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The Saga Continues: The Madman's Diary on the Loose
Mikko Ämmälä
Finland
Oulu
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My precious Diary:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/34188

I started the above "diary" 2008-08-23 and now it has 10 pages (250 geeklist items) of play sessions /short reviews /lists / stats /opinions /random musings /etc.

* grammatically lazy.
* not much planned / not well edited / does not contain too deep stuff.
* reveals that I am quite egocentric... kiss

Now it time to move on with the 2nd iteration of my diary. Pretty much the same shit will continue I suppose. .
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1. Board Game: King Of History [Average Rating:6.07 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.07 Unranked]
Mikko Ämmälä
Finland
Oulu
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Technical Specifications a'la short history of my boardgaming:

- My Magic: The Gathering hobby started 1995....which still continues if during the recent times in a kind of "sleep" mode (for example I am going to the next prerelease end of this month and I occasionally play highlander).
- This real boardgame hobby started with Settler of Catan (incl. Cities & Knights expansion) first play 2001 Spring.
- Soon afterwards I bough my own copies. And as expected: my wife got hooked as well!!! Soon we had a respectable player pool around us.
- I joined boardgamegeek 2003-05-06.
- For a while I actually made living with offering tournament organizing services (Magic the Gathering mostly), importing and selling boardgames and doing freelancer technical writings and translations (2004-2005): A nice and well-needed break eventhough it naturally was not financially as beneficial as continuing in IT world would have been.
- However IT world again sucked me back in 2006. I continued to run MtG tournaments for another two years however.
- Naturally boardgaming things have slowed down a bit during the last 3-4 years. Players get married surprise, some have had children , some have moved, some have gotten just old zombieshake

.mikko
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2. Board Game: FutureStories [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Mikko Ämmälä
Finland
Oulu
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I have visited Essen Spiele three times:

2008: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/36120/my-great-trip-to...
2009: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/47619/my-essen-trip-20...
2011: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/73958/my-complete-esse...

My definite target it to get there this year also...hopefully I can arrange that easily.

- My "current best game" has fluctuated/evolved during 2001-2012 with the following timeline: Settlers of Catan (with Cities & Knights) - El Grande - Age of Steam (I still rate this '9') - A Game of Thrones - Mare Nostrum - Imperial - 18xx series.... cool
- I just cannot see that anything can ever surpass the best 18xx titles?
- I absolutely love Economic games: I cannot see this being changed either - Stocks /bonds /trains /buildings /cash /mergers/....just name it...sweetspot for me...
- And I just love lists and statistics like this evolving top30 list of mine I have updated after every 9 months (eh it has stagnated somewhat.... )

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/34188/item/1828782#ite...

- Occasionally I love to add some theme for my boardgaming periods: (like the next two months/five weeks/etc are dedicated to Cult of the New / EPIC games / old games only / etc).

Now I have EPIC game phase until 1st of March....want to play smt. EPIC, eager to play smt. EPIC, happen to have some extra weekends available for smt. EPIC (Jan-Feb)....(note my definition of EPIC might differ from usual standards : for me it is smt. which give extra satisfaction when you manage to win it - not directly related to actual play time ).

And fluidly we move to my near future:

Next Saturday and/or Sunday (Jan 21/22) gaming at my place? Smt. EPIC, depending on player #.

Antiquity? Eclipse? 18xx? Die Macher? Hellgame? Through the Ages? Indonesia?...

I hope I remain motivated to continue this diary (things look positive as I eventually surprised myself how fun it was keep my original "diary" updated).

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/34188

I hope my enthusiasm will never fade away...



.mikko
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3. Board Game: Urban Sprawl [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:800]
Mikko Ämmälä
Finland
Oulu
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AnttiK and MattiM arrived to play some boardgames before our president election kicked off 8pm.

After listing nothing but good and great choices Anttik nailed it completely: "Whatabout Urban Sprawl". That was easy. Both AnttiK and MattiM had previously stated that they want to give it a try.

I had played it once before (after that playing I bought the game).

After 30mins rules explanation the play started. I had actually refreshed my memory week before and read the rules just-for-sure. cool

The play lasted 3 hours. I think Olympic games event came a little bit early - top of the middle metropolitan deck apparently.

I steamrolled the early game. My previous experience paid off and to boot: I had easily the best early game event luck. The final hammer hit was that I kept Union Boss whole game after extra politicians came into play. Constant 8 actions was a bit too strong obviously. devil

I actually had a huge prestige lead during the latter stages but I was facing huge urban renewal actions and building after building got dusted into ground. But too late...(I tried actually to rush game ending with building a couple of sub-optimal buildings just to make metropolis deck run deeper).

I won. MattiM was distant 2nd (45p+ gap). AnttiK had 40p less than MattiM. Big margins.

Thanks guys again. The next weekend will be filled with 2 x Magic the Gathering : Dark Ascension prereleases (both Saturday and Sunday). It will be nice to play MtG I am sure...

Maybe there will be some boardgaming Wed-Thu-Fri also. Hopefully! kiss

.mikko

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4. Board Game: Eclipse [Average Rating:8.09 Overall Rank:10]
Mikko Ämmälä
Finland
Oulu
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What happens when you have same players, same player seats, same starting player, same game played with the same fast pace and similar play flow?

That's one quality session of Eclipse.

OK smt. went differently: Henkka won (as like in 1st game), Visa was 2nd (as like in 1st game) BUT this time I was 3rd just ahead of MattiM! cool

Henkka played Planta race and did all the goods. His only problem was a somewhat lacking money flow but he shrugged that off with both technologies which provide extra influence disks. After all Henkka won easily as just-when-I-had-my-fleet-ready MattiM did totally surprise traitor move which redirected my plans completely. Henkka rolled into clear victory with 50p+.

