GCL Phoenix 43 - Knifefights, Fusion, & Ugly Babies
Tom Shields
United States
Tacoma
Washington
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Welcome to the Phoenix GCL.
If you're a regular visitor, please thumb this list so we know you're lurking, it's how we discover new friends. If you wandered here by accident, this link will tell you about us: Phoenix GCL Wiki.



Waiting for the new Essen games.

The many ways we wait (left to right): "I'm contextualizing last Essen on my blog!", "I'm reviewing the rules!", "I don't want to talk about it, you'll jinx everything, leave me alone!"

The games arrive! We play them!

* * *

We segregate into responses.

"It's broken!"


The true believer taking flight.


The houseruler in her own private little dance.


"What just happened? And why is there sand in my undies?"


"What was I thinking? And I paid full shipping for this??!!"


* * *

Which are you?
Please tell us in your weekly update.

This week will be filled with new game talk.

Phoenix Roster:
chally
Eeeville
Hawkeye77
indigopotter
JohnRayJr
Judoka
leroy43
Lowengrin
Mr_Nuts
ravenskana
Rynelf
Taibi
tjshields
topher -- next into the surf
yokiboy
Dormammu
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1. Board Game: Urban Sprawl [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:1436]
Tom Shields
United States
Tacoma
Washington
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Tintin watches the behemoth Sprawl depart California to take on the world.

GMT seems like the brash, California progenitor of American Fusion. Without a glance at Essen and it's script for launching a game, they turned the Euro upside down last year with Dominant Species. Now Urban Sprawl - an ambitious response to Through the Ages - is just birthing. Last month Sekigahara, arguably a fusion game that resists categorization, was launched.

We're going to be talking about these games in our playlists, I know. This list item is to congregate discussion of GMT's new games and their foray into the Euro with games that defy categorization and sometimes patience.
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2. Board Game: Vanuatu [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:755]
 
Tom Shields
United States
Tacoma
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Tintin watches the tough old Teutons load their latest creations on the Essen ark.

I've pre-ordered the Euro vicious knifefight game Vanuatu. Colonial was the subject of a very interesting set of response from Aliza, Dave, and Jon just yesterday. If the California wave is American Fusion, what of the new Euro's that entangle the players & invite direct conflict? And how does Uwe's Labora and Helvetia stand in relation to the direction of other Essen releases? Is there a new Euro wave, or will the marching teutonics Tintin watches dominate the boat at it sails toward us?

I loved Kurt's first game of Helvetia post this weekend. I can't wait to hear first reports on Vanuatu. This is for discussing the new Essen games, imports, and the notion (whether substantive or not) of Euro tightness and control in contrast to independent, small press Euro releases bucking the old school Teutons.
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3. Board Game: Butt-Ugly Martians: The Race to Rescue Dog [Average Rating:3.85 Unranked]
Tom Shields
United States
Tacoma
Washington
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So, we all have at least one ugly baby, right? A game you love but doesn't meet the normative standards of your friends or the Geek. Either you look at it blind by love, or it has memories that bring pleasure. Or it's a guilty pleasure. Or maybe a game the wider BGG likes, but your fellow GCL'ers - the sharks - look down on.

This is a place to share your ugly babies. Or to confess, that we may collectively shrive you.
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4. Board Game: Nickel & Dime Pool [Average Rating:6.17 Unranked]
Tom Shields
United States
Tacoma
Washington
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Here's the week's numbers/list question.


See this guy? He's the Dominion/RftG/Innovation "Five & Dime List" hustler. You know the guy: plays 2,546 games of Dominion online, 1,254 games of Asencion on his iPad, and 2,304 games of RftG on Keldon's AI. And 100 plays of Innovation at work lunches and 100 plays of Haggis with the wife. Clogging the Five & Dime list with activities that never included a board and a table and at least one other human.

Busted!

Then there are the plays with the children. I don't love Small World or Summoner Wars, but I enjoy them with the little ones. So they're nickel plays for me, approaching dimes. But for this list, children don't count as humans. They're just another "Five and Dime" clogger.

It may be interesting to see your "Five & Dime" list shorn of card games and children's games played "for others." Just to see what it says.

