GCL Snoo 31: Vacation
Ambie
United States
San Mateo
California
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Important Links:
GameChat League: Snoo Division Subscription Thread
GCL Snoo Wiki
GameChat League Wiki (for general information about the GameChat League concept)
Thesp's GCL Games Played Tool (an easy-to-use tool for collating your plays for the week)

Welcome to GCL Snoo Division's weekly geeklist!

GCL Snoo Members:
• Please add an item to represent your gaming life for the week of April 2 - April 8, 2018.
• List any games played along with your thoughts/opinions.
• Also, feel free to share gaming news, life updates, random thoughts, or anything else you deem appropriate.

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

Current Roster:
Epsilon_Balls
jshufelt
ambierona
noajayne
Wisecow
LouieSTFU
jmoline
Necroblaster3000
EvilJelloMan
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1. Board Game: Family Vacation [Average Rating:6.17 Unranked]
Ambie
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San Mateo
California
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I'm going on a real vacation for the first time in a long time! What are your favorite places to go on vacation? What do you like to do on vacation? Do you like sightseeing, or go for the food, or something else?
 
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2. Board Game: Sounds Like a Plan [Average Rating:6.01 Overall Rank:9514]
Ambie
United States
San Mateo
California
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I really enjoy games where you have to plan a lot of things ahead of time in order to get your ultimate goal. Much like that, I also like planning my vacations ahead of time so I know what I'm gonna be doing. Do you like planning everything out ahead of time for your vacations or just winging it?
 
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3. Board Game: Online: Internet Card Game [Average Rating:4.82 Overall Rank:14645]
Ambie
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San Mateo
California
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When you travel or take vacation, do you prefer to unplug from everything, or do you still like checking up on the internet/work/etc?
 
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4. Board Game: Go: The International Travel Game [Average Rating:5.64 Overall Rank:12754]
Ambie
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San Mateo
California
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Do you like playing games while on vacation? On the airplane? In the car? Or while you're relaxing in the hotel? Or do you not bring any games at all? Do you ever need to take a vacation from gaming?
 
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5. Board Game: Quadropolis: Game Store [Average Rating:7.31 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.31 Unranked]
Ambie
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San Mateo
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I'll be visiting some game stores while I'm in Japan. Do you like visiting game stores in different places you travel? Do you stay and play some games, buy some games, or just window shop?

...and let me know which games I should buy!
 
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6. Board Game: Nine Tiles [Average Rating:6.43 Overall Rank:6534]
Ambie
United States
San Mateo
California
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Game of the Week - Nine Tiles (my favorite Oink Games game).

Have you played? What do you think of speed games? What's your favorite speed game? What's your favorite Oink Games game?
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7. Board Game: Take 5! [Average Rating:6.43 Overall Rank:1980]
Ambie
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San Mateo
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Top 5. Give me a list, and I'll get to it. No promises on timing though, considering I may not be online much the next couple weeks.

Top 5 future vacation destinations:
This is kinda mixed with my bucket list of places I want to go sometime.
1. New Zealand - because of Lord of the Rings
2. Cuba - my dad's from there, and I've heard it's pretty
3. Hong Kong - my grandparents (mom's side) are from there, and I want Michelin star dim sum
4. A cruise - not really important on the destination, but I want to do a cruise again. Maybe a Disney cruise.
5. Japan - I'm still in the middle of this trip, but I want to come back again.

Top 5 things I ate in Japan:
I keep forgetting to do this list, and it's a super tough list because everything was so good! But here goes... I'm gonna be basing it off the experience, the taste, and the.. originality? (things I'd never had before will be rated higher because that made the experience better)

1. Melonpan ice cream - melonpan is a Japanese bread with a sweet, crunchy crust that's really good. There was a food truck in Osaka that sold melonpan ice cream - the fresh, crunchy bread was sliced in half and some vanilla ice cream was inside. The combination of the warm bread and the cold ice cream was wonderful!



2. Kobe beef - we had this twice, one from a food cart in Kobe and once at a fancy restaurant in Tokyo (the fancy restaurant was higher grade). It was so delicious! The meat was so fatty and tender and melted in our mouths.



3. Tuna - We went to a few sushi places (including one at the fish market that was really good), but the last day we went to a sushi conveyer belt place, and they brought in a huge bluefin tuna! They cut it up right there, and we got super fresh sushi! They also played rock paper scissors for the leftover bone pieces, and I won a plate! (you scrape it off with the spoon and eat it - it includes some really good fatty parts)



4. Thick broth ramen - the regular ramen was good too, but I had never had thick broth ramen before so this stood out a lot, and it was really good! The broth was very thick, kinda more like a sauce than a soup. It stuck to the noodles like spaghetti, so there was a lot of flavor in each bite. And then you eat the rest with a bowl of rice.



