GCL Meatball 351 - People can't do anything they want. Society has rules, and borders, and an end zone.
chearns
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Welcome to this week's discussion list for the Swedish Meatballs, a division of BGG's GameChat League. Only members are to add items, but there is nothing we enjoy more than when fellow human beings from the rest of the site join in on the fun.

Rotation:
Sorp222 <= up next
VeeMonroe
rarevos
ghopper21
jaysachs
AAArg_ink
lacxox
bnordeng
hanibalicious
qwertymartin
Jugular
Osirus
drbobjack
Ellephai
chearns

The rules of play, a few circumstances that came up over the week that was. And an oldie.
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1. Board Game: Hostage Negotiator [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:790] [Average Rating:7.13 Unranked]
chearns
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Here is the response of the designer to a player talking about not being able to perform a move in the app due to the app streamlining play. Essentially, to win, he needed to reroll his best die in order to increase the likelihood of a catastrophic failure so that the abductor would kill a hostage. He had no hope of meeting the victory conditions otherwise. The app, however, always uses the worst die in the case of a reroll, giving you no option to use the better dice.

vanrydergames wrote:
Nick Danger wrote:
dbc- wrote:
I will play in the way that has the best odds of achieving victory.
I do not connect enough to the theme to bother about major or minor victories.
If it is not possible to choose the die to be rerolled, I will personally just stick to the physical version.


This is where I am at. I did not set out to win the game this way, die rolls went against me late in the game and I was looking at loss when this win scenario hit me, it was a "Wow, I might be able to pull this off!" thing and then I'm staring at no possibility to reroll my single die roll of a victory - which was a sure loss. If it was a game mechanism forcing my hand it would have been understandable, but this was a programming decision that prohibits playing by the rules. I'd have preferred it was a bug.


This sort of play is not in the spirit of the game or my intent as the designer for the game. You should never try to get hostages killed. Taking risks to try to save hostages that result in a (unfprtunate) death and decrease the pool (like extractions) accomplish the same thing and you are trying to SAVE the hostages.

I fully support the app not allowing successes to be rerolled and will make that an official rule in the physical game as well if I have to.


That last sentence is fascinating. The designer is so perturbed by the idea that someone playing his game might intentionally kill a hostage in order to win the game that he will modify the rules to prevent people from playing that way.

The questions:

Is the problem that there isn't a rule preventing this non-thematic action? Or that the win conditions that he designed perversely incentivise it and as such the win conditions need modification?

What do you think of designer intent? Does how the designer wants you to play the game matter more than how you want to play the game (not talking about house rules)? Should one be allowed to play against the spirit of the game as long as it is in the letter of the rules?

I know of Stone Age and the starvation strategy, what other games create these anti-thematic strategies? How do you feel about them when you see them in play?
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2. Board Game: Mysterium [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:153]
chearns
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Played this this week wiht someone who didn't really know the rules very well but taught the game regardless. A numbe of mistakes were made. Looking through the rules later, I think those errors affected whether we won or lost, but the essential tension points weren't affected. However, while I normally rate a game after one play, I haven't rated this one. Yes, I think I got the gist of it and it's an average game, however, I didn't actually play it. Could it be that it would be more fun with the real rules?

How do y'all feel when you learn a game from someone else with the wrong rules? When it's a so-so experience, do you give the game another chance?
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3. Board Game: The Ravens of Thri Sahashri [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:1395]
chearns
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I taught this game to MC this week. Now, while I can't be certain of just how many rules I got wrong, I got sufficient wrong that we more or less wasted our time playing. When this happens to you, do you recover? Does the game ever hit the table again?
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4. Board Game: Coloretto [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:481]
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Played this twice at meetup this week. The owner of the game changed two rules and had a play convention that differed from mine that made the game more confusing. The two game changes probably didn't matter too much, they weren't enormous. One was that starting player rotated instead of being the player who last took a pile. The other was that instead of playing with the marker to indicate when the last fifteen cards were reached, he just called the end of the game when it was obvious the pile wouldn't last another round (in the second game if me and the final player had gone all the way, we would have ran out of cards, sadly they took a column before that could happen).

