GCL Mafia 368: Gold Medalists
Matt C
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Ypsilanti
MI
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Welcome to GCL Mafia Division's weekly geeklist!

GCL Mafia Members:
• Please add an item to represent your gaming life for the week.
• List any games played along with your thoughts/opinions.
• Also, feel free to share gaming news, life updates, random thoughts, or anything else you deem appropriate.

GCL Mafia Geeklist Format:
• A weekly game can be spotlighted and discussed. The poster will pose questions about it to encourage conversation.
• Themed questions are optional. They can be gaming-related topics or non-gaming-related topics.
• A top five question can be asked for by this week's current-list writer, with members offering suggestions.

Current Roster:
fdubois
charlest
Happymrdave
tallgrant
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mith
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Epsilon_Balls
captainraffi
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1. Board Game: Olympics [Average Rating:3.50 Unranked]
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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The Winter Olympics, just held its opening ceremony, which means it's time for me to binge watch all of the skeleton, skiing, and figure skating that my wife can endure. This week's list is inspired by the games.
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2. Board Game: Torchwood TCG [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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Possibly the most iconic part of the Olympic games is the lighting of the torch. Leading up to the games, the torch is lit in Olympia and then relayed to its final destination for the opening ceremony.

Game Question: People often discuss "game killers" or "passing the torch." I want us to think a bit backward from that. Rather than discuss what game 'killed' Agricola, or some other game, I want you to pick your favorite game and discuss its inspirations/ancestry. For example, Caverna is clearly inspired by Agricola, but Agricola is based on Caylus, and Caylus...
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3. Board Game: Avalanche at Yeti Mountain [Average Rating:6.08 Overall Rank:7622]
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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The Winter Olympics showcase just how many different ways there are to ski: downhill skiing, ski jumping, moguls, cross-country/biathalon, and I'm likely missing a few too.

Game Question: What is your favorite skiing-inspired board game? Absent of having one, what is one game that you feel like is a game that builds up until everything suddenly avalanches and you have to race to the finish, hoping not to be beaten into the ground? Absent of that, what is your favorite mythological snow-monster, and why is it the yeti?
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4. Board Game: Skeleton Warriors [Average Rating:3.17 Unranked]
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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Many of the sports in the Olympics can be summarized by "throw yourself down this steep mountainous track and get to the bottom first." Some of these sports involve teams (such as the four-man bobsleigh), while others are individual (luge). Others are completely insane, such as skeleton (who doesn't want to go head first down a mountain at 80mph?)

Non-Game Question: If you had to pick between bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton, which would you love to try? Follow-up, would that answer change if you could be guaranteed that you would survive unscathed?

Game Question:

The movie Cool Runnings is based off of the story of the Jamaica's first bobsleigh team. The team was so unfunded and an underdog that they even had to borrow their sleds from other countries. Is there any game that was an underdog and surprised you greatly by how well it's been able to compete against more well known games?
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5. Board Game: Crack of the Bat Baseball Dice Game [Average Rating:6.17 Unranked]
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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The Olympics are not all fun and games. As with any major event, there is a dirty underside to it. In 1994 the Women's Figure Skating competition was dominated by two U.S. skaters: Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan. Tonya was a skating powerhouse, being the first american woman to ever throw a triple axel in competition (and is still incredibly rare), while Nancy an incredible skater but often lacked consistency. In January, leading up to the Olympics, Kerrigan was assaulted by someone hired by Harding's ex-husband, putting Kerrigan's Olympic dreams into peril. Kerrigan went on to take the silver medal in the Olympics despite her injuries, completing what she considered two of the best performances of her life.

Game-Questions: Do you have any great comeback stories of your boardgames? Have you ever been beaten down by your opponents only to rise to the occasion and win despite the adversity?
 
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6. Board Game: Caveman Curling [Average Rating:6.33 Overall Rank:3338]
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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Perhaps one of the most iconic and ridiculous Winter Sports is curling. This three-person team consists of a stone thrower and people using brooms to clean the ice (both friends AND foes) in this oversized shuffleboard sport. Of course, even if you don't enjoy the sport you can still enjoy the crazy outfits many not-bowling-teams don for competition.

