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GCL Mafia 91: Hodge Podge Hullabaloo
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
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: GameChat League: Mafia Division Subscription Thread.

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

Rishi
Dolus
petroleumjelly
ecargo
McJarvis
1awesomeguy
mith
tscook
Thesp
Butterfly0038
cferejohn
touchstonethefool

The first few items are intended to foster discussion.

Please add an item to represent your gaming life for the week of October 8-14, 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: Associations: The Game of Quick Connections [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Name a game that the previous games reminds you of, either in theme, mechanics, style, or anything else that relates. Basically, this is free association with board games.

I'll start: Ticket to Ride.
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2. Board Game: Vanilla Ice Electronic RAP Game [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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I noted in last week's geeklist that "I think it's usually better to introduce people to the base game first then add in variants/expansions. The only exception I can think of are the 1910 and 1912 expansions for TtR which really just add more tickets and different bonus points, not a bunch of new rules."

What games do you think are exceptions to the "base game first, then expansions" rule? What games do you think absolutely need to be played with the base game first, then add in expansions? What expansions are ones that you don't count as expansions? (See Travis's answers for examples.)
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3. Board Game: Order Up [Average Rating:6.10 Overall Rank:6229]
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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What do you have on preorder and/or backed on Kickstarter?

Edit: Of your preorders/Kickstarters, how many have you played? Read the rules to? Watched videos of? Read reviews? Or just read the description and thought it sounded cool?
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4. Board Game: Secret Santa [Average Rating:7.92 Unranked]
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Sign ups for BGG's Secret Santa are up. Did you join? Are you going to? Have you previously? If so, what have you gotten in past years? If not, why are you joining this year?
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5. Board Game: MafiaDollar [Average Rating:6.09 Unranked]
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Would you be interested in a Mafia Secret Santa? If so, what kinds of guidelines would you like to see?
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6. Board Game: Roads & Boats [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:177]
Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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1x Roads & Boats
1x Antiquity
1x Indonesia

1x Zooloretto
1x Brass
1x The Manhattan Project
1x Caylus Magna Carta

I have the best girlfriend (Amanda) in the world! Not only did she play ALL of the Big 3 Splotters with me with past weekend, she did it while also allowing me to have my first overnight with my new girlfriend (Jennifer)! We played Antiquity on Saturday before I left (around 5) and then Roads & Boats when I got back Sunday (around 1) and then played Indonesia afterwards (till around 11). Yep, I'm a very, very lucky SOB!

In addition to that, I got to play Zooloretto Wednesday night with Amanda and all 3 of my kids.

The only (slight) negative of the entire week of gaming was teaching Brass to 3 noobs including one noob who kept making a point of telling everyone to move quickly and not overthink it since the game was way over their heads anyway and then analyzing and re-analyzing every move when it was his turn. Ahh well. It was still a game of Brass and, thus, lots of fun.

I played Caylus Magna Carta for the first time (2 player) and while I thought it was ok, I wasn't crazy about it. I guess it's a good filler but it was a lot lighter than I was expecting. The Manhattan Project continues to be a solid worker placement game but nothing overly impressive.
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7. Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – The Redhorn Gate [Average Rating:7.74 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.74 Unranked]
Philip Newman
United States
Richardson
Texas
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Weekly Plays:

The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game - 7 (all solo, 5 Khazad-dûm, 1 Redhorn Gate, 1 Road to Rivendell)
Brass - 4 (all orderofthehammer)
Dominion - 2 (both isotropic)
Lords of Waterdeep - 1
Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization - 1 (boardgaming-online)

LotR heavy week. I tried my secrecy deck again against the first Khazad-dûm scenario and got crushed, so I constructed a new (Dwarf) deck. It's a little OP in that I'm using cards from all the APs and the first Hobbit expansion, but I restricted myself to one of each dwarf (even non-unique ones) just for variety, no Steward (thematic) or Unexpected Courage (not playing Spirit anyway except via Navri's Belt, but mostly wanted to avoid using), and two max of each other card except Gandalf and Navri's belt (which is key because of the Dwarves being spread over the spheres). What makes the deck so strong is the trio of heroes: Thorin (extra resource once I have five Dwarves), Dain (buffs Dwarves), and Ori (extra card once I have five Dwarves).

The first scenario was still tricky, but much more comfortable. Then the second scenario got me, to my surprise (it's supposed to be easier), after I kept hitting Goblins as shadow effects and had to add them to staging. The next night I tried again and beat it, and then beat the third scenario as well (which is my favorite scenario design of all the ones I've played so far, really nicely done).

Redhorn Gate is really annoying because of the victory condition (I ended up going through two thirds of the encounter deck, with the eventual outcome never really in doubt with all the Dwarves I had in play). Road to Rivendell was better, but on the easy side.

(I also got Massing at Osgiliath in my B&B order - gave up on waiting for Alien Artifacts, so I swapped some other stuff in. Rest of order was Puerto Rico, Agricola: World Championship Deck, Kingdom Builder: Nomads, Space Alert: New Frontier, Cities, and a bunch of sleeves.)

