   The Shooting Party
 6.0   Elevenses for One x3 - Fun solo, but I won't be hanging onto it.
 8.0   Twixt x7 - still an obsession, Nathan is getting better! Stephen played a few matches too.
 8.0   Axis & Allies - Allied victory, including a super-Russia which usually doesn't happen.
 8.0   Codenames Duet x3 - been playing with my wife, this is the best form of Codenames for us, we'll probably never play it in groups again.
 8.0   Small World - Six-player realms is very, very long -- I'm only up for it every once in a while.
 8.0   Palago x11 NEW! - This is a super-elegant abstract I had laser-cut -- features 48 identical tiles which you are trying to manipulate to your advantage.
 6.0   Lost Hedgehog x2
 10.   Dixit
 N/A   Capital Lux NEW! - Played under poor circumstances, but I think this one will be a hit after a rough start.
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16. Board Game: Star Wars: Imperial Assault [Average Rating:8.14 Overall Rank:25]
Shaun Morris
United States
New Jersey
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It was another slow week in terms of quantity of games played, but the quality of games played more than makes up for the low numbers!

Friday, September 15, 2017
Star Wars: Imperial Assault

My gaming group (re: my friends and I) played two skirmish sessions of Imperial Assault. The owner, as the most experienced with 2 previous plays under his belt, played as the Imperials while the remaining 4 of us played as the rebels. The rebels won the first skirmish but lost the second. I actually died in both skirmishes. I love the Wookie but he needs to get up close and personal to do damage and well, ends up taking a ton of damage as a result. The group was pretty cool though as we managed to recruit heroes in both sessions and once my Wookie died they all passed me the recruited heroes to ensure I still had something to do.

This was my most anticipated game this week and it actually lived up to the hype. We all agreed that we're going to start meeting at the owner's house once a month to play through the campaign. I can't wait!

Sunday, September 17, 2017
Rummy

And what gaming week would be complete without at least one game of Rummy? Played a game versus my mom and actually managed to win!

Overall, a pretty successful week even if there weren't many games played.
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17. Board Game: A Feast for Odin [Average Rating:8.20 Overall Rank:30]
Evan Dunn
United States
New York
New York
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"...to excel above the common rate, in frivolous things, is nothing graceful in a man of quality and honor." - Michel de Montaigne
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This week was...

A Feast for Odin - 7th play



This game I went a big money strategy, and wound up coming in at 99 points. I've still not broken the 100 point barrier, frustratingly. I think I could have done it this game if I had eaten dollars the turn before, and spent the workers I used to gather food, instead immigrating the boat I had, although who knows. Still having a fantastic time with this game.

BattleCON: Trials of Indines - 6th battlecon play, 1st with this set specifically



I love Battlecon despite not having muck skill at it, and despite not yet having tried any of the characters beyond novice level. This set is so far my favorite, because the rulebook is wonderfully concise, and the characters come with everything they need in little tuckboxes. It's the fastest setup/breakdown I've seen which I feel like is needed for this game to be the quick little 2p filler that it's meant to be. Very excited for more in the future. I always used to love the old fighting games from when I was a teenager, but I never had the will or skill to go beyond button mashing. Finding a thinky board game that perfectly emulates the things I liked without the things I sucked at makes me really happy.

The Voyages of Marco Polo - 2nd play



My first play of this was 4 players, and it was a little over a year ago. I really hated it. I felt like the actions were much too limited and your choices were too determined by your starting character and objective cards. Well, a long time went by and I saw the game rise through the BGG ranks. I thought I must be missing something. Well, I got my own copy of the game this week and played it 2 player and included the mini expansion. I liked it better. With 2 players, the board is a lot more open, and you can count on not having to pay the 'occupied spot' tax quite as much. I'm at the point where I feel like I would definitely play this again with 2, and with 3, but probably not with 4. This still puts me at odds with the BGG consensus which says that it's best with 4. I'm interested to learn what people see in this game that makes it so special.

Dice Forge - 6th play



Close match. I'm still getting a kick out of this as a nice way to wind down the night. As much as I know I shouldn't, I get a real kick out of grabbing a x3 side, the 4vp side, and the x2 token, and getting 24vp in a single roll. It doesn't tend to get me the win, because it relies on so much setup and die luck that I'm sure I could get a better return focusing elsewhere, but I just kind of love it.

Gloomhaven - 10th play



Did my first sidequest in this game. I thought it would be shorter than a normal campaign map, but it wound up taking just about as long. It was nice though. The new monster types we encountered were intimidating, but we managed them well and got to farm some good exp going into our next story mission.

