Heavy Games on Your Table - August 2018
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Welcome to
Heavy Games on Your Table
August 2018


The term "Heavy Game" can cover a wide variety of titles. Generally, games featured on these lists are complex Eurogames, 18xx, wargames, and other games that require a significant investment in time or thought.

Please post entries only for games that you have actually played this month, and include a description of the session, interesting things of note, photos, analysis, etc! The list is designed for more in-depth discussion of heavy games.

Please subscribe to this thread to be notified when a new GeekList is posted each month!

If the games on this list interest you, please consider joining the heavy game discussions in the following guilds:
- Heavy Cardboard Podcast Guild
- Deep Cuts Guild
Heavy Cardboard's Podcast and videos are also great resources.

And if the 18XX games on this list interest you, be sure to check out:
- The Dual Gauge Podcast and Guild

These Podcasts and their guilds also focus on heavy games:
- Punching Cardboard Podcast and Guild
- The Deep End Gaming Podcast and Guild

These Podcasts cover boardgames in general, but feature some heavy games content and coverage that is worth checking out:
- The Good, The Board, and The Ugly Podcast and Guild
- Board Game Blitz Podcast and Guild
- Low Player Count Podcast and Guild


Please add only one entry per game. If someone else has already added a game you are playing, just add comments!

After the next month's list is posted, this list will be re-sorted alphabetically to make finding games in each list quicker.

Any GG donated to the list will be re-distributed to the top few contributors at the end of the month (quality, not just quantity...)

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1. Board Game: 1879 [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:6883]
Luke Heidebrecht
Canada
Saskatoon
Saskatchewan
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This week saw two Winsome 18xx hit the table for the first time.

1879 - set in the Northwest - Washington/Oregon area, this game is designed as an introduction to the 18xx and, so I thought, I'd introduce a new player using this title! We played with three. I won't go into details about our session but rather tell of my observations and thoughts of the game.

Immediately it differs from most(all?) that I've played in that there are no private companies. The first stock round opens with an auction for the presidents certificate of one specific company, which has fairly lame starting location but the most tokens of any company. The winner of the auction sets the par price at whatever they like regardless of the price paid for the presidents cert. Interesting. And then on to the stock round as per usual.

Rather than off board locations each company, of which there are six, start in an "off-board" that is specific to that company - besides one company which starts in the green phase on a OO city. No other companies may run to this off board and its value is equal to the highest valued city in each trains run. This fact made running a train from a company's home "off-board" to the NY tile (Seattle I presume) an important task.

If you are unfamiliar with a Winsome 18xx - it is basically a riff on 1830. Same tile set (1879 does not use the B cities), similar market, rules, etc...

I enjoyed this one much more than expected. The fact that three companies start in off-boards in a column on the east side of the map makes for some interesting track-building competition and turn order, we found, was quite important in laying track into the green phase. Two companies start in either South-west and South-east corners and lead into OO tiles and the sixth company begins in a OO on the west side of the map (Portland maybe?). I enjoyed the dynamics of the map. There are some great choke points created - eastern side of the board is littered with double dits, making the early tile lays important, while cross to the west is a task given the costly ($120) mountain range - again, leading to choke point cities. Finally, tokens are expensive ($40 first, and $100 subsequent).

I think it was a great introduction to 18xx and a nice game for 3 players.

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2. Board Game: 1868 [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:9161]
Luke Heidebrecht
Canada
Saskatoon
Saskatchewan
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1868 - the second Winsome 18xx.

Played with the same group of three, including the newly minted 18xxer who played 1879 - see above.

I was a little less taken with 1868 (set in Uruguay). It's always surprising how a particular session can paint my view of a game, which is why I need to table them again to test that experience! However, there are a number of things of note:

First, laying and upgrading, of which you can do two actions (two lays, two upgrades, or one of each) are a cost of $5 and $10. Three of the private companies play into this fiasco and allow for a third lay, or upgrade, or simply a placement of a green tile without yellow. In this way the map filled up quickly and a different kind of choke point emerged very quickly - lack of straights and gentle curves. The tile constraints are very visible, which I enjoy. I really love the 1830 tileset the more I get to learn and understand it. In this way I don't find this dynamic of 1868 off-putting but another element of the gameplay. It was difficult at first to wrap my head around how far other companies can extend their reach within an given set of OR's with this rule.

