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 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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AAR for 11 Jul 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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All-Star Week in Major League Baseball!

Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis
A new tactical combat game set in the gladiatorial arena in the glory days of Rome. Players are free to select Attacks and Defenses from a deck of available cards that is customized to the particular type of gladiator being played. A draw deck resolves control, attack/defense success, and damage amounts and locations. Attempting to gain flank or rear positions vs the opponent can be very advantageous, as well. There are many stats possessed by each player, but the key ones are Stamina and Hit Points. Losing stamina reduces your other attributes and, of course, losing hit points gets you killed or forces you to appeal to the crowd for mercy. The tactical options each turn are very interesting and the resolution of each move is very dramatic. There is also a campaign mode in the game where you can start as a basic fighter and work your way up through the ranks to become the top gladiator in Rome and eventually gain your freedom -- the Rudis. Our game was a first playthrough and went rather smoothly. My Stamina ran down before my opponent's did, but I put enough damage on him to make him appeal for mercy. The crowd, however, were having none of it and he got his ticket to the afterlife.

Dice Masters
Tonight's tournament was an Elite constructed event contested under "Gauntlet" stipulations. Here you began the next match with whatever hit points you had remaining after the previous match. So, you could win but still be at a decided disadvantage in the next match. This led to many teams focusing heavily on defense and life gaining tactics. I decided to take a different approach and go straight for a Lantern Ring beatdown deck featuring lots of cheap Shield characters. The idea was to thrash the opponent before he could do much to me. Unfortunately, in both of my first two matches, my army stalled out right at the brink of victory and I actually managed to take 20-4 leads in both before managing to lose. I did come back to win the third and final match of the evening despite some more of my trademark spectacular dice-rolling ineptitude.

Splendor
Time for something rather less adversarial after the tournament. Three two-player games of this steady favorite and I was able to take them all.

Dragonwood
Two two-player games tonight. First time I've played with two players and the scoring was *much* higher. I won the first game, 37-34 on the strength of the +3VP bonus for having the most creatures captured. The second game saw a reversal of fortunes and I was beaten, 29-40.

Ogre: Objective 218
This is Steve Jackson's reimplementation of one of my all-time favorite two-player tactical combat card games, Battle for Hill 218. The game plays almost identically with its predecessor except for some minor changes necessary for the Ogre theme -- including the Ogre unit itself. For example, Cruise Missiles replace Air Strikes and Light GEV replace Paratroops, but they still work the same way and still produce the combo that I used to capture my opponent's base to win.
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Tue Jul 12, 2016 5:11 am
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AAR for 04 Jul 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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4th of July -- Independence Day, America!

Star Realms
I played in two best two-out-of-three game matches throughout the day. In the first match, I lost the first game, but came back to take the next two. The second match was just the opposite. After winning the first game, I snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by losing the next two. Waiting for the new Hero Realms Kickstarter to see the light of day!

El Grande
The King of area-control games comes back to the gaming table! This game is 20 years old, but is deservedly continuing to maintain a high ranking on BGG. The theme is trying to gain favor with the King of Spain in the 15th century. Players do this by controlling the nine different scoring regions on the map. We had a three-player game today, which I managed to win thanks in large part to a fortunate Action card that got me 12 victory points.

1775: Rebellion
What better day to play a game based on the War for American Independence than on the 4th of July? I took the Brits and we got embroiled in a tense game where I used naval power to invade the South while the Americans were trying to play with force of numbers in and around New York. As it turned out, I managed to capture three Southern colonies and hold them just long enough to drop my two Truce cards and eke out a 5-4 win.


Other games played today included: Dice Masters and Castles of Burgundy...
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Tue Jul 5, 2016 4:58 am
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AAR for 27 Jun 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Next week is the 4th of July. If you're travelling, be safe!

Dragonwood
Three-player game of this Mensa Select winner. I got a couple of nice Enchantment cards early, but was unable to draw well as the game progressed and couldn't take full advantage of them. My final score ended up being 19 points while the winner bagged 24.