Visa played Tech race but this time I think Visa had a bit lacklustre openings with explorer actions. Some usual "turtling" included and Visa was quite uneventfull during the game. He wisely upgraded his StarBases just in time (again it was MattiM's hasty actions which made me reconsider and turn later it was too late). Visa was 10p behind Henkka about.

Matti did missiles. Matti upgraded his ships. And again. And again. Then we made some diplomatic agreements. Next turn MattiM's missileships encountered my star system. The WAR began. The WAR continued. The WAR actually did not change anything. Excect of course we both did spent a lot of our resources and actions for WAR. Fun it was. Efficient? Not really. When the dust was settled...we had exactly the same galactic positions and about the same fleet (a lot better quality wise though) size as 1000 galactic years ago.....

I had OK explore luck.
I had good tech flow.
I took Galactic center quite early and my ships were top notch.
However I really struggle with production (I never had possibility nor resources to concentrate on Orbitals nor Monoliths).
I definitely took the most actions during the game as I had best money flow and also both "extra influence disks" techs.
I had 32p which included see-saw fights with MattiM.
Once MattiM rolled 20 1d6:s (all his missiles) and sunk my fleet. soblue
Twice MattiM rolled 24 1d6:s (all his missiles) and both times managed to sink one ship laughcool

Three hour game. A duplicate play flow from our 1st play perhaps. But time flew. It was fun. It was tense. It was Eclipse played. A good session. Thanks for the play guys!



Meanwhile....I did some IOS purchases for my iPad2.

iOS Caylus (3,95eur):
+ Caylus.
+ As good ios implementation as it is possible?
- AI plainly sucks (I have won all my plays easily).
- Has crashed two times (though not after patching).
- No stats from plays (as like Puerto Rico)...though it apparently does not matter as I have won all my plays. I have not tried online multiplay yet.

iOS Dominion (free stuff...I cannot believe...where is the catch?).
+ dominion.
+ very fast and slick play.
+ it was FREE!
- Ai plainly sucks (I have won all my plays easily).
- Only baseset (ok AI would struggle even more with added options?).
- No stat keeping (though I have not tried online multiplayer).

...I have not had extra time to play my iOS Assassin Creed Recollection for weeks (eventhough I made some booster purchases - 7eurs?).

The time gaming? : Saturday (and most probably Sunday also) I am going to Dark Ascension (MtG) prereleases. After that? Hopefully soon?

.mikko
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5. Board Game: Eclipse [Average Rating:8.09 Overall Rank:10]
Mikko Ämmälä
Finland
Oulu
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Five players. Eclipse. Two Eclipse first-timers. Other considerations were Sid Meyer's Civ and 1889. Eclipse won as it was our first-timers' first choice (I was open to play practically anything "epic").

This time I had a plan. Do not panic, do not get greedy, do not rush things....and that plan worked pretty well. I won with "perfect play". Well planned, well executed and combat die rolls were great too. cool

I played Eridani Empire which meant I still had some urgent task to resolve: READ: GET MORE DISKS AND FAST. arrrh

And I managed to get the first extra disk fairly soon and my prospects looked pretty good as my race's initial technologies allowed me to conquers Galactic center pretty fast.

I flooed the center with pretty advance StarBases and I then started pacing a bit.

A turn later I got the Traitor card when I attacked MattiM's realm. My dreadnoughts were also top notch and I had no problems to establish a very good board...eh...space position.

I redirected my plans and then focused to technologies and got Monoliths and Orbitals I needed.

Actually around 6-7th turn everyone was already ready to declare me as a winner but in these games it is never sure you know. I played the later rounds extra carefully to ensure my victory.

I won (44p)
AnttiK (hegemony)was 2nd (37p) after very difficult 1st/2nd round.
Antero (race that builds cheaper and more at the time) was 3rd (29p) with dangerously big empire but no Monoliths and his empire's star systems provided very low VPs.
MattiM (ancient brown noser) was 4th (25p) - looked strong early game but then faced multiple heat from all possible sources...
Henkka (human) was practically locked out and pinned from the game around 4th/5th turn and soon after (6th or 7th turn) he arranged the bankrupt for his race to leave the game voluntarily.

Finally I won smt.big and epic!

My rating of Eclipse - former '8' is now '9' (maybe if I'd use digits it would be smt. like 8.7 or 8.8...). But rounded up and nine it is now.

(I am smiling and whistling - I am the winner - I am the best)

.mikko

btw: I really liked to play Eridani.
btw part 2: The play took about 4 hours.
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6. Board Game: Merchants & Marauders [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:136]
Mikko Ämmälä
Finland
Oulu
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It has been cold. Too cold. Minus 20 to minus 27 Celsius for a week already. I was prepared to stay home with my playstation3....until TimoJ asked ex tempore "whatabout some boardgaming at our place".

I swallowed the hook and I took another 10min walk in the cold outside....

To start the evening I played one MtG Highlander with TimoJ which I won. Then AnttiK arrived and Suvi (TimoJ's wife) woke up from her nap.

- before I forget: Thanks for the food and drinks. TimoJ (drinks) and Suvi (food) did the job perfectly I'd say.

Vasco da Gama:

- Four players (TimoJ, Suvi, AnttiK, me).
- Long time no see...nice to play..
- I was dead last after mediocre showings (if I recall correctly I always end up last in this game?).
- Suvi won with massive armada of '9' and '11' ships.
- Vasco da Gama still shines with four players. Tough but fun. Deep but fluid.