Lords of Waterdeep was with my parents this weekend. Took longer than I expected (we had to split it into two sessions, breaking for dinner), but they got into it pretty quickly. Dad won by a few points, putting together 10 quests which all matched his lord. (Naturally, both mandatory quests which saw play were given to me.) This is a nice, teachable game.

Some of you already saw the facebook post, but I'll quote it here, in case you start wondering about her absence from posts here:

Quote:
Liz and I broke up tonight. We wanted everyone to know that... well, it sucks. But also that we had a really great time together, learning to love each other, having fun doing various activities (old and new), and wouldn't change that. We've both grown a lot this year.
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8. Board Game: Rook [Average Rating:6.36 Overall Rank:1559]
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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*Rook (several plays. No scoring though.)
4x Descent: Journeys in the Dark (second edition)
2x Nuns on the Run
Wizard

*New to me

We had church game night last Sunday night. There was a lot of Scrabble, Dominoes, and Card games being played. There were also a few games such as Monopoly and Jenga going on. We played several games of Rook, a game of Nuns on the Run and Wizard.

Rook was a lot of fun. I've owned the game for a ridiculously long time, and never played it or knew the rules. We started a 4 player game, and later made it a 6 player game. My team usually fared pretty well, and Jennifer and I (opposing teams) were usually the ones left doing the bidding on hands.

Wizard was a lot of fun, and I was much closer this time. I got second.

Nuns was a bit of a difficult teaching game, but in the end it came together and I managed to make 4 captures to win the game.

My second nuns play was PBF, as well as 2 of my Descent plays.

On PBF Nuns, I got to play as a novice (finally!), and was doing well for most of the game, but got caught and then sandwiched between the nuns. But I managed to slip out to the side and run down, and was one turn away from winning when somebody else pulled the win. The nuns also only needed one more capture to win themselves, having caught me once and somebody else 3 times.

One of the Descent PBFs was a one-shot quest of the Twin Idols. We stormed through the first encounter easily, and strategized very poorly for the second encounter. One player ran ahead to grab the idol, was immediately blocked by a wall of monsters, and couldn't move anywhere. This separated us and made us weak, and we lost without even having the monsters dwindled down much. I also realized towards the end that the Twin Idols is an Act II quest, and we were playing with Act I monsters. So that sucked for us even more to lose with those standards.

The other Descent PBF was the first of a campaign. We skipped the intro quest and did Masquerade Ball. We never stood a chance in either encounter, and struggled to even get a few search tokens. I think we got four throughout the entire quest? Bad times.


Finally, we finished our F2F Descent campaign. Our final quest was the one my friend and I prepared and strategized for, The Ritual of Shadows. With our preparations, we actually won pretty easily with 6 of 8 search tokens grabbed. The OL barely stood a chance on the second encounter. Since this was over so fast, we played the finale. To Crown a King I think it's called.

The first encounter was shockingly easy, which I've also found from reading the threads. On turn 1, Splig Dashed (as I expected) to move twice and close the door behind him. Fortunately, for this very reason, I took the skill that let's me open a door without taking an action. I also had a 5 perception and a lucky charm for an almost guaranteed chance of opening the door without using an action. So I spent my turn opening the door. We also used Syndrael's OPE to move along with another hero, to both attack Splig twice. The final hero searched the search token, and placed himself in such a way that the Shadow Dragon that was to spawn would only be able to attack him, and move no closer to us. The dragon missed. On our second turn, we killed Splig, after taking the second search token. Very easy encounter.

Second and final encounter, we gave Syndrael the crown as she's always getting controlled by the OL. And with getting to use the card every turn, that would've killed us. We got a good start, quickly killing all of the monsters and the extra LT (the third LT was already dead from a prior encounter). Unfortunately, he has his re-spawn OL card to respawn the dragons, and slowly zombies kept re-spawning on us. We got a string of terrible rolls, and were quickly wearing down. Then, it started happening. He took out Syndrael, then one of the other heroes, followed by me, and then the final hero. We lost the finale. Sad day.
 
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9. Board Game: Trans Europa [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:859]
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Trans Europa 4
Unpublished Prototype 2
Homesteaders 1
Through the Desert 1

We finished up our game night on Wednesday with Trans Europa, which was in the games library at Gate Play. I wanted to try it since I had played Trans America the week before. Matt hadn't played Trans America and really enjoyed Trans Europa so we ended up buying a copy. I'm happy with the purchase and will probably grab Trans America (just to have for variety) eventually.

I put Homesteaders in my bag for Wednesday's game night and one of the guys was curious to try it since he was thinking of buying it. The game went on a little longer than I think it should have, so it sucked some of the fun out of it. Additionally, I don't know how many more plays of it I have in me. I mostly keep it because others like it and it usually plays quickly. I think it's rather mediocre. With the third edition coming out soon, with updated graphics, I don't know if it's really worth trying to unload my first edition (despite it not having any mold problems).

As for Through the Desert, the board always feels so cramped! I was proud of myself for actually getting it to the table again after noting that I wanted to a few weeks ago. Oh and oddly, I ended up winning all three games on Wednesday night, which is a rarity for me.

The unpublished prototypes were more with Chris Handy. One is still painfully new and undeveloped. The other is a decent abstract with not much to really improve upon.

