5 guys make their own mini-Con
Jeff Jackson
United States
Mather
California
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OK, one time Randy Beaman had to take baths with his brother. So one time his little brother took a potty in the bathtub .....and now Randy Beaman gets to take showers alone. 'K, bye.
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Our D&D group has more or less converted to boardgames over the last year or so. Rather than attend a local role-playing Con, we decided to spend the weekend at one of the bachelor's pads and sweatshop some boardgaming.

Food was aplenty as we each overbrought our favorite snackage. Although some healthy eating was inorder with bagels, baked chicken and salad!

Here's the list of the 20 playings of the 15 different games we tabled.
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1. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:17]
Jeff Jackson
United States
Mather
California
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OK, one time Randy Beaman had to take baths with his brother. So one time his little brother took a potty in the bathtub .....and now Randy Beaman gets to take showers alone. 'K, bye.
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One time, OK, see, one time Randy Beaman's little brother ate Pop Rocks and drank a soda at the same time and his head exploded! 'K, bye.
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We started with the numero uno of course. Nate, as always, provided the competition while the others competed for 2nd. We decided to use the K deck.

I believe I have identified the three reasons why I suck at Agricola:
1) I put too much work into playing cards
2) I wait for that 6 wood rather than settling for three
3) I never build fences until very late (round 10 or beyond)

Nate - 37
Jeremy - 29
Steve - 28
Jeff - 24
David - 20

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2. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:15]
Jeff Jackson
United States
Mather
California
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OK, one time Randy Beaman had to take baths with his brother. So one time his little brother took a potty in the bathtub .....and now Randy Beaman gets to take showers alone. 'K, bye.
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One time, OK, see, one time Randy Beaman's little brother ate Pop Rocks and drank a soda at the same time and his head exploded! 'K, bye.
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Then we played #2. There wasn't a lot of competition for a specific resource. David had the most corn but wasn't able to ship enough to pull out the victory. Game eneded with me filling my building board, but colonists and VP's were not far behind.

Jeff - 59
Nate - 53
David - 51
Jeremy - 44
Steve - 33
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3. Board Game: Power Grid [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:28]
Jeff Jackson
United States
Mather
California
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OK, one time Randy Beaman had to take baths with his brother. So one time his little brother took a potty in the bathtub .....and now Randy Beaman gets to take showers alone. 'K, bye.
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One time, OK, see, one time Randy Beaman's little brother ate Pop Rocks and drank a soda at the same time and his head exploded! 'K, bye.
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Can you see the pattern? We played the number 3 game third!

Three of us started a little cramped in northwest France, while Jeremy had northeast and Nate owned the south.

I was able to fill in some cracks, while Nate looked to be the winner with his early territory advantage and power plant selections. As expected, he did earn the victory (by $17).

Nate - 14 powered cities ($22)
Jeff - 14 ($5)
David - 13
Steve - 13
Jeremy - 12
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4. Board Game: Caylus [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:45]
Jeff Jackson
United States
Mather
California
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OK, one time Randy Beaman had to take baths with his brother. So one time his little brother took a potty in the bathtub .....and now Randy Beaman gets to take showers alone. 'K, bye.
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Down to #8. We don't have Through the Ages (#7) and 4, 5, and 6 are for 4 players (but we'll get there later) or less.

David started off aggressive. I thought too aggressive. By mid game, there was a pack of us lumped together. My early two gold lead had me feeling comfortable (well, I still needed a residence though).

Nate built the only prestige building, but it wasn't quite enough to eek it out. I did have to burn a gold to ensure castle building majority in the final round to stop David from stealing my favor though. Jeremy was able to stay close through never losing a worker to provost back-up.

Jeff - 77
Jeremy - 74
David - 72
Nate - 70
Steve - 46 (second game, so he has a reasonable excuse)



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5. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:72] [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked]
Jeff Jackson
United States
Mather
California
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OK, one time Randy Beaman had to take baths with his brother. So one time his little brother took a potty in the bathtub .....and now Randy Beaman gets to take showers alone. 'K, bye.
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One time, OK, see, one time Randy Beaman's little brother ate Pop Rocks and drank a soda at the same time and his head exploded! 'K, bye.
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Steve had to work throughout the weekend so called it quits a little early. So we're down to four for awhile, which means we cam play #6.

This was Jeremy's inaugural game and seemed to like it quite a bit.

My mine provided more than enough coin to tip the scales.

