Playing The Collection - May 2008
Doug Adams
Australia
Oakleigh
Victoria
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My wife made the suggestion we should try to play every game in the collection this year. A great idea, focusing on what we already own, rather than what's new on the shelves at the local game store.

It also gives me a chance to reassess oldies, and work out if we still need to own them.

So, the goal this year - play everything on the shelves - several hundred games, many neglected for years. Then, assess whether they still warrant a spot on the overstuffed shelves. If it doesn't pass muster, it's the heave-ho.

January 2008: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/27945
February 2008: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/28776
March 2008: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/29516
April 2008: http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/30528
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1. Board Game: Villa Paletti [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:1392]
Doug Adams
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Oakleigh
Victoria
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Harmless dexterity game that I picked up in a trade, and have barely looked at. You're building a tower, trying to position your support columns so that they can be extracted from the previous floor and promoted to the next level for points. Some tactics involved, but mainly just goofy fun. We ended up playing four games of this, with varying degrees of success. The rules translation seemed a bit buggy, but we eventually worked out the placement (your own colour) and challenge rules, which made it much better. I like it. As usual with the Zoch games, they look amazing.

Stay or go: Stay.
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2. Board Game: Rheinländer [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:1672]
Doug Adams
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Oakleigh
Victoria
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I used to own the Mattel edition, which I didn't like enough to keep. It was a bit ... vivid (owners of that edition will know what I mean). Still, solid game and when the Face 2 Face edition came out, I picked that up and played it once. I opened the box today to revisit it, and there was a strange smell inside. The back of the game board was covered in some sort of fungal growth, as well as the box under the insert. Ugh...

Stay or go: It didn't look or smell healthy - it went... in the bin.
 
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3. Board Game: Hart an der Grenze [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:2395]
Doug Adams
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Oakleigh
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I'm a fan of an obscure little card game called Contraband, which my parents own and we played a lot as kids. It's about bluffing your way past a customs officer to avoid paying excess duty. I heard about this game while browsing the Contraband forums and had to have it. Heavily influenced by that great little game, really tricked up in terms of components, but essentially the same sort of game play. I totally failed to communicate the spirit of the game in the rules explanation (five player game), but fortunately the game's qualities saved it and we all had a great 45 minutes role playing down on the Mexican border. I squeaked out a win with $216.

Stay or go: Stay.
 
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4. Board Game: Wheedle [Average Rating:6.12 Overall Rank:4314]
Doug Adams
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Oakleigh
Victoria
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Fast and frenetic Knizia card game where players are trading their hand of cards in real time, trying to form a portfolio of points scoring cards, in order to go out. Very quick to play - some hands were over in about 15 seconds, and a lot of fun. I was doing terribly, but managed to go out with a face saving 25 points in the final round to squeak into fourth place. Great to rediscover this one again.

Stay or go: Stay.
 
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5. Board Game: Diamant [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:613]
 
Doug Adams
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Oakleigh
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We play a lot of Cloud 9, which this game seems heavily based on. This one has never replaced it as our game of choice of the two, and there is always a groan or two when it's suggested. I quite like the game, it's clean and works well, but there is resistance and I can't see it being played much in the future. I think I'll hang onto it a bit longer though. Great components.

Stay or go: Stay.
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6. Board Game: Elfenland [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:795]
Doug Adams
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Oakleigh
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I fell in love with Elfenroads back in the mid-90's and played a lot of it. However, it's a long game. When Elfenland appeared, a faster and cleaner Elfenroads, it sort of replaced the older game. The Elfengold expansion made Elfenroads redundant and that game moved on. Haven't played a lot of Elfenland in the past five years, so it was fun to break it out again last night - pretty open game, not a lot of nastiness, and we tied with two players finishing on 19 cities (3 cards left each). Fun game, and great to view the beautiful Doris art again.

Stay or go: Stay.
 
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7. Board Game: Hamsterrolle [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:1182]
Doug Adams
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Oakleigh
Victoria
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Strange game about inserting your different wooden pieces into a wooden wheel. As pieces are added, the weight of the additions start the wheel rolling down the table. If any pieces fall out of the wheel, that's just more you have to add! We played a series of three games, two players, and had a lot of fun. You can do some sneaky stuff, cleverly wedging pieces so they don't fall out, despite gravity.

Stay or go: Stay - it's just so different.
 
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8. Board Game: Elfengold [Average Rating:7.03 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.03 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.03 Unranked]
Doug Adams
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Oakleigh
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This is the Amigo expansion for Elfenland to turn the game into Elfenroads. Elfenroads kind of blew my mind over ten years ago - just loved that first game, and a few after that. Hadn't played in years, sold off my copy when Elfengold came out, and barely played that either. We played a two player game - which I think was a mistake - and neither of us really enjoyed it. The three card draw is just too restrictive, there isn't enough chits on the board to add tension and options... frankly, it wasn't good. I'll keep it, as it fits into the box, but it probably won't get played that much.

