GCL Amoeba 342 - Dimes by Designer (2017-9-25)
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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Welcome to this week's Game Chat League Amoeba discussion group!

Visitors are welcome and encouraged to post constructive comments, but please leave posting new items to the members. We're friendly symbiotes in real life, though vicious competitors at the game table. (Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most dangerous predator on earth!) For more info on GCL and the Amoebas, please use the links above.

Current hosts:
Jason (Bond8089) mb
Garry (garry_rice)
Jimmy (Butterfly0038)
Larry (larryjrice)
Jeroen (jmdsplotter)
Eric (Eric Brosius)
Scott (qzhdad)
Rebecca (CoffeeRunner)
Chris (Venser)
Joshua (Joshuaaaaaa)
Carlos (Sprocket314)
Mikko (msaari)
Doug (Phrim)


mb This week we're asking about designers whose games you play the most. mb
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1. Board Game: Mosaic Designer [Average Rating:4.50 Unranked]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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One metric that I seem to always spend an inordinate amount of time staring at on the Friendless stats page is Dimes by Designer, on the Other Perspectives tab. (Example: http://friendlessstats.dtdns.net/dynamic/dimesbydesigner/Phr...) Today's questions are mostly inspired by that page, but if you don't track your plays or use Friendless, feel free to use your best guess.

Which designer or designers have you played the most times? Any reason why they're up top?
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2. Board Game: Something Different [Average Rating:5.32 Overall Rank:13852]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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By which designer have you played the most different games (not counting expansions)?
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3. Board Game: The Favorite [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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Who is your favorite designer, and where do they fall on this list? Are they your favorite designer because of a couple of favorite titles, or a variety of titles that you enjoy?
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4. Board Game: The 7th Continent [Average Rating:8.74 Overall Rank:13]
Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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 10   Tichu
 10   Wildlife Safari x2
 10   Roads & Boats
 10   1822: The Railways of Great Britain 10   Jump Drive
 9   Grand Austria Hotel
 8   First Class
 8   Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King
 7   Lorenzo il Magnifico
 7   Yokohama NEW!
 7   Photosynthesis x2 NEW!
 7   Gads Hill 1874
 7   The 7th Continent x2 NEW!
 7   Sorry! Sliders
 7   Pala
 7   Uchronia NEW!
 6   Corporation NEW!


With the lionshare of the PhD work behind me, Amanada and I took the weekend off and went to Buckeye Gamefest. We went for the first time a few weeks after we started dating and have gone every year since. This is "Jimmy and Amanda" time and despite several 18XX friends attending, I rarely play more than one 18XX over the entire weekend (this year I didn't play any). Instead, Amanda and I spent a lot of time playing 7th Continent. For me, it's Arkham Horror with all the problems fixed. It takes 5 minutes to set up and clean up and the game itself is streamlined with no shuffling of decks every round. We played it for 3 hours Friday and then another 4 hours on Sunday and both of us are looking forward to more plays.

Photosynthesis was an interesting experience. My first play of it was painful as one of the guys at the table spent a lot of time figuring out his best move. To be fair, he didn't just win, he obliterated us, but he also made it take (I'm guessing) 3 hours which was way too long. Amanda and I played it later with a couple of friends and it played significantly faster. It was probably still over an hour (maybe 90ish minutes excluding chit chat), but much more manageable. This is one of the most thematic games I've ever played, with the baked in mechanics creating an environment that feels like the way a forest grows and changes. As the game progresses, there are different open areas that get choked off by bigger trees that eventually die and move the "center" of the forest. As a game, I'm not sure if it's a keeper or not, but very glad to have it.


edit: I'd meant to put this in earlier.... My favorite part of BGF was getting to game with friends. I rarely get to see Nathan, so gaming with him all day Friday and a little bit Saturday and Sunday was great. Our friend, Kelly, moved to Fargo for a couple of years and we didn't get to see her much. She moved back a couple of months ago and she came to BGF for the day with her friend, Allison. It was a great time gaming with both of them. Finally, staying up till 3am Saturday night playing Sorry Sliders: The Drinking Game and chatting was great! (3am was just me; the rest made it till around 5:30 and then Amanda was up at 8:15 for Roads & Boats :smh.
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5. Board Game: Trickerion: Legends of Illusion [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:175]
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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 9   Trickerion: Legends of Illusion

Always enjoy this thematic worker placement game although I don't know if its well balanced the more modules you add. We played the 7 round game with 1 person new and two others having played once before.

