GCL Mafia 350: Sequels
Charlie Theel
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St. Louis
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Important Links:
GameChat League: Mafia Division Subscription Thread (links to past lists, subscribe for weekly notifications).
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Welcome to GCL Mafia Division's weekly geeklist!

GCL Mafia Members:
• Please add an item to represent your gaming life for the week of October 2 - October 8, 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 Mafia 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:
Happymrdave
• tallgrant
• annowme
• Dolus
• ecargo
• Epsilon_Balls
• captainraffi
• touchstonethefool
• cferejohn
• jshufelt
• fdubois
• timotheous
• charlest
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1. Board Game: Blade Runner [Average Rating:5.75 Unranked]
Charlie Theel
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St. Louis
Missouri
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Whether it be movies, games, books - how do you feel about sequels?
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2. Board Game: Blade Runner: Rep-Detect [Average Rating:6.83 Unranked]
Charlie Theel
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Is it possible for a sequel to surpass the original?
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3. Board Game: Blade Runner [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Charlie Theel
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St. Louis
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If your life up until this point was contained in a film or story, what would the sequel look like?
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4. Video Game: Blade Runner [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:321]
Charlie Theel
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St. Louis
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Top 5 sequels? Top 5 Blade Runner actor choices? Top 5 reasons we should banish the top 5?


Quote:
Top 5 books they made into movies.




1. Heart of Darkness
2. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
3. No Country for Old Men
4. To Kill a Mockingbird
5. Empire of the Sun
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5. Board Game: Battlestations: Second Edition [Average Rating:8.36 Overall Rank:3805]
Charlie Theel
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St. Louis
Missouri
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Battlestations: Second Edition x2 (new!)
Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire x2
Codex: Card-Time Strategy – Deluxe Set x1
World Championship Russian Roulette x1
Zpocalypse 2: Defend the Burbs x1 (new!)

Reviews
I talked about why fantasy sports is a terrible modern game over at Ding & Dent.

I also extolled the virtues of Rhino Hero: Super Battle at Geek & Sundry.



Battlestations 2e
I remember remarking a few years ago how BS was the perfect game for Kickstarter. The original version was inventive and unlike anything we'd ever seen before (it was basically FTL before FTL existed), but the components were very weak. Now it is gorgeous and has tons of lovingly crafted very alien minis.

The 2nd edition is also an excellent game. My group took to this immediately and one player who had never played the original loved it. He was pushing for us to try and meet outside our weekly get together to play more.

I really dig these RPG/Board Game combos and this one really brings a unique aspect with the macro/micro split of the ship on a larger space board and then players moving around on tiles within their craft.

Shadespire
This game is now in my top 10. We played a couple of games with full-on deckbuilding (which is very simple) and also played the alternate Katophrane Artifact mode which is kind of like king of the hill. I just love it. It pushed X-Wing out of my top games - although I still love X-Wing.

Zpocalypse 2
This is promising. It's a little cleaner than the previous version and the rules seem much better. I solo'd the tutorial and found it interesting enough. I dig the scavenging/crafting elements the most, and how it abstracts players into a group of survivors (your mini on the board represents 1-4 actual people). Neat game.


On My Mind
Hoping to get to more 7th Continent this week but we'll see. Also probably playing Star Cartel from Osprey games.

I had an exhausting weekend knocking out a wall in our living room while my family was out of town (man, I could have had a mini convention at my house but instead this). Still need to finish dry-walling the gaps left by the wall, but it looks nice and makes the house feel bigger. Need to get the hardwood put in (they should be doing that within a couple of weeks), and then need to start saving for a trip to Disney World in March.

Blade Runner 2049 was great, hence the list. I'm a huge Villeneuve fan though so it wasn't a surprise (Enemy and The Arrival are fantastic).

