Third Annual Alphabetic Boardgaming Challenge
Seth Brown
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North Adams
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Yes, this weekend will be the third time that my girlfriend and I face off in our annual Alphabetic Boardgaming Challenge, in which we play 26 boardgames over a single weekend, one beginning with each letter of the alphabet. I didn't log the 2008 ABC on BGG, but feel free to read about Last year's competition in all its glory.

We have now secured at least one game for each letter, although some letters still only have a single option, like X. (I just made a trade for Ubongo: Duel, but it's coming from Canada and hasn't shipped yet.)

The ABC rules dictate that the loser of each round chooses the game and parameters (e.g. whether to use variants/expansions) for the next letter, which works great for everything but A. To select our first game, we'll be using the matrix method we used last year, where we sort our A-games into a grid, and each secretly choose a row or column, playing the game at the intersection.

Our A-games have a pretty wide range of time commitment and weight, ranging from Aapep and Arena: Roma II to Agricola and AoE III. So it's sort of fun not knowing what game we'll end up playing to start things off on Friday. But I'll be liveblogging livegeeklisting the event all weekend long, because frankly I've been looking forward to this all year.

We had a slight modification to the matrix pick this year since we have 10 A-games, so we agreed that if we both picked rows or both picked columns, we'd sort the 10th game in and eliminate the unchosen fields. But in fact, I picked a row and Debbie picked a column leading to our opening game of...
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1. Board Game: Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:145]
Seth Brown
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North Adams
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A big'un! To begin! We cleared off the table and set down. I will say that we've played at least a half-dozen games of this 2-player, and this game went very differently than usual. I ignored my usual big money and big building strategy, and went hard after colonizing, leaping out to an early lead. Debbie bought Navigators and Conquistador, going for the (appropriately Spanish) Pizarro discover-o-matic strategy. I countered with Cathedral, although extra Missionaries weren't available as a building, so I had to keep playing on the missionary space, and then training when she began countering missionary.

Sadly, my free soldier per turn didn't get put to as much use as I'd have liked, since my first obligation was getting my triple missionary on the ship. I ended up with 5 of the 8 merchant ships, which was good for 20 points with Navy, and another 19 points from trade goods. Debbie had migration and made some colonist points headway, and another 16 points from Prosperity. We were almost done scoring, I was at least a dozen points in front, and things were all set.

But I forgot discoveries. That was a 20-point boon for her, putting her over the top to a 105-99 victory.

What a Spain in the butt.

Victory: Debbie

Seth: 0
Debbie: 1
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2. Board Game: Blue Moon [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:934]
Seth Brown
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I figured this would be a nice change of pace from a giant board like AoE III. I also figured I have an advantage in this game. And I like it. That's three good reasons to leap right in. I start with the Khind versus Debbie's Hoax, and since I can't manage to draw cards of the same color, get stomped 4-0 before I'm even through my deck.

For game two I grab the Hoax, and Debbie selects the Vulca. Tricks win out over brute strength, and I squeak by with a dragon, putting the score at 4-2 Debbie. She returns to the Hoax, and I return to the Khind. This time luck favors me, and I often find myself with three of a clan in my hand -- including once with the doubling FunFun and two 3-fire cards for a total power of 12 fire. I end the game with two dragons, giving me the three points I need for a 5-4 victory.

Still though, I'm impressed how completely Debbie trashed me in the first round. That only happens once in a Blue Moon.

Victory: Seth

Seth: 1
Debbie: 1
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3. Board Game: Camelot Legends [Average Rating:6.12 Overall Rank:3437]
Seth Brown
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A recent acquisition, we'd played it only once, 3-player with the beginner rules. Now Debbie dragged it out again, and we added in the blue cards. Debbie got off to an early lead in Cornwall, where Assassination loomed imminent. Once it became clear that was about to happen, and another quest turned over that also allowed killing in Cornwall, I took a full turn evacuating my four knights to the safety of the forest.

This put Debbie out to an early point lead. I won a bidding event, but then she did as well. I had played King Arthur on the forest in preparation for the Lady of the Lake, but he got Assassinated, so Sir Bors had to fill in and grab Excalibur. I also ended up as the High King with Lancelot, but Debbie was meanwhile dominating Cornwall. She had a large point lead towards the end, but my high king at Camelot meant that when the final event turned up, I was able to move all six knights there in a single turn, and claim the final quest.