Other gaming news: I picked up a copy of No Thanks! (partially encouraged by our PBF game) at a FLGS in Sacramento I hadn't previously visited. It was an awesome space, with tons of tables, games to rent, and even a couch and TV to play games-with-DVD's. The selection was kind of underwhelming though and the guy wasn't too chatty, so I gave him my $12 and likely won't visit again.

On Saturday, there is a Dominion tournament at Gate Play. There will be prizes and the winner will receive Dark Ages. I'm pretty excited for it. I am hoping Matt and I will be the only ones there so we can battle it out for Dark Ages.
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10. Board Game: Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game [Average Rating:7.94 Overall Rank:22]
 
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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"Watch, but do not govern; stop war, but do not wage it; protect, but do not control; and first, survive!" - Cordwainer Smith
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...watch how I soar!
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New Games

TransAmerica x2
Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game x2
Fleet x1
Get Bit! x1
Android: Netrunner x1

Old Games

D-Day Dice x1
Betrayal at House on the Hill x1
7 Wonders (with Cities) x1
Yinsh x1
Troyes (w/ Bonus Cards) x1

TransAmerica was a fine bit of light gaming. I don't know if I like it enough to buy a copy, but after renting it from one of FLGS' (yes, I know one that has a board game rental program, it's ingenious), I can get it discounted if I feel so inclined.

The X-Wing Miniatures game was also very accessible (and uber-nerdy, I felt like I should have been breaking out a micrometer and protractor for all the measuring we were doing). There was plenty of opportunity for whiz-bang fun, though it got a little bogged down with a full compliment of 4 with the deck-built squadrons (like Netrunner, you have a certain number of "points" to spend on ships and upgrades, I made a pretty awesome trio of a hotshot TIE Advanced and two above-average TIE fighter pilots). A star-field tablecloth and the Star Wars soundtrack going on in the background is an absolute must!

I picked up Fleet and all its available swag from Funagain a week or so back, and I was impressed with it. It manages to be a fairly quick mash up of the auctions in Phoenicia with the tight money and engine building of Saint Petersburg. While it might get a bit stale with multiple plays, it has that je ne sais quoi that makes me keep coming back to the latter. That and the expansion cards add some neat options to keep things interesting.

Get Bit! is a pleasant bit of frippery.

I'm a bit on the fence about Netrunner. On one hand, I really dig the asymmetric sides and relatively quick play time, but on the other I need a few more plays to find out if I really like it or not. Unlike the customization in X-Wing, where after one play I was able to dive right in and have a blast rolling my own, I feel like I'd need at least one play with every single deck in Netrunner before I'd feel confident enough to deck-build without wondering if I might shoot myself in the foot with poor choices. Time will tell with this one, I think.
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11. Board Game: Mansions of Madness [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:149]
Chris Ferejohn
United States
Mountain View
California
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Haggis


My wife "caught" me playing Haggis on Board Game Arena and basically responded as if I had cheated on her (ok, not really, but the "why are you going on the internet for something you can get at home for free" metaphors were flying fast a furious). So I held her to her word and we played a game of this, which in a dramatic reversal of the last time we played I completely stomped her at 381-172.

The obvious corollary here is that I should let her catch me with porn.

Brass


Made it out to the Silicon Valley Board Gamers group on Tuesday and played Brass with BGGer Morganza and two others (one new to the game, one enthusiastic but inexperienced). I felt like I played the first half of the game about as well as I could in terms of setting myself up - I was deep into my Cotton Mills and had even gotten a couple level 2 ports down and I was the only one to pull off the double loan on the last turn of the canal phase. Morganza was also going Cotton Mills, but had also gotten a few iron works down (one on her first move thanks to a first turn Coal in Manchester by inexperienced guy). The only problem I had is that I had placed no canals at all in the first half - I'd done a lot of developing, and consequently I was about 20 points behind after the canal phase.

Usually that doesn't matter too much - the big points come in the rail phase, but this time it turned out to be the margin of victory as Morganza managed to get down quite a few Cotton Mills as well as one of her shipyards to edge me out by 5 points (she was frankly as surprised as I).

Mansions of Madness


Picked up the Forbidden Alchemy expansions (the fixed one) and played with my friend Grey and my wife with each of them controlling two characters. Played the new reanimator scenario. It seemed very close and tension filled the entire game, but in the end it actually ended up seeming like there is no way I could have lost. I'm kind of flummoxed that they've never erattaed pyromania since you can play a totally degenerate "set everything on fire" strategy (which I didn't do, but fire helped me and Grey pointed out that I probably could have guaranteed victory by simply setting everything on fire).

This game continues the frustrate me even as it entertains me. I love the idea and how the game works mechanically, but so many of the scenarios just seem like they can't possibly have been play tested (or at least not play tested with the overlord doing his best to find exploits). Someone on BGG has created "remastered" versions of the adventures in the base game - I may give them a shot because I really want this game to work more consistently.

Crokinole x3


Had some friends over for dinner on Friday and broke this out for a few quick couple v. couple games. They were new to it so it wasn't really a fair fight, but they insisted on keeping those teams.
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