Game Question: Are there any games where you feel like you carefully set a plan in motion early on, and then furiously clean the ice in front as you guide toward an end point? Also, have you played Crokinole?
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7. Board Game: Champion Hill [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:5144]
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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Give me a Top 5 suggestion that is vaguely related to the Olympics, and I'll pretend that I'm going to answer it some time this week, rather than actually spending time watching the olympics.
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8. Board Game: Stuffed Fables [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:1074]
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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DropMix x2
Stuffed Fables x2

Stuffed Fables
Played another story, and my general impression hasn't changed all that much. It can still be frustrating to draw a lot of dice you can't do anything with and the sheer size of the item/lost decks don't drive me to engage with them all that much. However, the story remains great and really cute, and there are plenty of interesting tactical decisions to be made with your limited resources. I have Mice & Mystics on the shelf for Raffi one day and I'll hold on to this one for the same reason. If he doesn't end up liking them, no big loss.

On my Mind

Sorry for not posting much last week. Work has been absolutely insane. I've gotten sucked into a significant EPA related legal issue; it's come with a lot of responsibility and also a lot of work. Parallel to this, I applied for an internal promotion that looks like will work out for me. I'm excited, but I spent most of last week working and going to bed early without much energy to play games. We also got dumped on by a winter storm and I spent a lot of my remaining energy clearing snow. Starting to run out of places to put it.

On Sunday we decided to get out of the house and went downtown for an early breakfast at our favorite spot. We then took Raffi to the Shedd Aquarium; we get free admission in February through work. He absolutely loved it. We couldn't keep him still and basically chased him from tank to tank while he ooh'd and awe'd over everything.

Painting

While I haven't gamed much, I did get some work in on my Death Guard tank. It's called the Malignant Plaguecrawler, and it's pretty nurgly. I've been messing around with a bruised/purulent effect and am pretty happy. Then someone turned me on to a greenish/brown wash that is shading it exactly how I want. It looks kind of messy but that's OK for nurgle and I'll clean it up with highlight and when I start painting the various metal effects. I'm definitely happy with the bruising. I also played around with my new airbrush. It had a plug in the nozzle (my fault) and took me a while to figure out but I eventually got it. It's making painting this thing much easier.



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9. Board Game: Dungeon Lords: Happy Anniversary [Average Rating:8.26 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.26 Unranked]
Grant Johnson
United States
Cedar Park
Texas
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 9.5   Gloomhaven
 9   1817
 10   Dungeon Lords

Three games and a pretty great week of gaming. When you're playing epic games that are all rated highly (including a Top 3 title) you're probably doing it right!

1817: This one was a wastershed game. I did well in the initial private auction (I usually do) and avoided the mistakes I've previously made in the first few ORs. Going into the fourth stock round I had the best portfolio, four healthy companies (three of which had multiple 3 trains) and more cash than my opponents. I started a new company, confident that they'd snag one of the five trains in the near future (there were two 4s in the bank).

And then the bottom fell out. One player who had struggled early fully divested himself of my stock, and shorted one of my companies with the 3 trains. He shorted it fully, and used the cash to start a company at maximum PAR. Then he shorted the second, and the third. He shorted another company belonging to another player. He kept starting new companies at maximum PAR. And I suddenly had a problem- 7 new companies had founded that stock round. All would need to buy trains. There were two 4 trains (which could be bought by a single company) and four 5 trains. All of my 3-train companies acted later, would be holding loans with no assets to get a train, and go into liquidation. All my stock would drop to nothing and I'd likely bankrupt out.

I was saved by a miscount- the last two companies to act in the new train buying frenzy belonged to me, and both of them bought 3 trains across and quietly went out of existence- my existing companies got to run, found ways to permanent trains or fold in a more manageable fashion. I lost a lot of money, but I didn't bankrupt before I could save 3 companies, get a permanent train and get enough cash to settle the loans. The fourth company went belly up and I paid its $400 debt, mostly from my own pocket. The shorting player got off scot free with the money, but the loans he took in the train buying frenzy crippled his companies later- our interest payments ballooned up to $45/loan (had topped out at $30 in prior games), companies had to withhold just to avoid going bankrupt, and everyone was poor the rest of the game. I finished in second by about $600. In our last play the winning score was in the $11,000 range. This time it was under $6,000.

