GCL Phoenix 367: Crossover (2018 January 14)
Alison Mandible
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Cambridge
Massachusetts
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You've found the 367th installment of the Phoenix Game Chat League. Welcome to any of you that stop by - whether regular visitor, lurker, subscription-stalker, passer-by or indeed one of our members. Please thumb the list so we know you stopped by.

Members are encouraged to add an item to the list. Discussion in the comments by everybody, including visitors, is welcome.

Currently active members:

Jeremy (familygaming)
Alison (grasa_total)
Carol (indigopotter)*
John (John Rogers)
Karl (karlfast)
Michael (Lowengrin)
Paulo (Muse23PT)
Dave (rynelf)
Nicolai (Taibi)
Morten (Tigrillo)
Rich (woodnoggin)

*Up next

Former or dormant Phoenix members who we’d always be happy to welcome back:

archivists, BennyD, Bruzza, chally, darker, Dormammu, Eeeville, enzo622, hawk-x-, Hawkeye77, JohnRayJr, judoka, leroy43, Morganza, Mr_Nuts, ravenskana, Smintie, TheRocketSurgeon, tjshields, topherr, Yokiboy.

This week, some questions about the connection between games and... everything else.
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Alison Mandible
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Cambridge
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Are there any 'educational' games you've enjoyed as an adult? Are there fields you've learned more about from games? Would games be a good way for you to learn things, whether or not games actually exist to teach the things you want to learn?
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2. Board Game: The Game of Wisdom [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Alison Mandible
United States
Cambridge
Massachusetts
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Less scholastically, are there life lessons you've learned from gaming, or from specific games? Do you ever think of games when making non-game decisions? Do those lessons always apply, or is it sometimes tempting to frame things as games when you shouldn't?
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3. Board Game: Funny Friends [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:1628]
Alison Mandible
United States
Cambridge
Massachusetts
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Do you have 'gaming friends' and 'other friends'? Does meeting a person while gaming open any doors? Does it close them?
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4. Board Game: Grandmama's Improved Game of Useful Knowledge [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Alison Mandible
United States
Cambridge
Massachusetts
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Come to think of it, are there specific things you've learned in the rest of your life which turned out to be useful in games? Are there non-game skills you regularly apply to games?
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5. Board Game: Blokus 3D [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:881] [Average Rating:6.81 Unranked]
Alison Mandible
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Cambridge
Massachusetts
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 9   Blokus 3D x4

Could this be my lightest week of gaming since becoming a Phoenix? It might be. I don't remember ever having literally no choice about which game to use as my item before, in any case.

Rumis seems worthy, though. It continues its streak of charming everybody who plays it, in this case a friend who I talk games with sometime but whose avowed attention span is much shorter than mine, and who at least at one point was looking for games to play with kids whose attention span was even shorter. I shouldn't take too much credit; we played it because she liked Blokus. But there's a certain type of "Wow! That was... fun! Like really fun!" surprise that always feels like a feather in my cap, when somebody isn't sure whether they and I will find any overlap and then I bring something we both like.
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6. Board Game: Gaia Project [Average Rating:8.71 Overall Rank:13]
Dave Peters
United States
Belmont
California
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Powers:Coleridge:Milton: Faith...must be, if anything, a clear-eyed recognition of the patterns and tendencies, to be found in every piece of the world's fabric, which are the lineaments of God.
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That's Tim Powers' fictional Samuel Coleridge "quoting" John Milton in _The Anubis Gates_.
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Scorecard for the Week/Month/Year as of 13Jan2018:

6/19/19 plays of 6/16/16 total games, with 2/7/7 expansions employed.
Plays with 5/12/12 distinct opponents.

0/0/0 games acquired (plus 0/0/0 expansions.)
0/0/0 games sold/traded (plus 0/0/0 expansions.)
0/0/0 games ordered (plus 0/0/0 expansions.)
Orders for 3 games and 0 expansions still outstanding.

With son #2:

image by russ

1x _7⅓_ Marrakesch

This is a rather odd little random thing. With a substantial helping of doublethink for entertainment value. Sadly for son #2, in this one the randomness broke substantially for me; but I think both of us enjoyed having it back on the table.