Car Wars - The Card Game
Picked this one up during the most recent Barnes & Noble sale. This is a very simplified version of the classic Steve Jackson game where everybody has identical cars and plays Attack, Armor, and Special cards to try to breach the opponents' cars and take out the driver. Last car standing wins. We had a three-player game to try this one out. Plays pretty quickly and smoothly. The game can play six players and should get better the more players are available. I ended winning this one, but it got pretty hairy at the end.

Mare Nostrum: Empires
This one should be seeing plenty of table time in upcoming weeks. Four of us played this time and I took Rome. Not much combat between the players in this one as we all went for infrastructure improvements. I missed a chance to build the Pyramids and had to watch Egypt build her fifth Hero/Wonder in the next turn to take the game.

Dice Masters
Sealed booster tournament tonight. Your buy-in got you 12 boosters from any one set of your choosing. You built your army with what you got and we went to war against each other. I chose the new Civil War set and got an awful draw. I ended up only being able to field nine total dice with my eight-card army. I got stomped badly (and not unexpectedly) in the first three rounds before pulling out a win in Round Four after buying up my opponent's "Registration Act" action dice to use for myself.


Other games played today included: Star Fluxx...
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Tue Jun 28, 2016 4:58 am
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AAR for 20 Jun 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Summer is upon us -- as if we hadn't already noticed...

Star Realms
We had a couple of two-player games to get the day rolling. One turned out to be a long and epic battle that I managed to win after scrapping four of my ships and bases on the final turn for extra damage points. We tried a variation using poker chips instead of the Authority cards to keep track of damage.

Lords of Vegas
We had five players for this game, which I think is the best number and leads to the most intrigue on the board. That was certainly the case with this game as the scheming and plotting were hot and heavy for much of the game. I pulled off a conversion of a 4-tile casino to a color nobody else was using and managed to score it twice in the game's final turns to help put me in a tie for the overall VP lead. I won the tie-breaker by having the most cash on hand.

Mare Nostrum: Empires
Kickstarter delivers again! Just got in this highly-anticipated reprint that features a lot of stretch goals and add-on goodies. This is an empire-building game centered on the Mediterranean region around the time of the rise of the Roman Empire. Players need to expand their starting empires and build their infrastructure to become dominant on the Trade, Culture, and Military tracks. Other provinces need to be captured and other players need to be conquered. There is resource management, diplomacy, acquisition of Heroes and Wonders, etc. The game looks awesome when set up on the special *BIG* playmat and plays smoothly. We didn't have enough time to complete the game and nobody had a decisive lead. I miscounted my resources on one turn and cost myself a chance to win through being able to build the Pyramids. Everybody had a great time with this one and wants more!


Other games played today included: Dice Masters, Munchkin, Starcraft, and Dominant Species...
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Tue Jun 21, 2016 4:28 pm
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AAR for 13 Jun 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Strange to think that they were still playing hockey with temps well over 90 degrees outside...

Battle Merchants
In this game, players represent arms traders in a fantasy land wracked by war. Elves, Orcs, and Hobgoblins are engaged in a three-sided war and it's your job to make money by crafting, manufacturing, and selling different types of armaments to all sides. When each side has been supplied for a battle, the best weapons win. After four seasons of play, the trader with the biggest pile of cash wins. Three of us played and found the game to flow smoothly and sensibly. A close finish where I was successful in holding onto last place.

Dragonwood
This is a recent "Mensa Select" game that I found for a low price at Barnes & Noble, so it had to be mine. In this one, you are collecting sets of cards and using them to collect dice, which are rolled in an attempt to defeat Creatures and gain Enchantments. Highest VP total of Creatures at game end is the winner. We had three separate games today, each with three players. The game plays quite quickly but presents many opportunities for good strategy and "Press Your Luck" rolling. I was able to win two of our three games, but they were all closely-contested.

Android: Mainframe
Two three-player games and I managed to stink it up pretty good in both of them. Each game was won by one player managing to secure a high-value secure zone for himself and ride those points to the win.

Battle for Hill 218
One of my favorite old two-player card-based combat games that is supposed to be getting a reprint and upgrade in the near future. There were three games in all played today and I managed to exploit my favorite Air Strike + Special Forces combo to clear and occupy the enemy base and take the win in each game. One of them happened on my very last card play in a tight battle.