Incredible game- the entire paradigm of how to play this game shifted for us during the play. I'm wrapping my head around it still- it felt grossly unfair at the time it occurred as I'd done so well, but I think it exposed weaknesses of certain positions. Still, the carnage was crazy- we had 17 companies that stock round, which collapsed down to 7 the next stock round. No one ever hit certificate limit. I finished the game with 8 shorts, and despite that I had the best stock portfolio at games end.

In short, it was pretty awesome.

Dungeon Lords: Full expansion play- included Festival Season, Minions Bearing Gifts (with standard items), and Dungeon Setup cards. I played Big Evil as is my usual strategy- I topped out on evil during Spring Year 2 and never looked back. I got an almost maximum strength party (my wizard had 5 HP instead of 6), with 3 items and the Dwarf Paladin (plus top Warrior, Priest and Bard). And if I'd laid my traps down properly I'd've taken them with no conquering. But I put down a wrong trap in the Labyrinth and cost myself 3 points. Still won.

Really fun with everything- the expansions add to the game instead of just putting unnecessary clutter or unbalancing the other parts. There are a lot more scoring opportunities, and its actually a little easier to go positive in points. But there is definite separation between mediocre and good play with it too. I think Dungeon Lords is better with Festival Season, but its a steep learning curve to get the players on board and understanding.

Gloomhaven: Chasing the main storyline and tore through the mission like tissue paper. We've hit the point where we can choose to use our powers for good, or for awesome. I'm confident we'll choose "For Awesome".

New Game Get: Sadly, delayed by credit card change and not fixing it in the publishers system. Curse Experian/Equifax for their crappy security- I gotta wait one more week.

On my Mind
Brethren, dost thou even hoist?: Lift and exercise continues. Weight loss pendulum swung positively and I'm now within 10 pounds of my goal weight. I've cut back the caloric deficit- the overall plan is that at the end of February the daily exercise will cut back to running two nights a week, lifting weights two days a week, and fitting in two additional 5 mile walks somewhere. Then I'll slowly raise food intake to my new "normal" and the weight loss diet ends. I feel really happy and good about myself for it.

I got the music in me: No band this week due to a clinic that has the directors away. I hope I can find some other musical outlet to pour myself into instead....
arrrh

Happy Valentine's Day, GCL Mafia
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10. Board Game: The Networks [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:546]
Joseph Shufelt
United States
Portland
Oregon
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 5   The Networks NEW!
 6   Jump Drive NEW!
 5   Hanabi
 7   Ethnos
 9   World's Fair 1893
 7   Star Wars: Imperial Assault x3

The Networks is a fine open drafting game that gets very repetitive very quickly. Round 5 doesn’t feel any different than rounds 1-4. The cards just tend to get bigger at higher levels. You don’t really build off of anything, so there’s no engine building. It’s basically just, go around the table, and grab one out of a billion cards until you can’t or you don’t want to. The shows and stars mostly felt like they had minor variations between each other. Ads had more variations, but some were just flat out better, (Promos are cool, but too few to feel balanced). The “Network” cards are interesting-ish. But are the only element of mechanical spice.Overall, I didn’t feel like I was building anything interesting or fun. I was just feeding cards into slots adonasium..I’m also one of the only people that seems to not care that much for it.

Jump Drive. I don’t know why I have a hard time remembering the name of this game. Anyway, it’s set in the R*** for the Galaxy family. Similarities are: Engine Building. Tactical. Artwork. Cards are also Resources. Other than that, it feels very different for me. It’s a game that explodes much faster and much bigger. Some cards even have exponential growth if you can get them. Very interesting card interaction. It’s even more solitaire, but whatev. It’s fun and with a group of players that just “go”, it could probably be more fun.

We went to play Gloomhaven on Sunday. FInally got “the group back together”. Then one of them had car problems that delayed him an hour, so we played World’s Fair 1893. I got DESTROYED. I totally missed out on opportunities and just went on autopilot.

After World’s Fair 1893, the one who had car problems ended up having more serious car problems. So he was delayed more, so we played Imperial Assault. We ended up doing one mission, and suddenly, the other “Gloomhaven” player showed up. We had a bit of a time crunch at this point, so we decided by the time we put away Imperial Assault and setup Gloomhaven, we’d have wasted time. So we played more Imperial Assault. It’s annoying you can’t adjust players in a campaign. A significant QOL matter for the game.