The Ruhr: A Story of Coal Trade - 1st play



So far I've only played on the Ruhr map, and not the new map that comes on the front side of the board for this edition.

In this game you are trying to get points by placing houses and unlocking technology tiles. This is fueled by getting money from shipping coal down the river, represented by dice. The value of the coal fluctuates as the die face changes up or down through player actions. The locations you deliver to determine which technology tiles unlock at the end of the round. The technology tiles are what allow you to place your houses and amass endgame scoring criteria. Money is very tight in this game, and the game in general is fairly low scoring so getting 1vp per dollar is actually a pretty ideal ratio.

The map itself is laid out in a somewhat confusing manner, but it's manageable. One or two of the icons could have been a lot better, but I've forgiven other games for worse. The board was printed with a fairly uniform lack of vibrancy and contrast, which leads to the colors looking dull and blending visually with the map features. This is unfortunate, since Khole and Kolonie by the same designer has a similar looking map, but looks so so much nicer.

The game gives you a few interesting decisions here or there and is generally an ok game, but it fails to have any mechanisms that get me really excited. You sail your boat up and down the river, back and forth, trying to keep your money level high enough to improve your position, but it feels samey throughout. The game is very low scoring which also pushes it to feel a little bland. There are some places you can put a house that do a +1vp majority scoring at the end, which is pretty meh, but then a tie in those boxes means nobody gets the bonus, which is pretty unexciting. The technology tiles you plan your strategies around run one fewer than the number of players, so you might set yourself up for a tile, and lose it to turn order.

I'm interested to play this more to see if it grows on me. In particular I'm curious about the new side of the board, which seems to have some substantial variation from the version I played.

Pi mal Pflaumen - 4th play



While I think this is the best trick-taking game I've played yet, I think the genre just fundamentally runs against my tastes. I hate that on any given turn my success of failure depends on turn order, set by the numbers printed on cards randomly in my hand. I like the art, and the abilities of the cards in this game, but overall I think I'm done.
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18. Board Game: Biblios [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:288]
Matt Brown
United States
Okemos
Michigan
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Sentinels of the Multiverse

Ended up in a lose as there were 3 of us as we were constantly made to not deal damage for a turn so it was just a bad set up versus our play.

Clank

I thought I was doing well to compete only to see I was severely lacking and I got taken down anyway.

GrandCon: Bigger than ever but in all honesty table space was an issue. Still a decent con.

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle

I'm going to assume this gets vastly better after get past the initial play and get to add more stuff in. Even as a tutorial type of play, this was incredibly neutered although I do accept I'm not exactly the target age range for this.

The Palace of Mad King Ludwig

A nice take on Castles with how the game itself can force things and go against the players, but that's really about it. If you have Castles, I can see you liking this, but I don't think people will go out and get it or ever really prefer it. You certainly don't need both. The repetitive design ideas by Ted has long worn thin on me and this is a perfect case here.

Werewords

Speaking of which, the one night series has not clicked for me, and I don't think it will. This, however, is vastly superior. I could almost see picking it up, but I know someone in my group will.

Trains

2-player map which had one tile where you could lay rails for no extra cost. I abused my ability to pinpoint where I did a lay rails towards the end and came out with the win which was vastly because of the spaces on the bottom and VP in hand.

Biblios

Finally got a play of this as I have wanted to do so for some time. I like this a lot and very likely will either pick it up or ask for more plays of it from people I know who own it.

Santiago

Didn't play but was bought at $20. This is a grail game for the past couple of years and even online used copies go for more without factoring in shipping.
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19. Board Game: Viral [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:1191]
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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Two weeks in a row?!?!



So, Tuesday brought an exciting new thing for me, surgery. Just a quick outpatient hernia repair, although it did keep me sidelined for a good portion of three days, but by Friday I was finally ready to play some games.

(Thank you for the well wishes Bill!!!)



Anyway, Friday night saw AnnaBeth and I finally try out the 7x7 version of Kingdomino. I figured since it was going to be just us playing, we may as well go for the gusto and well, she beat me. I helped a little bit, but that was mostly towards the end when she was not paying as much attention to the tile placement.



But Saturday was the true test, turns out I scheduled a Game Day at our Local library a year in advance to fall right on the weekend after I had hernia surgery, who would have thunk it?!

Started out with a quick game of Mammut, which has that always interesting mechanic where there is a pile of things in the middle and each person has a choice, take from the middle or take from someone else and put something back in the middle. All the while trying to collect sets of items. Pretty neat older title that I am glad that I got to play.