With the Lunch@work group:

image by richardtempura

1x _7⅓_ Star Cartel

There's a bit more control in the 3p game than when there are more players. And, unfortunately, a small whiff of the Kingmaker vibe in the endgame (our final player couldn't win with his final delivery. But could skew the score of either of the other players by 10-15 VP. Fortunately (I guess) the scores were sufficiently distributed that it didn't matter to the final showing.

It's possible that the game intends for one's retained goods to be kept secretly. They're substantially trackable (though, in principle, not completely so.) It irks me to pretend that trackable things aren't, though.


image by N3MO77

1x _7_ Kingdomino New!

Quite clever; fast; simple to explain. I can see why it won a SdJ.

It's a nice half-a-lunch play; and I'd be completely content to give it another shot. On the other hand, it's not one I'd buy. At least at present, I've no need for more games of this weight!


With the Wednesday night gang:

images by W Eric Martin, Roubosga and W Eric Martin

1x _7⅓_ Isle of Skye (with Themenplättchen New! and Journeyman New!)

Hanibal, sir! You're absolutely right about Journeyman. It takes a fine - if quite fluffy - little half hour game, and makes it a significantly longer (and brain-burnier) exercise. (At least for the moment) I can't think of another expansion in my collection that mutates the base game quite as strongly.

The play was cool, even if also quite a bit slower than I'd expected (and that after Hanibal's warning!) I found that the choice of tile to buy was interestingly and amusingly informed by the Journeyman tracks. And that I priced a bunch of tiles quite poorly in retrospect. I'd both be delighted to give it another shot, and will absolutely play without the expansion from time to time in future, too.


image by W Eric Martin

1x _8_ Gaia Project

Really enjoyed this; though I played distinctly poorer than my opponents. I think I could play my Itars better on the next play; and also suspect that the Nevlas on the other side would have been a wiser choice.


And this week's solo play:

image by Malaiser

1x _7_ Shephy

Fun; this was the best I'd ever done. I know skilled players can and do achieve a 7000; but I've never yet achieved the mark. This was a 6300 - and I hit that mark with a Be Fruitful still in hand. I suspect there are multiple ways I might have done better; having the foresight to discard the Wolf instead of the Lightning is the simplest mutation!


Owned-and-unplayed: 0 (+0/-0)
Owned-and-played-once: 95 (+0/-0)

Outlook for the week: One choir practice. Lunch games, Wednesday Night, and something with family. And a mostly preparing a talk for the 22nd at work. Should be fun.
Removed New! from Shephy
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7. Board Game: Rotation [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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Carol - 21st January
John - 28th January
Karl - 4th February
Michael - 11th February
Paulo - 18th February
Dave - 25th February
Nicolai - 4th March
Morten - 11th March
Rich - 18th March

Jeremy - 25th March
Alison - 1st April
Carol - 8th April
John - 15th April
Karl - 22nd April
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8. Board Game: Sluff Off! [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:1028]
Karl Fast
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
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It was the monthly gaming marathon here in Minneapolis, which means more gaming in one day than I will see all month. Everything except for Dixit is how I spent Saturday.

New to Me

6  Great Western Trail NEW! - Finally. I've missed getting into games at meetups since it was released. This is good. I really enjoyed it. Normally that would give it an 8, but I'm giving it a 6 which, for me, means a solid game.

My hunch is there are only a few viable strategies. There are lots of things to do, and those things are fun, but you need to focus on one thing to win. The obvious one is hiring cowboys and buying cattle, and that strategy won in a landslide. The other strategies seem to be either buildings or trains, and while they may not be weaker, they seem harder to pull off.

What I disliked (again, just a single play) is the illusion of interaction. The overlapping pathways and buildings give you a feeling of being able to impede players, or benefit from their decision in some way, or both. In practice that seems to make almost no difference. It looks like there should be a lot of interaction, and perhaps that's true with the randomized setup and experienced players. On my first play though it felt more like multi-player solitaire. I like that in a game like FITS or Kokoro, but that's rarely appealing in a large sprawling game like this one.