OMM:
1. I’m definitely getting to a place where I’m appreciating “older” games more than newer games. A lot of newer games just seem to be either bloated or uninteresting and older games often have a forgotten simplicity and depth. Games having things because either the theme “demands it to make it more thematic” or because it needs “another” mechanism to set it apart from older games.

2. Company audit.

3. I can’t wait for spring to be here as well. Lots of projects to do around the house.
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11. Board Game: Forbidden Stars [Average Rating:8.02 Overall Rank:83]
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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Forbidden Stars
Seafall

Seafall almost fell through again, so I got lucky and got FS scheduled in its place. Then people suggested and jumped on board for Seafall on the next day, so yay!

Forbidden Stars was awesome. I was the green guys and since this was our second game and it's been 2 years, 2 weeks, and 2 days since we'd played, we stuck with the starter map. I remembered enough of my mistakes last time that I spent more efforts on building cities and researching better tech. I improved my order that let's me treat a single unoccupied space as a friendly zone for movement, which gave me a huge advantage in maneuverability. I got my first two objectives early in the game, but the storm walls blocked me off for a round to getting my third, and all 3 were in that corner of the board so it wasn't likely to open up anytime soon. I positioned myself well to either storm in and get the order, or storm south and invade/overtake one opponent's base. The other benefit of the storm walls was it blocked out the third opponent who had only the weakest military left on his home base, and other than that had only a couple minor units stranded with no ships that posed little threat. Fortunately, the 5th or 6th round opened up the storm walls enough for me to take my 3rd and 4th objective in the same round.

This game is awesome and needs to be played more. We talked about playing again soon within the next few weeks. Hopefully that happens.


Next was Seafall. This was our 5th game, and it was pretty clear we weren't going to get any milestones or new boxes, so we thought getting glory would be hard. We still managed to finish the game before the 2nd winter (3rd if you count the start of the game). I actually am enjoying the game, but it's frustrating that it's so hard to follow what other people are doing. I'm enjoying my plays, but I definitely won't play it again or recommend it after our campaign is over.


OMM
Spellbound (aka Harry Potter) Dinner Murder Mystery is a week away! I should probably get started on my costume as the librarian. Or finish planning the menu. I've mostly been focused on making the chocolate frog boxes. We made the chocolate frogs and completed half of the boxes. The other half are close to finished. I also have some work done towards our moving pictures in a shadow box design. Jennifer finished up play lists and other sound affects around the house, so that'll be exciting.
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12. Board Game: Raiders of the North Sea: Hall of Heroes [Average Rating:8.29 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.29 Unranked]
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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Yunnan
Santo Domingo
Raiders of the North Sea: Hall of Heroes NEW!
Raiders of the North Sea
Herbaceous x5

Got a chance to get Raiders of the North Sea with the Hall of Heroes expansion included, and it was...a mixed bag.

Firstly, we played with 5p, and while I appreciated that the expansions upped the player count, it dragged our game out much further than it should have. Granted, we were playing with a majority of new players, but that comfortable hour-ish playing time stretched out into 1hr45min, which we felt was overlong for the scope of the game.

On the whole, I appreciated what Hall of Heroes added to the game: I liked the new space you could use to get more townsfolk/money/mead. I liked the new decision point of deciding to spend mead to increase Raid strength. I even liked the quest tiles and the ability to use your townsfolk in hand to collect them. It was all very smoothly integrated in a very easy way to figure out.

However, the one sticking point I have with the expansion is that none of it works mechanically to push the endgame in any way. I think this might be more pointed with fewer players, but going after quests slows down your own progress (by making you throw away townsfolk you could use for your boat or their Town Hall powers) and doesn't affect any of the raiding spots. As much as I like this expansion for it's elegance, I think that Fields of Fame may be better by dovetailing into the base game in a better way, for all it's additional complexity. I hope to get that expansion to the table soon.

Quick hits on the old stuff...