Besides the tile-laying mcguffin there are 5 companies to be started - four of which begin in the same city of Montevideo on the southern edge of the board. Due to the progress made in tile-laying and the natural by-product of cooperation that emerged given the glut of companies building out of Montevideo, by the second OR we were running companies in the 20's and 30's per share.

Where this game fell flat for me was exactly in where it extends itself most - the tile laying rules. I think the fact that a company can get itself out of a jam so easily and build routes so fast made it less appealing to pawn off that company on someone else. Since most companies began in the south part of the board and the majority of the OO and higher revenue off-board locations were in the north we were cautious to lay all our tokens and, perhaps, left the middle section too wide open for trains to run through. All the companies were viable and, in our game, it came down to money management and train rush.

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3. Board Game: Container: 10th Anniversary Jumbo Edition! [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:900]
AJ
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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This weekend Michael taught us Container in a five player game (with four of us completely new to Container)!! Of course, we played with original container counts, etc. The good news is we did not end up crashing the economy!

In this game, Michael and I specialized in machines and Lucas and Mischa specialized in warehouses. Colleen had a diversified strategy. At the beginning Mischa and I ‘flowed’ money between each other’s economies, but soon diversified as other players entered the market with more variety/attractive prices.

At one point I was temporarily in the lead and attempted to end the game, but the other players stonewalled me and refused to buy my countainers leaving me with no room to produce more. I wonder if there is some way to mitigate this. A few rounds later Mischa, with a couple more shipments under his belt purchased some containers and Michael produced and finished it off.

Obviously more plays required, but what I really found fascinating about this was the interactive economy. Prices are determined by the market with goods all worth different amounts to different ppl. With money only coming into the economy from government subsidies for shipments, ppl are incentized to spend money on each others goods so that they in turn have money to spend on your goods and shipments.

What I liked less was the potential to form cartels and block players out. Because the economy is interactive you need the other players to participate in your economy to grow. So with the wrong group, there is a lot of potential for abuse. Indeed, how good this game is seems to be very dependent on the group. That said, that probably only serves to make this a more realistic economic simulation...

Lots of interesting decisions. I am looking forward to another play.

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4. Board Game: Brass: Lancashire [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:22]
AJ
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Toronto
Ontario
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So after featuring Brass in this month’s header, I was almost obligated to post a write up, right? I got the chance to play earlier than I anticipated with it being the long weekend. And... I’ve never actually played Brass before at all so we started with the original. Now that we’ve played once, I think we’re likely to want half a dozen plays or so before we move on to Birmingham.

We played two player using the new rules rather than the alternate board. To be honest, it was more of a learning game to get an idea for the rules and flow of the game so we weren’t all that competitive (in fact the time or two I cut off Lucas w rail builds were totally inadvertent), but we both enjoyed the game a lot (and while I’m eager to try with 4, I’d definitely play w two again).

We certainly enjoyed the glimpses of tension we caught throughout our learning game. Next game we will actively be attempting to cut each other off... we will also be exploring loans (which I completely forgot about until the rail era had already begun... at which point we both had rather healthy income levels)


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5. Board Game: Leaving Earth [Average Rating:7.84 Overall Rank:584]
Siddharta Govindaraj
India
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I set up this game (my third play) with the express intention to learn to plan some more complex missions. I drew the Phobos Sample Return mission and decided to go for that from the start. For this mission I planned to use the Ion Thrusters (first time using them), as well as Rendezvous to keep the mothership in orbit and send a lander down to Phobos in order to retrieve the sample. This was the first time I tried both techniques.

It takes 6 years to go to Phobos and come back, so I planned accordingly from the start. My first few turns were spent picking up the Juno and Soyuz rockets and started testing them. Juno would be used by the lander to get into Phobos and back while Soyuz would get everything out of Earth. After a few years of testing, I then researched Re-entry and Landing. I started assembling my final rocket while I started testing these technologies. I picked up ion thrusters, ran four or five tests on them. It seemed all good so I didn't waste money removing any outcome cards from the deck. In the late 1960s I launched my bold mission to space.