8  Sluff Off! NEW! -- Better known as Die Sieben Siegel, I have long wanted to play this highly regarded trick-taking game by Stefan Dorra. It did not dissapoint. This is exceptional. I also locked into the game early. I took made only two mistakes in a 5p game, and one was taking the last trick of the round when the lead was a green 1, I had a green 2, and nobody had trump. Grrrr. Brilliant game. thumbsupthumbsup

4  Monopoly Deal Card Game x2 NEW! -- The organizer came up to our table and said "So who here is willing to play Monopoly Deal with THE HOST WHO ORGANIZES THIS EVENT EVERY MONTH AND HAS FOR SEVEN YEARS!" So of course we all said yes. This is a set collection game with a lot of take-that actions cards. It's not terrible. My low rating doesn't indicate bad. For me, 4 translate to 2/5 and that is a "good" game. A 2 means it is "okay, playable, but not a bad game." It's playable. It's just not especially fabulous. It was good enough that we agreed to play a second time (the host just started dealing so we shrugged and said "okay"). We had a pretty good time with it.

OLD FAVORITES

8  Kokoro: Avenue of the Kodama x2 -- After about 20 plays with family, I finally got to play with some gamers. They liked it a lot. We played twice and there was a lot of cursing under the breath. It's tricky. Fast, challenging, fun. A super filler. thumbsupthumbsup

8  High Treason: The Trial of Louis Riel x2 -- Two plays against someone who I taught the game to last year. Still find playing prosecution harder. Lost that game. But won a massive victory as the defense. Love this game and look forward to the deluxe edition. New games in the series are an instant-buy for me. thumbsupthumbsup

8  Glory to Rome -- So good and I still can't decide if I like this more, or less, than Innovation. I do like it more than Impulse, and I haven't played Mottainai enough to make a reasonable evaluation (my hunch is Mottainai would be my favorite). thumbsupthumbsup

8  Dixit -- With the family. My son has taken a huge liking to this. For me personally this is more of a 6, but for family and friends this deserves to be an 8 if not a 10. In that context it's amazing.
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9. Board Game: Keltis: Das Orakel [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:2041]
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Jan. 9th
Kraftwagen (2015) - new
Queendomino (2017) - new

Jan. 12th
Queendomino
Keltis (with Neue Wege, Neue Ziele) (2008, 2012) x2 - new

Jan. 13th
Keltis (with Neue Wege, Neue Ziele) x2
Keltis: Das Orakel (2010) x2 - new
Brew Crafters (2013)

Jan. 14th
The Castles of Burgundy: The Dice Game (2017) x4

I'd played Keltis and Das Orakel electronically before, this was the first time with cardboard. The expansion was new to both of us, though. We also played some Can't Stop on Sam's phone; I usually don't log those.

I wanted to play Das Orakel with Sam, because he's both smarter and less predictable than the iPad, and it was much more challenging.
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10. Board Game: Liberty or Death: The American Insurrection [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:827]
John Rogers
United States
Yakima
WA
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So this year my primary game group is trying something new. Each week we are dedicating the night to a different member. That meant back-to-back sessions of Liberty or Death (David #1s request). Let’s see how this experiment went in...

The Week That Was


Rating: 6
Plays: 2


So we got in 2 short scenarios of Liberty or Death thanks to Steve, who prefers the more classical COIN settings. I spent the first session reading the rules for the group (whilst simultaneously playing Burgle Bros; more on that in a moment). We chose the late War “sprint” session. David took the Brits, Steve the Indians, Lee the Pats, and David #2 the French. David #1 spent most his time very frustrated by the French and Lee took advantage of his FARC experience to drive a Patriots victory (well on tie-breakers).

David #2 left and so I stepped in for the second session. I really wanted to play as the Indians but Steve wanted to keep his spot so I took the Pats whilst David #1 took the French and Lee took the Brits. Of course they also wanted to try the early War but as a sprint (just two prop cards). This led to Lee marching up and down the colonies with impunity (that muster action is crazy powerful from the sea). Steve was attacking me from the hinterlands to the west and cutting off my expansion hopes to the south. The French never made it into the game so I spent my time building forts, rabble-rousing where I could, and strategically running away. In the end the Brits barely came out on top (4pts ahead of me) thanks mostly to the Indians pinning me in and the French observing from the sidelines.

The upshot: everybody except for yours truly really liked it. David and Lee said it was their favorite COIN. They both liked the period, greater emphasis on battles, the 2-on-2 aspect, and added complexity of generals and the battle modifier table. Steve likewise really enjoyed it and is looking forward to trying out Falling Sky and Pendragon next.