Suvi had smt. else to do and a couple minutes later the next game was chosen: Merchants & Marauders.

- TimoJ nor AnttiK had not played it before.
- I had already consumed some beers so my rules explanations was not top notch....
- ...luckily there were only few rules related confusions.
- AnttiK took merchant route and he did follow that path until the very end.
- TimoJ started carefully but then the temptations of dark side were too much and suddenly he was a pirate.
- I was born to be pirate. I lived that life. I played that life. arrrh

AnttiK: I think he succeeded pretty good in trading but failed with missions/rumors somewhat. He had a good plan, good execution but with a bit too slow pace?. Looked dangerous.

TimoJ: He had some bad luck with Merchant Raids (three last minute escapes). However he did the rumours best and had a good pace throughout the play.

I won. After mediocre start I really rolled mid/late game with series of consecutively succeedeed Merchant Raids (all but one with Sloop). I wasted four rumour rolls. I sailed back and forward early game. But my golden late-midgame moment went totally perfect. No misses but Merchant Raid wins and flow of glory points.

I had relatively easy task to sail to my homeport with 6 Glory points and 50 cash on my personal Captain cabin's safe. devil

Some beer I did took, right? Indeed....

Tomorrow there is a planned Twiligh Imperium (3rd ed) session. I am going.....I am going to report afterwards? You can bet. sauron

.mikko
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7. Board Game: Twilight Imperium (Third Edition) [Average Rating:7.89 Overall Rank:31]
Mikko Ämmälä
Finland
Oulu
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...and the pinnacle of my recent EPIC plays. Twilight Imperium 3rd edition with all the expansions (though we did not use all the feats).

- 6 players? Check!
- Empires rise, Empires fall, Empires come back, Empires go extinct? Check!
- 7 hours of war, broken promises, nail-biting combats, frustrating moments, falling into depression when you empire is no more? Check.
- Close finish where 3 players were separated within an inch by events and actions out of their control? Check!
- Thus...EPIC? Check!

The rule explanation round took 1h as we had virgin TI3 players (and I needed some rules refreshing as well).

Some notes:

- Antero won after being pretty innocent for hours. He quietly had built tons of fighters and later rounds they provided the missing VP sources.
- Henkka wouldacouldashoulda won at several occasions but he did hit the wall due to the combination of his own hesitation, bad luck and other players' seemingly innonent actions which actually indirectly slowed Henkka's progress.
- Tuomo definitely wouldacouldashoulda won but but but....he did hit the wall by similar fashion as Henkka did.
- I was tied last (6p) with MattiM. I think we both started strong but around 3rd turn our mutual decline started and we both went gradually into the verge of extinction.

OK. After my lone play (year ago about?) I declared this with a) rating of '7' (but impossible to rate) and b) the best worst game there is.

That practically still sums it up. TI3 drags. TI3 frustrates. TI3 annoys. TI3 angers. TI3 bores. TI3 just does not play well....gulp

...but the other side of TI3 coin is smt. different. TI3 is EPIC, In TI3 you care, In TI3 it is you out there not your plastic ships nor cardboard chits. It is incredibly thematic and at times it just sucks you in. The best moments are tier1 at any play experience scale. The feeling is just there. It combines everything, it fails there and there and also evenmore there but TI3 knows it...and does not care what others think. goo

I still find this impossible to rate. It is too "racey". It is slow and drags like hell. Some expansion features are just time consuming gimmicks. It is just not a good game....but again TI3 is not a game but experience.

My geekrating of '7' holds. It actully is a notch closer to '8' than yesterday. But for this game....ratings do not mean anything.

Thanks guys (I do not remember what was our 6th player's name btw...sorry about that! whistle).

.mikko

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8. Board Game: another damn Civilization game [Average Rating:6.03 Overall Rank:7669]
Mikko Ämmälä
Finland
Oulu
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...when Aki (hampuusi) moved to Vancouver, Canada, early this year - we lost a great member of our boardgaming group. soblue

But his legacy remains:

1) Spielbox issue:

Aki had transferred to me his Spielbox (int.edition) magazine order as it would have been apparenty impossible or very expensive to transfer it to Aki's new Canada address. A nice mag. A set of boardgame reviews. A set of boardgame related news....thanks Aki.

And that magazine featured Wallace's civ-lite-lite game (just add 3x1d6 and a bunch of cubes) - Another Damn - and I did read the short (but surprisingly unclear) rules :

- A clear filler (30-40mins).
- Feels like a kind of mix between Kingsburg + Uruk with a dash of Rise of Empires (just RoE feeling - as this Another Damn is clearly just a filler).
- I could give it a try easily.

2) 7 Wonders issue:

- I found 7 Wonders game in my apartment about week-two ago.
- I wondered whose it was?
- Then later last week AnttiK texted me that he cannot find his 7 Wonders (as we had gaming session arranged - see above M&M geeklist item entry).
- I responded "I have it, I will bring it to you, You must have left it during one of our play sessions".
- At TimoJ's place I gave 7 Wonders to AnttiK....he thanked and then a minute later continued "nice but this is not my copy".

One logical resolution is that this extra 7 Wonders was actually Aki's copy he could have left it to my apartment during his last visit (late December).

Another hint of Aki's role in this issue was that the 7 Wonders package contained scoring notes with Aki's and Marjo's names included. But lets not draw hasty conclusions - Far from sure thing..

Anyway I confiscated it. There was nothing else I could have done.

