GCL Snoo 11: Competition
Travis Dean
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Welcome to GCL Snoo Division's weekly geeklist!

GCL Snoo Members:
• Please add an item to represent your gaming life for the week of Nov 6 - Nov 12, 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 Snoo 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 (Next poster in bold):
Epsilon_Balls
jshufelt
ambierona
noajayne
OhBollox
Wisecow
LouieSTFU
jmoline
Timotheous
petrichorparticle
Necroblaster3000
Dolus
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1. Board Game: Tak [Average Rating:7.95 Overall Rank:816]
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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This week's game is Tak.

Tak comes from Patrick Rothfuss's series, the Kingkiller Chronicles.

James Ernest from Cheapass Games was enthralled by the concept and made this game a reality.

Have you played Tak? Have you heard of it or read any of the Kingkiller Chronicles? What do you think of Tak?
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2. Board Game: Arimaa [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:1859]
Travis Dean
United States
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Top 5 Abstracts

What are your favorite top 5 abstracts?

Here's mine:
1. Arimaa
2. Go
3. Tak
4. Quoridor
5. Blokus
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3. Board Game: Risk: Balance of Power [Average Rating:5.89 Overall Rank:6444]
Travis Dean
United States
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Do you like 2-player abstracts or zero-sum games? Do you prefer proving yourself the best over an opponent?

Or do you prefer games where everybody can do well and you just have to do better than the rest?
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4. Board Game: Kingdom Death: Monster [Average Rating:8.92 Overall Rank:32]
Louie L
United States
San Francisco
California
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 7   Nine Tiles x2
 8   Glass Road
 N/A   Kingdom Death: Monster x7 NEW!
 N/A   Rococo NEW!

On Tuesday, we played a game of Glass Road. Nothing was too notable, but the game was satisfying, and it was a really easy teach to someone new. They even won the game, too. We finished off the night with Nine Tiles.

On Wednesday (and Thursday, and Friday), another Snoo member came to my apartment after work for:

Kingdom Death: Monster

So. . . Kingdom Death: Monster is really good. I think about it a lot.

What sets this apart for me, is that it reminds me a lot of a video game. Like, the grid-based could be something out of a turn-based strategy game. The gear acquisition and armor sets remind me of Monster Hunter, how you have to farm monsters and animals for materials, make some armor/weapons, and then use that armor/weapons to fight BIGGER things. The settlement phase in a horror setting reminds me a lot of Darkest Dungeon.

So, as someone who played a bunch of video games, KDM scratches a similar itch. Plus, we found a survivor hanging in a cage, and with a lucky roll, it turns out he wasn't crazy. His name is Prison Mike.

But also on Friday, I wanted to go back to a Euro game I just acquired, so we also got in a game of:

Rococo -- It's a bit tighter in its action economy than I anticipated. You only get three actions a turn, since buying a worker only serves to prolong your turn. And with 7 rounds, you need to get your butt going and make a bunch of coats and dresses. They aren't going to make themselves.

It's a real neat take on area control. Theme is certainly unique, since they could very well be troops or soldiers, but instead it's party-goers wearing your fantastic duds.
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5. Board Game: Santorini [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:74]
United States
Yay Area
California
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 5   SET
 9.5   Santorini x3
 9   Nine Tiles
 9.8   Magic Maze x3
 8.65   Ghost Stories
 9.7   Kingdom Death: Monster x8
 8   Rococo NEW!

Santorini - Yay! Relevant to the week's topic. Still a favorite. Played 3 games with 3 different people. A bit rusty on my first game as I cornered myself into a very big/obvious loss. And then won the next 2 games. Surprisingly the 3rd game with a complete beginner was the most interesting they picked it up very quickly and we were doing a lot of back and forth. I love this game.

Rokoko - I really liked this game. I've been trying to own/play this for quite sometime and eventually got the chance to play it. I think there is definitely some deeper strategies with the employees that I didn't really dig into on my one play. It is incredibly tight with only 3 actions a round and has that classic euro feeling I enjoy of wanting to do more.

