GCL Gelato 289 - Sophomore Jinx . . .
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ABOUT GCL mb GELATO DIVISION mb SUBSCRIPTION THREAD mb GUILD

What is a Geek Chat League?

A Geek Chat League is a weekly discussion-group format for people who love gaming and enjoy talking about games. It is intended to foster depth and familiarity, producing engaging content and worthwhile interaction. Members get to know one another, establish shared interests, and generally develop a friendly and productive environment.

Of necessity, each division of GCL is kept relatively small (typically between 12-16 members, though individual divisions may incline one way or the other). A tight-knit discussion group tends to function more smoothly than a free-for-all. It allows individuals to be heard and understood, and for each participant to keep up and enjoy multiple topics as the week progresses. The format is geeklist-based, and lists are not published to the BGG front page.

Policy: If you're a lurker or have otherwise discovered GCL Gelato, feel free to read along with us and see what the members have to say on everything under the sun. If you have a constructive comment or something else you think would add to the discussion, consider posting it — if it's helpful, respectful, and polite to the discussion group as a whole, as well as to its individual members.

The Jagged Little Pill

mb leroy 43 (Roger)

The Supposed Former Infatuation Junkies

mb ad79 (Stig)
mb Bacchus (Kevin)
mb cmontgo2 (Chris)
mb Cole Wehrle (Cole)
mb cscottk (skippen)
mb cubbieblue (Steven)
mb Farsol (Patrick)
mb Hanibalicious (Sonderegger)
mb grammatoncleric (O.Shane)
mb Jacovis (Jacob)
mb jtakagi (Jonathan)
mb Lil Red Head (Nikki)
mb MABBY (Murray)
mb nycavri (Avri)
mb PzVIE (Ron) W You're up next!
mb Scarlet Witch (Julia)
mb tommynomad (T. Nomad)
mb wifwendell (Wendell)



For the record, my musical choice here is one of the highlights of the sophomore release from The Wildhearts, P.H.U.Q. After the magnificence that was their debut, Earth Versus . . . The Wildhearts should have been ready to take over the world, but instead released an opaque and intentionally aggressive follow up and condemned themselves to beloved cult status. In hindsight, there is some great stuff on P.H.U.Q., but at the time it felt like self-sabotage. Wouldn't be the first or last time for Ginger and the boys . . .

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the sequel is always more difficult than the original (and every exception you throw at me to refute this only proves the rule.) This is my second time hosting the GCL Gelato list, and after missing my spot in the rtation the last time through, I promise to try and keep you all engaged this time 'round.
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Avri
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I am fascinated by the depth and variety of modern boardgaming, and in how we attempt to classify games. How did you come to your favored genre? Was it love at first sight? Or was it a more gradual discovery after playing the field?

-----

I grew up playing Chess and Backgammon, Monopoly and Game of Life. At 8-years-old I was introduced to role-playing through the original red box D&D set, which led me to the FLGS and the wonders of old Avalon Hill. I jumped two-footed into the AH sports sims, particularly Statis Pro Football, but also explored some hex and counter games (leaning more towards the scifi of BattleTech or Star Warriors, even Car Wars over traditional wargaming themes), and the Games Workshop offerings that didn't require me to paint anything. I role-played heavily through university, as well as playing a bunch of PBEM Diplomacy.*

And then I discovered BGG.

I found it through an Infoseek search of a game I saw in the review pages of Knights of the Dinner Table, which led me to an online implementation (called Gamut), and another family of fascinating games, which led me to want to know more. The game which eventually so captured my attention was Pikemen from the system then known as Icehouse (later Treehouse, now Looney.)

I threw myself into the Icehouse community as hard as I'd ever thrown myself into role playing. Although designer Andrew Looney is best known for light and chaos heavy designs, the Icehouse community tended towards designing perfect information combinatorial games, and I found a home. These days I describe myself as an omnigamer, but my heart still belongs to that subset of games that BGG calls "Abstract". My two published designs are both 2-player, luck-free games "like Chess or Go" and given unlimited time and opposition, Abstract games are those I would chose to explore most deeply.

While I will still play almost anything, my default choice is still a two player, luck-free thinker . . .

* Which makes me wonder if there are 6 other Gelati who are brave enough to commit to an online game at playdiplomacy.com?
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Avri
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So, we've talked about our true loves. Now what about the other areas of the hobby that catch the corner of your eye? Which other subdomain are you most interested in exploring further. What's so alluring, and what is stopping you from engaging?