However Aki can claim it back if he personally visits me before 1st of March 2012. This should be no problem for Aki as 10000kms+ is pretty easy with just two days in airplanes/airports.



.mikko
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9. Board Game: Baltimore & Ohio [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:1173]
Mikko Ämmälä
Finland
Oulu
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...and another Sunday gaming sessio:

Ascension: Storm of Souls:

I had quessed right. Ascension did hit the table. Other players arrived around 2.pm and the rules introduction for Antero started.

"you know MtG, right, and you know Dominion, right? This is a kind of mixture of those two.."

That sums it up. Ascension manages to combine the fun parts of those both wordls pretty well. While it is definitely more light and random it again has its spot.

This time I went for Lifebound and heavy militia.....wait a minute...in every game I've played I have chosen the same strategy. From the start and for a while I really tried to smt. else but what can you do when all the reasonable choices you can buy are Lifebound and Heavy Militia.... robot

Henkka won easily. I was 2nd narrowly over MattiM. Antero was 4th.

Antero left the building and as AnttiK was arriving after 30mins we played one quick Dominion...

The setup was interesting....but I played one of the worst Dominions for ages....I started with 2 & 5 hands.....and then 2nd time I got 5 money was after 3rd shuffle....doh...

I was so ashamed I never told my end game points.

...but there is no proper playsession without economy game on the table. Antti had arrived and after some pow-wow we headed for Winsome's Baltimore & Ohio.

We also used Lumberjack and Robber Barons expansions (1st time with Robber Barons).

- Rules Explanation to Antti.
- I played bad initial market round.
- I played sloppy early game.
- I barely got my act together mid-game.
- Then came nagging mistakes.
- Then I started playing worse.
- I ended up my misery with horrible last two market rounds.
- The last set of operations rounds were uphill battle for me.

This sayin I won eas....no no no ....I was 3rd. Understandably AnttiK was 4th as he had no previous experience (nor 18xx experience either). Henkka was totally ruthless here and won with a big margin.

4 hours about. The play strangely stagnated with tech level '3' (extra 30mins and set of market+2xbusiness rounds) and that was actually the highlight of my play. During this narrow moment I almost felt OK....

Robber Barons expansion was OK+ but army based ($1 for each hex) baron card felt too complicated to calculate and maybe wisely we never did auction that card...

To sum it up.

- I played Ascension against my initial planned strategy and played it badly.
- I played Dominion ultra poor.
- I played Baltimore & Ohio abysmally bad...

I have had better days... zombie

...though naturally I had fun. A nice session even if my play sucked this time.

Thanks guys...



.mikko

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10. Board Game: Rolling Stock [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:3241]
Mikko Ämmälä
Finland
Oulu
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Rolling in the Deeee-eepp....

www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7UFm6ErMPU

It counts as real work if you do print&play, right? I knew about Rolling Stock project and it had popped into my mind every now and then and I had added it to my personal radar as a background process...

Well...I happened to check out its current status and now I have printed all the material. Now some crafting is needed to turn those xxx pages of paper into real game.

I have a mixed record of my previous tinkerings/craftings but maybe this time I aim for the maximum quality...whistle

Baltimore & Ohio play few days ago has haunted me somewhat...afterwards I realized that we all played this pretty badly, mediocre at best. I came up with some fascinating strategies cool I indent to apply the next time we play....

Before I leave Finland for two weeks (1st of March) I want to play atleast once some 18xx (the larger the better).

.mikko
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11. Board Game: Ascension: Storm of Souls [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:312] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
Mikko Ämmälä
Finland
Oulu
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Ascension has been the recent "filler" hit among our gaming group. It has taken Dominion's spot in the limelight....most probably temporarily but still...not much Dominion played 2012...

Henkka brought his Ascension: Storm of Souls and we played one game. Again I failed to create any engine. I failed to get anything reasonable ongoing....Henkka won easily and I was 3rd = I was last...

Well...it was a nice session again. Everything is gearing up towards the next Saturday when we are going to have a big Saturday gaming session at Henkka's.

Beer + Saturday + Gaming = A combo in the making...

.mikko

(OK - we also played another Baltimore & Ohio but I refuse to tell anything about my newest miserable set of failures someone might call gaming...)





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12. Board Game: 1830: Railways & Robber Barons [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:110]
Mikko Ämmälä
Finland
Oulu
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Henkka had ordered the new 1830 Mayfair reprint and it was time to say goodbye for Henkka's homemade 1830 version.

- 5 players.
- There was a hefty competition over privates and I ended up with 70/15 and Mohawk.
- I played investor early game.
- ...and that was the highlight of my play as I never was a president of any good companies (I formed two companies: C&O and Boston but I never got to utilize them properly...).
- The play ended in Tuomo's bankrupt when diesels arrived. MattiM was an easy winner. I was third. We analysed that had game continued, Antero would have won it most probably and may be I'd had snatched 2nd place.
- I think I played the maximum I could: One minor mistake there and there but my destiny was sealed at private auctions already. I knew that if the play ends up in bankrupt I cannot win unless very lucky. Though I again analysed that I actually was in the best position early game but some player actions indirectly halted my good prospects and I really had to fight for any extra dollar out there.

And there were some heavy drinking going on all the time...zombie

Tuomo left and we played 4p Eclipse. My dry spell period ended with a great win (40p vs Henkka's 38 vs MattiM's 36 vs Antero's pretty much destroyed empire).

- I had a great combat rolls (well I really exploited my good military techs for good).
- I again failed to do Monoliths but I overcome it with great selection of reputation tiles (4-4-4-3) and easily the best board position scores.

