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ABX Boardgamers' Group (What we're playing)

A weekly AAR for what we've been playing at our weekly Boardgame Day at Augusta Book Exchange in Augusta, GA. http://comics-n-games.com/backlot/

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AAR for 19 Sep 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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NFL is starting. Summer is ending. Board games just continue all year!

Cribbage
One of our group members had heard of this classic two-player card game, but had never played it. So, I grabbed the nice board that I had acquired for about $3 at Goodwill and taught him how to play. We had two games altogether and even though I won both games, they were thoroughly enjoyable for the new players. It's been a while since I've played against a live opponent instead of against a computer.

Lords of Vegas
Four-player game with all experienced players, so we knew the conniving would be at a nice high level. And, so it went with tricks a-plenty and lots of great play on all sides. I had to settle for 2nd place even with a nice 32 point final total.

Archaeology
Another old favorite that I ran across a couple of days ago while looking for something else. So, I brought it back and it was an instant hit -- as I knew it would be. We had a total of four games with four players each. I did rather poorly in the first three games, but came back to finally put it together and win the final game of the evening.

El Grande
The King of area control games, even after 20 years. Four-player game and all the new players caught on quickly. In the end, I barely eked out a win thanks to a fortunate final Action card that scored me a few sorely-needed points.


Other games played today included: Dice Masters...
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Tue Sep 20, 2016 5:06 am
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AAR for 12 Sep 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Did everybody take some time to remember and relive the events of 15 years ago yesterday?

Lords of Vegas
We both opened and closed our gaming day with this resurgent favorite. Two games with a full complement of five players each made for a couple of great battles along the Strip. Although I didn't end up challenging for the win in either game, they were both great fun and we got a few new players into this one. Everybody who plays wants another shot at it!

Trains: Rising Sun
Another one brought back after too long away from the table. This was by request from a player who had never played it before. I spent much of the game trying to buy up victory points through charitable contributions cards, while taking available chances to grab VP from the board. It ended up giving me a one-point win with a final total of 31 VP.

Star Trek Panic
A very appropriate game to be playing during the 50th anniversary week of the debut of Star Trek on TV. I took Chekov this time in a three-player game that also featured McCoy and Sulu. This one had several wild swings back and forth between "safe" and "perilous" -- just like a good episode. In the end, we had four sections out of six destroyed and one more damaged, but we held on just long enough to complete the fifth Mission and eke out the win.

Baseball Highlights: 2045
Two-player game introducing a new player to this favorite of mine. He picked it up pretty quickly and we had a good battle. After I won the mini-series, 2 games to 1, we had a back-and-forth World Series until I grabbed the final two games for a 4-2 win.

Star Realms
My opponent paid me back for the loss in the previous game and put a royal beat-down on me in this one. His economy was good and I did a poor job of coordinating my purchases. This led to a steady wearing down of my hit points until the end came.

Dragonwood
This one saw play with different groups today. I got in one game, but ended up coming in a close second place in a rather low-scoring game. It only took 17 points to win this time, but 14 was all I could manage.


Other games played today included: Dice Masters...
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Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:05 am
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AAR for 05 Sep 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Star Trek debuted 50 years ago on 8 Sep 1966. Live Long and Prosper!

Legendary
Continuing to work through the Civil War expansion, we had two games today against Misty Knight and the Nitro The Supervillain Threatens Crowds scheme. We found out quickly that the Hercules ultimate card is a beast against that scheme. Our first game was two-player and the second had four players. Both ended up being comfortable victories powered by that nasty Hercules card, which got up over +20 Attack and Recruit in both games. Since Misty Knight has "Bribe", that made defeating her quite a bit easier. Now, if we can just figure out how to defeat the others Masterminds and Schemes.

Star Trek Panic
First time with four players for this one. I played Chekov and his ability to score an extra hit on one Phaser attack proved to be quite nice. We had only one scare early on, but a timely Comet wiped that out for us. After that, we pretty much breezed to a nice win.

Lords of Vegas
Four players with everybody having some experience, so it played very quickly and creatively. I managed to connive my way into getting a six-tile Purple casino on the Strip that paid off rather handsomely and earned me a 4-point win.

History of the World
One of my all-time favorites back to the table after too long away. Three of us managed our Empires through seven Epochs of play. Pretty close for the first few turns until I got a big block formed in China and India. From that point, I steadily pulled away to an easy win with a whopping 249 points.

Dragonwood
We finished the day getting a couple of new players into this popular card game. Two games, one with two and one with three players. I won the first with 36 points and then paid for it by suffering a long string of atrocious dice-rolling and ending up with only 10 points in the second game.


