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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 23 May 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Today was pretty much all about Dice Masters and teaching new people to play along with getting them into a Rainbow Draft event. Turned out to be one of the best ones we've yet had!

Castles of Burgundy
We had a two-player game to get the day started before the Dice Masters stuff got going. It was a nip-and-tuck game all the way to the finish where I ended up getting nosed out on the final count of bonus tiles.

Dice Masters
I spent the rest of the afternoon up until tournament time teaching new players how to play this wildly-popular game. The Rainbow Draft event used the new Civil War expansion set and was much anticipated. I managed to acquire a reasonable team led by Punisher and Iron Fist and ended up with a 2nd-place finish. This is a great new set and will see a lot of play.
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Tue May 24, 2016 5:47 am
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AAR for 16 May 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Summer is approaching. That means big cons and great new games. Keep your eyes peeled!

Castles of Mad King Ludwig
More old favorites brought back out for new players to enjoy. We had a three-player game using the "Secrets of MKL" expansion, but leaving out the Swans mechanism. The game played very well with this setup and led to a huge race to grab key tiles for bonus points. We scored so big that, for the first time, the winner went past the 150 VP end of the scoring track.

Favor of the Pharaoh
Two-player game that saw big swings of fortune back and forth. I rolled ten fives to get the Queen, was beaten by ten sixes, and came back to roll eleven fives to take the win! Wild finish with lots of Scarab tokens and other dice manipulation.

Nations: The Dice Game
Brought this one back out for more action with new players. I played Greece and was ahead for most of the game until an opponent scored an eight-point Wonder to pull ahead for good and win, 30-24.

Android: Mainframe
The hottest new game on the table. Three of us tried out our hacking skills and we had a pretty good battle that was eventually decided by one player pulling out a Unique program that allowed him to complete a secure zone worth eight points. That, by itself, beat the full-game totals of seven points by the other two players.

Dice Masters
There was a constructed event tonight featuring the new Civil War set. I didn't play, but I played a few friendlies after the tournament to help a new player get into the game.


Other games played today included: Viticulture and Legendary...
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Tue May 17, 2016 5:48 am
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AAR for 09 May 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Tabletop Day.... Comic Book Day.... Boardgame Day! Shouldn't you be getting in on the fun?

Baseball Highlights: 2045
Had a crack at one of my favorite solitaire games while waiting for other gamers to arrive. I took a beatdown in the mini-series and won only one game -- and that one required *two* extra innings rounds. But, things turned around quickly in the World Series, as I rampaged away to a 4-0 sweep.

Android: Mainframe
Two-player game getting another new player into this hot new favorite. I managed to pull off one huge play for a 12-point zone that led to an eventual 20-11 win. I learn new tricks every time I play this one.

Favor of the Pharaoh
Another two-player game with a new player learning the ropes of this newly-awarded Mensa Select strategy dice-chucker. We battled back-and-forth pretty evenly until I was able to roll eight 6s to grab the Queen. I also played a red tile that cost my opponent two dice for his attempt to beat me. With that play, he was reduced to only eight total dice and had no chance to win.

Twilight Struggle
My opponent and I had planned to play this one some weeks ago, but weren't able to do so. Fortunately, we got our game in tonight. The recent release of the Steam version of this game for PC has been a favorite for both of us, but nothing compares to facing off over the actual game board. I took the USSR this time. I got behind early, but was able to make a big score in Asia and the Middle East to get back into the lead. The battle raged back and forth for a few turns as Europe threatened to be Controlled by the US, which would have been an automatic victory. Fortunately, I was able to hold on by the skin of my teeth. Then, on Turn 8, I dropped a Central America scoring card and scored 11 points for having Control and all Battleground countries. That put me to 19VP and the US was eventually forced to play a card that gave me the final VP needed to secure the win. As always, an exciting and tense game. This game was BGG's #1 game for several years and there's little doubt as to why this was the case.

Firefly Fluxx
We went to a considerably lighter game after that great round of Twilight Struggle. Three of us headed out to the 'Verse. A "Play All" card led to chaos, as one might expect. This included the last card from one player's hand taking the entire hand of the player to his left. That hand contained the final Keeper needed to achieve the active Goal and win the game.


Other games played today included: Dice Masters....
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Tue May 10, 2016 5:19 am
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AAR for 02 May 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Great time during International Tabletop Day this past Saturday!