...and what a hangover I've been suffering today....

BUT again: After a dry spell: A WIN! Thank you Eclipse!

.mikko
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13. Board Game: Shining Path: The Struggle for Peru [Average Rating:6.96 Unranked]
Mikko Ämmälä
Finland
Oulu
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...and I will head to Peru...which means gaming will also be null, nil, zilch for a while (theoretically there are some potential days I could play - but then againt my pre-trip tasklist is still awfully long).

My 25th Dec 2011 - 25th Feb 2012 plays:


4 Ascension: Storm of Souls whistle
4 Eclipse
3 South African Railroads (I might be missing a session here?).
2 Baltimore and Ohio cool
-----------------------------
1830: Railways & Robber Barons
Brass
Dominion surprise
Goa surprise
Imperial 2030
Locomotive Werks
Magic: The Gathering
Merchants & Marauders arrrh
Navegador
Nefarious
Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization
Twilight Imperium (third edition) yukgulpkisssoblue
Urban Sprawl
Vasco da Gama zombie

That was a quality quartal....

.mikko
 
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14. Board Game: Le Havre [Average Rating:8.00 Overall Rank:13]
Mikko Ämmälä
Finland
Oulu
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...and back from Peru...there were a lot of things to sort out after 2wk absense but now back on track...

No deep gaming sessions happened yet but some 2p plays with my wife:

I got (as usually) trounced at London.

I won 238 vs 236 in Le Havre!! Whoohoo!

Short term plan list:

Pret-A-Porter - I have plans to introduce this to my wife withing few days. My expectations are high. Let's see how they will stand...

Wednesday 21.3 (regular Wednesday gaming evening) might happen after long hiatus (well my wife was absent for quite long). I'll keep you informed.

Friday 23.3 (gaming is possible, very possible, again lets see what happens). cool

I would like to give 2nd chance for:

2019 Arctic
Master of Economy whistle

...just ot find out the final word for them...

Overally anything gooo goes...as usual...

There have been some talk about fixed Die Macher session and this will be arranged during April for sure.

.mikko
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15. Board Game: Wiz-War (eighth edition) [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:400]
Mikko Ämmälä
Finland
Oulu
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After hefty pause (some weeks) the gaming returned with good old regular Wednesday gaming.

First the usual: Essi prepared a great thaifood dinner (with some Korean food included).

The kitchen folk then played a couple of Ticket to Rides and atleast one Carcassonne.

Ice Cream was served at some point as a dessert.

In the living room: Henkka had bought Wiz-War 8th edition and had brought it to the session. Neither MattiM nor I had any obstacles to try it. I actually had read some stuff from geek so I basically knew what to expect.

We actually played two games. Henkka winning the 1st easily and I was the best in the 2nd.

+ Fun enough.
+ Chaotic and tense in a good way.
+ Short games which means this can be used as semi-filler.
+ It was better experience I had expected.
- "capture the flaq" has never been my cup of tea.
- Card draws dominated more than actual play skills.
- Fun...but more "experience" rather than real gaming.

Maybe '7' is too much so I give '6'. Can play it again but I probably won't suggest it. Not bad anyway. cool

Then we surprised ourselves and continued to play Lokomotive Werks. Winsome we had played once earlier (but which session was partly ruined by one rules intepreption which made game unbalanced and left average feeling for all).

This time we played it correctly. And it was better experience this time.

Henkka won after MattiM had been declared winner already after 20mins or so. All of us had a shot but Henkka did great uphill battle (after so-so start) and kept his head cool while both MattiM and I did some nagging minor mistakes several times.

That was nice Winsome.

Lokomotive Werks after 2nd play (updated as 1st game was ruined thanks to our rules misunderstanding).

+ Economy game and ruthless one.
+ Nicely implemented train rush/train rust game.
+ I liked die rolls here (for market demand).
- You can play yourself out during early game if you are not carefull enough.
- Maybe snowball effect is a bit too strong here.
- Missing perhaps one more layer to make/spend money?

Rating of '7'. A good winsome but a notch below real Winsome classics (say Wabash, B&O, Ostbahn, SA Railroads).

...and gaming next time? Next Friday! Great!

It was good to have regular Wednesday gaming back after many months (well my wife had been abroad/worktrips/otherwise busy for months...).

.mikko
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16. Board Game: 1846 [Average Rating:8.00 Overall Rank:1126]
Mikko Ämmälä
Finland
Oulu
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...major news here: I found 18xx I do not like...

...naturally this means that I rate it '8' rather than usual '10' or '9'

Henkka and MattiM arrived to play some boardgames.

After 3 minutes pondering we headed to play 1846 which I had not played before.

After 3,5 hours MattiM won.

...what I can say?

+ Semi-random setup and "drafting" of privates was new take!
+ It was 18xx.
- Stock market actions were way too uneventfull.
- Money felt way too easy.
- All new "gimmicks" (like phased out trains) were not 18xx...

Still '8' (and barely). Anytime 18xx will be suggested...I will dig another possible 18xx rather than this....

...OK..(and again)....it was 18xx which means it is minimun '8' rated and it justifies it place. I can play it again but do not let any other 18xx exist in same household.

Things move on...so did we...

We played GOA!

- Henkka never had liked the game.
- MattiM never had played it before.
- I won.

43p vs henkka's 41p and MattiM's 38p.

The key was the experience. To survive through those 8 auctions....

After GOA we eased the playing and played a couple of Dominions....

...hey my wife joined us for the first play...

...and naturally won it quite easily (I was 2nd).

