What Did You Play This Week? #521 - April 15-21, 2019
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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Please share some thoughts about what you played this past week, what you liked, what you didn't like and any other thoughts you had. Also feel free to share comments and ask questions, that is what we enjoy chatting about in this weekly thread.

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1. Board Game: Terraforming Mars [Average Rating:8.40 Overall Rank:4]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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Some space for gaming...

Tuesday
1x - Pulsar 2849 - mb

We started this game of Pulsar 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, 160-131. 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.

Wednesday
1x - Forbidden Island - mb
mb - 3.0 mi in 23:45 (7:55)

Failure / Treasure Island / mbDiver, mbMessenger, mbPilot / Elite
I possessed 3 of the 4 treasures with the cards for the forth in hand ready to claim the treasure on the next turn with the ability to get off the island for the win when the helipad sank before my eyes in a crushing close but no cigar moment.

Thursday
1x - Pulsar 2849 - mb
mb - 5.08 mi in 40:49 (8:02)
1x - Everdell - mb

BK(226), HK(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.

HK(48), BK(35), RR(33), LR(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.

Friday
1x - Terraforming Mars - mb


Solo - Helion - Success (81) - 70th play
I was working the standard project benefit the entire game working the three terraforming objectives with three of my own cities in play. I was hoping for a higher score, but this is one point better than last time I played this corp.

Saturday
mb - 7.0 mi in 58:53 (8:25)

Sunday
1x - Skull King

MK(380), JBj(310), BK(200), HK(200), JBs(170), SB(-100)
After Easter lunch we managed to play a 6p game of Skull King before everyone headed out in their own direction.


This was a busy work week yet somehow my wife and I squeezed in a few morning games with a couple with friends and family. I also recorded my 70th play of Terraforming Mars.

meeple Keep playing...
BK's Hardcore 10x10 in 2019 List 38/100
BK's Solo 10x10 in 2019 List 37/100
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2. Board Game: Trajan [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:73]
Daniel Nilsson
Australia
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Had a big weekend of games this week, mate of mine runs a once a year event (usually a whole weekend) when his family are away. I got to get in 2 days of solid gaming and had a blast.

Friday:

Terraforming Mars with Prelude

3 player game of TFM. Prior to this I'd played it multiplayer once with 5 players at a Con, where no one knew it, when it was new - that experience was not great. I've played it twice solo after that. This was the first time TFM really "clicked" for me and I did luck into a good card combo – we didn't play with card drafting this time. I had one card that converted 6 energy into "Science" as a one tap action which was worth 2 points per cube at the end of the game (and I got this fairly early).

Prior to this I had already had a few cards that built my energy production up to about 3 or 4. I had about 6 cards with energy symbols on them. I then got a card that increased my energy production by the amount of energy symbols I already had, so I was energising like mad during the game. 92 (me) - 69 - 64




Klask x 6

Played this in between other games. I got smacked the first game but then I chose new opponents who had never played Klask before and it was a clean sweep after that haha. Klask is just a nice bit of fun, simple concept everyone understands but a cool twist on it.

Habitats

3 player game of this was a bit of light fare fun. You are basically placing animal tiles on a board and trying to surround that animal with certain types of 'habitats' to meet their requirements so they are 'satisfied' in the sanctuary you are creating. Pretty looking game with a neat drafting and tile placing element to it. Finished up 65 - 63 (me) - 54




Fields of Green

I've owned this for ages and had only played it once 2 player. Got a 3 player game of it to the table and had a lot of fun with it. Added in some of the Grand Fair cards but none of the modules. This game is "Among the Stars" but farming setting. Tableau building but the way the 'Harvest' phase works to build an engine which cascades nicely is pretty neat. Plus it's fun having a beautiful (great artwork) farm built in front of you by the end of the game. 47 - 44 (me) - 30



Second Chance

3 or 4 years ago, someone must have shown Uwe Rosenberg what Tetris was, because this is another one of those from him (though still a good one). Basically it's a "draw and Draw" and you have to fill your board with Tetromino style shapes and other weird assortments. The last player remaining (who can still fit stuff on their boarD) wins. Other than that it comes down to how many unfilled spaces you have left to break a tie. If you bomb out, another card is revealed (your "second chance" and if you can fit it, you keep playing. Otherwise, you're out. Lowest score wins. 1 - 5 - 7 (me) - 10 - 11.



Trapwords

This is Taboo with a little bit of a Twist. Two teams, trying to guess clues but the other team can write down 'trapwords' that the clue giver cannot say. What was cool about this was how the met game developed over the rounds, and the trap words listed became a bit more obscure to try and trick people up. Our team won with some great clues and guesses for "Casino" and "Saloon". The opposition bungling a clue giving for "Graffiti" was a highlight. Fun party game.

Corinth

A new roll and write. It's a roll and write. It was fun but didn't do anything particularly mind blowing. I enjoyed playing it but it wasn't doing too much dramatically different. 60 (me, won on tiebreaker gold) - 60 - 39

Imperial Settlers

I played a 3 player game of Imperial Settlers which I own, but had only ever played solo. I did enjoy the play of it, I played as the Romans vs an Egyptian and Japanese faction. The mechanics of Imperial Settlers are nice and fun, and I really like how old buildings need to be used as foundations for new faction ones, so that you get the feeling of 'evolving' the settlements over time. The vast differences between the factions is also great. We were beaten soundly by one player who had played it a lot (albeit in the past), who knew their faction powers fairly well. There was one long round for me (Round 4) where I had passed early and spent a good 10 – 15 minutes waiting for the others to finish up their turns. The faction decks are a bit too 'luck' based, as going through the deck afterwards, there were a couple of cards that never came out that would have dramatically changed the game for me. That being said, I understand the rules cater for deck building, which would be good for players familiar with the game. Final scores were 87 – 57 – 55 (me). I enjoyed it, though I'm not sure if I enjoyed it enough to keep it.



Gingerbread House

Finished up with a 2p game of Gingerbread House. I've spoken about this Phil Walker-Harding game before and it's still a lot of fun. Great art and theme. The mechanics are smooth (it is very Splendor like in a lot of the gameplay, in the collect resources to win cards aspect and also being able to reserve cards) but playing on this with a tile laying mechanic with a bit of spatial puzzle built in. Lost this 57 – 54 but had a great time with it.

Sunday

Terraforming Mars with Prelude, Hellas Map, Venus Next

2 player game of this. Really coming around on TFM (though quick-ish was 2+ hours with the card drafting, but didn't 'feel' slow). What I'm enjoying about TFM is the various approaches to it. This game I had a completely different focus to what I did on Friday due to the different map, different card combos etc. On Friday I didn't use Steel or Space Titanium once. On Sunday, Steel production and conversion was 90% of my focus. Managed to eek out a 91 – 86 win with a couple of Milestones and some handy point card purchases, but this could've gone either way. Nice and close.