We tallied up the scores, and.... a tie? 26 points a piece. The rules do not specify a tiebreak mechanic. But we were unsatisfied, so we went to the game forums to see if a rule had been posted. It looks like whoever has capped the most events wins a tie. Debbie had grabbed seven regular, and I had grabbed four regular, two special, and one final. So... seven a piece. I looked again at the rules clarification thread and it sounded like maybe specials don't count? But I still completed seven events. So I'm not sure. I am asking for clarification now.

Hopefully we'll find out before the end of the Knight.

UPDATE: The designer himself has clarified that special events do not count towards tie-break, making Debbie the victor.

Victory: Debbie

Seth: 1
Debbie: 2

Meanwhile, we can't stop, so it's back to a matrix for the D-game. We have 11 games, so we each get one veto before dumping the rest into the 3x3 grid alphabetically.
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4. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:74] [Average Rating:7.66 Unranked]
Seth Brown
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Matrix landed us on Dominion (base set), and I decided to let Debbie choose parameters while I went first. She chose highest point total over three games.

Game 1 was an ugly setup with witch, thief, militia, and no moat or trashing. I lucked into an early witch, and Debbie used her 5s on festivals and a mine instead. This turned out to be her downfall, as I ended up destroying her, 42-25

Game 2 had bureaucrat, market, and gardens, which I tried to use to get extra cards in my deck along with the gardens. It ended up not quite being enough, as I lost 37-39.

Game 3 used the remaining cards we hadn't used, plus re-used a few, which meant I could build a chapel laboratory deck. In short order, I had nothing but gold and silver to draw, and managed to grab four provinces. Unfortunately, so had Debbie, and since she also had a duchy and hadn't trashed estates, she beat me 24-30.

HOWEVER, she had already decided that this match would be decided on points, which means that I won, 103-94. My dominion still continues.


Victory: Seth

Seth: 2
Debbie: 2
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5. Board Game: Easy Come, Easy Go [Average Rating:5.94 Overall Rank:6332]
Seth Brown
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I really meant to acquire either EVO or Endeavor before now. Anyone want to trade me one of those two before next year? Please?

Anyway, Debbie picked out this quick dice game, because it's still better than playing Employee of the Month with only 2 players. She got to the three cards, and I figured, I'll just take one away. How hard can it be? I get two tries!

No dice.

Victory: Debbie

Seth: 2
Debbie: 3
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6. Board Game: Fairy Tale [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:781]
Seth Brown
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A fast filler for F. I decide to play best of three this time, rather than total points. We're playing with the advanced cards. First game Debbie racks up four Homesteaders, but I've got two Knights of the Round and the Dragons that love them, so I squeak out a victory, 40-39.

Second game Debbie grabs some of the book cards, then gets ridiculous luck to draw into the things that let them score, and barely wins, 41-42.

Third game she drops the Trickster in round 1, then gets a 9-pointer to back it up. But I've got some of the #1 cards, and we end up tying, 42-42.

Yes, that's another tie. With a tie on points. And no tiebreaker in the rules or online. This time the game is short enough that we decide to simply play a fourth game as tiebreak.

Debbie opens with three shadow cards: most books, most houses, and magic circle (which immediately nukes itself). I have a Dragon lair that nukes itself, and some 3-pointers. She manages to score both of her big shadow cards, but ends the game with three face-down cards and two other worthless cards in play. This results in her just losing, 42-40.

Who knows what dark card she needed to draw for assured victory? The Shadow knows...

Victory: Seth

Seth: 3
Debbie: 3
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7. Board Game: Glory to Rome [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:155]
Seth Brown
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Ah, a favorite. This and Race for the Galaxy our probably our two most-played games. Since victory in a non-VP-based manner can occur, we decide to set the victory condition at best of 3 games, rather than points.

Game 1: Debbie gets merchant and laborer clients and throws material into the vault. I construct a few buildings. This is insufficient, and I get housed, 17-33.

Game 2: I get some legionary and merchant clients, while Debbie has a few laborers and craftsmen. I still have a craftsman client though, so I don't lose as much ground when she crafts as she does when I merchant. My overstuffed vault carries me to victory, 26-20.

Game 3: Debbie builds an early Villa, and some other small buildings. I get a gate and a Fountain (craft from top of deck). We're reasonably close until I complete the Craft-each-influence building, giving me 13 craft actions off the top of the deck, enough to finish a few of my buildings and then put the game away, 22-12.

So, although the addition of our scores would have actually made it a tie, under the pre-agreed-upon rules, I steal this two games to one. That's the second time today that the parameter selection has allowed me to snatch a game into my victory column.