Also - a loose criteria. Shoot for games with a board. Hive and The Resistance are really cool games - for some reason, they go. Use your own judgement but the idea is hunkering over the board for a bit.

So this is the weeks numbers/list question. What are your "Five and Dimes" excluding card games or the many family games we play with our kids? Along these lines: I toss Diamant out, Blue Moon, Coloretto, Innovation, etc. The idea is to unclog the list & see what it says. In doubt, use your judgement. For example, I love The Resistance... is it a card game? It doesn't have a board so I'm tossing out it's 16 plays.

Oh - a Euro exchange rate is in place while the Euro is still hanging in there (whoa! Greece!), so a Dime can be 9 plays, a Nickel can be 4 plays. Give yourself some wriggle room if you need it to say something about you (the goal) and we've just clipped alot from your list. It's OK to game the information on this one just a bit if it says something about your gaming. Choose your own time frame too - forever, 1 year, 2 years. The point is to see what BOARD games you are playing most, or are able to get played, and see what that says.
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5. Board Game: Urban Sprawl [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:1436]
Tom Shields
United States
Tacoma
Washington
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Urban Sprawl
Ur
The Resistance
Hive

Shadows in the Forest

Hive is the coolest little condensed 'chess like but joyful' game I've ever played. An immediate '9' for me, and immediate buy. Just lovely, and thanks to Mike for thinking of me and bringing it to gamenight. The first of many many plays. It joins Haggis as the ultimate backpack go-everywhere game.

This play of Ur opened up, with two of us hopping over the gathering Cin lines and fragmenting our civilizations. I like this more each time I play, and the cleverness & simplicity of the driving mechanics.

The Resistance was a big win for the spies, and logic flew out the window as quick as it ever has.

Urban Sprawl brought such a flurry of associations, and is such an ambitious toolbox of mechanics-doubled & "I dare you" exuberance, that it's hard to settle into a coherent response right now.

First I played a solo table; 3-player and to about mid-game so I could teach it. It played beautifully. I thought it was a masterpiece out of the box. When I got to our gaming digs, we set up 4-player. We left out one very important rule - which queered the wholly early game set-up which means it's hard to extrapolate much with the way it played out. The rule was the Mayor placing the parks - it turns out this is a remarkable way to populate an expensive (and high prestige payout) row. So then the board tilted - one player pulled the card that placed the '6' red prestige pill on his chosen row, he figured out the Mayor rule and it had passed to him, and he flooded the high value rows with his parks. Every prestige payout he hit the bell. Two of us were in residential & had no idea how to finesse our way out of steady punishment - I coudn't hang onto money. Money flew into my hand, and flew out with the constant hose of event effects. Everyone reported the feeling the game was outside any of our control - including the winner, who lapped us all.

So I'm hooked for the time being. And yes, I'm a true believer I think.

Shadows in the Forest was lovely. A hide & seek game you play in the dark. The witch pushes around a lit candle, while the rest of us hide behind the shadows it casts due to the wooden trees. I encourage any parent who has a chance to play this with the children. They'll have memories of the dark room, the lit candle, everyone's face in the flickering light, and hiding from the witch.

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6. Board Game: Homesteaders [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:590]
Jon
United States
Urbana
Illinois
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_9_ Homesteaders x2
Two learning game in one day. In the first game, my oldest son won the day with 43, while I had 34, and my youngest son 33. It was fun watching my older son do a lot of trade combos at the end to increase his score.

In the second game my wife joined us. This time my youngest son won with 48, oldest son 46, I had 35, and my wife had 31.

I found it interesting that buildings are only avaliable at certain times. An early building I was looking to get left play before I could get it, and I didn't know the pool of buildings well enough to have a good strategy. The auctions were fast and not annoying. The loan system worked fine, but most of us didn't take big advantage of it. I had loans in both games and paid them all off. My wife had one loan outstanding at the end of the second game.

We all really enjoyed this. My wife did complain that the buildings were a bit small and hard to read. I'm optimistically giving this a 9 for now. I'm still thinking about this game long after playing it which is a good sign, and I like how quickly it plays.

_8_ Eminent Domain x1
Two players with my youngest son. We both tackled a lot of planets, myself through warfare and a scorched earth policy, while he used terraforming and colonizing. I pulled off a win 48 to 45.

