BK's Hardcore 10x10 in 2019 List
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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A new year means a new set of games to challenge myself to get them to the table for multiple plays among all the games to choose from among our collection.

For my Hardcore 10x10 in 2019 list I've chosen the following 10 games I'll play 10 times.

I'll maintain details of my progress on this list and a summary status of My Selections on the official challenge list.


KEY:

___ = needed plays
___ = completed plays

___mb = Me
___mb = Wife

__Other: mb= RR, mb= CG, mb= JF, mb= MR, mb= ??, mb= Other

Feel free to subscribe and follow my progress and post comments along the way.

My earlier lists: mb 2018 / mb 2017 / mb 2016 / mb 2015 / mb 2014

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1. Board Game: Abyss [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:342]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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Per my wife's request Abyss is returning to our 10x10 with a focus on playing the expansion before likely trading it for something new to explore.

Pre-2019 Plays: 21x

Progress:

Jan-23 - mb(73), mb(58) w/ Kraken
It was a slow moving game as it had been a while since we played, allergies, and fraught with lots of interruptions. The base game was easy enough to remember it was the Kraken expansion that my sleepy brain was struggling with explaining. By the time we figured it out the game was near completion and I smuggled the win. I was the prime peddler of nebula and took the most end game penalties but it was still profitable.

Jan-24 - mb(75), mb(68)
I managed to avoid the nebulis/kraken penalties this time, but was not able to compete with my wife's superior set of allies to claim the win. We both played differently than we remember playing to see what would come of it. I liked where I was going but my wife accelerated the end game leaving me a bit short.

Feb-07 - mb(82), mb(59)
I got busy early in acquiring key lords (pun intended) and establishing two locations. I leveraged lots of pearls and nebulis to accomplish the means to my victory. It was nice to be on the winning end of this one for a change. My wife is usually the one with her foot on the accelerator.

Feb-07 - mb(71), mb(65)
This morning's play was really close. My wife was pushing the pace as I lagged behind in acquiring lords. I was fortunate in my last turn as the end game was triggered to buy a lord that allowed me to take an extra turn during which I bought another. Fortunately I had 5 monster tiles to her none for the win. This was also my 25th play of this game.
 
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2. Board Game: Architects of the West Kingdom [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:91]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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I seem to be late to the table in discovering this recent hit. The artwork grabs my attention and the reviews speaking to its unique worker placement mechanism appeals to me, so after not getting it for Christmas after it being a late add to my list, I bought it for myself and look forward to seeing what it has to offer firsthand.

Pre-2019 Plays: 0x

Progress:

Mar-09 - mb(31), mb(26)
It took a while to go through all the actions, logistics and iconography in our initial play of Architects of the West Kingdom but in a short amount of time we were getting it and the turns were short and quick. We like action selection, resource management and fulfilling objective cards so this game is right up our alley. The managing of one's workers is an important element of game play.

Mar-19 - mb(44), mb(34)
I played Caroline and focused on getting apprentices early with the plan to build like crazy late. My wife played Ada and went to work collecting resources and building the cathedral early and building late and my general neglect of the cathedral was my demise.

Mar-27 - mb(37), mb(32)
This one played really quick. I played Frederick and my wife played Rudolf. We tied in all scoring categories with the exception of buildings where my four against her two made up the difference in the game. I think we'll add a dummy player next game to add some tension.

Mar-28 - mb(33), mb(29), robot(27)
My wife played Frederick and I had Rudolf. We introduced Constantine as an AI player for our first attempt at the 2p vs AI variant. It was a bit frustrating because we kept forgetting the AI's turn but we managed to get through it and we believe we've ironed out all the kinks. It amps up the difficulty, or complexity, a little without too much of an interruption to the pacing of the game. We liked it and will continue to play that way most likely going forward.

Mar-29 - mb(33), mb(24), robot(20)
I decided I was going to go with my character's bent this game which meant being less virtuous as Theresa. I couldn't figure out how to leverage it more without taking on debt cards. I crushed it in the buildings with 32 VP, but lost a third of it as a consequence for my sins. My wife, however, once again, playing Caroline this time, maxed out the cathedral and did well on the virtue track for another win over myself and Constantine.