Carpe Diem

I then deviated to a 3p game of Carpe Diem. This game really continues to be fantastic. My only concern is that in 2 games against one particular player, they've dominated both games by creating a mega-villa. It is a pretty strong strategy that can be stopped if other players focus on it too, but if left unfettered, it is a little OP, though that does depend on what scoring cards come out (if there are no Villa ones from round to round, they'll still get their game end points, but will be slugged each round otherwise). But yea, awesome game. 98 - 86 - 73 (me)



Trajan

That got us talking about and then eventually playing another Feld classic, Trajan. Played this 4p. Even though 3 out of 4 of us had played it before, the rules explanation and refresher (none of us had played it in years) took us a good 40 or so minutes. It's not a complex game, each action is quite simple, there are just a lot of them. The rondel mechanic is also a brain burner. I focused on the Military provinces and got some tiles early that guaranteed me votes in the Senate, which got me the Gold Objective tiles pretty much every turn. I used the rondel fairly inefficiently though. The winner diversified really well, made a lot out of military towards the back end of the game and also had one huge merchant action which really sealed it for them. Fun game, though the two players who were further back felt pretty out of it for the last couple of rounds. Ended up being 177 – 151 (me) – 125 – 96



Lorenzo il Magnifico

4 player game of this. New to me. This game is super super tight. I felt really hard up early on and lost and hopeless. The only thing keeping me in it was that everyone else seemed lost and hopeless too. I had to burn a couple of my character cards early. When another player got their first character out, I thought it was all over. Mid game though, I got a nice little Wood + Stone production and then Wood + Stone selling for money/points engine running that was netting me pretty much 10 points each time I did that action. I completed all of my estates, but another opponent had 6 characters out, so I knew it would be close. It ended up being 104 (me) – 102 – 79 – 58. Another player actually saved me (though not intentionally), as on the last turn he could have pushed for first on the military track, but was happy to share the first place VPs and instead pursue another avenue of VPs for himself. That would've been a 3 point loss for me if he had pushed, so I am grateful to him!



Goodcritters

We finished the night with an 8 player game (though one player left partway through due to time). This is a very group and mood dependent game. I like social deduction and bluffing games, so I enjoyed it a bit (I also won by pushing early, shutting up mid-late and guarding when people tried to rob me). It is a bit long for what it is and gets a little bit too chaotic. If you're not naturally extroverted or happy to get into arguments with people, it would be a bad time. Very very reminiscent of Cash N Guns. I enjoyed it though, the theme is nifty and the character art for it is pretty cool. I won't seek it out, but if I saw it cheap in a trade or sale I might grab it.

77,000 (me) - 69,000 - 66,000 - 64,000 - 64,000 - 60,000 - 60,000 - 47,000 (early leave)

All in all an awesome weekend. If only they could all be like that.



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3. Board Game: Star Trader [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:3933]
Doug Mann
United States
Corpus Christi
Texas
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Recent plays of Arkwright reminded me that I had this magazine game on my shelf unplayed. I picked it up either at the FLGS or my early days of EBay, set it up once and put it away, making a mental note to come back to it when I had more time.

Being off on Friday meant that the time had come to give it a try. On Friday, I pushed through three turns of the basic scenario three-handed but screwed things up by not keeping better records. Saturday morning I reset and made myself a log sheet for each turn to keep things straight.
Star Trader set up for three.

By Sunday dinner, I had played through 8 turns without serious errors and was finally starting to get the hang of the market mechanics. It's an interesting game, but all of Enrico's criticisms in his Calandale videos are merited. It's a diamond in the rough with great ideas that somehow just don't quite work as well as you'd hope. I'm going to finish this play, but it's probably unworkable for gaming group play.

Rating: 6.5 (down from d10-7) out of 10.



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4. Board Game: Plague Inc.: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:869]
JLP 303
United Kingdom
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A fairly quiet week as despite fighting it, my current illness is fighting back with as much gusto as it can. Still not beaten me quite yet though, but admit this week has been kinda slow..

Solo...

Plague Inc.: The Board Game x2 This is such an odd came, as tbh I don’t like it that much but always have that “must have another go” feeling which then leads to another game. My heart wasn’t quite in it and so the end results were fairly poor.

With Mum and Sam...

Flamme Rouge x2 Yep, more of the same, as Sam really enjoys the simplicity of the mechanics and who can resist a race which is competitive without being mean. I managed a 1st place race one, but got obliterated race two!

With Mum and Dad...

Yahtzee x3 I know, I know, but it’s my parents favourite, which has the uncanny knack of convincing them they have skill, despite it being a complete game of chance! I placed last and then had two wins!

That’s it. Hope you all have a great week!
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5. Board Game: Monochrome Chess [Average Rating:5.56 Unranked]
Carthoris Pyramidos
United States
Centennial
Colorado
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Prp and I played a couple of games of Monochrome Chess. In the first, she beat me soundly. In the second, we were pretty neck and neck, and then I accidentally set up a position where Prp could capture a king from me ... but she missed it, recognizing it only as I was moving it away. That cost her some emotional equilibrium, and I had the upper hand for the rest of the game.

We continued our current campaign of Arkham Horror: The Card Game with a good play of Return to the House Always Wins. We didn't get any special successes, but neither of us were defeated.



Our one play of Kingdom Builder featured University/Palisade, Mountain Station/Scout Cabin, Crossroads/Wagon, and City Hall/Outpost. The Kingdom Builders were Homesteaders, Farmers, and Merchants, with Road and Compass Points goals. Compass Points won me the game. Close!



I narrowly won a game of ORC, and also won two out of three plays of BUS.

We had a topical play of Notre Dame, where the final victory reflected the difference in the scores by the Notre Dame action itself.



I dusted off Six for a single play.

In a play of Terra Mystica, I tried Riverwalkers for the first time; Prp's Halflings destroyed me.



In Runebound I had the worst solo loss ever at the Caught in a Web scenario! Zyla ran around and got impressively geared up. Finally, she confronted Ariad, and was slain over the course of two short battles--without landing a single hit on the big spider.



I finally got the Venus expansion for Concordia and we tried it with the Hellas map. Prp did great, and I enjoyed it despite my decisive loss.

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6. Board Game: 1846: The Race for the Midwest [Average Rating:8.05 Overall Rank:438]
Steve C
United States
West
Minnesota
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A swingy week in terms of weather, but a big quality-vs-quantity debate about games! I played one game two times, and almost no others for the rest of the week. Usually that would make me sad, but not this week! Choo choo!



Due to someone having a week off, a pickup game of 1846: The Race for the Midwest was arranged. I reached out to one of my weekly regulars to see if he wanted in, and we were on!

The first play was 4-players, each of us having played 1846 once (and one only having played 18xx once, but not 1846). I was fully expecting to get sharked here, since I've played once and basically don't know what I'm doing, and two of the other players owned the game AND had full sets of good poker chips (compared to me not owning any 18xx and only having a $5 set of chips from Goodwill). I've read up a lot on it, because it's such an interesting design space and the decision area is fantastic for my analytical bent, but there's no substitute for experience.

That was completely the case for the first game. Companies were started (PRR , NYC, GT, IC, in that order), mistakes were made, and then stuff happened and someone won. I was last player for the first Stock Round, and I picked all passes during the private company draft. That way, I could steal someone else's company if I really didn't like my options for remaining companies. Having the expectation that I was the worst player at the table meant that I was willing to have sharp elbows, just in case they were necessary.