_7_ Colonial: Europe's Empires Overseas x1
Talked about this late in the last list, and I'll go into it more a bit later in a separate post. I did enjoy the game but think it would take some work to "sell" this to my family, and at the current cost, isn't worth it to me. I would love to play this a few more times and have a better understanding of the game though.
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7. Board Game: 1989: Dawn of Freedom [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:482]
 
Judit Szepessy
Canada
London
Canada
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At the Gates of Loyang x 3
Glory to Rome x 1
Fast Flowing Forest Fellers x 1
Yatzhee x 1
Hansa Teutonica x 1
1989 Dawn of Freedom x 1
San Juan x 2
A good week of gaming, I would not complain if I could get this amount and quality gaming every week. Hm maybe more games of GtR and HT.

Both my sons like At the Gates of Loyang, which is great, we were happily harvesting, selling and serving customers for the most part, and it now also plays at a good steady pace as we know how the game flows. My younger son commented one of our games like "vegetable overload", "famine" and "now my tractor is broken now". My older son also likes the game and he is more picky, so it is good to know that I can get this on the table easily.

GtR: Friday morning we invited a young friend over and taught him GtR. He picked up the game fast, and all enjoyed the game. My older son wanted to build up the Forum, and we kept chosing the Labour action to prevent him getting all the clients. It was a tense race, and meanwhile my younger son ended the game with the Catacomb. That was a lot of fun!

Hansa Teutonica: finally, we could play this after a long time with friends tonight, we had quite a cutthroat game. At one point our friend told me half jokingly "You are not very nice to me". I told her this is not the game where you can just quietly play and build alone along the others. Now I know next time what I would do differently, I have to pay more atttention to connect more cities on time.

1989Dawn of Freedom: I was doing better than previously, but still did not always use some of the cards when they would benefit the most - the disadvantage of having to check the cards all the time because you do not see them. I am planning to play it more often time permitting. The rules book look wonderful, I am sure the quality will be top notch.

Today I was introduced someone who likes Container and wants to teach it to us, this is an exciting and new opportunity for us. Container might not be the game for me, but I would still like to try it and see how it plays.
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8. Board Game: Colonial: Europe's Empires Overseas [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:1781]
Dave Peters
United States
Belmont
California
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Powers:Coleridge:Milton: Faith...must be, if anything, a clear-eyed recognition of the patterns and tendencies, to be found in every piece of the world's fabric, which are the lineaments of God.
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With my two youngest:
1x _6_ Formula Motor Racing - A bit nastier than the two might prefer - they had fun colluding and sending my cars to the back of the line (or out of the race.) In the end, old age and treachery ruled - but I think they enjoyed it nonetheless.
2x _4_ Ker Plunk - This is one where they're much better than me - whether aiming for the fewest marbles or the most (the objective function is somewhat in flux when we begin - despite my half-hearted efforts to codify it.) Every time we play, though, I pine for my original copy: the "35th anniversary edition" is very poorly made.
2x _6_ 6 Nimmt! - (Or, in our house, "The Cow-Head Game".) We had some fun with the dynamics - in that we discussed the sorts of plays that might force cow-heads on an opponent, and practice (a bit) making it happen. Harmless, but cool nonetheless.

With Paul from the I've been Diced! crew:
1x _7.7_ Key Market - Paul pasted me at this (it's his sort of game.) Very fun; though not something my brain navigates easily. Many thanks again to Aliza for the copy.
1x _8_ A Few Acres of Snow - I played the French, and Paul the English. I told him that BGG had sketched a British auto-win, and volunteered to tell him about it - but he thought he'd prefer not to know. So we just enjoyed the experience. Ignorance sometimes is bliss.

With Aliza, Jon, JC and others who don't frequent these parts (Hi, Dave & Ted!) at BAP:
1x _7.7_ Colonial: Europe's Empires Overseas New! - My mis-teaching the Naval War rules led us badly astray. In fact, I blame much of the not-quite-right feeling on that one rule mishap. Without it, we would have perceived some value in the Navy track - and possibly even considered venturing that way. As Jon had said, much of the fun of the game was the company: Aliza, Dave, Jon and Ted made excellent and delightful opponents. The game showed promise while it was wrong - even before we'd figured out why: I'm even more enthusiastic to try again with the full Colony rules and the correct War rules (though whether original or revised, I'm not yet sure.)
1x _7.7_ Symbioz New! - Simply brutal. Rules are entirely tractable, yet the lookahead is hard. My colleagues (Aliza, JC & Dave) proved much better than I at reading out the ramifications of future actions. Still, it's a very cool thing - and I'd be delighted to have another shot at it.