- Yunnan with the Pro Game rules is the way to go, it's much more open in pursuing strategy, though at the cost of a very steep VP penalty if you mis-play the auction round. The game is very, very much a tactical exercise with strategic considerations, but it remains a neat puzzle and one that still intrigues me. I definitely want to try with the Yunnan: Tu Di Gong Shrine next and see how that changes things, as well. Oh, and we played 3p with folks who played it the week before and knocked out a game in 45 minutes

- Santo Domingo is much more interesting when you're playing 2 cards at a time in the 3p game. I think this is probably the best configuration if you want a more strategic game. Still a lot of fun.

- I introduced Herbaceous to Helen over the weekend and she really liked it. I managed to dime it in our flurry of play. I hope I can get a hold of the promo cards that Dr. Finn includes in his kickstarters in the future.
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13. Board Game: Meeting Room [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Codenames 4
Star Wars: Destiny 3 (Tabletop Simulator)
Strike 3
Arkham Horror: The Card Game – Curse of the Rougarou Scenario Pack 2 NEW!
DropMix 2
Not Alone + Not Alone: Exploration 2
When I Dream 2
Charterstone 1
Excape 1 NEW!
Kerala: The Way of the Elephant 1
Lancelot 1 NEW!
Raiders of the North Sea + Raiders of the North Sea: Fields of Fame 1 NEW!
Vegas + Las Vegas Boulevard 1
Worm Up! 1

Review: Remember when I played Gateway: Uprising a few months ago and it was lame? Here's the review.

---

Curse of the Rougarou: Holy shit is this hard. For the second game, I modified the chaos bag, taking out the -4, -5, and -6's, and still got stomped. I'm not using any XP for this as the rules state. I'm doing it purely as an aside and to better learn my Jim Culver deck, which still needs some work. I miss my more punchy "Skids" deck.

Raiders of the North Sea: Fields of Fame: Another great integration with the base game. Compared to Hall of Heroes, this probably feels more like regular Raiders of the North Sea. I think it was a little shorter than the game with Hall of Heroes, but still adds a little more time on. The jarls are definitely risky, but alluring, making it hard to pass up spaces with their tokens on them. I still don't think the base game needed an expansion (really, I'd have just been happy with more cards), but both of these are nice additions. I don't foresee always including them in future plays though. Next up: playing with both expansions together.

Lancelot: TSS.

Excape: Not as good as Strike.

Charterstone: Game 4 went well. Our charters are bustling and the game is becoming more interesting. Raf noted that it may be possible someone gets set up with a better charter and it seems like that's happening for Matt. That said, Matt tends to play better, so it's hard to disentangle the crate RNG with his concerted efforts.

---

On My Mind:

I wasn't sure if I was going to make it to Geekway this year due to a potential grant / travel opportunity to Rome. Long story short, we got the grant, but the project has been delayed, so no trip after all. Mixed feelings as I wanted to do both, so it's a win/win of sorts. Now I just have to figure out what to do with my classes on the last day when I need to be on an airplane.
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14. Board Game: The Same Game [Average Rating:6.60 Unranked]
Chris Ferejohn
United States
Mountain View
California
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Well the Thesp tool is having some kind of issue, so I'll do it by hand.

Pandemic Legacy S2, Gloomhaven

Getting to be a bit repetitive with these, though due to some folks going out of town I'll probably not be playing either for a couple of weeks.

We played early July in Pandemic Legacy S2 and lost. We did a little housekeeping which should hopefully let us do better in late July (and we didn't lose by much – we were going to win it on the following turn).

Spoilers for July.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
We had a recon done for us for the first time (Africa). Making permanent radio towers seems like a suckers game – 3 valuable upgrade points to offset needing to use 2 cubes and an action seems like a bad trade. We did get the "make all 3 radio towers" goal done, which I'm guessing will show us how to recon out of India come August.


In Gloomhaven, we opened another new class (our second). w00t. We also won scenario 43. It was what's usually called the "Angry/Spiky Face" class. Spoilers:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
When first looking at the class the guy who has it on offer (who had been the scoundrel) was a bit reluctant. Losing all that mobility is going to be rough. He thought about rolling a Spellweaver instead, but after further consideration, he'll probably go with the new guy.


We also managed to get our rep down to -4 by being our usual dickish selves, so hopefully we can get to that -10 rep class soon.

