What Did You Play This Week? Sep 25 - Oct 01, 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 440


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1. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:125] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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Another busy week, minimal play time...

Tuesday
1x - Ticket to Ride

We dusted off TtR a quick and familiar game in the little time we had this morning. Both of us thought I had run away with the win, but my wife grabbed both bonuses leaving us both a bit surprised as she won 136-120.

Thursday
1x - Ticket to Ride

I had what I felt was a winning combination of tickets to start our morning coffee game of TtR, and I had worked efficiently towards that goal but my wife destroyed me as she was simply cranking out more tickets, faster. Well played, love.

Friday
2x - TtR: Pennsylvania


TtR was still on the table so we opted to play a different map, choosing PA. I took three long, cross country tickets with my wife forcing me to go even longer to complete them which limited my stocks while she cleaned house. She crushed me in tickets, longest route and in stock majorities, 252-184. Youch!

In our second play I took the northern most east to west route and a couple shorter north to south routes to mix it up while my wife took the middle east to west which has a number of non-stock rails which I suffered from in the first game. So it wasn't surprising that I ran away with this one, 237-167. Key lesson learned for me is to avoid that middle east to west route if you can.


Work and other responsibilities left little time for much anything else, so I'll gladly take my morning coffee time with the wife and a couple of solo plays. The good news, it's FELDTOBER and I am looking forward to CinCityCon this week!!

meeple Keep playing...
BK's Hardcore 10x10 in 2017 List at 79/100
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2. Board Game: Cities of Splendor [Average Rating:7.51 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.51 Unranked]
Stéphane Athimon
France
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Hi Everybody,
I hope you are all fine.

Not many different games played for us this week :-)
Only 3 different games, but all of them were new or new expansions.


The first we discovered this week was Twenty-One from NSV.
We are fond of Roll and Write games for a long time now, and this one does the job very well as all of us enjoyed it.
We have played Twenty-One ten times this past week in a lot of different configurations :
1 4-player game
2 3-player games
1 5-player game
6 2-player games.
My favorite configurations are 2- and 3-player games, with more player you tend to have far less control on what you can write...(relative control as this is a dice game )
So this game is really a hit for us, a must-have, but not with too many players (just according to me)


The second game we played was Unlock Mystery adventures.


We played the first scenario : Unlock : The house on the hill and we did enjoy two third of the scenario (despite the fact that it is really a repeteation of problems to solve) not many things developped regarded to the theme (excepted the lot of references on the cards to Horror Classics). And the last third was really disppointing as we still don't know how to find the last code(We saw the solution but did not understand it). (If someone would like to explain it to me I would glad of this).
So more disappointment around the table than real fun. Too bad.
I hope the other scenarii are not like that.


Finally we had a 4-player game of Splendor but with one of the expansions from the Cities of Splendor.
We played with the Orient expansion which adds 30 new cards to the other cards.
The cards from the base game are dispalyed as usual and these new ones are sorted by age and added on the right of each age (forming now a grid of 6 card x 3).

This expansion adds new type of cards with new powers. Some really interesting and powerful some others less powerful (at least at first sight).
We really enjoyed the game even if I didn't focused enough on the cards of this expansion.
My older daughter won the game with 15 points, I was 2nd with 13, my wife 3rd with 8 and my son last with 3.

It was a discovery game for us and I don't see yet what to do and if you can win only by focusing on the cards from the base game or not.
It needs more game to hava clear view.

Hope to play the other expansions this week

In terms of translation : two more games done this week, two for Japon Brand : Laurel Crown and Captain Dice.

Have a nice gaming week
Thanks for taking time to read
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3. Board Game: Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:115] [Average Rating:7.65 Unranked]
meepleonboard
United Kingdom
Somerset/London
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I had been planning to do some ambitious gaming when in London at the start of the week, but it didn't quite come to pass, so instead I ended up facing off against Arkayne Massua once more in a game of Hostage Negotiator on Monday evening. This was one of those games where the stars aligned just a little more than was needed, and I also thought that I made the most of the demands, conceding where needed in order to gain the upper hand. After I had freed enough hostages Arkayne made a failed escape attempt, and it took me a while to capture him, but I got there in the end. I still find this a really enjoyable solo game, and am a long way from getting tired of it.

On Thursday KT requested "an old favourite", and we settled on Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries. We own some of the extra maps, but for some reason even we do not play this quite as often as we should. I was very happy to set this up once more and get gaming, as it has grown on me over our plays - initially I was unconvinced, but getting to know it in more depth has made me admire it more. We ended up playing three games over the course of the evening, and although our scores were never less than 30 points apart these were really tense games. In the first game I went for the northern section of the map and KT's very first placement cut off one of my critical routes, but I managed to strike back from this and complete my route cards, gaining the win as KT completed much cheaper routes in the south of the map. In the second game I initially chose a couple of very ambitious routes, and when KT triggered the final turn I had the cards needed to claim a tunnel and thereby complete my tickets. However, the deck was unkind to me and I was unable to complete either tunnel or route, although it was some consolation that I would have lost in either case. In our final game I stayed in the bottom half of the map, drawing well and adding to my route cards as the game went on. KT was having a tough time of it, and I ran out the winner with the highest score of the night. This needs to be played a little more, I think.

We have a couple of candidates for our prospective 100 plays in a year challenge (I think it's 1x100 rather than the other way around), and Jump Drive remains in prime position for this, even though we might have to pick up the pace on this a little. I dug it out on Friday afternoon for us to play in between various other things that KT was doing around the house, and we managed to get in three plays. Our final play was the most interesting, as I shot off into the lead with a combination of Drop Ships and War Propaganda, and had my next moves all sorted out to romp home to victory when KT suddenly snaffled the War Propaganda from under my nose, losing me a critical point of military strength and 3 points per round. I fought tooth and nail to get back into the game, and in the end I finished with 71 points to KT's 77, although I managed it off a six card tableau, which I felt was pretty impressive. Naturally KT won the other games as well.