At this table, it wasn't needed, as all players were friendly, relatively-inexperienced, and willing to help each other out so we could all explore the game and enjoy the play. So, I started the IC without any private companies to help it get out from the SW corner, rather than taking over the NYC and loving the extra funds. And then the mistakes started. I started by running straight off the map for the sweet $50, but I upgraded that tile to avoid Centralia, even though I had a 2T and two 4Ts (I tried to do a one-man train rush, which was yet another mistake), and this meant that I could not run two trains on that one path out of my tokened city (as it would re-use track). S-M-R-T!

Minutia aside, it was a great learning game for all of us, and it finished in about 3 hours, 15 minutes. The Grand Trunk roared off to an early lead as usual, the NYC didn't buy enough trains and stalled hard early, the B&O had a slow start (duh), and my IC had a terrible start, but had plenty of green trains.

Mid-game, the GT stalled hard and got tokened out of any hope of an E-W route, the NYC started getting back into the game (because it's hard to be out of it as the NYC), the B&O slowly but steadily got going, and the IC started roaring to life once there was enough track to support a yellow train and three green trains. I was in a great position to win!

Late-game, I made the decision to keep running my two 4Ts and my 3/5T, and keep fully paying out rather than half-capping or withholding to buy a grey train or two once they broke. The GT and NYC were never in danger of buying grey trains as they ran for too little to buy one without withholding three rounds straight (and they had to withhold a lot to even get a brown train!), and I aimed to run out the bank before a grey train could come out and rust my cash cows. Unfortunately, I couldn't run the bank out fast enough, and the B&O was able to buy a grey train to pair with its brown train, and the triple jumps plus massive payouts were enough to overcome my great payouts and it got to run a full three ORs with the permanent trains. I lost by $700 (6300-7000), and learned my lesson; always get permanent trains, green trains are not enough to win the game.


One of our players had to go, so we played another game with 3. This time, the starting companies were NYC, GT, and IC. I ran the NYC, and it was off to a great start, with a 2T and two 4Ts. I had parred the company high ($100) to prevent the others from buying stocks early, and issued shares to make up for the lack of investment. Having two full routes to Cleveland was massive, and I soon broke into Toledo and the GT's E-W route as well. The GT was able to almost match my pace, but due to the lower stock price ($60), my 3 shares compared to its owner's 6 shares didn't allow it to match my 4 shares of the NYC compared to 0 held by other players (it was too expensive for them to buy without giving me the chance to steal their companies).

Mid-game, the GT owner realized that they were struggling (as the GT tends to do) and instead, started the C&O to take advantage of the IC's track. The IC's owner realized that I was going to start a second company (the B&O) and connect it to Cleveland, basically doubling all my profits in the NYC with a second railroad. They opened the B&O, but doing so left them open to my backup plan.

You see, I had actually intended to open the B&O, transfer all the trains and capital over to it from the NYC, and dump the company on the GT owner. He didn't have a lot of personal cash, and doing so would have required him to buy a brown or grey train out of pocket (after I would have stolen all the trains and money, and dumped the NYC on him as the trains were rusted), completely ending the game. The two other players didn't realize that was my goal, but they did see that if I just ran two honest companies (which is a struggle for me, admittedly), I would also run away with the game. That would have been less fun!

Anyway, because the other two players now had their cash tied up in their second companies, I was freely able to steal away the IC from its owner, buying 5 shares to outpace their 4, and gifting myself a company with the mail contract. Seeing that the other two had 2 shares of my NYC, I transferred over the permanent train to the IC, and ended up with the NYC running for ~$50/share, and the IC running with two 7/8Ts and the mail contract for $91/share. Yeah, I won by a lot.


While my first play was a good experience, I felt I understood the concept of 1846 (run good companies, manage trains carefully, and buy other stocks when they're about to make money) and didn't feel that the execution of the details was enough by itself to keep me interested in the game. Having had the opportunity to play it again, this solidified that I am very interested in 18xx, and 1846 is a great, not-really-mean way to introduce it to others in my regular group that are willing to give it a shot. They're generally eurogamers, and this is generally euro-game-ish.

Anyway, now that I want to play more 18xx, I am quite interested in practicing and improving on the execution of the ideas and concepts and strategies, so that I can play the bigger games and not make too many easy mistakes. Like starting in a corner without a way out, or buying 3 trains when I can only run 1. Or thinking that I can win the game with starter trains.



Having some downtime while cooking bananabread, I played a solo, 2-handed game of Brass: Birmingham. Just trying stuff out, in this case one of the hands almost exclusively built Beer (Both 2's, one 3) in the Canal Age, and then some boxes to ensure that it flipped. The other hand went for a more traditional Cotton build.

Even though it seemed that the Beer builder was going to be stuck with unflipped tiles for most of the Age, some opportune Coal/Iron builds provided enough income to make up for the loans necessary to build four Beer spots, and I was able to secure their flips with boxes and get a huge jump in income.

In the end, the scenario played out the way I would have expected, with Beer being too good (too many VP, too much income, too easy to flip) and even building L1-2 boxes to flip it wasn't nearly enough penalty to hold it back. The extra actions you get from not needing to try too hard to flip the Beer allowed it to get extra link points in both ages, and to wait until the right spots were open before building boxes and selling all 3 in one action.

The Rail Age was even more lopsided, with the Beer hand having a lot of extra cash, income, and no big impediment to doing double Rails most of the time, and then single Rails when the beer ran out. While the scores were a respectable 171-209, the game never felt very close. Lesson learned, don't let one person do all the beer.



After Easter dinner, I played a 2-player game of Harbour. This is always a neat little worker placement game. In the initial draw, there were no ways to buy additional buildings, and only ways to convert (not buildings that simply give you stuff). As a result, it was a little thinkier and slower than most games, but it was still good!
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7. Board Game: Teotihuacan: City of Gods [Average Rating:8.00 Overall Rank:90]
James Moline
United States
Tampa
FL
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Teotihuacan: City of Gods - My wife and I played a 2 player game of Teotihuacan this week. The 2 player variant is a little reminiscent of Kingsburg, where you randomly put put the dice from the unused player colors. They're static for an entire round (but they don't actually block you, just make it more expensive), which is kind of annoying and can really make you feel like you have to avoid certain spots. As a result I hardly used the production spaces at all. Instead I found alternate ways of getting resources, and I worked hard to move up 2 of the temple tracks (one that gets you cocoa, and one that gets you resources). I hit the top spot in both cases, which was really important because I fell behind in points early and stayed that way for the whole game. The temple bonuses made up a good chunk of the deficit for me, but not enough to get the win. We both enjpyed this at 2, but I'd like to try it again with the dice randomness variant from the forums (or maybe the teotibot from the solo game) to help with the too static dummy dice.
Rating: _7.5_