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6. Board Game: The 7th Continent [Average Rating:8.73 Overall Rank:16]
Dave K
United States
Austin
Texas
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Something lived up to the hyyyyype meeple

New:

5  Terraforming Mars: Hellas & Elysium NEW!
10  The 7th Continent NEW!

Repeat:

9  Terraforming Mars
10  Race for the Galaxy
4  Lifeboats
7  Blokus

Okay, let's get the disappointment out of the way first: Hellas & Elysium was very meh. I still really like Terraforming Mars, but this expansion is a big letdown. The new maps are very similar to the original (the plant bonuses are bunched together, there are set "big water" areas, etc), except that the named locations are now missing, so cards like Noctis City just build anywhere. Ugh. The changed milestones/awards can affect the game a lot (as you have different long-term goals to aim for), but I'm not sure they really drastically change anything (because short-term gains are so important early on that messing up an economic engine to try and aim for different goals might not be worth it anyways). I guess I would have liked this expansion more if the milestones/awards were a separate board/plaque, and you could then use the two new sets of those along with any map (out of the now 3 available).

I bought this and I'm not sure I'm going to rush out to dump my copy but I sure don't think this is needed for the game regardless of how many plays you have, unless you are just desperate for a switch-up in the milestones and awards.

And now, the exciting one: 7th Continent was TERRIFIC! Wow. Seriously, wow. I'm really, really impressed with how the designers managed to succeed at accomplishing their (admittedly lofty) objectives for the game. Interestingly, the mechanics are more "just fine" and not really the highlight. Mostly you have a sort of push-your-luck style thing where you have to flip cards off your action deck (basically a shared life point total) trying to get a certain amount of successes, but you also get to keep one of the things flipped as a new resource in someone's hand. You can alter the outcome by using items or certain abilities beforehand.

The real excitement comes in how the game sets up a narrative arc that manages to remain coherent yet also integrates some randomness as well. Most of the time you go to set locations that have specific things (actions you can take) present, but the game adds a nice little twist to this with multiple versions of some of the cards. For example, there might be 3 versions of card 050, and the vital things are the same on them, but some peripheral stuff might vary. The use of multiple sets of random events that are keyed to locale keeps the random things coherent too.

It works. The whole thing really _just clicks_. We're not yet done with the first scenario (I hear they're rather long?), but both my wife and I had a great time. It's made it onto the list of games that she actively enjoyed (yay!) and she even was insisting on getting a chance to read and reveal cards - a good sign of genuine and not feigned interest (like I sometimes get for my euro cube-a-thons ).

Terrific job and automatically in my running for favorite game of the year. Damn. Nice job Serious Poulp!

Trivia time - what guy usually says "this is a great game, but don't play Terraforming Mars with 5"? And then guess who plays it with 5. Doh. It's still a great game but 5 is a very non-ideal count. We had two new players and one enjoyed it, one was kind of meh on it. I mentioned the new maps earlier - I'm very unimpressed by them but I enjoy the long engine-builder that is the core of the game still.

RftG was good. 3P game with one new player, he picked up on the mechanics quickly but this game takes many plays to get used to. I was able to pull off a victory by getting two fairly high point 6-value developments and the second-place person only had one.

I managed to get a perfect game in Blokus (I played all of my pieces, and my 1-size one last), which I've never done before. Yay! Good game and the essentially zero time required to set it up is a nice bonus.

Lifeboats is not a Dave game. However, I played because people in the group are nice and indulge me in my weirdo euros a lot, so it's only fair I play stuff like this sometimes too. I actually managed to come in second (whaaaat?), which is probably the best I have ever done. I don't like games where the value of all of actions can be totally negated, and that's one of the core things going on here. At any rate, it is what it is, and I can see why some people like it.

OMM

We have a small local con coming up soon that I'm looking forward to. It's called Game for the Cause and it's also a charity thing that raises money for a domestic abuse shelter/aid org, so it's a nice feel-good event too.