The 2nd game was won by Henkka (as my wife skipped this...apparently she wanted to be polite here).

I did some beers as well....

.mikko

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17. Board Game: Navegador: Pirates & Diplomats [Average Rating:7.02 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.02 Unranked]
Mikko Ämmälä
Finland
Oulu
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Quote:
1) Spielbox issue:

Aki had transferred to me his Spielbox (int.edition) magazine order as it would have been apparenty impossible or very expensive to transfer it to Aki's new Canada address. A nice mag. A set of boardgame reviews. A set of boardgame related news....thanks Aki.

And that magazine featured Wallace's civ-lite-lite game (just add 3x1d6 and a bunch of cubes) - Another Damn - and I did read the short (but surprisingly unclear) rules :

- A clear filler (30-40mins).
- Feels like a kind of mix between Kingsburg + Uruk with a dash of Rise of Empires (just RoE feeling - as this Another Damn is clearly just a filler).
- I could give it a try easily.


...and another edition arrived. This magazine is smt. I would probably order it after Aki's deal expires (when it does? Must ask Aki?).

In this magazine: Free Navegador mini-expansion (Pirates & Diplomats)..was included....looked reasonable, not too swingy and actually fixes (or tries to) some (minor) play balance issues I have found in this game (depending on your seat you could get shafted regardless you own actions if market and/or colonize actions by other players play indirectly against you).

Some review snapshots: Upon A Salty Ocean gets 6-7-7-7 from four reviewers...numbers are about right - my own is '7' - but actually the actual review content lists some things negative I have found positive...dunno...

Uwe's Ora et Labora gets huge praise....yuk

...I read it and my opinion about it is now even stronger....What I was thinking when I actually considered this back in Essen 2011 times...??? "Medieval Merchant Mediocrity Mentally Messy"

Funnily there was one dice building game in review (I jokingly said several days ago that "why there is no dice building game?")....

(cannot recall the name but it did not get any too good grades).

Gaming next time in our place: Sunday 1.4...2.pm...My wife will be in Helsinki/Turku so most probably something heavier hits the table?

.mikko

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18. Board Game: Colonial: Europe's Empires Overseas [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:1070]
Mikko Ämmälä
Finland
Oulu
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Sunday gaming rolled back.

Henkka and Matti joined me around 2.pm and after some mobilephone actions Visa confirmed that he will join us around 4.pm.

Henkka surprised me and suggested Upon a Salty Ocean. No prob.

Somehow this is a game where I always do well. This happened also today. I had a couple of massive fish sellings. I did let money flow in from my investments. I never did any cathedral. I utilized fully my "next turn event foresee" building, 3 ships and ended up with record points: 149.

Henkka was distant 2nd...eh...he had 147p....it was MattiM who was distant 3rd....

Visa arrived and I had another surprise in my sleeve I had already presented to Henkka and MattiM.

Colonial: Europe's Empires Overseas.

- Finally I had unwrapped this...(I had waited that designer finishes his rules editions....apparently it still goes on... ).

- Designer had tinkered with rulings and erratas since this was published at Essen 2011...and I could say some issues still need a little bit work.

We used most of the new rules/erratas but as boardgamegeek had been down for some time I had had no access the refresh the most recent information.

We played with the newest additions except new Australia rule and we did not play with "nations variant" (maybe we missed smt. else too ).

MattiM won after my semi-desperate war failed during the 2nd last turn (next turn MattiM had ensured to go first and he announced that he will get his 10th prestige point - and actually presented the evidence too).

I was 4th ... Actually it was pretty even race for the top spot and Visa actually looked the most dangerous most of the time. Henkka however managed to stay frontrunner even though his economy failed
big time (dunno how he could have gotten rid of his loan though had we somehow gotten those last 2 prestige points)....

But Colonial:
+ gorgeous components and board.
+ I liked economy here a lot with all related feats like merchants/market/loans/player interaction/trading...
+ Base play mechanics with role pickings worked well and there was very few AP traps.
+ theme, setup, game ... all were interesting.
- Some rules still need work (WAR needs smt extra?)...maybe also Naval track is too weak?...and rules could be better worded here as some rules were still a bit unclear/confusing and I am not perfectly sure we played some minor issues fully correct.
- "racey" win condition (first to get 10 prestige points with no loans) I have never been fan of.

A good game. Relatively fast paced. Interesting. Thematic. Uber-top-notch components and board....let's wait and see how rules keep getting evolved....I gave '8'....(maybe 7.8 would have been spot on?).



This game can be compared to one of my all-time favourites, Struggle of Empires. Same theme. Similar setup. However SoE is overally better game...but Colonial plays double fast (if SoE takes 4-5h...now we played our maiden Colonial play - all newbies - under 3h, including rules).

And we completed Sunday's "ESSEN 2011 -trilogy" with South African Railroads (technically I did not get this at Essen 2011 but I ordered/paid it there and I received it 3+ weeks later).

I played the best SAR I have ever played.

I still did not win.

MattiM won easily which great end game (last 2-3 divident rounds).

I cannot understand why I never won this. soblue

This time I was 2nd though. Visa was 3rd. Henkka 4th.

So we played three games from my Essen 2011 purchases. A nice session it was. Thanks guys!

.mikko

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19. Board Game: Age of Mythology: The Boardgame [Average Rating:6.19 Overall Rank:1824]
Mikko Ämmälä
Finland
Oulu
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...the reason for putting Age of Mythology in the topic...

I really want to play it after...eh....6+ years? surprise

What do I remember?