We had time to squeeze in a couple of games on Saturday evening as well at the end of a lazy day. I picked Qwirkle, which we had not played for over a year, and so thought that it was about time it made its way back to the table. Unfortunately it took only a few minutes for me to realise that KT was not really enjoying it, and although she was keen to finish the game, she found the whole experience very dry. I think that our gaming tastes have definitely evolved over the years, and where once we enjoyed playing Qwirkle now it feels just too light and abstract. In fact, I think that where KT is concerned I might as well give up on abstracts pretty much altogether. I'll be keeping Hive - for some reason she does not mind that quite as much - but no other abstract has remained in our collection in the long term, and with Qwirkle looking to be jettisoned as well I think I need to accept that, much as I love a good mental workout over a chess board or something similar, KT does not. Besides, there are many other games I enjoy, Hive is staying, and it is all about picking the right games for your group. The game itself was a corker - we tot up the scores only at the very end, and I had squeaked the win by a single point, 171-170, despite KT scoring four Qwirkles to my one. The play also raised our H-index to 23.

After that experience KT wanted to play something she would enjoy a little more, so I picked up Codenames for some cooperative action. We had some tricky clues, as always, but managed to score a 4 in the first game with KT as the spymaster and a 3 in the second where I was giving the clues. I had "Horseshoe" as one of our words and "Shoe" as the Assassin, but thankfully I was able to dodge that particular bullet.

I finished off the week with my first play of Terraforming Mars, a solo run with the rules on my knee and several bits of back and forthing to work out what was going on. I found that it was pretty easy to get to grips with the ins and outs of the cards, the only really tricky bit being to remember to do all the raising of TR and distribution of resources when placing tiles and so on. Still, it looks great on the table and it has that same feeling of incremental power that I get from Imperial Settlers, where players begin with a small spectrum of choices but then find that their abilities fan out so that by the end of the game all sorts of things are triggering off each other. I enjoyed this very much, didn't quite beat the game, but ended up with a score of 78, probably terrible but, you know, first game. I wonder how KT is going to react to this, and my feeling is that it is a 50/50 - she might very well love it, but it does do things that we already have elsewhere in our collection, takes a while to play and clearly requires multiple plays to understand fully, so we shall see, but I intend to play this more in the coming week.

Happy gaming!
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4. Board Game: Cities of Splendor [Average Rating:7.51 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.51 Unranked]
Fernando Robert Yu
Philippines
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Wednesday

Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game = 2 Plays

I got in a couple of soloplays while my wife was shopping for her hobbycraft.


Game 1: Randomized setup


Great synergy between the 3 heroes enables them to defeat Stryfe with a score of 24 points.


Game 2: Randomized setup. Cap and Iron Man manage to deflect the effects of a couple of Scheme Twists as I minimize the depletion of the wound stack and defeat the Red Skull’s attempt to propagate the Legacy Virus to win with 19 points.

I really like this system for soloplays. Lots of variability and replayability even if I have not been investing in the latest card sets for some time now.

Saturday

Dennis, Jim, and Kent join me for our regular weekly council.

Cities of Splendor = 2 Plays (NEW)

This much awaited expansion finally arrived and I got to try out 2 modules with Kent’s copy!


Game 1: The Strongholds module gives players the ability to block cards from other players as well as the ability to gain cards if you manage to place your 3 strongholds unopposed on 1 card. This was a major factor in my win as I managed to point out that Kent was going to win by grabbing a level 3 card and Jim promptly used his Stronghold to block it. This enabled me to trigger the game end and it came down to the tiebreak with Kent as we both had 15 each! Luckily I had 14 cards to his 15 which gave me the victory! Me 15 Kent 15 Jim 10 Dennis 6.

Game 2: The 2nd module was the Trading Posts where you can fulfil 5 different combinations of cards each of which can grant you a special ability. This gives players additional combinations to focus for besides the Nobles and in this game we were going for the Trading Post abilities more than the Nobles. The last ability (1 VP for each Trading Post marker once you have 3 Black cards) plus me grabbing a noble was a sudden 7 point boost which let me hit 15 points and triggered the last round. Kent managed to match my score with his last turn but this time we ended tied since both of us had 15 cards in our tableaus! Me 15 Kent 15 Dennis 10 Jim 9.

Rattlebones = 2 Plays

Dennis had not tried out this earlier dice crafting game yet so I brought it out next. We ended up playing 2 straight games in which all die faces got to be used.


Game 1: I rolled 2 Rattlebones which made him meet Jim’s mouse marker to end the game! Jim 44 Me 40 Kent 30 Dennis 24. Stars were a huge part for Jim’s score!

Game 2: My reroll ability enabled me to use more dice versus Kent’s “Uber 1 stock die” which foiled Kent’s initial monopoly of the stocks and enabled me to slowly creep up and overtake him for the win! Me 46 Kent 38 Dennis 30 Jim 19

This is a very underrated title and more dice faces would be a great expansion for the game.

Dice Forge = 1 Play

I brought this out last as a continuation of the Die Crafting theme. 1 Moon card (2 cast) and all possible advanced Fire cards were randomized. Jim picked up the mechanics very quickly and it became a race between Dennis’ uber multiplier VP dice and Kent’s pickup of expensive cards. It was VERY close in the end with Kent winning by just a point over Dennis! I had inadvertently set the game on “hard” mode since I mistakenly only put out 3 cards instead of 4 in each slot!


Kent 137 Dennis 136 Me 111 Jim 105

Sunday

I visited the FLGS and got to play a game with the staff.

Cities of Splendor = 1 Play

I picked up my copy of this (together with a couple of other expansions) and I immediately tried the Cities expansion with Vhange, Rose, and Lyng. The Cities replace the Nobles and now you MUST grab one of the 3 city tiles in order to trigger the game end and win. You need to fulfil the minimum VP AND card combination requirements on each card before you can get a city card. If more than 1 player has a city card then the one with the most points wins.