Selling lots of stuff on the Virtual Flea Market at BGG.CON. I have bought zero items for myself so far (!), with the sole purchase being an 18XX that I'm buying on behalf of someone else. Craaaaazy.

I'm nearing 90 hours in Dragon Quest XI, and I think I'm getting near the end of the game (maybe?). It's been a lovely experience and I'll heartily recommend it to (J)RPG fans. The core of the story is a fairly typical Dragon Quest one (so not a social commentary piece like Persona 5 laugh ) but it has a lot more put into the characters than many Dragon Quest games, which really helps it have some extra oomph.

This anime season doesn't have much that is really standing out to me but a new one just started called The Ancient Magus' Bride that seems to show some promise.

Sometime in the near future I'd like to go see the new Blade Runner. I'm a big fan of the original (even though it's a much more methodically paced movie than I normally go for?), and I hope the new one is good too.
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7. Board Game: Here Come the Rebels [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:2232] [Average Rating:7.62 Unranked]
Grant Johnson
United States
Cedar Park
Texas
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 N/A   Here Come the Rebels
 7.5   Wiz-War x2
 10   Space Alert x2
 8   Lifeboats
 N/A   Colossal Arena
 8.5   Blokus

Here Come the Rebels: Absolutely amazing session. Early on The Union hit Lee hard with the XII Corp. It was a crushing blow for Lee, and his divisions under JR Jones and Evans spent the rest of the game demoralized (and severely penalized for it). Stonewall Jackson came up with reinforcements, and Confederate cavalry screened the army on the second day. But a big battle was obviously brewing outside Sharpsburg, as the Union I Corp under Joe Hooker camped in the fields to the north. Jackson held the east side of the bridge, fought out after an attack on the Union IX Corp. But the troops under Jackson had held off the II, IX and VI corp at the bridge, waiting to rest and recuperate before the upcoming battle.

Lee hoped to bring up reinforcements the morning of the 17th, but Hooker was ready and launched an assault. While Hooker's attack did not carry into the town of Sharpsburg, two Union corp stole a march and went 3 miles north to cross Antietam creek before turning south and assaulting the meager Confederate force in town. The Confederate reinforcements near South Mountain and in Harpers Ferry did not even depart on their march before Sharpsburg was lost, and though the Union suffered heavy losses, they eeked out a victory.

This scenario was called "McClellan's Opportunity" and looked at Union General George McClellan's opportunity to destroy Lee before he could consolidate his army, spread out in Western Maryland. Our game was pretty awesome- we both felt we were faced with the same problems the commanders saw in the army, and had a lot of pressure on us and had to make similar decisions made historically. It was interesting that we also felt the game fed into the same sort of confrontation that actually occurred in a very organic way- based on what we had from troops and dispositions, setting up that battle was the natural result and didn't feel forced. That being said, I lost because of the wildly successful attack on Day 1, and the terrible luck on Day 3. The final day was critical, and the Union ended up taking the first 6 actions and won the game before I could finish up. I would do a few things differently if I had it to do over again (as would my opponent). Still, the narrative was fantastic and I think this really showcased the best this series has to offer.

Lifeboats: Full of the usual goodness. A lot of the early play was springing leaks in full boats, so we only had one sailor end up drowning due to boat changing shennanigans. But a lot of jerk-ass play, including picking on the first timer.

Space Alert: Two failed missions. We had one that was close, where an elevator mistake prevented us from clearing a nuclear device. That destroyed the ship- we otherwise would have survived. The second mission was an absolute disaster- I made several mistakes that were covered up by my misreading a threat, which knocked out two players on turn 4 and singlehandedly destroyed the ship on turn 5. But both with 5 players and the full chaos in effect.

Wiz War: It's all about what cards you draw. The game I won I used a wand to remove walls at will, and dropped fire balls and lightning bolts on my opponents. The other game I spent most of as mist and got outraced.

Blokus: Despite all other players repeatedly saying "Will this move cut off Dave?" before making moves, Dave managed to play all pieces, including placing his single last. Curse him!

