GCL Mafia 41: A Matter of Trust
Mc Jarvis
United States
Arlington
Virginia
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This is GCL (Game Chat League), Mafia Division! Welcome to our weekly list. Please feel free to join the discussion by adding comments (or an item) as appropriate.

If you stumbled onto this list by accident and want to know more about the Game Chat League concept, please see the wiki.

Members (next week's poster in bold):

Rishi
Dolus
KenToad
petroleumjelly
seppo21
McJarvis
1awesomeguy
Lemur
mith
tscook
Thesp
Butterfly0038

The first four items below are intended to foster discussion. In addition, please add an item to represent your gaming life for the week of October 23-29, 2011. Please list any games played along with any other information that you deem is appropriate, from game descriptions to thoughts on the games to new acquisitions.

Recently I decided to embark on my first venture into the world of BGG trades. It does not seem to be going well, with my having sent some games to another member & their subsequent ignoring of my geekmails for about a week now. I was disheartened since it was a name I recognized from a few forums I read regularly; but I guess I've learned my lesson to be more careful when conducting these things.

The reason I decided to engage in trades here on BGG was really about three things:

1) Spending less on new games by being efficient with gaming resources which are going unused.
2) Acquiring games in a new way that is more fun than merely buying boxes of games from boards&bits.
3) Broadening my collection to things that for whatever reason I would not normally buy for myself, but am willing to trade for.

As such, I think the topics this week will be a matter of trust, frugality, experience, and broadening horizons.
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1. Board Game: Werewolf [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:1389]
Mc Jarvis
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Arlington
Virginia
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We've all heard the "you've been stuck on an island" stories where you get to bring an arbitrary number of items. However, there is a certain human element to survival that often gets overlooked: not all people are built the same in terms of dependability.

Let's say you're going to be stuck on an island with your entire immediate & extended family. You are going to be the leader of this group & the group will have to fend for themselves. You have to pick a right-hand-man/woman. A vice-president, if you will. This person needs to be dependable & capable of taking on tasks without you micromanaging them. Assuming you CAN'T pick someone already on the island [ie- no family/SO's/etc], who would you pick to be your second in command if...

1) They had to be a real living person?
2) They could be a historical figure?
3) They could be any fictional figure?

Be creative with your answers. Superman might not be the best second in command since he'll be so busy flying off and saving damsels in distress. Also, assume your family does not want to leave this island, so rescue is not an objective.
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2. Board Game: Bankruptcy: The Card Game [Average Rating:4.80 Overall Rank:16305]
Mc Jarvis
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Frugality:

You have a beloved niece or nephew and you wish to give them a toy or game as a gift. Their parents are very much afraid of spoiling the child, though, and have confided in you that the child will never receive any other toys or games until they are 18; it's supposed to teach the child to be happy with what they have.

1) What would you gift the child, knowing it is the only thing they will play with?

2) Did you have one toy or game that lasted you through a significant portion of your childhood? (Legos need not apply as this answer is too obvious )
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3. Board Game: GiftTRAP [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:1956] [Average Rating:6.42 Unranked]
Mc Jarvis
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What conditions are ideal to receive a new game? Do you prefer the feeling & control of ordering something online? Do you value the in-store shopping experience?

Or maybe you prefer receiving games as gifts, surprises waiting to be explored? Do you prefer people give games you have already asked for, or would you like it better if someone found a game they thought you'd like and just give it to you, without you knowing about it?
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4. Board Game: Risk Legacy [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:274]
Mc Jarvis
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In reading about Risk Legacy I've come upon the immediate belief that this game includes people in the game design process. It seems like owning the game will comprise of an initial "prototyping" process that you can directly affect through gameplay, and thus the game becomes more yours. This intrigues me since I rarely consider the pre-production phase of games.

So, shifting gears a bit: There is some game being designed at this very moment of which you are unaware. What experiences in games are you yearning for? What mechanics do you want to see more fully explored?