May-04 - mb(48), mb(42), mb(23)
I introduced the two guys I started the day with to this newer game to get a 3p experience in the books for myself. The more I play it the more I am enjoying it and seeing strategies and combinations that play off each other. I didn't orchestrate my plan well enough as the other guy who had played it before managed a half dozen more points than me.
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3. Board Game: Century: Eastern Wonders [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:532] [Average Rating:7.39 Unranked]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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I pre-ordered this and we got it to the table immediately when it arrived. But then life got busy and other games (like last year's 10x10 challenge) and it didn't get much play, so this selection is to make sure we get it to the table for more play time.

Pre-2019 Plays: 4x

Progress:

Jan-25 - mb(83), mb(64)
I had 4 VP tiles to my wife's 3 to trigger the end game of our first play of Eastern Wonders this year. Everything else was fairly even which made all the difference to claim the win.

Jan-28 - mb(66), mb(61)
We started the morning off with another game of Eastern Wonders. My wife was off to an early lead establishing trading posts and gaining bonus tiles while I was reusing the first few I established to manipulate spices. Thus I was playing catchup but I was able to place an extra cube to move an extra space and steal the win out from under her. She had more uncovered spots and cube points and almost closed the gap.

Jan-29 - mb(98), mb(40)
My wife utterly destroyed me. I targeted a VP tile from the get go and she went on a building spree. While I got painted into a corner trying to get the necessary cubes, she was clearing her board and getting bonus tiles. By the time I saw what she was doing the only chance I had was to hope and pray my strategy was going to work better. Then she swooped in and took the VP tile I was working on, twice! That left me to watch her run away with it. She beat me handedly in every scoring category.

Feb-11 - mb(70+), mb(70)
I thought I was going to win this one easily as I was off to a great start and working things efficiently, only to be surprised in the end that because my wife had higher point value VP tokens and the 6VP bonus tile we actually ended up tied, but I had the last turn for the tiebreaker for the win. This one also played really quick in like 15-20 minutes.

Feb-22 - mb(91), mb(59)
I had taught my friend Spice Road a year or so ago. So as part of our 2p Game Night I pulled out Eastern Wonders. I was hitting on all cylinders and really ran away with it for a commanding victory.
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4. Board Game: Concordia [Average Rating:8.11 Overall Rank:18]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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Concordia is one of my favorite games and I picked up one of the expansion maps better suited for 2-3p in hopes to get it played more often. So this selection is my hope of ensuring one of my Top 10 games gets more time on the table top in 2019.

Pre-2019 Plays: 26x

Progress:

Feb-23 - mb(146), mb(121) - Creta map
This was our first play on the Creta map which was great for a 2p game. It was also very competitive. My wife played well and aggressively for not having played in a while or as often. In the end I managed to leverage the Saturn cards (for 45VP) to take the win.

Feb-23 - mb(154), mb(148) - Aegyptus map
After a walk, some shopping and dinner we setup for another game of Concordia and this time we played the Aegyptus for the first time with the Nile which gives extra food during the advancing flood stage and has some additional endgame and in game bonuses for ships reaching certain locations. My wife was eating up the cards so I felt my game slipping but she had more brick cities than I did that probably hurt her in the end as I eked out the win.

Feb-26 - mb(129), mb(97) - Aegyptus map
I really ran away with this one as my wife's building activities were severely underdeveloped costing her valuable points. She was buying up cards making me panic but she didn't have the infrastructure to score them effectively.

Feb-26 - mb(126), mb(111) - Aegyptus map
We reset and are now nearly speed playing with our comfort level of the game. My wife was flipping the script and running away with this one as my first dozen turns were relatively inefficient. However, I came on strong down the stretch but my wife's cards and end game bonuses from the ships created the space in scoring for the win.

Feb-27 - mb(152), mb(118) - Hellas map
We played on a new map using the new Venus cards for the first time. The latter introduces new Venus god cards with two action options you get to choose between when played and scores 2VP per region with at least two of your houses. I was working the map but my wife was keeping pace and one step ahead of me picking up all but one of the Minerva cards for the win.