5. Apple dessert - my husband's cousin is a pastry chef, and we stayed at their place for a couple nights at the end. She made us some dessert each night, and one of them was this baked apple pastry thing. She didn't add much sugar, so it wasn't too sweet, and the crust was really good.



Honorable mentions:
We had a bunch of good food, both street food and restaurant food. Some other things I really liked (either for presentation, yumminess, or uniqueness) were:
Strawberry dessert (it's just chopped frozen strawberries with condensed milk, but the strawberries are really good there)
Disney snacks - Gyoza bun (gyoza filling but a steamed bun), and Mickey shaped bun with different sweet fillings in each section!
Michelin star instant ramen - Nakiryu instant ramen, available at 7-11. Best instant ramen I've had, and better than a lot of regular ramen places!
Chicken new eggs attached to the ovaries still - we went to a yakitori place (chicken on sticks) and my husband's cousin ordered this for us - it's like a not-yet egg still attached to chicken parts. You eat the egg with the chicken, and it was pretty good!

 
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8. Board Game: The Dwarves [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:2149]
United States
Yay Area
California
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 7.5   March of the Ants
 7   Insider x2
 7.75   The Dwarves
 8.6   Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases NEW!

March of the Ants - I played with the 3/4 of the same people from last week so we through in the asymmetrical ant variant. It was alright. Someone's ant had a very terrible setback and on top of that they were attacked first turn so they were bleeding resources all game.

Die Zwerge - This is one of the first board games I backed on kickstarter because I was watching a lot of rahdo. It's weird how much I like this considering it has roll to resolve, roll to move, and other randomness.

Other -

In line with this week's theme I am driving to Vegas for a mini vacation. It's a mix of emotions. I'm mostly going to party it up with some family. Their idea of going hard doesn't involve medium weight euros. Looking forward to spending time with them, not looking forward to the outward social things like going clubbing. I'm introverted if you hadn't guessed. The idea of going to a club is both mortifying and exhausting.

They told me dress code is "upscale casual". I googled that and yeah I don't think I own anything like that in my wardrobe.

I'm too risk averse too gamble. Hoping to hit some cool food stuff (EGGSLUT is on the list and that's about as far as my list got because it was too overwhelming to google places and think about reservations for groups.)

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9. Board Game: Great Western Trail [Average Rating:8.28 Overall Rank:9]
Louie L
United States
San Francisco
California
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 8.4   Kingdomino x4
 N/A   The Grimm Forest x2 NEW!
 6.5   Codenames
 10   Agricola
 8.75   Sushi Go Party! x2
 9.5   Great Western Trail

Right. I played a lot of Kingdomino this week at work. I've been pushing Kingdomino as a good "take a break" game because it plays so fast.

I also had two separate times to play The Grimm Forest. I think, just as I expected, it's not in my wheelhouse. But it's fun, and a lot of BS tends to happen. I find it a bit reminiscent of Cosmic Encounter, in the sense that, there's several little phases during the Gather phase where cards can trigger. A lot of game is "out-guessing" and hoping you don't get screwed. I usually get screwed.

I finished up a several week long game of Agricola with my sister over on Boitajeux. We were lagging a bit on finishing it up.

Great Western Trail came out on a Saturday meetup, and I felt like I executed a Building strategy well. It's probably the first time a Cowboy heavy strategy didn't win. Someone was able to cull their entire deck except for an 18+ hand, and was able to ship to San Francisco three times, so that was cool, too.

Sushi-Go Party came out after dinner on Saturday. We played two variants: Cutthroat Combo and Master Menu. I liked the former over the latter; Cutthroat Combo is very interactive.
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10. Board Game: Arkham Horror: The Card Game [Average Rating:8.27 Overall Rank:19]
James
United States
San Francisco
California
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Arkham Horror: The Card Game x3
Legacy of Dragonholt


I've been alternating between "busy at work" and "sick as a dog", so my trend of saying "it was a light week" continues. I did get in some great story-driven games over the weekend, progressing my Arkham Horror LCG campaign with three "wins" in a row after taking a brutal beating at Miskatonic University the last time I played it.

Also got in my second play of Legacy of Dragonholt, and really enjoyed seeing where the narrative took me. I fought a surprisingly tense battle that was all completely deterministic but really played out well just reading small bits of text.


I think both of these are games that I will sell once I've seen their stories a few times, but I'm enjoying my time with them. Gonna lose SO much money on Arkham LCG when I get rid of it...
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11. Board Game: Empires of the Void II [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:1603]
Joseph Shufelt
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Only one game physically played.