How Ionic.

Victory: Seth

Seth: 4
Debbie: 3
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8. Board Game: Hellas [Average Rating:6.21 Overall Rank:2411]
Seth Brown
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Debbie somehow managed to win this last year, so she figured it would be a reasonable choice for this year as well. But I open strong with some powerful cards (extra burst, extra greek), and then catch her with four cities at capacity to my none when I flood to knock guys off the board. I move out to an early lead, but she manages to voyage for a temple, and the extra burst of strength action adds up. With fighting and voyaging and the occasional card play, we get to a point where we each have eight cities, and then she voyages.

Thus we are locked into an attacking death spiral, where nobody down 9 cities to 8 on their turn can afford not to attack. We burn all of our relevant cards in the first two attacks, and after that it becomes an ugly war of attrition that results in almost all of our cities reduced to one guy each, at which point I can no longer attack, and have to voyage, bringing us both to 9 cities.

She still has enough guys left to make a final attack over land on one of my one-man cities, killing me and winning the game. And you can read all about it on BoardGameGreek.

Victory: Debbie

Seth: 4
Debbie: 4
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9. Board Game: In the Shadow of the Emperor [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:886]
Seth Brown
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Not a common choice for 2-players, but Il Principe likewise suffers with 2, and we already played it last year. Besides, I think ItSotE has some pretty neat mechanics unlike any other games. The 2-player variant had us remove two of the three electorates with castles, so I dump my knight in the remaining castle during setup.

I begin as Emperor, and focus on buying the Doctor and the VP. I remain through the first round, but am ousted at the end of round two. Debbie gets more income than I do, thanks to running Saxony, but as she buys a lot more of the emperor vote cards than I do, this evens out. Thanks to her control of Trier, she also can buy a city after I do, so by the endgame we both have 3 cities on the board.

The whole game was very tight, and while Debbie's empire has a stranglehold in round 4, in the final round I nefariously poison an old couple and move some knights around after she's out of money, to take over two electorates, and finally become emperor again for one more point. When we counted up the scores, that one point propelled me to victory, 27-26.

It's good to be the Emperor.


Victory: Seth

Seth: 5
Debbie: 4
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10. Board Game: Jambo [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:516] [Average Rating:7.04 Unranked]
Seth Brown
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I woke up late thismorning, and Debbie had this set up on the table, because apparently it's our only J-game. I don't mind overmuch, as I think it's a neat little game. Debbie was excited that her starting hand let her buy a small market and then one of each good. I was more excited that my starting hand then let me do the same, for 3 gold cheaper.

As usual, the game hinged on being able to draw wares cards, which is why I was sad when my supplies got crocodiled before I could even use them. But by the end of the game, we both had scores in the high 50s and two small markets each. I managed to boat the last ware I needed to play a man from afar and sell my final goods for 14, bringing my score to 72. Debbie couldn't draw a wares card that matched her wares, and sadly remained at 58.

(sad trumpet noise) Bwa-na-na-na.

Victory: Seth

Seth: 6
Debbie: 4
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11. Board Game: Kingsburg [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:277]
Seth Brown
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North Adams
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Big fan of this game. I keep waffling on getting the expansion, but haven't gotten it yet. Anyway, I get off to a rough start that sees me missing the Inn in year 1, and not getting the market until late in year two. But early in year 3 I acquire my favorite dangerous building, the farms. The extra die is amazing, so long as I can defend it, and while Debbie pooh-poohs the building, the raw power of an extra die is not to be underestimated. The downside is that I don't have impregnable defense, but as long as she doesn't draw the highest possible card (6) and roll a 1 for king's soldier's, I'll be fine. She draws a 5, rolls a 4, and my farms safely continue.

In year 4 I'm taking over the lead, on the back of my extra dice. I build out the Wizard's guild for the two defense, again ensuring the safety of my farms as long as winter doesn't draw the highest possible card (7) and roll a 1 for king's soldiers. She draws the card. It's a 7. She rolls. It's a 1. I lose my wizard's guild, six points, and my lead in the game.

I'm unable to come back from such a crushing blow, and while I rebuild the Wizard's guild and survive the final winter, I am soundly tromped, 50-39.

I really bought the farm on that one.

