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GCL Mafia 54: A Game of Intrigue!
Christopher M
United States
Goleta
California
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Welcome to GCL Mafia Division's weekly list! If you stumbled onto this list by accident (or on purpose!) and want to know more about the Game Chat League concept, please see the wiki. If you want to look at past GCL Mafia lists, go here: [geeklist=611463]GameChat League: Mafia Division Subscription Thread[/geeklist].

Our current roster in order of preparation (next week's poster in bold):

Rishi
dolus
petroleumjelly
seppo21
ecargo
McJarvis
1awesomeguy
Lemur
mith
tscook
Thesp
Butterfly0038

The first few items are intended to foster discussion.

Please add an item to represent your gaming life for the week of January 22-28, 2012. List any games played along with any other information that you deem appropriate. Also, feel free to give life updates, fun facts, or any other super exciting and utterly interesting thoughts you may have.
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1. Board Game: A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (Second Edition) [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:37]
Christopher M
United States
Goleta
California
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This week's theme is A Game of Thrones--a book/game/TV show about intrigue, heroics, and backstabbing--themed.

Tell us about a moment of game where you used intrigue to achieve your goals. Tell us about how you manipulated your friends into doing exactly what you wanted. Or, tell us how you tried and failed because "When you play the Game of Throne, you either win or you die!"

Alternative Topic: Games which have intrigue as a core mechanic.
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2. Board Game: Hero [Average Rating:5.63 Overall Rank:8582]
Christopher M
United States
Goleta
California
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Have you ever sacrificed yourself for the greater good? Tell us about the time you threw yourself under the metaphorical bus to prevent someone else from winning. Or, tell us about how you just did it to make the game more fun.

Alternative Topic: What is your favourite super-hero because if it is not Superman you are just silly!
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3. Board Game: Cutthroat Caverns [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:808]
Christopher M
United States
Goleta
California
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Cutthroat Caverns is a horrible, horrible game! Now, that that is out of the way... Tell us about a time you were back-stabbed or you back-stabbed somebody else to achieve victory!

Alternative Topic: Games which have back-stabbing as a core mechanic.
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4. Board Game: Balderdash [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:1325]
Christopher M
United States
Goleta
California
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Each Sunday, the current list creator posts a question about him/herself (to which people don't already know the answer). Everyone else sends a guess (by geekmail) to the lister by Wednesday. On Wednesday evening, the lister posts all of the submitted guesses with the correct answer included. Everyone then sends the lister (by geekmail) their guess for the correct answer from this list. The following Sunday, the correct answer is posted and scores are calculated.

If you guess correctly on the first submission, you score 3 points and get to submit a second, fake answer (and don't guess in the second round). Because of this, you may want to submit earlier rather than later.

Everyone who guesses correctly on the second submission scores 2 points.

You also score 1 point each time your submitted answer is chosen by someone else. (People who submit the same answer must split these points.) The lister doesn't score anything.

The game ends once everyone has had a chance to post a question. Highest score wins.

Current scores:

Wk 1 Wk 2 Total
1awesomeguy 0 0 0
Dolus 1 2 3
Ecargo 0 0 0
Lemur 0 0 0
Petroleumjelly 1 2 3
Seppo21 0 2 2
Thesp 2 0 2



Round 3: I have watched a lot of movies during my life and even published some movie reviews a few years back. I take it very seriously. How many movies have I watched according to my Netflix movie ratings (I will accept guesses within 10% or if two or more are close enough, I will accept the closest).
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5. Board Game: Risk Legacy [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:117]
Christopher M
United States
Goleta
California
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.10! Resistance
_9_ Shadow Hunters x 2
_9_ 7 Wonders + Leaders
_8_ Risk Legacy (new!)
_7_ Tichu

Risk Legacy was quite the surprise. I am very glad I finally got the chance to play it. The permanent changes you can make the the board is just an awesome game mechanic. I hope to pick up my own copy to make my own soon. Also, then I get to play every game on the board!