The Cities modules changes gameplay by forcing players to compete for the required card colors on the city cards. Vhange and Rose both grabbed a city card and it was Vhange who managed to grab a win with her 16 point 1 of each card color City. Vhange 16 Rose 14 Me 9 Lyng 9

I found all 3 to be fun modules which can really change the feel of the game without really altering the mechanics of the game. This is a very timely release as Century: Spice Road is in the same niche and most people who tried that like it more than Splendor, so this expansion should give it some push back!
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5. Board Game: Legendary Encounters: A Firefly Deck Building Game [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:1016] [Average Rating:7.33 Unranked]
Tiago Perretto
Brazil
Curitiba
Parana
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Hello!

Just one play this week: Legendary Firefly - which was pretty enjoyable, though we lost.

Regards,
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6. Board Game: Alchemists: The King's Golem [Average Rating:8.48 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.48 Unranked]
Simona Dostalova
Czech Republic
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Some nice 2-player gaming with SO last week, with 3 days of any gaming, 6 plays of 5 games.


Friday

I bought Alchemists: The King's Golem the week before so we finally gave it a spin. I love Alchemists and I now love the expansion, as well. We included the Starting Funds and Busy Days options. I managed to secure the artifact that gave me 1 more reputation for every reputation I got (except in the final round). He managed to start with a book so that gave him head start on the theories. He also got the artifact that allowed him to perform one action again, which allowed him to publish 3! theories in the last round, all of them correct. He won with 51 points to my 45 (not so bad considering he had it very easy with the theories).

We then moved onto Terraforming Mars. We ended this game in 17th round (the more we play, the longer it takes us to actually finish because we both want to maximize our scores) with my United Nations Mars Initiative winning with 169 to his 130 with Helion.

And then, of course, we had to play Innovation. He won with 7 dominations to my 2.


Saturday

On Saturday, I wanted to play Race for the Galaxy, which we recently brought out of dust and I don't want it dusty again. He focused on prestige and VPs. I focused on high-scoring planets and military. He won 54 to my 43.

And then, what else but Innovation. I won with 7 to his 3 dominations.


Sunday

On Sunday, we played 1 more game for our 10x10 hardcore challenge -
Valley of the Kings: Afterlife. I managed to collect whole green and orange sets and won 95 to his 77.
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7. Board Game: Wasteland Express Delivery Service [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:850]
Patrick Hillier
United States
Kettering
OH
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One game this week.

Five player was a bit too much. Also played with old school Merchant of Venus players who found the comparisons/differences a challenge - where Ben who probably never played Merchant took to it right away.

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8. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:49]
Carthoris Pyramidos
United States
Centennial
Colorado
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At my game group this week, I played two three-handed games of Race for the Galaxy. I'd only played once before, and not recently, but by the end of this session, I finally started to have a genuine feel for the game.

Prp and I tried out Arimaa for the first time, using a standard chess set. I won, but it almost felt like an accident. It will take more plays for either of us to really wrap our heads around this one. We also played a lot of Monochrome Chess--four plays total.



Prp is settled into her new Summoner Wars deck Maldaria Titania, and these Phoenix Elves buried my Fricktacular Cave Goblin deck without breaking a sweat.

She also beat me in a game of Feudality, although I was only one point behind her.



We finished our second go at the full Dunwich Legacy campaign of Arkham Horror: The Card Game, with our play of Lost in Time and Space. We won! Well, my character did get driven mad and killed by a monster in some extra-terrene pocket dimension, but Jenny survived and saved the world!



At Prp's suggestion we played a couple of sessions of Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards. (We combined the decks from the Duel and Rumble sets.) My Fu-King Dragon Lord shut her out during the first play, and I more narrowly won as Skullzor in the second.

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9. Board Game: Shakespeare [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:431]
Joe H
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Gaming Group

[New to Me] On Monday my friend Wendy from my game group invited me and my wife along with another game group member, Ashley, over for games. Ashley taught us Shakespeare. I did terribly but enjoyed it, particularly the bidding choice and the choice over which of your workers to activate. Even though I made a good early push on the yellow track I still got beaten to the points twice. Meanwhile, Ashley pushed ahead on the money track and Sharon quickly worked on filling up her theatre. That would prove to be the dominant move as she won easily, with Ashley in 2nd and me in last.



Next, we played Kanagawa. I've enjoyed my few games of this game but this one was a little odd as we too often missed the opportunity to pick up diplomas we had qualified for. It wasn't a matter of pushing our luck, it was a matter of not paying enough attention. I rushed the end of the game, feeling that others had better future opportunities that I did. It ended up a tight game with all of us finishing within 3 points. Ashley and I shared the victory.



At our normal gaming group on Wednesday we started out with Sylvain and Ashley teaching Wendy and me In the Year of the Dragon, a game I'd played once a year and a half ago and recently purchased but which hasn't made off my shelf of shame. Sylvain pushed hard on the turn order track while I lagged behind. After taking a privilege for 6 yuan in the first turn I focused on building a cash engine. I allowed myself to lag behind on turn order and miss out on early game fireworks to make sure I had lots of cash and rice. Sylvain also tried a "many palace" approach and held the lead for most of the game. Ashley also tried to push on turn order track, took an early 2 point privilege and got some fireworks for the two early fireworks events but was cash poor. Wendy went in for fireworks and, eventually, some army hats in preparation for the Mongol invasion. I ramped up books in the last third of the game and, then, with lots of cash in hand pushed up the VP track finally passing Sylvain in the last turn and then held that lead in the final scoring.



[New to Me] Next, Sylvain and Ashley taught Wendy and me Coloretto. Sylvain took the first game and I took the second game. The second game was interesting as Ashley and Sylvain had identical tableaus through the first three rounds. It was odd and also put both of them at a distinct disadvantage. Now that I've played it, it will be easier to get my copy of Zooloretto that I recently picked up at a garage sale played.



Gaming With My Wife

[New to Me On Sunday Sharon and I spent the afternoon scratching our heads and playing Codenames Duet. We weren't very good, improving as we went but still ending up winning only 4 of our 12 games. Nevertheless, we enjoyed it and Sharon is keen on playing more.