-----

Outside of my Abstract wheelhouse, I feel like I am pretty well versed in the world of the Euro, and will happily dip my toe into the Ameritrash realm when time and opportunity presents. I'll even wallow in the shallow end of the 18xx pool a time or two each year. But the world that most teases me, the one that remains always just out of reach, is that of the Wargame.

It goes back to my early hex and counter experiences, and the way that I played games then and now. Now time is always an issue. Then, we could lose entire weekends to our play. Now, every minute has to be planned and carefully balanced against other responsibilities, everyone's schedule must mesh. Then, my friends and I had only ourselves to worry about, and all the time in the world to share.

The bottom line is that as much as I would like to explore Wargaming, my preferred games these days take around 30 minutes, and the games I play most often take even less than that. Furthermore, I am intrigued by simple Wargames with shorter playtimes (Test of Fire: Bull Run 1861 and Table Battles leap to mind) but my usual opponents these days have no interest in these themes, this style of game.

When I rediscovered the hobby back in the mid 2000s, exploring all that BGG had to share, I was attracted to the idea of games like the Commands & Colors series, but resisted pulling the trigger, somehow knowing I would never get them to the table. I did pick up all of the Pocket Battles games, yet have only played a single learning game. I've had Manoeuvre (an game which is perhaps a perfect hybrid of my beloved Abstract and the Wargaming genres) on my shelf for almost a decade without a single play.

It's just so much easier to get a pyramid game, or Puppy Love, or Tak, even Chess to the table . . .
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3. Board Game: Paris Connection [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:1180]
Avri
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Speaking of subdomains, how do Gelati feel about the breakdown? Is Twilight Struggle a Wargame? Is Penguin Soccer an Abstract. Is the term "Ameritrash" really offensive, and does "Thematic" capture the style it represents accurately?

-----

If you have ever hung out in the Abstract forum, you will find that people spend the most astounding amount of time and energy arguing the definition of the games that should or shouldn't be discussed, to the extent that eventually, after many years, I unsubscribed from the subdomain . . .

(I understand anecdotally that things can be the same or even worse over in the Wargames forum.)

I believe the the disconnect comes from the difference between the BGG definition ("Like Chess or Go") and the dictionary definition ("Without theme") of "abstract." Most hardcore Abstract forum users take the genre to mean combinatorial - two-player perfect information games with no random elements after the set up. But even this is a slippery slope, since there are plenty of multi-player games which should clearly fall into the category (Yavalath, for a no brainer), and while 18xx games tend to be perfect information games with no random elements, a 2-player 18xx game doesn't feel right for the Abstract subdomain.

And go ahead and ask about dice in Backgammon on the Abstract forum. (Or tile pulling in Ingenious, or the random draw in Bridge which is a top 25 game in the Abstract subdomain, but nothing like Chess or Go . . .)

Then there's the issue of theme. I got a silly amount of abuse when Penguin Soccer first came out for classifying it as an Abstract since it was clearly a sports game with an animal theme. It is a perfect information game (no dice, cards, or other randomizer) and it also has a theme which (I hope) comes through in play - it really should feel like penguins sliding and spinning on the ice, chasing a ball around. Is Penguin Soccer (or newly themed Santorini, with its gods-building-palaces-ness) "like Chess and Go"? Yes, in respect to their 2-player, combinatorial nature, but they are not "without theme."

When Paris Connection won the Golden Geek Award for Best Abstract, I was one of the Abstract forum members ranting that it wasn't a "real" abstract (as we saw it) taking the award. I have mellowed greatly over the years, but the answers to these questions don't get any easier, even if they seem less important somehow. (It helps that I finally figured out that, however you classify it, PC is an excellent game!)

Like pornography, we know it when we see it, but we all see something different . . .
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4. Board Game: Prolix [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:4108]
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So, we've talked about the genres we love and the genres we lust after. Which genre would you banish from existence given the opportunity? What game would you miss if that genre no longer existed? See a genre you want to defend in another Gelati's burn list? What game would you offer up to try and change their minds / save the genre?

-----

I can't live without my AbStrats. I need my complex Euros, my chrom-y Amerifests. I want to explore Wargames. 18xx clearly has worth as a genre, as do other dry-mathy financial type games. I don't tend to play minis games, but I wouldn't want to lose Blood Bowl, or infringe against Wargamers. And much as I say I don't like Party games, I play them often enough (Dixit, CAH, Billionaire Banshee, Joking Hazard) that there is justification for me to allow them to continue to exist.