I prefer the internal strife of Andean Abyss, its modern setting, greater emphasis on socio-economic issues/goals, and green/yellow factions of volumes 1-3. I didn’t like the battles, CRT like chart and modifiers, or lack of a green/yellow faction. Here casualties are part of the goal and as fates are tied together you get more folks involved in straight-up battles which is less interesting to me.

I do like the Indians as they remind me of a mix between a yellow and green faction and if I play again I’ll opt for them. However, without a competent partner it’s going to be quite difficult to do well. In the end I admire it a great deal and have no historical issues with the game, it just doesn’t result in play that I enjoy.

If I were to rank the COIN games: AA>ADP>CL>>>FL>LoD


Rating: 7
Plays: 2


Also got a couple of plays of Burgle Bros in this weekend; a two player during COIN session #1 with Ashley (new to the game; we won) and the next day a four player session with my wife, Christine (both new) and David (again won but much tighter). This is fast becoming my favorite co-op. It is incredibly intuitive, has a wonderful aesthetic and table presence, is light but still surprisingly provides real decisions. Also everybody gets it and enjoys it which is very nice.


Rating: 4
Plays: 1


Expedition the role-playing card game. Think of an RPG but with all the character building and decisions stripped out. It’s very accessible but I wonder if it strips away too much of what RPGers will find compelling. You don’t build a character, rather you start with a stock character, and draw cards that act as capabilities; however, when battling you only have 10sec to chose a card and play it. Feels more like a random ride than an adventure where your choices matter. Anyways, it can play anywhere from 20-180mins depending on how long you wish to campaign and a free app is your GM which is nice.
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11. Board Game: Magic Maze [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:335]
Jeremy Avery
Canada
Kamloops
BC
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 8   Roll for the Galaxy x3
This is proving to be a bit more interesting than I remembered, and a bit less interesting than I remembered. It is different from Race for the Galaxy in a way I misremembered, and offers a bit more game; on the other hand the planets in the base game are boring. All in all though, can't complain for the price, and I'll get a decent numbers of play out of it. The dice are nice to roll and manipulate. Still, I'll trade it and sell it whenever: one of those games that will get played while I have it, but won't miss it when it is gome.

 10   Exit: The Game – The Abandoned Cabin NEW!
Well, that was fun! Like an escape room, but at less than a quarter of the cost (for a group of 4). I thought everyone at the table liked it (E and L love escape rooms), but L later told Natalie that she would rather go to an escape room, and E would rather play a regular board game. !! So much for that experience! I thought they might be interested in playing through the whole series.


 8   Codenames Duet x3 NEW!
This was a good buy! Natalie and I like having a shorter game that we love. This fits the bill perfectly.

 N/A   The Quest for El Dorado x4 NEW!
My first play left me enamoured, but then K and I had a game that went on 45+ minutes, and I enjoyed that considerably less - I like the idea of it as light and quick, not light and long. Maybe play with one less map tile? It's exactly what it says it is: deckbuilding race game. Think Lewis & Clark the Light Deckbbuilder. Since K and I were only playing it as a learning game so I can teach it at school, all that matters is the students liking it, and the first play with them went well...


 6   Ethnos NEW!
I didn't care for it much, but the kids at the school game cafe I've started love it! Just not enough oomph for my tastes, and area control isn't something I love. I feel that the "races" promise more than they deliver in the gameplay arena - they are just glorified minor set- or point-boosts.

 6   Santorini x2
The students like this a lot, and I think I enjoyed it more as a 4p partners game than I did as a 2p game!

 10   Magic Maze x10 NEW!
YUSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. Perfect! Like Escape (which I like, in theory) but way less set-up, cost, cheating, fiddliness, and cheating. Love it. Currently can't get enough of this. Students had as much fun as I did.
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12. Board Game: Rajas of the Ganges [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:416]
Albatros
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Over the Week With S


 7   Rajas of the Ganges x4

After a few more plays (over and above the one from the week before), I started to parse enough of Rajas of the Ganges to actually start enjoying it. I'll never love it as it's just another dice-are-resources Euro with a pasted on theme. But I do like the old Euro push and pull of getting cash or victory points, but this one turns it into a race to get some combination of them more than your opponents. So I've bumped Rajas of the Ganges up one notch in my rating of it.