Victory: Debbie

Seth: 6
Debbie: 5
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12. Board Game: Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:293]
Seth Brown
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North Adams
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We had a few events pop up for Sunday, meaning we'd love to fit more games into today if possible. With that in mind, I selected Lost Cities, and decided to play three rounds totaling the scores. In the first round, I got all the high cards, and crushed Debbie 64-20. In the second round, I got most of the high cards, and beat Debbie 67-48. In the final round, she would have needed to beat me by 63 points. I had a rough hand and only scored a 29. But she did even worse and only got a 16, meaning I won in straight sets, while she lost. Cities.

Victory: Seth

Seth: 7
Debbie: 5
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13. Board Game: Monastery [Average Rating:6.30 Overall Rank:4545]
Seth Brown
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A weird little game, and possibly our only game where Debbie doesn't always play yellow, because the different colors definitely matter! She got an early 1-monk lead on me, but seemed to spend a lot of her time buying my letters and getting blessings. She got an early 3-blessing feature, but I later managed a 4-blessing feature.

Late in the first day she built the Prison Cell, which meant one of us was down a monk every round. Usually it was me. We both had a round where we sat on half of a 10-point building, and then completed it next round. It looked like Debbie had more of her own letters than I did, but little did she know I had *seven* blessings behind my screen. We counted up points, and I ended up with 25 while she only had 27.

Wait, what? I really thought I was taking this one, but I guess I didn't have a prayer.

Victory: Debbie

...and in breaking news, the designer of Camelot Legends has weighed in on the tie-break in Debbie's favor. Scores have been updated to reflect that.

Seth: 7
Debbie: 6
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14. Board Game: Notre Dame [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:223]
Seth Brown
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North Adams
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This is one of those games I loved from the first time I played it, and knew I had to get it eventually. The play is very simple and doesn't take long, yet there's tons of interesting decisions. Also, I am continually impressed with the modular board design that fits together perfectly for any number of players.

Last time we played this, Debbie took way too many Trusted Friend actions, resulting in a dearth of board cubes. This time she made no similar error, and seemed off to a fine start. I took full points for Notre Dame in round 1, we split it in round 2, and she took them all in round 3. The big difference, as I'm sure she'd agree, was that once again I managed to get two cubes into the park very early in the game, giving me bonus points on everything I did for the rest of the game. Probably a dozen or so, which perhaps uncoincidentally, is the amount by which I won, 64-52.

Debbie says, "Rats!"

Victory: Seth

Seth: 8
Debbie: 6
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15. Board Game: Oregon [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:1036]
Seth Brown
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One of the two tile-placement-meeple games that I like to recommend to new-ish gamers, as a next step after Carcassonne. It's easy to learn, plays fast, has fun pieces, and works for 2-4. We ended up placing our two starting buildings right next to each other, and each got two people on one side scoring both (Mail and Gold Mine) twice. However, they were next to some water, so I got a third guy in to score the mail, and complete a 3-in-a-row.

I was leading most of the game. I had more gold. I had more points. It wasn't a big lead, but it was enough. Then on the penultimate turn, Debbie dropped a Church in the middle of four of her guys for 16 points. Given that the board score at that point had us both at around 40ish, that was a BIG JUMP. I had more gold than she did, but it wasn't enough, and she won 84-74.

She may have won Oregon, but she's still Trailing overall.

Victory: Debbie

Seth: 8
Debbie: 7
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16. Board Game: Perquackey [Average Rating:5.98 Overall Rank:8286]
Seth Brown
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I know, I know, it lacks the gravitas of some of our other games. But I was about to pick Phoenicia when I realized we're likely playing Zavandor for Z, and I wanted something different. Besides, last time we played this, Debbie beat me, and I'm a professional word guy, so I wanted vengeance.

I leapt out to an early lead, with some 6-letter words like hoards and favors. Then I had a crappy roll with 2 Js and 3 Ls, and lost some points. But when the chips were down, I got fairest, tracers, and farters, bringing me to a 6200-5300 victory.

Debbie was just boggled.

Victory: Seth

Seth: 9
Debbie: 7
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17. Board Game: Queen's Necklace [Average Rating:6.44 Overall Rank:1811]
Seth Brown
United States
North Adams
Massachusetts
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As mentioned earlier (under C), Quest of the Round Table is not as fun as we'd like, and so it was a return to Queen's Necklace. I lucked out and managed to grab all three of the kings as they were flipped onto the board, which meant that I did not have to worry about my gems being made worthless. It also meant that I got to worthless Debbie's opening diamond round, taking an early lead.