I think I could live without trick taking games. (I know this will be controversial around here.) I don't enjoy partnership games and Tichu never appealed - learning yet another set of exceptions for the scoring of what is essentially just another Hearts or Spades variant makes my brain achy-sad.

But then I wonder, where do I draw the line? Is Jaipur a JATTWAT? Huh - I really like Jaipur. Is Biblios a trick taker dressed as an draft-auction? And I've always wanted to investigate those Mystery Rummy games a little more closely.

Better not risk it - OK, trick takers can stay. (You're welcome.)

Which leaves word games. I played Scrabble on my honeymoon. I like Gil Hova and his anti-Scrabble game, Prolix. I used to play Boggle with my grandparents many a Friday night.

Still, I could go the rest of my life never playing another word game, ad if you forced me to choose, this would be the genre I would eradicate. Come at me.
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5. Board Game: Extra! [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:3558]
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Let's end by stepping away from gaming. If you had to give up one of movies or theater, which would you lose. How about one of books or music?

-----

For me the first question is easy - I would keep live theater in a heartbeat. It helps that my live theatergoing has increased as my moviegoing has decreased over the years, but giving up the occasional movie I still want to see (already have tickets to The Last Jedi on December 14) in order to be in the room where it happens live a dozen times a year is (for me) a no brainer.

(It helps that it seems that there are fewer and fewer movies that have me as their target demographic. I can't remember the last time I saw a trailer / preview which got me excited about a movie - my reaction is almost universally the opposite . . .)

Books or music? I almost took this question out of the geeklist because (again, for me) it is too painful. It's like asking me to choose between the removal of my heart or my lungs - I'm dead either way.

I'm going to cheat, and reframe the question. If I had to choose between going blind and going deaf, I would choose to lose my sight. That way, I can keep music in my life and still "read" audiobooks . . .
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6. Board Game: Ticket to Ride: First Journey (U.S.) [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:2018]
Jonathan Takagi
United States
San Marcos
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 8   Race for the Galaxy x3
 N/A   Ticket to Ride: First Journey (U.S.) x2 NEW!
 6   Bellz!
 7   Galaxy Trucker
 7   Jamaica
 9   Puerto Rico
 8   Splendor

I had an extremely light week since my wife and I spent Sunday - Thursday on a quick trip to Barcelona. I studied there 1995/1996 and returned in '97. So it's been 20 years since I've been back. Earlier this year, Iberia started a new low cost subsidiary and I was able to get two round trip tickets for about $300, so we decided to take a chance and go for it. Thanks to my mom who is such a trooper in watching our 4 kids, we had a wonderful time.


There are a few big differences after 20 years away.

1. The Sagrada Familia is WAY more complete than it used to be. Apparently it'll be done by 2026.

2. There are a ton more tourists than there were 20 years ago. English is much more prevalent. I can't blame them, if the tourists are there, you might as well accommodate them. In some more touristy areas, tourists probably outnumber locals.

3. It was interesting to observe the current events in play. The mood is much more subdued than it would seem by reading the news. I love Catalunya and sympathize with their desire for independence, but they honestly seem to be in trouble at this point. With no support outside of their region, there is no future for their movement.

4. Board games seem to be very present with a well developed scene and localized versions of most games. There are even Catalan versions of some titles, like Codenames. I picked up one game while I was there, 1920 Wall Street.

5. The thing I most enjoyed was experiencing the food. While I was studying there in my youth, I chose to spend my money on things other than food, so I never really got to experience the food culture there. There is a very wide variety of food. The quality is very high and the prices are relatively low. It was cool to see they even have Mexican restaurants now.

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7. Board Game: The Rose King [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:995]
T. Nomad
Netherlands
Den Bosch
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 8   The Rose King x2
 8   Taluva x2

Two very gelato-inspired games this week. First, was it you, Stig, who issued a challenge a couple weeks ago that we dust off a game? Or maybe Ron? Well, we did so, and it was glorious. Taluva came out of its plastic folder (knowing we'd never trade it meant we trashed the box last year), and charmed us. I won the 3P game, and then Shenomad trounced me 2P after the kids went to bed.