On my mind

Star Wars: Trailer drops tonight, which based on 2 years ago also means tickets likely on sale today. I think we're planning a late show opening night because I'll have band rehearsal; it's the last one before we travel, and the odds are good that we'll have our high profile VIP conductor present. That said, I still think I'll be in costume at rehearsal.

John Mackey: This gentleman wrote my favorite classical work in the last 10 years. I'll include a youtube link in the bottom of my post. We're actually doing the North American premiere of a new work of his called "The Night Garden" in December. We read The Night Garden last Thursday for the first time and it was very pretty, though I think the real focus and texture of that piece is in the woodwinds.

Weight Loss: We got a new scale in August, and I found out pretty quickly that I could gimmick it if I balanced on it strange. I used that as a tool to start at a lower weight. This past week I decided honesty was better, so I weight myself with proper balance. My weekly drop wasn't what it had been in previous month because of it, but I still went down. It may prevent me from hitting goal #1, which was projected for this week. I'm also worried that having late dinners on Saturday and Sunday and staying up too late on the weekend may have goofed up my routine and slowed it down the losses. I've kept up the caloric deficit, so we'll see if I can get it together.

Texas vs. K-state: Went to a college football game Saturday and got a double overtime thriller, with the good guys taking down the Purple Wizard at the end. Fantastic. The crowd was pretty excited at the end. And the cherry on the Sunday was having Iowa State go into Norman and stun the Okies there. Greatness.

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8. Board Game: Century: Spice Road [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:218] [Average Rating:7.47 Unranked]
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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 N/A   Orléans
 7   One Night Ultimate Alien
 3   Century: Spice Road
 9   Suburbia
 10   Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs Imperium
 N/A   One Night Ultimate Werewolf Daybreak x2 NEW!
 8   Last Will
 9   PitchCar

Bundling several weeks of plays together.

Century: Spice Road -- This shit sucks. Having played this a few times now, I can confidently say that it's one of the few games I actively dislike. I don't care much about theme, but this is a soulless mechanic mess that sucks. Someone decided "we should push cubes around, give them some values, and not bother with trying to make an interesting game out of it." Please play this if you enjoy: root canals, placing cards to convince yourself that you're amazing at creating combos, or just hate life. Fuck. This.

Last Will -- When deciding which game to play, I mentioned I had Last Will and three other people immediately jumped on that one. I enjoy LW, but I was visibly shocked that it received such a positive reaction. We played a $100 game, which I think gives you enough time to properly run an engine without doing the "Assemble-->Disassemble" in two turns. I won this pretty handily with two farms and a guy who I paid $2/farm to maintain them. Obviously every farm needs a gentleman's club, so I used that to burn off the last of my cash reserves. I was the only one who eventually bankrupted, which surprised me.

Suburbia -- It's been a while since I designed a city like this, but for a while my go-to strategy was "never green." There was an objective to take many greens, so the other three fought over them, and then I leeched off of them by dropping hotels and resorts to push my population higher at the end of the game. Those choices were what won me the game in the end, as well as snatching two of the goals.

Orleans -- First time actually playing the game (I watched almost a full game before, so I knew pretty well how to play). The mechanics here have a lot of potential to go horribly wrong, as in Century: Spice Road, but they have connected things with much better meaningful decisions. Each round I was actively watching what other people were doing, and planning accordingly. Incredibly interactive, and interesting game. I am very much looking forward to trying it again.

On my mind:

This weekend was my family's annual CIDERday. We've been collecting and buying apples for the past month, and on Saturday we cleaned, crushed, and pressed them into cider. Our haul this year was ~30 gallons (not all pictured), which more than doubled our volume from last year. Last year we found that the bottleneck in the operation was the press, so we rented a second one this year. Working two apple presses at a time greatly improved our efficiency, and I suspect that we'll either buy or rent a second one again next year.