Caverna: Cave vs Cave

Went to a game day for my friend Greg's 50th. When I arrived, most folks were in the middle of Power Grid, so me and one other recent arrival played Caverna: Cave vs. Cave, which I won by 1 point.

7 Wonders

We had 7 folks, a couple of which had to leave soon, so we played 7 Wonders (base game only) with a couple of new players. I more or less lapped the field, winning by 10 over second place.

Then I taught Tramways in preparation for a 4 player game, but literally just as I finished my wife called – she hurt her neck on Friday and she had taken a muscle relaxant and she was freaking out (Hilary does not do will with altered states - she has called 9-11 after like 3-4 drinks multiple times because she "thought she was dying of alcohol poisoning"). So I went home. Too bad, because I've only gotten to play Tramways with 3 and I'd really like to see the auction in action at a higher player count.

OMM

I'm getting the bug to run a D&D game again. I've got 2 players pretty well lined up and want to find a couple more. I've been watching a bunch of Matt Colville's videos to get inspired (if you haven't seen his "Running the Game" stuff on YouTube, it's pretty great).

I printed out the Stuffed Fables coloring book and stapled it together for Alistair. Rather than coloring it, he's been playing some kind of inscrutable game which involves drawing numbers and stars around the images and connecting them.

Also this happened:

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15. Board Game: Fog of Love [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:895]
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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Fog of Love x2 (new!)
Rising Sun

Reviews
I wrote about Rising Sun at Ars Technica.

Fog of Love
This is an odd one. It really wants to be innovative and it's very close to achieving that goal, but it makes a crucial misstep. It's big problem is that it fails to obscure the mechanical results of choices, and the game is heavy on incentives to pick certain options. This means the game feels much more mechanical and cold than I want it to. I want to look at the multiple options and make a decision based on emotion and roleplaying. But you can't really do that if you want to do well. The game undermines itself in this way by game-ifying the concept of a relationship it really smothers the beauty and mystery of its subject matter.

There are some really solid moments where the game approaches something special though. Once past the tutorial you can actually get to a position where it's possible to breakup, and this makes for some more interesting decision points as you can't be entirely selfish.

Those moments of uncertainty and the feeling of putting work into the relationship are pretty spiffy. Overall, however, I think the system falls just short of what it's trying to achieve.

Rising Sun
So good.


On My Mind
I've been very sick since Thursday evening, which sucks, but it allowed me to lay in bed all weekend and watch a ton of TV/movies.

Altered Carbon was pretty damn good and I'm looking forward to the next season. It wasn't phenomenal and I think it maybe didn't hit all of its potential, but still a fun ride.

I watched a number of trashy films that were varying degrees of OK. I don't typically watch horror films but for some reason felt in the mood to watch the latest Saw (Jigsaw). I hadn't seen any of this franchise since maybe the second one. It was fine. Not terrible but not good. I think Jigsaw was ahead of his time with the burgeoning escape room craze.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe was very interesting for the first half and kind of stupid the second. It could have been excellent if the payoff was better.

The Cloverfield Paradox was fine, again, nothing special.

I, Tonya was really entertaining and the cast was great.
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16. Board Game: Magic: The Gathering [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:156] [Average Rating:7.45 Unranked]
Jim Parkin
United States
Stow
Ohio
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Keyflower
The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game
Magic: The Gathering NEW!
Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure x3
Agricola



Keyflower
I really thought I was winning, but I underestimated the cutting ambition of both James and Joseph. It was a really tight game!

The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game
Theodore cried a bit as my friend, Jamie, threatened to take his red acorn following a Sneaky Squirrel, and then cried more when Jamie, instead, stole my purple acorn. #loyalty

Then Ted won like a boss.

Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure
We introduced our friends, Jamie and Carolyn, to Clank!. As I expected, they loved it. Carolyn played so much clank I was amazed she lasted as long as she did. Jamie and Anastasia also did everything they could to kill everyone--especially Anastasia playing Mr. Whiskers as often as possible with lots of draw behind him. In the end, Anastasia and I perished in the depths while Carolyn made it to the surface, but only Jamie successfully escaped, and won.

Agricola
My favorite "go to Day Laborer and win the game" strategy cropped up due to card drafting, but then Anastasia ended up with effectively every bonus scoring for stone rooms, and beat me out by about five points in a very high-scoring game, overall.