How do you feel when strangers change the rules for a game? How do you feel when you they do it without telling anyone? Or asking anyone's advice?
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5. Board Game: Cranium [Average Rating:5.69 Overall Rank:6048]
chearns
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Unlike the other stories, this one dates back years. Cranium has two tracks, the fast track and the slow one. Which track you move along is determined by whether you got one of the easy cards (about 90% of the deck) or one of the hard ones (the other 10%). After a lot of play, I noticed that this often became the deciding factor, so I started playing without the long track whatsoever, just the short track. One day, there we are getting ready to play and I'm explaining to people, some of whom I've never played this game with before, about my modification and the whys of it. Many people are confused and we get into a debate about whether to use the rules as written or to go with my confusing suggestion (which I am extremely, uncomfortably insistent upon).

What are the house rules you find essential? Do you bother telling people they are house rules? Or do you just explain the game and never bother telling any one that these are the rules as written?
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6. Board Game: Thurn and Taxis [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:349]
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
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Company gaming club:

At last there were enough players to play at two tables. Well, things didn't start fast, first we had a 2-player filler, then played 3-player, then the rest of the players arrived. They played Medici two times and Tajemnicze podziemia 3 times and left...



But as for what I played,
 7   Tajemnicze podziemia
was the one I started with. For those who don't know, it's like Karuba but simpler and way faster, a real filler, one of the many Take it Easy!-like Knizias that I thought would work fine in a board game form even when it was only available as an app (Reiner Knizia's Labyrinth) - it took surprisingly long to make it to cardboard form.

 7.2   No Thanks! x2
Two 3-player plays while waiting for others. They arrived during the second play and they didn't wait for us to end the second game (I won both but still with lots of negative points; I wonder if it's even possible to win the game with positive points 3-player).

 7.7   Thurn and Taxis x3
"Dusting off" the game after almost 6 years. Actually this is one SdJ winner I never owned as I bought it for my mother several years ago and for some time I thought it's enough that I can play it at their place. But I found a used copy very cheap in the end of last year (it was very cheap as one of the post offices were missing - I quickly replaced that from my big bag of random wooden components). I was curious how this one held up over time. I might revise that old rating later but not now - I was playing with curious non-gamers who were rather enthusiastic (even though the rules felt a bit too complex for them first). But they demanded a replay then another one. Despite the way you draw cards and place pieces along routes I don't think I know why it's so often compared to Ticket to Ride - it's almost like a completely different genre. Of course I love TtR and in comparison this is a lot more like a point salad-y Euro with a race for point scoring tiles (and to end the game) - but I like it (probably because of the combination of hand management, playing on a map and the race element). And as for the claims about the lack of interaction (sure, you can't block anyone on the map) - I played like a bastard, building a post office in Lodz then collecting and holding back Lodz cards from others before I could get the all-color bonus, or clearing the display when a player I was racing with for some territories just could have gotten their card from there... It was more fun than I remembered.




Saturday, all-day gaming event with the jury:

 6.9   Welcome to the Dungeon x2

With a Hungarian copy. It's still good, but I like it more if played in combination with the Bauza-designed expansion. (There is more variety because of the 4+4 races then, also the new races are more interesting.) If the expansion gets a Hungarian edition as well, I'm going to buy both. Also the Hungarian edition has a serious flaw in the translation - according to these rules you win your mission if you lose exactly as many life points as you had when you entered into the cave and also lose your mission if this happens.

 6.7   Timebomb x2 NEW!
Secret roles, bluffing and deception via communication is not my idea of fun. At least this one is harmlessly simple and has enough randomness that it's not that hard to lie with a straight face. Iello edition (with a Sherlock vs Moriarty 'theme'), well, it looks good and is an okay filler for what it is.