Castles of Burgundy
Two-player game with another experienced player got things going today. We both went out to big leads at one point and kept hauling each other down until we were only one point apart going into final scoring. I got nosed out on bonus chits and ended up going down, 197-206, in an excellent game.

Android: Mainframe
The latest in a series of games based in Fantasy Flight's Android universe. The centerpiece, of course, is Netrunner. This new game represents one "run" against a compromised banking system with 2-4 runners trying to grab as much as they can in the time they have available. Each player plays one of the runners from the Netrunner factions and tries to run both generic and unique programs to place partitions enclosing their own access points in order to score. Available points are few and far between so there's plenty of player interaction and screwage going on. The game plays easily in 30 minutes and keeps you thinking all the way. I took Andromeda in our 3-player game and did rather poorly, as I finished with only 7 points. 11 points was the winning total.

Peloponnes
Three-player game getting yet another new player into this one. As so often seems to happen, we must have taught the new player too well as he went off and stomped a mudhole in us with a great final score of 27.

Favor of the Pharaoh
Three-player game of this one, which recently earned a Mensa Select award. I grabbed the Queen first with seven 3s, only to watch that get beaten by seven 4s. But, on my final turn, I was able to hit seven 5s and pull out the win. "MVP" was the Entertainer tile that let me flip dice to their opposite sides and gained me three extra 5s by flipping over three 2s.

Dice Masters
We had a Rainbow Draft event using the Uncanny X-Men set. I ended up going 4-0 to take the top honors with an army that featured Toad "Tongue Lashing", which forces all the opponent's non-Sidekick characters to attack every turn and, on the burst side, inflicts two damage to them when they attack. This kept my opponents from building up any significant force and allowed me to build strength until I could deliver a hammer blow.

Baseball Highlights: 2045
We finished the gaming day with a two-player game of this favorite of mine. I took New York vs Boston and won the mini-series, 2-1 to gain home field advantage for the best-of-7 World Series. We each were able to purchase a high number of Free Agents, so our teams were pretty strong by the end. This led to some tough battles for most of the World Series games. When the final inning had been played, I managed to take a 4-2 win.


Other games played today included: Firefly Fluxx and Firefly: The Game...
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Tue May 3, 2016 6:03 am
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AAR for 25 Apr 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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This coming Saturday is International Tabletop Day! Get in on the fun!

Legendary
The new Captain America 75th Anniversary Expansion hit the table today and one of our most-played games gets another nice addition. This one combines Captain America and friends from both 1941 and 2016 with a "Man Out of Time" keyword to allow double uses of certain cards. Two new Masterminds are Zemo and Arnim Zola. Two new Villain Groups and four new Schemes round out the 100-card set. So, three veteran players sat down to try out the new goodness and we had four games in total. Game #1 was vs Zemo and the Unbreakable Enigma Code scheme. Unfortunately, we lost this one right on the cusp of victory as the final Scheme Twist was drawn before that player could make the winning attack against Zemo. Game #2 was a replay of our loss and, this time, we did much better and took the Baron down. Game #3 brought in Zola and the Change the Outcome of WWII scheme. This one required a bit of learning how to deal with Zola's "Ultimate Abomination" ability, but we figured it out in time to win. Game #4 was against Zola and the Brainwash the Military scheme. The Maria Hill cards in the Villain deck eventually got to 9 Strength, but we didn't have any problems keeping them from Escaping the city and we pretty much walked away with an easy win. Good new set with a couple of fun new abilities for the Heroes.

Star Realms
Played the new Colony Wars stand-alone expansion with a new player. As usual, I taught him too well and he thrashed me rather soundly. This new set is a nice improvement in an already-great game.

Viticulture
We had two separate 2-player games during the day trying out the new Moor Visitors expansion that adds a new set of Summer and Winter Visitor cards to the game. Many of these cards have some strong abilities on them and throw a few new wrinkles into the game. In the first game, we had a wild race to 20 points that I just barely lost. The second game was a bit slower, but I put together a nice combo of VP scoring cards and pulled away strongly in the final turn to take a fairly easy win.