Kingdom Death: Monster - Some great stuff going on. We found a scrap sword super early in our campaign and I think it has single-handedly put us in a great position to reliably hunt. Unfortunately our population is really low. And on top of that our settlement is full of murders and we got the plague recently.

On My Mind

- My boss's boss's boss is visiting this week and everyone is a bit on edge. I've never met them before but it seems like it's a big deal. I'm not sure if someone is getting fired (hopefully not me) but it is really tense. I'm also supposed to present what I actually do at the company. And it was worded that way to me which makes it sound so weird. I now feel like I'm not doing enough but then again I've asked for more work and they haven't given me anything. I'll definitely be more relieved when the week is over.

- Thanksgiving is next week and my family is being lazy and hasn't planned anything. I'm really pushing for a potluck or catering kind of thing so we can just avoid the large amount of time in the kitchen and just actually spend time together.

- Miniature painting is great and relaxing but I think the more you get into it the more work it is. Most miniatures just have a flat round base. For Kingdom Death all the monsters have simple bases and so I've been dipping into making custom bases. With all the drying time and additional painting it is really time consuming.

- This is the King's Man from Kingdom Death: Monster. I'm a slow painter so this took me an entire week with the custom base and waiting for stuff to dry. I also hate taking photos since I now realize I should have hit the figure with a couple more highlights and done a bit more work on some areas.


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6. Board Game: Gold West [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:693]
Joseph Shufelt
United States
Portland
Oregon
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First, I hate copy-pasting my posts between GCL, but my time is very limited right now, and I'd rather just spend the time I can talking about games and life events.



 9   World's Fair 1893
 7   Gold West NEW!

I finally got a chance to play Gold West after carrying it to game night so many times. The first bit of nervousness is that it is a TMG original title. They import great games, their original games catalog leave something to be desired in my experiences. Gold West is an exception because Gold West is great. It’s also OOP right now. (Rumored it is coming back into print)

Gold West isn’t a complicated game. I don’t think the designer has a capability of making a convoluted game. Like my loved World’s Fair 1893, it’s a squeaky clean design. You do a couple of straightforward actions, a mancala-like panhandling for resource, which pops out two types of resources, each type with variations. You then use those resource to get points and to place your dudes buildings on a map..The mechanisms are straight-forward, which makes it easy to teach and play. But the consequences/decision tree for each decision is very impactful.

There is a hair of point-salad in this game. You get points for throwing resources into spots in your mancala, you get points in half a dozen ways at the end of the game. You get points for cashing in your metals in three different ways throughout the game. But unlike a point salad with a drier and complex vinegarFeld, this one is simple and sweeter salad that makes getting points feel more cohesive, as they trickle out in small and large quantities throughout the entire 60 minute experience.

After playing Gold West, we went on to another J. Alex Kevern game I love:

World’s Fair 1893. It still holds up super strong for me. I’m constantly amazed how one decision each round can pack in so many consequences and considerations. I focused mostly on trying to have cube dominance, and I got so many “2nd Place” awards, and a handful of “1st Place” awards, that it carried me to victory.

After playing both Gold West and World’s Fair 1893, I walked out of my FLGS with Sentient.

OMM

My sister-in-law's family came over on Sunday. Between our two families, there are 4 birthdays all near and around the same time, so we did a birthday/early pseudo-thanksgiving lunch thing.

I made a white chocolate raspberry cheesecake for dessert.



But just two days earlier, we got a message from the doctor regarding some blood tests with the baby. That includes the genetic/chromosome testing. Which means we got the sex of the baby. So we quickly threw together a reveal party.

We revealed it this way (not our pictures:




We’re having a girl!



We also have a name picked out already: Lillian Belle
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7. Board Game: Orléans: Invasion [Average Rating:8.29 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.29 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.29 Unranked]
Cassadi
United States
Blacklick
Ohio
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For board game day I got the last of my versions of Ascension played. Played the Rise of the Vigil and Return of the Fallen expansions. After re-playing all of them for the first time in well over a year I've decided that these have my favorite extra mechanic. Which is a new type of "currency" and the ability to draw additional cards.