 8   Lorenzo il Magnifico x2

With my grokking Rajas of the Ganges a bit better than Lorenzo il Magnifico, S and I switched back to the latter on Saturday. And she schooled me again and again in our Saturday matches. But in spite of losing twice, I found the plays less frustrating than those of the previous week - though I was ready to put the game in the box for a bit longer after Saturday's play. But it stayed on the table Sunday night...though we never got back to it. That said, maybe we shouldn't have discovered as much as we did in both those games and focused more on scoring points from other actions.


Friday Night with B and S

 6   Charterstone x2 New!

S confessed on Sunday that she found this game painfully slow, primarily because B isn't the fastest of players. I did point out, however, that she often distracted B with small talk and/or get distracted when B talked about something not related to the game. Anyway, the whole thing turned out to be rather mediocre and I think even if B had been more focused and more decisive, the game would have still ground to a halt just because of the box mechanic. It may be a moment of discovery, but unless everyone is really excited by the discovery, it just breaks the rhythm of the game.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
We ended up tossing a lot of cards at the end of Game 2 so we weren't as efficient as we could have been had we opened fewer boxes and done more with the Quota area of the board.


Game Related Musings

I'm being tempted by another hex and counter wargame. I've bought a couple over the last year or two and although neither have hit the table, I'm tempted by No Retreat 4! Italian Front: 1943-45.* I loved the old Avalon Hill Anzio, which I played (mostly solo) through university. There's something about that secondary campaign that fascinates me; not only because Canadians were involved or because half of my family is from Italy (and served on both sides), but also because the Allied forces there were so diverse - it was truly a multinational contingent - and the terrain they fought over was some of the most rugged in the entire war. As for the game itself, it has multiple scenarios (some short, some long); the short ones (Sicily) make it much more likely to actually get to the table.


*I did play Normandy '44 solo using Vassal.


The Week Ahead

No plans this week. A last ditched effort to get an 18xx to the table this Saturday fell through and our "monthly" coop with K isn't likely to happen until the first Saturday in February. So, unless B is free, it looks like it'll just be S and I playing something.

Unplayed games of note in shrink: Maria, The U.S. Civil War, Francis Drake, German Railways, Tikal and Revolution: The Dutch Revolt 1568-1648.

Unplayed games not in shrink: Normandy '44 and Mottainai.

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13. Board Game: Automobile [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:322]
Morten K
Denmark
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Not a lot of gaming with Lærke this past week but a mini-con locally helped me get a lot of games played anyway. 4 of them are now off my list of unplayed games (which is now down to 16 again) and most of the others were games I’d only played once before so that was great. Lærke and I also watched Wolf Children this weekend after I think it was Max who said it was one of the best films he had watched last year. And I have to agree; it’s indeed very good. Highly recommend it!


 7   Race for the Galaxy x2
Lærke and I did play RftG twice and this time with the advanced rules for two players and that helped a lot for sure. It’s much better when you play two action cards each for the flow of the game. We are new so we often chose the same cards but I did managed to guess correctly about her choices a couple of times which was great. Still on the undecided pile but we’ll see. A few more games of this and then we should try Jump Drive again for the contrast.



 6   India Rails NEW!
I got a copy of the first edition of India Rails still in shrink at Essen and it was very cheap too. I wanted to try it with my train games group but also because I really wanted to try a crayon rails game to see what I think about the system. Mainly based on Eric’s love for this one made me choose India Rails over the others. And Eric also helped me sort out some rules queries I had. Thank you! Since it was a normal week day evening we decided to play the fast variant where you start off building a bit more routes than in the basic rules. There are a lot of things in it that I like: route building is fun and trying to plan your movements around the subcontinent was a nice puzzle but what I didn’t like was that once the route-building was more or less over it was rather procedural to just move your token around on the map but most importantly, I needed more player interaction here. I wasn’t too fond of how your card draws can be very lucky – or not. Cool to practice my knowledge of Indian geography a bit as well.