NEW Escape Plan - On Saturday we played a 4 player game of Escape Plan. It was the first play for all of us, and the rules explanation did take a while, but I had the rules down pretty well and the play went smoothly. This is definitely Lacerda's lightest, but also maybe his most thematic game. The rules aren't actually all that complex, and after the initial brain dump, the player aids do a really good job of reminding you of each location's actions. I was doing pretty well for the whole game. Never had too much trouble with the cops, went to a whole bunch of my locations. Then the final round hit, and the first person exited. I was pretty much screwed at that point, because I decided to hit one last location, thinking I could exit on my second action and still get out for free. Not so much. I still thought I might be able to make it up, but I couldn't get the money I needed together, and I ended up getting arrested as I left the city. I definitely had most money at the end of the game, but you can't spend itt in jail, so I lost. I think we all enjoyed this game quite a bit.
Rating: _7.5_

NEW Underwater Cities - Next up, we played a 4 player game of Underwater Cities. The other 2 players had played before, and taught it to my wife and I. The game is pretty long, but I really enjoyed it. The action spaces were fairly tense with 4 players. The card play was interesting and the strategy was fun. I wouldn't say it was super thematic feeling or anything, but it's just the kind of game my wife and I enjoy. It's a long one, though. Each player gets something like 30 turns in a game with 3 production rounds thrown in. All told, it took longer to play than Escape Plan, but I think I liked it a little more too. Both of them will see the table again for sure. Underwater Cities probably isn't suitable for our weekly meetup, unfortunately, but it will get played at game days, at least.
Rating: _8.0_



_6.0_ Mission: Red Planet (Second Edition) x1
_7.0_ Key Flow x1
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8. Board Game: Fireball Island: The Curse of Vul-Kar [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:950]
Fernando Robert Yu
Philippines
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The Holy week holidays meant a lot of gaming for me at the Celino household!

Tuesday

Yokohama = 1 Play

Another try, this time with 3 players. It played much faster with Kent coming out on top in the end.


Kent 170 Keith 125 Me 123

Imhotep = 1 Play

This Spiel winner closed the evening with cards being the huge difference as I was totally shut out. Kent had 3 objective cards which was the key to his win.


Kent 53 Keith 46 Me 38

Wednesday

War Chest = 2 Plays

Only Keith was available so I spent some time in the afternoon for some quick games. I teach him this bag builder and we get to play a couple of games.


Game 1: As expected, the teaching game has me win 6-2 as player B using the teaching setup.

Game 2 was a draft of randomized units.


My units


Keith's units


Game 2: My Berserker leads my foot units to overcome Keith's heavier troops to win 6-3.

Star Realms: Frontiers = 1 Play

A quick game of this deckbuilder closed the afternoon. It was very close as my Alignment was just a turn away from bringing Keith's Pact down to 0.


Keith Pact 13 Me Alignment 0.

Thursday

We were fortunate as Jim got to join us that afternoon.

Roll for the Galaxy = 1 Play

Only Kent and I were ready early on so we play this. I built a very good produce and consume engine (24 VP chips!) but Kent simply built a lot of expensive tiles to win in the end.


Kent 50 Me 37

Rajas of the Ganges = 1 Play



Fireball Island: The Curse of Vul-Kar = 1 Play (NEW)



Queendomino = 1 Play



Friday

This time it was Enrique's turn to join us.

Shogun = 1 Play (Out of the dust!)




Blood Rage: Mystics of Midgard = 1 Play (NEW)


King of Tokyo/New York: Monster Pack – Anubis = 1 Play (NEW)




Saturday

We ate out to celebrate my mom's birthday so had some opportunity to play some games.

Azul = 1 Play

My nephew Ethan and Maki joined me and Shawn to play this. It was Maki's 20 points from 2 completed colors plus having completed 1 horizontal line to win the tiebreak versus Ethan.


Maki 60 Ethan 60 Me 56 Shawn 36

Hero Realms = 1 Play

I let Ethan try the fantasy version of Star Realms with him using the Cleric and me the Wizard. Ethan's healing ability gave him the early advantage but my investement in green and red cards as well as my judicious use of my Wizard's ability to draw a card at the cost of a HP to do a lot of damage for the win.


Wizard defeats Cleric!
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9. Board Game: Dice Throne: Season One [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:542] [Average Rating:7.83 Unranked]
John Curtis
United States
Andrews
Texas
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After playing nothing last week (I think that is a first for me; at least in the last couple of years), I got a pretty good run of games this week.

Tuesday

On Tuesday, my buddy Q got off work (he works 2 week hitches... then has 2 weeks off) and I went over to play some games. We started with Azul. I had played once before, but this was Q's first play. It didn't take long to explain the rules and get up and running. I made a bonehead move sort of early (and had to lose 14 points from dropping tiles. I was playing catch-up for the rest of the game. I almost got caught up, but Q ended the game before I could fully come back. I only lost by a half-dozen points. If the game had gone 1 or 2 more turns, I might have been able to win. Alas! But it was fun. I can see that the hype around this game is valid.


After Azul, I pulled out Dice Throne to teach Q how to play. I figured he would like a dynamic dueling game. Boy was I wrong! He played the Barbarian and I played the Moon Elf. I was very lucky on my first half dozen rolls. And he wasn't very lucky on his card draws. The net result was he was very frustrated the entire game. It seems that he has a hatred for Yahtzee (the core mechanism for this game). I ended up winning with 27 HPs left (so it wasn't even close). Not a success, though.

Friday

On Friday, my wife and I had a date night planned. We were going to go see a movie, but the movies ended up being sort of blah. So my wife agreed to have a game night/date night! Woohoo! I was really excited. I figured we would play one of the games I've been waiting to play specifically with her (maybe Fog of Love or one of a half dozen others). We had a light dinner at home (once we got home from work). As we were finishing, though, my wife got a distressing phone call. A cousin (that she was particularly close to) had a heart attack and passed away the previous day. Bad news. That put a damper on the rest of the evening. After a couple of hours of grief and then planning (for the funeral). My wife agreed to play a game... as long as it wasn't too "deep" (and a game she already knew). I settled on Keyforge. She had to re-learn the game (reading the quick-start rules was sufficient). We both opened a new deck and then shuffled up and played. It was sort of close. But she ended up getting her 3rd key before me (though I had 2 keys forged). Was a fun diversion for the evening.

Saturday

On Saturday, I pulled out one of the games I acquired in the Jack Vassal Memorial Fund auction: Friday. I knew that this game was a highly-recommended solo game. So I read the rules, ran a test game to get a feel for it. Then played two games for real. This game is surprisingly hard (even on the easy setting). I am getting better at it. But most importantly, I enjoyed it! This is a quick to set-up, solo game. I will probably play it a lot more!


My wife spent the day at an Easter event (volunteered to help out). So I ended up going to my buddy Q's house for some games. Our other buddy from out of town, Aaron, was going to come over. Q suggested that I come over early and play a couple of games. We started with another play of Azul. It was a much closer game, but Q still ended up winning. I am sort of surprised by how brutal this game is. It can be really mean. Don't get me wrong... I really like this game. But, boy! You really do try and plan moves that will hurt your opponent while helping you. A fun gmae!


Surprisingly, Q asked for another run on Dice Throne. He said he wanted to try it while he wasn't quite as drunk. LOL. We played the same characters. This was MUCH closer. I was slightly ahead most of the game (by a point or two). I never rolled my evasion ability. But my defense rolls were better than average (halving the damage coming in most of the time). In the end, I won... but by a single HP. It could have easily been a win for him. I think he will end up tolerating this game. This second experience was a much better feel (for him).