As to Tom's question Which are you? I'd have to (like Jon) go with the true believer. I'm not particularly excited to declare something broken; I enjoy observing the proceedings (so I generally have some small idea what just happened.) I've a small propensity toward the houserule - but I'm not generally successful in convincing others that "My Version" is better than the real thing.
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9. Board Game: Formula Dé Mini [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:2656]
United States
Wurtsboro
NY
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Utopian Rummy 6
Magnate 5
Formula De Mini 3

Sam beat me in our two games of Formula De Mini earlier today, as he usually does, but the dice spirits were with me in our third game just now, and I won!



Here's a picture of the Mouseguard pumpkin I carved for Sam last night. It's sitting in the RPG Geekmod, and I sort of cheated to get the URL to post it early, so it's not clickable yet, but once it gets through Geekmod, it will be in the Mouseguard RPG Creative gallery (I could use my special powers, but like many things in life, just because I can doesn't mean I should)

It got approved, so it is clickable now.
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10. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:76] [Average Rating:7.64 Unranked]
Max Maloney
United States
Portland
Oregon
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"If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason." -Jack Handey
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Games Played

_8_ Magic: The Gathering 13
_8_ Dominion 2
_7_ 7 Wonders 1
_7_ Eminent Domain 2
_7_ Quarriors! 1
_7_ Eaten by Zombies! 1
_7_ (-) Elder Sign 1
New to me in bold, (+) is trending up in rating, (-) is trending down in rating.

Week in Review

Sunday had a few silly, light games and also my first time playing Dominion in months. I got in two games and it was really fantastic to get it back to the table. I'm going to wait for Hinterlands to come out and then bring it to my Saturday group to try to get it into regular rotation for a month or so.

I got a copy of Eminent Domain for myself after my encouraging early plays. It continues to be "pretty good." At a half dozen times, it is beginning to show signs of the repetition I predicted early on: manipulating those same 5 order cards in various permutations simply doesn't feel very differentiated from game to game. I like it ok, but I think it's pretty solid at this rating level.

I also played Quarriors!, after not playing it for some time, based on reading the game designer's post explaining they'd made a minor rules change to make the game more accessible. He recommended the original culling method for heavier gamers and we tried it out. I liked it quite a bit better! I'm more optimistic about the future of this game now.

I played my fourth week of Friday Night Magic, and it was my second week of finishing in the prizes. It's fun to reacquaint myself with what's happening in the world of Magic and I'm enjoying the limited formats.
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11. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:48]
Железный комиссар
United States
Indiana
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Games Played

7 Wonders (w/Leaders) x2
The Scepter of Zavandor x1

Week in Review

I played 7 Wonders for the first time and enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I think adding in the Leaders expansion helped; we were a few actions into the game before I realized we were playing with more than the original set. After two games, it was hard to imagine playing without them - that extra layer of forward planning is what made it all work for me, I think. That said, it's a light, soothing sort of game. I'm in no hurry to run out and play it a bunch but it's hard to see myself turning it down, at least for a few more plays.

Count me in the 3-player-only camp. Well, four is fine, I guess. I just don't see the point in scaling up. More bodies gathered around one game, but without social or game-related interaction beyond your immediate neighbors. The 7-player limit seems reeeeaaally superficial.

Also had a great game of Scepter. I was the Druid and did the Ruby Rush, securing both Chalices of Fire into the bargain. My friend Matt played a Sapphire Strategy and obtained both Crystals of Protection. On the second-to-last turn, he bought a Talisman at face value (discount from Knowledge of Artifacts), allowing him to complete the Artifacts and 9 Sages tracks for free, and netting him two Ruby cards going into the last turn. We tied for the win against two Diamond players (one of whom had both Masks of Charisma). Somewhere along the line I think I got pretty good at Scepter. Or maybe I've reached a high plateau, only to be surpassed sometime down the road.

