What We're Playing: November 2017!
Brian M
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Thornton
Colorado
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The idea behind these lists is to post what you're currently playing, or just played. It's interesting to see who's playing what, to see if people are playing the same things, and to ask questions that might otherwise be relegated to a forum about a game with the benefit of the responses coming from someone who has it fresh on their mind.

While there are several regular posters to this geeklist series, anyone is welcome to join in and post and discuss your games!

Here's last month's list: What We're Playing - October 2017!

!!! Holiday Challenge !!!
The Holiday challenge continues! And yes, I'm afraid I'm being very American with my challenges at the moment even though several of our members aren't from the US.

So, my challenge to you this month is to play at least one game that you are in some way grateful for and tell us why. It could be a game that was a special present that you really appreciated, or a game that's extra relaxing, or that made a family gathering extra special - whatever means something to you!


This Geeklist idea was created by:

jes m
United States
tulsa
Oklahoma
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The list was taken over for a long time by:

Sarah Reed
United States
Rancho Cordova
California
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But she left for her podcast, so I've taken over for now.

A subscription Geeklist has been created for those who want to be notified of when a new list is posted: The What We're Playing Subscription List
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1. Board Game: Codenames: Marvel [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:9212] [Average Rating:6.66 Unranked]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Played two quick games of Duet using the new Marvel set tonight. Decided the Marvel set was a mistake; we don't know much of the stuff, and just weren't having much fun with it. And there are no X-Men!

Ah well.
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2. Board Game: Terraforming Mars [Average Rating:8.38 Overall Rank:6]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Me playing Terraforming Mars. Whoda thunk it?

A play of our co-op variant. A fantastic score - Lisa Had Thorgate and was running the Physics Complex (2 points/turn) from turn 2, and I was able to get 9 Jovian tags and three of the 1 point/Jovian tag cards.
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3. Board Game: Sagrada [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:289]
Brian M
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Thornton
Colorado
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Had some friends over for games last weekend. We started with Sagrada, which is a nice light game with lovely pieces. An amusing light puzzle trying to get your dice to fill up well. I enjoy this. And its very pretty!
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4. Board Game: Tyrants of the Underdark [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:304]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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We then went a bit heavier and a lot nastier with this deck-building area control game. I really like this, but don't play it often as its not great with just two players.

Billy started out with a strong lead, which drew him an awful lot of hostile attention - too much, since he wound up in third place! Lisa could expand fast, but couldn't attack very well. She might have been boxed in, but Nikki moved of Lisa's armies across the board as long as she agreed to threaten Billy instead of Nikki; this was a major boost to Lisa!

I didn't have a ton of board presence, but promoted a lot of cards and had a solid second place; had a shot at taking the lead, but I faced too much opposition.
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5. Board Game: Spirit Island [Average Rating:8.50 Overall Rank:411]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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We've been raving about Spirit Island, so they wanted to try that next. Our first 4 player game! We just used the basic set-up, which is still quite fun!

Lisa and I have also played a few two player games of it. Pretty addicted to this!
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6. Board Game: Magic Maze [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:417]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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And finally some quick games of Magic Maze. Good hectic fun! We have yet to play with one group enough to get all the way up to all of the full game rules, but we were up to scenario 6 (IIRC, 8 is all of the full game rules) here!
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7. Board Game: Mystic Vale: Mana Storm [Average Rating:8.02 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.02 Unranked]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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New expansion for Mystic Vale! We played two games of it, swapping leaders and amulets after the first game. Like the new stuff generally, but one of the leaders seemed really strong - he can simply take any card from the market and set it one side, and on a later pass attach it to a blank card; so you can easily get tier 3 cards quickly. And the card you put it on goes on the bottom of your deck...and he happened (random deal) to have an amulet that let you play the bottom card of your deck. That was just crazy powerful.

I managed to make a combo that gave 3 of each element symbol, which was insane for buying things! And then discovered a new Vale card that takes...3 of each element. 12 points, bam.

Also, I really wonder why each expansion has more tier 1 cards than anything else when you only use a few tier 1 cards each game.
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8. Board Game: HoldFast: Korea 1950-1951 [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:5965]
Jørgen K
Denmark
Copenhagen S
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Gave this a solo-run to try it out - and also to get away from my computer for a while.

The game started out not being as good as HoldFast: Russia 1941-1942, but it got better the longer I got into it. But it still did not reach the same level.

I was hoping for a UN victory, but the Communists won with a stalemate victory.
The Chinese intervention happened already on the first turn where it could be possible! A ROK unit had just crossed the 38th Parallel and then at the Chinese roll I roll the 6 - this would activate the Chinese and the whole Chinese border was filled with string Chinese divisions rolling south through the Korean mountains...