In the years to Mars, I started testing Rendezvous, when disaster struck and one Ion Thruster blew up with a major failure. Luckily all it does is to disable that one rocket. And double luck was that I had miscalculated my numbers and had actually taken an extra ion thruster along. Eventually the ship reached Mars orbit as I was wrapping up the testing of the landing module. There was only one card left and all my tests had only been success, so I was pretty sure the third card was a success. I was undecided but with just one card left I thought I might as well just test and remove it. Major failure! Phew that was a bullet dodged. Everything else was fairly uneventful after that and the ship returned back successfully in 1974.

In the two years remaining I sent a man to space and back to pick up the remaining five points and ended with 19 points out of the 33 available (Man on moon was the other big one).

Overall the game was great. I learnt a few new techniques.

I was surprised that with everything planned out from the start and focus only on one mission, I still took until 1974 to get the mission completed. Even that was without complete testing and lucky dodging of two major failures. I wonder if it is possible to actually complete two medium missions in a single game. The game itself played pretty fast, finishing in about 50 mins. The initial calculations took a while after which turns took less than a minute each. Going to attempt this again this week.
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6. Board Game: 1846: The Race for the Midwest [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:439]
Bleicher
Brazil
Belo Horizonte
MG
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In another local evangelization attempt, I brought 1846 to the most traditional gaming event in my city. There were three of us: Marcos is an economist who also enjoys economic games, while Walter prefers regular Euros.

I can't remember how the privates draft went, only that I got the Michigan Southern. I did the classic 4 trains NYC opening, Marcos floated IC and Walter the GT. So they got a bit shocked I could make so much more money than they could right in the beginning of the game, to which they responded buying some shares. But they were a bit slow to rush the trains and kill my advantage.

Making much money than then for the first four OR sets made me a bit lazy, though, and I didn't really prepare for the endgame by making sure I would have companies with two permanents.

I couldn't resist opening the Erie in the fifth SR as it pretty much had a E-W route almost all set, and so I did it. But of course, it couldn't afford more than a 7/8, and what happened is that my friends managed to go to the end game with two permanents on their companies, and they could overtake me with two more sets.

Marcos have probably read a lot about dumping and so he got rid of IC when it was about to lose its phase 2 trains, but it wasn't as if it was in a completely unsustainable situation, so that wasn't much of a good move, and he wasn't controlling any company in the last set.

And so, by the end Walter, who wasn't making much money in the early game with GT actually won with $6270, Marcos got $5984 and I was last with 5551.

Walter said he thought "it was a nice experience", so I wouldn't really expect he would become a regular 18XX player. But Marcos was extremely excited by it, kept talking about all things he could have done differently on our messaging group afterwards, and he can't wait to play it again.

Perhaps the day on which I have a regular 18xx group isn't that far after all.
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7. Board Game: Dominant Species [Average Rating:7.85 Overall Rank:50]
Scott Daniel
United States
San Diego
California
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My annual play of Dominant Species. I wish I got to play this more, but it never disappoints. It was 5 players this time and the birds were left out as I hadn't seen Amphibians win yet and even through birds are my favorite, I wanted to see if I could win with the Amphibians.

Arachnids and Mammals got off to strong starts and then the mammals pulled away in the mid-game, but got all his pieces on the board, so his numbers began to get whittled away. I grabbed the hibernation card to reintroduced amphibians to the sea heavy portion of the board and with a late migration, earned just enough points in final scoring to nip the mammals and insects with the reptiles and arachnids a ways behind.

I didn't like the amphibians as a dominant strategy of put water down on the map whenever you can is so straightforward and doesn't allow for the shifts in tactical play that I find so appealing in the game. Still had a great time, thought I was too far behind to make it up in final scoring, but experience paid off.
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8. Board Game: Keyper [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:1047]
Scott Daniel
United States
San Diego
California
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First play for all of us, so it was definitely a learning experience. There's a lot going on here and while I understand the strategies a little better, it would take quite a few plays to be able to understand the various interactions. I thought it was solid, but not something I'll seek out though I'd play it again.
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