What gaming horizons are you just begging to be broadened?
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5. Board Game: Galaxy Trucker [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:155]
Mc Jarvis
United States
Arlington
Virginia
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Plays:

Galaxy Trucker x1

Life:

It was a hard week for me. Work isn't going great, the whole BGG trade thing happened/is still happening, and my dog, Dach, died. On Tuesday I discovered via phone that he was paralyzed from the waist down. The vet tried treating him with drugs in case it was a virus, but the drugs had no effect. He had to be put down on Friday morning.

Due to my hectic work schedule & my Mom retiring recently, he was living up in NJ. I'm very sad that I didn't get to see him again after dropping in last spring...
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6. Board Game: Murder Mystery Party: A Taste for Wine and Murder [Average Rating:6.73 Unranked]
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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9x Arimaa
Chess
Defenders of the Realm
Magic: the Gathering
Arabian Nights Murder Mystery

So Arimaa is quickly turning into one of my most-played games. I still have so much to learn, though. I need more human opponents.

I decided to try a game of chess against the computer. I was thrilled because this was the first time I've actually won against a computer! I did, of course, choose the easiest setting. I basically did a lot of even exchanges throughout the game, at least initially. I figured I had good enough position that I would be striking first and forcing the computer to get an equal trade or fall behind. Eventually it came down to my knight, two pawns, and a king against his king and knight. I used my knight to protect my pawns enough until I finally got one down to the end of the board (and sacrificed my other pawn and knight to eventually get his knight), and then used my new queen and king to checkmate him.

We tried out Defenders of the Realm. I had really been wanting to try this one out. It felt like a greater Pandemic with more theme, less ability for one player to take control, and a bit more going on, but it was also incredibly easier. It is worth another try to make sure we do everything right, and adding in some of the optional rules to make the game more difficult, but it was so easy the first time that there didn't seem to be any challenge.

M:tG was with some decks Chris had made with his 11th edition? cards. I managed to dominate with his black deck against his blue deck. I had an assassin in play to freely kill one of his creatures if he ever chose to attack or otherwise tap a creature. Towards the end he got out a leviathan, preventing all of my creatures, save the flying one I took from his graveyard, from attacking, but I still managed to pull the win in the end.

Finally, we did a Murder Mystery for Halloween. This was my first one, so I was very excited. We created our costumes ourselves, my wife and I. I was Abdul-Malik, the Grand Vizier. The Sultan was hosting various princes to see who would wed his daughter and be the next prince. The Sultan had selected Prince Ala' ad-din as the successor, but he was shortly thereafter killed. I don't want to give away any of the game's secrets, but the night was intense and everybody was vying for my time, wanting to talk, kill, or rob me as the Grand Vizier. One of the funny highlights which we managed to get a picture of was of Jamal, the son of a Caravan Leader, stuffing food down a guard's throat to kill him. That guard was also the only man who died that night.

I managed to win for best costume as well. I'm third from the left, all in red. From left to right is Prince Sharifi, Captain of the Guard Hayat, myself, guard Numair, guard Adi, Doctor Joharra (aka The Doctor), and Prince Barad. And that Prince Barad kept delivering me all these yummy treats from inside too!
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7. Board Game: Hanabi & Ikebana [Average Rating:7.47 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.47 Unranked]
Robin Levins
United States
Round Rock
TX
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Plays This Week
Coerceo*
Navegador x2
Race for the Galaxy: The Brink of War x3
Diamant x2
Fearsome Floors
Hanabi & Ikebana* x10
Havana* x2
Notre Dame
Dominion x2

Wow, three new games this week! Here's the rundown:

A friend cobbled together a homemade version of Coerceo, a surprisingly innovative and interesting 2-player abstract game. There's a tournament of it to be run at BGG.Con, and I may try it out there as well. The board is of alternating black and white triangles on a hex board, and your pieces will only stay on your colors, while your opponent's pieces stay on their colors. You capture pieces by surrounding them on all three sides (or fewer sides if they're on an edge). The mechanic that makes takes this to the next level, though, is that when all pieces have moved off of a tile on an edge, the last player to move a piece off of that tile gets the tile, and you can spend two tiles on your turn to take out any piece on the board. So, the board continues to shrink while you play, accelerating the end of the game. If I got to play 2-player abstracts more often, I'd really seek this one out.

