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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 28 Nov 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Turkey... Football... Board Games... Is there any reason *not* to celebrate?

Blood Bowl
Perhaps the most-anticipated Black Friday release was this new edition of the all-time classic game of football set in the Warhammer universe. If Games Workshop isn't printing money by the boatload with this one, they are really screwing up a golden opportunity. I got in two games today, teaching new players and refreshing veterans. Each was just played for one half, but it was great getting back into this one again. Time to dig out my old Norse team!

Quadropolis
This one has yet to run out of new strategies to try. In our three-player game, I tried out an industry-heavy idea and managed to put it together well enough to score 52VP and take the win.

Mystic Vale
Another game that never runs out of things to try. We had three games today, one with four players and two with three. I tried to be more focused on a particular goals in each game and ended up winning two of the three games played. The new expansion added a lot of new possibilities.

7 Wonders Duel
The new Pantheon expansion keeps proving to be better and better the more games we play. Just one today, but I took the win with 65VP after going very heavy into getting blue cards.


Other games played today included: Dice Masters...
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Tue Nov 29, 2016 5:23 am
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AAR for 21 Nov 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Slow day today, but with all the new goodies coming out for Black Friday, next week should be gangbusters!

Trains: Rising Sun
Got a new player into this excellent deck-builder. We played on the Kyushu map and my opponent got too far up on me with Stations. I came back late with some VP, but ended up taking a 6-point loss.

Power Grid
One of our regulars got a new copy of this one and we had a four-player game on the good old USA map. We ended up shutting out the Eastern seaboard regions and played what was a fairly expensive map. The game was won when I got into a bidding war for a power plant that would power seven houses. I ran it up and got out just as the other bidder raised it to $120. He drained himself out of any ability to buy resources and lost a full two turns recovering. This allowed me to pause for one turn to build up cash and then buy five houses in a final turn blitz to get to 17 and grab the win.


Other games played today included: Dice Masters...
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Tue Nov 22, 2016 5:28 am
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AAR for 14 Nov 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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I will *not* make any comments about the election.... maybe.

Mystic Vale
we started the gaming day with a 3-player round of this Card Crafting System game using the new expansion. I built some nice cards, but came up a turn or two short of getting them to really shine. Still a great game.

Evolution: Climate
This new Kickstarter arrival is a stand-alone expansion that adds the vagaries of climate change to the mix of trying to get your species to prosper. This one new addition really changes the way that parts of the game get played. We had a five-player game with several players who were new to the system. In the end, I squeaked out a 1-point win in a game that everybody enjoyed.

Quadropolis
This may be the hottest new game we've been playing. Four of us went at it today and it turned out to be a real nail-biter. The final score ended with the winner pulling out a 57-56 victory.

Castles of Burgundy
Four of us broke out this long-time favorite. I took one of the promo Monastery maps with the goal of finally completing the entire ring connecting everything. I managed to pull it off with my final die on my final turn. So, even though I was a distant 2nd place in the game, I achieved a long-desired goal, and that's what gaming is about.

7 Wonders Duel: Pantheon
The new expansion for the very popular base game adds a pantheon of deities from five different ancient religions. This throws some new wrinkles into the game strategy that lead to some tough choices as well as some creative play. I barely avoided losing by Military and managed to pull out the win.


Other games played today included: Dice Masters...
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Tue Nov 15, 2016 5:17 am
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AAR for 07 Nov 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Tuesday is Election Day. Wednesday may be a National Day of Mourning.

Ticket to Ride: Rails and Sails
The newest stand-alone version in the classic series. This one combines building sailing routes with train routes to connect far-flung Destinations on a map of the world (or of the Great Lakes, if you play the back side). Rail cards and Sail cards each have their own separate draw decks and you will need to manage both types of cards. Some of the cards also have anchor symbols on them, which are used to build Harbors in coastal cities that are endpoints of completed Destinations. These can provide a nice extra pile of VP. In our five-player game, those Harbors were highly sought after. I got a maximum-point one in Tokyo -- which was an endpoint of three separate Destination cards for me. This helped me squeak out a narrow 3VP win.

Quadropolis
A Days of Wonder game that was released earlier this year and just now found its way into my collection thanks to a 30%-off sale. This is a city-planning and resource management game with a nice mechanism for tile drafting that throws a lot of extra wrinkles into the thought process needed to maximize your VP. Our four-player game trying this one on for size led to a very close final result and all players really enjoyed it. There's also an Expert version in the rules if the Classic version isn't enough of a challenge.

Pandemic: The Cure
We had three games of this one tonight and each had three players with one new player. I had the Contingency Planner in one game and the Medic in two others. Unfortunately, all three games ended with similar "Close but no cigar" results. This was largely due to our pathetic inability to make successful Cure rolls -- even when rolling 5+ dice.


Other games played today included: Dice Masters...
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Tue Nov 8, 2016 4:59 am
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AAR for 31 Oct 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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One goal reached for this year in gaming -- 500 games played! Now, to try to reach the second goal of playing 100 different games at least once. I'm currently at 92.