* Back in 2004 I rated this '9'. (now smt. less but back those days I was also quite hasty to lower some of my ratings).
* It kind of combines Puerto Rico and Risk-type of battles (with miniatures which have a strong rock,paper&scissors element attached....too strong?).
* It is essentially three player game. No more, no less (package says 2-4 but it definitely IS designed for three players).
* Why it had not been played?

I list reasons:
- I bought this from Aki and it seriously needed player aids for fluid identification of troop figures....and the available BG aids were very low quality (or Aki had printed them with some ancient printing device).
- This alone made all battles (or preparations) longer they should be.
- Victory conditions (and VP collecting during the game) was strangely implemented and the main feat related to this felt pointless after few plays (players added VP cubes on certain conditions and aimed for triggering those).
- VP issue alone made this game....not so rewarding as it felt just gimmick.

But there were good things too.
- Building your infra and advancing your civ was very interesting.
- Battles were longer than they should be....but they were EXTRA tense.
- This game featured less AP than you'd think (again it was just large battles which halted the play for some minutes).
- A perfect dash of luck was there added (action card draw, battles).
- All nations (Norse, Eqyptian and Greek) had different characteristics (own set of troops and heroes and their own "better" action cards) which made you to play "role".

I could easily give it a try. Maybe I find better player aids too, I'll check...(there must be smt. better...at least this millenium's printer technology allows better quality for sure).

Bonus note: I also tried to paint some figures (read add some black dots with ink) to make figure identification easier....I think I failed (no surprise here).

I have not followed what new games 2012 has brought into mix but one title woke up my interest:

Pirates of Nassau

The next boardgaming actions??

I think I proceed to do some tinkering and turn Rolling Stock from a pile of printed A4s into a wonderfully handcrafted commercial-level masterpiece....cool...(who I am kidding here...shake).

Gaming...maybe later next week. Anyway not for some days...tightly packed schedule you know with a lot of social commitments...robot

.mikko
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20. Board Game: Prêt-à-Porter [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:646]
Mikko Ämmälä
Finland
Oulu
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...and the final nail of my Essen 2011 loot was hammered down:

Pret-A-Porter

But first amazing news from London...

I finally did turn tables here and now I am enjoying 4 play winning streak over my wife (my estimate is that we have played about 40? London 2-player games and previously my wife had been dominating this rivarly with 2:1 ratio over me. What happened here? Dunno...I copied some adjustments from my wife's playbook I suppose and refined them into my own liking (I had noticed that I had had earlier a lot more work undone with final stage poverty cubes which made my end-game always too focused of getting rid of poverty cubes).

But Pret-A-Porter.

* Worker placement, almost pure WP....
* Economy game where end-game money counts...
* ...paths are multiple to go for big bucks.
* Fresh theme (models/fashion/clothing industry).
* Resource management (a bit abstracted but still).
* Euro (but pretty heavy Euro).
* Actions are limited by nature (8 planning months, 4 scoring months - three WP pawns for each planning month = 24 "pure" actions) but again building/improving your infra provides both a) free (usually weaker) actions and b) improved actions (i.e with one action something else triggers too ... like for example Puerto Rico + Hacienda where you get two plantations with one settler action)..

I had read rules several times and while rulebook is not perfect (Some minor issues were bit confusing but it appears we played it correctly after all) it was still better thank I expected.

Summarum:
+ Economy game and heavier than you'd think.
+ M-U-L-T-I-P-L-E paths to go (and every game goes off differently thanks to setup where order of buildings/contracts/designs/employees randomly differ each game.)-
+ Both long term plans and tactical short term gains are rewarded.
+ Challenging and tense enough where constant adjustments for your main strategy are required.
+/- Definitely fresh theme but not everyone's cup of tea (fashion business).
- A bit fiddly (especially building/contract/employee descriptions have to be rechecked constantly to clarify their symbols at first games) also it is easy to forget a) to use your infra's feats and b) update your maintenance costs/gains accordingly.
- Fashion show month (a scoring month a'la Vinhos) still feels unnecessarily complicated (it is justified but at first it is far from fluid).

Le Havre, Vinhos have a new friend. A meaty economy game which is EURO!!!.
Not as fluid and smooth as Le Havre. Fiddlier than both. But maybe provides the deepest play experience of these three?

Fiddly? Yes. Complicated? At times, yes?. Good game? Yes!

I'd love to try this with 3/4 players. At leas 2 player plays have been great. (and I quessed right...my wife liked this game a lot).

I gave initial '8' but in reality this needs a play with 3/4 players to give more justified rate. cool

.mikko
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21. Board Game: London [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:171]
Mikko Ämmälä
Finland
Oulu
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We played a surprise 4p London (2 newbies).

- I was totally surprised the game flow (I have played with 4 players only once...my maiden play year ago) and got totally crushed (I got -36VP from poverty cubes....) blush

Nah...more important things exist...as I hinted earlier...

I am officially going to Essen Spiele 2012...

- Hotel booked? Check! (same Hotel, Essener Hof, as I had 2011).
- Flights? Check! (Oulu-Helsinki-Dusseldorf 17.10 -> 21.10).

That was almost too easy this time...

.mikko

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22. Board Game: About Nothing [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Mikko Ämmälä
Finland
Oulu
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My calendar has been FULL. Social commitments, work etc have taken its toll big time. This has prevented the most of the gaming actions during these last several weeks. soblue

Luckily now it looks like I have some possible evenings next week (wed-thu-fri).

This naturally means that I have had no real content to write here -> I have to create this item from the total scratch. I use obvious material,
I list non-sense stuff, I present plans with no value, I talk jargon with no beef. I do the same I usually do but now I do not have any real
excuse for my writing. No reviews. No sessions to report. No nothing. I just try to turn null into boardgaming related sentences.

