GCL Snoo 3: Learn the Rules!
Ambie
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San Mateo
California
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Important Links:
GameChat League: Snoo Division Subscription Thread
GCL Snoo Wiki
GameChat League Wiki (for general information about the GameChat League concept)
Thesp's GCL Games Played Tool (an easy-to-use tool for collating your plays for the week)

Welcome to GCL Snoo Division's weekly geeklist!

GCL Snoo Members:
• Please add an item to represent your gaming life for the week of August 28 - September 4, 2017.
• List any games played along with your thoughts/opinions.
• Also, feel free to share gaming news, life updates, random thoughts, or anything else you deem appropriate.

GCL Snoo Geeklist Format:
• A weekly game can be spotlighted and discussed. The poster will pose questions about it to encourage conversation.
• Themed questions are optional. They can be gaming-related topics or non-gaming-related topics.
• A top five question can be asked for by this week's current-list writer, with members offering suggestions.

Current Roster (will update as people join):
ambierona
noajayne
OhBollox
Wisecow
LouieSTFU
jmoline
Timotheous
petrichorparticle
Epsilon_Balls
jshufelt
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1. Board Game: Rules of the Game [Average Rating:3.89 Overall Rank:14692]
Ambie
United States
San Mateo
California
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I recently got a new game, so I'll need to be learning the rules before I play it. How do you typically like learning the rules to a board game? Do you read the rules yourself? Watch a video? Have someone teach you?
 
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2. Board Game: Reading Between the Lines [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Ambie
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San Mateo
California
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Rulebooks are often someone's first exposure to a board game. What do you think is important to have in a rulebook? Do you have examples of really good (or really bad) rulebooks?
 
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3. Board Game: the WEIGHTing GAME [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Ambie
United States
San Mateo
California
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"Heavy" games can have very complex rules and be difficult to learn. Is there a typical weight of game that you enjoy? How much do you think rules affect the weight of a game?
 
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4. Board Game: Top 5 Rummy [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:8780]
Ambie
United States
San Mateo
California
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Comment with suggestions for a top 5 list. Disclaimer - I'm not very good at picking favorites.

Top 5 Board Game Experiences

I hope this doesn't have to be in order because I don't have a particular favorite. Also, it's super hard to pick top game experiences! There are so many! I'm limiting myself to recent years since childhood blurs together (and D&D is an RPG, not a board game).

1. Codenames with Vlaada Chvátil. My husband made a web app to play Codenames online a couple years ago after we played the demo at Dice Tower Con. He messaged Vlaada and CGE to ask if he could publish it, but they were working on their own app version of the game, so they said no. But Vlaada and his wife played Codenames with us online using my husband's web app! It was really cool seeing his thinking process, since when he was guessing he was really thinking about why the spy master gave a certain clue over another similar clue. He also gave really good clues as the spy master ('Blind 3' for 'Eye', 'Spot', and 'Date' I think). He also told us some stories about playtesting - apparently in America, everything was connected to baseball!

2. Fourth Age with Rick Dutton. Fourth Age is an unpublished 18xx game that's basically 1870 but with a Lord of the Rings theme. Rick Dutton is the designer of Fourth Age, and we were able to play the game with him at Portland 18xx Tournament this year! He's really good at the game (he's played 1870 hundreds of times), so it was really neat seeing him play. He was super fast at the dividend calculations! I'd be getting out my calculator to do some division and multiplication, and he'd tell us how many dividends each person got before I could enter anything into my calculator. Also, I like Lord of the Rings a lot, so I was super excited to be able to play it (I had heard about Fourth Age a year ago and had wanted to play it).

3. The Resistance: Avalon with my friends. This may be cheating since I'm counting multiple plays of this game over time as one experience, but there are a bunch of stories we have from playing this game. One time we had the bad guys put up their thumbs so Merlin could see them, and then everyone woke up and one of my friends had both his thumbs up as a joke. So we always do that now. And there have been a few times where it seems like someone knows everything and it's obvious that he has to be Merlin, but he's not... I'm not great at articulating these stories but I've had a lot of fun with this game.