Stay of go: Stay, but I'm not fussed.
 
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9. Board Game: Bamboleo [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:2267]
Doug Adams
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Oakleigh
Victoria
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While we are playing Zoch games, we felt we may as well continue and pull this favorite out. Fantastic game - I actually weighed the pieces and play via the "gram rules" - usually to 200gm. Janet clobbered me in round one, and I couldn't recover. Just love this game.

Stay or go: Stay.
 
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10. Board Game: The Devil's Cauldron: The Battles for Arnhem and Nijmegen [Average Rating:8.17 Overall Rank:1617]
Doug Adams
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Oakleigh
Victoria
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Picked this up based on the good feedback (mainly components, not game play!), and the fact it was originally an Eric Lee Smith system. Very clean series rulebook, lovely maps, busy-if-functional counters. Only played the introductory scenario "A Victory Lost" solitaire so far (see http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/314548), but very nice game. The simple series rules lets you concentrate on the problems of winning the battle, not defeating the rulebook. Early days, but impressed.

Stay or go: Stay.
 
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11. Board Game: Sudoku: Das Würfelspiel [Average Rating:4.62 Unranked]
Doug Adams
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Oakleigh
Victoria
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Small box Knizia die rolling game, in a Sudoku disguise. Players try to get rid of their chips onto a 6x6 Sudoku board, by rolling numbers matching the boxes, and discarding chips onto the boxes at the end of your turn. Fill a box, row or column, discard more chips. Harmless fluff - ain't a lot in here.

Stay or go: Stay, only because of the small box.
 
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12. Board Game: Blackbeard [Average Rating:6.10 Overall Rank:3258]
Doug Adams
Australia
Oakleigh
Victoria
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The new edition of Blackbeard turned up in the mail. My group of Blackbeard veterans from the Avalon Hill edition took it out for a spin. We played for a couple of hours and had fun, sort of. Whereas the older game was tough and tense, this version seemed easy and rather ... dull. Hate to say it, but we all agreed. Beautiful looking game, though, almost too beautiful, as the pieces blend into the board.

Stay or go: Stayed for 4 games, then gone.
 
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13. Board Game: Risk Express [Average Rating:6.28 Overall Rank:2767]
Doug Adams
Australia
Oakleigh
Victoria
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Recent addition to the collection - been trying to find a copy of this for ages. The distribution seems to be restricted to Europe, so it was a toughie to get. Good little die rolling filler, very similar to Pickonimo - same sort of game play, without the mathematical computations as you freeze dice to hit target numbers. Great presentation in the case, too.

Stay or go: Stay.
 
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14. Board Game: Nautilus [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:2209]
Doug Adams
Australia
Oakleigh
Victoria
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Always enjoy pulling this one off the shelf. Great bits, interesting game play - kind of a hybrid positional game with the underwater modules combined with the exploration game. Your score at the end is the product of how well you did in each. We played two player and ended up in a draw.

Janet: 16 (discovery) x 10 (research) + 3 (cash) = 163
Doug: 18 (discovery) x 9 (research) + 1 (cash) = 163

Stay or go: Stay.
 
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15. Board Game: Antike [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:558]
Doug Adams
Australia
Oakleigh
Victoria
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Four player game, first of the "rondel" games. This is always fun to play - nice sixty minutes of expansion, followed by a last 20 minutes of total war as the players struggle for those last few cards via temple destruction and picking off those five lands or seven seas. I managed to get to nine points without attacking anyone (think that's a first) via 3 Knowledge, and two each of temples, five cities and seven seas. Good fun again, but starting to feel a bit same-y. Janet's not a fan of this one, and I think we both enjoy Hamburgum more over this and Imperial.

Stay or go: Stay for the moment.
 
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16. Board Game: Genoa [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:498]
Doug Adams
Australia
Oakleigh
Victoria
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A very interesting trading game, one of the early Alea great games. I can appreciate this design, but it's never entirely clicked with out group. A revisit this month reinforced this, and I think it can move on. If we're going to trade, I think we'd rather play Chinatown.

Stay or go: Go.
 
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17. Board Game: 10 Days in the USA [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:1792]
Doug Adams
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Oakleigh
Victoria
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Played the German version of Europa Tour a lot over the years, and I did own the 10 Days In Africa briefly. How this got on my shelves, I have no idea. I don't remember buying it, or trading for it, or even playing it. I hadn't recorded any notes for it on the Geek, so we broke it out and played three games over breakfast. It's standard Europa Tour stuff, rack 'em up and try and form connections. Fun fluff, with the rewards going to the watchful players (not me).

