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Stick a fork in me -- I'm done. The "new to me" games of this year's Gathering of Friends.
Curt Carpenter
United States
Seattle
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The Gathering of Friends is almost done as I write this, but I had to leave a day early (or two, depending on when you consider the end). I already missed Easter, half of my kids' spring break, and my wife's birthday to be there. So I need some weekend time before starting up the work week.

I already owned and/or played many of the new games, so I mostly avoided those. Games such as: Macao, Hansa Teutonica, Carson City, Power Struggle, Atlantis, Rise of Empires, Gonzaga, Ra Dice, Alea Iacta Est, ... Macao and Hansa Teutonica in particular were both in heavy rotation.

I played some games on this list multiple times, but only list each game once. I am not as thorough as some, so I'm probably missing some. Oh well. It's a reasonable sampling.

There's some weird space-time continuum in Columbus that I don't understand. On some days I only played three games. How is that possible? I don't get it.

Of course as fate would have it, this is the first year I get an early pick at the prize table. My team won the game show -- yay! Very fun, and I felt like I actually pulled my weight this year, in stark contrast to my first outing 4 years ago where I was in awe of the ridiculous things some people knew. But sadly, as I had to leave today, I missed the prize table picking thing, or whatever it's called. I asked someone to pick something for me. Hopefully something works out.

There were many games on my to-play list which I failed to play. Oh well. Looking forward to next year. Assuming I can convince my wife that I need to upgrade from biannual attendance to annual.
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26. Board Game: Hab & Gut [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:662]
Curt Carpenter
United States
Seattle
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Heard good things about this. This is a model of efficient game design. This game design is stripped to the bone! This is a very simple game of buying and selling stock in a market driven by players. The hook in the game is that players can see some of the fluctuations that will happen, and the fluctuations each payer can see are different, but shared between pairs of players. After players buy or sell shares, they choose a couple cardst to affect the market (+/- # spaces). The catch is that the player selects one of the cards to only affect the market at half face value. So although the cards are all chosen at the beginning of each round (of which there are two), it's up to the players to determine where things will really end up. There's also a donate to charity thing, but all-in all, a very straight-forward game. I like the mechanic, but it almost feel like the core to a more interesting game, and not enough meat on the bone for a stand-alone game.
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27. Board Game: Titania [Average Rating:6.36 Overall Rank:3079]
Curt Carpenter
United States
Seattle
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Are you kidding me??? Honestly??? This is Hans im Glück??? This is Rüdiger Dorn??? Is this some sort of April Fool's joke? The art on the box looks great, but this is a very tired design. Maybe this was meant to be a kids game, but it sure doesn't look like it. But there's no real game here. The actions -> vp path is extremely well-defined. The randomness of the starting hidden spaces doesn't just make for a random setup, it gives the game away to the player(s) who land on double starfish, and 4 shells. The well-known designers I played with commented that if we started over (after halfway through figuring the game out), they were quite sure that the face-down tokens would decide the winner every time, with scores always very close. I agree. If this game came out 10 years ago, it would have been ok. Today it's a huge letdown, especially given the names on the box.
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Curt Carpenter
United States
Seattle
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Um, why is it that every time there's a Martin Wallace game I want, I can't reasonably find it without spending an arm and a leg? But this tops it all. This game, unlike virtually all previous MW games, is not a serious game. It's about building monsters and attacking cities and other monsters throughout the world. And it's fun! Honestly, I'm not even sure how good of a design it is. I didn't really stop to think too much about it. I was too busy having fun! It seems this game was for same on the Treefrog site, but isn't for sale anymore. Great. I guess I'll have to be happy with trains and stuff from social studies classes.
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29. Board Game: The Speicherstadt [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:394]
Curt Carpenter
United States
Seattle
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This got a lot of play. This was not on my radar, so I had to try it.

Um, the emperor has no clothes. Was this game playtested? In our 3p game, it seemed the start player was completely hosed every round. Another player and I started joking that when first player, we would randomly choose where we go, even before we see what cards come out, because it really doesn't matter where you go. I also really didn't like that cubes don't come out in the A cards, which means no way to make money other than not taking a card. Lame. This left a really bad taste in my mouth. Will be avoiding.
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30. Board Game: Egizia [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:182]
Curt Carpenter
United States
Seattle
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This is more like it Hans im Glück! A real game here. About the same weight as Stone Age. But rather than fighting over scoring bonus cards for big points at the end, you can acquire hidden bonus cards. Lots of ways to get points. Nifty mechanic here is that it's worker placement, but it follows a path (river), and you can never place a worker upstream of your last worker, which means the faster you go down, the fewer workers you will place. Much less randomness than Stone Age, but a little less aproachable as well. Still a keeper I think.

Somewhat fitting that I played this last. I had been trying all week to get a game of this in. There was only one copy floating around, and it was usually in play. And when not, cleverly hidden. But not cleverly enough. Mwahaha!
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