 6   Sheriff of Nottingham NEW!
Have I already told you secret roles, bluffing and deception via communication is not my idea of fun? I can see how some enjoy this game and how fun it can be for the right people so I won't rate it lower but damn, I already dread the time I have to replay it (I will have to) as a member of the jury. I don't like this kind of game but I would play Cockroach Poker if I had to choose something of its ilk. This one is just way... bigger and longer without being more fun.



 6.9   Dream Home x2
It's still cute and while obviously not a gamers' game, it offers enough to think about for adults playing with their kids.

 7.8   Cottage Garden
I'm sorry but while Patchwork is more elegant and the decisions might be more interesting mathematically, I still enjoy this one more than Patchwork.



 5.5   Colorado x2 NEW!
So it's a tile-laying game that's not even in the database yet. It's from a Hungarian publisher of mainly mass-market kids' games, seemingly their first try at making something resembling an Eurogame. It's not even that bad, a card-driven tile-laying game, it looks good... But it's underdeveloped as some cards (=actions) are a lot less useful than others and probably the game could have been a fine light family game in the hands of an experienced development team.

 7.5   Between Two Cities x2 NEW!
I enjoyed this game probably more than it deserves.
Con:
- the illustrations are not bad but definitely not eye-catching, I'd even call them dull. See Quadropolis or (m)any other city-building examples for city-building games that are way more pleasure to the eye.
- Scoring of the distinct building types is not strongly thematic nor intuitive. Once again Quadropolis does a better job of this. (It also might be slightly overbalanced, but maybe otherwise it would be just unfair to the unlucky players.)
Pro:
- The two games we played were very good fun! I love the way it makes you cooperate with your two neighbors (almost like a reverse 7 Wonders) and this mechanism itself is definitely more fun than the one of Quadropolis (or 7 Wonders) I've just compared the game to.




Weekend plays with the kids:

 7.5   Ticket to Ride: First Journey (Europe)
 7.2  Beasty Bar
 8.3 Dixit

(3p, 5 cards, Borcsa keeps falling behind with her rabbit so I might try some nordenging next time, like giving her a larger hand of cards.)
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7. Board Game: El Grande [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:54]
Brad N
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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_9_ El Grande - 5 Players
_8_ San Juan - 4 Players
_8_ Dominion - 3 Players
_6_ Morels - 2 Players
_6_ Love Letter - 4 Players
_6_ Fugitive - 2 Players

With the kids...
_8_ Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small - 2 Players
_8_ San Juan - 3 Players
_7_ Memoir '44 - 2 Players
_7_ Escape: The Curse of the Temple - 2 Players (x2)
_6_ FUSE - 2 Players (x2)
_6_ Small World - 2 Players
_6_ Queendomino - 2 Players



(1) El Grande - I was not enamored with my start to the game, getting very few caballeros on the board in the first 3 rounds. The first play of the game by the player to my right was to decay all of our courts back to the provinces... painful and awesome and a perfect start to set the tone for the game. I was fortunate to be able to play the low card in turns 5 and 8 to get the first move in turns 6 and 9 with the king and scoring. I was also very fortunate to be 3 points behind 1st and 2nd place heading into the final turn or two so that 1st and 2nd place beat up on each other and left relatively free to collect some needed points. The final spread was wider than expected, but that's common in El Grande. This was quite an interesting round.

(2) Love Letter - Nothing especially memorable about this play of Love Letter except that everyone just went with the flow and it was more fun than I've had with the game lately. And, I definitely caused another copy of this game to be purchased through this play.

(3) Morels - It's a decent, simple, 2 player game. I decided my rating was reflecting more Marie's appreciation for the game than mine. I'll play it and it's good and she likes it, but it doesn't deserve a 7 from me and I adjusted accordingly to a 6.