4. My husband (boyfriend at the time) and my first Dice Tower Con. This was in 2014, back when it was about 600 people? It was the first convention we went to that was focused on open gaming, and we met so many people there that are now our friends in board gaming. It was amazing being able to check out new games from the library and try them, and we really enjoyed how everyone was friendly and willing to play games with you. We also got to play TI3 with Sam Healey, which was neat (and he remembered us after that!)

5. My wedding. This may be another cheating one, but I had board game things at my wedding (giant Jenga, convention/wedding style Wits & Wagers, Meeples & custom dice as favors) so I'm counting it as a board game experience! We also had a pre-wedding party where we were at my brother-in-law's house playing board games the night before with friends and family. It was a lot of fun having all our friends together to play games with us (yup, that's what they flew in for - to play games).
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5. Board Game: Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:63]
Ambie
United States
San Mateo
California
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Game of the week: Battlestar Galactica

Let's talk about BSG since I just played it last night again. Do you enjoy it? With or without expansions? Have any other games replaced it for you? Are you a human or a cylon?
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6. Board Game: Eat Poop You Cat [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:686]
Ambie
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San Mateo
California
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 N/A   Kobayakawa x3
 N/A   Eat Poop You Cat
 9.5   Deception: Murder in Hong Kong x4
 N/A   1880: China
 N/A   Zooscape NEW!
 N/A   Werewords x5
 N/A   The Pyramid's Deadline x3
 N/A   Nine Tiles x2
 N/A   maskmen x2
 N/A   Glüx NEW!
 N/A   Flip Ships
 N/A   Battlestar Galactica

There was a game night at work on Tuesday, so I played a bunch of party games with my coworkers. It's pretty exciting that a lot of my coworkers came and are getting into games! Eat Poop You Cat is basically Telestrations but you start with your own sentences/phrases. We don't always start with things that make sense either, so it's pretty funny.

We've been trying to play 1880: China regularly with the same people (4 players). This was my 7th play (I think we're trying to get to 10 this year). Once again, I couldn't match the route building to the trains I got. I got a really awesome Trans-Sib route, but wasn't able to get any 3+3 trains in my companies, so I had to modify my routes for whatever trains I did end up getting. Since we've never seen the Taiwan private do well, Toby tried to get it and get a bunch of companies to it, but that didn't work out well. So we're not sure if the Taiwan private company is any good... We're pretty sure the BCR private is really good though, and we should probably be bidding higher for it, since I think whoever got that private has won (or done really well) in all our games.

On Saturday we had two game days to go to (we left early from one and arrived late to another). We got to play Flip Ships, which is a cooperative dexterity game that's kind of like Space Invaders, but you're flipping your disk ships to hit the enemies. We were so close to winning - on the last turn we each needed to hit the mothership once to win. Everyone else except for me hit it... so I basically doomed humanity. (and then when I tried one more flip after the game was over I hit it on my first try...) At the next game day we played Battlestar Galactica. The first half we did really well - almost nothing was depleted and we got 5 distance. Then I got a cylon card in the sleeper phase... humans won since there wasn't enough time for me to do anything bad. I was so excited that I was finally human too, since I'm pretty sure I've never been a human in that game.

We also played a lot of Oink Games as fillers. I like most Oink Games (maskmen is the least favorite of the ones I played this week).

On my mind
We just had a new roommate move in today. He says he likes board games, so we're excited to start playing games with him!

I had kinda been on a withdrawl from singing, but I finally got to sing and record some songs on Wednesday! That was fun. Now I want to go to karaoke or something.

I really need to update my game ratings.
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7. Board Game: Vinhos [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:293]
Cassadi
United States
Blacklick
Ohio
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It was a pretty light week of gaming for me, and I think this week will be similar.

Monday was board game lunch day. I forgot to bring a game so we played Ticket to Ride on my tablet.

Wednesday was my regular weekly meetup. We played:
Lunarchitects - This was new to me and very interesting. Moving around the board was similar to Tokaido. You move as far as you want, then purchase the tile you landed on. Each player was building blueprints for a space station. There were round end goals and end game goals to try to meet to maximize victory points. I didn't come in last, and that was awesome!