After this, our buddy Aaron arrived and we set up Too Many Bones. I had played once before, but this was Q's first run. He played the healer (Patches). I played Bomber. And Aaron played Picket. We played on the easy setting against an easy tyrant. And we still struggled. LO. It was fun, though. I really enjoyed it (again). More importantly, Q really, really, really enjoyed it. I expect that he will end up acquiring this game (though it is very expensive). It was a fun one!

That's it for this week!
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10. Board Game: GKR: Heavy Hitters [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:1424]
Justin Wawrzonek
United States
Amsterdam
New York
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 8.0   Innovation Deluxe (8 all-time)

Played a game of Innovation with the Cities Expansion. It was fun, although not my favorite expansion (I think Artifacts is my Fav so far). Still one of my favorites.

 N/A   Azul (2 all-time)

This one was once again a hit. Everyone had fun, and it was super easy to teach. One of the best gateway games I own.

 7.0   GKR: Heavy Hitters NEW!

Been on the fence with this one for a while, but I wasn't dissapointed. Its a very well designed miniature combat game with some great models, and some fun mechanics. Its not hard to play, although with 4 players it did drag on a bit. That may change with more plays.



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11. Board Game: Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:62]
Tiago Perretto
Brazil
Curitiba
Parana
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Hello, folks!

Overall, another week with not all that many games, but good plays and one new to me.

Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure x2 -- new to me, and a quite good deck-builder






NMBR 9 x2 -- made my highest score in the second play: 106 points!

China x1 -- really close match decided only in the last couple of actions




Hanabi x1

Now Boarding x1 -- a defeat


That was it! Regards,
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12. Board Game: Qwirkle [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:712]
Phil Fenerty
United Kingdom
Southport
Unspecified
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Easter Sunday was a big family day, and after all the relatives had gone, Mrs meomwt, Junior meomwt #2 and I settled down to a swift three-hander of Qwirkle. It was surprisingly compact, with big scoring opportunities all over the board.

Quote:
That's just twelve points


When you hear that at the table, you know the scores are going big! Junior meomwt #2 managed six double-figure scores in seven turns to run away with the win: I scraped second place by getting a double-Qwirkle near the end.
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13. Board Game: Russian Railroads [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:70]
Jon Enns
Canada
Herbert
Saskatchewan
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Since this month is too busy Rob and Leah and I have had to settle for an evening of gaming rather than our regular day event. I went there on Tuesday and we started with Five Tribes.


Next it was Castles of Mad King Ludwig with the moats.


We finished our evening off with 2 games of Splendor. This really is likely a game I should have in my own collection.


All of our girls came home for the Easter weekend. Lindy and I played Indian Summer on Thursday night.


On Friday morning we played Photosynthesis.


In the evening Melissa and I played Ricochet Robots.


We followed with a game of Boggle for which Lindy joined.


Saturday morning Lindy and I played German Railroads. I LOVE this game!


Later Lance and I played Azul. We played again on Sunday once just the two of us and a second time with Lindy joining.


In the evening I FINALLY taught Lindy Imhotep. We played again on Sunday.

14 games played this week plus 3 expansions.
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14. Board Game: Push It [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:3457]
Andrew
United States
Kansas City
Missouri
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Monday guy's game night

 10.   Tigris & Euphrates
After getting his butt handed to him last Monday, Nathan requested a rematch in Tigris, and followed it up by destroying us! I don't remember the scores, but Jon and I were at 8 and 10, respectively, and Nathan was at least five or six full points ahead of us. Still a great game, even though I got smoked. He had some really good temple control all game long, and I got terribly unlucky drawing red tiles.


 6.0   Race for the Galaxy
Jon creamed Nathan and I by actually investing in an engine that he basically had up and running in two turns. I did my usual rush for military planets but Jon was too efficient. He creamed us.


 8.0   The Grizzled x2
Jon was new to this game, Nathan and I taught him. We played without traps, as I prefer to with new players, and I believe we split the games, winning the second after losing the first.

Friday at in-laws

 10.   Glory to Rome
Tim, Evan and I knocked out this favorite. I was coming off a win from my last play, and determined to follow it up! I had a slow start but invested heavily in clients, and my build-everything strategy paid off. I had some timely vault placements of rubble and wood for mega bonus points, and took the win by two points.

It was my first time playing the Republica version in over a year, and I remember how much I hated how the pool chokes up with cards. Also, my usually "craftsman-first" strategy is blunted, so I went for a combo architect/laborer strategy that worked out for me. It was also odd to play with Tim/Evan, who also have dozens of plays of this, but with a completely different group and a totally different meta-game.

Saturday game night

 8.0   Push It NEW!
I opened with this bocce-style game that had arrived in the mail that day. Great fun, though I finished with negative points because flicking games are not my forte! Jesse, I believe, took the win between myself, Ashley, Tracy, and Jesse.

To rant for a bit, it drives me nuts that people who come to game night won't start their own opener-style game if I'm already in one. Then you get a bunch of people hanging around the one game that's started, and I feel like a bad host for gaming while my guests watch. I wish more people would just pull a simple filler off the shelf and play it amongst themselves Maybe I just need to stay uncommitted to a game during the "opener" phase.


 8.0   Kakerlakensuppe x2
We had two rounds: a seven player with the others who had filtered in, and then a six-player when I went to help Alisha with the food. Not sure who won the second time, but Ashley took the first.


 8.0   Lords of Vegas
Jesse, Lenny, Ashley and I broke this one out. Lords of Vegas is a game I love that doesn't get enough table time. This was one of the most lopsided plays yet.

I got lucky with some early casino placement, and ended up controlling a huge grey casino that won me the game. I bought off my main competitor and so no one challenged me for it throughout the entire game. Eventually, it reached nine tiles. I do think the game was so lopsided because no one took me on here when I was vulnerable. I also had a nice six-tile green casino by the end.

Final scores: 73 (me, and my personal best), 32 (Ashley), 14 (Jesse), 12 (Lenny). Jesse and Lenny colluded for a lot of trades but I guess they didn't work out. It was an odd game where most people had their individual casinos locked down. Kind of frustrating that they didn't get to see a lot of the reorganizing and drastic swings that make this game so memorable, but I think people enjoyed themselves despite that. (I hope they did, anyhow! I hate stomping newbies in games. . .)


 N/A   Bring Your Own Book x2 NEW!
I bought this game for the light-gamer crowd and it seemed to be a hit: Alisha played it with Tracy, Libby, and Alysia. It's a nice vote-for-the-best game, with the twist being you find your answers from books picked off the bookshelf. Kind of cool and creative, and good for a couple few plays. Again, great for the bananagrams-imagine-dixit crowd at game night


 8.0   Tokaido
Libby, Alysia, and Alisha played Tokaido next. This is one of my very favorite gateway games and I'm glad it's still getting plays.

Sunday at in-laws

 7.0   Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 x2
We (Tim, Karen, Alisha, me) had not fought to save the world since February, so we finally sat down on Easter Sunday to give it a whirl. We lost the month of May: twice! We were smoked in the first game, but came just one turn short in the second game. We go into June with a lot of resources to win (hopefully!)