(4) Memoir '44 - Here is another that had an inflated rating. I like Memoir '44... it looks good on the table, the theme is well integrated, it generates interesting decisions, etc. However, I feel like I've experienced fairly swingy rolls of the dice in this game affecting the outcome and that isn't awesome. Also, a number of the scenarios seem set up for one side to mostly just sit back and fire away. In the Guam Landings (#52) scenario we played this time, I couldn't see how ever moving an infantry group (which is all I had) made sense since most of them were behind sand bags and in hills and forests. Maybe I'm missing something, but I pretty well just sat back and fired away and that made this less interesting. It doesn't seem like a terribly unusual thing in this game. I'll play it more as Dane and I like to play it together, but I'm definitely questioning its lasting power.

(5) Small World - As I've clearly documented here before, Dane somehow crushes me at this game over and over again. This round was different, I seemed to be scoring 12-13 points per round to his 7-8. The problem was that I paid a lot for my ability-race combos, especially with the Tales & Legends expansion when we auctioned off the ability to combine any two visible. It was scoring me points and it was expensive. At the end, both Dane and I figured I'd be well ahead with all the scoring I was doing. Turns out we were tied 77-77 and I barely won on the tie-breaker, having the most tiles on the board. Phew. Unlike the previous two on this list, Small World is pretty consistently out-performing its rating, especially in 2 player games with Dane. I think my rating reflects my overall feel at all player counts. To be fair, I might have to move it up to a 7 to reflect my interest in playing it with Dane since that's pretty much the only way I play it now.
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8. Board Game: Codenames [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:43] [Average Rating:7.80 Unranked]
Ien C.
United States
New York
New York
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 9.0   Codenames x6

Four games at T. and S.'s place on Friday night (with 7 people) and two more at a meetup on Saturday. Lots of fun and laughs, especially with friends you know and can trash talk with.
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9. Board Game: Catan: Junior [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:1445]
Johannes cum Grano Salis
United States
Finger Lakes
New York
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"It's not hard to design a game that works, the real challenge is making one that people want to play again and again."--Martin Wallace
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Catan: Junior x2
Dominion x2
Dominion: Hinterlands x2
Doodle Quest x2
Jump Drive x2
My First Carcassonne
Peanut Butter & Jelly Card Game
RattleSnake
Sherlock
Spot it!
Tiny Park
Trivial Pursuit: Star Wars – The Black Series Edition

The only real atypical thing here is the appearance of Dominion. My brother brought it to my parents' house at what turned out to be a surprise birthday party for my wife and me (part of what made it a surprise was that it came more than a month early, which is one way to go about surprising people). He and I played two games of it, half base and half Hinterlands. The first game was quick and snappy, and probably Dominion at its best. The second game dragged and was interminably long, and sat at the opposite end of the spectrum. While I'm not well-versed in deckbuilding, I still think it's the best representative of the genre.

Aside from that, my son continues to love Catan Junior, this time getting a couple 3p plays in. He was off from school last week so I decided to let him stay up late one night to play some games, and my wife joined in. He was thrilled and wants to do it "the Wednesday of every month." As part of that, we taught my wife how to play Catan Junior. She won. Then Saturday we taught my father. He also won. So we're doing juuuuuuust fine as a gaming duo.

Also managed a few plays of things 3p with my son and older daughter. She's taking more of an interest in things for "bigger" kids, so I may have to start Nordengeng games to make that possible. We got about a year out of some of those HABA "My First Games" things, but she's a precocious 3.5 and might be ready to move along.
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10. Board Game: Heaven & Ale [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:564]
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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My only gaming this week was an afternoon with Jimmy and his partner Amanda yesterday. Always a highlight of my trips out here!

Jimmy wanted to teach me Heaven & Ale and as it's a Kiesling I wasn't totally resistant. I can see that it's a clever design, but unsurprisingly it's not really my thing. Feels like it has some of the good aspects of Palaces of Carrara (money/point balancing, player control of when to score, possibility of lopsided scoring) but layers a whole bunch of added complexity and interlocking systems over the top of it. Personally, I want complexity to be there for a reason - generally to evoke/simulate some aspect of the theme. This one doesn't do that at all - it feels like a machine whose sole purpose is figuring out how to operate it.