I'm completely out of the loop with the Essen cycle this year; you all will have to tell me what's what. I'm subscribed to the Rankings list.
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12. Board Game: Glen More [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:287]
Lo
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Games Played
Glen More x1
Jambo x1
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game x1.5*

*First game aborted after one turn.

The Week in Review
Another lean week of gaming. S remains "simply worn out" (to use Nicolai's expression last week) when it comes to gaming so we played only three games all week.

In recognizing S's burn out, I suggested Glen More on Monday night. It's a game that even if she doesn't enjoy a play of it, it's not likely to annoy her. She played ye olde get lots of villages, chieftains and tams and kick M's butt with them strategy. And that she did.


Kurt's quizzing me on The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game got me excited about playing it again so I got it and S to the table on Tuesday night. S played with a combined Lore and Leadership deck and I with just the Tactics. As the discussion on the last list was about the Anduin scenario, we played it...twice.

Our first game saw two trolls appear on the first turn so we just folded. Our second play was much more successful, completing the quest with only the loss of one hero - Thalin. Nevertheless, had we only had cards from the base game, I don't think we would have succeeded. That S was able to play two types of "songs" for so many extra resources, she could bring out pretty much any card she wanted when she wanted it.

In theory, the song cards are a good idea as they allow you to gain resources (and mix decks easier), but they are very inexpensive for their power. They cost only one resource to gain one resource every turn thereafter. So it's rather easy for at least one player (especially with the Lore deck with it's minstrels) to get a resource engine going early.

Edit: shake


Tonight, S and I had a quick game of Jambo. As she couldn't get any utility cards, she spent a lot of time passing early for a bonus one gold. With three utility cards out early, I passed less often and pulled ahead almost from the start. Although she had a few good ware flips, she couldn't catch up. I won by some 20 points. Of our three games this week, this was the least interesting.

Here's hoping November is a better month for gaming.
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13. Board Game: King of Tokyo [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:265]
Yoki Erdtman
Sweden
Södertälje
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Games Played: (Listed in order of play, links to play details, with my ratings in color.)
_8_ Gulo Gulo
_4_ Hungry Troll and the Gobbos
_6_ Rat-a-Tat Cat
_8_ Duckling Dancin'
_7_ A la carte
_8_ Wok Star, play #1 and play #2
_7_ Reiner Knizia's Amazing Flea Circus
_8_ King of Tokyo, play #1 and play #2

New Games:
Steam's Halloween sale resulted in the following additions to my PC games collection: Borderlands, Bioshock, Left 4 Dead, Left 4 Dead 2, F.E.A.R., F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate, F.E.A.R. Extraction Point, F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat, and Ghostbusters: The Video Game. Can anyone tell that I'm enjoying my new PC?

Representative Item:
King of Tokyo was as much fun as I had hoped. My kids loved it, and it will probably be even more fun and utterly cutthroat with my old gaming buddies.

Plans for the Week:
Gaming galore! I'm home with my kids all week and plan to play games with them every chance I get, and whatever other fun stuff we get inspired to do. I also have some friends coming over for Halloween gaming. zombie

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14. Board Game: Zero Down [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:3263]
Ben
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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Ben
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Ann Arbor
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Games Played:
None.
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15. Board Game: Indonesia [Average Rating:7.86 Overall Rank:198]
Daniel Kenel
United States
New London
Iowa
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Games Played:
Indonesia x 1
Arkadia x 1
Witch's Brew x 1
Ca$h 'n Gun$ x 1
Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game x 2


Week in Review:
All plays this week came at a game day in Iowa City. Nothing really terrific with the games I played this week. It was a bit of a lighter game day in part because of some of the normal crew missing but also due to folks wanting to play some Halloween themed games.

In LNOE I played the zombie role against 2 other players as the good guys. I slaughtered them quickly in both of our games and thus drained any of the tension and drama out of the game. One funny thing did happen though. One guy had his 9 year old son playing with us. Really he just helped roll dice for his dad. The kid was a bit crushed that the good guys got beat and he carried a grudge against me into our next game.