Magic: The Gathering
Before we played Clank!, Jamie was heckling Carolyn and Anastasia about his nascent Magic deck collection he uses to play with high schoolers (he works for a youth ministry locally, and his house is often filled with teenagers of all stripes). Both ladies balked at the severe nerd stigma therein, which only encouraged him. After Clank!, they opted to watch the Olympics (BORING), so Jamie and I played Magic. I grew up being forbidden to do two things:

1. Watch The Smurfs
2. Play Magic: The Gathering

I have no answers as to why this was, since I often got away with watching R-rated movies and played Diablo to death. Truly, legalistic, conservative households baffle me to this day. I did try to sneak over my friend's house as a middle-schooler and play his Magic cards. Granted, said friend's mom was also in on my forbiddance, and always ratted me out to my mom...

ANYWAY, I haven't played since sixth grade, so there's that. Jamie gave me a Green/White deck based mostly on playing and replaying all of the creatures for stacking intro/exit bonuses. Meanwhile, he played a Black/Green deck which buffed everything from his graveyard. I ended up getting steamrolled after an otherwise strong start. The whole time I realized I wished I was just playing Hearthstone. Perhaps it's because I'm used to the system and convenience of the digital platform, but if nothing else, I could nod to all of the mechanisms I know given their direct heritage to Magic as I played said deck.

...now to convince Jamie to play Hearthstone regularly...



OMM:

I've been super busy with work related to my being on a school board, and my classes are starting up again. I've cut about half of my Heroes of the Aturi Cluster foamcore stuff at this point, and am looking forward to more, more, more X-Wing goodness.

I'm about as caught up with Acquisitions Inc and Dice, Camera, Action as I can be. I've enjoyed them thoroughly, and look forward to staying current. Mainly any chance to watch Chris Perkins do his thing is an absolute treat.

We have a big game night this Friday, and I hope to get John Company to the table with a full compliment now that I have my copy from SMG. Rising Sun will likely also make its debut there. I might get some sweet, sweet Ora et Labora action in there, too. We're also making a truck-load of carnitas for the occasion. Mmmmmmm, carnitas.

Oh, and I'm officially telecommuting two days a week now, which is both awesome and surreal.
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17. Board Game: Aeon's End [Average Rating:8.08 Overall Rank:178] [Average Rating:8.08 Unranked]
Jim Parkin
United States
Stow
Ohio
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Okay. So this is something I've looked at on and off since it first came around.

thumbsup Deck-building
thumbsup Co-operative
thumbsup Unique theme
thumbsup Kill bad dudes

thumbsdown Sketchy availability
thumbsdown What's worth it?

Now, the Aeon's End: Legacy campaign is live on Kickstarter, and from what I can tell, for the amount of content out there, it's a solid price structure... especially since several expansions are out of print. But then I look at Miniature Market and see that some things are marked "Aeon's End" and others as "Aeon's End 2nd Edition" and still further "War Eternal." I know that the latter is basically a second block of cards as a base to more expansions, but the 1st/2nd edition stuff is a little confusing.

So, what's the best way to go about this? Raf, are you in for Legacy? My birthday is coming up! Game cash! Chime in!
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18. Board Game: Gaia Project [Average Rating:8.70 Overall Rank:13]
Fabrice Dubois
France
La Garenne Colombes
Hauts de Seine
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 10  Gaia Project x2 (11 plays so far)

2 plays (2 and 4 players) where i played the Ivits twice (perhaps the most thematic faction). I won the 2 players game by one point (179 to 178) with 40 points of technology.

In the 2 game, the endgame scoring tiles were the same (the most satellites and the most Gaïa planets) and i led the same strategy twice :
- rush for the +9 technology
- then terraforming track
- then Gaïa track (to activate the 3 and 4 QIC special actions)
- then navigation not only for point but also for endgame expansion (you only have 6 space stations)

In the end, i had 8 tech tiles and 5 federation tiles (one from the terraforming track).

Strategy heavily focused on technology (track + tiles + QIC) is very strong IMHO.





On my mind:
The crown season 2 is soporific.