Mar-04 - mb(147), mb(140) - Hellas map
I started with a Senate to try something different which wasn't a bad choice, but I did feel I was chasing the whole game. In the end it was close but it came down to a dual of Minerva cards where my wife had 3 to my 2 for the win.

May-04 - mbmb(215), mbmb(211) Venus Ionium Teams
This was the first time I got to play the Team variant and it was the only game that my wife and I got to play together which was really nice. I felt like we were controlling the game and on the path to victory but I made a late game surge getting all my colonists out which inspired the other team to do the same and that was just enough for them to edge us out. We all really liked the team dynamic. I felt it might have dragged on a little long, given the fewer number of cards we each had to use. I had removed the IV cards to try and shorten it. I might also reduce the buildings we each have or maybe consider adding another card or two to our hands? Not sure.
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5. Board Game: Everdell [Average Rating:7.97 Overall Rank:174]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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I had the opportunity to play this twice at the 2018 Buckeye Game Fest and enjoyed it enough that I traded for it the very next week. I introduced it to my wife during our brief anniversary getaway trip and she really enjoyed it which makes for a bunch more plays as part of this year's challenge.

Pre-2019 Plays: 5x

Progress:


Jan-04 - mb(50), mb(41)
We played two games to kick off our 10x10 Challenge after dinner. In the first game, I nearly got my best 2p game score and my wife did, as she won by a noticeable amount. Her events were the difference, had I not missed how close she was to the one and claimed it first the score would have been a 3 point difference with the same result.

Jan-04 - mb(46), mb(45)
In our second play of the night I did much better and both of us thought I had won comfortably only to lose by 1 point. The difference was her prosperity bonus points.

Jan-05 - mb(33), mb(30)
Before bed my wife and I ended our day with another play of Everdell before packing it up and putting it back on the shelf. This game's action cards were very berry heavy yet we were in need of cards so neither of us ended up doing as much as we are used to doing and we finished with small tableaus and low scores, but I claimed the win.

Apr-06 - mb(47), mb(31)
The girls were still sleeping and we were ready to start another day of gaming. We chose one of our 10x10's we brought along. Although not spoken I think both of us set out to try some different things this game and my wife succeeded big time. Me... not so much. It was a poor showing for me, but fun none the less.

Apr-18 - mb(48), mb(35), mb(33), mb(32)
In the evening we visited some friends and taught them Everdell. I had an early combo that favored collecting coins so I tried it and worked it, but my wife was having a great game and comboing all over the place. The two new players did well and really enjoyed the game and were surprised at how close it was, excluding my wife's big score.

May-31 - mb(45), mb(44)
It came down to the wire for a 1 point difference in deciding the winner. We both felt like we were efficiently playing cards and doing what we wanted to do. If we had another turn it might have turned out differently.

Jun-01 - mb(41), mb(35)
It came down to Journey Points in this one which was lower scoring than we both anticipated given how many resources we gathered, cards played and events achieved.

Jun-01 - mb(48), mb(41)
Our Monday morning coffee game was another play of Everdell with the victory going to my wife who cranked the Prosperity bonuses for the win.

Jun-04 - mb(36), mb(31)
My wife was flustered during this one as I was getting more turns, building like crazy and had 4-5 actions after she was done but it still wasn't enough to beat her. Her Prosperity and Journey points to my singular point amongst those categories was the difference.

Jun-04 - mb(37), mb(35)
We played a second game to finish off our 10x10. It was closer, I doubled her in tokens 10-5 but she won most of the other categories for a close one.
This not only proved to be a game that my wife enjoys playing but one that she is good at. She now holds an 8 wins to my 4 in our 2p games which bodes well for its future. I might have to seriously consider the expansion.

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6. Board Game: Flick 'em Up! [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:613]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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I was so excited about getting Flick 'em Up! when it first came out. A year later I acquired a copy and it sat on the shelf for a very long time before finally breaking it out of the shrink only to collect dust there after. So, after being my alternate for two years in a row without any plays it is graduating to one my ten so we can play through the scenarios and see what this one is really all about.