The cider on the right side, with the clearly different coloring, are the apples Marion and I picked from the tree in our back yard (~7 gallons). I believe the plan is currently to produce the following mixtures:
1) My single-source hard cider, champagne yeast (7 gallons).
2) Lagered Cider (5 gallons)
3) Raspberry-Jalapeno Cider (5 gallons)
4) Hopped Cider (5 gallons)
5) 13% High ABV Cider (5 gallons)
6) Unfermented Cider (leftovers)

In summary, we had a great time with about 15 people at my house all day Saturday. Rufus was absolutely exhausted on Sunday; he grabbed his stuffed rabbit and slept on the couch all day.

EDIT: you can also seen in the corner of that one picture someone holding a bagel. I am continuing to enjoy making bagels. I made another dozen for Saturday. Last night I also made a cheddar-apple bread, which I think turned out okay (too much cheese, apple did not turn out as strong as I'd hoped).
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9. Board Game: A Feast for Odin [Average Rating:8.20 Overall Rank:30]
Jim Parkin
United States
Stow
Ohio
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Carcassonne
Dead Man's Draw x4
Agricola
A Feast for Odin



Another really stellar week of my losing to Anastasia at every single game we played together.



Carcassonne
After I ate the majority of Anastasia's castle meeples with the Dragon, she ninja'd multiple farmers into all of my fields and crushed me. I had three huge Cathedral cities, but it wasn't enough to catch up. Once she locked down the fields, she spammed as many small cities as possible. I couldn't compete!

Dead Man's Draw
I really want to play Clank! because I love press-your-luck games, but I'm hard-pressed (HA) to find a better example of this mechanic (I KNOW Clank! and Dead Man's Draw are two very different games despite that shared characteristic). The special powers and gambling hubris come together perfectly. I will play this game until I die.

Agricola
We played with some new cards from the Gamer's Deck we'd not seen before (I forget their names now, womp womp). I tried to go all-in for beer and grain, which afforded me an outlandishly-effective food engine, but I lacked any and all synergy to upgrade infrastructure. I trailed Anastasia in terms of family members until the last round, and she had multiple cards that basically let her substitute any building resource for just about any other regardless of application. It was a brutal combo. We drafted, but the connection just didn't strike me at the time. We really enjoyed it (OBVI), but I lost by eight points with little hope of having caught up by the end.

A Feast for Odin
My request for the week. It's been a while. In the dozen-or-so games I've played, I never cared to pursue buildings, so this time (with a teensy prompting from early occupations) I decided to go for it. I got some kickbacks for using mountain tiles for resources, so I was flushed with wood and stone. Churning bonus gains into higher-grade goods through Knarr trade worked really well, and I ended up with a very domestic Viking clan.

Meanwhile, Anastasia plundered anything that moved, and despite my trying to get in her way on purpose, she had plenty of occupations that allowed for a great deal of flexibility in terms of raiding and pillaging. She ended with Greenland and Faroe Islands (I think) nearly maxed and despite her eventual negative points (I had zero), she still edged me out by seven points. It was a great game. I continue to enjoy the blend of more-tension-than-you-think-by-looking-at-it competition commingled with the array of possible paths to pursue. Here's my end-game board state:


Oh noes! Illegal pea placement in Longhouse #3! I could have swapped the mead horn and been set. OOPS. #europroblems



I just about finished building A Straight Road--just a few drivers left. I whipped out my handy arch punch and went to down making all of the round tokens. A recent order of GMT counter trays afforded me very slim organization/storage for this one. Three total trays were necessary, but it's basically the equivalent of ship parts for Eclipse, and they all function in a similar manner. I intend to just set them out at the beginning of play and not bother taking anything out unless necessary. We have a big game night coming up in a few weeks, and I hope to play it with everyone present (it can go up to eight players), but I'll need some earlier plays first to shore it up.