But the highlight of my gaming week was making a game. The boys had been looking over my shoulder as I played with all of you on Yucata, and Rosenkönig in particular drew their eye (take that, Finca). That led to us crafting our own version. I had a thrifted deck of cards, the kids designed and created the paste-ups, and our (largely unused) checkerboard got a reduction to make it suitable. Add in 3 chess pawns each to serve as power cards, and a plastic pachyderm instead of the crown, checkers (now in chocolate/vanilla flavours), and I present you...Elephant Poops, the boardgame:



(edit: I just discovered that this is my 1000th geeklist item
#veryminorBGGmilestones)
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8. Board Game: Tesla vs. Edison: Duel [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:4240]
"L'état, c'est moi."
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Vancouver
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This is the week that was:


 7   Ticket to Ride wf + fil
Inspired by Jonathan's marathon session from last week's GCL we pulled this one out. My father in law was game, but came in 4th.

 7   Tajemnicze Domostwo x2 wf + fil
The Kelda loves this game, I like this game, my wife... plays it grudgingly. The Kelda was the ghost in the first round and we ended up taking 10 days to finish (we just played it out). I was the ghost in the second round and we succeeded in 6.

This game is interesting to watch as the ghost as people persuade one another to not pick the right answer because some tiny subtle thing I didn't even notice on the card "clearly" shows that it's not what I thought it obviously pointed to.

 5   Tesla vs. Edison: Duel x2 NEW! ww
We tried this out at the pub while the Kelda was in her art class (some amazing works coming home this semester) and were underwhelmed sadly. I love the theme and Tesla vs. Edison: War of Currents with the Powering Up expansion is a really interesting and highly thematic game.

This game... needs a few more plays before we make up our minds. We played a rule wrong that might have made a big difference (about the player who doesn't win a region placing a share onto it after rounds 1 and 2).

 5   7 Wonders Duel ww
We followed up our pair of TvE with this.

My wife still really likes this one, I'm finding it less compelling, but it matches how I feel about regular 7 Wonders - I don't feel bad about losing; I can't imagine feeling good about winning; I make some decisions, am informed of a result, and go about my day.

 8   Terraforming Mars ww
I had a killer game of this on the classic map. I had Saturn Systems and managed to collect 8 Jovian tags and three cards that give you 1VP/tag at the end and another 24VP in other cards and that was simply not something anyone could reasonably expect to be able to overcome. I broke 100 points.

What's Going On?
Secret Santas: You read that right - plural. I've signed up for the site Santa, the wargamer one, and GCL Gelato one (drop a line to our mistress of ceremonies, Julia to get the link to join). I'm working on a geeklist of things I'd love to get that aren't necessarily games.

Work: It's going to be a short week - I'm only in the office until Wednesday, and I get to devote all of it to preparing for the training I'm delivering the week of the 6th. I'm really looking forward to it as it's for the most technical aspect of the job I was in, and has a lot of intricate pieces to it.

BottosCon: BottosCon is Friday-Sunday and I'm really excited to have Sean (King Mob) and Marty (itsmarty) coming up for it to hang out and play games with.
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9. Board Game: Star Wars: Imperial Assault – Heart of the Empire [Average Rating:8.59 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.59 Unranked]
Ron
Austria
Vienna
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GAME WEEK

 10   Star Wars: Imperial Assault x3
 8   878: Vikings – Invasions of England NEW!
 6   Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook
 10   Elder Sign x3

The week saw the continuation and grand finale of our Star Wars: Imperial Assault – Heart of the Empire campaign … again, Andrea’s rebels managed to win the last scenario and therefore the whole campaign. I was a little disappointed when I first opened the box and found out that the campaign is only eight missions long; however, the story was good, and the new missions were as awesome as ever. I’m really impressed about the ideas those designers come up. So we impatiently wait for the next campaign … maybe combat Teddy bears on Endor? Or maybe after all a campaign on … *gasp* … the DEATH STAR??? (does anybody remember that old WEG game Star Wars: Escape From The Death Star? That would make for some great missions!)

We also tried out the new kickstarter game, 878: Vikings – Invasions of England. Very good! It reminded me a lot of Britannia, however, it is much more dynamic. The Vikings swoop over the board, burning and looting, and the poor Brits desperately try to slow them down. I ordered the version with the minis and it looks really great, plays quickly and is a lot of fun! I’m hoping to play more of that game!

On Friday was RPG night, and we continued to explore the Runeforge in Rise of the Runelords. Finally we found the pieces to create a weapon against our campaign-baddie, and we’re about to figure out how to use the Runeforge without killing more Halflings (yes, I died again – why do I always have to be so loudmouthed? Whenever we meet someone of bad temper and evil character, I have to start scoffing around and of course – I’m to first one to suffer).