Solo Gaming

On Monday I played some solo Castles of Mad King Ludwig for the first time this year. To say I was rusty would be an understatement. In game 1 I only managed 49 points ("jester" level) as I didn't draw many cards that met my objectives and, when I did, multiples came out at once. In game 2 I did only slightly better, scoring 51 points ("servant" level). I enjoy the puzzle and will look forward to figuring this one out again.



On Tuesday I played Terraforming Mars twice. In both games I was the Teractor corporation which gave 60 megacredits to start and a 3 megacredit discount on cards with earth tags. In game 1 I didn't get many earth tags. Nevertheless, I got great heat and megacredit production early on. But, I wasn't able to complete the terraform in 14 generations. At the end of the 14th generation I had a TR of 52, 11% oxygen, +4 degrees, and all oceans down for 74 points. I was able to complete the terraform in the 15th generation with 84 points. In game 2 I was able to get lots of early earth events but I didn't get a lot of production of any type early. So, after 14 generations I was unable to complete the terraform and had 74 points. I completed the terraform in the 16th generation, scoring 90 points. Two losses but a very compelling game. I'm enjoying working through all the corporations at at time.



On Tuesday I also played another game of Pandemic Iberia. In this game I had both the Railwayman and Agronomist as my roles. We built up a strong network of rails that were able to zip me to hospitals as needed and the Agronomist's purifications saved a couple of potential outbreaks. I researched the last disease with only 1 outbreak on the board and 12 cards were left in the player deck. Things would have gotten very interesting, however, as the next two cards I would have drawn were both epidemics.



On Wednesday I gave my new copy of Flash Point: Fire Rescue – Extreme Danger a try, playing the mechanic's garage board with only one story. The Generalist worked through the entire game but, after removing the hazmats with the Hazmat specialist, I switched the Hazmat specialist out in favour of the fire captain. Things were well contained (and, luckily only 2 flare ups) with only a few damage markers on the board as I rescued my 7th victim (after 5 false alarms).



On Thursday I played Roll Player another go. This time I was a halfling thief lunatic hunter. I eked out 26 points ("adventurer"), scoring only 8 on attributes and none on class color but some trait VPs and a full set of armor helped.



Next, on Thursday I played La Granja: No Siesta, hoping to avenge a loss last week. I scored 47 points ("potential to be a farmer" with my biggest points coming from the roof, warehouse/stable and market. I was also able to keep pace withe the opponent on the siesta track.


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10. Board Game: Scythe [Average Rating:8.30 Overall Rank:7]
James Moline
United States
Tampa
FL
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Scythe - I played a 5 player game of Scythe at this week's meetup. I was the Agricultural Rusviets, and I started off very strong. I had 3 stars on the board before anyone else had one. I made a pretty critical mistake early on, though, and stalled out. I didn't have any kind of reliable way to generate popularity so I spent the end game vacillating between pumping hearts and trying to get my stars out. When the game ended, I had 4 stars on the board (I was close to placing both of the others, but didn't get there). Worse, I was in the first tier for popularity scoring. I ended up finishing in last place (behind 2 players who only had 2 stars, and fewer territories than me). Lesson learned. Still had a lot of fun, though.
Rating: 8

NEW NMBR 9 - We finished Scythe about an hour before our normal ending time (and the other table wasn't even close to done with Millenium Blades), so I broke out NMBR 9 as a closer. No one had ever played before, but the rules are ridiculously simple. We ended up playing 3 times in a row. The game is very fast playing, but, more than that, it's a really engaging puzzle. We all cared about who won, but I think everyone was mostly just interested in trying to do better themselves. I won one of the games, and did reasonably well in the other two. We all really liked this one.
Rating: 8

Lisboa - On Sunday afternoon, my wife and I played our 3rd game of Lisboa. She said it finally clicked for her this time, and I guess that must be true, because she whomped me but good. We were neck and neck throughout the game, trading first place on the score track. Even through most of the endgame scoring we were right there with each other. But then she pulled away. First by having the most state officials employed, and then by outscoring me in decrees by like 20 points. It was a good game. Our play time is probably hovering around 2 hours, and we're still triggering the end by completing 4 sets of rubble. We haven't even come close to 3 empty decks, which I suspect is much more common in games with more players.
Rating: 7.5

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11. Board Game: Massive Darkness [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:629] [Average Rating:7.58 Unranked]
Shaun Morris
United States
New Jersey
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I didn't play anything solo this week because I felt way too lazy to do anything after work other than watch TV and play with the dog this week. So only played on my 2 games nights, which is okay.

Friday, September 29
Massive Darkness

Finally managed to get this behemoth to the table. I didn't have it set up prior to everyone's arrival though so no one had any idea the number and quality of the miniatures. There were a lot of "oooo's" and "ahhhh's". In any case, I watched a couple tutorials and skimmed the rule book 2 weeks ago, and figured we were good to play the tutorial map. I was wrong. I need to study this one a lot more because we definitely played a lot wrong. We still had fun though and that's what really matters.

Saturday, September 30
Rummy

The old staple. I actually played two games of Rummy on Saturday. The first game started with my mom and dad. My dad would likely have won had he not had to leave midway through the game to go home to tend to his dogs. He had a 100+ point lead, which considering until 2 weeks ago he hadn't played the game in 20+ years, is pretty impressive. After he left, my mom and I finished the game with her winning by around 40 points.

UNO
I didn't play a full game of this but rather stepped in toward the backend to help my 5 year old nephew. My mom had promised him they would play a game if/when he came over for game night. I'm not a fan of Uno so while my mom and sister (nephew's mom) played Uno I folded some laundry and made my bed. After finishing with that I jumped into the game to help my nephew and we ended up finishing in 2nd place, beating my mom.

Rummy
The second game of Rummy was my mom, sister, and me. The nephew was still there though and my sister wanted to include him so had him pull cards for her. The first attempt at pulling a card didn't go so well as he told everyone what it was. He quickly got the hang of it though, and became my sister's official card puller and discard placer. Oh, my mom won, again. It was a close game though. I came in last but was only about 40 points behind, again.
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12. Board Game: Broom Service [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:404]
Kent Pritchett
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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*****My TOP 100 IS UP!******

This week I got to try out Broom Service. It was a decent family game and I enjoyed the role selection, and push your luck aspect of choosing if the character you play or follow with is brave or cowardly. The thing about being brave is if someone can follow you they will take your action away but doing so has a higher reward.