 8   Mini Rails

Always a fun filler - introduced it to two people.

 7   Compatibility

Student Staff time - Took some time to play this one with my student staff at one of our more relaxed meetings where we didn't have much to talk about. Always brings out interesting conversations - particularly as I was paired with a Haitian national who has been in the USA for about 3 years and has a very different perception of many subjects - at least when forced to choose from 52 different cards.

 7   Iberian Rails NEW!

Enjoyed this blend of Carson City and Wabash Cannonball even though I played very poorly. The role selection plays a key role in determining the cost of and the actions available to your companies that round. Also was interesting that stocks paid out only when shares were offered as an action and the company also received money in their treasury for each share remaining. Not sure there is much of a catch up mechanism in this one - but that doesn't necessarily bother me.

ACQUISITIONS:

Iberian Rails (Kickstarter)
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6. Board Game: Tigris & Euphrates [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:70]
Mikko Saari
Finland
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1 x _9_A Feast for Odin
2 x _8_The Magic Labyrinth
2 x _8_The Little Prince: Make Me a Planet
2 x _8_On the Underground
1 x _7_Tigris & Euphrates
1 x _7_The Enchanted Tower
3 x _6_CLACK!
4 x _6_Fashion Show
1 x _2_Joylings

Not a bad week. I played a good game of A Feast for Odin, where I managed to completely fill up Greenland. That was something I hadn't done before! Looks like there's something to learn in this game.

It was fun to return to Tigris & Euphrates after a really long break. This is a masterpiece of a game, really.

On the Underground is one of those games where it's really hard to get the rules just right. I've yet to play it with fully correct rules. Maybe next time!

Acquisitions

I've been making some purchases! I preordered John Company like I mentioned last week. I also bought Terraforming Mars: Hellas & Elysium, as it seems like a useful addition to the base game. Finally, I bought Mombasa, when a good opportunity presented itself.
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7. Board Game: Chimera Station [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:1023]
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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 N/A   NMBR 9 x9 NEW!
 7   Magic: The Gathering x7
 N/A   Chimera Station NEW!

New: NMBR9 and Chimera Station

Magic was pre-release tournament (I went 2-5).

Definitely have enjoyed NMBR9, want to try Chimera again.

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8. Board Game: Techno Bowl: Arcade Football Unplugged [Average Rating:8.64 Overall Rank:2644]
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
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N/A  Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization x4

I continue to find new and old ways to lose to my friend Pete...sigh. So far my only win has been against the easy AI

9.0  The 7th Continent

Continue to search for two items the goddess wants...naturally we searched the wrong location this time around...oops! Need to pay a bit more attention to directions on the cards

7.0  Techno Bowl: Arcade Football Unplugged NEW!

Caleb and I played through most of one half and enjoyed this one...It really does do a good job of simulating the old football arcade games and it's fun to see the plays develop. Dice rolls can be frustrating...we wound up going to a dice roller on the iPad as Caleb couldn't seem to roll 7's or higher on his blue dice...and we got a much better spread after doing so it also has something if a chess feel as where you move your players have a big impact on how your opponents can move.

My biggest criticism is that it really needs a more concise and better organized player aid...so that's next on my list. It's not difficult, but for the first few games players are constantly referring to the rule book/player aid for what options are available and how the modifiers work, etc...

7.0  Race for the Galaxy x2

Got into a couple of games of this with Scott after a short break.

5.0  Forest of Fate x2 NEW!

Not overly impressed with this current storytelling KS game. It's fairly short (sometimes VERY quick ) and using an app to look up the story paragraphs was a great idea - very quick and easy...if you enjoy Tales of the Arabian Nights but think it's too long and want the skills to be a bit more applicable, then thus may be the game for you.
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9. Board Game: Tokyo Highway [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:2951]
Jeroen Doumen
Netherlands
Eindhoven
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1x _X.XX_ Antiquity
3x _7.50_ T.I.M.E Stories
1x _7.75_ Bohnanza: 20 Jahre
1x _7.75_ Bohnanza
1x _7.50_ Unlock!
1x _7.00_ Tokyo Highway
1x _7.00_ Rise of Empires
1x _6.50_ Mini Rails
1x _6.00_ Unlock! Doo-Arann Dungeon
1x _6.00_ Magic Maze
1x _6.00_ The Pillars of the Earth
1x _5.50_ Quattuor Vincet
1x _5.00_ Just4Fun
1x _5.00_ TiJa
1x _5.00_ Egypt
1x _5.00_ Witch Trial
1x _4.00_ Im Reich der Lotosblumen
1x _4.00_ Versuch dein Glück
1x _4.00_ Kastellan
1x _4.00_ Joss