Vinhos - Finally! This was a friend's copy and we were all learning at the same time. I'd been wanting to play for a while. We played the 2010 version, and I was completely lost through most of the game. I'm going to do some more reading and watch some more videos before we play again.

Also got a game of Russian Railroads in on BGA. The only reason I didn't lose is because a player timed out. Continuing gaming goodness on BGA with Wisecow too!

On My Mind
- I should probably start thinking about what I'm going to do for next week's list...
- It got warmer here, and this makes me sad. I'm ready for fall weather
- I started doing daily writing prompts. It's been an enjoyable experience thus far. Hoping I can keep it up even when I get busy.
- It's board game lunch day, and I AGAIN forgot to bring a game. We need to start scheduling these on NOT Mondays.
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8. Board Game: Lisboa [Average Rating:8.25 Overall Rank:132]
James Moline
United States
Tampa
FL
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 6.5 Kindomino x4 NEW!
 7.5 Lisboa x2 NEW!
 7.5 Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization x3 NEW!
 7.5 Nations NEW!

Last week started off with a bunch of "We have no electricity so let's play something super light to pass the time" games of Kingdomino. I like the game and enjoy the spatial puzzle it presents. It's quick and fun, and the 2 player 7x7 variant is a good time.

Coincidentally, the rest of my plays were all new-to-me games, as well. I played a 3 player game of Nations at my weekly meetup. I really enjoyed it but had some minor quibbles with things like how the cards randomly came out (almost no decent wonders at all, a ton of military cards we didn't need in the last round, stuff like that). This was, I think, my first proper civ builder, and I was a little surprised to find that it's really just an engine building game.

After playing Nations, I was eager to try Through the Ages to compare it, so I was really happy when the app was released. I played it 3 times over the weekend, and I enjoyed it, too. I could probably write several paragraphs about what I like and dislike about each compared to the other, but I'll just say I think I might prefer this one to Nations (but there are definitely things I liked better about Nations). I need to play Nations some more (and with the B sides of the player boards) to be sure, though.

Lisboa is my second Vital Lacerda game (first was Vinhos, which I didn't like very much). I liked Lisboa quite a bit. Rebuilding a city is much more appealing to me than making wine. The complex decision tree that follows playing a card here is really interesting, too. I hated teaching it. In fact, there was a moment about half way through the explanation that I considered just putting it back in the box and selling it. I didn't though, and now that I've played it a couple of times, I think it would be easier going. My wife and I both liked this one, and are hoping to play it a 3rd time sometime this week to solidify the rules in our minds.

On My Mind

I think I might need to stop consuming so much board game related media. I don't know if I will, but it's very time consuming, and I think it's the only way to truly reign in my own impulses with regards to game acquisition (which isn't a problem from a financial or space consideration, I just don't know that it needs to happen as often as it does). I'm on the fence about it for now.

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9. Board Game: A Fake Artist Goes to New York [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:864]
Ivor Bolakov
United Kingdom
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Deep Sea Adventure, Welcome to the Dungeon, and A Fake Artist Goes to New York x a few each.
Polis: Fight for the Hegemony x 1
Twilight Struggle x 2
Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan x 1
The Cousins' War x 3
Combat Commander: Europe x 1
Band of Brothers: Ghost Panzer x 1
FAB: Golan '73 x 1

I had to induct a new player whose only experience was Risk, so started him off gently with some Oink stuff and Cousin's War, then abruptly pushed him into the deep end. He's very interested in the strategy stuff, so I'm looking at a few more games with more players in future.

I watched a couple of kids play something or other at a game cafe and thought about how certain behaviours (complaining, crowing) came to the fore almost immediately and had to be repeatedly shut down by their parents (it was brilliantly done each time, too. Mother in particular was an old hand at being firm but not harsh). Having bumped into adults doing the same thing, I think it might be impossible to mould an adult like that, and I do wonder about how often these behaviours seem to pop up in other groups, judging by online discussions. My group doesn't have any problematic members, not least because I took a relatively harsh stance early on when it was still coming together, and while we have our quirks and foibles, we all know each other well, and that's a big step in tolerating each other and not taking any shit from each other.