In the final merchant round, I played 13 diamonds, Debbie played 13 emeralds. Since diamonds were one higher on the favor track, they also were one higher on the rarity track, which meant I got 260 points more than Debbie for my 13-of-a-kind. This means that my 990 to 750 victory was hardly the rout that it sounds like. As it turns out (and there's no possible way we could have known, as the hand-peekers were long since gone), if Debbie had played one fewer emerald, she would have stolen 130 of my points.

This game has more facets than people realize.

Victory: Seth

Seth: 10
Debbie: 7
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18. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:47]
Seth Brown
United States
North Adams
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One of our two most-played games. And a favorite of Debbie's, so no surprise she chose it. Parameters: Best of three games, regardless of points.

For the first game, we looked at our hands and then chose a start world. She took Alpha Centauri, and I took New Sparta. Now, to give you some history, roughly half the time we play RftG, I am able to draft some Trading off of Debbie's Settle actions, and make great leaps forward. This game was not that half of the time. In fact, I twice traded blind and failed, and then when I finally settled, she was settling anyway. My resultant loss of tempo led Debbie to a 33-27 victory.

The second game, we were dealt random hands and worlds. I again received New Sparta, while Debbie got Epsilon Eridani. This time my military came together a bit better, but it was an incredibly tight race down to the final turn. I picked double settle with a pair of 1-cost worlds in my hand, and the card I drew for my first settle was the 6-point Rebel world, propelling me to a 37-32 victory.

The final game, we chose start worlds with the beginner start hands. Debbie wanted New Sparta, while I returned to trusty Alpha Centauri. I ended up playing a rushy sort of game accidentally, as I managed to play the complete contents of my start hand, and drew into a lot of cheap brown worlds and the mining conglomerate. Debbie picked up Drop Ships and was in position to drop some big worlds. She had zero consume powers, but in the final turns dropped a lot of 5 and 6 point worlds. I managed a consumeVPx2 for 8 points. We counted up the points and... a tie at 26. Honestly, this is getting ridiculous.

Tiebreaker rules for Race are the person with the most cards left in hand and goods left on the table. And this is a shame, as I'd played my last card and consumed all but one good, while Debbie had a few cards left and some goods on the table, which meant she took the round.

But at least it was a Novelty to Explore different starting configurations.

Victory: Debbie

Seth: 10
Debbie: 8
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19. Board Game: Stone Age [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:81]
Seth Brown
United States
North Adams
Massachusetts
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Ug. We play game. Me Chief.

Chief take farm. Farm good. Not waste time hunt.

Girl take dice cards. Rolls well.

Chief not care. Chief take wood. Much wood.

Chief build hut. Girl build hut.

Girl think Chief dumb for not drop lots on big hut. Chief use one wood, have plan.

Chief get much card. Card with much men.

Game end. Girl leads on board.

Count cards. Much men help Chief. Chief win 244-194.

Short word pun hard. Like Stone.



Victory: Seth

Seth: 11
Debbie: 8
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20. Board Game: To Court the King [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:1473]
Seth Brown
United States
North Adams
Massachusetts
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Another dice game. In the two-player game, there's only a single copy of all the higher-level cards, making grabbing the extra dice cards extra important. We split the add a numbered die cards. Debbie manages to grab the general, which gives two extra dice. Then I grab the King, which as you might guess from the name of the game, is important.

Debbie rolls exceedingly poorly, and does not manage to challenge my king, meaning I win.

Apparently, I'm on a roll.


Victory: Seth

Seth: 12
Debbie: 8
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21. Board Game: Upwords [Average Rating:5.70 Overall Rank:5918]
Seth Brown
United States
North Adams
Massachusetts
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I have to say, I was pretty impressive this game. I opened with pestle, later changed it to apostle, and then spent the rest of the game trying to change it to epistle. I had awesome words, unlike Debbie who took the low road to high points by wading through maggoty/muck and then topping the M with an F. My words were much more awesome. Which is why it's a shame that I got trounced 223-171.

I'm just bad at games like this, where you have to scrabble for every point.


Victory: Debbie

Seth: 12
Debbie: 9
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22. Board Game: Vikings [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:328]
Seth Brown
United States
North Adams
Massachusetts
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This is the other game I love recommending as a step up from Carcassonne. Still has tiles and meeples, but much less luck plus an awesome wheel mechanic. Debbie started by grabbing some fishermen, saying, "You always win because of fishermen." I picked up a lot of early nobles and scouts. I was light on start islands, winning none in the whole first round, but managed to build up and down from my opening scout to get islands into all five rows anyway.