I picked up Zero Down (soon to be merged with Zero) in a bookstore the other day. It's a neat Knizia rummy-variant. You're trying to collect sets of at least 5 matching colours and/or numbers by exchanging between your hand and a pool. The nicest part is that the end of a round is triggered by two passes (from the same or different players), so you can try to cash out early hoping your hand is better than the others'.

Next was Magic Maze. I'm reserving judgement for now as we only played the introductory scenario, but I don't think enforced silence is really a good fit for me.

Memoarrr! was quite fun - essentially it's competitive Memory. Each card has two aspects (a colour and an animal) and you need to find a card that matches one aspect of the previous player's and then take a special action based on the animal.

Jimmy and I both already mentioned his Azul variant. It tightened things up nicely with 3 and I may try introducing it to my friends back home.

We finished up with a few hands of Cosmic Eidex which I always remember how to play just in time for it to end!
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11. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:17]
Seth Brown
United States
North Adams
Massachusetts
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A good week for epic gaming!

Hadn't played Agricola in a while, and got to play a pair of 2p games with Debbie. I had forgotten how much more *punishing* this is in comparison to Caverna, and both of us ended up scrounging for food a few times in a desperate attempt to avoid begging cards. The first game I grabbed the 2-clay fireplace, and Debbie didn't grab the other one (or build fences) until the end of game, effectively granting me a monopoly on all the animal spaces for most of the game (and a victory). Our second game was much closer, and had more of the usual fighting over wood and reed.

Game night kicked off with Codenames, which is not epic but a fine filler to start an evening. I realized the other team is a couple that plays the game wholly differently than I do. I tend to clue based on the word's inherent meaning, common phrases, extended conceptual maps, etc. My opponents clued almost entirely based on personal connections; their clues oft involved things like past revelries (drink/sex/etc.), family members, even at one point the clue-giver used her teammate's name as the clue. I find it fascinating that the same game can be played so differently.

Got to play a full game of Through the Ages against the host I taught last week. At the beginning I had a clear advantage, as I was building tons of wonders while he didn't get far. But then he focused on VP and also managed a very strong Colony strategy in the midgame (with the blue bonus to colonize tech, and the 2VP per turn per colony leader), opening up a huge VP lead on me. I eventually caught up on the VP income deficit, but never caught up on the VP debt, and he destroyed me. I have the same issue in any Civ game I've played on the computer; I just want to build wonders and sort of fail to account for all the other important stuff.
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12. Board Game: Star Wars: Rebellion [Average Rating:8.49 Overall Rank:6]
Jay Sachs
United States
Woodinville
Washington
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With kids:
 6.5   Forbidden Desert
 8   Star Wars: Rebellion
 6   Kingdomino x2
 N/A   Go Fish
 2   Garbage x3 NEW!
 7.5   Schotten Totten x3

Online:
 10   Innovation x2

Didn't play with any adults this week. I did get to play Schotten-Totten for the first time with the advanced rules and tactics cards. That could push up the rating, even. I especially appreciated that deductions about winning a stone could not take into account outstanding potential tactics cards (which seems right).

The highlight though was a full game of SW:R. My son and I hadn't played in a while, so we both made some mis-plays, and missed opportunities. As usual, I was the rebels. Certainly my rating for it is inflated due to the thematic tie-in, e.g. ....