Seeing rude behaviour even on neighbouring tables makes me grind my teeth, though, so I'm still fairly certain I've taken the right approach.
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10. Board Game: Nautilus Industries [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:4061]
Jeremy P
United States
waconia
MN - Minnesota
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 6   Watson & Holmes
 6.5   Nautilus Industries
 6   Fantasy Realms

My Games List:
Watson & Holmes -- Watson & Holmes is the competitive version of Sherlock and Holmes Consulting Detective. SHCD is one of my favorite games. By connection to the mechanics alone I enjoyed this one as well. But I would never suggest this game over SHCD. There is very little interaction, lots to head down reading, and the best part of the game was after it was done and we all got discuss what our theories were and why; which is the entirety of SHCD.

Nautilus Industries -- Pretty straight forward economic game. Acquire goods, sell goods, buy stocks, buy upgrades, to acquire more goods, and sell more goods, and buy more stocks. There are two economic tracks; one for goods and one for stocks. The tracks are driven by supply and demand. Stocks carry the most value at end game. The game did seem to have a scalability issue. There a 5 different goods. Goods that are not sold each round increase in value. Goods that are sold decrease in value. With 3 players, which we played, less goods are being sold, which means by the second half of the game all of the goods had a higher than average value. It scratched a similar itch as Stockpile, but with a bit less luck/randomness.

Fantasy Realms -- Quick playing, hand management, card drafting. There is definitely an idea here, but it was marred by end game scoring which took almost as long as the game itself.


On My Mind:
Where does the time go? My youngest turns 1 tomorrow. My oldest recently started first grade. Every day is blur now. No matter how much I try to slow down and focus on the present. Each day seems to go by faster than the last. Weeks. Months. It's scary. I still have a long time to go, hopefully, but it certainly brings my own mortality into focus.
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11. Board Game: Concordia [Average Rating:8.07 Overall Rank:23]
Louie L
United States
San Francisco
California
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 9.7   Race for the Galaxy x2
 N/A   Mini Rails x2 NEW!
 8   Food Chain Magnate
 8   Schotten Totten x2
 8   Santorini x4
 N/A   Magic Maze x4
 9.1   Concordia x3

Thursday night was a rough one, got stomped pretty bad on Food Chain Magnate which led to a board game existential crisis.

Then on Saturday my college buddies and I got together to play a few games. We had a 3p game of Concordia going, and then played Overcooked. After a couple rounds of Magic Maze, my friend and I cranked out a bunch of 2p games, including a two MORE games of Concordia.

Concordia -- Concordia is as good as people say it is. It fits my tastes very well, and I enjoy playing it very much. Your turns are ridiculously straightforward, but planning out your actions in such a way to be efficient is fairly difficult. Plays pretty well at 2p, too.

Food Chain Magnate -- I have a real appreciation for the design of this game, but I really do think losses can be difficult. I'm a huge fan of Agricola, and the tension and the stress is something I particularly enjoy. And if you lose, you can often trace it back to some key turns and go "Well, bollocks, let's run the ship tighter next time."

Food Chain Magnate, while still being tense and stressful, is fundamentally different. You can still trace back to a few key turns, but then you can also better see how your opponents either reacted properly, or was one step ahead of you, or undercut you or manipulated turn order at the correct time. It's almost as if feels you were outsmarted, and this week it hurt my pride a bit, when normally I can lose a game and still laugh about it.

I may just be falling out of love with the design, but I can't help but feel there's still something exciting and magical about. . . fighting your friends using brainpower and building up an economy in a vacuum.

Other Thoughts

I touched on my weight issues last week, and this morning I ate some oatmeal! I didn't meal-prep OR gym yet, so I think I'll have a busy Monday evening.

Also, I picked up a copy of Chinatown in the latest Math Trade. While I'm excited about acquiring a copy of the game, it's the German Alea edition, where I think the box art is offensive. Understanding it's a game printed in 1999, so different standards back then, but I really really hope that publishers are a bit more aware of this.
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12. Board Game: Greedy Porker [Average Rating:3.00 Unranked]
Joseph Shufelt
United States
Portland
Oregon
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 5   Skyward NEW!
 7   Gravwell: Escape from the 9th Dimension
 4   Five Seals of Magic NEW!