Then there was Elder Sign again. Three games, one in the Arctic Mode and two in the Museum Mode. We managed to win at least one game. We’re a little out of practice, it seems. However, we didn’t put it away, so it’s still on the gaming table. We might play again this evening and finally save mankind from all those Lovecraftian threats! meeple



OTHER NEWS

It happened. Of course, it had to happen. But so soon? Ingalisa moved out; she and her boyfriend rented an apartment downtown. I already miss having my little girl around all the time … soblue
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10. Board Game: Dice Town [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:718]
¡dn ʇǝƃ ʇ,uɐɔ ı puɐ uǝllɐɟ ǝʌ,ı
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Chestermere
Alberta
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My game plays, for the past week (and a half).

Dice Town- New to me this month.
I "bought" it from BGG user squash (Josh), in that I paid for freight and he sent it to me for free. I also got a copy of Bigfoot, but I haven't had a chance to play that one yet.
Anyway, Dice Town was really fun. It was noisy, with all of the dice rolling and re-rolling, and there was a ton of user interaction. The game went on longer than I thought it would, but a good time was had by all.

Sagrada
Another dice game, but this one is also an "abstract", where you draft the dice according to their color and value, and try to accomplish patterns or placement objectives.
Gorgeous components, and always entertaining.

Canyon
Have you ever played the card game, "Screw Your Neighbor (Neighbour)"? The players are dealt a hand of cards, diminishing by one card each deal until you eventually only are dealt one card, then building back up by one card per deal to the original number of cards again.
You have to pre-bid how many tricks you think that you'll get.
Canyon is that same card game, in essence, but with a boardgame layout and a pasted on "Indian" (Native American) theme on a river (and waterfall) through a canyon.
Good fun.

Euchre (x4)
Played in two separate sessions, 5 days apart, with mostly different opponents.
Our favorite 4-player card game, hands down.

Sergeant Major or, as we call it, 9-5-2.
A three-player (trick-taking) card game, where you all get 16 cards and the remaining four are for the dealer after trump is named and cards have been swapped between players, based on how well you did the previous round. The dealer has to get 9 tricks, but they name trump. Next to th edealer has to get 5 tricks, then the last guy has to get 2 tricks. Every trick over your minimum means that you steal a card from whoever didn't make their minimum.
It can be a cruel game, and it can also be an up and down swingy game.
Ours certainly was. I had 9 points of the 10 I needed to win, and the guy who was sitting at -10 points at the time eventually clawed his way back and won it.

Zooloretto: The Dice Game
A three-player game; it was a close one with just one point between each of us (14 - 13 -12 points final score).
________________________________________________________________________________________
The Beer list
Inspired by another Gelati, I took note of the beer that I drank over last weekend and a trip to the pub.

Hopbot IPA (7.1% ABV), by Hop City Brewing (Ontario, Canada).
Big hop flavor but you don't hit 7% without starting with a ton of malt, so this one was more sweet than bitter. Yum.

Puck, The Beer from North Coast Bewing (California)

I was expecting more from this Petite Saison, but it lacked oomph.
The bottle says "dry hopped" but that flavor didn't come through as I hoped it would. Decent but forgetable.

Doppelbock from Trois Mousquetaires Brewing (Quebec)
A 675ml bottle of delicious malty Belgian-style goodness. Well worth having.

Devil's Dream IPA by Hoyne Brewing (British Columbia, Canada).
Another big bottle (675ml): All hops, all the time. I loved it, but it isn't for just anyone.

Magenta Dragon (IPA) by Alley Kat Brewing (Alberta, Canada).
Enjoyed on-tap. One of a dozen beer in their "dragon" series, featuring a different single hop variety in every new dragon "color" that they produce.
This one was much like the Hop Bot at the top of my list; far sweeter than bitter, but still with lovely hop flavor and aroma.
An excellent IPA.

5 3/4 Bears Oatmeal Stout by Alley Kat Brewing (Alberta, Canada).
On-tap; a delicious stout from an excellent brewer in Edmonton.
As a native Calgarian I'm supposed to hate everything about the provincial rival city, but that animosity just doesn't extend to these guys, who make brilliant beers.
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11. Board Game: 1889: History of Shikoku Railways [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:1280]
Steven Steck
United States
Benton
Arkansas
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Been a slow few weeks for me on the board gaming front, though I was able to get 1889 to the table on Friday. Here's a quote from one of the players after the game:

[q]Well, last night was great. Made a few mistakes but had a blast.
Haven’t played but two 18xx games but they might be my favorite genre of game. /q]
Music. To. My. Ears.