Jeff - 27
David - 18
Nate - 17
Jeremy - 15
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6. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:72] [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked]
Jeff Jackson
United States
Mather
California
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OK, one time Randy Beaman had to take baths with his brother. So one time his little brother took a potty in the bathtub .....and now Randy Beaman gets to take showers alone. 'K, bye.
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One time, OK, see, one time Randy Beaman's little brother ate Pop Rocks and drank a soda at the same time and his head exploded! 'K, bye.
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After a mini-nights sleep (4 hours), David and I were the first up. He swapped out a few cards from last night's beginning set-up and we were off.

Once again, the mine offered me enough coin to buy multiple 6 pointers and take the win:

Jeff - 33
David - 28

Edit - fix point typo
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7. Board Game: StarCraft: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:341]
Jeff Jackson
United States
Mather
California
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OK, one time Randy Beaman had to take baths with his brother. So one time his little brother took a potty in the bathtub .....and now Randy Beaman gets to take showers alone. 'K, bye.
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Steve had rejoined us at this point and we needed to get in a long AT game. Starcraft fit the bill.

Steve, Jeremy, and I had played 3/4 of a game, while David was the noob. Nate, the owner, had played a handful of times.

David's initial home planet proved too big of an adavantage. It was tucked away under another planet and we didn't dogpile him until too late.

David - 15
Others - lost

My quick comments:
1) I'm not a big fan of heavy confrontation in the first place
2) The order placement is too RoboRallyish for me (as I don't do well in that game either)
3) But the bits are amazing enough to warrant a play from me every now and then
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8. Board Game: Neuland [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:1880]
Jeff Jackson
United States
Mather
California
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OK, one time Randy Beaman had to take baths with his brother. So one time his little brother took a potty in the bathtub .....and now Randy Beaman gets to take showers alone. 'K, bye.
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Starcraft consume Steve's play time and off to work he goes. Jeremy wanted an afternoon nap so David, Nate, and I laid out our recent Tanga purchase.

Thanks to ekted's 4-page rewrite of the instructions, we were soon off.

All three of us were pretty much meh after the first couple turns, but by late game we were getting the hang of the turn sequence and learning to block a bit more and really fighting for resource control. I'm not sure how to rank it after one play and will try to table it soon before I forget too much.

In the end though i was able to place all my flags:
Jeff - Won (0 flags)
Nate - 1 flag remaining
David 2 flags remaining
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9. Board Game: Goa [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:107]
Jeff Jackson
United States
Mather
California
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OK, one time Randy Beaman had to take baths with his brother. So one time his little brother took a potty in the bathtub .....and now Randy Beaman gets to take showers alone. 'K, bye.
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One time, OK, see, one time Randy Beaman's little brother ate Pop Rocks and drank a soda at the same time and his head exploded! 'K, bye.
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One game provided enough sleep for Jeremy so he joined us for Goa.

After a walkthrough for David and Jeremy, we were off. David knew immediately that this would be a great game!

I stressed the importance of cards and was able to earn the victory with them (I ended with 5 palm trees for 15 points).

My only minor dislike is the auction type. I'm not sure I appreciate the one bid per round.

Jeff - 47
Nate - 45
Jeremy and David - 31

It looks as though David is salivating for a rematch of this one!
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10. Board Game: Tigris & Euphrates [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:70]
Jeff Jackson
United States
Mather
California
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OK, one time Randy Beaman had to take baths with his brother. So one time his little brother took a potty in the bathtub .....and now Randy Beaman gets to take showers alone. 'K, bye.
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One time, OK, see, one time Randy Beaman's little brother ate Pop Rocks and drank a soda at the same time and his head exploded! 'K, bye.
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Time to hit the #5 while we're still at 4!

Nate and David really like this heavy confrontation title, while I was less than enthusiastic to table it. We explained it to Jeremy and the fighting began. As expected, everyone nabbed their first uncontested treasure. I tried to be greedy and went for two and David ensured that it didn't happen.

Nate and David apparently got bad tile draws and I. of all players. won the game.

Jeff - 7 (next lowest was 8)
David - 7 (next lowest was 7)
Nate - 5
Jeremy - 5
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11. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:17]
Jeff Jackson
United States
Mather
California
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OK, one time Randy Beaman had to take baths with his brother. So one time his little brother took a potty in the bathtub .....and now Randy Beaman gets to take showers alone. 'K, bye.
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One time, OK, see, one time Randy Beaman's little brother ate Pop Rocks and drank a soda at the same time and his head exploded! 'K, bye.
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We had time for one more before bed and Agricola got the majority call. The I deck was used and the food was flying everywhere!

Once again, Nate's consistent building strategy provided the victory. Meanwhile, I played the minor improvement that gave 8 points at the expense of losing your 14th round placement. Needless to say, it didn't work out as someone stole fences and family growth from me in Round 13.