Other games played today included: Dice Masters, Zombicide, and Fluxx....
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Tue Sep 6, 2016 5:33 am
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AAR for 29 Aug 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Georgia Football getting ready to kick off another season. The Dawg Days are almost upon us!

Legendary
We continue to try out the new Civil War expansion. Four games in total today, two with two players and two more with three. We played the same Mastermind/Scheme combo in all four games -- Maria Hill and Dark Reign of HAMMER Officers. This combo would produce a flood of Maria Hill cards and made for some interesting strategies. In our first game, we lost on the last possible attack when I could only generate 8 Fight points while needing 13 to produce a final victory. Game two turned out to be not much of a contest and was a solid defeat. We switched out a couple of Heroes and added a third player for our next two games. Game three saw five of the seven Scheme Twists show up very early in the Villain deck and we got overrun. Game Four, however, we finally got our revenge and claimed an exciting victory with only one card remaining in the Villain deck.

Star Trek Panic
The newest variation in the Castle Panic series of games and this one has obvious tie-ins to the upcoming 50th Anniversary of the debut of the Original Series. This ones adds the ability for each player to control one of the seven main characters in the series. Players must also complete five Missions successfully while defending the Enterprise from the attacks of enemy ships. A nice 3D model of the Enterprise is the centerpiece of the game board. We had a two-player game today where I took Scotty and my teammate played Dr. McCoy. The game puts constant pressure on the players, but the cooperative nature of game play lets players arrive at good and creative solutions. It took us seven Missions to be able to complete five of them successfully and end up winning the game. Looking forward to playing this one with a full crew.

Lords of Vegas
Three players wheeled and dealed and did their best to foil their opponents' plans to dominate the casino business. A lot of interesting play went on as we got some big casinos early and that kept the cash flow going strong enough to promote a lot of remodel/reorganization shenanigans. In the end, the winner had a very nice total of 44 VP.

Heroes of the World
Three player game with a couple of new players for this old favorite. One player acquired the Wonder that permitted buying VP for one coin instead of two and put it to very good use, buying enough VP to produce the eventual margin of his victory. I came up on the short end of the final 67-59 tally.

Dragonwood
We closed out the day's gaming with two rounds of this Mensa Select game. First game with three players and second game had four. Both ended up being extremely close with the 3VP bonus for most Creatures being critical.


Other games played today included: Dice Masters and Ogre: Objective 218...
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Tue Aug 30, 2016 5:32 am
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AAR for 22 Aug 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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My 59th birthday today. Woo Hoo! *NOT* ;-P

Legendary
Three more attempts at tackling the very difficult Civil War expansion. We had four players for each of the three games today. First up, we took two tries at trying to defeat Ragnarok and the Predict Future Crime scheme. The first try saw us lose badly when we drew nothing but high-strength Villains and high-cost Heroes early on. Our second attempt went much better, but we ended up losing by being overwhelmed by new Villains due to a poorly-timed Scheme Twist with only four cards remaining in the Villain deck. So, we trudged onward and tried out Baron Zemo and the Reveal Heroes Secret Identities scheme. Here we figured out the right strategy to keep the Scheme from beating us, but it looked as though we might run out of time. Two cards remained in the Villain deck. If the last Scheme Twist was the next card, we would lose. Anything else and we had a chance to put the final whack on Zemo. We got lucky and did not draw the Scheme Twist and won the game literally at the last possible moment. Still a few more to go through. These new ones are all tough, but they're all loads of fun to play!

Mare Nostrum: Empires
Brought this one back for a new player. Three player game, where I took Rome against Greece and Carthage. Greece attacked me as I was trying to peacefull expand (*cough* *cough*) and that put us into a war where Carthage was quite happy to sit on the outside, egg us both on, and build up an overwhelming economy with no resistance. Finally put Greece into a bad position, but Carthage snuck off with the victory by achieving "Leader" status on all three tracks. Caesar demands a rematch!


Other games played today included: Dice Masters and Legendary Encounters: Firefly...
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Tue Aug 23, 2016 5:37 am
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AAR for 15 Aug 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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GenCon is over and the new releases are showing up. Great time for gaming!

Legendary Encounters: Firefly
Maybe the most-anticipated new release of the summer. Legendary Encounters travels out to the 'Verse and lets players assume the roles of the crew of Serenity. This couldn't help but be a major hit with our group. The game is organized as a three-part story, much like Alien and Predator before it, but each part is one episode of the TV series. All nine major characters are available, with the interesting twist that players choose five Avatars as Main Characters, with the unchosen four becoming the Crew and using their 14-card decks to construct the Crew Deck. Players' Avatars have Talent and Flaw abilities that are triggered when those cards are gained into their deck and played. A few other tweaks to give the right flavor to the storylines being played and you have a terrific game.