Dialogue of Doom:

- "...eh...this is hard task to do...phew..."
- "Why, you are apparently creative, right?, Try something!"
- "I like 18xx!"
- "Well, that was one desperate and obvious start."
(5 mins passes)
- "I am going to ESSEN SPIELE 2012!"
- "better...but just damn old news..."
- "RETURN OF EURO!"
- "That's some real stuff, good! What does it mean?"
- "After (relative) long term dissing of PURE euros I have kind of refound their qualities"
- "Really?"
- "..eh..it is hard to explain but for example I have really enjoyed all my recent London plays eventhough it really has been played A LOT"
- "So you are ready to play Princes of Florence or even some Knizia?"
- "I refuse to go that low!".
- "You are using one London example to determine your overall urge".
- "I played one 2p Agricola two days ago, how's that?".
- "Did you enjoy it?".
- "...not really...I was actually bored."
- "So what real EURO urge evidence you have?"
- "eh.."
- "This discussion is just waste of time with null value content"
- "I said at the beginning that this will be a hard task!"
- "No excuses...next time: Save the bandwidth".
- "I give beer if you take my POV".
- "one - two - three - SOLD, null turned into real value: BEER -> EURO IT IS!"

.mikko
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23. Board Game: Baltimore & Ohio: Robber Barons Expansion [Average Rating:7.28 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.28 Unranked]
Mikko Ämmälä
Finland
Oulu
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Finally some real gaming.

Henkka, MattiM and Antero arrived so it was natural to play smt. with stocks and trains. cool

And Baltimore & Ohio it was. We used all but '7' tech level expansions.

This was the 1st time we actually played Robber Baron expansion well. At earlier play we had used them as a random money sink from other players. Now we auctioned the items more planned way and that made some difference. Minor but still....jury is still out there whether this expansion is actually needed as it just adds some play time without maybe giving anything significant back? Dunno? At least it is not "norton coal" expansion which is apparently unusable without tech level '7' expansion? Dunno part II?.

- I started well....only to stagnate badly when I misinvested in Henkka's companies.
- Antero started his roll with B&O (2x'3' trains) and made the biggest bucks midgame.
- Henkka never recovered from his ho-hum start though he managed to get his companies rolling pretty OK at later stages...but too late. Too much uphill battle still.
- MattiM won....I still do not know exactly how but he did. Not bad mistakes apparently and some wise investing to better companies around. Suddenly he just had all the good money there.
- OK...I got stuck with useless Pennsylvania which I got from Henkka. It just survived and tied my assets. That was the key I think.
- I also faced some hate and bad luck at later stages as I miscalculated once my Erie cubes...
- Henkka concentared on coals mainly but they were just too slow at crucial occasions.
- Antero subcumbed a bit at later stages but then managed to get '5' train for his B&O (in addition to his 2x'3' and that made huge money obv.):
- MattiM won with about 4080, Antero had about 3950, I had 3885 and Henkka about 3350?.

I have always liked B&O and when I take a broader look: this was easily the highest quality game of our five or so plays. Four hours well spent. Tense it was. B&O is no 18xx but close still and its own unforgiving nature creates even more ruthless environment than in your average 18xx - while you cannot go to bankrupt you can play yourself out if you are careless at the constant crucial moments. No free rides here. No easy gameflow taken as a snack.

Fine gaming it was. Next time Sunday. See ya then.

.mikko

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24. Board Game: Betrayal at House on the Hill [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:337]
Mikko Ämmälä
Finland
Oulu
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Sunday gaming was hefty...

...all feats were there....

Healthy? Not really...

Too much everything (read drinks): whistle

But there was some gaming too, thanks folks (Essi, Visa, Henkka, Eero, Maria, Roimaa, MattiM...) for joining in:

2p London
3p Pre-a-porter
4p Taj Mahal.
4p Pirate's Cove
5p Pirate's Cove
5p Puerto Rico
2p Goa
2x 3p Dominion.
2x 6p Resistance.
...
...and 5p Betrayal at the House on the Hill...

+ Belive or not, I had seen the game played before and I had no problems to give it a try.
+ It was fun enough for sure.
+ I could easily play it again.
- Of course it is more about having a "ride" rather than gaming.
- A bit "clumsy" at times.

I can give an easy '7'. A nice (and different) playing experience compared to usual suspects on the gaming table.

But a hefty session it was....zombie

.mikko
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25. Board Game: Ascension: Storm of Souls [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:312] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
Mikko Ämmälä
Finland
Oulu
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Thanks, big thanks to my full schedule no real gaming has happened for ages...

Hopefully this situation improves next week...or week after.. shake

If something minor has been going on:

1) I lost my first 2p London game for ages (my wife totally steamrolled me eventhough I though I was in a good position).

2) I got totally trounced in 2p Agricola (no happy stories to tell about this total massacre which happened - again I thought that my action will provide some better output - I have now 4 game losing streak - but my wife again bettered me and this time with huge margin).

One positive issue happened...indirectly related though...

Storm of Souls expansion was released for IOS Ascension and I bought it instantly.

So negatives: sobluezombierobot
- No real gaming, just one shot plays with my wife.
- I have been crushed in these encounters.
- Next week still is uncertaing in terms of gaming (h-e-f-t-y schedule).

Positives:
+ My itch to play is greater than ever.
+ I bought IOS Storm of Souls for my iPAD2.

"Time passes, time crawls, time does not seem to move at all..."

.mikko

 
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