Quote:
Jan Dodonna flubbed an early attempt to take out a poorly defended Death Star (had a 66% chance of taking it down), which turned out to be critical (those two reputation points very likely would have swung the game). But it was Han Solo's arrogance which ultimately sunk the rebellion. Not only failing on his first two missions, he was captured after the second. He'd previously offended Obi-wan, who simply declined to assist in preventing the capture (I forgot I had an action card ...). Worse, he also had shown Chewbacca such disrespect, so the furball decided self-grooming was more important than assisting his long time "friend" (I also had another action card which I forgot) During Solo's subsequent interrogation, he readily spilled the location of of the rebel base. Fortunately, the rebels had already been planning to reinforce the base and so were able to rapidly switch gears and find a new home. Leia and Obi-wan planned Solo's rescue, but Obi-wan slept in and before the rescue could be attempted, Tarkin let Solo escape ... with a homing beacon on the Falcon. (I didn't choose to do the rescue soon enough and the Empire acted first) Solo again led the Imperials right to the rebel base. A bit of luck, as the Empire foolishly decided to swat away at a bit of disruption instead of eliminating the base then and there (My son chose for some reason to oppose a sabotage-like mission -- he says he was worried about reputation loss). It would take an extra month for the empire to bring to bear enough ground forces, so the rebels again were able to pivot from reinforcement to relocation. This time, though, the Imperial probe network had been operational enough for the Empire to know exactly where it had been moved -- right into its backyard. As irony or joke, the Rebels had Han Solo lead the last "defense" against the Empire and forever be associated with the demise of the Rebellion.

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13. Board Game: Food Chain Magnate [Average Rating:8.22 Overall Rank:29]
George Leach
United Kingdom
Godalming
Surrey
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 N/A   Tin Goose - here's a game that could perhaps do with some house rules because the cards are so important but you see very few of them. I've played three times now and come last in two of those games but early in the game everyone thinks I'm running away with it. I'm intrigued to see more of it but I might be running out of goodwill on its behalf.
 8   Ligretto - I'm really pleased with my current storage solution as it's letting me get games like this played which was always a tough sell historically.

With friends
 9   Alchemidus - we played this while awaiting our fourth. I love it so it's always a good time for me. It's quite difficult for many people though.
 N/A   Food Chain Magnate NEW! - I really enjoyed this though I kind've wish we'd had time to replay the first two rounds once we'd seen how it goes and the relative value of certain actions and milestones. It's a very long game but one I'd be willing to replay and get it shorter. The turn order track was abit fiddly and I don't understand how Zeppelin's transport drinks. It's one I look forward to playing again and the shared board has a lot going on.

At Work
 8   Bohnanza

With Sophie and Alice
 7   Ticket to Ride: Europe - I introduced the drawing a face up locomotive rule. With some minor help she managed to keep within 6 points of me.
 9   Orchard
 N/A   Shopping List NEW!
 N/A   Lunch Box Game NEW! - I'm not a fan of these simple but overwrought memory games but the Girl's like them so they get occasional play.
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14. Board Game Designer: Stefan Feld
EXTRA AVOCADO! Sonderegger
United States
Folsom
CA
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Great comment from Peer Sylvester, and as, apparently we were christened Feld Club (whether ironically or not), I thought this was a nice place to put it:

Peerchen wrote:
darkpact wrote:
Everyone who knows Stefan Feld knows, that all his game are called (something)manager during the prototype phase.


Which is funny - When I have an idea for a cool Euro with a twist, but dont know the theme yet, I name it "Stefan Feld Game 1", "Stefan feld game 2" etc.

True story. II do like my Feld.
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15. Board Game: Powerships [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:4233]
chearns
Canada
Montréal
Québec
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Onirim x11
Friday x8
Elevenses for One x6

MC

The Ravens of Thri Sahashri - Not sure she'll agree to play this again. Well, she probably will, but unless it shines brilliantly, it will be the last time. She doesn't like the art style. She played the comatose woman and felt she had nothing to do (I don't blame her, it certainly seems like she has nearly nothing to do). Plus, well, I got lots of rules wrong. I seriously question if this game has the depth to complexity ratio I look for in games. So, uh, MC isn't the only one looking quizzically at it.