For my regular board game meetup we tried our hand at Orleans: Invasion for the 4th time. We lost by ONE SINGLE COIN! ONE COIN! It was extremely upsetting considering we haven't won yet. Just so close! For once, I was actually on my game. I knew what I was doing, was helping the team along, and didn't feel like I was missing something. One of our other players said after the game that he didn't play his best game. It was obvious while we were playing that he wasn't quite in the game, but I guss we'll try again soon!

Friday my neighbors came over for more Pandemic Legacy: Season 1. We lost our first game in January before this. We lost our second game in January also, but won our first game in February! Yay! Looking forward to playing more of that. Also looking forward to starting Season 2 with another group next week!

On My Mind
- One "Thanksgiving Dinner" down. It's in quotations because the boyfriend's sister and her family are Jehovah's Witnesses so it was really just a family meal. Which the sister and her family cancelled on the night before. AGAIN. They've done this for the last 3 years. I'm not sure why the family continues to try.
- Thursday I leave for PAX Unplugged and my first visit to Philadelphia! I've been looking at all the delicious food options in the area, and I think I'm more excited about that than I am the board games!
- Played Little Big Planet 3 over the weekend with a friend of mine, and I absolutely loved it! I want to play more of it! I don't get a lot of time for console games so it was nice to be able to do that!
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8. Board Game: Codenames [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:43] [Average Rating:7.80 Unranked]
Ambie
United States
San Mateo
California
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 7.5   For Sale
 10   Codenames x2

Had Friendsgiving this weekend so not much gaming. But we played a couple quick games after Friendsgiving. For Sale is a quick, fun bidding and.. selling game. It's always fun trying to guess what other people will play in the second phase to try to get the best value for each house.

Codenames is always fun, especially when the spymaster doesn't see that there's a perfect word that matches his clue but it's the other team's word!!

On My Mind
This was the first Friendsgiving I've had. It was pretty fun, we had a potluck with 6 people total (my husband's high school friends) and just hung out.

I had a very productive Saturday! Changed the oil in my car, recorded podcast, filmed some of a new music video I'm trying to make, and had Friendsgiving.

I did the Edison Escape Room on Sunday (the newest escape room from Palace Games, the same place as the Houdini and Roosevelt rooms). We played with 5 people (minimum 4, recommended 5-6, maximum 8) and it was a lot of fun. Not as many hard mental puzzles, but there were a lot of physical-type things to do, so even when you know how to do the "puzzle" you still need to execute it, and that takes time (and teamwork). Probably one of the most fun times I've had with an escape room. After one of the puzzle/activity things, I even said, "this is so fun!" (which I usually don't waste time to say)

This week is BGG.CON! I'm in Dallas now, we got here at ~3:30 pm and went to a BBQ place for dinner. We're planning on going to Pecan Lodge for lunch (it's not open for dinner on weekdays) sometime this week, since we've heard it's good. Oh yeah, and we'll play a lot of games! So next week my entry will be.. huge.
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9. Board Game: Exit: The Game – The Abandoned Cabin [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:207]
James Moline
United States
Tampa
FL
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 7.5 Bunny Kingdom NEW!
  6   Ninja Camp NEW!
  6   Tournament at Camelot NEW!
  8   7 Wonders
 7.5 Ethnos NEW!
  8   NMBR 9 x2
  8   Exit: The Game – The Abandoned Cabin NEW!
  7   Maharani
  8   Sagrada

Lots of new games this week. Most of them I can't say I was super eager to play. Bunny Kingdom is a good game, and I would play it again. It's not super deep, but it plays quickly, and has some good choices.

Ninja Camp is a fine filler game, but I think I would generally choose to play something else. Tournament at Camelot takes trick taking and adds things I really enjoy, like special powers. But that addition takes away from the strategy of it, and makes it a lesser game in my opinion.

7 Wonders and Ethnos have, I think, settled into being sort of staple games for me. They play quickly, and I always really enjoy them. NMBR 9 is close to being that, too, but I'm still kind of holding my breath to see if it will hold up long term, or if I'll reach a point where it gets old.