Navegador hit the table twice this week, and threatens to make my dime list for the year. It continues to fascinate and compel. The second game of this came down to the tie-break (at 136 points!) between me and a player employing a significantly different strategy, which I really appreciate about this game.

The more I see Pan-Galactic Affluence hit play in Race for the Galaxy: The Brink of War, the more I think it might be a little too imbalanced. I appreciate that some cards are stronger than others and some are more situational, but this one seems to blast everything else out of the water if played by midgame. That said, I'll still play the game any day, any time, any where. =P

I got my usual Halloween game of Fearsome Floors in. We played with 7 players (5 entirely new to it), and we told everyone that if you sit and plot your move every turn and every time, the game will take forever and you will have no fun. As a result, people played relatively quickly for their turns, the game was done in ~35 minutes, and it was by far the most fun I've had playing Fearsome Floors.

Hanabi is an instant-love game. It's a cooperative deduction game, where you can see everyone else's cards, but not your own. You're trying to play cards in the five suits in order (1,2,3,4,5), and on your turn you can spend a token to tell someone some specific information, or discard a card to get a token, or play a card and hope it will play to the table. You'll always keep a hand of four cards. There's some luck involved in the order that things come up, but the game is generally very, very hard. It has rules for keeping score, but we only played to win or lose. It's easy to lose, as there's only one duplicate of each card (and no duplicate 5's), and we lost 9 times. We pulled the 10th one off, though. I would not play this game with just anyone as a weaker link will not enjoy it, but I love how you are trying to say as much as you can with the limited resources available. In this sense, it feels very much like bidding in Bridge, which I also love. In fact, we started forming a few informal conventions as we play, which aided our play.

In Notre Dame, I had 6 cubes in the Hospital for the first time ever. =P We were playing with the expansion, and the Hotel guy was in the game. That, coupled with being able to double my popemobile message "x4" tokens (of which I had all three) aided a comfortable victory here.

I finally got to try Havana, with some players who were gracious in trying to figure out the game while playing through the rules. It ended up being pretty straightforward, and mildly interesting. It's an okay game, but it doesn't have a wow factor to it. It plays quickly, at least.
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8. Board Game: Blue Moon [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:1014]
Christopher M
United States
Goleta
California
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Plays

.10! The Resistance x 9
_8_ Sleuth (new!)
_8_ Sentinels of the Multiverse
_8_ Magic: The Gathering
_7_ Eminent Domain x 3 (new!)
_7_ Dungeon Lords
_7_ Betrayal at House on the Hill
_6_ Saboteur 2
_6_ Defenders of the Realm (new!)
_6_ Arimaa (new!)
_5_ Panic Station (new!)


Memories

This was my first time playing Sleuth. I liked it. It had all the elements that I like about Clue with none of the annoyances. Also, I always win Clue because I am good at recording all the information people share and I was surprised and pleased I did not automatically win Sleuth for this same reason. My only negative point is that the game took forever since we played with seven players.

Sentinels of the Multiverse is really growing on me. This game I played as Ra, the God of the Sun!! We fought against a mad scientist dude and beat him very easily (there were five of us). I kept saying the game was too easy and it kept annoying my friend. That just added to the fun. devil

I played Magic against Travis and he beat me pretty severely--he still had 20 life! Although if just one thing were different, after my crazy ultra-powerful Levitation came out, I think I may have been able to win. I find Magic such a fun game. I really dislike the CCG element of it and how high-priced the cards are. Making decks without rares is just not working for me.

Eminent Domain has been lots of fun. Actually, very surprised fun as most people compare it to Race for the Galaxy, which I do like but tire of quickly. I am very pleased the game followed through after such a long delay. In the game I played against my gf, I went full-on crazy science and some of those more advance science cards are so ridiculously powerful but it just adds to the fun. In the end though, the game still leaves a sour taste in my mouth due to the horrible moves by the publishers.