Firefly Fluxx
The latest in the numerous variations of Fluxx. For our group, of course, the theme is enough to spring for a copy of the game. Two of us tried it out and we got in four games in total. As usual in all versions of Fluxx, some games were over inside of five minutes and some took almost the entire deck to complete. Several nice combos and inspired play brought the wins. I won 3-of-4 games and pulled out a couple of them with last-turn gambles that paid off.


Other games played today included: Dice Masters...
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Tue Apr 26, 2016 5:49 am
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AAR for 18 Apr 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Income Tax Deadline Day... Shall we all observe a moment of silence?

Fire & Axe
Three of us sailed out of Scandinavia to trade, raid, and plunder all over Europe for fun, profit, and VPs. I tried a strategy focused more on Settlements and was doing OK until I hit a stretch where I managed to fail *four* consecutive Settlement rolls that all need only 2+ to pass. Four consecutive "ones", I rolled. Oh, well... I ended up with a nice total of 174 VPs, but that was only good for 2nd place.

Munchkin Marvel
USAopoly licensed the Munchkin system from Steve Jackson Games to make this version. It's more of a superhero game than a goofy fantasy adventure game, but it still uses the Munchkin mechanics along with its own thematic twists, such as Powers and Affiliations. The game has a good feel to it and doesn't turn into the farce that many "regular" Munchkin games devolve into. Two more expansions are planned for this one and they look like they'll need to be picked up. Three of us played and one player ran off and could not be stopped by any means or schemes.

Dice Masters
We had a "DC-only" tournament tonight that was a four-game round-robin event. I put together a team based around Superman from the new World's Finest set and ended up with a nice 3-1 record. It was a strong defensive team whose focus was to set up the discounts available to buy and field the strong Superman dice. Worked pretty well, but could use a bit more tweaking.


Other games played today included: Firefly Fluxx...
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Tue Apr 19, 2016 4:22 am
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AAR for 11 Apr 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Got home on Sunday just in time to see Jordan Spieth's first shot into the water on 12. Then, he did it *again*. Must be *my* fault... ;-P

Star Wars: Rebellion
Jumped right into the heavy stuff today. My first time playing the Imperials and they are quite a change from playing the Rebel side. I decided a strategy of a three-sided advance to try to locate the Rebel base quickly, but, as luck would have it, it ended up being in the 32nd of 32 possible places that I could look for it. So, the game came down to a win-or-lose ground battle on Ilum and that battle came down to a single roll between my AT-ST and a Rebel Speeder that each had one hit on them. I missed. The Speeder did not. Game over. Big fun, though!

Roll for the Galaxy
Still out in space, but much calmer situation this time. Three of us vied to build the best space empire in the shortest time. I scored a couple of big planets and VP totals late in the game and ended up taking the win with 40 VPs in a close game.

Fire & Axe
This is the reprint edition of an old favorite of mine. Players outfits longboats with crew and goods and sail around the European coast engaging in trading, raiding, and settling for fun and VPs. Rune cards let players mess up the plans of their opponents and Saga cards provide the immediate goals and targets of opportunity for voyages. We had a three-player game and I finished 2nd, but still took a pretty brutal drubbing in the final VP totals. With a full five players, this game gets really fun as there is nowhere near enough stuff to go around and the conniving and backstabbing reaches epic proportions.

Star Realms
Got another new player into this great 2-player deck-builder. We played two games using the new Colony Wars stand-alone expansion. I was able to win both games, but they were each pretty hairy towards the end. The increased speed of the new expansion really lets you get into the serious action more quickly.


Other games played today included: Dice Masters...
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Tue Apr 12, 2016 4:56 am
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AAR for 04 Apr 2106

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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WrestleMania last night and the Masters here in Augusta the rest of this week. Nice!

Imperial Settlers
Got a chance to try this one for the first time and see what all the buzz is about. Players represent various civilizations/tribes and try to chain and combo building projects and other actions for fun and victory points while exploiting the unique abilities of each side. We had a two-player game to test this one out. I played the Barbarians against the Japanese. One of my strengths was a robust supply of workers and I was able to take good advantage of that. By turn 3 in the five-turn game, I was able to construct a combolicious series of buildings that racked up VP in bunches and made the result a bit of a foregone conclusion. Neither of us attacked the other and that may have changed the outcome somewhat. Looks like there are many strategies available here, but one will prosper by putting together chains of actions to outdo the opposition.