My wife and I finally played our first Exit: The Game scenario, The Abandoned Cabin. We really had fun with it. The puzzles were great, and very satisfying to solve. I'm not sure if I like Exit or Unlock more. I think I prefer the puzzles in Exit, but the variety of puzzles in Unlock is better. I also really like the ability Unlock gives you to pass the game on to others. Bottom line, I think I will end up buying every game in both series.

On Sunday, we played 4 player games of a couple of our favorite lighter games, Maharani and Sagrada. They were first time plays for both of the other players, and I think they mostly enjoyed them. One of the players found Maharani to be a little out of their comfort zone, but they also won the game, so maybe it will grow on them.
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10. Board Game: Secret Hitler [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:194]
Jeremy P
United States
waconia
MN - Minnesota
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 8.5   Whitehall Mystery
 10   Secret Hitler x4
 N/A   Kokoro: Avenue of the Kodama
 8.5   Captain Sonar x2

Secret Hitler -- After this week I've bumped this game up to one of the coveted 10 spots from a 9. I love this game. It is the best social deduction game. Just the perfect amount of information to always have a guess, but rarely be certain.

Kokoro -- Pretty fun spacial puzzle, but a couple wrong moves early game can set you back dramatically. It's short, so it's forgiven.
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11. Board Game: Space Alert [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:147]
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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 N/A   Werewords x4
 N/A   Space Alert x2
 N/A   Captain Sonar x2

Captain Sonar -- We were about to set up Last Will when someone showed up late to the game night, so we invited them to play with our group, rather than sit around for half an hour waiting for others to finish. I got to play the radio operator for both matches (3 vs. 3). The first match was really rough because the opposing captain was very soft-spoken. Moreover, the guy who was supposed to be confirming didn't do a great job of that either. So, I missed several steps at some key points (when they were increasingly nervous about us getting close). We had three indirect hits on them, but ultimately sank first. While it was frustrating to know that I was missing commands I was pretty proud of how close we got despite that.

The second match I politely requested that they change captains. The new captain actually gave proper commands, and I was able to follow along much better. There was a particularly fantastic moment where I was able to deduce their location directly after they ran silent. We had their location pinned, as they entered the center (sector 5). They declared that they were running silent, which gave them the option to move only West or North due to their previous trail. They surfaced immediately after silence, so they had to declare that they were still in sector 5, leaving me with the following grid situation (O is origin, P is possible locations, W is water):
W W P
W W P
W T P
P P O

We fired at the location T, because an indirect hit at that point is better than nothing. We missed, giving us their exact location. From there we simply chased them down and quickly dispatched them.


Space Alert -- We had two new players, so we still did the advanced tutorial missions with internal threats, rather than the proper real scenarios. One of these days! We managed to deal with the internal threats surprisingly well, but miscalculated how much damage we could deal to one of the incoming external threats. So, we took a direct assault from that, which knocked out several of our systems. Luckily it was the final threat, so it did not further complicate our plans.


On my mind:
Rufus ran in his first official sporting event. Our gym cosponsors a Tails and Trail 5k. Last year I really wanted to run it with him, but he was too young and would have just wanted to bark and play with all of the dogs. It was a walk/run event, so there were tiny pugs and giant german shepards all together.
I've joked before that Rufus is a better runner than me, but seriously Rufus is a much better runner than I am. The race was a looped course (2 laps + an abbreviated 3rd lap), so every time that we would get within sight of another dog Rufus would literally pull me forward so he could go say hi. My fitness app tells me it's the fastest I've ever run a 5k (26:03 (~8:24/mile)) and I was completely anaerobic by the end. But it was totally worth it since Rufus was the first dog to finish (there were a few people who ran dogless, so I believe we were the third finishers -- the fastest completing in just over 20 minutes).

After the race, I drove over to Chicago for Captainraffi's birthday and drank back all those previous calories (and then some). We are the best/worst board game buddies, since we managed to not play a single game. I had [incorrectly] assumed that because it was a barrel age beer festival there would be an overabundance of Russian Imperial Stouts. However, many breweries had experimented with barreling all sorts of things, and I actually rather enjoyed the Sours section the most. I'm not much of a Raspberry fan in general, but the best beer I had all night was a barrel aged sour raspberry beer. It was one of the few places that had a constant queue.
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