Spoiler (click to reveal)
We did produce some good results in the losses. In the first game, I discovered the Pacific haven (which we named Hemingray) and we got the +15 cube stash, which saved our bacon. I also discovered the infected city of Santiago with a search card, and in the second game, Alisha reconned Africa which gave us more infested cities. We also had our first two cities become forsaken, which, we learned, also infested them. Lots of infestation breaking out over the map, and we still haven't figured out how to get to Lake Baikal!

Season 2 has a weaker story than 1, but I enjoy what we are doing mechanically much more. Still, the card draw can make some games impossible or nearly impossible to win, and it was frustrating to come so close in the second game only to fall short.


I still don't love Pandemic, but these legacy games are all right. Notably, I was the only one of the four who didn't want to try a third time right there. Who wants to play Pandemic back to back to back?? Instead, Tim and I played a few rounds of...


 N/A   Great Western Trail NEW!
When I got to his house I said, "Let's pull something out of shrink today." Tim has two 5x5 Kallaxes plus a closet full of games (his 470 or so games put my 75 to shame), but many of them are in shrink -- at some point, he figured out he could play a new game a week for three years, or something like that.

Anyways, we landed on Great Western Trail because I was in a Euro mood, and punched it and learned most of the rules before playing Pandemic. After Pandemic, it was late enough we couldn't get through a full play, but walked through the motions of 4-5 turns. It was enough for me to get to Kansas City and deliver cattle, so we feel like we have a handle on the mechanics even if the strategy is definitely eluding me so far!

Hoping to break that out at tonight's guy's game night for a full, four-player play.

--

After a very slow start to 2019, this week felt more like "Normal" with some good plays scattered throughout the week, with a high-gaming game night in there for good measure. Still not sure I'll ever get back to the 2017-2018 pace I was on for a while, but this week was fun: a nice mix of favorites, fillers, and new games to try out!
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15. Board Game: Escape Plan [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:694]
Evan Dunn
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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Weak week with Passover eating the whole weekend. Only got one game in and it was a big disappointment.

Escape Plan - 1st play (4 rating)

Players start the game with their meeple on a the hospital hex, adjacent to a hex with police men tokens. At the start of each of the three rounds, four new hexes get added to the board along with additional policemen tokens. Players run around the board visiting locations which may increase or reduce their infamy. Having greater infamy means that during the chart adjustment, if you cross one of the marked thresholds, each player with less infamy than you has to move a policeman token closer to your location. Whenever you want to move, which is almost every turn, you need to spend special tokens to avoid the police. Failing to do so results in taking on wounds, which eventually cost you a lot of points. The tension goes up in the third round when it's finally time to escape. The first few players to get off the map though the exit only pay $5, but later players have to pay $10, plus once one person escapes everyone has to pay an additional $1 per action they take from that point on.

There are some interesting elements to the game for sure. I like how you gain and lose reputation across a single round, but only adjust the chart in between rounds. The tokens used to represent this are efficient and easy to track. I like the layout of the tiles, the way police tokens effect the tile you are on yet players measure their movement by counting different terrain types traversed, so you might be able to cleverly slip past the police tokens if the tile layout lines up your way.

There are also some game elements that really prevent me from enjoying the game. Despite this being a lighter-ish game, at least for a Vital game, the rules still feel award. For example, one of the things you can do in the game is take over biker gangs. You pay $5, then get two biker tokens that can be spent one of three ways. One of those three things is you can spend one when you are on a tile with a helipad to move 2 spaces ignoring the police between the start and end tiles. Then there is a hospital tile where you start the game and heal at, which is differentiated from the clinic space which also heals, looks similar, but has different functions. A little more streamlining would have gone a lone way to making this a more intuitive experience. Another thing is that I found there were very few opportunities for me to make real decisions. When it's my chance to place a tile, there's usually only one or two places it can legally go. Often times there isn't a space on the tile that I'm left with for a business to go which means I'm chasing other player's goal locations most of the time. When it's my turn to move, the position of the police meeples restricts my options to one or zero good moves. This is further restricted by how difficult it is to have cash in hand. The game gives you very little money to spend and lots of things you have to spend it on. Running out of money in that final round is grounds for player elimination. This is further complicated by the fact that locations on the map close shop after a fixed number of players visit it.

My disappointment with the game might be from unrealistic expectations. I wanted a more complicated, deeper Colt Express, where players run around, take shots, and push police meeples into each other, grabbing money, and pushing their luck in a lighthearted way. What I got was this hyper restrictive budgeting game with frustrating last round player elimination.
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16. Board Game: Evolution [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:369]
Evan Scussel
United States
Longwood
FL
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I have used Evolution as the header for this entry because I feel like I am evolving somewhat as a gamer. This year, I have played 62 unique games, of which only 25 (40.3%) are new to me. Last year, that percentage was 61.5% (177 games, 109 new) and the year before that it was even higher at 69.4% (147, 102). What I’m finding is that I want to play more of my collection more often. I want to dive deeper on games I already have and explore them further. I had a game day this week in which all the new hotness was getting played around me like Escape Plan and Underwater Cities while I played stuff that was tried and true (for me). I think every gamer goes through this procession at some point and I still want to play new things. But for now, I’m content pulling things off my shelf that I’ve played a number of times before rather than investing a bunch of time and effort into reading rules for new and complicated game.

Monthly Game Day
Normally I host a weekly game night on Mondays, but I was sick this week and didn’t attend. I also got no family gaming in, which is a bit odd, so the only thing to report this week is my monthly game day that occurred on Saturday. Funny thing about game days…you usually read like 5-6 rule books in advance preparing for what you might play and then when the day finally comes, you play anything but what you’ve just read. I spent days reading through the books on Forum Trajanum, Blackout: Hong Kong, Shipyard, Stephenson’s Rocket and Lisboa and none of those even came close to hitting the table.

 4.7   Deep Sea Adventure NEW!

We started the day off with Deep Sea Adventure as we were waiting for people to arrive and we had six players. I don’t see the allure of this game and why people like it so much. Yes, it’s got a cute form factor with the appealing bits and the small box. But there is just no game here. If you don’t roll high values, you are screwed and often the “decision” is to grab the first tile and head back to the ship or die. Well, that decision seems easy to me. I got zero points in this game, yet felt no tension, no push your luck thrill that is so common to the best games of this genre. Maybe it was a byproduct of our group and the time mechanic inherent in the game, but this didn’t appeal to me whatsoever. And to think, I was very recently considering a blind purchase of this one as I am looking for more small box fillers. Thankfully, I didn’t do that in this instance.


 8.7   1889: History of Shikoku Railways (2 all-time)

Maybe It’s the 18Cheasapeake Kickstarter that is currently running that has me getting the 18xx bug, but I’ve been wanting to play more of these games recently. I P500’d 1862 from GMT and I recently bought token upgrades for my copies of 1846 and 1830. When one of the guys in my gaming group said he wanted to play 1889, I set up a game. This included two players who have played the system 4-5x each and two players new to 18xx, but strong euro game players in their own right.