Mission: Red Planet
Been a while since this one hit the table. We had two games today, one with four players and one with three. In the four-player game, I was unable to put anything together and got drubbed even though I had the 2nd-best VP total in the end. In the three-player game, things went *very* much better and I ran off and hid with a massive 70VP final score.

Star Wars: Rebellion
Some of the biggest hype since Blood Rage has been for this new release, so it was great to see it finally come in and hit the table. This is an expansive, galaxy-wide, epic game where the Imperial forces are trying to locate the hidden Rebel base among 32 possible star systems while the Rebels are trying to earn enough Reputation points to shorten the game and outlast the ever-growing power of the Empire. Both sides compete to gain Loyalty or subjection over systems in order to gain their resources and build new units. Players can also recruit new Leaders from a large pool of classic Star Wars characters. Each turn, both sides try to complete various Missions, move their forces, and engage in combats using the multi-purpose Leaders. Planning is essential. The Rebels also have to be good at bluffing so as to keep the location of the Rebel base hidden for as long as possible. In our game, I took the Rebels and had the Empire's forces successfully bottled up for a few turns until he managed to surround the location of my hidden base. I needed one more turn to score another Objective card and end the game on time, but the base fell after a massive and brutal combat sequence. This game is *HUGE* fun and is very tense during game play. Fantasy Flight should have a big winner with this one!

Dice Masters
Taught a couple of new people how to play Dice Masters and they have bought in and may be joining our tournaments in the future.


Other games played today included: Terror in Meeplecity and Viticulture...
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Tue Apr 5, 2016 6:07 am
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AAR for 28 Mar 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Turnout was pretty light today. I can't imagine people were hung over after Easter... :-)

Quartermaster General
This is a 2-6 player game billed as "World War 2 in an evening". The actual battles are rather abstracted. Your job is to play cards to produce armies and navies, maneuver them on the board, and set up situations and combos to improve your position. There are three Axis sides (Germany, Italy, Japan) and three Allied sides (US, UK, and Soviet Union), so with two players, I took the Axis. Some similarities to Axis and Allies, but nowhere near as involved. But, the simple play belies the strategies involved and the trouble you can get yourself into with careless play. Our game raged back-and-forth for the entire 20 turns, with each of us putting the other into difficulties at various times. My Axis forces had a slight lead when the US managed to gain a supply base in China and I was unable to remove them. The extra points they were earning each turn accumulated until they provided the eventual margin of Allied victory. I also got my Italians stuck in a situation where they couldn't play any of their cards for any advantage. In the end, it was 231-219 for the Allies, but I thoroughly enjoyed the game.

Xenoshyft: Onslaught
Two of us teamed up to try to hold off the Hive horde. We had a bad 1st turn, losing 10 of our 30 base points, but we came back strong over the next several turns and were looking pretty good at the beginning of Wave 3. Unfortunately, I got my two best troops burned in Round 7 and that left me unable to hold my own in Round 8, where we took enough damage to be reduced to 0 and lose the game. One of these days, we may actually survive nine rounds and win this game.


Other games played today included: Dice Masters...
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Tue Mar 29, 2016 6:09 am
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AAR for 21 Mar 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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The first day of Spring is 20 degrees cooler than the last day of winter? Really?

Star Realms
Introduced another new player to the Colony Wars expansion and, as normal, I taught the game too well and got stomped.

Quarriors
The predecessor to Dice Masters hits the table one more time. I picked up two Dragons fairly early, but could not seem to ever roll them. Still, the game came down to whether or not I was going to get one more turn for the win -- and I did not get it.

Abyss
The game of choice for a birthday girl in the group today. I didn't think I was doing very well, but somehow I seem to have counted my in-progress VP total wrong and surprised myself by taking a strong 2nd place finish.

Dice Masters tournament
This was a Rainbow Draft event using the new World's Finest set that features Team Batman vs Team Superman with enough Villains thrown in to keep it interesting. In the draft, I managed to grab 19 Team Batman cards out of my 24 picks, so I was able to put together a half-decent team. I ended up losing a close final-round match to finish in 2nd place overall.

Automobiles
We had a three-player game on the Daytona Beach track to close out the gaming day. It was pretty close right up to the final drive for the finish line, but I came up just short and settled for 2nd.


Other games played today included: Elysium...
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Tue Mar 22, 2016 4:58 am
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