 7   Democracy under Siege
Last week I had played some rounds of this solitaire as all three ideologies and I had re-read the rules so I felt pretty confident I could teach it fairly well at our local mini-con this weekend. I could teach it but so many question I couldn’t answer still came up during our play. I blame the rules. It’s easy to see this is from a small publisher because the rules really aren’t very good. And they are supposed to be much better than an older incarnation of the game. We played through 2 turns (years) which took us 4 hours incl. setting up and teaching but still much too much. We all agreed that the game was very interesting and definitely had something to offer when you become more familiar with all the details. And there are a lot of details. Much more than in Twilight Struggle – but that also makes the game feel more thematic. We plan to find a day to just play this again. If that doesn’t work out I think I’ll just sell it.



 7   Fast Forward: FEAR x3
Lærke and I had tried this when we were in India and very quickly realised that it just doesn’t work with two. So now I tried it with three instead. And I have to agree with Alison that it’s actually good fun. It’s an evolving push your luck card game so if you like those and 2 or 3 other people who’d like to play some rounds of something like this I recommend it. It’s not a great game but it’s definitely better than I originally thought it would be.



 6   A Feast for Odin NEW!
Since several of you love this game so much I thought I should try it now that I had a chance. I see why you like it – but I still don’t like it much myself. But I guess that does not surprise you either. That said, I think this might be my favourite amongst the modern kitchen sink games so far. Mainly because of the tetris tiling in it. For my tastes, the game has too many options, it’s too loose and much much to MPS. I’d play it again though. And see if I can better my 100 points.



 7   Secret Hitler x3 NEW!
Since there was a large crowd at the mini-con a couple of us had brought Secret Hitler and we managed to play several rounds of it while having a couple of beers at the end of the evening. And we had fun. I really liked it – probably my favourite in the genre, which by the way is not my favourite genre. Sorry Paulo, I won’t sell it to you now. I like how all players get more involved in it, even at a high player count. It’s a great idea that the good guys sometimes also want to see fascist laws go through because that will give them some powerful one time actions.



 8   Tulip Bubble
Another three-player of this and my opinion stands. It’s good and the uncertain ending works well for a theme like this. The only issue I have with it is that it’s not that easy to mess with each other so it’s more of a quiet half auction half stock speculation game than a very interactive one where you can mess much with the others. But it is pretty.





 7   Cobras NEW!
While waiting for some friends to turn up Sunday morning I gathered 3 others for a game of Cobras. Another trick taker from last year that looked interesting and that Martin seemed to like. I like it too but it’s not my favourite. It has some of the same scoring that Fox in the Forest has where the points - not for tricks here but for cobra tokens– max out and then rapidly decrease if you overshoot. You score your cobra tokens when you win a trick and you gain them when not winning tricks. So you can mess with the others a bit and you can get caught with no options of scoring so each player also has a king cobra card they can use once per hand to either side with the winner or the loser of the trick. I had forgotten about that when I had 7 tokens so I got three points instead of 21. We all learnt from that so the others moved ahead quickly after that and I stayed with a low score for a while but then caught up and shot ahead and won by 4 points.



 7   Star Cartel
One of my friends arrived and took over the seat from one of the others and I taught them Star Cartel. I prefer basic rules often so that’s what I taught them here too. No need for special powers depending on your space ship. That would remove some of the space for dickery because some at least allow you to pick cards from other rows than the bottom one. For some reason, the game seems to have flown under the radar despite being from Osprey. Very few people on BGG own it at least and that is a shame. You have to pick one of four cards from the bottom of three rows and may pick one more if you want to. These cards are of one of five different kinds of goods (valued 1 to 4) that you load on to your ship. You start with a small ship that only has room for 7, not goods but according to the value of the cards. The thing is that the lowest combined valued good type you lose and their stock lowers one notch and the highest valued good type you also lose but its stock rises by two – if higher than 9 it crashes back to the bottom. You only get to keep one type of good in-between. If you have more of that type of good you get to keep all of them and now their value does not mean anything. They are all one piece of stock with the same value. So do you fill your ship slowly to get more stock and get bigger ships slowly and more importantly make yourself more vulnerable to the others or do spread out and also move quicker so you get to the big ships quickly?



 7   Calimala
All of my friends had now arrived so we played a 5-player game of Calimala. I was the only one who had tried it before and I got trounced. Only 14 meagre points and I was far behind the others. The winner had 37. I somehow managed to pick action spots that no one else was interested in so I got far fewer extra actions than the others and I had to make my strategy very one dimensional. Follow the crowd and don’t try to be a lone wolf in this game it looks like. Everyone liked it so that was a success.