While waiting on another guy to arrive we decided to get in a quick game of Ca$h 'n Gun$. Little did I know I had created a bitter, sworn enemy in our LNOE games. The kid aimed at me every single round. I was highly amused. laugh

I got in my 2nd ever game of Indonesia. My first game was probably 3 years ago and was rough. It was a table of newbies and we struggled through a really long game. Several of my buddies have played it a lot since then and love the game. They talked me into giving it a second chance. I'm a bit sad to say that this play didn't really capture me either and will probably see me passing on any future plays.
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16. Board Game: Black Gold [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:1854]
Bryan Maxwell
United States
Burtchville
Michigan
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Thunderstone x 1
Catacombs x 1
Elder Sign x 1
Black Gold x 1
Race for the Galaxy x 1
Magnate x 2
Sorry Sliders x 1
Hey That's My Fish x 1
Animal Upon Animal x 1
Pandemic x 1
Battlestar Galactica x 1

Pretty wonderful gaming week:

Black Gold and Catacombs have both been hits at my FLGS. I have a copy of the 2 Catacombs expansions on order (currently held up by Urban Sprawl and Dominion: Hinterlands). Black Gold is impressive thus far, all that remains is to see how it holds up.

My parents came over the other day, and I sat down and played a few games with my father and my daughter (Sorry Sliders, Animal Upon Animal and Hey That's My Fish). It's pretty nice when the generations get time together like that.

On Friday night I had my friends from work over, significant because we had a new guy - he just started working in my department at work (I'd literally spent about 45 minutes with him at work so far). He's young (can't be a day over 20)but he took to the group and the games swimmingly despite no prior familiarity with hobby gaming. He was smart, engaged and had a good time - it's nice to get some new blood once in a while. We started with a 4-player game of Pandemic for new guy's maiden voyage. We managed to lose by running out of red cubes, thus keeping Charles' winless streak at Pandemic alive (so to speak). He's now something like 0-8 at the game.

We then played a 5-player game of Battlestar Galactica, and it was a fairly lackluster play. I was a cylon from the beginning and remained hidden and helpful for most of the first half. The humans had a ridiculously easy time of it, and I maybe played it too safe - I tend to wait until things get shaky then make a big move rather than take little shots along the way. I revealed shortly after sleeper phase, as did my wife (though was in the brig as Boomer and didn't get her reveal bonus). My reveal action was to plant a centurion boarding party on Galactica, and after another time around the table it had advanced 2 spaces on the track. The humans didn't bother with it until it was too late. After one player's failed attempt to use the Armory and destroy the centurion, Kat and I used our back-to-back turns to advance the centurion marker twice and win the game.

So it went from the humans being fine, no tension, dials all in the blue to the humans suddenly losing because they didn't pay enough attention to the boarding party. Normally I'd offer advice (even as the enemy) but the players (apart from the new guy) are experienced enough to know better. Still, it was a success because we had a good time and Eric enjoyed himself and fit in well with the group.

In other news, we watched the pilot for The Walking Dead on Netflix and I was pretty impressed by it, though I'm not always going to be in the mood for something so intense. We've also started watching Dr Who at the urging of my friend Charles. We started with the 2005 BBC series that starts with the ninth doctor. After 2 episodes it's kind of hokey and the special effects are dreadful, but it's engaging none the less.
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17. Board Game: Innovation [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:307]
"L'état, c'est moi."
Canada
Vancouver
BC
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Roger's Reviews: check out my reviews page, right here on BGG!
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The week that was:
Here I Stand 1
Innovation 1
Mille Bornes 1
Twilight Struggle 1

The TS game was unfortunately abandoned because Mark and I couldn't get out clients to stay stable and after too many crashes we gave up.

Here I Stand is a play by email game that's just started.

My wife tried out Innovation with me and she liked it, so it'll be added to the rotation. I'm still sticking with the 7 rating on it for now, however.
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18. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:49]
Mark Johnson
Canada
St.John's
Newfoundland
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“Brothers, oh brothers, my days here are done, the Dornishman’s taken my life, But what does it matter, for all men must die, and I’ve tasted the Dornishman’s wife!”
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"Oak and iron guard me well, or else I'm dead and doomed to hell." - Andal proverb.
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Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer (50)
Race for the Galaxy (3)/3 Expansions (3)
Carcassonne (1)

Not much gaming except digitally of course. I think it's going to be a pretty quiet week from me as I will be leaving to go to Edmonton tomorrow through the 7th. I guess it depends on my internet access and free time.