SeaFall
We are now up to a full five-players for the campaign. Today, we got the final two players through the Prologue to learn the rules and the game backstory. We're now ready for weekly play in the campaign. I'm really looking forward to this one!

Mystic Vale
Playing with the new Vale of Magic expansion. No new rules. Just many new cards and combo possibilities. The biggest change I've seen in game play with the expansion is that you don't need to grab Guardian cards to put great combos together. We had a 4-player game that ended up very tight with only a few points covering all four of our final totals.

Pandemic: The Cure
Two games introducing new players to this dice-based version of the highly-rated boardgame classic. First game was with two players. I drew the Containment Specialist and we managed to hold on for the win after being in great shape early on, but getting blitzed near the end. In the second game, we had three players and I took the Medic. In this one, we got steadily hammered, but managed to get close at the end as we needed only one more Cure before the Outbreaks got us.

Betrayal at House on the Hill
My first time playing this one in a while and the first time out for the new expansion. As usual, my character ended up being the traitor. This time, I was an evil doctor who shrank all of the characters to tiny size and then tried to get his cat to eat them all before they escaped in a toy airplane. I had them all cornered and covered but failed on four consecutive attempts to knock down the plane and attack the heroes. So, they got away. Curses!


Other games played today included: Dice Masters...
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Tue Nov 1, 2016 3:50 am
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AAR for 24 Oct 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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World Series is up! Why don't the other sports just take a 10-day vacation?

Mystic Vale
Got my replacement plastic cards from AEG (Thank You!) and also the new expansion, Vale of Magic, and brought them both to the table today. Two games with the new goodness, one with two players and one with three. First game, I took a terrible drubbing as my opponent was able to buy a ton of Vale cards. Second game was much closer and actually ended in the first tie score that I've seen. The new expansion doesn't add any new rules, but adds more variety of cards to an already excellent and popular game.

7 Wonders Duel
Today was a day for two-player games, as it turned out. What better one to have than the rising star on BGG's rankings? Three games altogether today. In one, I got my first Instant Win via Science. The final game was a 1-pt squeaker defeat.

Castles of Burgundy
Another game that has steadily ascended the rankings and now sits in the Top 10. This one plays very fast and well with two players and it did again today. I hit a couple of big turns and ended up claiming a 201-140 win.


Other games played and demoed today included: Gorechosen, Dice Masters, and SeaFall...
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Tue Oct 25, 2016 4:38 am
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AAR for 17 Oct 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Playoff Baseball. That is all.

Valley of the Kings: Last Rites
This is the second stand-alone expansion for Valley of the Kings, a deck-builder based in Ancient Egypt where players are competing to create the most lavish tombs. Each turn, cards are acquired from a "pyramid" of six cards that will give the players increased gold, abilities, and victory points once they are entombed. The game has a lot of strategy for a simple set of rules, since the cards each have multiple uses, but can only be used for one thing each turn. The cards are organized into various sets of treasures and you get more VP for putting more unique cards from the same sets into your tomb. We had a four-player game that was won by one player who got six unique cards from one set into his tomb, thus scoring 36 points and outdoing everybody else.

Dragonwood
We keep getting new players into this one and everybody seems to enjoy it and want more of it. We had a tightly-contested four-player game where I ended up just short of the eventual winner's total after failing on my final capture attempt of the game.

Lords of Vegas
Five experienced players this time, so we added in the "Up!" expansion. This throws in the new wrinkle of allowing players to build their casinos vertically instead of just horizontally and adds a whole new layer of strategy to building. This leads to smaller casinos being able to better defend themselves against hostile takeovers. This kept scoring down a bit, but led to a much more strategic game. I didn't do well in this one, but the winner only just squeaked it out at the end.

King of New York
I got the new "Power Up!" expansion that adds Evolution cards to this sequel to the wildly-popular King of Tokyo, so we had to try it out. We had two games, one with five players and one more with four players. I played the new Mega Shark monster in both games and got trashed quickly both times. This game does play rather differently from King of Tokyo since it has several more things that players can do. I think it makes for a better game, but one that takes longer and has a bit more of a learning curve. Still a very worthy successor to the terrific original game.

Castles of Burgundy
Four player game with two new players. As usual, this game saw some wild swings in the scoring. At one point, I was about 40 points behind the leader and ended up blowing past him to grab a 225-197 win. The new players both greatly enjoyed the game. There's a reason this one has cracked the Top 10 on Boardgamegeek's rankings.


Other games played and demoed today included: Dice Masters and Seafall...
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Tue Oct 18, 2016 5:17 am
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AAR for 10 Oct 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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How did Columbus "discover" America when there were already people living here when he first landed?

Castles of Burgundy
Three-player game that turned out to be a very wild and close game. We all had huge scoring turns and ended up over the 200-point mark. Final scoring determined the winner, with the final bonus tile giving him the narrowest of 2-pt victories. Excellent!