Nate and David - 36
Jeremy - 29
Jeff - 17
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12. Board Game: Mission: Red Planet [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:724]
Jeff Jackson
United States
Mather
California
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OK, one time Randy Beaman had to take baths with his brother. So one time his little brother took a potty in the bathtub .....and now Randy Beaman gets to take showers alone. 'K, bye.
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One time, OK, see, one time Randy Beaman's little brother ate Pop Rocks and drank a soda at the same time and his head exploded! 'K, bye.
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We knew Steve would rejoin us, so we played this medium filler with role selection and area control.

After playing Starcraft and T&E, this game is REALLY light in the confrontation department (the way I like it).

With some well timed astronaut launches, I was able to spread out (although thin) early for many of the Round 5 score tiles. A 2nd round saboteur destroyed Nate's early progression.

Jeff - 58
Jeremy - 40
David - 24
Nate - 20

My quick comments:
I still think this is a fun light/medium game. I'll have to bring it a bit more to meet-ups and try to table it to give it a bit more exposure.
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13. Board Game: Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:62]
Jeff Jackson
United States
Mather
California
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OK, one time Randy Beaman had to take baths with his brother. So one time his little brother took a potty in the bathtub .....and now Randy Beaman gets to take showers alone. 'K, bye.
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One time, OK, see, one time Randy Beaman's little brother ate Pop Rocks and drank a soda at the same time and his head exploded! 'K, bye.
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We let Steve choose the game and he pointed directly to BSG. Yeah for me as I am twitterpated with this one. David and Nate haven't had the best experiences with it. Well, David's one play started at 2:30 in the morning and the tension wasn't appropriately built. And one of Nate's games saw the humans die to boarded cylons before the 2nd jump.

Needless to say, this game would be very, very different for both of them.

Turn order:
David - Zarek (pres)
Jeremy - Starbuck
Nate - William Adama (admiral
Steve - Chief
Jeff - Boomer

David's first turn let us know a cylon was present and it was on. Only three submitted cards (Zarek, Starbuck and Adama), yet there were three wrongly colored. We quickly narrowed it to Adama or Zarek as they both fought over who placed the green 4.

Zarek was able to convince us to brig Adama, who revealed the next turn. This was a powerful turn of events for the cylons as Zarek was indeed the one who played the third bad card in the initial skill check.

Adama took the blame, and revealed, thus throwing any suspicions off Zarek. Zarek waited until a plethora of raiders were heading towards the several not-well-defended civvies, fortunately, we were able to jump before any casualties were made.

The humans also had very poor destination deck draw with 1,1,2,2,2 (I was actually very surprised we made it as far as we did).

Starbuck drew a crisis card that would allow President Chief to jump the humans to victory. All that stood in the way was cylon William Adama. He drew two crisis cards and forced us to make a skill check or lose the crew's final morale. Exhausted of cards from prior skill checks, the humans finally ran out of juice and the cylons earned the win.

While the middle to end game lost the intrigue of determining who was the cylon, it remained tense as the humans tried to thwart the cylon attacks. Overall, it was a very fun 3 hours!

David and Nate - Cylon win
Jeff, Jeremy, and Steve - died with humanity
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14. Board Game: Edel, Stein & Reich [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:1222]
Jeff Jackson
United States
Mather
California
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OK, one time Randy Beaman had to take baths with his brother. So one time his little brother took a potty in the bathtub .....and now Randy Beaman gets to take showers alone. 'K, bye.
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Steve once again had to work, so between eating our soup and sandwiches, we played two rounds of this one.

No one had played before so I offered a quick intro and explaining. Simple enough.

I'm certainly glad I picked this filler up. I compare it to Witch's Brew. They're certainly different enough but they do share some of the same characterisitics. Edel, Stein & reich seems a bit more elegant to me, but it may be because of the jewels.

After two rounds the game ended as follows:
Steve - 48
Jeremy - 37
David - 32
Nate - 28
Jeff - 23
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15. Board Game: Royal Palace [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:1049]
Jeff Jackson
United States
Mather
California
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OK, one time Randy Beaman had to take baths with his brother. So one time his little brother took a potty in the bathtub .....and now Randy Beaman gets to take showers alone. 'K, bye.
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This was one of two games I picked up for this event. We finally tabled it. While simple on the inside, there is more than meets the eye.

We each tried to maximize our turns and buy what we deemed the best noble(s). What that leaves though, is little matter for the tiebreaker and no contested areas (especially in the blue and purple seals as you remove the slaves once their used).

In the end, we all agreed that it was a great game, but we'd have to slightly modify our playstyle. I think that trying to always control one of the seals (no less than three slaves) can be interesting, especially if you don't play with the standard board set-up.