We played three games today, one each with two, three, and five players. First up, we went against the two-part pilot episode and Episode 2 "Train Job". We took Mal and Zoe as our player characters, with Book, Inara, and River as our NPC Mains. This one was, naturally, a feeling-out process for game play, but we made it almost to the end of the third and final episode before failing to complete the final Objective. In Game Two, we had three of us against Episodes 3, 4, and 5. Our player characters were Simon, Jayne, and River, with Zoe and Inara completing the Main characters. This time, however, we got stomped rather badly in Episode 4 and all of us got "Defeated" at once for an automatic loss. Undaunted, and now with five players, we tried again. It was Book, Inara, River, Wash, and Simon as Mains. This time we did *much* better and won the game after taking out both Grange Brothers in the final Episode.

The game has a great thematic feel to it and was thoroughly enjoyed by all of us. It's not easy to win, but good cooperation ended up getting us a victory. The game also has a Campaign mode where can take an initial crew and guide them through all five sets of three Episodes, with characters improving along the way. I can see that getting played.

Quartermaster General: Victory or Death
This is the Kickstarter follow-up to the the original WW2 game and is set in the Peloponnesian War featuring Athens (with Delian League) vs Sparta (with Corinth). The game features low piece density, simple unit types (Hoplites and Triremes) and unique deck of play cards for each of the four powers in the game. We had three players, so one took Athens/Delian, while I took Corinth and my teammate took Sparta. The rules are simple, but the strategies can be tight and deep due to the nature of the card play. Cards can be Prepared for us on following turns. Status cards can grant game-long powers. You Muster units, fight Battles, and play Events that can shake things up in unexpected ways. The game lasts for fifteen rounds with most VP determining the winner. VP are gained by owning cities and through certain Status cards. Our game was quite close through the third scoring round (after nine turns) until Athens ran out of cards and had to take VP penalties for not having cards in hand to play. That would help open up what would be a six-point win for the Oligarchs of Sparta/Corinth. Fun!
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Tue Aug 16, 2016 4:24 am
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AAR for 08 Aug 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Should boardgaming be in the Olympics? :-)

Baseball Highlights: 2045
Broke out one of my favorite games for solitaire play while waiting for other gamers to arrive at the store. I got stomped badly, 0-3, in the mini-series, but started to turn things around once the World Series got started. I ended up taking it 4 games to 1.

Quartermaster General: Victory or Death
This new Kickstarter game takes the original game from WW2 to the Peleponnesian War featuring Athens (with the Delian League) vs Sparta (with Corinth). In a very close and exciting game, Athens pulled out a slim victory. I hope this system continues to be successful and that it will eventually feature more historical situations.

Mystic Vale
Two more games of this very popular new title. I got stomped in one game and handed out a stomping in the other. Each game continues to show new strategies for building and playing your cards. If this system is used for future games, as is being promoted, there will be lots of good gaming ahead.

Dragonwood
Three of us battled for creatures. This game played out rather differently from many of the others previously played since nobody seemed to be able to draw good card combos and the Enchantment cards were few and far between. As such, there was a lot of card drawing and that, of course, sped up the game to its conclusion. I won it, but only scored 22 points.

Vikings
Three-player game with two new players. I got a Raiding strategy going early on due to my Heroes and was able to turn this into plenty of Spoils, which converted into plenty of VP. In the end, I took a close 68-62-58 win.

7 Wonders
A couple of new members to the group came in with their favorite game, so four of us played three rounds of this classic. I won the first game and came in a close 2nd in the other two. It's been too long since this one has been on the table in our group.


Other games played today included: Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu, Dice Masters, Dark Deeds, and On Her Majesty's Service...
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Tue Aug 9, 2016 5:36 am
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AAR for 01 August 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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"Dog days" of August? At ABX right now, it's the "Cat days" of August.

Ogre: Objective 218
We had a good crowd later in the day, but early on there were only two of us. So, we broke out this one and had a battle. I'm learning new tactics I can use with the new Ogre card in this game and exploited one of them to gain the win.

Mystic Vale
A new game from AEG that is said to be the first in a new line featuring a new mechanism they are calling the "Card Crafting System". It's a deck-building game, but you don't add or remove cards from your starting deck. You modify and improve those cards by purchasing and inserting clear plastic inserts containing resource symbols and text abilities into the card sleeves. The tarot-sized cards have a top, middle, and bottom position where card graphics can show through and build up to create strong combos. Players are wizards trying to repair the damage done by evil spirits to a formerly idyllic valley. The cards represent their efforts towards that goal. VP are gathered from a fixed pool and the game ends when the pool is empty. These combine with VP on the cards themselves and add up to determine the winner. I just picked up this game over the weekend and has proven to be extremely popular among all who have tried it. We had three different games today, one with three players and two more with four players each. The game plays very quickly and is quite easy to learn. I was able to win two of those games, but they were all very close. I'm looking forward to seeing where AEG is going to go with this series!