Next up I played Tides of Time with my eldest son. He was killing me in the first round but I managed to come back and win by a point.


The last thing I played this week was Catacombs. It was me has the overlord vs. My kids. They used all the original characters and made some really lucky shots. At the end they managed to boat me. But it was close The elf had 1 HP left and I some how botched killing her so between the wizard and elf they took me out. This was more fun than I thought it would be and the kids want to play it again.

Oh and I finished my TOP 100 this weekend. Only one new game made it in to the Top 20 this year.
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13. Board Game: Concordia [Average Rating:8.07 Overall Rank:23]
Doug Mann
United States
Corpus Christi
Texas
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Not much gaming this week, as we planned our first trip to Houston since Hurricane Harvey. I didn't have the heart to go to the old neighborhood, as my sisters had told me of the flooding there. However, I did pick up a copy of Nothing Gained But Glory from Nan's Games & Comics, which escaped damage.

I got Concordia set up for a solo 4-player and got a few rounds in while doing chores. I'll take it to Friday gaming group, but I expect they will want to play Roll for the Galaxy, the latest rage.
Concordia set up for four.

The mechanics blend together smoothly, and the game continues to hold my interest. There's less luck to the deck building than Lewis & Clark, but the timing of the different cards coming out seems to guide each play a little differently. It's tied for third with Twilight Struggle and The Civil War on my list.

Rating:: 8.1 out of 10.

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14. Board Game: Las Vegas [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:479]
Kirk Groeneweg
United States
Clear Lake
Iowa
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My parents were in town on Monday night, so I got a couple games to the table. I've only played Las Vegas online a few times and when Target had it for 50% off, I snagged a copy. this was the first time playing it on the table. My parents seemed to really like it (but if you know my dad likes about any dice game). Online it's always been just my wife and I playing, when you add in more people, the game gets a little more exciting. Somebody is bound to mess up your best laid plans. Great light game.


My parents have been playing a lot of Golf with friend of theirs and were keen on teaching my wife and I. Once they started explaining, I remember playing this with some Boy Scouts on a campout one time. I wasn't a great fan of it then, and really still not. My wife didn't really care for it much either.


I then brought out Friday the 13th to teach them. Boy, did everyone play mean! They got into the spirit of it right off the bat and the gloves were off! There was poison flying into all of the cauldrons and nobody was safe. Can't wait to get this out with them again.


Finally back on board with Thursday night game night. Had a couple weeks off and was excited to have a couple people over. My buddy played Tobago at Geekway and wanted to play "that treasure hunting game". He brought along his wife and the three of us played. The most fun of this game is trying to piece together the map to the treasure. How can I narrow it down... and better yet, how can I narrow it down so it's close to my jeep? I always think the wonkiest part of this game is trying to explain how the jeep moves around the board. It's doesn't always click with people.


We wrapped up the night with a three player game of Lords of Waterdeep. I've played this a bunch on my phone, but don't get to play in person much. I got one of my favorite lords (Arcana and Commerce). I really like the Arcana quests, they always seem to give good rewards (like Intrigue cards!). I finished dead last but had a great time doing it.

Have a great week everyone!
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15. Board Game: Terraforming Mars: Hellas & Elysium [Average Rating:8.37 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.37 Unranked]
Nick Shaw
United Kingdom
Plymouth
Devon
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Not a huge amount of gaming for me this week, but enough to keep me sane!

Game Group

Santo Domingo - 6 players (new to 4 of them). I came joint last, on 16 points. The winner had exactly 30, the rest of the points were in the mid-20s. A good fun and quick game, even with 6!



Terraforming Mars: Hellas & Elysium - 2 players, using Hellas map. I managed to win, 94 to 86! Woohoo! A great and very close game! We filled most of the board with tiles by the end, and didn't have many resource-gathering cards out; most cards were green ones (the ones with one-off effects) likely as we were both racing for the most-green-cards award. We were also neck-and-neck for the 8-different-icons milestone. In the end, my opponent got 1 milestone to my 2, and we got 1 award each. We had roughly the same number of points before final scoring, and it was very close as to who won. Chris had gone very much on a destroy-as-much-of-Mars strategy (hitting the planet with asteroids, a small moon, a number of nukes, and strip-mining operations), whereas I went for an ocean-placement and (in the 2nd half the game) greenery strategy. Both strategies ended up apparently very well balanced!





With my Wife

The Castles of Burgundy - A rare game with my wife. I managed to win, 180 to 169, but she played very competitively all through. Great game for 2, this.





With the Kids

Imhotep - 2 players, vs my 9-year-old. I gave her free reign to choose a game, and she chose this. It was close, but I ended up beating her by just 9 points (final scores were around 55 to 46 I think). She played some very cunning moves, but my Statue-card collection boosted me up enough to pass her in the final scoring.

*Still* undecided about this game. I just don't find much fun in the decisions. I still need to try it at 4 players. 3 players felt slightly better than 2, but still didn't have very interesting decisions to make. Ho hum. May end up on the trade pile soon.





Solo

Patchwork - 3 games of the solo Automa. I won at level 4 twice, and drew with the AI on the final game (30pts each), at which I also completed my entire patchwork board! I claim that as a tie-break win.



Dragon Canyon - 5 more solo plays, balancing my AI. It's coming along very nicely indeed (I lost 4 of the 5 games!).



OctoDice - A nice quick end-of-nighter, finishing with 38pts, a very decent score thanks to a late surge in rolling octopuses.





Online

Gaïa - 3 players; came 2nd (5 to 4 to 3pts). I'm starting to get the hang of this game now (especially now I've worked out how to complete the objectives too). I have another game going on right now (which I'm doing poorly at, due to bad card draws, urgh). A really pretty game with some easy-going mechanisms.