I watched True Detective season 1 again and it was a blast another time. Awesome TV show. One of my all time favorite.
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19. Board Game: Dungeons & Dragons: Tomb of Annihilation Board Game [Average Rating:8.16 Overall Rank:2989] [Average Rating:8.16 Unranked]
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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 6   Shadow Hunters
 N/A   Lifeboats
 8   Last Will
 N/A   Sheriff of Nottingham
 8   Secret Hitler
 3   Muse NEW!
 N/A   Dungeons & Dragons Basic Game x2 NEW!

It looks like Robin's tool is finally working for me this morning!

Lifeboats -- Play it for the Seamen jokes. Also, one of the guys I was playing with said "Oh, I understand why Matt likes this: it's like playing Mission Red Planet with only the Sabotage card."

Last Will -- I'm on a winning streak in this game. I made a few very choices early on, which meant I played cards and then built over them without having used them, but somehow I ended up being the only one to bankrupt at the end, and eked out a win. I bought manors this game, rather than farms, and then hired gardeners to make maintenance more expensive. From 1st to 5th place there was only a 10 point spread.

Sheriff of Nottingham -- It's a bluffing game and is enjoyable for that. Two of the four players were new, so I had a hard time figuring out how to bribe/bluff them, so we all ended up losing by a wide margin to one player who was exceptionally good at getting others to pay him not to open their pouches.

Muse -- This party game has all of the problems I have with party games. To engage both sides you "decide as a team" which combination of cards to give the opponents, which is utterly uninteresting; once they have the cards you sit and wait 5 minutes while they try to guess the answer. Too much downtime, repetitive cards with too few options, and worst you can't even talk/shoot the shit while others are playing because it's generally distracting. I literally walked away from the table mid-round because I was bored.


Dungeons And Dragons (3e) -- My three siblings and I started a new Dungeons and Dragons game (3rd edition) via skype. My sister is playing a druid, my older brother a paladin, and I'm a wizard. My younger brother (the youngest (though still 29) is the DM and is doing his own homebrew scenario. My personal preference is to run a module because they fill out many of the details you wouldn't think about until someone asks. There were a few rocky moments in our first session where I asked basic questions and my brother had no good answer (such as "how large is this town? Are there any structures of note nearby?"). Also, he's not used to having a paladin in the party, so when we encountered our first neerdowell (an old man leaning on a bow near some destroyed wagons), he was surprised that we did not attack him, nor did he adjust his plan and have the obvious bandit attack us. As such, the game just kind of dragged unnecessarily without particular conflict or, well, plot. I'm hoping that it will just take him a few weeks to get his feet back under him with DMing.

Dungeons and Dragons (5e) -- Coincidentally, my local board game group also started playing D&D with me. There are currently 7 us of who are going to play through the Tomb of Annihilation campaign, though only 6 of us could meet for the first session. We have a Rogue, a Warlock, a Druid, a Fighter, a Wizard, and I'm the Cleric (thanks again for those cards, Grace!). The DM for this game has probably played D&D most recently, though he's never DM'd before and is very excited to do so. He did make his first mistake, which was asking us how we would prefer to get to the island: we could either take the magical instant teleportation ring, or the boat that would arrive in three weeks. Naturally, I adamantly voted for taking the boat, and got the others to agree to this. After a "well, shit" from him we ended up taking the magical teleportation option instead. We started exploring the local town, finding the best taverns and dinosaur racing arenas, and are now in the process of gearing up to go hack our way through the jungle to explore. So far I think this particular game has a lot of potential and I'm curious to see where it goes.

On my mind:
To nobody's surprise I've been baking a lot. I took a rye class two weeks ago, and I really love the Onion Loaf they taught us to make there (caramelized onions + jewish rye = amazing). I probably need to find a better way to store my starters now that I have three of them.

I have a few applications out for new jobs. I'm glad Jim is excited to work from home, but after almost 5 years of doing it exclusively I'm very much over it. It took me about 11 hours to hear back from one of the local places which is "notoriously slow." The work I do is very similar to their work, so I'm sure they were surprised to see my particular experience. Marion is also in the process of looking for new work, partially because she doesn't like what she does, and partially because her school's funding has evaporated.

EDIT -- I am now trying to convince Marion to get a job at the same company as me so that we can commute to work ON OUR TANDEM. Why did I not think of this years ago!?
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