That game is Ryan Lauket's Empires of the Void II. First, the box is a filthy liar. 30 minutes per player? In fairness to the box, my friend did… um… TAKE A LONG FREAKING TIME ON HIS TURNS. But from setup/rules to finishing, it took us about 3 hours. Three hours. Oh god, this sucked.

Was it the game’s fault? Eh. Setup is a pain. The rulebook is meh. (Though I do greatly approve of two things in it. A brilliant index at the back, and a “learning the game section, paired with an alphabetical set of rules after. Much like FFG’s two-rule book approach.) The game is too fiddly for its depth. But it wasn’t all the game’s fault. I just think 30 minutes per player is… a bit unlikely.
Anyway, my experience with Ryan Lakuet games is 8 Minute Empire and now this. I know the guy gets a lot of praise, almost as some sort of gaming savant. He’s an amazing illustrator/artist. A designer? I’ve yet to be impressed.

The core of the game is a sort of role selection, pseudo-4x, and it feels anemic to me. Outside of the art, there is nothing interesting or remarkable in the game. I don’t get a feel or sense for anything as I play. In fact, the strongest feeling I had the entire game was “Are we playing this correctly?” followed by shuffling a few pages around, reading it, and then reading it again. “Uhh… yeah. Weird.” - and that happened a LOT.

The game covers all aspects of a 4-x, but they all feel like they are made by Fisher-Price. It’s safe and quickly uninteresting.
Examples:

Movement/Exploration: There are hazards in space, where you roll a die to see if you succeed in passing. Or there’s probably an alternative route to avoid that hazard, which just costs one more bit of movement.

Combat/Exterminate: Combat strength is determined by three elements. The power level of the units, number of dice provided by the units, and a combat card. The dice, you basically roll all the dice your units allow you to roll. And you pick the highest one. That gets added to the unit power, then you play a card for power at the end. The winner loses their card and a point. If it’s a space battle, the loser just retreats to somewhere else and doesn’t really lose anything. Plus, they can choose to keep their card or lose it. If it’s a planet they control, it’s basically a small but not insignificant point swing. But considering you only score them twice in a game, you either have plenty of time to retake it, or it’s fairly insignificant in the grand scheme. Also, making it so that the more dice you roll only increases your odds of landing a high number isn’t exciting, or fun luck mitigation. It removes tension from the luck. At a certain point, it’s more about the power in have in cards and units, with a small RNG on the side.

The game has some interesting things. The event cards are actually totally cool elements, and gives the session a bit of flavor and can probably help make each game stand out from each other.
I’m sure the game is better with more players, and it would move along much better with either an experienced player that can just answer rules questions on the spot, or having everyone just take their damn turn. But at no point did any of the mechanisms or game’s narrative intrigue me. The game didn’t do anything particularly new, nor did the package feel like it delivered anything well. It’s just another edgeless “transatlantic” design of mediocrity.

OMM:
Another shit week at work.

Black Panther was pretty good. We went to three different theaters before we could get seats. Crazy.
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12. Board Game: Tokaido [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:439]
Cassadi
United States
Blacklick
Ohio
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Yet another week with a good chunk of gaming.

- Ticket to Ride: Switzerland - I played this on my tablet at lunch. This is one of my absolute favorite maps! Compact with interesting decisions, and it's just fun.
- Potion Explosion - I played this on my tablet at lunch and forgot how difficult the "hard" computer is. It crushed me.
- Charterstone - We played 3 games of this Wednesday. Some fun things are being unlocked, but I'm really not as into it as I thought I'd be.
- Parade - I had never heard of this little card game, but it was a super fun little one for board game lunch. I liked that you are forced into the set collection, but you want to collect as few cards as possible to have the lowest score at the end.
- Kingsburg - Saturday the boyfriend was gone all day so some friends came over for games while we watched the kiddo. I really didn't think I would enjoy this game the first time I played, but after a few games I find the decision making to be pretty interesting. I actually won this! Yay!
- Forbidden Desert - I'm still not sure how this was the first time I've ever played this game. It was okay. I prefer Pandemic.
- Tokaido - I hadn't played this in so long it was nice to get it to the table. Just a relaxing experience.
- Majesty: For the Realm - This was the second time I've played this one. Another set collecting game. It's fun, but really not much to write home about.
Dinosaur Island - We played the long game this time, and it was way better than the dumb short game! Somehow I managed to squeak out a victory by focusing on the objectives more than my dinos. I had a few dinos, but definitely didn't make that my primary focus. Fun times. Really do want to play again!
Sagrada - This was the the last game for Saturday. I still really enjoy this one.
La Granja - I hadn't played this in 2 years. It was nice to play again. I like how it utilizes the cards for mix use, and I thought I was doing okay in this one. However, I ended up in dead last! Booooo