The Builders: Middle Ages - 4 players; came 3rd (18 to 13 to 9 to 2). Still baffled how the winner got to 18 points in just 3 turns (it seemed - might have been more). I'm apparently not very good at this game!



The Castles of Burgundy - 2 players; lost (194 to 187). Replaying my opponent from last week, and much closer scoring this time. I just ran out of good-enough dice rolls to finish what I needed. That's right - I'm blaming the dice.
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16. Board Game: Terraforming Mars [Average Rating:8.38 Overall Rank:5]
Jon Enns
Canada
Herbert
Saskatchewan
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Friday

This past weekend was ToonCon in Saskatoon. I got to stay at my friend Darryl's house. Friday evening I before we left we played Hanabi with his wife.


Once at the venue I started out with a scheduled game of Vegas Showdown. Despite the poor quality of player boards and uninspired art, this is a fun game.


There was open gaming after and one of the gals from the last game and I tried out Tsuro of the Seas. I had played Tsuro before but not this. It played fast so we played twice. Beautiful game!


I connected with an old friend there and decided to drop out of my next scheduled game and join him with whatever we decided upon. The first thing we did was play Secret Hitler with a group of 7 or 8. We all played 5 times. I am not that wild about these type of games but it turned out to be a lot of fun.


Darryl and I then took Innovation out of the library and had another friend, this time from Regina, join in.


Next we played Tokaido. I am getting this for Lindy for Christmas.

Saturday

Saturday morning I started out with a scheduled game of Imhotep. We played twice. I like this game but seem to come in last place every time.


I brought my newly acquired copy of Sagrada along and found a group including another friend from Saskatoon, another Darryl, and played a four player game.


Next was my scheduled game of Scythe. this was my 3rd play. The first time I played, about a year ago, I bombed badly. The next time, 6 months ago, I did much better. This time I came in second in a 5 player game. The game ended on th player just before me (who won) and if I had had my next play I was guaranteed 2 more stars. It was a good game.


Auction! This was not the game pictured but the real auction they hold every year. I ended up with 4 take home games, Kings of Air and Steam, Guildhall Job Faire, Black Gold, and the complete expansion for Duel in the Dark.


There was some fill in time so I got into a game of Splendor. I had not learned this yet and was happy to finally give it a try. It is a great game.


My next scheduled game was Terraforming Mars. Everyone loves this game. I had played once and was not sure if I liked it even though I won on my first play. I was determined to give it another try. And, yes, I did like it. A lot! It helped that I won again.

Sunday

My first game Sunday morning was Kingdom Builder. I played twice.


Next I brought in my copy of Sagrada for another go.


After that I was scheduled for Deception: Murder in Hong Kong. I was an inspector on the first game and the forensic scientist on the second. I was give test tube and wire. I was hard pressed to give proper clues. In the end the murderer got away with it but I had the whole group at his doorstep with test tube, but I could never quite get them onto wire. WE played a third time with more players and introduced the accomplice and the witness. We nailed the murderer. Barely.


I got Leah from my game group at home and a couple of others interested in Imhotep. Lost again!


Darryl had brought his game of Winds of Plunder along and wanted to play. We did that next. It turned out better than I thought it would, even though I cam in dead last.


I started the weekend withHanabi and I ended with it. It was fun but there were a couple in the group that did not get the hang of giving clues or understanding them so we did not do very well.

It was an awesome weekend of gaming. I can hardly wait to try out my new games.

26 games played this weekend.
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17. Board Game: Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:62]
Matt Brown
United States
Okemos
Michigan
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BSG

Aka, that awkward moment when there are 6 players, one revealed Cylon, another known Cylon who hasn't revealed to be one, and you are a Cyclon as well. Yeah, that was awkward. In the end I was forced to be a human and the Cylons won in large part because the two worst jump cards were drawn at the same time so fuel took a 40% hit rather early. I'm mildly surprised the Cylons didn't win before the 4 point distance mark was hit. I had even played as a human before the gaff was revealed so I could abuse at some point my hidden Cylon nature as the other player took the heat. In the end this was my third play. Humans have yet to win. There's a lot of show and pony for what results you get. I was partly underwhelmed by Dead of Winter in my first play, but over time I feel like it has gotten better. BSG is what it is and I have come to the conclusion I like DoW better.

Having hit 100 games with 3+ plays, I could do a Top 100, but that would leave a lot of crud in there as well. Maybe after another 50 hit the 3 play mark I would be willing to do it, but I was technically to do a Top 50 at my 5 year mark back in April, and that still sits.

Spyfall 1&2

One of the better cases of initially being underwhelmed only for a game to become decent in my mind. I don't think either has long term replay as going through places multiple times really hampers replayability. The meta for dealing with questions is developing though. At one point I was the grumpy old guy at an old folks home and I started to roll play as such much to the confusion of the other players. At least they figures out I was not the spy.
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18. Board Game: Gentes [Average Rating:7.68 Overall Rank:1345]
Thomas Leitner
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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I got in my annual Spielworxx euro this past week, and took it out for a spin...twice.

Spielworxx publishes games I tend to like, but they’ve had significant production issues over the years, so I thought about passing on Gentes. Ultimately, what sold me was the author, Stefan Risthaus who also made Arkwright.

While the rule book is still pretty bad (though better than past efforts), a hallmark of any Spielworxx game, I very much like the game. Gentes is a Civ themed euro that takes place over 3 eras of two rounds each. Players take turns taking action chits from the main board which cost both money and time, and then performing the action associated with that chit. The action and time chits are placed on one’s player board, and when a player’s timeline fills up, their round is over.

Each timeline starts off fairly constrained, but will expand as the game goes on. Beyond money and time, players have workers, essentially another form of currency, that need to be managed.

I played both a 2P and a 3p. Overall, I find the game an enjoyable exercise in resource management. The theme is not particularly strong, but that doesn’t bother me. Some may find Gentes a bit dry, but it works for me.



This was my second play. My first was a 2P, this was a 4P. There is a fair amount of downtime in a 4P, and no good way to use it to plan. I don’t think I’ll play with this count again. One player complained all game long about turn order (naturally the person going last), but I’m not remotely convinced it’s an issue.