 9   Automobile NEW!
The weekend ended with the first new to me game this year that I am certain will make it to my top 10 list of the year. I like Martin Wallace games and in my opinion this is one of his best. It was easy to see that we were all beginners because we did not put enough pressure on each others and our progress around the board was not that fast. The mid-range car I produced in Round 1 was still the first one on the track when selling cars in round 3 and that won me the game. In Round 1, we all produced too much so we became too cautious after that and all cars were sold in the following rounds. Still, I loved the tension in it. Will you be able to sell all your cars? Will you get to place enough distributors where you need them to be before it fills up? Great game!




Games that left my collection this month: Nothing yet.

Games that entered my collection this month: Race for the Galaxy and a couple of promos/mini-expansions: Gentes: New Cities and Small City around the world #1: Asian Cities.

Unplayed games in my collection: Tahuantinsuyu, 1860: Railways on the Isle of Wight, Falling Sky: The Gallic Revolt Against Caesar, Splatter SHOOT, Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001 – ?, Sword of Rome, Colonial Twilight: The French-Algerian War, 1954-62, El Alamein, Stephenson's Rocket, Chicago Express, Continental Divide, Q.E., Sakura Hunt, Struggle of Empires, Visby and Here I Stand (500th Anniversary Edition).
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14. Board Game: Bloodborne: The Card Game [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:1259]
Paulo Renato
Portugal
Vila Nova Gaia
Porto
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Hi all, some games got played last week and all of them are good games, not a single stinker in there


 8.25   Majesty: For the Realm NEW!
Very simple game card row drafting game but being simple doesn't mean it's bad, quite the opposite, it's a very cool interesting game.
Good production, just found it odd there were no value 5 poker chips. The way scoring works for the different people you take and the end game scoring for different majorities and set collection makes the game





 8.0   Bloodborne: The Card Game NEW!
This one was a game that I was chasing for quite sometime, not because of the video game that I haven't played but because I liked the theme and I really like games where players select their actions simultaneously and then reveal, love the second-guessing and the bluffing
It's a very cool deckbuilder with lots of interaction between the players.
Think that the game could benefit from more variability on the cards, but the expansion should achieve this.
Artwork is gruesome and cool, production is also very good, and a great insert for the game.





 9.1   Seasons
Seasons is one of my favorite games of all time... played several times and not once had a bad experience. This was the first time playing with the Enchanted Kingdom expansion and it just adds more cards and some starting bonus/powers for the players and also a deck of cards that you take one and that will change some part of the game. Liked it





 7.5   Risk: Star Wars Edition NEW!
From Risk this only has the name and some dice rolling... It's much more interesting than risk... the action selection mechanism is very good and the 3 "battle" fronts keep you engaged.
Obviously there are still huge amounts of luck involved in the game because you have no way to mitigate the dice, so there's that!
Production wise, the Black Box is fantastic... the ships are great, the foamcore insert on top is impressive... the only thing I'm not so impressed with is the card quality, despite being thick and glossy with indentations on the letters (I don't know how to say this), they seem that they can be easily marked by shuffling for example





 8.0   The Cousins' War NEW!
Very interesting 2P game. Reminds me a bit of Twilight Struggle on the aspect of playing the cards for Command Points or applying the Event but has the cool thing that in certain rounds the opponent getting to activate a secondary action on the card.
The passing 1 card to the opponent at the start of the round also adds a strategic dimension to the game.
The Battle resolution is, for me the coolest part of the game, very unique (at least for me) and interesting.
But despite liking the battle resolution a lot, it also seems to me that there are great amounts of luck in this part of the game and that it's very important to determine the winner of the game







 9.0   Bunny Kingdom NEW!
As you already know from last week, I LOVE drafting in games and Bunny Kingdom delivers in spades! Great game with lots of interaction in the drafting between players...
Amazing artwork and very cute bunny minis. The board could be a little bit bigger to diminish the clutter feeling that we get towards the end of the game when there are a lot of pieces on the board!
Fantastic game






 10.   Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization
TtA is my #1 game of all time... This game is just amazing, a work of a genius... I have no words to describe it!
I play online on Boardgaming Online but I still count these as board game plays because this is a board game and I'm playing with friends from my group, people I know, that know the game very well...
And I won!
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15. RPG Item: 2018: The War for Hell [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Nicolai Broen Thorning
Denmark
Ebeltoft
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The Year in Review:

Now, 2017 was a rough year for us. Even if the calendar says 2018, it is still the same. When people close to you are hurting; and you cannot do anything to help; that takes a lot out of you.