It's finally Autumn--like real Autumn. Good riddance, Summer.
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10. Board Game: Über Epic [Average Rating:7.52 Unranked]
Joseph Shufelt
United States
Portland
Oregon
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No games at all for me. Had DND scheduled for Saturday, but the DM got sick and canceled.

Last week was a very challenging week for me emotionally and physically. Kim has been feeling very ill and queasy lately. So in the times she's been laying down, I've been hopping on the PC for a few simple vidya games.

I have a huge love of business/economic simulator type games for most of my life. Prison Architect being one of the most recent "This is great!" games. It's clearly inspired a few other business sim games, including Airport Simulator (Early Access), which is what I have been playing.

Still early access and has a lot of development to go though, but it's getting to the point of being very enjoyable.

I stumbled into a game of RftG Xeno Invasion on BGG. I totally forgot how that expansion works. Somehow I only lost by a point against a well rated player. It was SUPER confusing though.

Kim and I delivered for UberEats for the first time this weekend too. Made $25 in 90 minutes. I can already see some of the difficulties of this side-gig. The hardest part, by far, was finding the delivery locations. Apartment building letters are often hidden, street addresses are not very visible or well lit at night.

Our first delivery didn't go very smoothly, but the others went better. All-in-all, it was a fun time driving around town with Kim, bringing people food. Nice to get a few extra bucks at the end of it.
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11. Board Game: Operation [Average Rating:4.07 Overall Rank:15332]
Chris Ferejohn
United States
Mountain View
California
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Pitying fools as hard as I can...
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Well, no games for me this week as I was sick with what turned out to be appendicitis starting Tuesday and had surgery Thursday afternoon. I am pretty well recovered now (yay). My pain was pretty mild the whole time - never took any narcotics so now I have yet *more* vicodin I don't know what to do with (I've been given several prescriptions for back pain, and while I'm frankly pretty pro recreational drugs, vicodin isn't really "fun" for me and in fact sometimes just makes me nauseated, and anyway, it's potentially dangerous addictive shit). Why can't they prescribe mushrooms or something?

Speaking of drugs, this was my first time under general anesthetic. I feel like I've been having more intense (though not necessarily more memorable) dreams since then (the first night I specifically remember dreaming an entire musical that was animated in the style of the Perry Bible Fellowship webcomic, though damned if I remember much of the specifics).

I treated myself to a couple of starter sets of the new L5R LCG because it's good to be alive. I really like the look of it - the only problem is going to be finding playing partners. My wife is willing to give it a shot, but I fear it might be too fiddly for her. I have a couple other friends who could be interested, so I'll see. Worst case, I expect I can probably sell them, if not at cost, then at least recovering most of what I paid (and I'm keeping one in shrink for now planning to play a couple of "intro" games before delving into deck building).

I've kickstarted 7th Continent and I'm getting more and more excited about it almost every review or experience I read. Obviously I'll have to wait a while, but I'll have Charterstone and Gloomhaven coming relatively soon, along with additional AH LCG scenarios, so I shouldn't be hurting for campaign-y things to play.
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12. Video Game: Swipe the Deck! [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Star Wars: Destiny 6 (TTS - not to be confused with TSS)
Stop Thief! 2
Lords of Vegas 1
Raiders of the North Sea 1
The Godfather: Corleone's Empire 1

Review: I describe the Creature in Not Alone as just needing a little loving.

---

Apparently I didn't play many games this week. My parents enjoyed Stop Thief! and Matt beat me on a tie in Lords of Vegas, which I'm still bitter about. My stepbrother and I continue to play Destiny on Tabletop Simulator and I'm enjoying refining my decks.

The Godfather: Corleone's Empire: I demoed this at Gen Con, but this was my first real play. I really enjoyed it. You can definitely feel the Eric Lang in it. The turns are quick and the area control is mean. Like Blood Rage, it doesn't have the arbitrary beating up on someone. There is a reason you'd push one guy out in one place versus another. The placing of family members is really cool as you can get ALL THE THINGS they're adjacent to. Also like Blood Rage, the game really is rather simple and, to use a cliche, elegant. So, all that is to say I'm looking forward to playing this again.

