A friend
Ben Nevis
Netherlands
Amsterdam
N-H
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Last week a friend from Californnia visited us. We played games for a week and went to Essen together.

Thom had been living in Amsterday for a year. We met on the BGG forum where he told me he was going to live in Amsterdam together with his wife and daughter. He was looking for other geeks to play games with.

During the year Thom was here we played many games and had a great time. We played a broad range of games, amongst which: D&D, Blood Bowl, Fluxx, Power Grid and A Victory Lost.

Among fond memories are frisbeeing in the park and picknicking with both families.

Thom is a great painter. He painted many Blood Bowl teams and also painted my Fury of Dracula miniatures, which look astonishing.

Unfortunately Thom moved back to California together with his family in March.

Here's a little tribute to Altruism.
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1. Board Game: The Devil's Cauldron: The Battles for Arnhem and Nijmegen [Average Rating:8.17 Overall Rank:1617]
Ben Nevis
Netherlands
Amsterdam
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Thom arrived at Schiphol airport on Sunday morning. I picked him up and we had lunch at home. He was an early Santa Claus as he gave both my sons great children books.

Thom gave me three plano boxes with the labels attached to the lids (downloaded from the DC website). We punched all the counters on Tuesday evening and stored them in the planos. It certainly is a great if not the best way to store the DC counters.

We had played an introductory scenario of Devil's Cauldron on Vassal and planned to play a scenario in person. Unfortunately we didn't find time to play this monster, but I'm sure we'll meet again to play in person. And there's certainly nothing wrong with Vassal.

Another great gift from Thom were 4 Califonian Cabernets (Wine drinking is another 'hobby' we share).

Finally Thom gave us two containers of Creole seasoning which I have always used for making Guacamole. Thom had learned me how to make Guacamole during his year in Amsterdam.

Thanks Thom.
 
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2. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:49]
Ben Nevis
Netherlands
Amsterdam
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The most played game of last week; probably around 20 plays. For about ten of the games we were joined by Irene, my wife, who also enjoys this game.

After Essen we played with the Gathering Storm expansion, which I quite like. The new starting worlds bring welcome variation to the game.
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3. Board Game: Indonesia [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:189]
Ben Nevis
Netherlands
Amsterdam
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That Sunday evening we also played Indonesia. I had given Thom my copy when he left Amsterdam around March. In the mean time I had ordered a new copy and found out the white disks had become orange and the blue beeds had become green.

The game certainly hadn't changed. We had a tense game with lots of mergers.

Thom was the generalist with Siap Faji, shipping, spices and oil. Irene had monopolized the rubber and had an even bigger share of Siap Faji.

I had acquired the two shipping companies in the East. With quite a few cities there and a third shipping company merged to the present two I was able to create a long and costly shipping route, which probably granted me the victory.
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4. Board Game: 1960: The Making of the President [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:157]
Ben Nevis
Netherlands
Amsterdam
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We played two games of 1960, which was new to Thom. With the upcoming elections interesting parallels were being drawn between the 1960 and the current candidates.

I enjoy talking about politics with Thom. Our countries are very different in many ways and both of us having lived in each other's country (I was an exchange student in UC Santa Cruz) certainly enhances the discussion.
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5. Board Game: Memoir '44 [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:117] [Average Rating:7.54 Unranked]
Ben Nevis
Netherlands
Amsterdam
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On Tuesday or Wednesday (can't remember) Thom came back from 'town' with a large storage system. The day before I had been complaining what a nuisance all this packaging of Memoir was and that I'd really like to have a good (and fast) storage system for all these tiles, cards and miniatures.

The tiles fitted perfectly in the compartments. I was even more amazed that all my expansions (Air Pack, Pacific and Eastern) fitted in there along with the base game. Just the board and the rule books I still store in the original Memoir box.

Thanks Thom
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6. Board Game: Duck Dealer [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:3455]
Ben Nevis
Netherlands
Amsterdam
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Thursday morning 7 am we were in the car heading for Essen. The first thing to do was a no brainer: head off to the Splotter stand. We actually ran there and felt lucky when we found a reasonable line with still a decent amount of Duck Dealer boxes stacked on the shelves.

Thom bought a copy and Friday we played our first game. We both enjoyed it and analyzed the game quite a while. Duck Dealer has become a must buy for me.
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7. Board Game: PitchCar Extension 4: Stunt Race [Average Rating:7.21 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.21 Unranked]
Ben Nevis
Netherlands
Amsterdam
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Pitch Car was on my must buy list. I didn't have any dexterity games yet so Pitch Car could fill that gap. I was so confident that this game would be a success that I bought the last expansion as well.

And it certainly was a success. On Saturday friends visited us and we played two eight player games. The long straight used in the first game became a straight bridge in the second game thanks to the expansion. Lots of laughter and cheering.
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8. Board Game: Ghost Stories [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:190]
Ben Nevis
Netherlands
Amsterdam
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After reading the rules I bought this game 'blindly' at the Repos booth and got the T-shirt and extra cards.

Back home we played two two-player games. It was a fun experience, although I think it's better with more players.

The curse die can certainly be a killer; we were lucky in both our games, though.
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9. Board Game: Powerboats [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:1327]
Ben Nevis
Netherlands
Amsterdam
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The only game we actually played at Essen. I had read the rules and was impressed by its simplicity, but wasn't convinced the game would actually be entertaining.

Well, it was entertaining! Lots of carefull planning and risk assessment and mitigation.

We played another game back home which showed me even more tactical manouvring possibilities.

One trick I learned was that having different numbers on your dice is valuable and makes you more flexible. In the second game I rerolled a die that already had a similar number to another die when the number on the die wasn't particularly helpful.

One common mistake we made was that 180 degree turns really do require at least three (game)turns. Like in Formula Dé making a full speed (3 dice or more) 180 degree turn isn't recommended.
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10. Board Game: Chicago Express [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:362]
Ben Nevis
Netherlands
Amsterdam
N-H
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Due to the positive reviews on Wabash Cannonball this was another blind buy for me. Thom chipped in 5 euros to get the mug and the bag.

On Friday we played our first game and I was very impressed. After the game I kept thinking about the system. How to get maximum value out of the bids and companies is a though brain exercise for me.
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11. Board Game: Steel Driver [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:956]
Ben Nevis
Netherlands
Amsterdam
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Other games we bought at Essen but didn't play during Thom's visit:

Steel Driver (Thom)
Dorn (Thom bought this one for a friend)
After the Flood (Thom)
Schwarzmarkt (Thom)
Le Havre (Thom)
Ultimate (Thom)
Los Banditos (Thom)
Code 777 (Thom)
Bausack (me)
Imperial (me)
Eiertanz (me)

 
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12. Board Game: Ocean [Average Rating:4.74 Overall Rank:14073]
Ben Nevis
Netherlands
Amsterdam
N-H
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On Sunday morning I dropped Thom off at Schiphol Airport. He went back to his wife and daughter who he had missed a lot.

Thom, thanks for the great week. Thanks for all the gifts and all the games we played. I look forward to meeting again.
 
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