They managed to push most of the UN troops back over the 38th Parallel - one ROK was still over when the last turn ended - but North Korea and Chinese (mainly Chinese) forces was on the southern side of the 38th Parallel (and in supply) which was the secondary winning condition.
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9. Board Game: Frogriders [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:4459]
Daniel Rodriguez
United States
Rochester
New York
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Gamenight Saturday started with 2 plays of this light abstract. Basically checkers with variable powers and different scoring types per game. We enjoyed it, it's a very light filler, probably took 5-6 minutes per game. I got this as a throw-in in a bgg auction, mostly because i'm a fan of the designers (13 days). I can see this being way better at 2, you can actually look ahead at that count. I'll get a few plays with my kids in and see how chaotic it is.
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10. Board Game: Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:111] [Average Rating:7.63 Unranked]
Daniel Rodriguez
United States
Rochester
New York
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Next we got in a game of Legendary. My wife Day is a big fan of this game so we play it more than i probably would left to my own devices. The setup this time was Loki going against prof x, domino, iron fist, jean gray, angel and black widow. the scheme was destroy the helipad. We had lost 2 spots of the market before our engines kicked in, loki was dispatched with only a bit of trouble.
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11. Board Game: Railways of the World [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:86] [Average Rating:7.70 Unranked]
Daniel Rodriguez
United States
Rochester
New York
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We wrapped up with one of our all time favorites, this time on the Mexico map. i like this map because its tense from the start with all the mountains and water hexes all over the place. miscalculating in the opening can make things really hard for you later on. That's what happened to Day, she ended up stalling mid-game and i was able to pull out the win by getting most of the major line bonuses. This game delivers for me every time!

I picked this up from EGG in a bundle sale when i was a newer gamer. I basically bought it knowing virtually nothing about it except having seen some very positive reviews on the geek. I remember being stunned when I opened the box and saw the mammoth box inside. Then I was equally stunned when we actually sat down and played! But the game I'm most grateful for is Agricola, this was the game that I bought solely based on its geek rating and it blew my mind away. I had only played catan and carcassonne but this was the game that sucked me into the hobby.
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12. Board Game: Pickomino [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:1050]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Spent Saturday with family, spending time with Lisa's grandmother who is in a care facility, which meant very light games. We played a few round of Pickomino. There was a little kid hanging around who was curious; we invited her to play with us, but she just sat with Lisa and rolled dice for her. However, I think she had figured out the game just from watching us play by the time we were done with it.
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13. Board Game: Rummy [Average Rating:5.75 Overall Rank:5529]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Rummy is one of Lisa's grandmother's favorite games, though these days she gets confused about what she is playing.
It can be dangerous to sit before her though; this sweet little old lady has been known to slap people for taking the card she wants.

Played a few games of this.
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14. Board Game: The Ravens of Thri Sahashri [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:1379]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Got this in a trade a few months ago but hadn't managed to play it yet. A puzzley 2 player co-op. Really not sure what to think of it. Its entertaining, but it feels like one player has a fairly passive role. And I'm really bad at the more active role.
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15. Board Game: HeroClix [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:1698] [Average Rating:6.49 Unranked]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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So, I really like miniatures, but almost never end up liking miniature game rules; usually too complicated. Earlier this Lisa and I finally put together a homebrew version of Epic 40,000 that we love playing, so now I turned my attention to HeroClix. And just to be extra complicated, I tried making a co-op game out of it. I played my first draft, wasn't happy with, chucked that, made a second draft that I still wasn't completely happy with but which was somewhat entertaining so I asked Lisa to try it as well; she was also mildly entertained, but its still not where I want our homebrew to end up. At all.
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16. Board Game: Spirit Island [Average Rating:8.50 Overall Rank:411]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Played a big game of Spirit Island controlling two spirits each. The board that Serpent Slumbering Beneath the Island starts on tooking a real beating early on (Serpent is NOT fast to get moving), but we had a lot of good synergies going between the spirits and wound up nearly completely wiping them off our island.
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17. Board Game: Divine Right [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:2332]
United States
New York
New York
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Playing and making a video which will hopefully be posted very soon.

A wonderful, involving, heavy chrome, fantasy wargame from 1979 with a ton of RPG elements (all leaders have a "personality" that impacts the game in various ways).

There are flying carpets, mysterious forests, magical serpents in the sea. You name a stereotypical fantasy game element and it's probably somewhere in here.

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18. Board Game: SeaFall [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:1441]
Adria D
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Nov 3

Our final campaign session!

Gerrett was Emperor at the start of the game...but was overtaken by Jason who took the crown in the end. We knew the final Emperor would be one of these two: Jason had to end the game 6 points ahead of Gerrett to come out on top. I was too far back to realistically come out ahead (would have required a very fast win for me).

The last session had quite a few changes, including some things that were really nerve-wracking and really amped up the tension. But the game didn't last very long - I don't think we even got one winter phase (after 6 turns) before Darin ended it.