Whistle Stop is fun enough, and I’ll play again.



A nail biter won on the very last turn.

That’s it. Until next week...
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19. Board Game: Spy Club [Average Rating:8.44 Unranked]
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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We kicked off our week of gaming with our first Lunch Hour Meetup at one of the office buildings in our area. It has a big cafeteria and was serving Taco Salads so we figured we'd give it a go. We had five players show up and we played a game of Celestia, which is a really light, over produced push your luck game. Had a good time with it, till the end where you can tell someone is going to win so you just have to keep pushing regardless, just like most push your luck games. Funny thing is, Brad and I both made it to the 25 point spot but still came up well short of winning. We followed up Celestia with a game of NMBR 9 which is just perfectly meant for lunch hour gaming I think.


We played another round of Las Vegas, in which our winner got to "Roll the Box".

https://flic.kr/p/YZz7Q9

Then on Friday we broke out one of our remaining unplayed Gen Con Titles, Wizards Wanted. It's a light hearted family style game where you are trying to manage your resources, Pixie Dust, in order to complete spell missions and also move throughout the kingdom. It went a bit long this first time and AnnaBeth was pretty much done with it by about 3/4s of the way through, but I think she'll play again and it'll go a lot faster the next time.



Saturday was all about Kerensa and I starting our Campaign with Spy Club. We've had a fantastic time playing this one and you can see my thoughts on it over on our blog.

https://www.wdyptw.com/blog/2017/10/2/spy-club



Then we wrapped up our gaming week with me teaching Kerensa Sentient. I really, really enjoy this efficiency puzzle and I kind of thought that Kerensa would as well and I think she did. It helped that she won by 5 points a bit, but I think she enjoyed it anyway. Our two player game went a bit long, just because of teaching and the general nature of over examining each card combination, but I was happy to play this after I kind of blasted it for it's price point last week. We're getting down to making it seem more affordable, $60 for 2 hours of play so far.



That was our week!

Celestia x1
NMBR 9 x1
Las Vegas x1
Spy Club x3
Sentient x1
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20. Board Game: Fast 111's [Average Rating:4.82 Unranked]
Luke Jaconetti
United States
Simpsonville
South Carolina
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Played with the kids on Sunday. It's a simple kids game, but I like the mechanic, where you move your car and an opponent's car on your turn. I also like the card art, which is based on US license plates -- a perfect tie-in to the Fast 111s diecast cars, each of which featured a unique license plate, including all 50 states.
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21. Board Game: Vasco da Gama [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:441]
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...

Vasco da Gama - 3rd play



Still very much enjoying this game. I did another 3 player session, teaching to 2 new people to the game. It went over very well, and played pretty quickly and smoothly. An issue I often have with What's Your Game games, is that they tend to be really solid, but have low replayability. Although each session of this game works out largely the same, the action selection mechanism is fresh and interesting enough that I feel (like in the classic euros) player choices drive the replayability of the game rather than variation in game components. This one will be sticking around.

The Voyages of Marco Polo - 3rd play



I was wary trying this again with 4 players after my initial impossibly claustrophobic play a year ago, and then my second play the other week with 2 where I enjoyed the game a lot more. It worked out perfectly fine. I selected the role my opponent in the 2 player game had used, and I did my best, and wound up winning. Things were tight, but not as impossible as I had remembered. With each session of this game I enjoy it a little more, although I wouldn't yet put this amongst my favorite games.

Islebound - 2nd play



Finally returning to this game for a second play. I had hoped to get a 4 player game of this going, but unfortunately it wound up being 3, and just like my first 3 player game, this game felt really underwhelming.

This is a quick and light path finding game, where on your turn you sail your movement in number of spaces, then choose to either use the island ability in some way, or prospector and get however much money has accumulated from other player's paying island ability costs.

The game feels a little uncomfortable, since at the start of the game getting crew is super important, but then the crew pile runs out fast and those spots become worthless. When you reach an island you have the option to conquer it, which requires spending cards that you then roll dice for, in a way that feels more random than I typically like in a euro. You also have the option to take it with diplomacy which requires spending cubes on a diplomacy track. The track itself has different values for the cube spots, and you fill left to right, so maybe you lined yourself up for a turn to get a lot of valuable cubes on your next turn, and then your opponent spends the cubes they had on the track, and now suddenly you are putting into 1 value spots instead of 3 value spots. The way you get cubes is by resolving events that pop around the board randomly, and all require different things, so there's some substantial advantage to being in the right place at the right time with the right stuff, which also feels more random than I like.

Overall, this isn't a bad game. I wouldn't say the randomness is detrimental, just marginally annoying. I would be willing to play this more, but I don't think I need to own it.

Oh My Goods!: Longsdale in Revolt - 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th plays, first four plays with the expansion



I was lukewarm on Oh my goods on my first three plays, but this story campaign expansion got me curious again. I've now tried to play the Solo mode for chapter one four times, and never even have come close to winning, even when I get all the pieces in place to win. The reality is luck is too high a factor for what the game is asking you to accomplish in a limited amount of time. Without spoiling too much, scenario 1 wants you to produce lots of food goods to win. Great. I've built entire chains of buildings that produce food goods, but if the market (which resolves by flipping over X cards until you see two suns, then again until you see two more) winds up being too few (min 4 cards), or the wrong types of cards, then you've wasted one of your precious few rounds, and you'll probably definitely lose. I went onto the forums and saw reports of people having somehow cleared the first scenario and then get stuck on scenario 2. I'm having major misgivings.

Cottage Garden - 1st, 2nd and 3rd plays



I've played this twice solo, and once 2 player. In this game, you move a marker in a circle, and then select a tetris piece from your row and place it on one of your two player boards. The boards have two different scoring features printed on them, so ideally you want to try not to cover those spots, but you might have to if it means completing a board so you get a new board, and score those points. This game is interesting, as the boards are more or less have one of two different arrangements of pre printed scoring items. You wind up completing a lot of boards which feels pretty dynamic. You also have a lot of perfect information, as you can see which rows you'll get to pull from in what order, and if you need to refill, you'll see the order the tiles will refill from. In each of my three plays I've scored between 72 and 76 points, which makes me wonder how much real strategy there is to playing the game, but when I did my 2 player session my wife wound up in the low 60s, so there's definitely right and wrong choices to make in the game.