Skyward - It's a good but very forgettable "I split, you choose" melded with generic tableau building. I would play this again, but I would never spend money on it.

Five Seals of Magic. I didn't like this one. It's all about generating a luck mitigation engine. The game is pretty shallow, lots of dice. Lots of combos. Some blocking. Nothing interesting. It does have a few other things that change how you play, and we went with the "easiest" I guess. But I read the other things and it didn't seem any more interesting.

This is a good example of how "randomness input" isn't inherently good, as you roll your dice, and then mitigate it. The whole working with the combos is okay. Probably the best part, but it just all part of something that gives a "Yeah, but... why?" feeling. Not a fan. Not the worst game I've ever played, but not good.

OMM

1. Kalua Pig is super duper easy and cheap. The only downsides is:
- It takes ~20 hours to cook in a slow cooker.
- It smells kinda bad while cooking.

2. After our financial stability returns, we'll start making a plan to go to Disneyland or Disneyworld. The girlfriend wife is getting the itch to return, and I have been wanting to go back really bad. (I haven't told her this).

3. I'm getting impatient for movies. I really want to watch the new Spider Man, Star Wars, The Kingsmen, the new Thor movie, and Coco. Other than Dunkirk and Baby Driver, I haven't seen many movies this year, and Dunkirk was the only one I really enjoyed, despite how stressed out it made me. Baby Driver was fun though. (Edit: I also saw Beauty and the Beast a few weeks ago, which I enjoyed. I loved the visuals way more than the film itself. I find the cartoon to be a much better experience overall. I wasn't sold on the casting.)
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13. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:2240]
Timothy Hunt
United States
St Louis
Missouri
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9  Skull x5
N/A  Rummy
N/A  RUM NEW!
N/A  Five Crowns
10  Dominion
8  Cribbage
N/A  Unpublished Prototype

Work lunchtime gaming (2 lunchtimes) brought out Skull (with someone new to contemporary board games joining us), which was enjoyed by all, and a 2P game of Dominion because others decided they didn't have the time to play that day. My opponent was faster than me to his first Province, so I started picking up Duchies. When the game ended, I thought he would have 5 Provinces to my 3, so the 3 Duchies I picked up would not be enough to make up the difference. However, I miscounted during play, and we actually tied for Provinces, giving me the win with the Duchies.

Friday evening was the first date night in a long time. I mean, we've gone out without B, but to a gaming event or to friends, or something. This was just the two of us, and after our dinner we played some old favourites: Rummy, Cribbage, 5 Crowns, and tried a new game: RUM, one of the Pack-O-Game series of games. It was a very enjoyable evening.

Sunday saw us accept a late invitation to dinner (bribe) and to play a prototype (Mall Cops). An interesting game, which I look forward to seeing developed. One mechanism in particular was very clever, and fairly thematic.

On My Mind Job hunting is going OK. I have a few leads, but it would be nice to have something figured out. Only two weeks left in my current job.
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14. Board Game: Hansa Teutonica [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:108]
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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 9   Suburbia
 10   Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs Imperium
 7   One Night Ultimate Alien x5 NEW!
 6   Latitude 90: The Origin
 N/A   Stockpile NEW!
 N/A   Sagrada NEW!
 10   Hansa Teutonica
 5   Century: Spice Road NEW!


What's this, I actually played more than two games this week? Madness! Madness in this heat!

Suburbia -- I love the simplicity in this game. Only four colors, and two resources to track (income and reputation). The variety in the tiles and how they interact is so elegantly implemented; I really should play more often. While I won this game, the new player did extremely well; he went All In on blue economic tiles after I gave the advise that he should focus on income in his first game. He was able to transition into a brutally effective airport strategy in the mid game. Meanwhile, I actually went against my standard operating procedure and invested in residential neighborhoods, which paid off when a stadium hit the table. I struggled with my money almost the entire game, but eked out a win, thanks to snatching two of the three public objectives.