MEETUP

Coloretto x2 - Not unusually, the game was a bit rough played with people who don't have much experience with signals during drafting, haven't grasped that competing for colours is bad, and which side dominates you. The game ends up feeling a bit luck based and these two were no different. I think I was a bit irritated that the last 15 cards card was pulled out, that we used nothing to signal who was out of each round (causing confusion or skipped turns more than once), and that starting player rotated rather than going to the person who finished the previous round. In the second game I became severely disinvested I think and basically handed the game to my left neighbour.

Mysterium - Same group of people. A learning game with a number of errors. Most notably we were told which card was which of the final three and we didn't necessarily see the same cards. We also got the gambling part wrong, falsely limiting ourselves to one gamble per turn. Not being the ghost, I don't know if the ghost also made errors in the play. It seems possible as sometimes a player didn't get any cards, and I don't think that's allowed. Plus, I never saw the ravens move from on top of the shield. Plus, our cards were dealt out face down instead of face up and we all flipped them over at the same time. However, even if all those were corrected, the game seems to lack any tension. I never seemed to care about what was going on. This might be partially due to the herky jerky nature of the game as we spend a far bit of time sitting there doing nothing but waiting for the ghost to give us cards. Then two minutes of action. Then a bunch of waiting. Again. Over and over.

Bohnanza - For those tracking the anecdotal evidence, I bought a 3rd field, only one to do so, and won. Convincingly. However, they were all first time players and even though I explained to them that it isn't that kind of game, they were too conservative with their trades, often ending up having to plant cards that led to free uproots because they didn't work to trade them away from their hands before their turn rolled around. I, however, had a near empty hand the whole game.

FRIENDS

Get Lucky - A reboot of Kill Dr. Lucky! Our beloved lunchtime game from back in the day. When I say our, I mean the old work gang from near twenty years ago now. Well, they were pleased as punch when I pulled this updated version out. We played, and while it is going directly to the trade pile, it is a vast improvement over the original. It cuts the playtime in half. It gets rid of abusive ten turns in a row play. It gets to the meat faster. However, it still takes time to get to the meat. There is far less bluffing (although, it does open up the possibility of a new form of bluffing, which is something one of the other players and I discussed after the game during the debriefing). And in this particular game, the winner was pretty random as it was simply the person who won once all the defence cards were out of the game.

Powerships - A reboot of Powerboats! Our beloved boating game from back in the day. This, unlike Get Lucky, is a keeper. I thought Powerboats was really good, but sailing around random make believe islands can't compare to racing around the solar system. Seriously. How can anyone not love a game that has not only Uranus but a red rocket as well? I consider this to be strictly better than Powerboats and I'm very glad I backed it.
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16. Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 [Average Rating:8.53 Overall Rank:33]
Seth Brown
United States
North Adams
Massachusetts
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Did I mention this is harder than S1? It's harder than S1. We are doing.... let's charitably call it "not great", and had to scratch off another one of those failure-boobyprizes which says "If you have failed to open the appropriate door by this month, scratch off this card which tells you to open the damn door anyway, because the game can't progress if you haven't done this by now, loser."

We lost anyway. Badly.

We consoled ourselves by trying Food Truck Champion, which is a pretty little game that is like a simplified Glory to Rome, basically stealing the mechanics entirely except that they've eliminated the Legionary role and the buildings/recipes are just endgame points rather than offering any infrastructure. It was... fine, I guess? I just can't imagine choosing to play this except in circumstances where I want to teach someone Glory to Rome and feel they'd benefit from an intermediate step.
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17. Board Game: Goa [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:107]
Joshua Kuhlmann
United States
Huntington Beach
California
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At Home

 5   Takenoko
 7   Goa

Gaming with the brother-in-law last week. He took to Goa more readily than I would have thought; the most complex game we'd played before that was Broom Service. But he enjoyed the game, and was talking about it the next day. Unfortunately, he was working the next morning, so we only played the A rounds. (That's two games of Goa I've had to leave incomplete!)

Takenoko was fine, as usual. The ecosystem is interesting, but the variable objectives can be kind of wonky. Hey, I'm still happy to play it.
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