The rest of my gaming time has been spent with by new Dungeons & Dragons (5th Edition) campaign and Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game
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12. Board Game: London (second edition) [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:760]
Cole Wehrle
United States
St. Paul
Minnesota
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x2 London
X2 Squirrel or Die
x2 Cuba Libre
~x20 Root


This week I had the good fortune to host my brother and his girlfriend. We had a great time exploring the city and managed to play some games. The highlight, for me, was picking up the next edition of Wallace's London and playing it each night they stayed with us.

My goodness this new production is quite lovely and the gameplay feels sharper to boot. Though it's been years since I've played the original, I think this one is probably the better game. So, it falls in the "good" pile of Wallace reboots (along with Study in Emerald 2e).

We also played some Squirrel or Die which is a pretty fun memory/deduction filler for folks who like that kind of stuff. It's probably better as a two or three player game just because the amount of stuff to track gets silly at higher player counts.

Finally, I've managed two live/online games of Cuba Libre over the past two weeks. Both have been lovely games, knocked out in less than three hours apiece. I drew the Syndicate both times and managed to eek out a win in the first game. The second game had nearly ever player in contention over the course of the game but the J26 took it.

In other news, Root playtesting is going well. I'm exhausted, but it's been a blast running the kickstarter. I am very much looking forward to BGG con.
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13. Board Game: Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan [Average Rating:8.05 Overall Rank:143]
Stig Morten
Norway
Kvernaland
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Gaming



 9   Space Empires: 4X
We ended a co-op game of the Doomsday scenario a bit early because it was sooo slow. And one of the players bought a new house and would be unavailable for a while.
I really like the game, but it is not the easiest to get to the table.

 N/A   Shuffleboard Game
I was knocked out of our workplace tournament this week. Not happy about that.

 N/A   Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan
My game against Roger ended in a win for me. I managed to hold of Roger's last attack on one of my palaces, and could overrun him at a resource location to break the 13-13 tie into a 14-12 win for myself.
i think we were both very rusty with both the rules and strategy at the early stages. Brilliant game.

Books
Finished "Politi" THe tenth novel about policeman Harry Hole. Michael Fassbender plays him in Snowman at the movies these days. Slow start to this book, but a thrilling finale, as always.

Beverages
One of my fellow teachers is a member of a whicky club, and he also wanted to start up a whisky club at work.
So on Friday we were seven of us that met at his place for whisky tasting and some history lessons about whisky.

Got to try ten different bottles of whisky.

Auchentoshan 12: Good, delicate taste.
The Glenlivet 15, Oak reserve: Just a very smooth and delicate whisky with rich taste.
These two were considered the starter set to ease those that hadn't tasted alot of whisky into the world of Scotch Single Malts.
Highland Park 12: More peated, very good.
Ardbeg Uigedail: Even more peated, but not too dominant peat. Very good. Whisky of the year 2008.
Ardbeg Corryvrekan: A little less peated, but more flavours and some very special ones. This one was a love/dislike affair. Some of us loved it, some disliked it. It was hands down the best whisky I have ever tasted. Whisky of the year 2009. On the shoping list for next weekend when my wife goes to Aberdeen.
Finlaggan: 58% and very dominant peat. Too dominant for my taste.
Jura, Diurach's Own: This one I have a bottle of at home and it is rich, with hints of peat. Very smooth whisky, and good.
Lagavullin 16: This was the last of the official tasting. Peated, but very rich in taste. A very good whisky, but not up to the standard set by Corryvreckan.

After this I asked to taste Ardbeg 10 as it is a very peated one with a light taste(dominant peat). Better than Flanaggan, but too dominant peat for my taste.
And last was Ardbeg Kelpie. Because the Ardbeg 10 bottle was almost empty. Kelpie was less peated than Ardbeg 10, and a bit richer in taste.

Ten different whiskys tasted and the top three were.
Ardbeg Corryvreckan. Just the best overall experience.
Lagavullin 16. A good blend of peat and rich flavours/taste.
Ardbeg Uigedail. Good peat and flavour.