One Night Ultimate Alien -- I really like a few of the new roles here, but I'm on the fence about others. The mortician is a particularly clever role; he's bored and just wants to work, but is also lazy. So, the Mortician wins if either of his neighbors dies. Additionally, he gets information about his neighbor[s], depending on what the app says (the gimmick in ONUA is that many roles have slightly variable powers each playthrough now). This can mean that the mortician is actively trying to convince people that their villager neighbor is an alien, which makes for great moments. For example, you can reveal that you're the mortician and simply state that your neighbor whose role you saw was an alien; it's then up to the others to decide whether or not they believe you. Of course, that's assuming that you're still the mortician. I think the game is worth owning for ONUW fans, but I don't recommend it as a standalone.


Hansa Teutonica -- If anyone does not know, this is my favorite game. I liked it enough to build a computer application of the game, which unfortunately will never be released; the publisher who owns the rights to the game is German, and does not respond to email. If I ever build another board game app, I will start by obtaining the rights, and then build the game.

This game marked the 50th game I have played in person. There were two new players, and they did what most new players do: spent the entire time upgrading their player boards rather than building offices and playing the game. So, I spent most of the game ensuring that the other experienced player could not get a foothold on the key locations they were aiming for, and was locked out of getting additional actions. This cascaded into runaway win for me: 50-25-23-15.


Century: Spice Road -- For a game about spices, this game lacks flavor. It has been a long time since I played a game which did less to disguise the mathematics involved in making this game. Yo, dawg, would you like three yellow Value 1 cubes, or one Value 3 green cube? Bleh. This game is a bland exercise in mathematical efficiency. Also, it does one of my pet peeves: some cards are strictly better than others. For a game that depends on mathematical balance, it really irritates me when you put a card that's worth Value +2, and another that's Value+3 both of which have the same requirements and the Value+3 card just gives you one extra yellow cube. Designers: please decide whether you want that card to be +2 or +3, don't add both. Sometimes I play a game like this, and I understand why euro games get a bad wrap. This is literally a "change cube A into cube B with a pasted on theme." Yaaaay. shake


Stockpile -- Interesting light game. I'd have to play a few more times to really get a handle on when you should buy or sell stocks.

On my mind:
I don't write reviews very often (roughly once a year),
but I decided to pen a [p]review of Dinosaur Island. It was easier to write than I expected.
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15. Board Game: Cthulhu Wars [Average Rating:8.02 Overall Rank:222] [Average Rating:8.02 Unranked]
United States
Yay Area
California
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 6.5   Race for the Galaxy x2
 8   Mini Rails x2
 8   Tulip Bubble
 8.7   Food Chain Magnate
 9.125   Cthulhu Wars

Hello peoples!

Glad to be able to join your chat.

Cthulhu Wars I spent the last two months playing this on a BGG forum. We finally finished and I emerged as the victor. I'm not the biggest fan of luck heavy games so even though I won I feel a bit conflicted about this win because I was only able to win because I capitalized on a situation that arose from pure randomness. I was probably dead last in the 5 player game but a lucky 6 roll kept me alive long enough to squeeze out enough points to pull ahead. Not to burden y'all with the details but the game can be played strategically but someone summoned a great old one that throws randomness and chaos (thematicallygoo) into the game. I still really like this game despite how Ameritrashy it is.

Mini Rails I both love and hate how tight this game is. Scores tend to be pretty close because of how much you screw with each other's railroads. I think it's more difficult then it lets on with it's 2 simple actions. It's almost filler category if it wasn't for mathing out all the possibilities for 1 point.

Food Chain Magnate Dreams crushed when I realized my army of waitresses was limited by number of cards available.


General/Intro

You might also know me as frozen-cactus on reddit or not. IRL I am an accountant that for corporate reasons my title is Business Analyst so I don't have to move across the country. Born and raised in the Yay Area. I tend to really enjoy medium to heavy euros. Huge Vital Lacerda fan. But I also have a soft spot for some incredibly ameritrashy stuff. Cthulhu Wars being the biggest "we're going to play with giant plastic monsters and roll buckets of dice" game I own. I've backed way too many kickstarters when I joined boardgaming and realize that was a bad move.

Even more outside of boardgames I like bourbon, coffee and craft beer. If possible all together in the form of a Bourbon Barrel-Aged Coffee Stout.
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