King of Tokyo
Five of us got involved in this one. I took "The King" and ended up joining three other players suffering a massive beatdown on the same turn and getting KO'd.

Star Trek: Ascendancy
Been waiting a couple of weeks to get the three people necessary to play this one to get together at the same time. The wait was worth it, however, as the game lived up to the hype. I took the Klingons and got behind early on lack of Production nodes. The Federation discovered a few juicy planets nearby and emerged as the early leader. This lead me to make a Trade Agreement with the Romulans and eventually team up to go for the military beatdown of the Feds. A few big battles later and the Federation was reeling, but they managed to discover one last Phenomenon that gave them the one remaining Culture token necessary to score an Ascendancy victory. This is an excellent mix of resource management and exploration with military maneuvering. When the Cardassian and Ferengi expansions hit the street, this game will really become an epic!


Other games played and demoed today included: Lords of Waterdeep, Lords of Vegas, Firefly, Dice Masters, Quartermaster General: Victory or Death, and Cry Havoc...
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Tue Oct 11, 2016 5:29 am
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AAR for 03 Oct 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Sorry, all other team sports. It's Baseball Playoff Time. Y'all need to take a back seat for the next few weeks.

Baseball Highlights: 2045
We got rolling (or, at least, shuffling and playing) with this favorite two-player deck-builder. This one turned out a bit unusual as we had a lot of high-priced Free Agents show up and that caused both of us to not be able to buy anything after several games. As such, the games tended to be very defensive-oriented, low-run nail-biters. I won the mini-series, 2-1. Then, a back-and-forth World Series ran to a 3-3 tie and into the decisive Game Seven. I managed to get a "Home Run" card through late in the game for the final margin of victory.

Cribbage
More people are continuing to be intrigued by this classic card game and want me to teach them how to play. I avoided getting Skunked by getting a monster hand as the Dealer, but ended up just two points short at the end.

Tiny Epic Western
This is one series that I've never played and I've been looking forward to a chance to see what it is all about. You play one of several classic Old West characters and try to win by building and exploiting properties -- along with the occasional duel against an opponent. We got in two games today, one with four players and one more with three. The first game was a lot of getting used to the system and the strategies, but showed that there was a very good game in that small box. In our second game, we played much more quickly and efficiently. I was able to pull out a 26-21 win even after failing twice on the final turn trying to take advantage of my character's special Dueling ability.

Dragonwood
Three player game this time. Everything went right for me in this one and I breezed to a win with 33 VP.


Other games played today included: Dice Masters...
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Tue Oct 4, 2016 5:29 am
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AAR for 26 Sep 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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R.I.P., Arnold Palmer...

Archaeology
Got the gaming day warmed up with a four-player game. This one was pretty close the whole way and I fell only two points short of the eventual winner. Much better than I often do in this one... :-)

El Grande
We finally got our long-awaited five-player battle of this classic area control game -- and what a great game it turned out to be. The tide ebbed and flowed for several players and when the last set of Action cards for Round 9 turned out to not be very good ones, it made that crucial final round all the more interesting. I easily made it past 100 points, but fell four points short of the overall victory.

Lords of Vegas
Speaking of great five-player games, we had another one here. One player got out to a big lead and we didn't quite have enough time to whittle him down. I managed to wrest control of a nine-tile casino from him, but it didn't score enough points before the "Game Over" card came up.

Munchkin Marvel
In my mind, this is the only version of Munchkin that I enjoy playing. This is primarily because it isn't quite as over-the-top silly as the others and has a good thematic feel to it. We had five players for this one. I got a few nice cards early and was sitting as high as 24 strength, but could never draw any monsters any higher than Level 2, so I couldn't get the big pile of Treasures necessary to challenge for the win.

Cribbage
Nice to see this old classic card game picking up some new players. I won a couple of games teaching a new player how it goes, but he enjoyed the game quite a lot. There's a reason that I've been an avid player for several decades.

Ogre: Objective 218
Another two-player game with a new player. We had three games altogether, with me winning two of them. I'm experimenting with new tactics for the Ogre card and having some interesting results.

Baseball Highlights: 2045
Two-player game with a new player that turned out to be a terrific battle by the end. I went down 3-1 in the World Series and fought back to tie it up at 3-3. The decisive final game went down to the Home team's final card with the score tied at 2-2. Unfortunately, as the Visiting team for the game, I had to play a card that would have stopped the Home team had it been the final defensive play. As it turned out, however, I needed to cancel two hits to win and could only manage one.

Legendary Encounters: Firefly
Full five-player game featuring Episodes 9 (Ariel), 10 (War Stories), and 11 (Trash). Our first attempt ended in our getting rather decisively mangled, but the second try produced more success. We had to fight desperately and keep healing main characters that kept getting knocked out. At one point, we were down to only one active character, who managed to win the second Episode by defeating Niska. But, as it turned out, we couldn't achieve the final Objective in the final Episode as we were unable to beat Yolanda. Very tough going, but great fun.


Other games played today included: Dice Masters...
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Tue Sep 27, 2016 5:25 am
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