I like some peat, but if you don't like that I recommend The Glenlivet 15. Smooth and delicate. Just an easygoing whisky.
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14. Board Game: Kingdoms [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:1047]
Avri
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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Last week's gaming:



 8   Button Men x2
 5   Little Dungeon: Turtle Rock x2
 7   Cosmic Wimpout x3
 7   Kingdoms

Johanna back at home after two months of rehearsal, and Boo wanted her to join us in a game. "Something quick with not too many rules for me to learn," she says. Boo nixes a couple of suggestions, but perks up when I offer Kingdoms. Johanna enjoys tile-layers, the rules here are almost trivial and the exceptions minimal, so off we go. I have a small lead after the first round, and Johanna is far behind. Boo pulls off a couple of huge scores in round two while Johanna catches up to me as they both bash the leader. In the third and final round, they both seem to forget that I'm no longer the leader and by the final tally, Johanna has squeaked out a win by a few points over Boo while I'm about a hundred points back.

I enjoy the game, although it appears to be another I regularly fare poorly at. It's not like connection games, where I know while the game is going on I'm lost. It is more like Jaipur, where I always feel like I'm competitive right until the scoring is over . . .

Glad my girls are fans, too. I have a slew of the old FFG Silver Line games (picked up cheaply over the years during the FFG holiday sales) and most never see play. I love Scarab Lords, and played it at lunchtimes way back when I had a fellow gamer in the office. And I gave a couple of others at spin at variuos Meetups ten years or so back (Quicksand, King of the Beasts, etc.) But many others (Hungry, Mag·Blast (Second Edition), etc.) are still unplayed on my shelf . . .

As for new purchases, I'd held off on picking up Hollandspiele's weird new economic game - For-Ex - until today so I could save on shipping, since I also had to have their "baby's first wargame" release, Bitskrieg which dropped today.

I've been following the thread over at the For-Ex forum where people are concerned about how fragile the game may be, and I have to say this is making me more, not less excited to play . . .

-----

Johanna's production of The Laramie Project was a triumph. Sold out in six hours, was technically and artistically stunning, and from the closing moment of the first act through the final moment of the play, I and most of the audience was in tears. The play is a timely reminder, even 20 years later, that "This is who we are."

-----

Halloween night, and my plan is to watch The House On The Witchpit for the first and last time.

Let me explain.

My buddy from back in our high school days, Pat Higgins, is a micro-budget horror writer / director / producer. He has a handful of well written and interesting movies out in the wild (my favorite being the horror / romcom Hellbride, the best reviewed being the horror / mockumentary The Devil's Music. He has blogged in the past about how the easier it became to make and release a movie, the safer people became in their choice of what to watch. Unable to compete with big marketing budgets, and frustrated by pirated torrents, Pat made a movie then made it really hard for people to see it.

Quote:
The House on the Witchpit is the eighth movie that I've had a significant involvement in, and all of the others have followed the same pattern. A period of hype during post-production, the usual blitz of trying to get as many eyes as possible to see the trailers/stills and then the initial release at cinema or DVD/VOD. This release is followed by a total lack of control. The flick comes out in whatever territories have been sold. It gets pirated, hits the torrents and streaming sites, (often killing the chances of selling any more territories than the initial ones) and within a couple of months it's all over. Done. Old news.

Witchpit premiered in January 2016 at Southend-on-Sea Horror Fest. At the conculsion of the screening Pat destroyed the master onstage.

He's recut, reedited, and I believe somewhat even reshot the movie and is releasing it for one night only (tonight!) on Amazon Prime and Vimeo before this version is wiped, never to be seen again.

Quote:
The House on the Witchpit is a horror movie about horror movies. It is a 3am panic attack. One version was screened for a single showing in January 2016, and then the master copy was destroyed onstage. This new version will not be available for long. Details are scarce. Approach with caution.

No trailer. No synopsis. A bizarre puzzle box of a film. One night only.

I know what I'm doing tonight . . .
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15. Board Game: Acquire [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:208]
Wendell
United States
Yellow Springs
Ohio
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We got together at the local gaming bar and I taught my brother & friends Acquire, which I recently bought after having played it for the first time a couple of years ago.

It was a big hit.
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16. Board Game: Witch's Brew [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:679]
EXTRA AVOCADO! Sonderegger
United States
Folsom
CA
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Throne and the Grail 2p ww x1

As the vapors blare their song
Reiner takes a long hard look
Has he been out east too long?
and then they sing portentious hook
I think I'm turning Japanese I think I'm turning Japanese I really think so
He sighs, accepts his fate and thinks, and redesigns pachinko
--
Megan and I both agree, this is Japanese Knizia. It manages to reduce everything, including the decision space, and conversely increase the tension and implications of play. It's just a brilliant gut-punch of incentivizing, reading, timing, and regretting your decision. It's like 2p Ra. Japanizia. Megan took it due to me betting hard on a grail win, and of course, blowing it.

