The Long W gaming weekend
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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Don't worry, this Thanksgiving list has nothing to do with turkey in White House. (You did know that Ben Franklin argued for the wild turkey as our national bird instead of the carrion eater that we have instead, right?)

Anyway, I called this list the W because a good chunk of the games start with W or are produced by a W company.

We scraped the snow off the car Thursday for our big trip (25 miles) to my sister-in-laws where Lisa and I got to gloat a little as Favre got his T-giving record up to 2-2 over the heavily favored (at our get-together) Lions.



(Edit: spelling)
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1. Board Game: Shoot The Moon [Average Rating:5.81 Overall Rank:11841]
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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After eating more food than we should in a couple days, we broke out some games. We celebrated quarterly birthdays and Vince had received this one, so we broke it out first with Lisa, Zandra, Trina, Vince and me.. This game had some potential, but isn't good enough to elbow out any of the really good trick taking gmaes available. Each hand consists of five tricks. If you take one or three tricks, you get a chip, if you take all five, you get two chips. If you capture a Big Moon, you get a chip, if you capture a Little Moon, you lose a chip. When someone gets to seven, you can play a different game. Trina won.
 
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2. Board Game: Nyet! [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:1215]
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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Speaking of excellent trick taking games! Zandra wanted to watch, so the rest of us stared this one after a brief rules explanation.
 
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3. Board Game: Wicked Witches Way [Average Rating:6.43 Overall Rank:2045]
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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First of the W games. This is one of Zandra's favorites, so we broke it out next, Trina and Lisa dropped out. Zandra edged Vince with a spell card at the end. We packed up early because a lot of the folks had to work on Friday.
 
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4. Board Game: World of Warcraft: The Boardgame [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:1159]
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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Driving home Thursday, we saw people camped out at Best Buy in 24 degree weather. We weren't that silly, but Lisa did get up at 5 to chase down some deals. Then she staggered home and collapsed on the couch until early afternoon while the rest of us continued the cleaning/straightening up for the arrival of Russ and Alan.
When they got there Russ (as a recovering online WoW addict) and Alan agreed with Hanson's suggestion to play WoW. Hanson and I had played a few turns when it arrived, but we were still relative newbies. We used the suggested characters and upgrades for the most part and neither side were able to reach fifth level and get to the boss, so we had a PvP combat at the end with the Alliance emerging victoriously. (Second game with W featured prominently.)
The pizza arrived as we were finishing up the climatic last battle.
 
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5. Board Game: Chicago Express [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:362]
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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Then Hanson took a break and Alan, Russ and I set up Wabash Cannonball. This was my third play. I really liked the four player game, but am iffy on three players. (Not iffy enough to turn down a game, mind you.) Alan managed to get an early stock lead and never really looked back. Two turns in a row, he managed to put the share I'd been eyeing at $1 mroe than I had or it would have been closer. B&O (Alan's and mine) and PRR (all Alan) expanded to Pittsburgh early while NYC (Russ) took the borthern route towards Detroit. C&O (my initial second share) didn't expand until the third turn, but still just hit Chicago. Russ's last minute usage of the Cannonball running to Detroit and Chicago netted a few dollars, but Alan's lead was insurmountable. I look forward to many more plays of this Winsome title. (W #3)
 
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6. Board Game: New York Central [Average Rating:6.43 Overall Rank:8273]
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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Another Winsome title (4) that I'd played once. After a brief rules explanation, we started assigning routes to cars and moving passengers around. Based on two playes, this is a quick simple card game that has some real decisions.
 
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7. Board Game: To Court the King [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:1404]
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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We closed the night with this little dice game. I've played this on BSW and wasn't really impressed with it. Playing with actual dice is much more fun. This one hit the table five times over the weekend, so it has some legs, we'll see if it continues hitting the table as a filler.
Russ was best at currying favor Friday night.
 
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8. Board Game: Fan-Play Ice Hockey [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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Hanson has his "Learn to Play Hockey" class on Satrudays, so Lisa, he and I headed to the rink. He's developing nicely and they actually got to scimmage for the last ten minutes of the hour.
We returned home just as Russ and Alan were finishing Gone Fishing! with Russ and the best at baiting hooks, and just in time to save them from Crocodile Pool Party. (They'd grabbed two random two player Kosmos to bring up from basement.)
We made some ham and cheese sandwiches and had some time to kill before departing for ROBA, so we played To Court the King. Hanson proved to be the best courtier.
 
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9. Board Game: Factory Fun [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:867]
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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We arrived to find a decent crowd already there. Russ and I jumoped into this game with Kevin and Larry, while Alan and the kids found other diversions. Russ hadn't played before and took some of my early advice, so he was in trouble. I was blundering along in amediocre fashion when I saw the perfect tile to save me about round six or seven. Well when it finally was plumbed in place, I was able to use the rule that the scoring markers do not go below 1, but I did manage to use 3 output from the new machine. Larry edged out Kevin for the win and I got within 20% of Russ's score.
 
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10. Board Game: Ausgebremst [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:3591]
 
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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Mike was selling this one, so to make sure he wanted to and make sure Ken wanted to buy it, we along with Russ, Kevin and Larry tried to play it. I tried to translate the German rules on the fly to refresh my memory and we played a simplified game. I still really like this system. It was enough of a hit that Ken purchased it, but not enough that Mike decided to keep it.
 