This was probably the most fun I've had playing Tichu. I played with Dolus, his wife, and my girlfriend. Dolus and I made a pretty unstoppable team! Next up, Mahjung!
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6. Board Game: Gulo Gulo [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:629]
Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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3x Gulo Gulo
2x Mage Knight Board Game
2x RoadZters
1x Agricola
1x Vanuatu
1x Innovation
1x Illuminati
1x Castle Panic
1x A Few Acres of Snow
1x Puerto Rico

A very good week of gaming with a lot of different people. I started out the week with 2 solo games of Mage Knight. Then, on Thursday at the last minute, I was able to get out to my FLGS to play a game of 'Gric and a 2-player game of Vanuatu (I still say this plays better 2-player than 3-player). Friday night, at a second FLGS, we played a game of Innovation followed by half a game of Illuminati. While it'll never rate a 9 or 10 for me, I really enjoy playing Innovation. You can't take it too seriously but there's enough meat there to make you think. "Gamer's Fluxx" is definitely a good description of it. We played Illuminati as a 6-player game and stopped after 90 - 120 minutes. People were just taking too long to decide what they were doing. While that isn't bad in a thinking game, in Illuminati, it just sucked away whatever fun could have been there.

This year I'm going to try to be better about recording the games I play with my kids. Saturday, my 6 year old daughter and I started by breaking out Roadzters. We played two games with me winning the first and her squeaking out a win in the second. While I think I prefer Pitchcar, for the price, this can't be beat. She's able to set up the track and then play competitively. This is a game I expect we'll play many more times. Next, we pulled out Gulo Gulo for the first time. While with Roadzters, I was generally worried I was going to leave Cerri behind, in Gulo Gulo I was afraid she was going to leave me behind . Luckily this game has a lot of catch-up mechancis built in, or it would have been a very one-sided game. As it was, she won the first game and I won the second. Finally, we ended up Saturday with one game of Castle Panic. While it's not my favorite game to play with the kids, they really like it (which is weird because by the end of the game, they are usually bored of it). I was really proud of my daughter on Saturday. She usually gets distracted by the television but this time, all on her own without any comments from Daddy, she decided to shut off the television so she wouldn't get distracted. It was very cool.

Sunday, we played Gulo Gulo one more time before going bowling. Then, Sunday night, my friend, Geoff, came over and we played a game of A Few Acres of Snow. He played the Brits and it was his second play. He started out with a plan of avoiding getting too many locations in his hand but then ended up with a lot of military without being able to figure out how to advance his goals. With a few lucky early draws, I was able to fortify and then hold Louisburg and then was able to keep him from taking it. I eventually won by expanding and then upgrading to the west before triggering endgame with 12 village/city points. We then finished up with 2-player Puerto Rico where Geoff kicked my butt by getting the Factory plus tobacco (and coffee) and then generating a lot more income that he was able to turn into two 10-point buildings.
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7. Board Game: Mr. Jack [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:286]
Philip Newman
United States
Richardson
Texas
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Weekly Plays

Brass - 7 (all online)
Mr. Jack - 3
Dominion - 1
Hansa Teutonica - 1
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game - 1 (with Conflict at the Carrock)
Maori - 1
Oregon - 1

I got in two games Sunday at DGM, Oregon and Maori. I wasn't all that impressed with Oregon; it felt like an inferior version of Carcassone, really, with the bonus tiles adding a little bit of a novel strategic element (one gives an extra turn, one acts as a wild, and they can each be flipped back over for reuse by placing next to the appropriate lower-scoring building type). We were missing one of the rules (5 points for forming a grouping of three meeples), so maybe that would have made a little difference, but the scoring in general just felt pretty meh to me. Came in second, by two points (on my final turn, I was able to use my extra turn tile to place for three points, but I didn't have anywhere to place it that didn't also give the leader three.)

Maori was cute; more tile placement, but on individual boards, with a mechanic of "buying" tiles from a central pool (sometimes free, but you can spend shells for extra movement or to skip over tiles and buy from the middle). Not a lot of depth to this, but I did enjoy it. Came in second again, this time by 1 (with the winner taking a two-shell tile on his final turn to take the lead in shells and earn those extra two points).