---

On My Mind:

Matt and I watched the original and new Blade Runner this weekend. I had seen Blade Runner 10+ years ago, sitting in in my friend's film class during undergrad. Watching it for the second time was practically like watching it for the first. Although I understand its cinematic significance, it didn't do much for me. It felt dated. #sorrynotsorry However, I thought the new one was a nice follow-up and it was nice to watch it right after the original. Tonally, it was very similar even though Ryan Gosling has a dopey face. I think Harrison Ford gave at least one micro-fuck more in his performance in 2049 than he did in The Force Awakens. Overall, neither movie are my kind of thing in terms of their themes, but I don't regret seeing them even if I am now questioning whether or not I'm a replicant.
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13. Board Game: Import / Export [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:2651]
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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Import / Export NEW!
Iberian Rails
TZAAR x3
Medici
Fuji Flush
War of the Ring: Warriors of Middle-earth NEW!
War of the Ring: Lords of Middle-earth
War of the Ring (Second Edition)

So like Uchronia, I'm not sure who exactly Import / Export is for. It's as if someone cut up the rules for Glory to Rome and then re-arranged them back into a (very similar) game. One big difference seems to be a gating mechanism that prevents players from starting buildings (shipments, in this game) whenever they want: Rather than having materials (goods) get subsumed into completed buildings (shipments? Thematically it's a bit unclear), they get put out into the pool (the open sea) and you can't get your sites (ships) back until all the goods are taken back off them.

The other change is that VPs are now used as currency to auction off materials on ships in the open sea, which replaces the Laborer action (though the Legionary action now doesn't take cards from opponent's hands, but lets you take a single card from the sea). One of the game end conditions is also now a VP ceiling, which can be rushed by using a specific action to discard cards from hand for a small dollop of VPs.

Aside from some other minor tweaks, it really is just GtR. It's fine, I guess, but again I don't really know who it's for.

On the other hand, War of the Ring: Warriors of Middle-earth is absolutely for the fans of WotR and a minorly mixed bag. I played Shadow and very much liked the flexibility that the new factions brought. The Corsairs of Umbar made rushing Southrons up the coast a much easier affair, the Spiders allowed for some cool combat modifiers against Gondor and the north east, and the Dunledings gave some extra edge to Saruman's forces (balanced out by the outrageous hammer of the new Ent faction).

On the slightly negative side the expansion adds another deck of cards to juggle that pertain to each sides factions, along with some (admittedly very useful) oversized reference cards for each faction and new combat cards to add in when said factions were present in battle. At worst it clutters up an already large hand of cards and takes up even more space on an already cluttered table. But for all that, I appreciated how it freshened up the game in a way I wasn't expecting. Definitely worth it if you're a WotR fan.
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14. Board Game: Approaching Dawn: The Witching Hour [Average Rating:8.24 Overall Rank:5559]
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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Approaching Dawn: The Witching Hour
XenoShyft: Onslaught NEW!
Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire x2 NEW!

I didn't mean to theme my week around coop deckbuilders, but here we are.

Approaching Dawn

This really is a clever little game. It's got some clunk and fiddliness to it, but it fades away quick enough once you appreciate the game is really more about managing resources than fighting demons. The dads really enjoyed it, it was fun to have to account for each other's health when casting spells and also telling them it sucks to suck when you loaded them with bad energy to fight your own demons. The scenarios are good too. I think I'm going to move Aeon's End to the basement (since I've played the hell out of it) and hold this until I finish the scenarios.

Xenoshyft

Woah this game is super cool. It's like the designer sat down to a deckbuilder and said "what sucks about these" and fixed all the annoyances. It's 99% of the time a good thing to cull your deck? That's built in and you don't have to waste time buying cards to do it. Buying resources to be able to later buy bigger things is dumb? You get your resources drip fed to you so you don't have to worry about it. Basically if it's "the right thing to do every time" the game doesn't make you make the choice to do so, it just takes care of it for you.