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11. Board Game: StarCraft: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:341]
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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Kevin, Larry and I'd been wanting to play this with less than six players, so Russ joined us and at the last minute, we bumped up to five to get Ken in the game, too.
We set up the board and by the end of the first turn, three (or four?) of us had our special victory conditions (had it been phase 3). We continued along "liberating" territory from each other for an hour or so until we hit phase 3. By this time only Ken and Russ had their SVC met and Ken had more VP, so he won. With slightly different play, Kevin could have blocked Ken's and maybe met his, but he tried another move that didn't work out.
I may try this game again, but I am not enthusiastic about it. I think my biggest issue is that the players constantly have to watch the SVC. This is true in other games, but in this one, they seem too easy to achieve, so at any time it will be hard to have no one meeting them. So when Phase 3 happens, it seems like the game will be over. The combat ssytem has some good points, but needs some tweaking.
While we were playing this one Alan and Darrell were able to "enjoy" Talisman.
 
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12. Board Game: Der wei├če Lotus [Average Rating:6.18 Overall Rank:5652]
 
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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Ken got this Wallce title (5) out again (he'd been trying to start it before jumping in Starcraft) and Kevin, Robert, Russ, Ken and I tried to take over China. Let me start with, I like blind bidding games in general. I like voting games in general. Controlling areas to get bonusses specific to the type of area is a good game mechanic that I enjoy. In short, all the pieces of this game should have greatly appealed to me. I hated this game. I will play it again if the opportunity arises just to make sure that it didn't hit me in a funny mood, but my impression was shared by some of the others at the table as well.
Instead of restarting a second time, Alan opted for greener pastures, but not in time to join our game.
 
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13. Board Game: Australian Railways [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:6999]
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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We got home and made some spaghetti (ROBA didn't have pizza Saturday). Ken and Darrell swung by my house after ROBA so we had a five player game of this Winsome (6) title designed by Wallace (7). The components aren't overwhelming, but it proved to be a fun game of auctioning routes, building railroads and deliverying goods. I really like this system and look forward to more plays.
 
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14. Board Game: Patrician [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:1702]
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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Ken and Darrell took off and Hanson wandered in, so we played a four player game of Schacht's Patrician. Hanson game to the conclusion that it wasn't worth playing again after the first game, I didn't arrive there until the second. The key to the game seems to be playing last. We wrapped up the night with another round of Courting the King.
 
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15. Board Game: World of Warcraft: The Boardgame [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:1159]
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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Hanson was itching for another play of this one (8) so it was set up after a quick breakfast with Alan and I as Alliance while Russ and Hanson were the Horde. Both teams levelled up nicely and were going for the boss. It looked like we would get there first, so they jumped us. The battle took about an hour with us cowering behind my Ice Barrier while whittling them down a couple hits a round. After that battle, we had time to refresh completely and hit the Boss who went down in one round.
 
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16. Board Game: InterUrban [Average Rating:5.78 Overall Rank:11366]
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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We took a break for some chocolate chili that didn't turn out as well as we'd hoped and then proceeded to cut the pieces to this Winsome (9) title. I first tried the Exacto along a metal straightedge method suggested in the package, but gave that up after butchering a couple of cuts. Then Lisa dug out the papercutter for me and that worked much more smoothly. This is a game of developing six subway lines out until they cannot be expanded because they hit another or enough stations have been played. After all six lines are developed, the points are divvied up depending on who has the largeest stations on the line. We played two games and I'll probably try it again, but wasn't overawed with the game.
 
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17. Board Game: Transsib [Average Rating:5.60 Overall Rank:12197]
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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Hanson was out to finish some homework, so we broke out this title (10) that I'd had for years, but not gotten to the table. After more use of the papercutter, Alan, Russ and I along with three thugs each boarded the train in Siberia to make our fortune peddling, protecting and stealing goods on the train. This is another blind bidding game and I am deciding maybe it's not my favortie mechanic. I'll have to try this with more people sometime. Russ proved to be the best "businessman."
 
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18. Board Game: Robber Barons [Average Rating:6.14 Overall Rank:10506]
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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Russ saw the name on this Winsome title (11) and we had to play it. We randomly picked the German map and Hanson rejoined us as we were finishing the first turn, so we restarted. Points are scored by placing pawns in cities and towns and by claiming routes with offboard destinations. If pawns are placed where one has routes or routes are claimed where one has pawns more points are awarded. Points are also scored for having contiguous groups of pawns. So it's a bit of bookkeeping and double checking for ownership, but still a good game. I am looking forward to playing on American map to see if familiarity with the geography makes it play a little smoother. In any case, Alan proved to be the Robber Baron king.
 
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19. Board Game: Locomotive Werks [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:2691]
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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It was time for Hanson to say good night, so Russ, Alan and I decided to try one more Winsome title (making an even dozen W's)

I am really glad that we did. This is probably my favorite new game of the weekend. (With more plays, this selection may be my favorite of the month or quarter.) In this game, players build factories for locomotives of increasingly more advanced (and lucrative) models. Players can also expand produciton by building lines within factories and upgrade assemnbly lines to more advanced factories. The market is dice driven and increases for new technology while demand for older technology wanes. The rules almost defeated us, but after playing a turn or two with the rules out, the process became clear and we whistled along.
 
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20. Board Game: To Court the King [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:1404]
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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Since Russ and Alan were hitting the road at 6:30 on Monday, we closed the night out with a couple rounds of this filler and called it a weekend.
 
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