Another nice week of gaming. Starting to prepare for Essen, and familiarizing people with Antiquity again for demos . We also played the last few Spielbox magazine games, so you want see as many strange titles anymore I expect.

We went to Egypt in T.I.M.E Stories. Our second run was disastrous, and we found many new things in the third run still. Last run(s) scheduled for this week!

Tokyo Highway remains quite fun. It was frustrating to have a nice play to place two cars (with a high yellow pillar), but then the slope was too steep to place them cry - they kept sliding off.

After Mikko's entry last week, I PnP'd (is that a verb?) Unlock! Doo-Arann Dungeon. But after we got stuck on an illogical puzzle (to us), we never really recovered. Not as good as the others.

The Pillars of the Earth is still a quite nice worker optimization game.
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10. Board Game: Conquest of Paradise [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:1484]
Chris Smith
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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His marvels of artifice pale in comparison to the developing machinery of his mind.
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 N/A   Ice Cool NEW!
The boxes had some slight bowing and warping making this dexterity game a pain to play. We were also playing on a kitchen island so you couldn't easily get to all sides of the play area.

 9   Churchill
We had to end the game after eight rounds. Three hours is normally enough time to run a full campaign, but the kids woke up and didn't want to go back down wasting thirty minutes. It didn't matter as I was in a rough spot playing Stalin. The UK was in a very good position and definitely poised for the win.

 6   Conquest of Paradise x2 NEW!
This game showcased why I hate any game where one can't modify dice. In battles you have to roll a four or higher to succeed, or three or less to fail. Battle after battle I was getting creamed. I'd enter battles with eight warriors against their two and lose half my war band and them losing nothing, turn after turn.

To be exact this happened three times in succession and just rankled me the wrong way. It's an ongoing joke that I can't roll dice.

 N/A   Codenames Duet x15
Last week I mentioned I probably wouldn't play this again, but we haven't succeeded yet. Still not the biggest fan of the game, but I do want to say we've got all the clues at least once before shelving this game.
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11. Board Game: Memoir '44 [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:117] [Average Rating:7.54 Unranked]
Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
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My plays have been down recently as I complete a series of medical treatments. Just one more to go, Lord willing.

6  Haspelknecht NEW! -- Steph had a copy of the expansion for this game, and I signed up to play, even though I hadn't played the base game (I don't think my understanding or enjoyment was affected by that; all we added was the new tiles.) To me, the game is a bit of a Franken-design, with a fairly random action disk selection mechanism tacked onto the front of a thinky Euro. (I think the last game I felt this way about was San Francisco, which I haven't played in 10 years.) The mismatch for me is twofold: (1) I don't think the action disk selection fits with the theme, and (2) I don't think it fits with the rest of the mechanisms either. But I didn't hate it by any means.

10  Outpost -- After we finished the first set of games, we played a 6-player game of Outpost. This was a wonderfully interesting game. Lou and I got out to a good lead (Lou built a WaF and a pop on Turn 1, and I got some good cards a bit later.) I played a Warehouse strategy, and Joe Huber a Data Library strategy. At the start of Era II, I had much more money saved than anyone else, but we flipped an Outpost, a Robots, and an Ecoplants -- not what Joe or I wanted to see. And the upgrades were horrible (I think it took about 4 or 5 turns to get the first Scientist, which is highly unusual in a 6-player game, and almost as long to get the first Microbiotics.) The Heavy Equipment/Titanium players clawed their way back into contention, and Joe Rushanan won a nice patient victory. Two comments on Outpost: (1) There's rarely a runaway winner in a game with good players (I finished 6th, by the way, after a promising start.) (2) There's much more luck in the upgrade draws than in the resource card draws.