Debbie began hammering away on Goldsmiths to gain a big money advantage, while I began gathering fishermen and warriors. I had a few warriors not doing anything, but I didn't want to overpay for boats early and be over-boated in the end game. At the end of the game I had more scout points, Debbie got the boatmen bonus, I had the longest island, and she had the most islands. We were both at 37. And then it was time to account for fishermen. I had one more, which meant I was oversupplied, going to 39, while she was undersupplied, going to 34.

Since she knew exactly how I was going to win, I have no renorse.

Victory: Seth

Seth: 13
Debbie: 9
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23. Board Game: World of Warcraft: The Boardgame [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:1205]
Seth Brown
United States
North Adams
Massachusetts
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This behemoth of a game has been sitting on our couch for months, because we don't have a shelf big enough to put it away. We played it a few times immediately upon acquisition, but since it's really a "set aside your day" sort of game, we haven't played it much since then. Which is a shame, as it's totally awesome.

This weekend is all about awesome, and Debbie thirsted for WAR. So in World of WARcraft, she picked the alliance WARrior and the WARlock. I had the Horde, with Thundershot the mighty Tauren Hunter, and Priestface McGee. I got off to a slow start, courtesy of an early death while trying to solo a scarlet crusader. But some other successful soloing while Debbie's team was fighting together moved me right back up. We both hit level 2 at a similar time, and same for level 3. An auction event turned up just after I had spent all my money to outfit my party in town, giving Debbie some magic travel powers for one gold. She used this to good effect, completing a War quest (for enough xp to hit 4), and some fast map-running that let her knock off a red drake for a bucket of treasure. By the endgame, she had just dinged 5 with one character, while her other character and my party were all at 4.

Sadly, I had planned insufficiently, and she made it to Kel'Thuzad one turn before I did. Much worse was the fact that she'd previously completed one of his special events, giving her a 4-damage headstart. Combined with some more unstoppable shadow damage, and a heap of good rolling, after one round of soaking 10 damage, she was able to knock him dead, and win the game. I was one turn away from doing the same.

QQ AFK

Victory: Debbie

Seth: 13
Debbie: 10
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24. Board Game: Xēko Mission: Madagascar [Average Rating:6.41 Overall Rank:10446] [Average Rating:6.41 Unranked]
Seth Brown
United States
North Adams
Massachusetts
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I got this game in a math trade because it began with X. I don't have any other X games. So even though it was my turn to choose, this was what we had to play. Which is a shame, as I think previous to tonight, Debbie has beaten me every time we played. I set the parameters as a straight best of three games, total points irrelevant.

Game one I drew a lot of forest fires, which is basically 5 points of damage to the face without taking your one creature play per turn. I won 50-44.

Game two Debbie had a ridiculous play where she boosted something plus 13, and also got more fires than I did, and smashed me 43-64. At this point, I was delighted to have chosen best of three rather than total score. Last game would decide.

Game three I opened with a card-drawing butterfly, which depleted my life but gave me extra options. With a full grip of options, I was playing a species every turn until Debbie dropped the lose a species-turn Bullhorn. But it was still close. We were getting low on cards, and Debbie had more cards remaining in her library than I did, but I had just drawn a +6 boost. And if I played it effectively, it would be worth +11, and possibly the game. She moved a creature and dropped a Greater Hedgehog Tenrec to attack one of my completely locked-in creatures. I couldn't play the boost, and took many damage to the face. I lost 36-45.

I swear, if I played eleven games of Xeko with Debbie, I'd get ten wrecked.

Victory: Debbie

Seth: 13
Debbie: 11
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25. Board Game: Ys [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:964]
Seth Brown
United States
North Adams
Massachusetts
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We hadn't played this with two players before, but I've wanted to try the variant, and since I lost, it was my choice. The neutral player was interesting, and allowed even more crazy bluffing than usual. I sandbagged the opening turn bid on the first round for higher points in hand, but since we were playing express (3 placement turns per round, instead of 4), going second ended up being much more important, so I continually raised my bid in the next three rounds.

Debbie got the middle point increaser card on a turn where she won two sections, scoring a quick 10 points. But I hit the ports hard, and got a black gem advantage. More importantly, I managed to get 5 or 6 of the 8 gems available in the market, unopposed on all but one of those times. With only six bidders per player, there's just not enough time to be everywhere.

But my market machinations paid off, and my majority in the two most valuable gems assured my victory, even though Debbie ended only nine points behind.

Is Debbie glad there's only one game left tonight? Hll Ys.

Victory: Seth

Seth: 14
Debbie: 11
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