Vikings
A two-player game today that introduced a new player to this game of exploration and planning. I got a Hero combo that made my trips across the sea relative painless and that gave me better chances for a lot of exploration after making landfall. For a game with a lot of rules, it plays very smoothly and I've yet to see any new player struggle with it.

Baseball Highlights: 2045
Two of us who also enjoy playing the app version of this game sat down to try to lead our respective teams to the World Series title. This one featured several very good mini-games, with three of them going into extra innings and four others being won on the very last card. This included one thrilling 9-8 game where we had to play two sets of extra innings to decide it. In the end, we were tied at 3-3 in the World Series and I held home-field advantage for the final game. A hard-fought defensive game ensued. It was scoreless until we traded Homerun cards, but mine ended up being a grand slam and got me a 4-3 victory.


Other games played today included: Android: Mainframe, Betrayal at House on the Hill, and T.I.M.E. Stories...
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Tue Aug 2, 2016 5:33 am
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AAR for 25 Jul 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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One political convention fiasco down, one more to go....

Nexus Ops
This is one of those games that I have always wanted to play, but, for some reason, have never actually played or owned. So, I was very happy to finally get a chance to give this one a try. This is a sci-fi tactical combat game where players represent corporations trying to exploit the mineral resources of an extra-terrestrial planet. Each side has to enlist creatures to fight for its cause and the game is played out over a relatively small tile-based map with a monolith in the center that confers advantages to the player who controls it. You maneuver and fight to gain control of rubium mines and to fulfill secret objectives for VP. 12 VP wins the game they can be hard to come by -- until an opponent suddenly springs something on you. In our two-player game, I held a slight lead for most of the game until my opponent killed one of my Rubium Dragons and achieved a 3VP mission that put him up to the 12VP level for the win. Great game and one I'm looking forward to playing again.

Fire & Axe
After today's Dice Masters tournament, we got our Viking on and set out for some good old trade/raid/settle action. We had to cut the game off a little short due to running out of time, but everybody who was a new player had a great time with this one.


Other games played today included: Dice Masters and Eldritch Horror...
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Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:56 am
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AAR for 18 Jul 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Maybe we could help get rid of some of the world's problems by getting people off the streets and into the game stores... :-)

Dragonwood
We don't really need any "warming up" on these ridiculously hot days, but we kicked off the gaming day with a quick 2-player round of this current favorite. I got a lot of smaller creatures, my opponent got several bigger creatures, and the game went in my favor by one little point because of the +3VP bonus I got for having more creatures. Great game!

Rattle Battle: Grab the Loot
This is a pirate-themed game where players try to attain fame and fortune by defeating enemies in battle and building bigger and better ships and crews through a series of scenarios. It uses an interesting dice mechanic where each die represents a ship in the current battle. All dice are collected up and dropped (not rolled) into the center of the game box. Of course, they will scatter to and fro and where they end up relative to each other determines the necessary movements and cannon fire needed to wreak havoc on them. You get Loot from defeated and boarded ships and use them to acquire ship/crew upgrades and more VP. This one requires some turn-to-turn planning in order to maximize your abilities and that made it fun.

Heroes of the World
We got a full five-player game going here and that always makes for a great game. You have fewer turns to maneuver and gain points, so that makes each move more important and nerve-racking. Two of us broke away from the pack as the Modern Epoch started. I wasn't able to get a card to finish and score the Middle East, where I had a clear advantage, and that ended up relegating me to a 2nd place finish.

Vikings
This is a game based upon a TV series that I haven't watched, but I've heard some good things about. But, since I'm always a sucker for a Viking-themed game, and picked this one up for 1/2 price, it hit the table so we could see what it had. It's a game played over three years, with a Winter season where you provision your longboats followed by a Summer season, where you sail, explore, trade, raid, and plunder. You don't attack the other players directly, but you can do things to interfere with their plans. It's a bit of a sandbox-type game in the Summer season as there are many different ways you can go to earn the required VP to try to win the game. The planning needed in this one is absolutely critical. You can fulfill Quests from Seers, use Heroes from the show to bolster your abilities, and you always have to carefully manage both your available time and your resources to do everything you want. In our three-player game, I got a strong Raiding combo going with my Heroes and rode that to a nice win. I'm looking forward to a full five-player game to see how thinly things get stretched and how the resulting competition will increase.


Other games played today included: Dice Masters....
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Tue Jul 19, 2016 5:57 am
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