Overall, the game has some interesting ideas. The story was fun. But there were definitely some execution issues. I think our main issues were:
1. one very dominant strategy
2. raiding/enmity problems
3. RAW, games were over far quicker than the designers intended (we switched to a common variant after 2 games)



edit: I guess this counts as a game I'm grateful for. I'm glad we were able to find a group of people willing to play this consistently to get through the campaign. And while it had it's flaws, I'm glad I got to play it and see what it was all about.
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19. Board Game: Lords of Vegas [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:334]
Adria D
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Nov 3

Well, SeaFall was a relatively short game, so we had time to play something else afterward. Jason pulled Lords of Vegas off our shelf, as his group doesn't like it.

Jason ended up winning, but Gerrett "won" for achievement of the game: he saved enough money to raise a size 6 casino, turning it into a size 12 (without the risers from the expansion, max casino size is 9).
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20. Board Game: Clank! In! Space! [Average Rating:8.15 Overall Rank:1016]
Adria D
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Nov 3

Darin went to bed after Lords of Vegas, but Gerrett, Jason and I played a round of Clank! In! Space! - another game Jason can't play with his other group because one player found it "too random". Sure there's some luck, but there's also ways to mitigate the damage you take. Just build your deck smartly.

Gerrett won this one, being the only one of us to make it to an escape pod. And he barely did that. He thought he could pick up two tokens and get out, but only had enough movement to get one and then had to stop adjacent to an escape pod. And he missed the shorter path to an escape pod. Then he got stuck there for a turn as he had no movement. But Jason and I were still racing back to the Cargo Bay (and safety), so weren't buying too many cards as we didn't want to risk an attack so Gerrett managed to get out with 1 hit point remaining. Jason and I both got knocked out in the Cargo Bay. Gerrett won, by a lot (escape pod = 20 points). I would have been close if I had reached an escape pod.
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21. Board Game: Betrayal at Baldur's Gate [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:2800]
Adria D
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Nov 4

We had a few people stop by for some games on Saturday. Paul showed up first, with his brand new copy of Betrayal at Baldur's Gate. We punched this and played a round.

It went a lot better than Darin and I's last game of BaHotH, where the haunt started 3 tiles in. BaBG has changed things a bit to keep the haunt from starting too early.

Darin ended up as the traitor, and fairly easily killed both of us. He was able to use his sanity to attack with (and the target used sanity for defense). Paul's character had been reduced to 1 sanity through a series of events. Darin killed him and took all his items. I didn't last too much longer.

It was fun, but not a game we need to own. Not one I'd want to play all the time.
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22. Board Game: Roll for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:50]
Adria D
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Nov 4

Nick and Tamara joined us after BaBG, and we played a 5 player game of Roll for the Galaxy. I finally had a game were I did well! I normally don't do well at this game. I think I finished second. We all thought Nick was running away with the game, but he didn't win. I can't remember who did (it's been a crazy busy few weeks, and now I'm sick yuk).
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23. Board Game: The Little Prince: Make Me a Planet [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:850]
Adria D
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Nov 4

Next up was a 5 player game of planet building.

At one point near the end, Darin managed to talk everyone into cost me a LOT of points. So naturally, next turn, I didn't listen to him when I was told I needed to keep Nick from getting a specific tile...I could have taken Nick's tile for 3 points, or a different one for 7. Darin had just cost me 20some points so I wasn't too inclined to listen to him. Nick won.
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24. Board Game: Fate of the Elder Gods [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:2421]
Adria D
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Nov 4

Paul left for another gaming group (who proceeded to spill red wine on his brand new BaBG...), so the rest of us played a game of Fate of the Elder Gods.

Darin played as Bokrug, so got to see all curse cards that went out, even his own. That meant he knew that one of the curses awaiting him would prevent him from winning the first time he got enough summon points (one of them backs you up one space). So he spent the game focusing on piling Elder Signs on other people while keeping his own Elder Signs down. For a long time, I was getting piled on. And I couldn't get rid of them because Tamara, who was to my right, kept going to the Museum so I couldn't go there (Museum's control action lets you sacrifice cultists to remove Elder Signs). Fortunately I drew spells that helped me removed Elder Signs and prevent taking them. Nick was holding Darin's curses, so knew exactly what Darin was up to, and focused on giving Darin Elder Signs. In the end, Tamara's cult ended up sealed up with Elder Signs and Nick won, managing to beat Darin in the 'fewest Elder Signs' category.
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25. Board Game: Spirit Island [Average Rating:8.50 Overall Rank:411]
Adria D
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Nov 6

This was a 4 player game with the expansion. We used the original map, and the French invaders (difficulty 3). As the ocean spirit, I had the coast of one side of the map totally under control. Even with that, it was looking a little scary early on, as it often does with the snake in play, but we ended up winning in the end. We generated enough fear to reveal fear level III, and we had all the cities wiped off the map.
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