Blah I hate flying...
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19. Board Game: Rallyman [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:832]
Nicolai Broen Thorning
Denmark
Ebeltoft
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Games Played Week 43:
2x Terra Evolution
1x Eminent Domain
1x Innovation
1x Puerto Rico
1x Rallyman

Game of Choice:
No contest!

The game itself is great, great fun, but to play it with my mother-in-law was just amazing. It was just fun talking about the different approaches, see her engage in the game and at the same time explore it myself. I can certainly see us get more competitive as we progress in terms of skill - if you can talk of such in a game of dice. This game has the potential to bring much merriment to our family gatherings.

The Week in Review:
An extremely tight fought contest was our game of Innovation. We both agreed it was the first time in 20 plays that there was no run-away winner. It was also our first real experience of the modern eras (8 and upwards) and the unpredictability of these innovations. Hopefully the following games will live up to this one.

I also took a poll - even if 2-3 people does not perhaps constiute a reliable sample - and it confirmed my thoughts that we are sticking with the base game for the foreseeable future. Still plenty of fun to be had - and card interactions to learn and explore.

Thursday, following the highlight of the week, we played our first 2 games of Terra Evolution. There was much laughter and merriment at my expense when I first announced the preorder of this game and after the first game I could easily see why.

Then we played our 2nd game and the different vistas opened up before me. There are various paths to chose and the timing of them can make a significant difference. You also need a bit of luck, but in a game of evolution with a short play time, I can live with that.

The first expansion has already been named - Terra Evolution: Tree of Life - and I can understand those who feel it might as well have been included from the start. Still on these 2 plays, I will be getting the expansion too.

Friday we took a trip to Puerto Rico and for the first time we brought the expansion along. It took a little longer than usual, but most likely we can put that down to the addition of new tiles, which certainly made a difference. It also made the game a lot more interesting because of the variety and the change in plans it enforced. Prior to this we could already see certain patterns emerging in our strategies. We have a tendency to get locked into a certain way of thinking and sometimes need to be jolted from that pattern.

We finished off the week in terms of gaming with our print and play copy of Eminent Domain. It was a pleasant experience and one that left us hungry for me. We felt it was a different take on some of the mechanics we have gotten used to and forced us to alter our way of thinking when approaching deck building games. Right now it seems likely that we will improve on our copy for a few more games - or simply give in and buy a copy to replace it.

The Week Ahead:
... which is well under way already. Our weekend is fully booked with soccer, birthday party to attend for the little one, while V. and I partake in my fathers birthday bash - in between delivering and picking up kids - and of course meeting my brothers girlfriend and her 5 year old daughter for the first time.

I cannot get excited about the Essen releases, so very little shopping to be done... though I am reading every word in this weeks very busy list.
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20. Board Game: Urban Sprawl [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:1436]
Christopher Rao
United States
Seattle
WA
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Q:When I say "lawyer" what pops into your head? A:Someone who designs games about penguins." - Dormammu
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Sorry for my tardiness, phoenixes! Been a busy week.

Another great game night.

Played Olympos and really enjoyed it. Nice design.

Then played another 18EU, and did even worse than the last time I played. Still, it was quite a blast.

The big surprise for the week was when my buddy CurtC asked if I wanted to try his newest acquisition, Urban Sprawl. I said sure and we played a really interesting 3 player game. Soon after, I noticed that Curt had written a review titled "First Impression After One Play By Someone Who Rates Dominant Species a 10" - http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/716255/first-impressions...

I hadn't written a review in 2 1/2 years, but I was intrigued. Dominant Species has been a big discussion point between us, almost a running joke, because I rate it a 5. So I dashed off some quick thoughts, titled "First Impression After One Play By Someone Who Rates Dominant Species a 5" ( http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/716465/first-impressions... ). I just couldn't resist, especially because we both rated US a 7 Anyway, that was great fun.

Other than that I got the flu so my weekend was pretty uneventful...
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