I finally played another game of Dungeon Lords. It is one of my good buddy's favourite games and the fun I had during our play prompted me to start playing my first non-Werewolf play-by-forum game. I'm playing that now as it is so confusing not seeing everything on the board but it is lots of fun too in a different sort of way.

Defenders of the Realm was an interesting game. I will need to give it another shot but I felt it fell way short of Pandemic, the game it tries to emulate so much. This is surprising to me since I much prefer the theme of Defenders of the Realm. It may have been we played something incorrectly or we just got lucky, but I felt like there was zero challenge in the entire game. It was so easy. None of that pressure you feel when you play Pandemic which is what I think makes the game. Also I really disliked the quests in Defenders of the Realm. I felt like they were a side distraction, overly powerful, or just an excuse for players to do something that does not directly contribute to the win. Overall, I did enjoy the game however.

I played Arimaa with Travis. He taught me the game and then proceeded to bash my skull in. I felt like the game was a slightly worse version of Chess--although I did like it. I do understand what the game is trying to be and like the idea behind the design--to make a game that is extremly difficult for computers to play. In the end though, I rather play Chess or Hive or something else. Maybe I will give it another shot if Travis insists, which I am sure he will

Panic Station was a little bit of a disappointing experience. I was the first infected and after using up the rest of my infection cards infecting just one other player, I felt as there was nothing else I could do (also the remaining non-infected players discovered me pretty early on). I like the idea of this game but the rules are a bit convoluted and the experience was just not fun for me. I have already promised my friend, the one who owns it, that I will try it again. Also, the designer, David, contacted me and suggested I try some other things during my next play. It shows he is really interested in both how the game does on BGG and how much people enjoy it. I really want to like this one.


Acquisitions

I recently bought the base Blue Moon game and have already played it twice in the last two days (will post plays next week). It seems like all the OOP games I buy end up getting reprinted shortly after... Game of Thrones, Nexus Ops... Good thing I did not buy Dragon's Gold.

I am now looking to buy all the Blue Moon people expansion decks (The Pillar and The Aqua seem a bit hard to find but I'm a completest) and crossing my finger that FFG does not reprint them too soon so I don't feel like a complete idiot spending so much money.
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9. Board Game: Nothing Gained But Glory [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:3260]
Chris
United States
Ronkonkoma
New York
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In what will be par for the course, for probably the next two weeks, no plays for me.

We DID have two baby showers last weekend, however; so my house now looks like a Babies R Us warehouse that just weathered a tornado.

My next GameDay is 11/12, with a GameNite 11/18 and another getogether (ideally) on 11/26; but it'll be slow-going for now.
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10. Board Game: Urban Sprawl [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:1436]
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Urban Sprawl x2
Quarriors x2
PitchCar
Acquire
Panic Station

Urban Sprawl: New acquisition, after waiting for a grueling week and a half for my preorder to arrive (stupidly slow UPS). I enjoyed the game, both the four- and two-player ones that I played, but I think it will be best with 3. It is a random game, but I like the tactics in it, how the game plays, and think that strategy will become apparent with more plays and learning the cards. I think comparisons to Dominant Species, although natural because it's a Chad Jensen game, are silly. I view them as very different games and like each for the different experiences they give. I ended up winning the 4-player game, but I can't say it was because I knew what I was doing or had some kind of amazing plan. I lost the 2-player game by about a hundred points (would have to check my logged play for the exact difference) for just getting screwed by multiple event cards.

Quarriors: I quite enjoy this game. It's light and relatively quick. Both plays were with four players. Upon its feeling that ends suddenly (at 12 points for four players), we set the end score at 20 (which is usually for two players) and it made for a much better experience. We didn't feel like we ended just as soon as we started, as was the case with going to 12 points. Three of us lost horribly to our fourth player in the first game, then it was a close second game which I ended up winning.

PitchCar: I came in second place, beaten by a 4-year-old. However, she was playing by easier rules so I choose to believe I came in first among the adults

Acquire: Always a good game to play. I came in last and the two players who had never played before came in first and second (my boyfriend was third). I tried to go the expensive hotel route and it ended up not working out. Merges happened late in the game too, so I spent quite a few turns being very broke.