We followed that up with Downforce in which I realized that we have been playing incorrectly. We've been playing where even if your cars finish the race, you still play cars, so there for you continue pushing everyone forward, but in the rules, that's not the way it's supposed to be played, so now I see why folks like Evan have talked of running out of cards and not finishing the race, we actually had 3 cars fall short this time. It didn't change my enjoyment of the race, but made it a bit different. You need to be really careful on what you bid, $6 million is probably too high unless you just have a hand of cards that will keep you moving that car nearly every time.



We followed that up with a play of Stop Thief!. Odd thing in this play, the thief stayed in the department store for the first 4 thefts. You'd think that would make for a quicker game, but not if 4 different people get the thief.

After that was the new hit of the day for me, Viral. VIRAL is an area control/majority game where you are playing as a virus and you are trying to infect different parts/zones of the body. You have two hands of cards, one set of cards are the zones, and the other are the different actions that your virus can do, you can infect, attack and do all sorts of other things in the body. We played with 4 players and it was a hoot. Whenever a certain number of viruses are in a specific organ, the organ goes into crisis, releasing an anti-virus so unless you've shielded some viruses they will all come back to you. All this time you are earning points, yes, it's all about points based on majorities and those crisis. Really a fun game with a unique theme and a somewhat twisted bit of humor. Absolutely will be picking this up, but I do wonder how it plays with 2, I understand it adds a dummy, and I hate playing with dummies.



We followed that up with some Mafia de Cuba which seems fine, but I think we played at minimum player count and it seems that it would definitely be a more the merrier kind of game.

Then some 7 Wonders got brought out and Science still owns the table, but I'll never turn down a play of 7 Wonders.

But we followed it up with the Bauza game that I should always pass up as I just don't see the point of playing it, Tokaido. Just seems like a game where you take a turn and just sit and wait till your next turn and take the next action available. Not a whole lot of thinking going on, but it sure is pretty.

Then we closed out with the wonderfully fun and quick, Las Vegas.



Sunday, Kerensa and I sat down and played a couple games of The Fox in the Forest over our coffee before settling down into our Sunday routine of getting the podcast ready to go.



I will be out of town on Tuesday evening in KC, not sure if I will be out finding a game night or just holing up in the hotel and writing, we'll have to see how I am doing at that point. I'm up and moving a lot more now, but still have moments where I am really uncomfortable and don't move all that well. But sooner than later I'll be back to normal and complaining about having to mow the lawn.

Have a great week everyone!!
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20. Board Game: Grand Austria Hotel [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:103]
Rico Cordova
United States
Salt Lake City
Utah
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Best game of the week

A very long and difficult few weeks at work. We didn't have any time for games.

Saturday, September 16, 2017
 8.5   Grand Austria Hotel
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21. Board Game: Five Tribes: Whims of the Sultan [Average Rating:8.16 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.16 Unranked]
Keith Rudolph
Canada
Langdon
Alberta
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GIR, quickly, ride the pig!
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This was an extremely light week of gaming as I didn't get a chance to play anything at work this week since I was always out at lunch to pick up something and the entire group of us went out for lunch on Friday. My wife and I also got to play very little as we spent the evenings gather up some final supplies for our gaming table on top of entertaining our daughter. We did manage to squeeze in 3 games of Schotten Totten on Thursday evening. In a surprise for both of us, I ended up dominating the first game. The second and third games, however, went back to the usual form where I put up a decent fight but eventually wound up getting my butt kicked.

One of the things I picked up during the week was the Whims of the Sultan expansion for Five Tribes and we gave that a try on Saturday afternoon. While it's a decent expansion, it's certainly not one I'd call essential. Making the game board even larger and adding stuff for a 5th player are the two things Five Tribes does not need. The fabulous cities are a nice touch and give you a little something to fight over but they might be a little too swingy; whereas you need to focus on stocking up on merchandise cards or yellow meeples, you can just casually claim fabulous cities which are worth exponentially more for each one you control which doesn't seem to jive with the need to focus on the other scoring areas. We don't dislike the expansion - it just doesn't impress in the same way that the first one did. We had both thought I was going to win this one, even though she controlled 3 cities, but I ended up falling just short with the final scores being 298-318.

My wife decided that she's going to take one list drive out to her parents' place on Sunday before we start getting busy with winter prep stuff and holidays. She wanted to take Barenpark with her but couldn't quite remember how to play it, so we played a quick refresher game on Saturday night. I managed to finish my park to trigger the end of the game but that was still just enough time for her to complete her park as well. The points she got from placing her last tile and getting the final bear statue were enough to give her the edge as she beat me by a narrow 4 points.
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22. Board Game: The Great Zimbabwe [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:343]
Andrew Eagan
United States
Carthage
Illinois
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What a fantastic game! It was the first playthrough for our group. We didn't understand the secondary craftsmen, but it did not matter since it never came up.
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23. Board Game: Falling Sky: The Gallic Revolt Against Caesar [Average Rating:8.05 Overall Rank:779]
Tiago Perretto
Brazil
Curitiba
Parana
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Thinking about my next move.
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Only one day of gaming, but a good one.