Pre-2018 Plays: 1x

Progress:

Feb-22 - mb def mb - Scenario 1
My friend and I tried our hand at some dexterity flicking and went the full allotment of rounds, failing to eliminate three cowboys before time was up. I was close but unable to end it early and due to a missed shot after a really good move for positioning, I lived to the end. But ultimately I lost by one life point in the tiebreaker. I finally saw the fun and strategy come together.

Apr-27 - mb def mb - Scenario 1
Introduced my wife to this tabletop dexterity game who went on to defeat me in the last round. We definitely need more practice flicking, but it does produce some hilarious moments, and gives new meaning to the wild West.

Apr-29 - mb def mb - Scenario 2
My wife asked to play Flick 'Em Up before she left for work in the morning, so we played the next scenario which presents a tighter space to work in, cowboys staring in buildings and introduces the duel. We had our first duel in the last round and then again at the end game where my character had all three heart tokens and her Sheriff only had one so it was a fairly easy final duel to win.

Apr-30 - mb def mb - Scenario 3
We played the third scenario and it was a knock 'em out, drag 'em (or throw 'em) out showdown with lots of duals. The objective was to get bags of money from one building to your respective team's building. If I could have gotten into the building on my first action I could have claimed a bag to even the amount at three and then won the tiebreaker on possession. Fun game.
 
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7. Board Game: Gùgōng [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:358]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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During all the BGG Essen Spiel coverage, this game caught my attention as one that sounded different and appealing to me, so I pre-ordered it for myself as a post-Christmas gift.

Pre-2019 Plays: 1x

Progress:

 
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8. Board Game: Orléans [Average Rating:8.08 Overall Rank:26]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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This is a Top 10 game for me. I recently got some upgraded tokens and I feel there is still much to explore in the Invasion expansion box. We really like this game so it is time to get it back to the table for more.

Pre-2019 Plays: 29x

Progress:


Jan-10 - mb(147), mb(107)
I worked the University and Library to max out on the development points and was using the Wishing Well to build some extra trading posts down the stretch to set my game apart from my wife's in the end game scoring. It was great for both of us to get this one back to the table and we love the newly acquired character tokens.

Jan-11 - mb(127), mb(124)
It came down to the Farm House (my wife declared). She did better with the goods, and had one more Trade Station than I did, but I generated enough money to buy the win.

Jan-13 - Prosperity - mb(93), mb(79)
This was our first attempt at this scenario which introduces some new events, facedown goods tiles, and structures that introduce some new decisions to consider. In typical fashion, new rules/games meant frustration in explanation and forgotten rules, but we worked through our bumps and enjoyed the change. We have left it out and will hopefully pick it up again later today.

Jan-13 - Prosperity - mb(102), mb(87)
In the evening we returned for another showdown and it came down to who had the most citizens and trading stations for the win. My wife had three more than me for the win.

Jan-13 - Prosperity - mb(113), mb(87)
My wife simply crushed it outscoring me in all four categories as she played a superior game than I did. My play was too streamlined, I probably thinned out my followers too early leaving me under resourced and inefficient.

May-04 - mb(116), mb(103), mb(100)
We started out with 4p but had one drop out 2/3 through for personal reasons and he was out of the running at that point anyways. This is a game the group hasn't played often but had wanted to get back to the table which I was more than happy to do. I couldn't interest them in a cooperative variant so we played the base game and I won in the end mostly because of my experience.

May-19 - mb(130), mb(97)
I was concerned as I wasn't getting the characters I wanted but tried to maximize what I got while prioritizing staying to waterways and building guildhalls. I picked up a number of citizens along the way to really generate my multiplier for end game scoring.

May-21 - mb(122), mb(117)
I built the Vineyard early and worked it throughout the game. My wife was leading the charge to build guildhalls and collecting citizens which made for a really close finish. I think maintaining the lead in farming for the extra coin each round proved to be the difference.