So far I've enjoyed this over Patchwork because it allows for more players, looks nicer, and being able to complete multiple boards is more exciting and fulfilling than trying and failing to complete just one. I've also enjoyed this over Barenpark, because while this game is a race to the finish certainly, it doesn't have as much of the unpleasantly stressful element of each player who scores before you scores better points by virtue of being first.

Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island - 9th play



We lost again to Cannibal Island. We were doing very well, but we had trouble keeping our health up against the perpetual cannibal attacks. It's likely we weren't taking appropriate advantage of the rest action. Hope to try again soonish. Man though, I've been collecting all these mini expansions since the last time we played and now the box feels really overwhelming. It's also funny because a lot of the mini expansions make the game either easier or harder, and I'm just not sure when I'd be interested in doing either of those things, if at all.

SeaFall - 5th play



Every time we unlock a new mechanism in this game everyone gets mad. We're still at it though. I know at least I still feel engaged with it. It's still the most interesting pirates-merchants game I've ever played.

Council of 4 - 1st play



In this game, players are trying to gather points by putting their houses in every spot on the board that matches a region or a color of house. This is done through buying permit tiles, which require discarding sets of cards, whose colors match all the meeples sitting on the council area of that board section. If there are fewer different colors, you get to discard fewer cards, however you have to pay more dollars. The cards are a very limited resource, as you only get one new card each turn, and you might not wind up drawing what you need. The magic of the game is how you can take an action or a free action to pick up an unused meeple, and put him into the leftmost council seat in a region, bumping out the rightmost. In this way you can make the board line up better with your cards, barring the dickery of your opponents.

The other really cool thing about the game is when you put down a house in a city, you activate the city ability which gets randomized at the start of the game, and then you also activate the abilities of each other city in your connected chain of cities. This makes for some very compelling engine building. I'm very excited about this game right now. I hope for more plays soon.
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22. Board Game: Terraforming Mars [Average Rating:8.38 Overall Rank:5]
James Valadez
United States
El Paso
Texas
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SUNDAY



Just one game of Terraforming Mars this week. We had four players. We had only played three games prior to this one which I had won all three. My daughter was excited to beat me by one point. What was funny was I played a card with a -2 victory point on it and at the time even said "I'll be upset if I lose this game by one point." Which I did. This is a great game which everyone loves.
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23. Board Game: Power Grid: The Card Game [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:1471]
Alex Drazen
United States
Massachusetts
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A bit of a Jekyll and Hyde week for me. I was able to sweep a week of games against Mrs. Drazen, going 3-0 in Thurn and Taxis (won easily), Kingdom Builder (won mostly due to her mistakes), and our first play of Power Grid: The Card Game (won by 1 VP, despite her seemingly being ahead all game).

The card game of Power Grid pretty much distills the game down to auctions and resource buying. Without the map, it was cut down to under an hour. It is still a pretty tense game, as now the restock is partially random, based on a set of resource cards rather than a track filling up. There were times when there was a complete shortage of resources. A couple times, Mrs. Drazen got shut out, whereas I had been buying extra on most turns and planning ahead.

I don't usually care for card games, but I wouldn't call it a card game in the traditional sense. You don't actually even have a hand of cards! You just have a tableau of power plants and resources in front of you, which are represented by cards.

Against hard-core gamer opposition, however, I ended up taking two third place finishes in Brass. In one of them, I had a tough opening hand that was really hard to read and just didn't make much of it (I could have done anything but iron/coal, but nothing WELL). Of course, pulling a bunch of Shipyard and Barrow/Birkenhead cards on turns 2 and 3 didn't make anything any easier on me. I ultimately went into cotton, but got beaten to the punch badly, only getting out two L3's and needing one of my L1 ports to do that much/little.

The second game of Brass was just flat-out broken. I was in ports, set up very well, then one player stupidly decides to put out two L1's, so I end up stuck flipping my own L4 ports with L1 mills (and then have to figure out how to flip the L3's in Rail), while one guy gets out three L3's and an L4, and runs away with the game. The L1 port player lost and I was third, because in a 4p game, two Canal Era port players essentially ALWAYS finish 3rd/4th in Brass.

And I guess that's all for this week. Not half bad for a week where I didn't think I'd be playing much of anything...

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24. Board Game: Leonardo da Vinci [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:968]
Tony Chen
Taiwan
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Puerto Rico: 3er. Dog King won with 39 points. I also had 39 points but 2 fewer doubloons. Mark had 36 points. Very close game. I was the only player without a Black Market.

Iberian Rails: 3er. I won. I opened with Bureaucrat-Engineer. Mark used a Hotel strategy.

Holmes: Sherlock & Mycroft: 2er. Mark and I tied on points and tiebreak. I was first player. Pretty fun for what is essentially a simple point-grabbing game. The timing aspects keep it from a being a rote exercise.

Leonardo Da Vinci: 3er. James won. James opened with 2 apprentices. Jane opened with 1 apprentice and 1 lab upgrade. I opened with 5 florins and 4 resources. This game is really under-rated imo. Very few actions for a worker placement game, but the possibilities in terms of timing and where to go are surprisingly agonizing, given how few options there are.
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25. Board Game: Sagrada [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:168]
Ken Chadwick
United States
Yonkers
New York
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I attempted to play the solo version of Sagrada... and lost all five times.

In the solo version, you're attempting to beat a "target" score that accumulates over the course of the game based on the dice you don't draft (or use to activate a tool card.) By the last two games, I was only losing by six points... but the first couple games were pretty tough losses:

1. 77-38
2. 49-28
3. 56-36
4. 52-46
5. 54-48

I used three tool cards each game, putting it right in the middle between easy-and-hard. I'm determined to try to beat it solo at least once, although I'm not sure if it can ever be done!
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