Stay or go: Stay.
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18. Board Game: Aquaretto [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:858] [Average Rating:7.01 Unranked]
Doug Adams
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Oakleigh
Victoria
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Companion game for Zooloretto, or even an expansion if you're totally addicted. Very, very similar in terms of mechanics - but the placement is now open ended, rather than restricted by the enclosures. Also workers help with the scoring at the end of the game, and are vital if you want to win. We enjoyed it, but in hindsight it doesn't offer that much different to Zooloretto.

Stay of go: Stay, probably in the Zooloretto box to save space!
 
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19. Board Game: Catan Dice Game [Average Rating:5.70 Overall Rank:5290]
Doug Adams
Australia
Oakleigh
Victoria
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I really enjoy die rolling games, and this was sort of cheap. Kind of fell flat though - pretty standard roll dice up to three times, and do some sort of Yahtzee scoring with it. The die faces are Catan commodities, and you spend them to check off roads, settlements, etc, on a Catan map/scoresheet, scoring as you go. Tally up after fifteen points, and hope you've expanded to the big scoring cities by the endgame. Bit dull.

Stay or go: Stay, but solo Risk Express is more fun!
 
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20. Board Game: Reiner Knizia's Amazing Flea Circus [Average Rating:5.79 Overall Rank:6223]
Doug Adams
Australia
Oakleigh
Victoria
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A neglected game on the shelves. We broke it out and tried it two player - probably not at it's best with that number, but we had fun with it. I saw enough to try to nudge this back into a session closer sort of game (dominated by Trendy, Pickonimo and Spacebeans at the moment). Great plastic dogs and cats - and they're only a scoring device!

Stay or go: Stay.
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21. Board Game: Ubongo [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:828]
Doug Adams
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Oakleigh
Victoria
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Fun puzzler that I found a couple of years ago. Very simple to pick up and play if you want a fast game (playing the 3 puzzle side). For more of a challenge, you play the 4 puzzle boards. I can see lots of expansions for this one, but I think we're happy with what we have. Pity the box is so large. Janet won 6-4-4 to my 6-3-3.

Stay or go: Stay.
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22. Board Game: Thunder at Cassino [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:2674]
Doug Adams
Australia
Oakleigh
Victoria
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A week at home with the 'flu saw me watching all 26 episodes of the "World At War" series, from the early 1970's. Not easy viewing, but compelling. It made me go and drag out a few unplayed games and give them a spin. Thunder at Cassino was a nice surprise - very clean rulebook, much simpler than Turning Point: Stalingrad or Breakout: Normandy. I played both of the introductory scenarios solitaire (The Roundhouse, and Castle Hill) and enjoyed them. Hope to try out the full game soon. One replay here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/315186

Stay or go: Stay.
 
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23. Board Game: Roma [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:856] [Average Rating:6.80 Unranked]
Doug Adams
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Oakleigh
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Great little die rolling, two player, resource management, conflict game set in Rome! Always great to get this on the table. A game of cat and mouse and you jockey the victory points back and forwards, trying to obtain that elusive majority so you can end the game. Underrated gem.

Stay or go: Stay.
 
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24. Board Game: PÜNCT [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:1334] [Average Rating:6.84 Unranked]
Doug Adams
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Oakleigh
Victoria
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One of the two player GIPF series. We played a few of these in January or February, and have eventually reached Punct in the shelves. Interesting connection game, reminiscent of games like Hex and Twixt, where you are trying to link two halves of the board. The twist here is that on board pieces can be moved along, and pivoted around, the Punct point of a piece. This allows jumps and captures, locking pieces into place. Interesting game, quite quick too, but we prefer Dvonn and Zertz over this.

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25. Board Game: World War II: Barbarossa to Berlin [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:1211]
Doug Adams
Australia
Oakleigh
Victoria
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Nearing Weathertop
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As a fan of Paths of Glory, I was so looking forwards to Ted Raicer's follow up game based on the same system. Unfortunately, the P500 edition turned out to be a disappointment, tons of errata, balance issues, card corrections, etc, that seemed to take a year to stabilize. I'd given up by that time, and ditched my copy. Fast forward a few years, I pick up the second edition, with deluxe map, and things seem much, much better. The rules seem clean, in fact it appears easier than Paths of Glory to grasp, and the cards don't have my scribble all over them. I started a solo game in late May, and am enjoying the story at the moment. Despite a botched invasion of Russia, the German armor has reached Stalingrad in Winter '41(!!!???). I feel just a little miffed that I had to buy this game twice to get a working version, but with uneven GMT development, caveat emptor.
 
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