I picked up Mr. Jack from the marketplace (having had my eye on it for some time), and tried it out with Liz in the evening. I was Jack, and did a pretty good job of preventing her from narrowing down the suspect list, but never had a good chance to try to escape. She eventually caught me round 8, though I had a chance if the characters had come up differently the last two rounds. We played twice more later in the week - in her game as Jack, we learned how careful you have to be trying to escape, as she made it obvious who she was and I caught her very quickly. I was able to get away as Jack in the third game, when she had it narrowed down to two possibilities and chose the wrong one to keep seen (I was Stealthy both times). Neat game, happy with this purchase.

Wednesday, I tried out the second LotR AP, and got totally crushed. I tried a team of Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli (purely for thematic reasons), and an Eagle deck... Drawing the right Leadership cards early would have helped, but I just didn't have the questing power to make any progress. I'll try it again this week, though I haven't decide whether to use the same deck just to see if I can do better with a better shuffle or go ahead and build something more competitive.

Thursday, I went to DGM's weekly game night and got in a second play of Hansa Teutonica. First player was able to get to 5 actions pretty early on, and I'm actually surprised the difference was as small as it ended up (I think he had 47 to my 43?). I went with the big point scoring guys in the bottom left (I have no idea what anything is called in this game, heh). I'll be looking to pick this one up eventually, I've enjoyed both plays.

Saturday, Liz got her second game of Dominion, this time with some attacks (Witch and Militia) and engine building potential (Smithy and Village). My Upgrades were the key difference in our decks, as I was able to remove all my Estates and Curses, but she kept it pretty competitive.

This week, I decided to start a new Brass game every day, so I'm currently playing 8 at once. (Eep.) I'm leading the three active games that are closest to finishing at the moment, getting a canal-phase L4 mill in all three of them (and a L1 shipyard in two!). By far the most interesting game of the week has been Scum 6, where I played the canal phase completely out of my comfort zone (lots of coal, all three L1 mills to try to crash the market... though as it turned out Pooky did most of the actual crashing). I entered the rail phase with a projected 27 points (for comparison, I've had 89 and 90 in two of the aforementioned mills-and-a-shipyard games), but my stacks of cash served me pretty well and I ended up second (if only I could have gotten down that last shipyard... ~shakes fist at Pooky again~). Thesp won with 133... in most recent game I completed before that, I came in 4th with 135.

(I started my first game with the France map yesterday - Pooky and Phoebus joined in as well - so I'll have thoughts on that next week. I am so disoriented with it right now...)
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8. Board Game: Tichu [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:64]
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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Plays:
Tichu

Not much of a week for gaming last week. Just the game of Tichu against Chris which he already mentioned. This was my first time actually playing Tichu and I really enjoyed it. The phoenix wild card and high-ranked dragon definitely make you careful and have to calculate and how best to play it. The dragon is awesome when you know you or your partner can go out first.

One of the hands that I called tichu on, Chris (my partner) also said he was thinking of calling tichu before I called it. I had the 1, so I was first, and I passed Chris the dog card so I ran down my cards until all I had left were a pair of tens. He took control of the hand, passed it to me with the dog, and I got to go out. I love that dog for calling tichu!
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9. Board Game: Age of Steam [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:60]
The Pariah
United States
Ronkonkoma
New York
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Age of Steam x4
Smarty Party! x1
Train of Thought x1


Each year, I run an "Age of Steam" Day, where we play (mostly) nothing but that, all day. I used to do it in November, after the Essen sets were released; but too often they were delayed or what have you, so now we do it the following year.

We use a Puffing Billy tournament scoring, and four heats are played (obviously, more than four games). This year, 9 different players competed; with four doing the whole day, four doing two games and one playing in only one.

I finished in Dead F*&%C& Last.

Started with Winsome's Canada/Eastern U.S. Map and 6 players. Tight. Made worse by the fact that no one could build non-contiguous track until someone reached Pittsburgh (and, one player - with a healthy network of cubes - basically blockaded the way to Pittsburgh, for most of the game!)

I started in the north, and carved out a small little network. On the first turn of the game, another player built right next to me (making us the only area in competition). Then, he took more shares than me, next turn, and bid up to build first and surrounded me. Since I couldn't build non-contiguous track, the rest of my game was basically taking one share so I could pay expenses; no build; no moves. Really fun. He finished 5th and I finished 6th. It was completely a dick move.