On My Mind
- It looks like some decisions are getting made at work, and I'll hopefully have some things to do soon!
- Next month is Geekway, and I'm getting pretty pumped! If you're going it'd be awesome to meet up. Also if you're going you should come to the bottle swap that I'm planning! Yay!
- I'm posting this late because Monday and Tuesday I was working from home due to somehow pulling a muscle in my back WHILE I WAS ASLEEP! This was not a great experience, but I'm feeling quite a bit better today. Yay!
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13. Board Game: Suburbia [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:92]
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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 9   Puerto Rico
 10   Hansa Teutonica
 7   Secret Hitler x3
 N/A   Joking Hazard
 9   Suburbia x2
 8   The Resistance x3
 N/A   Dungeons & Dragons Basic Game

Suburbia -- We had a new player, but he picked up the game really quickly. My personal goal was to build as many yellow (industrial) locations as possible, which led me down a No Greens path as well. We only had two airports come out in the entire game, which was also interesting because one of the public goals was Most Airports (so it was tied and unclaimed). By mid game my All Yellow strategy began paying out handsomely, with me claiming 15 points of reputation almost every turn. I was able to use that and my Turn Order to my advantage to steal Lowest Income in the final round from my main competitor for a win.

The whole game took 60 minutes with rules explanation + setup, so we played a second game. I had Fewest Greens for my private goal, which I ultimately ended up losing because the New Guy didn't build any. Ooph. I had a middling strategy, but everyone else did too, and with an early end I eked out a win because I had swapped my engine to Reputation a turn earlier than most.

The Resistance -- Our group has gotten into a bit of a rut with social deduction games, so I've been actively pushing back against the meta. This is going badly in general, and I think it's starting to actually frustrate people. Like, unless you give me a reason, I typically will NOT vote for your mission, which I don't think is particularly noteworthy, but it's become an in-joke with the group that "Matt isn't dealt Yes cards." In one game here I claimed that I was Merlin (I wasn't) and that a specific other person was a spy and had thrown a fail card. Sure enough, a fail card was thrown on that mission, which resulted in the entire table being completely pissed off at me. The spies legitimately thought I might be Merlin, while the resistance thought I was almost surely a spy. While I had a few great moments, such as putting together a different team that I knew had at least 2 spies on it (attempting to get them to miscoordinate), I think there was too much discord for the good guys to actually obtain useful information. We lost in the final mission, right after one of the good guys stated "I'm not putting Matt on this mission because he's either a spy, or absolutely terrible at this game." He was visibly angry when he found out that I was not a spy nor Merlin. So... yeah, I should probably just play the game like the rest of the people, or suggest ONUW for a while.

Dungeons and Dragons -- I'm really enjoying playing with my three siblings. For whatever reason, I always love playing wizards, but playing them horribly. Inevitably, I spend my entire game saving spells rather than using them, and then running into melee despite knowing that I shouldn't. Is it stupid? Yes. Does it stop me? No. Still, it does make for memorable moments, like when my character cast True Strike on himself, then charges into combat dealing a critical hit and splitting the first enemy we face in half (because Real Wizards Use Glaives). I've picked two feats so far, and they're both combat feats.

In this past week's session, we were clearing out a troglodyte den when one of the smelly lizards awoke an ancient shadow. That shadow sapped almost all of the strength from our paladin, who crumpled to the ground under the weight of his own armor. We did manage to vanquish it, but it was very touch-and-go for a while. However, now our paladin will take several weeks to fully recover his strength from the combat, which should make for an interesting situation. Clearing out the cave brought us a level up, which unlocked 2nd level spells for my wizard. Rather than take a nice attack spell, I felt that the proper roleplaying move was to learn Bull's Strength, which will allow me to magically bolster the paladin's strength for a good portion of the day.

My sibling group is an interesting mix because the three of us play very differently. My sister has not played in a decade, so she's mostly trying to figure out what her druid can do. My older brother has an idea of who his character is in his head, but rarely adds to any role playing, and tends to frown upon what he thinks of as suboptimal play. Then you have me, who basically adds comedy and role play to every scene (such as psyching himself up and talking about the grand deeds we've done as an adventuring party in order to get an audience with the baron, only to be overcome by stage fright when the audience is granted).


On my mind:
Spring is finally arriving, and I've been exercising a lot more. This year I want to focus on running rather than biking. My half marathon training is going okay, less a few minor setbacks. I'm in my sixth week of training, and while I've not drastically improved, I have seen increases in my pace and endurance, which is nice. My longest run has been 9 miles, which I was astounded to accomplish. Likewise, my shorter runs are now consistently around the 8:30/mi range rather than 9:30/mi that they were before. So long as I don't have any injuries, I think I'm easily on schedule for my half marathon in june.
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