Panic Station: Another new acquisition and preorder. I think this would play better with more than four players, but it was still fun and felt a bit like BSG-lite. I was the last (wo)man standing. It was obvious early on who was infected. Regardless, I lasted a couple of turns just by luck of parasites moving away from me and the infected players being eaten alive by the parasites that moved into their rooms. I finally died, due to being passed an infection that I couldn't negate.

(Edited for more session-y details. I didn't have a chance to give fuller thought to this when I posted it earlier.)
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Robin Levins
United States
Round Rock
TX
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Roll call! Who's going to be at BGG.Con this year?

Kristen and I will, and it will be our fourth time.
 
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12. Board Game: Navegador [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:193]
Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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Gaming last week was fairly light. I got to my FLGS Friday night and got to play Innovation. This is definitely a game that I can see appreciating more the more that I play it. It starts out feeling like a heavy version of Fluxx but I suspect with more plays it will actually feel like a more medium/medium-light game. We next played Lords of Vegas which had too much randomness for my tastes. We then finished up the evening with Navegador, a fun game with a lot of different paths to victory.

Sunday night, my friend Geoff and his friend Amy came over and along with Amanda and Ryan we tackled 5-player Puerto Rico. I felt that 5 player was too long for what the game is, and I suspect I will continue to consider 2-player to be the sweetest spot for it (although I like it just fine 3 player and I haven't played 4-player in a long time). Ryan then went to bed and I talked Geoff and Amy into a quick game of Gipsy King. An excellent game that Amanda edged out a win for.

Bookended between those two days were two games with my kids, Diamant, a push your luck game that my son loves (and that he won for I think the first time) and Techno Witches, a game where you plan and execute flight paths for your witches on brooms. The kids really enjoyed this (after having me stop a game of Ingenious half way through) and my daughter has already asked to play it again. She's only 5 and she did really well at it.

In addition, I managed to play a 2-player game of Egizia on Sunday and a 2-player game of Belfort during the week. All-in-all not a bad week of gaming.

I've been laid up all week with a fever so I'm not sure if I'm going to get to go gaming this weekend, but there is a local Con Friday and Saturday that I'm hoping to get to. crossing my fingers.
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13. Board Game: Roads & Boats [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:323]
Mc Jarvis
United States
Arlington
Virginia
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Does anyone else feel like they own too many games?

I don't mean like "Oh, I shouldn't have spent this much on games" kind of feelings. I mean like "OMG I HAVE SO MUCH FUN IN MY CLOSET AND I WANT TO PLAY IT ALL NOWMASMSFJDSAFDSAFS." type freakout moments.

I current want to play all the following games in the next six seconds:

Roads & Boats
Antiquity
Dominion
Steam (Expansion #1)
Paris Connection
Puerto Rico
Merchants and Marauders
Vegas Showdown
Yomi
Risk (Revised)
Imperial 2030
Navegador
Tammany Hall
Indonesia
Factory Fun
Metropolis
Descent
Chicago Express
Planet Steam
Caylus
Letters from Whitechapel


And these are just the games I can see from my computer desk currently. I am sure there are games buried under papers (I see Pit hiding under some graphs from work) or out in my car. I have too much fun and not nearly enough time.

Woe is me. Woe is me.
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14. Board Game: Shipyard [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:486]
Rishi A.
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Alexandria
Virginia
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Plays last week:

Shipyard
Animal Upon Animal
Shear Panic

Probably some RPGs - I have a blog over on RPGGeek now. So that's probably a better place to hear about what I'm playing over on that side.

Gaming Meerkat

Comments:

Shipyard: Most of what I remember from this game is people shouting, "We're on a boat!" every couple turns. In any case, it's a good game. It has like six different rondels which is a bit ridiculous...

Animal Upon Animal: Am I the only one who giggles a little whenever he sees that name?

Shear Panic: This is a great abstract with the most adorable sheep figurines in the world. I wouldn't play it with people who really like abstracts though... it's got a little too much randomness to REALLY be an abstract and it's really easy to overthink it.
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