Tuesday
Descent: The Road to Legend x3
Arctic Survival x1 -- new to me
Falling Sky: The Gallic Revolt Against Caesar x1

In Descent we played three scenarios. The first was an expected battle against a liutenant of the Overlord, which was anticlimatic, as the liutenant, after taking a big hit, fled the scenario. To keep matters balanced, the heroes fled the encounter in the road, as the leader monster was very strong, but the rewards were minimal. The third scenario was the better one, in which the heroes needed to drink from a fountain before doing damage against the main monster - a Beastman leader. But the water starts to kill the heroe, if she doesn't drink the antidote before 5 rounds. Lord Hawthorne dealt with the leader, while the rest of the party took care of the other monsters - but things are pretty nasty, with monsters already in the silver level, meaning the heroes fell 3 times before being able to close the scenario.

Arctic Survival was much better than expected, due to its bad average rating of 4.25. I can see clearly how the game can clog down and be a slog, but our play was very nice, as both sides went for the goal.

Falling Sky was a long waited game - over two years. The play wasn't all that great, though - as the turn order was being very bad for my faction, the Aedui - several turns I was simply being forced to either play a restricted action in the round or choose to doing nothing in the next, good right? I felt as I simply wasn't doing much at any point. Still, I was often close to winning, since one card helped me a lot in my goal. However, the Aedui can be countered easily, and the real threat were the Belgic Tribes, which expanded well, and nearly won in the second winter if wasn't the Aedui taking control from then in one key region (and I didn't even expect the winter card to come).

Anyway, the game was going well enough, until one card came up - the Commius - which is a card that remains in play for the Belgic (if they take it), and makes rally cost 0. It does one other thing, and we didn't understood it properly: we thought the card would give control for the Belgic in each place they have a piece. We considered this card crazy strong, enough to break the game, but we it seemed pretty clear that that was the way it worked, and we went with this. The Belgic then won in the third winter, after one card allowed them to put pieces in several regions - so they had 30+ points and needed 16 to win. After the play, a 3 minute search in BGG showed me that we used the card wrong: for rally purposes only the Belgic are considered to have control, but don't actually have control. F@@@@@@@@@@@!!!! We already scheduled a rematch.




And that was it!

Regards,
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24. Board Game: Potato Man [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:2343]
Scott Daniel
United States
San Diego
California
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Friend and his wife visited from out of town yesterday. After a nice dinner we played card games.




Trendy - Trendy is one of my favorite light games. Simple to teach, but interesting to play. It's a Knizia that never caught on so it's long out of print, but I think the theme is reflected well within the game and the game play is interesting. I won handily.

Potato Man x2 - Stepped up the difficulty a little with Potato Man, an interesting trick-taker. The interesting element of Potato Man is how it breaks the normal rule about following suit in a card game. In Potato Man, you can't follow suit and the hand ends if someone can't. The suit do not have the same distribution of values or number of cards. High card wins the hand, but the trick reward depends on the suit that won the trick. My wife won both games.

Haggis - I've been enjoying my online plays of Haggis, so I wanted to teach it to my friend to see if it is something that interested him for potential online play.
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25. Board Game: Hey, That's My Fish! [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:672]
Alex Drazen
United States
Massachusetts
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Quite a busy week of gaming! 14 games (13) distinct... an average of 2 a day. That doesn't happen much anymore.



Tuesday



Defeated Mrs. Drazen in a close one that, realistically, she should have won.

Saturday (Game Day)






Very competitive gaming. I cruised to a win in Saint Petersburg on a first round Observatory and cash builder strategy, dominating BOTH nobles and buildings.

Two games had tiebreakers: in Railways Through Time, cash differentiated second place. In Lords of Waterdeep, I lost by a tiebreaker of 2 gold in the winner's tavern, none for me - all because the loser through a mandatory quest on me.

And in Concordia, the losing player ended it, before I could buy enough cards to win.

Saturday (Party)

After the game day, I went to a birthday party one of Mrs. Drazen's friends was throwing, where there were games being played, and (very) loosely participated in the following games:






Online









Got my butt kicked in 2 of 3 games of Can't Stop, got cornered in Targi, but dominated Stone Age and Hey, That's My Fish! Finally, had a close win in Thurn and Taxis, down to the tiebreaker chip.





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