I won this game, but my winning score of $3,518 was paltry. The last time I played this I came in last with around $4,700 and the winner had over $7K. This play also lasted almost 6 hours when 1889 should never last more than 3.5 or 4 hours. We had no bankruptcies, every company floated and there were a lot of retained earnings in order to get 5’s, 6’s and D’s in the fleet for each company. Perhaps we just started companies too late? Perhaps we tokened aggressively, limiting the route options? (this definitely occurred in this game), Perhaps we are all just too inexperienced, but this game probably wasn’t the best advertisement for 18xx and I hope the two new players weren’t too turned off by the game length or the fact that they didn’t win. Time will tell.




 8.2   Gold West (3 all-time)

Toby didn’t want 1889 to be the only game he played this day, so he requested Gold West, which I thought was odd because Toby usually likes heavier games.

I’m glad he picked this one though because it allowed me to get my nine-year old son, Hunter, involved. In the end, I really enjoy the mancala mechanism in this game, but I feel that J. Alex Kevern’s designs make it hard to separate yourself from the pack. I’ve played this game now three times and every time the game comes down to a 3-5 point differential no matter what objectives you go for. There seems to be a high degree of decision space flexibility here with end game objectives, area control, contiguous settlements and resource conversion, but no matter what you do, the points end up being tightly clustered. That’s a bit unsatisfying for me and why I probably prefer World’s Fair 1893 ever so slightly to this one.


 8.5   Evolution (5 all-time)

To finish up the night, I really wanted to play Evolution with the climate expansion as I recently got the expansion in trade. However, I didn’t realize that I hadn’t sleeved the cards. My base copy of the game is sleeved so it would have been very easy to know when someone was playing a climate trait card to the water hole or to their species if they weren’t sleeved, so we left the expansion out and just played the base game.

I love Evolution. Love it. But I will say that the rule books could use some work. The climate conversion kit rule book states that you take out 60 cards for a three-player game, but there are only about 90 cards in the expansion. The assumption is that you include the climate trait cards in with the base game cards, but it doesn’t explicitly state as such. Furthermore, there are no edge case FAQs in the main book. Like, does Pack Herding override Defensive Herding? Also, should you play your cards simultaneously or in turn order? The rule book states that you play in turn order, but it doesn't feel right. It feels like the game drags that way whereas simultaneous play would be more streamlined (but less strategic?) As a result, I find that Evolution takes too long for what it is. We played a three-player game in 90 minutes. This game should take about 45-60. That’s disappointing and the only reason I don’t have this game rated higher. Despite the time to play issue, I still love this game and am eager to try Climate, Flight and at some point in the future, Oceans.




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17. Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy [Average Rating:8.13 Overall Rank:14]
Kent Pritchett
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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This week my wife and I played the The Castles of Burgundy. I was quite ahead for most of the game it looked like my wife would have now way of winning put once the final points were tallied up I only won by 5 points. Such a great game.


My wife and one of my sons played Potion Explosion, he won by quite.


With my two younger children I played several games including Meeple Circus, RattleSnake, Cardline: Animals, and Spinderella.
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18. Board Game: Roll for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:67]
Rolf H

Utah
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Monday - My good friend came over to play a few games so we started out with a round of Roll for the Galaxy. He started out the game by completing a tile early on giving him 6 points and and endgame bonus based on the number of points he scored shipping goods so I immediately shifted my focus to minimize the damage. I ended up getting all but 2 of the victory point tiles and felt pretty good about getting the win but lost my confidence when I looked over at his tableau. He had completed two 5 point planets and three six point tiles with endgame bonuses while I had been focusing elsewhere. Needless to say, he won 54-43.

My friend and I wrapped up the night with a couple quick rounds of Star Realms. The first round I diversified my deck too much and had a very disappointing game giving him the easy victory. The second match I showed a little more self control and gave him a run for his money. We ended a very close match with me getting the 13 damage I needed against him in my final hand before he would have inevitably knocked out my last 3 authority in his next turn.


Thursday - It took a couple months to get Arboretum to the table but I was able to convince my wife to give it a try. We played two rounds that ended up being fairly close even though it wasn't until the end of the second game that my wife realized exactly how the paths worked. She did great doubling up on points by making paths all from the same tree but definitely missed out on some scoring opportunities not taking advantage of the fact the paths only need to start and end with that tree.

This game reminded me of Hanamikoji in that I find them both very enjoyable but don't feel either quite live up to the hype. I really enjoy simple games with tough decisions so I thought both had potential to become instant favorites. Perhaps it is just that neither game has immediately grabbed me so it may be hard to get them played enough to get to the point I feel there is as much tension in the decisions as something like Biblios.


Friday - After getting quite a few plays of Century in lately I decided my wife and I should bring out Splendor again to see if it had been, as they say, killed. Nope! Do people need to go out of their way to own both of these games? No, but I am happy to keep both in my collection.

We ran through two plays pretty quickly and both times I was able to get my engine going a little faster and seal the victories.

We ended the night with a relaxing game of Railroad Ink. I love that in this game people can have such different experiences with the same exact die rolls. I felt like our rolls were making for a really tough game and knew my score wouldn't be great but my wife had perfectly manged the rolls and beat me handily. I think in a few more plays I'll be ready to add in the one of the "expansion" sets of dice to see what they offer.
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19. Board Game: Tavern Masters [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:6108]
Keith Lewis
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Had a Great time with this at our Thursday group. Played three times with three different winners(definite game balance)

Also got in a game of Munchkin CCG



Even got my Wife to play Azul stained Glass


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20. Board Game: Skyjo [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:3616]
Jamie Beu
United States
Orlando
Florida
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My mother-in-law bought this for us this past Christmas. She was visiting for Easter, so this has made an appearance a couple of times this past weekend, the last with 6 of us playing.

I'd love to say that there is "too much luck" or "too much randomness" in this game, in order to rationalize my paltry win record (1 win over 4 months). I cannot, since my wife has quite the impressive record - she's got to have close to a 50% win ratio!
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21. Board Game: Heul doch! Mau Mau [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:9747]
Topsy Toppington
United States
Fairfax
Virginia
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Sunday games with my husband:

Keyflower:: first play of this, and I really enjoyed the dynamic added by being able to play in each other’s towns. We’ll need to play again soon.



The Castles of Burgundy: first time playing with the trade routes expansion. I liked it.





Qwixx: quick, simple roll & write. I’m fan when they don’t stretch out too long.





Codenames: Duet x 1: Our first win.





On Tuesday, I ran into a couple of friends who had just picked up Ticket to Ride, and they invited us over for a game night:


Ticket to Ride: I don’t think I have ever played the original version, and I really liked the “no frills” version. I suspect the four player count we had is ideal. It was great to be able to sit down with friends who may not have the same gaming experience and play something I still found engaging, while being casual enough to chat and competitively pretty close.


6 nimmt!: similarly easy to pick up and light and fun.






The rest of the week I was visiting family:


Cheating Moth, 5p: my kids love this one, adults tend to find the chaos overwhelming. I’m working on some house rules to curb that.




Azul x 2, 3p: kind of forgot this a bit more tactical than strategic (in that I do better making sure to track other players’ boards vs. just focusing on my own board), and was crushed by my brother in the first game.