Codenames Pictures 8p x1

Like whores, we devoured
this hors d'oeuvre of ours
--
With one row less, and the added ease of visual memory as opposed to words, it's like a pleasant warm up. It lacks the punch of its brother, but hey, still aight.

Codenames 8p x1

duly stretched and warmed
our brains reformed
And through loose use, we vernacularly
proceeded to lose spectacularly
--
Fun was had. I mean, it's codenames, and I loved the people I played with, so there's not much else to say.

Sweets Stack 2p x1, 4p ww x1, 4p x1

There once was a man from Nantucket
who couldn't fit sweets in his bucket
so he died on the spot
and his body did rot
But i got bonus points so suck it
--
An odd game of reverse drafting tetris, it really has more going for it than it should. There's odd player binding, and luck of the draw, but with what information you get, there's a fair amount of interesting choices, and crazy timing. It was a hit with everyone involved, perhaps excepting Megan who thought it was ok, like an evil take it easy that's actively trying to make your score suck.

Witch's Brew 5p x1

Even though we know the future
and all of time is of our ken
the first thing that we ask for sure
is when shall we three meet again?
--
Taught 4 new players. Got annihilated in second to last. It did well with that crowd, and I love when that game picks up and it just lots of oooOOOOoooooOOOO. It's an emotional sine wave, that one.

Beer Report:
Trader Joe's Hibiscus Tripel x1
I drink like a sorority girl. I love light and fruity. However, I'm a classy sorority girl so when I get fobbed off with cloying, cheap fruitiness to disguise sub-par beer, I get petulant. This tripel just tasted like a sub-par tripel, and it did not have nearly the amount of hibiscus I needed. Perhaps it's because I have hibiscus standards, having grown up with my grandmother boiling the flowers in a menudo pot in order to make home-made jamaica. Indeed, I didn't get any of that delicate tartness that one associates with flor de jamaica. Fun anecdote- handyman repairing kitchen cabinets sees bag of hibiscus flowers, asks my wife- are you Mexican? No, but my husband is (she's half Japanese, half German, and gets mistaken for all sorts of things, like Filipino and Native American when she lets her hair down). Apparently hibiscus flowers are a sort of culinary shibboleth.
Anyway, hard pass.

Brew Free or Die! IPA x2
Got the flavor out of my mouth. Still not my favourite, but a good solid beer. Workman-like. It is the Gene Kelly of fruit infused IPAs. It's not transcendent but it gives 100% and that's good enough for me.

Also, played these light games at a friend's b-day shenaniginnery wherein I hosted a filthy celebrity jeopardy. For the curious, the questions can be seen here.
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17. Board Game: Mystic Vale: Vale of Magic [Average Rating:7.66 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.66 Unranked]
Nikki Ebright
United States
Centennial
Colorado (CO)
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 7   Mystic Vale: Vale of Magic x2
 7   Terraforming Mars x2

Mystic Vale was in Michigan while we were visiting Billy's family. There were many busy days and nights, but we managed to show it to his sister Emily before he headed back to CO.

We had missed our weekly Monday night gaming, but then Billy got these super awesome plexiglass covers for the Terraforming Mars player boards, so we had to play, and then play again with our normal Monday gaming partner. I don't think I ever want to play TM again without these covers.

===========

I signed up for the Gelato Secret Santa. I feel I should be taking notes of all the conversation about beer and scotch in case I get one of you. ninja

I've decided *not* to sign up for the BGG Secret Santa this year, so that'll be the first one I skip since maybe 2008 or 2009? Anyway, it's been fun, but it's time to start letting go of doing things for traditions' sake and be in the now. *deep breath*

Oh! Fun video on Secret Santas for you all:



============

Billy's dad isn't settling in well. Lots of stuff there, but everyone is taking everything day by day. Well, everyone without dementia. I really wonder what is going on in his dad's mind, and if there's anything we can do to make his existence better.

===========

I called and talked to my 18 yo son after we got back from MI and updated him, and got updates from him too. He's doing well. Going to community college, taking basic classes, but doing well with them. He wants to go into some form of biology field. And he may work on a drivers licence soon. wow

I had more to say, but I'll remember it later, I'm sure.
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