I have been feeling on the up and up, so there is that, but what energy comes in is sucked right out again. So, I have been playing a lot of videogames instead. It takes me mind of things and it helps me rest.

The current situation also means that we have been playing fewer games overall. That said, V. and I try to incorporate them more and more into our schedule, because we both enjoy the time together.

Earlier I finished the 14 day exam, which was a relief. I even managed to do so without any unduly stress, instead calm and collected. I have had to cancel my participation at the work retreat in Rome. It would just set me back.

Now, all that sappy stuff out of the way; let us talk games.

Games Played in 2018:

2x Dice City
2x Great Western Trail
1x La Granja: No Siesta
1x The Voyages of Marco Polo

The Games Played:

Dice City we played twice. I won one of the two, my first win at this. V. really dig it. I enjoy it enough to let it stay around. That and the fact it doesn't sell on the 2nd hand market in the groups I frequent. Plus, we have all the expansions, so variety should not be a problem.

Great Western Trail is another favourite of V.'s. She is all smiles whenever this hits the table. I am having fun playing it too. We are improving with each play. We have played it twice with 3 players and have fun at both 2 and 3.

La Granja: No Siesta was a rare evening game. It gets better with each play. The first game was too long, so long we might as well have played the original. This time it took less than 1 hour and was a good game.

The Voyages of Marco Polo is a new favourite. We have only played with the recommended characters, so looking forward to trying some of the others later on. Ok, we have only played twice, so still early days, but it has potential.

No promises for the weeks ahead, but I hope we get to play a bit over the weekend. If not, there's always VGG.


If anyone is in need of some PC action, then I have a list of, mostly obscure, games. Feel free to request a key or three.

Item for Geeklist "Free Video Games From Your Fellow VGGers Up For Grabs - Pay It Forward"
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16. Board Game: Age of Steam Expansion: Disco Inferno / Soul Train [Average Rating:7.60 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.60 Unranked]
Chris
United Kingdom
Birmingham
England
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Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars, where you will be forced to drift aimlessly farther into the vast, empty abyss of space until a lack of food, water and oxygen causes you to succumb to Death's cold embrace.
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My AoS maps were mentioned on Heavy Cardboard finally, which got them some revived attention. From that I brushed off my GIMP skills this week and created a new version of Disco Inferno. I'm so chuffing please how it looks I'm posting it here for everyone to say it's great.

As it's a silly map in concept, and by breaking away from the original dual use with the Soul Train map I was able to be clear that this map is NOT Hell, so could draw it differently with no holds barred.

The result reminds me of a magazine cover somewhat, and screams 70s by my feel of what that means. The logo looks great I think, reminding me of both Shaft and a Watneys Part 7 (deep cut for the aging Brits...)



Sorry for putting it under your nose yet again Morten, I'm sure you're sick of it by now!
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17. Board Game: Scrabble [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:1505]
Rich P
United Kingdom
Sheffield
United Kingdom
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Last week's plays:

-10- Scrabble
-8- The Castles of Burgundy (+2nd & 5th expansions)

I've been travelling around Ireland for the last week or so, which has been great fun despite some challenging weather. We visited a couple of impressive World Heritage sites (Brú na Bóinne and the Giant's Causeway) plus Titanic Belfast, drove around the coast of Northern Ireland then the Atlantic coast of the Republic, saw loads of castles and a few filming locations from Game of Thrones and Father Ted, ate too many Full Irish breakfasts and were evacuated from the Cliffs of Moher as Storm Fionn struck land... Even better, baby B seemed happy enough travelling around and sleeping in unfamiliar places.

Kate and I played one game of Castles of Burgundy before we set off. For a change, I focussed on animals but it always seems to be a mistake. Kate got enough endgame bonuses to beat me.

Magnetic Scrabble is a great travel game for us, especially now we're travelling with B: it's easily put down and picked up again later. The only problem with it is the tile bag has a Velcro fastener and the noise it makes upon opening is liable to wake up a sleeping baby. wow I was pleased to get a quadruple word score this game.

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