We then broke into two games - a 4p and a 3p. I was on the 3p (Berlin Wall) with the guy who had won the 6p game. I was leading by A LOT most of the game. On the last turn, his wife decided to use his rail to make a delivery (giving him, effectively, 3 points) and he beat me 94-93. My day was going really well.

The games had gone really quickly, so we had time for something shorter before dinner (and the evening games). After some discussion, we decided to go with Smarty Party. Again, the guy who had moved against me in the first game, was the reader. So far, all the questions had been geography based, and two players were WAY ahead of the rest of us. They had only lost their points on a question *I* had read (favorite ice cream flavors), so they were not much on pop culture stuff. He had the opportunity to read a question -- "Top scorers in NBA history" and he, instead, opted for "top religions by number of followers." He bet we wouldn't get it; and he was mostly right -- except the two in the lead got all the answers; he lost points, and everyone else, already trailing, also lost points.

At least, I couldn't lose at dinner.

After dinner, we broke into two 3p games again. I was on the Tasmania map (again, with the guy who kept screwing me, and the guy who'd won every game). I didn't go bankrupt, but I finished dead last again. At one point, the guy who kept screwing me, bid 3 to start. I dropped and the leader dropped next. The guy who kept screwing me took urbanization and then argued with me that I should've bet higher than him, so I could've taken first build and prevented the (ultimate winner) from making a connection to the ferries. I explained that - I was not in a position to do that; and, ultimately, since he HAD gone first; HE could've/should've taken the action to prevent it. He said, "I needed to do urbanization" - I retorted; "and now you need to lose." And we both did.

Finally, the 6 of us assembled to play Atlantis -- which is just a miserable map. Even more miserable with 6 players. Worse yet, there were NO deliveries possible in the beginning of the game. I was at 15 shares by round 3.

I saw a long-term plan, delivering red cubes for 5 income, so I took out a ton of shares for some ambitious building. That same turn, the continual screwer urbanized red next to the center, and leeched all the red cubes from the center. I basically spent the rest of the game making no deliveries (until the last turn, when I was able to make a 5 delivery). The last turn, I was basically bankrupted; when one other player HAD to give me two to deliver a cube 3 (getting him 1). The 2 income pushed me to 10, and I dropped to 0 (but not BELOW 0) at the end of the game. My final score was a robust -33.

Ended the night with a play of Train of Thought - which was absolutely a lot of fun. In all honesty, I had more fun playing that than anything else that day

In retrospect, my problem was not being aggressive enough. I should've taken more risks and taken more aggressive acts. The game rewards that behavior (and, spending $1 more (or even taking a hit in income) is worth the long-term improvements -- my hesitation to bump my locomotive prevented me from making 4-income deliveries later; and settling for 2-income; it also prevented me from making two 5-income deliveries later in the game).
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10. Board Game: Poseidon [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:860]
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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I was too busy commenting all over the geeklist instead of posting my plays! Here we go...

For Sale (x2): Already up to 15 plays on this. I've been bringing it to the Thursday game nights as it's a great filler that can accommodate enough people when we all sit around going "Uhh, I don't know, what do you want to play?"

Citadels (x1): My fourth play of this in which I finally decided I didn't want the game anymore. It's not interesting. Turns take too long. I end up getting bored in the downtime and not really caring which roles others select. I wanted to like it and still think it sounds like a great game on paper, but maybe I'm just not a Faidutti fan. (As an aside, his name is super fun to say at least how I pronounce it: "fah-doo-dee".) Edit: I ended up selling it to a guy in our game group for $15 cash. That's about what it goes for online and it included The Dark City expansion (which I never bothered trying). I figured that it was a decent enough deal and instantly unloaded it from my hands.

Egizia (x1): Second play of this and it definitely clicked more. I made about three major mistakes in different turns that may have given me the win. Overall though, I like the game and look forward to playing again.

Hive (x1): I don't like this game and I'm terrible at it. The two are likely related. I do, however, understand why others enjoy it. I wouldn't call it a bad game, it's just not my cup of abstract tea.

King of Tokyo (x1): I won and that's all that matters!