May-24 - mb(117+), mb(117)
This was a slow developing, unique start for both of us. We expected it to be an all-time low scoring game but things got busy in the last 1/3. I started dumping character tokens to the Beneficial Deeds board and leveraged my two buildings, while my wife was traveling and building. It came down to the tie-breaker which fell my way as I had completed the Development track.

May-25 - mb(141), mb(109)
Everyone was still sleeping except my wife and me, so we enjoyed a quiet game over coffee. Neither of our games went the way we intended them to go in the beginning but I've gotten pretty nimble and efficient playing so many of the solo challenges that I navigated the twists better for a big win.
This continues to be one of our favorite games to play. My wife asked to leave it on the table even though we've completed our challenge plays so it continues to want more. I'm actually thinking it might be time to get the second expansion for us, even though I have more exploring of the solo challenges in the first one.

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9. Board Game: Pulsar 2849 [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:231]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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This space themed game leapfrogged everything on my Wish List this past summer and I added it to an order in hopes that we would enjoy it as much as everyone said we would. So here is our hope for a new future favorite that brings lots of replay ability.

Pre-2019 Plays: 0x

Progress:

Apr-02 - mb(147), mb(126)
We finally got this one to the table. To reduce the typical frustrations that come with learning a new game, especially one with this much iconography, choices and moving parts we watched a "how to play" video first. The game plays very smooth and presents tough, meaningful and yet competing alternative decisions. If played much faster than we expected and we look forward to more plays. We did realize that we missed the round bonus for spinning gyrodynes which we'll correct going forward.

Apr-04 - mb(158), mb(149)
With a better understanding we played Pulsar with all the right rules but no Headquarters boards yet (starting next time). I did a good job of traveling, completing all three objectives and able to buy all extra bonuses. My wife didn't travel as much but had the +1 bonus for station-scoring which essentially neutralized that advantage making for a close game that still played quickly yet offered nice tension.

Apr-10 - mb(193), mb(163)
We introduced the Headquarter boards this time around. I used two spots to my wife's three. I did lots of exploring. Both of us had +1 station bonuses at the end which boosted our scoring a little. We definitely tried different things as we continue to explore the depths and breath of this beautiful design.

Apr-16 - mb(160), mb(131)
We started this game last week but have been so busy that it took us a handful of days to get back to the table just to complete the last round. I knew from the beginning in order for me to complete all three objectives I was going to have to avoid gyrodynes which I did. My wife didn't make this connection until late in the game and it cost her. I won easily, but we are leaving this setup for another play so she can try making different choices, I will at least flip my headquarters and try the other side.

Apr-18 - mb(226), mb(196)
We had our best scores even though it didn't feel close. We both focused on the three objectives and did no patents. The difference in the game was I got a spinning gyrodyne very early that generated points each round. I am liking this game more and more with each play.
 
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10. Board Game: The Voyages of Marco Polo [Average Rating:7.94 Overall Rank:42]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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I played a demo of this at Origins when it released and it has taken me this long to get a copy. My wife and girls gifted this to me for Christmas and I'm very excited to sink my teeth into it for 10 plays for the challenge and more.

Pre-2019 Plays: 1x

Progress:

Feb-02 - mb(56), mb(54)
My first full play. I played an hour demo at Origins when it first came out. It was slow going making sure we understood the rules and the payments required for taking occupied blue action spaces, but it made sense. We also realized in the penultimate round that we never dealt out goal cards (oops!) which might have steered our choices a little differently. But, we liked it and my wife won much to her surprise. Our next play will probably give us a better feel for how we like the game.

Feb-04 - mb(64), mb(49)
Our morning coffee game to start the week was Marco Polo. We played two different characters from our first game and gained an appreciation that the different characters offer. This game was harder and we took more time deciding what to do. In part this was the new characters but also playing with goal cards (which we forgot in our first game). I got to Beijing and had gotten to 3 of my 4 cities which made up the majority of the difference in the score for the win.
 
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11. Board Game: Deus [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:332]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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I removed one of my older choices to make room for some new purchases, so I'm picking this one as my ALTERNATE in case we need to fall back on something. I had a few I was thinking of, but this one seemed most interesting to get back to the table.

Pre-2019 Plays: 11x

Progress:
 
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