Rhino Hero x 3, 2p, 3p & 4p




Snake Oil x 2, 5p & 6p: I’m fine playing with the kids, but not one I would choose.





Heul doch! Mau Mau x 5, 5p & 6p: this one was a tremendous hit. It is easy enough for the kids, plays quickly and is engaging enough in terms of strategy.




The Big Score, 4p: enjoyable enough push your luck game, but the set up and take down are off-putting.




Drop It x 5, 4p: not as easy as it seems like it should be, which I think keeps us playing.




Ticket to Ride: Europe, 4p: this is the version I have previously played, and I think I liked the basic version better.




Forbidden Island, 3p: my 9 yo wanted something cooperative. We lost but worked well as a group, so it was still enjoyable.




Krass Kariert, 3p: this one was very good. More strategic than Heul Doch, but also too hard for the younger kids.



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22. Board Game: Railways of the World [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:104] [Average Rating:7.69 Unranked]
Alex Drazen
United States
Massachusetts
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Lost Thurn and Taxis 3 times over.

Mrs. Drazen squeaked out a 1 VP win in Kingdom Builder, due to my drawing two consecutive Canyon cards at the end. Literally any other terrain would have won for me!

Won handily in Azul. This time I got to be on the right of the guy who beat me 2 weeks ago, and after the (same) very inexperienced player -- shades of Puerto Rico's turn-order issues?

Barely squeaked out a win in 5P Railways of the World. It came down to two of us and a pile of kingmaking: people using our links, and the last-place player ended it a turn early. Third place ran out of juice (NEVER start in Jacksonville with more than 4 players!) and 4th and 5th lagged significantly. 5th place intentionally played a zero-bond game. 2nd place is getting good at Western Link, but I could have easily stopped him for 2 moves and 4 bonds (costing him 20 VP for his NY-KC route). Hopefully next time, we can play something other than the Eastern USA map; I'm not a fan of it. Personally, I prefer Western USA, which has fewer "easy" cube corridors and way more mountain terrain.

We tried out a test deck for Power Grid (using the various decks to try to minimize early big plant drops), but concluded it needs some tweaking.

Won big in 1846, though the three folks I play with at this particular event are just starting out in 18xx and have only played about three times each. One is picking it up quickly and actually was pretty even with me through SR3, except the NYC had two green trains, while he only had three yellows and a green, so the brown trains hurt him more than me and I ended up with the only triple bump of the game (and was about $20 off on one run from having another triple bump). We called it despite an $83 bank after OR5.2 because I had bought a grey train for $800 and if I had not been rushing and we had counted the bank, it would have been clear the game was ending. Hooray that the new players are down to 5 sets or OR's in 1846 (I think it's been 6 every other time) although we're still running around 3 hours of actual play time (it was "officially" 4, but with set-up and a dinner break, 3 seems about right).
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23. Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth [Average Rating:8.33 Overall Rank:256]
Parisian Dreams
Canada
AB
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Aeon's End: Legacy x2 (9 all-time)

Life has been busy and as a result, my weeks have been a bit inconsistent for being able to meet with my friend for our weekly game sessions. All we've been playing is this for the last couple of months. We can typically get 2 plays in per session so it's not been too bad time wise for dragging this out. Especially compared to Pandemic Legacy that took my friends and I a full year. We played Chapter 7 and 8 last week and while we won 7, we lost 8. We get one more try and from what we've read, I feel that's it.

As the campaign comes to a close, my thoughts remain the same. While my like/enjoyment of Aeon's End as a game have increased playing this Legacy version, I still don't think I'd suggest it as one to play if someone asked. The legacy version itself has had it's ups and downs. The scenarios do not really have a good balance of difficulty between them. You could play one that is super easy and then play the next one and get your butt kicked. They really needed to work on the gradual increase in difficulty versus the the ups and downs I feel it had. I also felt the story was a bit cheese-y.

On an end note, if this game is your jam (like the original), I think you'll really like this. Being able to use the characters your created/upgraded in this in the base game is nice, as well as the upgrade pack to play it again.

I'm looking forward to going back to playing a non-legacy/campaign game for our weekly game sessions.


 

The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth x3 NEW!
This game was a hit and miss for me. I pre-ordered, cancelled, pre-ordered again and then spent several weeks there after debating on if I should really buy it.

We got it to the table on Thursday night for 1 game and then got together with our friend again on Saturday to play it 2 more times. My husband still strongly dis-liked the first scenario (he feels it's unbeatable, I know he's wrong, but I am not going to argue with him over it) but as we did Chapter 2 and 3 of the game, his enjoyment and experience of the game improved. So he's went from hating the game (we had the chance to play it early) to willing to play it.

As someone who as played 30+ games of Mansions of Madness: Second Edition, I can see a lot of similarities between the two in mechanics as well as some things I miss from MoM but feel JiME improved on.

The story being cohesive, upgrading of your deck, using your deck vs dice, more inspiration (vs clues) given to players or able to give to other players (nearby), the 'visible' timer in the app vs the 'hidden' timer and the overall story arc are all things I like in this game.

I was not so sure about the cards for skill testing but I find there are many other ways to mitigate fails then in MoM's dice. I was also not so sure about deck upgrading vs finding stuff under search tokens, but after 3 plays I prefer it. :0)

Final verdict: I'm happy I gave this game another chance.



While Legolas and Gimli were off exploring caves, Aragon got himself into a bit of a bind. hah Legolas made a dash for another objective but once he saw how closed in Aragon was getting, he and Gimli decided to go help out.




The rest of my week was quiet for games.
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24. Board Game: Sentinels of the Multiverse [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:315] [Average Rating:7.27 Unranked]
David
United States
DURHAM
North Carolina
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 N/A   Sentinels of the Multiverse x2 (3 all-time)

Busy busy week, only managed 2 solo plays of Sentinels, in which Baron Blade was the victor each time. I am enjoying it but I don't quite see how I am going to actually win yet. Luckily (veteran of Ghost Stories games that I am) that does not stop me from trying.

Edit to add some details:
Both games were Haka, Wraith and Ra on the Wagner Mars Base, against Baron Blade. The problem I seem to run into continually is that I just keep taking damage from the minions and the environment and then from the defensive weaponry (the turret gun and the backlash weapon) so I run out of health. And then if I get some equipment into play to help me out, I get hit by the card that will hurt me for having equipment and ongoing effects and Wraith loses all her toys that I just spent 3 turns setting up - or loss too much health to continue the fight. One game I would avoid as much damage as I could and the Baron got enough cards into his discard to trigger that game end effect and the other I got him down to his reverse side but I was all around beaten up in the process and he was able to down all of us.

I was trying to get Wraith with the utility belt and a weapon so she could shoot and dodge, Ra with his Staff, flaming things and Haka was mostly doing his one-time punches, but that just depended on what came into his hand. I have less of a handle on what I want Haka to do.
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25. Board Game: Sushi Go Party! [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:161]
Jeffrey L.
United States
Western Burbs of Beantown
Massachusetts
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Finally upgraded our old copy to the the Party version and got it played. This is always a fun light filler game. It’s not my favorite but my wife and kids like it, and it’s easy to teach others. You can play with more players in this version, so my kids might play this with their friend groups.
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