Kingsburg (x1): I've had this game since November 17 and only got around to playing it on January 28. A sad new record for me in owning a game that I hadn't played yet. That said, this was an okay game. It was just Matt and me playing (and he won, per usual, but only by 5 points). I think more than two would be a better experience. I'm not sure I love the game or will end up keeping it, but it's okay. I'm going to try to get in plays with more people before making my final decision. I've heard the expansion really adds to the game but I'm hesitant to buy expansions for games that I don't really love and/or play that much.

Poseidon (x1): This was an incomplete play and a new acquisition for me. I do like train games and have been interested in trying out some 18XX ones for awhile now. This seemed to make sense to pick up. Matt and I sat down to play it late Friday night. The rulebook is pretty crap (at least for an 18XX newbie) but the game seems like it'll be pretty good/simple enough now that we've hammered out the logistics of it. We made a mistake on the phase vs. rounds differentiation, but now I think I could probably teach it mostly mistakes-free! Also, probably not the best game with just two people but again, it was a learning session more than anything.

Through the Desert (x1): I like this game. It's quick and I should really bring it out more often.

Urban Sprawl (x1): I still enjoy this despite the randomness and really would like to play more so as to learn how to "control" for the randomness. I think I'm getting better, focusing more on vocations and such, but need to figure out what buildings to go for and where to build.

Gaming side notes:
Looks like, due to school schedules from the other players involving (namely the GM), my Pathfinder days are over . With just three glorious weeks, my dwarf bard will be headed for retirement. I may try to find a Pathfinder PBF if I'm feeling ambitious and RP-y.

I have Power Struggle, Incan Empire, and JAB: Realtime Boxing all coming to me in the mail (won from various BGG auctions). I look forward to trying them all out. Thoughts welcomed.

Also welcomed are suggestions on what to get with my $100 CSI gift certificate. I keep combining different games but my current card is: Skull & Roses (an excellent filler and probably a definite in my order), Last Will (I'm interested in this one and is a definite), Through the Ages (I want to just bite the bullet and get this; screw online play! I'll just make Matt fumble through the rules with me ), and Tichu. If you're feeling really frisky, you can check my wishlist for things I'm interested in getting and start making suggestions.
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11. Board Game: Trajan [Average Rating:7.84 Overall Rank:38]
Robin Levins
United States
Round Rock
Texas
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Games Played in the last three weeks (January 8 - 28)
Race for the Galaxy: The Brink of War x20
China
Evo
David & Goliath
42
Risk Legacy
Trajan*
Puzzle Strike x2

* - new to me

I have some catching up to do! I'm sorry for my absence, little AnnaMarie has taken up a fair amount of my time.


Anyhow, on to games!

Race for the Galaxy has been largely a 2-player affair, as Kristen and I have been playing some campaigns. I'm still getting the best of her right now, but almost all of them have been close, and it's all been fun. I did get to make use of Golden Age of Terraforming in one game to great effect, which I find is pretty uncommon but inordinately entertaining.

China and Evo were both solid games all around, as always. David & Goliath was fun, though I still can't get a hang for the strategy in the game, I enjoy it nonetheless. We taught 42 to a new player and he seemed to like it, which is good.

Risk Legacy saw my first win. We still don't have a 2-time winner yet, and it may be until everyone has won one before we do, which I'm good with. We're less prone to allowing someone to sneak in for a victory, which I count as a good thing.

Trajan is my lone new play of the series, and I really liked it. I enjoyed how it looks like you've got to have some idea as to what you're going to be aiming for in the game, yet still must adapt to the options in front of you. It is not for the AP-prone, that's for sure. I found myself agonizing for longer than I probably ought to a few times, and I'm usually pretty good at avoiding that. It's worth more plays for sure.

I'm trying to sucker more people into Puzzle Strike. I'm not sure if it's working or not, but I'm still enjoying the game. I'd like to have one or two people have a grasp on the game so I can play with them quickly, as I suspect games could go pretty fast with it.
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12. Board Game: Magic: The Gathering [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:122]
Rishi A.
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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Plays:

Magic: The Gathering x4
Risk Legacy x2

I went to the Magic: the Gathering prelease for Dark Ascension last Saturday. It was my first face-to-face tournament in a decade. I went 2-1-1, which was enough for two packs. I think I should be pleased, considering I hadn't played in a while, though I really had an excellent deck. I also opened a $20 card - likely going to sell it as I don't play constructed and only do drafts.
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