Nate, with his several multiple noble purchases eeked out the win over my control the courtyard approach.

Nate - 60
Jeff - 57
Jeremy - 43
David - 40
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16. Board Game: The Princes of Machu Picchu [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:1071]
Jeff Jackson
United States
Mather
California
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OK, one time Randy Beaman had to take baths with his brother. So one time his little brother took a potty in the bathtub .....and now Randy Beaman gets to take showers alone. 'K, bye.
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Next was the second game I picked up for our mini-Con. Jeremy, Nate, and I played a couple weeks ago, but with a rules error. This error would change the dynamic of how this game was played.

Our initial game allowed us to activate the resouce areas multiple times per day - now (and correctly) it's only once per day.

Three of us chose priests (or virgins) and tried to own the most of them. Jeremy ended with three condors, Nate with two Pumas and I with three virgins. David spread the wealth and made a lot of resources, but only ended with two very late virgins and didn't pick up many scoring cards.

Unfortunately, I have played one of Mac's rondel games to compare it to, but I think this is simply great. I understand the rondel mechanic enough to appreciate that the city is kinda rondelish, but not really. David brought Imperial, but we never squeezed that one in (he needed to reread the rules).

The game ended with the Spaniards conquering the Incas. I had 39 treasure to Jeremy's 37, thus tripling my score and doubling Jeremy's.

Jeff - 41 (17 X 3)
Jeremy - 24 (12 X 2)
Nate and David were in the low twenties or high teens.
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17. Board Game: The Princes of Florence [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:116]
Jeff Jackson
United States
Mather
California
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OK, one time Randy Beaman had to take baths with his brother. So one time his little brother took a potty in the bathtub .....and now Randy Beaman gets to take showers alone. 'K, bye.
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A classic that has not been played by this group. I've played twice and all others were noobs.

Immediately, Jeremy and David saw the appeal to this multifaceted gem. Of course it was a learning game and I made a pivotal mistake - I forgot that buildings and the 2nd and 3rd builders were 3 points each until the 5th round. We scored everyone appropriately and the scores significantly tightened.

Jeff - 55
David - 53
Jeremy - 49
Nate - 44

We all agreed that this needed playing again, maybe not now, but before the weekend was over!
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18. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:17]
Jeff Jackson
United States
Mather
California
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OK, one time Randy Beaman had to take baths with his brother. So one time his little brother took a potty in the bathtub .....and now Randy Beaman gets to take showers alone. 'K, bye.
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One time, OK, see, one time Randy Beaman's little brother ate Pop Rocks and drank a soda at the same time and his head exploded! 'K, bye.
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We went back to our default.

Again, the K deck would be used. This was the first game in which I was happy with my progress. I would have won was it not for the three other players stealing BOTH fences AND stables before me. I needed any 1 of those three spaces to get the necessary points, but alas, it was not meant to be.

Nate - 46
David - 39
Jeff - 35
Jeremy - 29 (wiith 8 fields and 12 grain!)
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19. Board Game: Goa [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:107]
Jeff Jackson
United States
Mather
California
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OK, one time Randy Beaman had to take baths with his brother. So one time his little brother took a potty in the bathtub .....and now Randy Beaman gets to take showers alone. 'K, bye.
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One time, OK, see, one time Randy Beaman's little brother ate Pop Rocks and drank a soda at the same time and his head exploded! 'K, bye.
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We decided on this game as our last tonight, then agreed to play PoF as our final for the weekend.

After this second playing, our affection was weaned. It appears that the cards are FAR too powerful. It was how I won the first game and how Nate and I received first and second place in the second game. I'm willing to do a little research here, but we left this playing a little jaded.

Nate - 48
Jeff - 45
David - 42
Jeremy - 18
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20. Board Game: The Princes of Florence [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:116]
Jeff Jackson
United States
Mather
California
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OK, one time Randy Beaman had to take baths with his brother. So one time his little brother took a potty in the bathtub .....and now Randy Beaman gets to take showers alone. 'K, bye.
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One time, OK, see, one time Randy Beaman's little brother ate Pop Rocks and drank a soda at the same time and his head exploded! 'K, bye.
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The finale is finally upon us and it was an easy decision.

We headed back to Italy for some city development and worker recruiting.

With all rules in the know, we made our bids and carried out our actions. The builders went as high as 1000 florins while the jesters averaged 400-500. Of course, David got his third builder for 500, but it appeared to be a waste as he only used him once!

Jeremy - 54
Nate and Jeff - 52
David - 45

This was definitely the top game of our weekend. While many others did their job in providing a fun gaming experience, we all thoroughly enjoyed this one both times!

Until next year!
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