With that out of the way, you have a fast paced co-op deckbuilder of blasting aliens, helping each other out, and leveraging combos to blast more aliens. Love that I can deploy fighters and weapons to my allies and that those cards become part of their deck. We held on for a very close victory.

Shadespire
I am now 0-2 in Shadespire and enjoying the heck out of it.

On my Mind

Oh god I finally finished these.


They were a gift for my friend. He's probably 3D printed/laser cut my weight in accessories, and is just a very generous person so it was really cool to be able to surprise him with these. These minis are not amazing from a detail perspective, so painting them was a little difficult and not as "fun" as painting normally is but I'm super happy with the results.

The new Warhammer store in town is already proving to be dangerous. Picked up a Death Guard Tank and got sucked into filling out a punch card to get some super rare "store grand opening only" miniature.
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15. Board Game: Keyper [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:1236]
Dave K
United States
Austin
Texas
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Richard Breese's new game for this year is Keyper. Images were just posted of the game contents. It sets my euro-loving heart aflutter.

https://boardgamegeek.com/image/3775650/keyper
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16. Board Game: Titan [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:792]
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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Game finally finished. Mutual destruction of our Titans, unfortunately. So the third remaining player won. Fun game.

Not much of anything else. I've been staying up past midnight every day studying for OSCP. So hacking into random lab machines all night. I get my first attempt at the exam this Sunday, and a second attempt in a month or so. Yay!
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17. Board Game: Lisboa [Average Rating:8.24 Overall Rank:132]
Fabrice Dubois
France
La Garenne Colombes
Hauts de Seine
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 9  De Vulgari Eloquentia x1 (13 plays so far)
 8  Lisboa x2 New!
 8  Jaipur x4 (17 plays so far)

On De Vulgari Eloquentia :
It was a 5 players game.

I won as a banker against 4 religious.

Basically, i started from Taranto, following a north path to Venizia in order to gather money and average knowledge (level 3) in order to play early in turn order to grab cubes before other players and screw the religious by tactical rest.

As for the statistics :
Me : 54 points (32 points worth of manuscripts)
Cardinal Balestreri : 52 points (29 points worth of manuscripts)
Friar Ralphy : 48 points (25 points worth of manuscripts and 6 points for the Riddle of Verona)
Cardinal Zazza : 46 points (21 points worth of manuscripts)
Friar Michel : 35 points (21 points worth of manuscripts and 9 points for the Canticles)

On Lisboa :
Good blend of mechanics with a very smooth gameplay. I really enjoy the "card play" mechanic ala ZhanGuo and the focus/fight for rebuilding the Baixa. It is all about timing, jockeying and leeching of your fellow opponents.

This is in no way an elegant game but i find myself very impressed and interested by digging this one. Components are astonishing : this is without a doubt the most beautiful game of my library.

On my mind :
Twin Peaks 3.15. snorecrygulp

I am looking forward for the Coal trilogy by Capstone Games :
- Haspelknecht: already pre-ordered
- The Ruhr (Ruhrschifffahrt 1769-1890 2.0) : waiting for Philibert's decision to sell it or not
- Kohle & Kolonie : in 2018
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18. Board Game: Factory Filler: The Filler Game [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked]
Philip Newman
United States
Richardson
Texas
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I'm about to pre-order Pandemic Legacy Season 2 and Dominion: Nocturne; any recommendations for a small game to get over the free shipping threshold?

Best with 2 and co-operative are both good things (though neither is necessarily required). Things I'm considering at the moment:

The Grizzled
Magic Maze
Nautilion (would be the obvious choice, if I didn't have other underplayed Oniverse games)
(one of the escape room games)
Clank! (neither co-operative or small, but seems like it might be a good fit)
 
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