10  Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization x2 -- Larry's gift arrived last week, and I played twice, both 2-player games. I had played the New version once before, at our house con in July. On Tuesday last week I played with Andy Latto, who'd played the old version but not the new one. The score was remarkably low: 128-110. This was because we both wound up following the lure of military. Then I taught John Delaney the game on Saturday; he'd never played either version. Scores were much higher and (as you'd expect) I won by a comfortable margin. This game is (IMHO) better than the original, which I loved.

7  Memoir '44 -- But here's the best story of the week! Claire was up in NH at our cottage, attending two consecutive weeks of the Camp Berea Women's Retreat (and driving boats -- she has her NH Commercial Boat license.) Two of the women doing the weekend retreats stayed with Claire during the week, and I drove up from Wednesday to Friday to be with her also. They played some games together. After the first weekend, Claire mentioned to me that one of them, Patti, was very interested in WWII history, so I decided to bring up Memoir '44, which I hadn't played since 2012. I taught her the game (actually, she picked up the rule book and read it all the way through herself after my brief intro) and we played Scenario 1 (Pegasus Bridge.) She won the scenario, playing as the British, and she loved the game! She's off to find herself a copy (she lives in the Metro Toronto area, so has to look at different retailers than I would.)
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12. Board Game: Near and Far [Average Rating:8.05 Overall Rank:148] [Average Rating:8.05 Unranked]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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Anni and I played the next map of Near and Far on Thursday.

_7_ Near and Far - This was on the Toxic Desert map. This time I got a big artifact that said I didn't take negative points for any leftover artifact cards, so I decided, heck with it, I'll just keep everything. After getting a few party members, I tried out the quest at the Hovel, and Anni started reading something about a witch named Nizra, but then stopped as we realized I still had an open side-quest from the last map. This was a little frustrating for me, as I had a keyword NIZRA, so something cool would've happened and now I'll never find out! Anyway, I generally explored northward and Anni went southward. The starting city was way off in the corner, making it hard to get places, so I ended up buying lots of birds. I focused on artifacts, even taking more as the game went on, while Anni got a lot more points from threats. It turned out to be a pretty close game in the end, but I won 65-60.



One reason we only got one game in this week is that Anni and I took a mini-vacation to upstate NY over the weekend. We visited the Women's Rights museum in Seneca Falls, Letchworth State Park (home of the "grand canyon of the east"), and Watkins Glen State Park (which has a pretty amazing gorge trail). It was a lot of fun!

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13. Board Game: Combat Commander: Pacific [Average Rating:8.09 Overall Rank:434]
Joshua Gottesman
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
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Only 4 games this weekend, and they were all good.

Friday night I played a great 3 player game of Terraforming Mars. I was edged out 81-76, essentially because I forgot to grab an award when I can and the eventual winner grabbed it on his next move. The 3rd player was far behind.

Saturday we played Struggle of Empires, which I've wanted to play for a long time. It was good. Not great, and I'd play it again. I won, which was nice, but one player was plagued by abysmal dice which helped the other 4 of us. Then the 4 of us who stuck around played 878: Vikings – Invasions of England which was a lot of fun. It came down to a make or break turn for the Vikings (I was the Norsemen). We got lucky and drew the biggest raiding force possible and blitzed through Southern England, burning the last castle with about 5 guys left. Enjoyable.

Sunday I played a tournament game of Combat Commander: Pacific. My opponent's set-up was a mess, which helped propel me to a major victory.

Good games, good friends, good fun.
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14. Board Game: 1822: The Railways of Great Britain [Average Rating:8.46 Overall Rank:3171]
Rebecca Carpenter
United States
Seattle
Washington
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 N/A   Stephenson's Rocket NEW!
 8.5   1822: The Railways of Great Britain
 8   Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization NEW!

Stephenson's Rocket - wow, I loved this. Instantly became one of my top ten non-18xx games. The mergers, the alliances, the end-game scoring - oh my!

1822: The Railways of Great Britain This was a five player game. We have a new-to-us player, Rich, who showed us how it's really done. He won with a Pullman, second week in a row we had a Pullman victory, I came in second with a 2PT.

Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization My husband picked this out, and we really enjoyed it. Look forward to repeat plays and maybe even the new app.



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