Star Realms
Three games today continuing to get new players into this one. I won all three, but the final two games were both very tight. In the last one, I only drew two Attack points in my final hand, but my opponent had only two Authority remaining, so I was fortunate to get the win -- especially since I was down to only five Authority myself!


Other games played today included: Munchkin, The Witcher, Warhammer Quest, Eldritch Horror, and Dice Masters...
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Tue Jun 14, 2016 5:26 am
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AAR for 06 Jun 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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72nd anniversary of Operation Neptune, or, as popularly-known, the "D-Day" invasion. One of the greatest days for the "Greatest Generation".

History of the World
One of my all-time favorites and I can't figure out how it has been away from the table for so long. Through seven Epochs, players guide various historical empires to conquest and glory. Simple mechanics, but deep strategy. We had a four-player game and it was very well-received. I ended up being the leader after each of the first five Epochs and, with the big boost provided by the Pre-eminence markers, we called the game at that point. Must play this one more often!

Mission: Red Planet
So, we went to Mars next. Four of us did our best to further our plans and disrupt the opponents' efforts. An unfortunate Discovery card ended up costing me 18 VP and put me far behind the eventual winner.

1775: Rebellion
Got a new player into this wonderful "Birth of America" series game about the American Revolution. I played the Americans and managed to almost lock up the North while the British had a strong grasp on the South. In Turn 6, I got my chance to claim the victory when the American Regulars went last and dropped the final Truce card, won a battle to gain control of New York, and end up with a 6-5 victory in a great game.

Heroes of the World
I think this is the first time I've played "History" and "Heroes" in the same day. Four of us plotted and planned and made our best plays to conquer the various areas of the board. In a close finish, I pulled out a win by playing a Wonder that destroyed three of my nearest challenger's pieces and forced a 2nd-place finish in what was thought to be an "easy win" area where winning 1st place would have let the opponent beat me by two VP. Fun!

Other games played today included: Krosmaster Arena, Dice Masters, The Cards of Cthulhu, and Warhammer Quest...
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Tue Jun 7, 2016 6:05 am
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AAR for 30 May 2016

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Memorial Day... 'Nuff said.

Lords of Vegas
Five-player game. That is a perfect number for this game since it tends to ensure plenty of devious conflict. And, so it was with this game. I was unlucky in that my first five lots were all widely-separated from each other with few in prime locations. But, I managed to keep myself in the race for VP and ended up in a four-way tie before the final payoff of the Strip on the "Game Over" card. One player was able to break out of the pack and claim the win on the strength of one large casino on the Strip.

Vasco de Gama
Another old favorite returns to the table after too long away. This is a very tight resource management game where players have to outfit ships for voyages to Calcutta for fun and VP. There are four main areas of the board where players have to take actions and put together their expeditions. With only four actions per turn, things get pretty tight and good planning is essential. In our four-player game, the final turn was a close race for valuable VP. I protected the Merchant ship and prevented it from going out on the board in a bad location that would have given my closest opponent an extra +5 VP. Since I ended up winning the game by only 4 VP, that turned out to be the winning move.

Star Realms
I keep getting new players into this great two-sided card game and everybody loves it who has tried it. Still playing with the new Colony Wars stand-alone expansion and loving it. We had two games today and both were very close, but I was able to come out on top in both just before I would have been obliterated myself.

Viticulture
Two-player games of this one always seem to be very good and this time was no different. It took us each several rounds to get untracked, but I was then able to quickly score fill two orders for 6 VP each and ended up cruising across the finish line from there.

7 Wonders Duel
Final game of the day got another new player into this one. Everything seemed to fall right in my lap this time as I got very close to winning by Science and also scored a ton of Blue cards. As a result, I ended up with a huge 84 VP total.


Other games played today included: Cthulhu Realms, Boss Monster, Star Wars X-Wing, Dice Masters, Cards of Cthulhu, and Lord of the Fries...
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Tue May 31, 2016 4:16 am
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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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